‘Stop Asking “Is the music religious?” Ask Rather, “Is the music liturgical?”

A column by Hilary Cesare at Ignitum Today about what so many Catholic are missing in their worship, (hint, it begins with “prop” and ends with “ers,”) and some suggestions about how they might get started.

Have You Been Missing Out on a Centuries-Old Catholic Musical Tradition?
Some of the most divisive conversations amongst Catholics today arise over music at Mass. Most arguments revolve around the style of music or the instrumentation. However, these arguments generally don’t focus much on the texts of the music. The majority of us have grown up in parishes that are unaware of or lacking an essential part of Church’s musical heritage: The Propers. We should stop asking “Is the music religious?” but rather, “Is the music (and its text) liturgical?” The Church assigns specific chants/texts to each day of the liturgical year, just as she assigns certain readings & psalms to each day of the year. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says that these scriptural, liturgical texts (called “the Propers”) are the ideal and most desirable thing to be sung at Mass.
We are accustomed to the readings, responsorial psalm, and Alleluia verse changing each week in the Missalette. The scriptural texts of the Mass Propers also change daily and allow us to more fully participate in the liturgical day being celebrated. There are three times when the Propers are sung at a Novus Ordo Mass

(A little quibble, the Gradual can be sung, of course.)
(Oh, and I don’t know Hilary but I’ve chosen, among other labels, “youth” because… well, to me everyone is.)

One Reply to “‘Stop Asking “Is the music religious?” Ask Rather, “Is the music liturgical?””

  1. I am very appreciative of these detailed reviews. They led me to re-examine the Jernberg Mass. I liked what I heard and saw. Since it was time for our two parishes to learn a new ordinary setting, i played through a few for our pastor. The two top candidates in both our minds were the Jernberg Mass and Proulx's Mass for the City. We decided to introduce both, but to start with the Jernberg.

    It is very helpful to hear reports of good Ordinary settings and of good choral music in general. I hope others will also continue to post their discoveries and parish practice.

    For my current contribution I offer the Guimont Mass for the Servan Church. We everything but the Memorial Acclamations. All are well sung by the congregation and appreciated by the choir. Even though the Gloria is structured as a refrain setting, the congregation has picked up the "verses".

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