Liturgy Corner

Carmel Parish Bulletin articles from the Liturgy Committee


Music and Hospitality

Carmel Bulletin, 14 August 2016

The Second Vatican Council’s instruction on music said: “One cannot find anything more religious and more joyful in sacred celebrations than a whole congregation expressing its faith and devotion in song” (Musicam Sacram, no. 16).  That, of course, is easier said than done!

While it may take effort to encourage everyone in the church to sing, it can also be easy to discourage singing.  Different factors can contribute to people feeling that they are not encouraged to join in the music that is being led by the music ministers.  In turn, we now have in the Church plenty of statistical and anecdotal evidence that proves that people’s engagement and connection with the music in liturgical celebrations is a key factor in them wanting to return to a particular parish community.

Parish Vision StatementAs part of our parish vision that all families feel supported, connected and valued as they live and grow in their faith, and our strategy to welcome all who come to worship, our Liturgy Committee and music leaders have been working on a way to develop a more focused and consistent music repertoire.  As it is developed and implemented, we hope this repertoire will help everyone in our parish know what we’re singing.


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Reflecting the Penitential Nature of Lent

Carmel Bulletin, 22 February 2015

lent_enviro_08 005Hopefully things look and feel a bit different at Mass this weekend than they did last weekend.

The large banners have come down and the plants and flowers are all gone.  There may be less music, and instruments should only be used to accompany singing, as opposed to being used for solo pieces:

During Lent the altar is not to be decorated with flowers, and the use of musical instruments is allowed only to support the singing… (Ceremonial of Bishops, no. 252)

All this is done for a greater reason than giving our florist, Sofie a break from arranging flowers for us every week (although with all her great work, she does deserve a rest).  The “stripping back” of the space and even elements of the liturgy helps to focus us on the penitential nature of the season.

It is similar to what we are encouraged to do in our own lives.  Lent is a time when we may fast, particularly on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays, or we may choose to abstain from particular things.  Such abstinence may not be specifically from food, but may also be from other material goods or indulgences that we otherwise take for granted.

By taking the opportunity during Lent to do away with those preoccupations, we offer ourselves more time and space to focus on our relationship with God.

Through its twofold theme of repentance and baptism, the season of Lent disposes both the catechumens and the faithful to celebrate the paschal mystery… The faithful, listening more intently to the word of God and devoting themselves to prayer, are prepared [for Easter] through a spirit of repentance to renew their baptismal promises.  (Ceremonial of Bishops, no. 249)

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Parish Mass Settings Workshop

This morning, music ministers from our parish gathered together to learn more about some of the Mass settings that are available and recommended for use.  This is an integral part of the formation we’re providing in our parish as we implement the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

Our parish has generally been using the revised edition of Mass Shalom since the beginning of this year.  After being introduced to several other settings this morning, they can now move ahead with using more settings with their liturgical assemblies.

While our workshop attracted a relatively small number, we had at least one representative from each of our various music groups.  This means that these representatives can take the music back to their groups and start work.

Thank you to everyone who joined us this morning.  I hope you found it to be informative and productive.  Thanks also to Frank, who took a few pics with his iPad.

Introducing music group representatives to new Mass settings for the revised English translation of the Roman Missal, 23 July 2011

Introducing music group representatives to new Mass settings for the revised English translation of the Roman Missal, 23 July 2011

Introducing music group representatives to new Mass settings for the revised English translation of the Roman Missal, 23 July 2011

Introducing music group representatives to new Mass settings for the revised English translation of the Roman Missal, 23 July 2011

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26/9/10 – Are the Songs We Sing at Mass Going to Change?

As we mentioned before, a new English translation of the Roman Missal is being prepared.  This will be used in English speaking countries throughout the Catholic Church.  To help us learn more about this new translation, we’re trying to answer some of the key questions here.

Are the songs we sing at Mass going to change?

Earlier on, we addressed the question, Is the Order of Mass going to change?  While the text of the prayers and responses will change, the Order of Mass (i.e. what happens and when) will not.

This also applies to the songs and hymns that we sing.  The new edition of the Roman Missal, and its translation into English do not affect the use of hymns in the liturgy.

