Newsletter of the week 13/01/19

This message is only for the use of the intended recipient(s). It may contain information which is confidential and legally privileged within the meaning of applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender as soon as possible.
Any copying, disclosure, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it is prohibited and may be unlawful. Unless stated to the contrary, any opinions expressed in this message are personal and may not be attributed to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark CIO. Registered Charity No.: 1173050
Please consider the environment. Do you really need to print this email?

Music and the Mass

Last week, in my thoughts about the Sunday Mass, I wrote about “the assembly”. This week I want to reflect on music at Mass. I know from experience the subject is very emotive. I often hear; “Why don’t Catholics sing?” or “Why do we have hymns that that we don’t know?” or “Why do all the hymns seem to from the Victorian era?” or “I prefer a quiet Mass with no music” or “What happened to Gregorian chant?” We will never please everyone all the time!


It is important to be clear about certain principles as to why we have music in the Mass. Pope John Paul, in his Letter “Dies Domini”, wrote: “Given the nature of Sunday Mass and its importance in the lives of the faithful, it must be prepared with special care. In ways dictated by pastoral experience and local custom, in keeping with liturgical norms, efforts must be made to ensure that the celebration has the festive character appropriate to the day commemorating the Lord’s Resurrection. To this end, it is important to devote attention to the songs used by the assembly, since singing is a particularly apt way to express a joyful heart, accentuating the solemnity of the celebration and fostering the sense of a common faith and a shared love.”


Our model for music in the liturgy is Jesus himself, who sang psalms with the apostles at the Last Supper (Mt 26:30; Mk 14:26). Music is an integral part of our participation in liturgy – an integral part of our participation in the work of God. For “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, Address to the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, 3; Chirograph on Sacred Music, 3).


If we sing anything at Mass then we must sing the Gospel acclamation and the Sanctus (or the Holy, Holy), then we can add some more pieces to this basic core. We can have an opening song or hymn which is intended to unite us and open our hearts to hear God’s voice. The Gloria should be sung as it allows us to express our praise as a community. The Psalm and response puts on our lips words that sum up the day’s scripture. The Communion song expresses our unity in the Christ we receive. To be a little more adventurous, the Penitential Rite is particularly appropriate to sing in Lent and Advent when there is no Gloria. At the Preparation of the Gifts (no longer called ‘Offertory’) there may be a song, instrumental music or silence. The Final Song can send us out inspired but it isn’t essential – it’s not in the Missal! So we should see the music in the Mass as four hymns.


In this parish we are blessed with having music at all the Sunday Masses except 8am. Even there we try to sing the Acclamation before the Gospel and the Holy Holy. It is important that we learn new music that helps us “express a joyful heart accentuating the solemnity of the celebration and fostering the sense of a common faith and a shared love.” I welcome any comments you may have on the music we could share at our Sunday Masses.

newletters: Newsletter week starting 13 January 2019

 

This message is only for the use of the intended recipient(s). It may contain information which is confidential and legally privileged within the meaning of applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender as soon as possible.
Any copying, disclosure, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it is prohibited and may be unlawful. Unless stated to the contrary, any opinions expressed in this message are personal and may not be attributed to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark CIO. Registered Charity No.: 1173050
Please consider the environment. Do you really need to print this email?

Newsletter for the week starting 6th January 2019

This message is only for the use of the intended recipient(s). It may contain information which is confidential and legally privileged within the meaning of applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender as soon as possible.
Any copying, disclosure, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it is prohibited and may be unlawful. Unless stated to the contrary, any opinions expressed in this message are personal and may not be attributed to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark CIO. Registered Charity No.: 1173050
Please consider the environment. Do you really need to print this email?

Reflections on the Mass

At the beginning of this New Year I would like to write some reflections on the Mass, the Eucharist, which, as you know, is the source and summit of the Christian life.

Today I want to start at the very beginning before we make the sign of the cross. The moment when we gather together we become the Sunday assembly. Coming to Mass is not merely an individual duty. When we gather together, Christ is really and truly present. Jesus promised he would be with us – where two or three are gathered in my name I am there. We need to remember that Christianity is not a matter between the individual and God, but between the individual and the church and God. As one writer put it “Here there is one of the most pressing pastoral problems of today in relation to the Sunday Eucharist: to liberate people from their individualism; to help them see themselves not as so many individuals, journeying through life in splendid isolation from one another, but as a people bonded together in the Lord.”  (Sean Swayne)  One of the great changes that took place after 1964 and as a result of the Second Vatican Council was the change from the congregation being merely a passive presence, where only the voice of the priest and server was heard, to a full active and conscious participation by all present. In the introduction to the Roman Missal we read:  “For the celebration of the Eucharist is an action of the whole Church, and in it each one should carry out solely but completely that which pertains to him or her, in virtue of the rank of each within the People of God.” I would like to thank all those who take on responsibilities as Readers, Eucharistic Ministers, Musicians, Singers, Welcomers, Offertory Helpers and Servers in this parish. Even if you are not involved in one of these particular ministries you participate through your singing, and articulating the responses of the Mass. “The acclamations and the responses of the faithful to the priest’s greetings and prayers constitute that level of active participation that the gathered faithful are to contribute in every form of the Mass, so that the action of the entire community may be clearly expressed and fostered.”  This year we plan to make significant changes to the entrance to our church. The idea is to make it more welcoming and inviting. The plans have already been approved by the Art and Architecture committee of the archdiocese and, once one of three tenders for the work has been chosen, with the agreement of the Archdiocesan Finance committee, work will begin. Our coming into church is important. We need to cultivate within ourselves a welcoming heart, a heart which even when weighed with sadness radiates the peace and joy of the Lord. We rejoice that we have a wonderful opportunity every Sunday to share in the death and resurrection of Christ. Let us not be outsiders or mere onlookers.

