3. Uplifting Music by Fr. James Mallon

  • Both/and approach = Father Mallon believe that because of our ancient traditions and our need to be missionary, “the music we experience in the liturgy must strive to embrace both the new and the old and must resist the temptation to settle for some kind of lowest common denominator. Uniformity is not a Catholic value, and diversity ought to be welcomed into our experience of music at the liturgy without fear of its impact on unity” (112).
  • Goal = beauty that leads us into “full, conscious and active participation.”
  • In liturgical music, Father Mallon adds, we should be asking, “’To whom are we speaking?’ and ‘What are we saying?’” “We can be speaking to God (hymns of praise or petition), about God (confessional hymns), with God (singing the words of God from Scripture) or to one another (exhortation).” (p. 114)
  • Father Mallon believes that hymns of praise should have pride of place in parish life because they are the most transformative.
  • Hymns are an important part of the Sunday experience.
  • Using screens – in a dignified & non-distracting way helps to foster that “full, conscious, and active participation.” The screens enable the parish to use diverse music during the liturgy, which is much less expensive than hymnbooks in every pew. They have found that the screens also increase participation in the singing. Father Mallon says even teenagers, who would never pick up a hymnbook, become drawn to the screen.
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