The Choir By Jo Hickey
The Serious Bit
What is a Catholic choir and what is its purpose? Well, the members of a choir are ministers, together with all who have a role in the running of the parish. They are servants of God, the parish and the universal Church. Their ministry is to lead the congregation in song during a sung Mass on Sundays, Solemnities and on special occasions such as a wedding or funeral. As a ministry, membership of the choir is not a thing to be taken lightly.
Chapter VI of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which was solemnly promulgated by Pope Paul VI, says:
- The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy…
Therefore sacred music is to be considered the more holy in proportion as it is more closely connected with the liturgical action, whether it adds delight to prayer, fosters unity of minds, or confers greater solemnity upon the sacred rites.
- Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when the divine offices are celebrated solemnly in song, with the assistance of sacred ministers and the active participation of the people.
- Religious singing by the people is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises, as also during liturgical services, the voices of the faithful may ring out according to the norms and requirements of the rubrics.
To put it simply, our job is to lead the congregation in song, and to ensure that what we sing corresponds to the Liturgy of the Word for that particular Sunday or Solemnity.
The Practical Bit
We meet together in the church at 7:30 on Thursday evenings and, after hugs and news, we open the Roman Missal and look at the readings for the following Sunday or Solemnity. The readings will usually jog our memories and suggest suitable hymns but there are indexes in the hymn books which give specific hymns and psalms for every Mass. We are, of course, bound by copyright and can only sing music that has been purchased by the parish office. By the time we introduce a new Mass setting, a lot of thought, practice and money has gone into it.
The Fun Bit
Choir practice is the place where the written music comes alive and harmonies are born so regular attendance is very important. Some of us can only read music a note at a time but Cath Hanley leads us with a velvet glove and we have discovered that we can create our own arrangements which blend, in turn, with the very capable voices of the congregation.
Making music together is a rather intimate thing and we have developed close bonds. We are good friends and trust one another. Very importantly; we have FUN! There is nothing dreary about the choir.
However, we don’t make enough “Joyful noise unto the Lord” and need more singers and musicians desperately. All you have to bring is a tuneful voice and/or an instrument and commitment.
Choir Prayer Before Mass
O Lord, please bless this music that it might glorify your name.
May the talent that you have bestowed on us be used only to serve you.
Let this music be a witness to your Majesty and love, and remind us that you are always watching, and listening, from your throne above.
May your presence and beauty be found in every note, and may the words that are sung reach the hearts of your people so they will draw closer to you.
May your Spirit guide us through every measure so that we might be the instruments of your peace, and proclaim your glory with glad voices. Amen.
If you are interested in joining the choir, or have other queries please contact Catherine Hanley on Tel: 01275 877748
or email here – or talk to us after Mass on Sunday.