As a musician, I love reading articles about music.
One such article came to my attention and I had to click on it. The title was calling me: "This just in: Catholic churches have the worst preaching and music in the US."
Below, I'd like to explain how I view this article’s content.
I would like to share a small story with you all first.
When I was a junior high school student, I learned to own my love of music. I woke up and got ready for school, dragging myself to the red 1980 Corvette my father loved so much.
We listened to a Beach Boys cassette tape on the way to school. I love the feeling that music gives me! I waited all day to attend Orchestra class. We played these fantastic pieces of classical music.
Sitting in a group of hard-working people learning classical music always seemed classy to me.
Back into the car.
My grandparents didn’t play music when they drove me to my next music experience. They cared about how my day was and wanted to talk.
At church choir, we played the songs Vatican II helped produce. I still to this day love “On Eagles Wings," "Be Not Afraid," and songs such as these. I didn’t care what music was put on my stand. I just wanted to play.
Fast forward to today.
The pastor at the church I currently work for enjoys chant and traditional music. Again, I want to play music. I will admit I have a biased view on this.
Many people in the Catholic Church have passionate opinions about music. The church is also a very large group of people. I know many people who tell me, "If we don’t play Praise and Worship music, we will lose all our kids to another faith."
But when I ask my kids in children’s choir what they want to sing, they surprise me. I assume this may also surprise the praise and worship fan club.
This year’s children’s choir requested “Sing of Mary” and “Hail Redeemer King Divine.”
That doesn’t mean the kids have found the perfect songs to save the church’s music reputation.
The Church has an amazing diversity of music--2000 years worth of music. We have an amazing amount of talent and we have passionate people.
Let me please try to reorder the musical priorities. And I’m sure the comment section will be happy to argue with me. It’s ok, because if someone is passionate about the music in their parish, they already have the main goal of music in church.
Musicam Sacram, the Church’s document on music states,
“Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when it is celebrated in song, with the ministers of each degree fulfilling their ministry and the people participating in it."
We should also ask ourselves, "If the King of Heaven and Earth walks into our church with the glory of salvation beaming from His hands, feet, and side, would He be proud to have such noble work proclaiming Him?"
I think He loves us much more than my parents and grandparents loved me when I played poorly at a concert in junior high. So He wants to hear from us in song and in prayer.
Let us, the people of the Church, walk into Mass with the Holy Trinity, with the angels who sang the Gloria, and with St. Cecilia and all the other saints.
And Sing to God.
We have work to do, but is it really our music? Or is it in our congregation? Or is it the Priest? Again, I’m sure the comment section will discuss it.
I want great Catholic music, but it will never be as great as God.
Let us turn to God and cry out to him. And when our tears turn into gladness, let us sing louder than the angels at the birth of Jesus.
And with the Holy Spirit, we can renew the face of the Earth.