Most of the parts of the Mass which we sing, however, will change as the words of these prayers (e.g. the Gloria, the Sanctus, etc.) are taken directly from the missal.  To provide for these changes, many composers have written new music for these prayers.  Also, some composers are taking the music for these parts of the Mass that we already know, and modifying them to fit the new translations.

In Australia, a National Liturgical Music Board appointed by the Catholic bishops invited Australian composers to write or modify music for the new translations of the prayers.  It is expected that they will announce later this month which music settings they will recommend for parishes to use.

A new translation of the missal also requires rewriting of the chant music which allows the priest and assembly to sing the texts of the Mass.  This work has also been done so that it can be included in the English translation of the missal when it is eventually published.

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30/5/10 – Our Music Ministry: Still More Helpers Needed

Music MinistersLast weekend, we began an initiative to encourage more parishioners to join our music ministry.

It has been great to see people already volunteering their support.  There is still time for you to volunteer – there are more forms available from the parish centre.

In particular, there are some Masses that need particular support:

  • We have a new organist, Astrid, at 10:30 a.m. Mass on the first and third Sundays of the month.  Astrid needs, however, the help of a small group of singers to lead the music with her
  • Our Sunday evening Mass also needs musicians and singers so that we may provide live music on a more regular basis.

Our team of music ministers is only too willing to help and support people who are interested in joining them.  If you believe your gifts and talents lie in areas other than music and singing, then help our music ministry by looking for musicians and singers within our parish.  An encouraging word from others may be all that’s needed for them to give it a go.

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23/5/10 – Join the Music Ministry

The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few…

This weekend, we are appealing to you as we look to improve our parish’s music ministry.  The first part of this is working to ensure that all our Sunday Masses have live music.  This requires the participation of more singers and instrumentalists in our ministry.

You may ask why we members of the Liturgy Committee consider the provision of music to be so important?   Music has been an integral part of our Church’s prayer since its earliest days.  In St Paul’s letters to both the Ephesians (5:19) and the Colossians (3:16), he implores them to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God.

Furthermore, the bishops of Second Vatican Council remind us that “liturgical worship is given a more noble form when celebrated in song.”  They remind us that music allows our prayer to be expressed in a more beautiful way, and that our sense of worshipping together as one body in Christ is strengthened through the action of us all joined together in sung prayer (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 113).

Our music ministers are a relatively small group who show a great deal of commitment.  They appreciate the positive feedback they receive from parishioners on special occasions when our music is of a very high standard.  They will be the first to tell you, however, that they need more people to help them provide quality music Sunday after Sunday.

Perhaps you enjoy singing, and maybe people have even suggested to you that you should?  Perhaps you can play a musical instrument?  If you fall into either of these categories, we ask you this weekend to consider joining one of our existing music groups, or forming one of your own.  The music ministers here in Wenty provide a great deal of support to each other, and are always willing to help new ministers in whatever way they can.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, St Paul urges Christians to use their spiritual gifts for the building up of the Church and the kingdom of God.  This Pentecost Sunday, please take some time to consider how you may use your gifts for the good of all.

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16/5/10 – Music Ministry

Next Sunday is Pentecost Sunday.  Over recent years, we have focused each Pentecost Sunday on the various liturgical ministries in our parish.  This year, we are going to focus on one liturgical ministry in particular.

Music should be an integral part of every liturgical celebration, particularly on Sundays.  Music can give our prayer greater richness and help raise our minds and hearts to God.  The role of music ministers is crucial to enriching the liturgical celebration in a unique way.

It doesn’t mean, however, that Music Ministers need to have decades of experience and professional music training!  While we’re lucky to have some music ministers who do, others may be music students, or just sing because they enjoy doing so.

Our parish needs more music ministers at each of our Sunday Masses.  You may be able to assist by playing an instrument or joining a group of singers.  We’ve had a good number of parishioners who have served our parish for many years and find their ministry very rewarding.  Hopefully more parishioners can join them.

Next week, we’ll share more with you about the music ministry here in Wentworthville and how you can participate in it.