The music selections for our Christmas Masses will be those we know and cherish, but Music Director Matt Cabeen is planning a special choral piece, as is his custom. This year, our choir will be presenting “O Magnum Mysterium,” by contemporary American composer Morten Lauridsen.
“It is in Latin, and the texts are very ancient,” Matt says. “The piece tells the story of the birth of Jesus and describes the wonderment of the animals present at the birth. The mystery is the animals bear witness to the birth of Christ.”
The work calls for eight-part harmonies that are divided into different vocal paths.
“It is a pretty ambitious piece to do,” Matt says.
It is a challenging and beautiful work, to be sure, but our Music Ministry members are willing to give of their time and talent in stewardship as they spend hours rehearsing and performing the music.
“They really do it out of their love of God and neighbors,” Matt says. “They spend a lot of time with rehearsals and practicing at home. I’m very grateful to them. It is really an important form of stewardship.”
As we prepare for Christmas, the ministry will be sharing familiar Advent songs that reflect our parish’s move toward traditional chants and hymns. We will be invited to sing the traditional carols before the Midnight Mass.
Besides offering the beauty of song, our Music Ministry fulfills a very important function in our worship.
“Music is an important part of Mass,” Matt says. “We’re instructed by the Church in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal to have singing, whether it’s Christmas or Ordinary Time. Sacred music is an integral part of Mass. Just as the readings are specified, so chants are specified.”
Not only are our Music Ministry members able to live in stewardship with their work, but they also find themselves growing closer to Christ.
“Like the saying goes, ‘he who sings prays twice’ — even if they’re practicing, this is still valid,” Matt says. “They are making two prayers, even when they are practicing at home. You can’t help but bring people closer to the Lord.”
More men have recently joined the choir, offering Matt the chance to try new pieces that call for male voices. Our Music Ministry also has instrumentalists, who play guitar, cello, viola, violin, and marimba.
Singers and instrumentalists of any age are welcome to join at any time. For more information, contact Matt at email@example.com.