About this blogger:
Andrew Leung is a seminarian for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio. He has served as Director of Music at St. Pius X Church (Atlanta) and taught Gregorian chant at the Cistercian Monastery of the Holy Spirit (Georgia). For two years, he will be studying in Macau, China.
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A lot of the favoured new settings are musically illiterate, almost is if they were written by semi-trained teenagers, getting to grips with musical rudiments. The style is stodgy and sentimental, tonally and rhythmically stilted, melodically inane and adored by Catholic clergy “of a certain age.” Some Catholic dioceses run courses for wannabe composers to perpetuate this style. It is a scandal. People with hardly any training and experience of even the basic building blocks of music have been convinced that there is a place for their puerile stumblings and fumblings in the modern Catholic Church because real musicians are elitist and off-putting.
— James MacMillan (20 November 2013)

Is your Congregation Ready?
published 5 March 2015 by Andrew Leung

CTL Congregation AN YOU BELIEVE IT?, The Sacred Triduum will be here in less than a month. The Holy Week is the highest point of the liturgical year and this is my first one as a full-time music director. As I mentioned here, preparation with the choir is very important and is the key to prayerful singing. I have been working really hard with my choirs. But other than working with the choir, it is also very important to be a “pastoral” musician. When I say “pastoral”, I mean to care about the spiritual needs of the people, not just give them what they want.

In the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), the Church asks that:

“All the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, active participation in the liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy, and to which the Christian people, 'a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people’ (1 Pet. 2:9, 4-5) have a right and obligation by reason of their baptism.”|

I am sure that many music directors, like me, have “big plans” for this upcoming Holy Week. As music directors, one of the ways to help the congregation to enter into prayer during the Sacred Triduum is through catechesis. It is very important to educate the congregation so that they will be prepared for the “big plans”. I wrote a short note on my parish bulletin last Sunday explaining what the Proper is and why we chant at Mass. And I am going to write another note soon explaining why the choir will be singing a polyphonic Mass on Holy Thursday. This kind of formation helps people understand more about the Church’s teaching and participate in the Liturgy more actively.

Of course, liturgical catechesis should also be given outside of Holy Week; but Holy Week is such an important and special time of the liturgical year. The Liturgies of the Triduum are so rich and beautiful. It is the perfect time to show people the true sacred music and help them to better appreciate its beauty.