Stewardship Spotlight: Sing Out in Thanksgiving and Praise

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all you lands. Sing to the Lord; bless his name.” (Psalm 96)

Brother Bill Lavigne, esteemed member of Saint Helen’s Festival Chorale, has dedicated his life to thanksgiving and praise. Freely quoting Psalm 96, he illustrates the gratitude with which we, as Catholics, should approach liturgy. “We are here to praise and thank – that’s what Eucharist means.”
Having recently celebrated his 90th birthday in June of 2023, he will soon mark his 74th anniversary as a Marist Brother, entering the community in 1950 shortly before his senior year of high school.

Brother Bill describes his boyhood in Lawrence, MA as a “typical strong Catholic upbringing,” supportive parents, altar serving, and his first introduction to music by playing the triangle. He progressed to singing in the sanctuary boys’ choir, learning the piano, and playing classical music such as Chopin and Brahms.
As a Marist Brother, an order that is dedicated to making Jesus known and loved through education, Brother Bill taught academic subjects as well as assisted in the kitchen in his first assignment at Marist Prep Juniorate in Poughkeepsie. He subsequently taught at Marist High School in Bayonne; a number of his former students are now Saint Helen parishioners.

Brother Bill has experienced a full evolution of musical styles. “When I entered the Brothers, we learned Gregorian chants, and I needed to switch from playing the piano to the organ. Then we moved into Vatican II and the renewal of the liturgy when we transitioned to English. The hymns had to follow suit. Now, worship music is predominantly Christian praise music. I’ve adapted along the way.”

Director of Worship, Adrian Soltys describes Brother Bill as “a dedicated member of the music ministry. He serves in whatever capacity he can at Saint Helen, including as both a weekday and weekend lector. We always appreciate his presence.”

Known for his clear and distinct diction as a lector, Brother Bill explains, “When I lector, I picture myself in the context of the reading. I don’t just try to pronounce the words right; I get into the sense of the reading and get that across.”

Brother Bill has lived a life of faithful stewardship: expressing deep gratitude, making disciples, and now adding his gifts to our worship at Saint Helen. “I sing because music is important to the worship of the community. Instead of just reciting prayers, in the words of St. Augustine, to sing is to pray twice.” When we sing together as a community, we offer our praise and thanksgiving with each other and together with Christ, “Through Him, with Him and in Him.”

  • 908-232-1214
  • Monday - Friday: 9:30am - 5:00pm
Mass Schedule:
Daily: Monday-Saturday 9am
Weekend: Sat 5pm | Sun 8am | 10am | 12pm | 6pm
  • 1600 Rahway Avenue, Westfield, NJ 07090
© 2022 Parish Community of Saint Helen, a Church of the Archdiocese of Newark   Privacy Policy