Music in the Liturgy

Singing is an integral part of the liturgy and a joyful expression of those gathered (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 112; cf. Acts 2:46). The Gospels inform us that Jesus and the Apostles sang at the Last Supper, and the Apostle Paul exhorted the early Church communities to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with thankful hearts when they gathered (cf. Mt 26:30; Mk 14:26; Col 3:16).

 

Today the Church asks: “Although it is not always necessary (e.g., in weekday Masses) to sing all the texts that are in principle meant to be sung, every care should be taken that singing by the ministers and the people not be absent in celebrations that occur on Sundays and on Holy Days of Obligation” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 40).

 

The Wollongong Diocesan Pastoral Plan envisages an important role for music in liturgy. The Diocese has developed:

• A Mission, Vision and Strategy for Liturgical Music in the Diocese

• New and Renewed Models for Liturgical Music Ministry

• The Parishes and Schools All-in-one Liturgical Music Investment, Support and Training (PSALMIST) Program:

o Scholarships

o Artist-in-Residence Programs

o Support Initiatives

o Training (Collaboration with Australian Pastoral Musicians Network)

o Training (Collaboration with CEO for Teacher In-service)

o Certificate Course in Pastoral Music (from 2014)

 

 

 

Liturgy Office

liturgy@dow.org.au

 

Mission, Goals

& Strategy

Vision for

Music Ministry

The PSALMIST

Program

Introduction

 

The Diocese is blessed with many gifted and talented composers, singers and musicians. Yet the Pastoral Plan identified the current state of liturgical music ministry in the Diocese as largely underdeveloped. The primary constraint seemed to be the apparent shortage of resources, musicians and cantors in many parishes and schools. And yet there are many good singers and professional music teachers in our midst. The Pastoral Plan calls for contributions to tuition costs to help parishes support singers and musicians (Goal B.3).

 

In 2012 the Pastoral Plan Goal B Team and the Diocesan Liturgical Commission considered the measures needed to rectify the situation and developed a vision for the future, with a strategy to overcome apparent constraints. The strategy builds on the many gifts in music ministry that our Diocese currently enjoys.

 

To help with the day-to-day implementation, the Diocese has established the PSALMIST program, an all-embracing liturgical music investment, support and training program for parishes and schools.

 

Mission

The mission of liturgical music ministry in the Diocese is to help enable, empower and encourage our people to be bearers of Christ’s love.

 

Goal

The goal for music ministry is the same as the goal for liturgy: “Our celebration of the Mass will be an uplifting experience of the community at prayer and worship” (Diocesan Pastoral Plan, Goal B).

 

Strategy

The over-arching strategy is to improve the Diocese’s celebration of the Mass by better supporting the assembly in its participation in singing the Mass.

 

Pope John Paul II’s Chirograph on Sacred Music, paragraph 8, guides our strategy:

 

From the smooth coordination of all - the priest celebrant and the deacon, the acolytes, the altar servers, the readers, the cantor of the psalm, the choir, the musicians, the cantors and the assembly - flows the proper spiritual atmosphere which makes the liturgical moment truly intense, shared in and fruitful. The musical aspect of liturgical celebrations cannot, therefore, be left to improvisation or to the arbitration of individuals but must be well conducted and rehearsed in accordance with the norms and competencies resulting from a satisfactory liturgical formation.

 

(N.B. In some churches there is the additional ministry of projectionist, which needs to be added to the list of ministers to be coordinated.)

 

“The smooth coordination of all” is critical to our strategy for better supporting the assembly’s participation. Achieving this requires new and renewed models of music ministry, the focus of our Pastoral Plan for 2012. Firstly, the model needs to better recognise the critical importance of the ministry of music coordinator. As envisaged by John Paul II, every Mass needs a music coordinator who collaborates with the pastoral leadership team, the Priest and the other ministers to ensure proper preparation, rehearsal and conduct of music within the Mass.

 

Secondly, the model needs to recognise the importance of the cantor of the psalm and the accompanist in animating the assembly’s participation. The Church especially encourages us to “employ every means available” to enable the singing of the Responsorial Psalm (cf. Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, 21). Our music ministry model needs to employ every means available in supporting the development of the ministry of the cantor of the psalm. There are many good singers and professional music teachers in our parishes and schools. God calls people with these gifts to ministry as cantors of the psalm and voice trainers for cantors.

