About this blogger:
Andrew Motyka is the Archdiocesan Director of Liturgical Music and Cathedral Music for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
Connect on Facebook:
Connect on Twitter:
“Sacred music, being a complementary part of the solemn liturgy, participates in the general scope of the liturgy, which is the glory of God and the sanctification and edification of the faithful. It contributes to the decorum and the splendor of the ecclesiastical ceremonies, and since its principal office is to clothe with suitable melody the liturgical text proposed for the understanding of the faithful, its proper aim is to add greater efficacy to the text, in order that through it the faithful may be the more easily moved to devotion and better disposed for the reception of the fruits of grace belonging to the celebration of the most holy mysteries.”
— Pope Saint Pius X

It's What We Do
published 18 December 2013 by Andrew R. Motyka

N A PRETTY REGULAR BASIS, people not involved with Church music will speak to me about my work. When we start to speak about funerals, they usually have quite a few questions. At one of my previous parishes, I had 40-50 funerals per year. They would ask me, “How do you do that? I don’t think I could be around death that much. It would depress me.”

This is when I give what my wife calls my “It’s What We Do” speech. Apparently I have fallen into predictable patterns of storytelling and explanation. I call it consistency; she calls it annoying. Here it is:

Burying the dead is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy, and the funeral rites are part of that work. It’s What We Do. As Christians, we owe it to one another to pray for the dead. Furthermore, it is the only way to truly grieve the departed than to face their mortality (and ours) head on. It is for this reason that the funeral liturgy is filled with both prayers for the deceased and with reminders of our own mortality (even with the removed Dies Irae). As much of a cliché as it is, death is a part of life. Not one of us is getting out of this alive. We need that reminder of our mortality, and the dead truly need our prayers.

That’s why I can participate in so many funerals. I see them as an act of mercy, and as such, my duty as a Christian.

It’s What We Do.