Sunday Music Goers

Each of the Sunday mass goers, as well as the musicians, has a differing opinion on instances in the mass when there should be singing by the assembly. Singing is of utmost importance during the mass and should also be done with consideration to people’s culture and various abilities in each liturgical assembly. The mass begins with an entrance hymn, whose purpose is to enhance unity among those present and introduce their thoughts the liturgical time and also welcome the ministers’ and priests’ procession. One way in which this sense of unity is encouraged is by choosing music that the assembly is conversant with and which is appropriate for opening the celebration. The cantor should ensure that he sings the Liturgy of the Word and the assembly should also sing in response as this is important on Sundays and major feasts. The responses may also be seasonal to suit specific seasons like during Lent and not only limited to singing those set for Sundays only.
Responses such as the Lamb of God, Gloria, and a few other acclamations are regular parts of the Mass and should be sung on every Sunday as they take precedence over others sang at the mass.
During communion, a chant is begun when the priest is receiving the sacrament to express the communicants’ spiritual union by the union of their voices and gladness of their hearts. This is sung during the whole period of administration of sacrament after which the faithful pray quietly or sing a psalm, whichever is desired. A final hymn is not mentioned; however, it is necessary to bring the Eucharist to an end. It is not necessarily as long as the entrance song, and it ends as soon as the procession is out.

Lawrence V. McCrobie

Choir and Participation

The Catholic Church boasts of a complex structure that ensures efficiency and sufficiency of functions aimed at facilitating salvation and the drawing of followers to Christ. The church has adopted a variety of changes over the years with this regard. In the years preceding the Second Vatican Council, most choirs and organists in the Catholic Church appreciate their role as providers of liturgical songs. There was a 1903 publication of the church Inter Sollicitudenes document by Pope St. Pius X  “Motu Proprio”, which encouraged live singing of a variety of responses and Latin chants by the entire congregation. However, a majority of Catholics still experienced a liturgy whereby the songs were done by the choir, or a single singer (cantor); who on several occasions served as the organist.

Vatican II embraced reforms which were a representation of continuity and paradigm shift on how music would and should be used. The 1963 constitution on Sacred Liturgy (CSL) emphasized the use of liturgical songs as well as responses, antiphons, text acclaims and verses. The CSL incorporated a chapter on sacred music, with a declaration that it was of higher value than any other art. The argument was pegged on the formation of crucial parts of the solemn liturgy (No. 112) as the sacred songs firmly bind to the text. The dual purpose of music in the ceremony was also stressed in the constitution. One was to glorify God, and the other, to sanctify the faithful.

Vatican II introduced an aspect of active participation by the whole assembly, hence setting out a new agenda for liturgical musicians. Those charged with the responsibility of revising liturgical books were to prioritize active involvement. The role of the choir and other musicians in the church was reaffirmed, but with the condition that they promote the involvement of the assembly.

Many choirs may have been downgraded, or even eliminated in the years after. Nevertheless, they had a more significant role in the church. The result was a flourishment of a variety of parish choirs from versatile groups to more complex organs like Gospel Choirs, Life Teen Bands, and Chant Ensembles. Different parishes across the globe embraced array regarding church choirs in the quest to fulfill the constitutional requirement. Such groups include children, youth, and traditional choirs as well as a contemporary ensemble.

Church documents on liturgical music reveal a gradual change on the interactions between various choirs or music ministries and the general assembly. Some official records, amongst them, the recently revised Roman Missal General Instruction envision mass celebrations in which the meeting is involved in sung dialogue with priests and live singing with the choir or cantor. The documents have the presumption that the liturgy is a sung celebration with the priest and choir/cantor assigned different roles. The choir’s singing forms an integral part of the celebration and should, therefore, be to the plans of the prayers or song of the whole congregation. The situation has posed the challenge of fostering active participation by the congregants while still ensuring the utmost quality of music.

Lawrence V. McCrobie

How did the Catholic Church Start?

The word “catholic” means universal. Jesus created one universal church for all of mankind. The Catholic Church was established by Jesus with his words spoken in Matthew 16. Jesus asked his disciples “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” The disciples then offered various answers – “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  But the question that Jesus then asked was crucial: “But who do you say that I am?”

The answer provided by Simon Peter set in motion the formation of the Catholic Church by Jesus. “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” With this answer, Jesus established the Catholic Church with Simon Peter designated the first Pope.

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.“

Many try to imply that it was Peter’s faith on which Jesus established the Church. But closer examination of the words of Jesus reveal that the selection was of divine nature.

“For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.” His knowledge of Jesus was not the reason for Peter’s confession to the true identity but it was the fact that it had been revealed to him by God. In the words of Jesus gives Peter his new name – “The Rock”. A foundation on which his Church will be built.

