“The quality of our participation in such sung praise comes less from our vocal ability than from the desire of our hearts to sing together of our love for God”
– Fr. Bill
St. Augustine said that music is a way for God to lead us to the realm of higher things. God dwells within each person, in the place where music takes its source. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have written, “Thus, it is no wonder that singing together in church expresses so well the sacramental presence of God to his people” (Sing to the Lord, #2).
During COVID, when singing was limited, we had to participate internally to the singing done by a cantor, joining with our minds and hearts as we listened. Now, in addition to internal participation, we are returning to greater external participation, as we now can join our voices in song.
Once, in a former parish, when I was trying to encourage greater singing, a parishioner responded, “Well you don’t sing everything. I don’t see your lips move all the time.” Upon further discussion, I discovered this person was referencing to those times when the Assembly was supposed to sing – not the presider. I had to explain that some of our singing is a part of a dialogue. There are different parts taken by the priest, the cantor, and the People. As presider, I do not sing the Great Amen or the memorial acclamation. That is the part of the Assembly. The rite is very specific as it states, “The People acclaim” as opposed to “The Priest says or sings.” We are engaging in liturgy together.
As COVID restrictions on singing are being lifted, we will return to greater congregational singing. Be sure to take your part. We need your voice. The U.S. Bishops noted that, “The quality of our participation in such sung praise comes less from our vocal ability than from the desire of our hearts to sing together of our love for God” (#13).