This week we continue with the next instalment of the article about the importance music plays at Liturgical celebrations.
“One cannot find anything more religious and more joyful in sacred celebrations than a whole congregation expressing its faith and devotion in song” (MS 16).
“Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with due consideration for the culture of peoples and abilities of each liturgical assembly. Although it is not always necessary (e.g., in weekday Masses) to sing all the texts that are in principle meant to be sung, every care should be taken that singing by the ministers and the people is not absent in celebrations that occur on Sundays and on holy days of obligation” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), 40).
Our preparation and leadership of music within the Mass greatly assists the People of God, the community as the body of Christ, to experience "new life in the Spirit, involvement in the mission of the Church, and service to her unity" (CCC 1072).
Ministry The primary music minister in the liturgy is the assembly. At certain times the priest, the deacon, the choir, the musicians, the psalmist and the cantor have specific roles of their own. But there is no place in the liturgy for performances of art for art’s sake.
Of special importance are the roles of music director, choir director and music coordinator, who are responsible for preparing, rehearsing and conducting the musical aspects of liturgical celebrations. They have a vital role in choosing the music and helping the assembly take an active part in the singing (cf. CSL 28, 30, 114, 118, and 121). The role of voice trainers is critical in preparing psalmists to sing the responsorial psalm. “From the smooth coordination of all – the priest celebrant and the deacon, the acolytes, the altar servers, the readers, the psalmist, the schola cantorum (choir), the musicians, the cantor and the assembly – flows the proper spiritual atmosphere which makes the liturgical moment truly intense, shared in and fruitful” (Chirograph, 8).
Liturgical song is music wed to prayer text. The liturgy comprises a variety of different forms of prayer, each requiring a different song form for musical expression. Each part of the Mass takes one of the following seven forms:
to be continued next week...