 

Thirdly, in John Paul II’s vision of music ministry EVERYONE at Mass is a music minister. In these circumstances, the diversity and complexity of music ministry in a parish or school demands increased focus on leadership and support. The music director, who collaborates with pastoral leadership and oversees the overall development and coordination of music ministry in a parish or school, provides the necessary leadership. The music administrator, who attends to administration of copyright, music resources for musicians and the assembly, rostering and scheduling, provides the necessary support.

 

In summary the key elements of the strategy are:

 

1. The growth, development and support of singers and musicians in parishes and schools to fulfil the important ministries of cantor of the psalm and accompanist.

 

2. The growth, development and support of music ministry leadership, coordination, training and administration positions in parishes and schools.

Vision for Liturgical Music Ministry

Our vision for the Diocese is that every community will actively participate in singing the principal parts meant to be sung at Mass. Each Mass will have a music coordinator, and every parish and school will have a music director, music administrator and one or more voice trainers. Such a model of music ministry requires a comprehensive support infrastructure, providing music ministry formation, training, Certificate Level education, support, PD in-service, scholarships, artist-in-residence programs, repertoire guidance, and musical instrument consultancy.

New and Renewed Models for Music Ministry

Achieving our vision requires new and renewed models for liturgical music ministry and new strategies for formation, training, support and funding. The model particularly focuses on building up the number of skilled cantors of the psalm and accompanists. It identifies the following music ministry leadership and administrative roles –

 

Music Coordinator: This ministry is responsible for the preparation, rehearsal and conduct of music at a given Mass. In a few cases these people will be choir directors, band leaders or ensemble leaders. But in many cases these people will be suitably trained and supported cantors of the psalm and accompanists. For some Masses, particularly those with smaller assemblies, the role of music coordinator will be taken by a single unaccompanied cantor, with or without the aid of pre-recorded accompaniment.

Spiritual Gifts: Vocal or Instrumental Music, Administration, Leadership

Ministry Commitment: Rostered weekly, fortnightly or monthly, 3-4 hours per Mass (choir directors 6-7 hours per Mass); ongoing ministry training

 

Voice Trainer: This ministry underpins the strategy to build up the quantity and quality of cantors of the psalm. The ministry of voice trainer is responsible for the ongoing training and support of cantors of the psalm, developing repertoire and technical vocal skills. Singers will more readily contribute their gifts and time to the ministry of cantor of the psalm if they know they are supported in developing their repertoire and skills in this ministry. Candidates for the ministry of voice trainer are suitably qualified singing teachers, who are committed to the Catholic faith and the ongoing development of music ministry in their parish or school, and who are prepared to integrate the teaching of responsorial psalm repertoire into their singing lessons.

Spiritual Gifts: Vocal and Instrumental Music, Administration

Ministry Commitment:  1 hour per week in psalm repertoire knowledge development; availability to provide 2-6 lessons per week depending on parish needs; ongoing ministry training

 

Music Director: This ministry is accountable for the oversight and ongoing development of the overall liturgical music ministry in a parish or school, especially the identification and recruitment of accompanists, cantors of the psalm, music coordinators, voice trainers, choristers and musicians. Responsibilities include the development and maintenance of the music repertoire, collaboration with music coordinators in the selection of music for Masses, rostering of music coordinators and other music ministers, budgeting for liturgical music expenditure, procurement and maintenance of musical instruments, procurement and maintenance of hymnals, procurement and maintenance of music manuscripts and other resources. Suitably qualified liturgical musicians will fill these positions.

Spiritual Gifts: Vocal and Instrumental Music, Administration, Discernment, Leadership

Ministry Commitment: 3-4 hours per week; ongoing ministry training

 

Music Administrator: In addition to the ministry leadership roles, there is the need to provide coordinated administrative support for the music ministry, including (1) copyright license administration; (2) administration and preparation of music resources (e.g. sheet music, pew-cards, booklets and audio-visual worship aids) for musicians, singers and the assembly; (3) music ministry scheduling.

