Winning songs will be performed at the National Eucharistic Congress, taking place in Indianapolis in 2024.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is calling on all Catholic musicians, poets, and songwriters to write the next big song of faith for the Eucharistic Revival Musical Competition. This songwriting contest is seeking not just new hymns, but a theme song for the National Eucharistic Revival. The selected winners will have the honor of hearing their song performed at the 2024 National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, as well as receiving a $2,500 cash prize.
According to the National Eucharistic Congress’ website, the contest seeks a song to renew zeal for the Eucharist in ways that words cannot express. Original songs can be submitted for approval in the categories of hymns and theme songs. While the songs must be new, the contest makes no stipulation for the qualifications of submitted artists, meaning anyone can compete, be they amateurs or seasoned pros.
The winning songs will be selected based on a variety of criteria: poetry, musicality, creativity, theological and doctrinal soundness, beauty, appropriateness for liturgical use, and expression of the mission of the Eucharistic Revival (as applicable). Organizers note that they are especially interested in texts that expound upon the doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and express our unity as the body of Christ.
Marilyn Santos, Associate Director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis, noted that the contributions each generation makes to the Catholic songbook stand as “a treasure of inestimable value.” She stated in a press release:
“The mystery of the Eucharist is expressed particularly poignantly through the beauty of poetry and music. Congregational song unites us as a community and reminds us that we are one Body of Christ.”
Submissions are already open and will remain so until April 21, 2023, with winning songs announced in early June. The winners will be selected by a panel of expert judges from Oregon Catholic Press, the Society for Catholic Liturgy, Source and Summit, the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, and GIA Publications/World Library Publications.
This is an exceptional opportunity for budding young artists to have their music heard by such an esteemed panel for a low fee of $25 per submission. There is no indication that there is a limit to submissions either, so songwriters who wish to submit to both categories seem able to do so. Rules and guidelines for the competition are available in Spanish and English, so submitted songs can be in either language as well.
Of the competition, Tim Glemkowski, Executive Director of the National Eucharistic Congress, Inc. said:
“The Musical Competition is just the beginning of a number of initiatives on the horizon for the Revival in 2023 that celebrate the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist. Beauty is the mark of a loving God, and we are excited to see creative expressions from talented Catholic artists that embrace the beauty of Christ and give new light, color, and voice to the truths of our faith.”