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Monday, 28 September 2009

Giving Shape to the Liturgical Year

Or, more aptly, recognizing its inherent shape and form.

Gary Penkala has some advice, which plays right into another of my unanswered prayers, my unsuccessful projects -- SING YOUR PART, FATHER!
Seminaries should teach priests their musical parts of the Mass, and should train them to sing what is theirs.
Singing is part of the celebrant's role — like preaching, and should be expected of him.
Goodness knows, it's "expected" of the congregation. "Nerves" or "my lousy voice" are not excuses.
Priests not totally "comfortable" with public speaking learn to deal with the "thorn" of delivering a homily.
I'm not sure I'd go so far as to advocating always singing the dialogues and presidential prayers (although there are some priests and communities who do).
Using these sung parts on occasion highlights important liturgical days. Our liturgical year risks becoming a flat, lifeless desert rather than a contoured, living landscape, if Pentecost sounds just like the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (but for red clothes).
Although I part company with him on one point, the dialogues? Yes, they should sung always.
If anything is sung, they should be.
Before you bother with songs, or even most parts of the ordinary.

But I thoroughly agree, singing the collects and preface is a most excellent manner in which to highlight the highpoints -- sing them on the major feasts and solemnities and holy days!

We have abandoned so much of the Catholic culture that once gave us wordless catechesis, that informed our Faith without our even realizing it, and in some cases, instead allowed secular culture to give rhythm to the year.

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