LITURGY MATTERS: Sing to the Lord – Don’t miss this opportunity!

Do you love to sing? Do you like to belt it out, or to sing soulfully around the house, in the shower, in the car hooning around town or on long trips? Do you like to menace your family and friends with your favourite songs? Do you sing and play guitar or piano while your toddlers jump around dancing wildly? If so, read on!    

We all know the power of music. We hear a certain song, and it takes us right back to significant moments in our lives. Our bodies feel all the associated emotions again.

And then there is the power of music experienced as a community. We love concerts and shows. We are moved to tears. We stand and applaud. We leave energised and renewed. We love to jive and dance or jump around a mosh pit.

And there are the more recent phenomena of choirs: pub choirs, town hall choirs, classic choirs, choirs for the homeless, for those who have suffered strokes, for those living with dementia or mental health issues. There is something about singing together that calls us out of ourselves and is healing.

Music and song connect us to the depths of who we are and what we feel. Music and song connect us to others, and to the more of life which many of us call God.  

It is because music is such an important aspect of our humanity that music is central to our Church’s liturgical life. Some of you may be familiar with the dictum, ‘We don’t sing at Mass we sing the Mass!’ Put simply that means that the first things to be sung at Mass are the acclamations – the Gospel Acclamation, the Acclamation of Faith and Great Amen. The Responsorial Psalm or, at the very least, the response to the psalm, and finally hymns, with those accompanying processions are the priority.

Imagine the Chrism Mass, the Easter Triduum, weddings, ordinations, Sacraments of Initiation or funerals, without music. I still remember what we sang at my dad’s funeral thirty-seven years ago and my mum’s ten years ago. To be able to provide such a musical gift to our community is a joy beyond measure and a gift beyond compare.

In thinking about music ministry and liturgy, it is important to consider context. What is possible in the Cathedral and what is possible at say Krambach church is very different. This difference is to be respected. We do the best with what we have.

At the same time, as God’s faithful people, we always strive for more; we always seek to grow and develop and do better. And this is where a new opportunity called ‘Sing to the Lord’ comes in.

Many of our parishes are still feeling the loss of a range of liturgical ministers in the wake of COVID. Even before COVID some parishes and schools had no music ministers for Sunday Mass, for Sacraments of Initiation and other significant celebrations.

Over the last couple of years the Diocesan Liturgy Council has been attentive to this experience and we have consulted with other dioceses to listen to their experiences and their pastoral responses. This listening has shaped ‘Sing to the Lord.’

What is ‘Sing to the Lord’?

‘Sing to the Lord’ provides training and formation for anyone who would like to have a go at cantoring and singing in the liturgy. It is for those already engaged in these ministries, offering an opportunity for renewal and development. It is for those who would love a place to sing and would like to have a go at cantoring or to be part of a liturgical choir. It is an invitation to everyone: to parishioners, to staff and parents in our Catholic Schools, to people working in our agencies and at Newcastle West, to people in our streets and neighbourhoods who are interested.  

There is a general Invitation that you will find here.

There is an invitation specifically for music teachers and ‘musical teachers’ here.

This invitation is for you to consider personally, and for you to extend to anyone you know who might be interested. A personal Invitation is always far more effective.

What are our hopes?

This is a first step in a formation process that we hope will enrich music ministry across the parishes and schools of diocese. We have a long history of generous and amazing people who have played and sung in our parishes for long years, often without any ministry support and no avenue to network with others doing the same across the diocese.

‘Sing to the Lord’ seeks to:

  • provide people with training and formation, as well as opportunities, to sing within the liturgy as would suit individual circumstances.
  • grow a network of supportive relationships amongst musicians
  • endeavour over time to ensure every community has a cantor or a small choir who can support the singing of the Assembly on Sundays and at other times.
  • grow a community of cantors and singers who might assist local communities with music for key events.

Even without promotion we have three people who are interested.  

So people, let’s get together and sing. The closing date for Expressions of Interest is 12 April 2024.

Breaking News

Watch for the soon to be launched ‘Sacred Heart Beat’!

Make sure you join your local Catholic Schools at the Catholic Schools Week ‘Worship and Praise Liturgy of the Word’ in the Cathedral on Friday 17 May @ 10.30am

Has your parish or school learnt a Mass Setting in addition to the Mass of St Francis? We’ll be asking you soon so we can all learn from and support each other.

There is going to be a lot happening in the liturgical music space. Stay tuned!

Diocesan Liturgy Council Update

To keep abreast of the work of the Diocesan Liturgy Council click on the link and then the ‘Council News’ drop down menu where you will find the latest meeting Report.


Image: @ Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. All rights reserved.

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Louise Gannon rsj Image
Louise Gannon rsj

Louise Gannon rsj is the Diocesan Manager of Worship and Prayer.