Spiritual Gifts: Administration

Ministry Commitment: 1-2 hours per week, ongoing ministry training

 

Projectionist: Many parishes and schools now use audio-visual worship aids. The ministry of projectionist is responsible for the preparation and orderly operation of computer and audio-visual equipment to display the melody and texts of songs, and to synchronise the playing of audio backing tracks and DVDs during the liturgy when necessary.

Spiritual Gifts: Skilled Crafts

Ministry Commitment: 2 hours per week, ongoing ministry training

 

Depending on the particular needs, size and complexity of the parish or school, more than one of these roles may be fulfilled by one individual (e.g. music director and choir director; voice trainer and music coordinator; music administrator and projectionist). In some cases the music director may be a suitably gifted priest or assistant principal or REC.

 

Of all the music ministries, the ministries of cantor of the psalm and accompanist need particular focus. The development of school and parish choirs and ensembles are also encouraged for their contribution to supporting the assembly’s participation in singing the Mass.

 

Cantor of the Psalm: The Hebrew Psalter is the Christian songbook par excellence. The skilful singing of the responsorial psalm in the Liturgy of the Word provides an incomparable beauty and recollected solemnity, contributing greatly to the uplifting experience of the community at prayer and worship.  For this reason the Diocese is encouraging the development of the ministry of cantor of the psalm by offering scholarships. Typically, a cantor would commit to sing the psalm at Mass weekly, fortnightly or monthly. They would prepare and rehearse the psalm, and would undertake two one-on-one singing lessons with a voice trainer in preparing a psalm prior to singing it at Mass. The scholarships offered would contribute to the cost of singing lessons with a voice trainer.

Spiritual Gifts: Vocal Music

Ministry Commitment: Rostered weekly, fortnightly or monthly, 3 hours per Mass; ongoing ministry training

 

Accompanists: The skilled accompanist leads, supports and animates the assembly’s voice. In the dynamic of poetic expression and aesthetic reception, in the hearing and in the playing, “when song and music are signs of the Holy Spirit’s presence and action, they encourage, in a certain way, communion with the Trinity” (John Paul II, Chirograph on Sacred Music, 3). The accompanist is a critical part of this communication, so much so that the experience of the community at prayer and worship is seriously diminished in a Mass without an accompanist. For this reason, the Diocese is encouraging the development of the ministry of accompanist by offering scholarships.

Spiritual Gifts: Instrumental Music

Ministry Commitment: Rostered weekly, fortnightly or monthly, 3 hours per Mass (5 hours if accompanying choir rehearsals); ongoing ministry training

 

Choral music has been at the heart of Christian worship since the beginning, when choir (Gk. choros) and assembly (Gk. ekklesia) were synonymous. With the development of the Schola Cantorum in the seventh century and the subsequent development of polyphony, the choir increasingly came to mean a group of specialist singers separate from the assembly. The organ became a popular instrument in liturgy, and eventually orchestras and various ensembles. Today, John Paul II’s vision for “the smooth coordination of all” sees a return to the idea of the assembly as choir. In this model, the choir is a part of the assembly and the choir director is also the music coordinator for the Mass.

 

In this vision of the assembly choirs, cantors and musical ensembles have a special role in leading and supporting the assembly’s singing, much like the role of the accompanist. There are also times when the choir or cantor alone may sing, or the musicians alone may play. The Diocese encourages the development of choirs, cantors, bands and ensembles to provide opportunities for ministerial stewardship of the many musical gifts God has provided.

 

Choir Conductor (Band Leader, Ensemble Leader): This ministry is responsible for the preparation, rehearsal and conduct of music at a given Mass, including all choristers and musicians.

Spiritual Gifts: Vocal and Instrumental Music, Administration, Leadership

Ministry Commitment: Rostered weekly, fortnightly or monthly, 6-7 hours per Mass; ongoing ministry training

 

Cantor: This ministry is responsible for leading and animating the assembly’s singing at a given Mass.

Spiritual Gifts: Vocal Music

Ministry Commitment: Rostered weekly, fortnightly or monthly, 2 hours per Mass; ongoing ministry training

 

Chorister: This ministry is responsible for preparation, rehearsal and singing in choir at a given Mass.

