We have been looking at the place of silence within the celebration of Mass over the past few weeks. Last week, we looked at the place of silence during the Liturgy of the Word.
We now conclude by returning to where we started – the period for silent prayer after communion.
During the Act of Penitence and Opening Prayer, the purpose of the periods of silence is to allow for the recollection of our thoughts and intentions. The silent periods during the Liturgy of the Word allow us to reflect on the scriptures that are proclaimed and the message offered to us in the homily.
The period of silence after communion comes almost at the end of the Mass. We have just received the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist. As such, the period of silence after communion is a time for thanksgiving.
Sometimes after communion, we may also join together in singing a hymn of praise. This allows us to collectively join in thanksgiving for the profound gift we have received, and for all the blessings we have been graced with.
As we mentioned before, a new English translation of the Roman Missal is being prepared. This will be used in English speaking countries throughout the Catholic Church. To help us learn more about this new translation, we’re trying to answer some of the key questions here.
Are the songs we sing at Mass going to change?
Earlier on, we addressed the question, Is the Order of Mass going to change? While the text of the prayers and responses will change, the Order of Mass (i.e. what happens and when) will not.
This also applies to the songs and hymns that we sing. The new edition of the Roman Missal, and its translation into English do not affect the use of hymns in the liturgy.
Most of the parts of the Mass which we sing, however, will change as the words of these prayers (e.g. the Gloria, the Sanctus, etc.) are taken directly from the missal. To provide for these changes, many composers have written new music for these prayers. Also, some composers are taking the music for these parts of the Mass that we already know, and modifying them to fit the new translations.
A new translation of the missal also requires rewriting of the chant music which allows the priest and assembly to sing the texts of the Mass. This work has also been done so that it can be included in the English translation of the missal when it is eventually published.
Taking into account the layout of each church, the choir should be placed in such a way:
a) That its nature should be clearly apparent-namely, that it is a part of the whole congregation, and that it fulfills a special role;
b) That it is easier for it to fulfil its liturgical function;
c) That each of its members may be able to participate easily in the Mass, that is to say by sacramental participation.
The liturgical celebrations of the Church have been enriched by music for many centuries. Music allows the liturgical assembly to express its unity in Christ through unity of voice. Through music, the assembly prays, lifting its hearts, minds and voices to God. Music is a crucial part of the liturgical celebration, and the role of music ministers is extremely important.
These music ministers, while they have a special role, are still part of the assembly. Therefore, there is a tendency in newer churches to place the musicians closer to the rest of the assembly. This can also help the assembly in their singing along with the music. As the statement above also indicates, such a placement also allows the musicians to participate in the Mass more easily. While the present architecture and factors such as the placement of the organ present challenges, parishioners have recommended we consider a place for musicians in a renovated church that places them closer to the assembly.
For the assembly to join in freely with the music, they also need to have easy access to the lyrics of the hymns and songs that are sung. Our present system of overhead projection, which has served us for many years, is ageing and has a number of limitations. We have also been asked, therefore, to consider a new system of showing song words, most likely through a computerised system of projection or display.
Don’t forget that your comments on the recommendations are welcome. You can speak to Frs. Denis or Paul, to any other member of the Liturgy Committee, email us at litcomwenty (at) yahoo (dot) com (dot) au or comment below.