Thoughts for a new year

Don’t let the cynics put you off thinking about new year resolutions. 

I think it is only natural for you and I to have some wishes and thoughts about our lives today and how we would like them to unfold.  We are all encouraged to know our purpose in life.  What do you want from your life?  In what are you going to put you time and effort and money? What gives meaning to your life? What enables you to get up in the morning and face another day?  For those who are young they have years to consider,  if it pleases God.  For others of us we have lived a long life and our plans are measured in days rather than years.  For the twelve year old Jesus, travelling to Jerusalem, perhaps for the first time, his purpose became clear.  The family were travelling to Jerusalem and to the Temple.  It was here that he remained after the festival, while Joseph and Mary returned home to Nazareth.  “The temple is understood as the place for the manifestation of the presence of the Father – as a sign of God’s sovereignty, a sign of the one Lord, a sign of the one and only God. “ (Cardinal Carlo Martini S.J.) It is significant that the parents of Jesus were looking for him for three days.  In answer to Mary’s question, “Why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously’ Jesus said: “Did you not know I must be in my fathers house”? The translation we hear this weekend in Mass is “I must be busy with my Father’s affairs” Jesus was saying: I am with the Father: I am in the Father, I must be in my Father’s House.”  Jesus was clear who he was. Jesus was also saying it was necessary. “ I must be busy with my Father’s affairs”  At the end of Luke, when Jesus was walking with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, he said: “Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory”  Jesus had a clarity about what his heavenly Father has asked of him. As we begin our new year let us all be open to what God is asking of each of us. Let us listen in prayer. Let us ask for wisdom and discernment. Let us be like Mary and although we might not fully understand we can humble listen and ponder.

Have a very blessed and grace filled New Year.

Newsletter for the Week 30 Dec 2018 to 05 Jan 2019

This message is only for the use of the intended recipient(s). It may contain information which is confidential and legally privileged within the meaning of applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender as soon as possible.
Any copying, disclosure, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it is prohibited and may be unlawful. Unless stated to the contrary, any opinions expressed in this message are personal and may not be attributed to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark CIO. Registered Charity No.: 1173050
Please consider the environment. Do you really need to print this email?

The Light which is Christ

Poor Thistle Shopping centre in Stirling! Their decision to turn down a request have a crib in the shopping precinct was covered by all the news outlets  from the Scotsman, the Mirror, the Express to the Times. The reason they gave was that they wanted to appear “religiously and politically neutral” and avoid offending customers. They have now reversed their decision.  A crib can now appear in the shopping centre. 

If you are walking down the high street in Canterbury towards Westgate, “Cafe St Pierre” have painted a large, colourful picture of Mary and the Child Jesus covering most of their front window. This definitely won’t put me off having a coffee and croissant there this Christmas time.  We are given a Christmas season to reflect and celebrate the birth of Jesus. First there is the Octave (eight days) and then the days till 6th January when we celebrate the Epiphany.  This is a time of joy.

When the angels appeared to the shepherds the night Christ was born they gave them this message. “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”  We get much of the Christmas story from Luke. His gospel is known as the gospel of joy. In the gospel today, the fourth Sunday of Advent,  Elizabeth says to Mary “the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.”  The birth of Jesus is a cause of great joy not just for Mary and Joseph but for the whole world.  We share this joy because he is Saviour, he is the one who sets us free. We, the people who walk in darkness, have the light which is Christ. This is the reason there needs to be images of the birth of Jesus in the world of shopping and consumption. They remind us that our hope and our joy for the world resides in the birth of a child, not any child, but Christ the Lord.

Newsletter for the week ending 30 December 2018

This message is only for the use of the intended recipient(s). It may contain information which is confidential and legally privileged within the meaning of applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender as soon as possible.
Any copying, disclosure, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it is prohibited and may be unlawful. Unless stated to the contrary, any opinions expressed in this message are personal and may not be attributed to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark CIO. Registered Charity No.: 1173050
Please consider the environment. Do you really need to print this email?

Newsletter for the week ending 23 December 2018

This message is only for the use of the intended recipient(s). It may contain information which is confidential and legally privileged within the meaning of applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender as soon as possible.
Any copying, disclosure, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it is prohibited and may be unlawful. Unless stated to the contrary, any opinions expressed in this message are personal and may not be attributed to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark CIO. Registered Charity No.: 1173050
Please consider the environment. Do you really need to print this email?