Spiritual Gifts: Vocal Music

Ministry Commitment: Rostered weekly, fortnightly or monthly, 3 hours per Mass; ongoing ministry training

 

Musician: This ministry is responsible for preparation, rehearsal and playing an instrument in a band or ensemble at a given Mass.

Spiritual Gifts: Instrumental Music

Ministry Commitment: Rostered weekly, fortnightly or monthly, 3 hours per Mass; ongoing ministry training

 

Conclusion

The vision for liturgical music ministry is exciting and very achievable. The PSALMIST program will greatly help us transform our models of liturgical music ministry so that our celebrations of Mass will be uplifting experiences, enabling, empowering and encouraging our people to be bearers of Christ’s love.

The PSALMIST Program

 

The PSALMIST program is an integrated approach to providing enhanced liturgical music resources to both parishes and schools. The program was announced at the Spirit Alive Ministry Festival in May 2012.

 

Parishes and Schools All-in-one Liturgical Music Investment, Support and Training

 

The Diocesan Pastoral Plan calls for the auditing and enhancement of parish and school resources and partnerships in liturgical music (Goal B.6). The PSALMIST program provides an integrated approach to providing enhanced liturgical music resources to both parishes and schools.

 

The following program initiatives were announced in May 2012:

 

PSALMIST Scholarships Program

The Diocesan Pastoral Plan called for helping parishes to take small steps in supporting singers and musicians by contributing to tuition costs (Goal B.3). The Diocese is pleased to offer funding to parishes for up to fifty scholarships for cantors of the psalm in 2012. The purpose is to encourage gifted singers to take up the ministry of cantor of the psalm by subsidising the costs of singing lessons. The scholarships have a flow-on effect in helping to establish the appointment of voice trainers in parishes. Each scholarship is to the value of $200, based on subsidising the cost of ten 30-minute one-on-one lessons with a voice trainer. The balance of costs would be borne by the applicant. Application forms, together with a description of the application process, are attached to this Announcement.

 

There is also provision for a limited number of scholarships to the value of $300 to encourage gifted pianists to take up the ministry of accompanist, based on subsidising the cost of a tailored training program, depending on current skills, with an experienced piano or organ accompanist teacher. The balance of costs would be borne by the applicant. Application forms, including a description of the application process, are attached to this Announcement.

 

PSALMIST Artist-in-Residence Program

The purpose of the “Artist-in-Residence” program is to help enable parishes in re-establishing a music ministry.  It involves the short-term contracting of an experienced Liturgical Music Director for a 3-4 month period to help re-establish processes for repertoire selection, recruitment of musicians and singers, rehearsals, and on-the-ground liturgical and musical formation. A pilot program was undertaken in 2012, which successfully proved the concept. Expressions of interest in conducting an "Artist-in-Residence" program can be forwarded to Paul Mason, Diocesan Coordinator of Liturgy, Office of the Bishop.

PSALMIST In-Service Program

The Office of the Bishop and the Catholic Education Office are collaborating to provide Liturgical Music in-service formation, training and on-going support for music teachers, RECs and liturgy coordinators. For further information contact Paul Mason, Diocesan Coordinator of Liturgy, Office of the Bishop.

 

PSALMIST Schools Cantor Ministry Development Program

The highly successful Liturgical Ministry training program for secondary school students has been expanded to include Cantor ministry training. Students are also encouraged to participate in the PSALMIST Cantor Scholarships Program for ongoing ministry development.

 

PSALMIST Support Program

A range of programs to support the development of liturgical music ministry are being established on the Diocese's online Liturgy Handbook over 2013 and 2014, including:

 

(1) suggested process for establishing a music repertoire development plan;

(2) a suggested process for music selection for Mass;

(3) a template for scheduling music ministry;

(4) a suggested process for managing copyright reporting;

(5) a tool-kit for audio-visual worship aids.

 

The Office of the Bishop has begun a regular monthly communication on Liturgical Music in the “Liturgy Notes” section of the Faith & Life e-newsletter. Regular sections are provided on music selection for upcoming Sunday Masses and Seasonal Responsorial Psalm profiles, as well as articles of interest pertaining to liturgical music ministry.

