FROM OUR PASTOR,

Msgr Mel

 

 

SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL
MUSICAM SACRAM
INSTRUCTION ON MUSIC IN THE LITURGY


Paragraph 16. One cannot find anything more religious and more joyful in sacred celebrations than a whole congregation expressing its faith and devotion in song. Therefore the active participation of the whole people, which is shown in singing, is to be carefully promoted as follows:


     (a) It should first of all include acclamations, responses to the greetings of the priest and ministers and to the prayers of litany form, and also antiphons and psalms, refrains or repeated responses, hymns and canticles.
     (b) Through suitable instruction and practices, the people should be gradually led to a fuller—indeed, to a complete—participation in those parts of the singing which pertain to them.
     (c) Some of the people's song, however, especially if the faithful have not yet been sufficiently instructed, or if musical settings for several voices are used, can be handed over to the choir alone, provided that the people are not excluded from those parts that concern them. But the usage of entrusting to the choir alone the entire singing of the whole Proper and of the whole Ordinary, to the complete exclusion of the people's participation in the singing, is to be deprecated.


Paragraph 34. The songs which are called the "Ordinary of the Mass," if they are sung by musical settings written for several voices may be performed by the choir according to the customary norms, either a capella, or with instrumental accompaniment, as long as the people are not completely excluded from taking part in the singing.

In other cases, the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass can be divided between the choir and the people or even between two sections of the people themselves: one can alternate by verses, or one can follow other suitable divisions which divide the text into larger sections. In these cases, the following points are to be noted: it is preferable that the Creed, since it is a formula of profession of faith, should be sung by all, or in such a way as to permit a fitting participation by the faithful; it is preferable that the Sanctus, as the concluding acclamation of the Preface, should normally be sung by the whole congregation together with the priest; the Agnus Dei may be repeated as often as necessary, especially in concelebrations, where it accompanies the Fraction; it is desirable that the people should participate in this song, as least by the final invocation.

 

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Philosophy of Music Ministry: The use of the Choir in Catholic Worship
from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 1157:

"Song and music fulfill their function as signs in a manner all the more significant when they are "more closely connected . . . with the liturgical action," according to three principal criteria: beauty expressive of prayer, the unanimous participation of the assembly at the designated moments, and the solemn character of the celebration. In this way they... participate in the purpose of the liturgical words and actions: the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful:

A choir of voices or instruments has two roles in a Catholic Mass:

     1. To lead the congregation in song during "the designated moments" of the Mass, which are the following:
the Opening Hymn or song, the Gloria, the Psalm Response, the Alleluia, the Holy, Holy, Holy, the Memorial Acclamation, the Amen, the Lamb of God.

Note that full participation in music and spoken responses is everyone's responsibility, and we are encouraged to support and encourage one another by our own presence, attentiveness and good spirit. While the music for these parts of the Mass is generally contemporary in nature, care must be given not to remain "stuck" in any one small period of time (such as the 60's and 70's) in the Church's musical heritage which spans almost two millennia of history.

     2. The second role of a choir or organ or instruments is an offering to God of first-fruits of time and talents, and a ministry to the congregation seeking to provide appropriate music for prayer, reflection and meditation. The liturgy allows for such music before Mass, during the Offertory, during Communion and after the Dismissal (in place of a closing hymn). These musical offerings draw from the Church's rich musical heritage and ministers of music are encouraged by the Church to develop their talents in the service of the liturgy. Organ music, instrumental music and choral works are offered not as mere entertainment or performances, but as a form of prayer which hopefully can move others to pray as well.

How I wept, deeply moved by your hymns, songs, and the voices that echoed through your Church! What emotion I experienced in them! Those sounds flowed into my ears, distilling the truth in my heart. A feeling of devotion surged within me, and tears streamed down my face -- tears that did me good. (St. Augustine, Confessions 9:6, 14)

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cbcp 2 diocese paranaquevatican