Many separated from the Catholic Church cling to the notion that the Church was built on the faith of Peter and not him as a man as justification for their position. Unfortunately, their understanding is incorrect.

The bible is full of references to the need for respect of authority. It is also full of references for the need for unity. In one parable Jesus is explaining how he could not be of Satanic origin (Mark 3:22), “How can Satan drive out Satan?” In this parable he points out the importance of leadership. “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” Throughout the scripture we always see – One God, One Son, One Holy Spirit, One Church.

The Church today has become a free enterprise operation. If you can access the Internet you can be ordained in some church. The reformation began a splintering of the Church – in so many words, a kingdom divided.

It is much easier to understand Peter’s role of leadership by reading Acts. He is clearly the leader of the Church. One such example, there are others, is Acts 15:6 where Peter addressing the other Apostles clearly states his leadership role: “My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth…

Around or about 45 AD, Peter went to Rome and from there lead the Catholic Church. As of today, there have been 265 Popes in direct succession to Peter. The position of Pope was established by Christ and the office has been maintained in an apostolic manner since the time of Christ. Although the Church has fragmented since the time of Christ with various leadership centers emerging, the apostolic line of succession in the Church is seated in Rome until this very day. Many throughout time have tried to rationalize away and deny the authority and structure of the Church as established by Jesus. In my heart I know that Catholic Church is the Church established by Jesus and has maintained a clear line of apostolic leadership to this very day. The Church has celebrated the sacraments and worshiped the Lord in essentially the same way since the time of Christ.

Every Church suffers occasionally because of the weaknesses of human nature. But I believe that regardless of temporary problems experienced by the Church, abandoning the Catholic Faith is not an option. Jesus was more forgiving and understanding of human nature. When Jesus was arrested Judas had betrayed Him, Peter denied him three times, and the remaining apostles ran away. If Jesus supported and anointed their apostolic role after some of their human failings, I can’t imagine abandoning my faith for human shortcomings. After all, your faith is in the Church established by Jesus, not in any person involved in the Church. Of course problems in the Church must be addressed and corrected, but the faith and Church established by Jesus can never be denied.

Watch A Video on how the church started.

Psalm 140: Evening Prayer for Protection

Psalm 140

Evening Prayer for Protection

I have called to you, Lord; hasten to help me!

Hear my voice when I cry to you.

Let my prayer arise before you like incense

The raising of my hands like an evening oblation.

 

Set, O Lord, a guard over my mouth;

Keep watch, O Lord, at the door of my lips!

Do no turn my heart to things that are wrong,

to evil deeds with men who are sinners.

 

Never allow me to share in their feasting.

If a good man strikes or reproves me it is kindness;

But let the oil of the wicked not anoint my head.

Let my prayer be ever against their malice.

 

Their princes were thrown down by the side of the rock;

Then they understood that my words were kind.

As a millstone is shattered to pieces on the ground,

So their bones were strewn at the mouth of the grave.

 

To you, Lord God, my eyes are turned:

In you I take refuge; spare my soul!

From the trap they have laid for me keep me safe:

Keep me from the snares of those who do evil.

 

Let the wicked fall into the traps they have set

Whilst I pursue my way unharmed.

This is a powerful prayer that digs into the very heart of the need for a call for help and guidance as one seeks the need for a “father” figure to watch over them. The prayer beings with a cry for the Lord to come quickly and do something that will seek comfort for the individual that is expressing distress.

The second line of this psalm is moving as it deals with a plea for God to given the asker for protection and guidance over control of their mouth so that they are not as inclined to let in evil words and thoughts that will bring on a aura of sin and evil.

Moving to the third line of the psalm; this deals with the fact that the individual is asking for the strength to not allow the thoughts and actions of ill will or evil to stain the head or body/spirit of them; and that they will continue to be steadfast and prayerful against the evil that exists around us.

This fourth line makes reference at the fact that the sinner/ the evil doings realize that the “princes” of evil are no longer and that they are cast in shattered pieces near the entrance to the gateway to good and all things that are Holy.

As well round out the psalm, the prayer is reaffirming the fact that they eyes of mankind are always turned and in tune with that of God and all things good. And that we as followers of God are constantly seeking refuge in the good that God has in store and that we are constantly asking for our souls to be spared from the evils that exist in the world. The prayer is also asking for help in obtaining protection from the evils that have been laid in the world and that we want to stay safe from all harm. The prayer also is asking for protection from those that have turned their back to God and that they do evil in the world without care or thought

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The psalm ends asking for that the traps to not be totally eradicated but rather left, and that the evils and demons that exist be drawn towards them and that they are the ones that are then trapped within them. While at the same time the psalm asks for the prayerful to go on with their days unharmed.