 

The Diocesan Liturgical Commission has entered into a strategic relationship with the Wollongong Chapter of the APMN, collaborating on providing support to pastoral musicians throughout the diocesan area. Musicians are encouraged to join the Wollongong Chapter of the APMN to take advantage of their networking and support infrastructure, which includes a quarterly newsletter, an Internet-based bulletin board, national conferences and workshops, and a file sharing service for members that provides a range of resources and helpful information.

 

The Office of the Bishop is funding a number of Professional Consultancy Services to parishes and schools in the following important areas:

 

• Music ministry development strategy.

• Parish and school repertoire development strategy.

• Musical instrument acquisition.

 

For further information contact Paul Mason, Diocesan Coordinator of Liturgy, Office of the Bishop.

 

PSALMIST Training Program – APMN Workshops

The Diocesan Liturgical Commission, in collaboration with the Wollongong Chapter of the Australian Pastoral Musicians Network (APMN), will develop annually a schedule of ongoing liturgical music formation workshops to be run in the Wollongong Diocese, aimed specifically at supporting the various roles identified in the new and renewed model of liturgical music ministry. Workshop schedules are published on the APMN website www.apmn.org.au, and details regarding up and coming workshops are published in “Liturgy Notes” in the Faith & Life e-newsletter. Subscribe to the e-newsletter at www.dow.org.au.

 

PSALMIST Training Program – Certificate Course in Pastoral Music

As part of the Pastoral Plan, the Diocese plans to establish a School of Liturgy in 2014 (Goal B.2). In the inaugural year, it plans to offer a Certificate Course in Pastoral Liturgy (5 units) and a Certificate Course in Pastoral Music (8 units).

 

The Certificate Course in Pastoral Music aims to bring a practical and informed understanding of the central points of the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church to prospective parish music directors and all those who take active roles in the preparation of liturgy and liturgical music in parish or school.

 

The core topics reflect the vital importance of the Assembly at the heart of every liturgical celebration. The sessions are designed to allow for questions, group discussions and personal reflection. A collection of suitable readings is provided for all participants in the course. You can join the program at any point. The full certificate in pastoral liturgy consists of five topics of study, each six weeks long, 2 hours per week. The full certificate in pastoral music consists of eight topics of study.

 

CORE UNITS

 

The following units are common to both Certificate courses.

 

Building the Liturgical Assembly

This unit provides a general introduction to the liturgy, providing insight into the meaning and implications of current liturgical reforms in the context of the riches of Catholic liturgical tradition.

 

Word in the Liturgical Assembly

Designed to help you understand the centrality of the Scriptures in the Church’s liturgy and how to explore the ways in which Scripture is incorporated into worship.

 

Eucharist in the Liturgical Assembly

This unit explores the history and development of the Eucharist according to the Roman rite. As well as focusing on the Eucharistic celebration itself, participants will gain insight and knowledge about architecture and space, worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass and Eucharistic devotions, and will have the opportunity to develop practical skills in preparing for Eucharistic celebrations.

 

Initiation in the Liturgical Assembly

This topic presents an overview of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults as it is understood and practised within the Catholic Church. Beginning with an investigation of baptismal themes in the New Testament, the topic then explores the Catechumenate during the first five centuries of the Church before considering its reinstatement after the Second Vatican Council.

 

The additional units required to complete the Certificate Course in Pastoral Music are as follows:

 

The Pastoral Musician 1

This unit covers the following topic areas –

 

What is liturgical music? Documents on Church music; Music ministers and their role; The Psalms; Brief introduction to the Liturgy of the Hours; Hymnody; Music for Lent and Easter; Music for Advent and Christmas; History of Sacred Music.

 

The Pastoral Musician 2

This unit covers the following topic areas –

 

Music for the Celebration of the Sacraments; Resources; Copyright; Music ministry administration – rosters, rehearsals, budgeting etc; Discernment of music ministry spiritual gifts; Managing conflict and change.                              

Music Theory (Candidate would get credit for this if they have Gr. 4 AMEB)

 

Practical Project

 

As well as completing these 8 units, the candidate would take private lessons with either an organ or singing teacher, so that they reach at least Gr. 4 standard in AMEB organ or singing.

 

Further details, including costs and accreditation, will be made available in coming months. Expressions of interest can be made to Paul Mason, Diocesan Coordinator of Liturgy, Office of the Bishop (02 4253 0823 or liturgy@dow.org.au).