Familiarity breeds, as they say. In a recent post on another blog, the topic squeezed in: are some liturgical songs sung too often?
I say yes.
The question that’s of more interest to me is why.
When non-musician lay Catholics are doing the choosing (mainly weddings and funerals when we give them the keys to the car) they go with what they know. Especially when they don’t get any hints.
On occasion, the mourners, the bride, or the faith formation class asks me, “What would you suggest?” And if they’ve already gone out on a limb with “Be Not Afraid” or “Canon in D,” I will suggest something off the beaten path that might appeal even more to what they’ve told me about their faith life.
When I’m guiding the Sunday repertoire, I’m fairly careful about the chestnuts loved and hated by so many Catholics. Once or twice a year seems about right. The students program them more often for Thursday night liturgy. In a campus parish with young people arriving from all over Iowa, and indeed, the world, it takes some care to actually build a repertoire.
I’m not inclined to criticize the use of songs like “Here I Am Lord,” or “On Eagles Wings.” They are based on Scripture. The music remains singable. But in careful, measured doses, please.