The Armchair Liturgist Fields A Lenten Request

Here’s a great example of the need to balance an established plan with unexpected opportunity.

I received an e-mail from a mother of young string players–a violinist and a violist. They enjoyed their involvement in the Advent pageant and at Christmas Eve, and there’s a desire in the family to do something positive for Lent–the kids have been giving up candy, soda, etc.. for a few years now. Getting involved in a parish music ministry–not just a child/family event–seemed a natural.

One of my music directors prefers to trim back instrumental parts during Lent. She suggested I encourage them to join up in May.

The reality is that these young ladies will find the learning curve of liturgical music a challenge, and playing much beyond the non-chanted Lenten Mass ordinary might be a little deep for them at this time. Plus they are competent singers and would probably fit in well with a more youth-oriented choir at that liturgy.

So, have a seat in the appropriately purple chair. What would you do if parishioners approached you to add something positive for Lent, namely themselves? Would you make it fit? Suggest they be singers instead? The rest of us looking up to that purple chair really wanna know.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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7 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist Fields A Lenten Request

  1. Liam says:

    Stations of the Cross and other Lenten devotions come immediately to mind.

  2. Jimmy Mac says:

    Whatever you do, don’t discourage them. They need to know that their talents, energy and willingness are all appreciated and will be used whenever appropriate.

  3. Mike K says:

    Actually, come to think of it, violin and viola may be perfect instruments to accommodate some of the Lenten chants – alone, without organ or any other instrument.

    But like Jimmy Mac says, encourage them, even if you can’t use them now.

  4. Lent might be a great time for these young musicians to prepare/rehearse to play in the Easter season.

  5. Ben Story says:

    While I know that it is tradition in many parishes to “tone down” liturgy during Lent, I challenge that tradition. I was a member of a parish that instead took the tact of celebrating the Joy of Lent as a time of anticipation for Jesus’ rising from the dead and conquering sin. Instead of toning down, we used the whole of Lent to ramp up towards the Easter Vigil when we really let loose the celebration. Sometimes I think liturgists have trouble seeing the joy of repentance and waiting. To me going from “toned down” to the Triduum is like liturgical whiplash!

  6. Liam says:

    Well, my choir is offering Bach’s St John’s Passion on Laetare Sunday this year. (Not during liturgy, but the splendor of having Emmanuel Music as your orchestra seems to fit the mood of the day.)

  7. Gavin says:

    Why not involve them in a prelude, postlude, or anthem on Laetare Sunday?

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