Necessity is the mother of invention, so they say, and the unprecedented circumstances brought about by COVID has changed the way we do many things. While there have been undesirable elements, the use of online platforms, for example, has opened up new possibilities for businesses and education.
This week the announcement has been made that churches may resume congregational singing and already, people of goodwill are posting online about resurrecting hymns of varying musical and theological quality.
In the case of sacred music I suggest that we also adapt our thinking and that the necessity of objectively beautiful liturgy should become the mother of a reinvention of how we approach parish music.
This fresh start for congregational singing is the ideal opportunity to rid ourselves of heretical ditties (eat my bread and drink my wine?!) and to get down to the business of singing the liturgy. Why sing at Mass when you can Sing The Mass? While many think that music at Mass is down to personal taste, we must remember that there are church documents on what is required for Mass and hymns are not the top priority.
It’s not as big a deal as some may think.
Have a cantor or group start with learning one Gregorian setting of the Ordinary parts of the Mass. Even have the organist play the chants before Mass as people gather and they will soon sink in.
Once this has been sung for a month and the congregation have joined in, have the cantors sing the introit/entrance chant and continue to build things up.
Don’t know where to find the chant?
Ordinary Form or Extraordinary Form.
Website and App. Print or view on a device. Easily send chant selections to others via email or WhatsApp. The full chant can be selected or a short and simple ‘psalm tone’ version.
Ordinary and Extraordinary Form. App.
Ordinary Form only. Simple settings of the texts of the Mass in English or Latin. The Responsorial Psalm can be replaced with the original Gradual Chant.
Extraordinary Form only. PDF downloads
Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form. PDF downloads. Explore site to find beautiful responsorial psalms, the Ordinary of the Mass etc in modern notation and with options for organ accompaniments.
Let’s make the ‘New Normal’ in our churches, beautiful liturgies that draw the mind and heart to God and evangelise through transcendence.
If I can help any priests, singers or organists to get started, get in touch!