What Lenten Hymns Teach

Editor’s Note: With Ash Wednesday fast approaching, today we highlight one of the activities from our popular 40 Ideas for 40 Days feature. While organized according to the 2019 calendar, the activities aren’t limited to just one day of Lent. Check out 40 Ideas for 40 Days here. Today’s Lenten activity is an opportunity for catechists to reach those young people who are more musically inclined, tapping into the musical/rhythmic intelligence of some of your students. […]

Book Club Bonus: Music in Family Prayer

Editor’s note: In our online book club, we’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. Each Tuesday through August 7, 2018, we’ll bring you Book Club Bonus Days—sharing additional stories of family prayer, continuing the weekly conversation, and more. Find all the book club posts here. My Uncle’s Song “After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30) In the midst of anguish and […]

There’s a Hymnal in My Bible!

If you’ve ever questioned the significance of music when it comes to our faith, consider the fact that, right before the halfway point of our Bible, you will find a hymnal—the Book of Psalms! Although we do not have the original melodies of these song-prayers, we do know that they were put to music and used in Temple worship. In addition to the presence of a hymnal in our Bible, also know that music appears […]

Singing Grace Before Meals

As I continue my quest to encourage Catholics to sing more when we gather for faith formation and various other activities in our parishes, I would like to suggest a simple melody for singing Grace before mealtime. Rather than create a new melody, I suggest we use the melody from the traditional “Agnus Dei” and use the words of our traditional Grace Before Meals prayer: Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which we are […]

St. Cecilia, Patron Saint of Musicians, Pray for Us

Tomorrow, November 22, we celebrate the feast day of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. I’ve made no secret on this blog about my insistence that music and singing must be a part of our catechetical ministry. I also believe that we have a largely untapped embarrassment of riches right under our noses in the form of young people who are adept at playing various instruments such as cello, flute, classical guitar, or piano. These […]

Another Go-To Hymn for My Playlist

Not that long ago, I posted about my newly formed playlist of what I call “Go-To Hymns”—songs that are easy to sing along with and can be used easily for prayer services when a pastoral musician or song leader is not present and if you are not comfortable leading song. It occurred to me recently that another piece of music that should be a part of every Catholic playlist is a Litany of Saints. Talk […]

I Created My Playlist of “Go-To” Hymns!

Not long ago, I posted about creating a playlist of “go-to-hymns” that you can rely on to invite people to sing at any and every parish gathering so that we can more truly and consistently express the joy that is ours in the Risen Christ. Since then, I have been presenting at a number of gatherings (workshops and seminars) around the country where people have made a point of singing joyful hymns and refrains as […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 2: Song and Praise

This is the second article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. Catechists can encourage children and youth to participate in the Mass by helping them become comfortable with singing and sung prayer and praise. Age-appropriate music should be a regular element in every catechetical session. Most textbook series come with a grade-level CD or music recommendations of common hymns we sing at Mass. That’s a place to start. Certainly, […]

What Would Be Your Parish’s “Go-To” Songs to Sing?

I posted recently about two issues that have made a connection for me: Singing as an Expression of Faith and my Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola. While on the pilgrimage at our stop in Avila, I encountered a group of pilgrims in the town square joyfully singing hymns and clapping their hands, a scene I have encountered before from groups of different ethnicities. On the next bus ride, I lamented to my […]

Singing as an Expression of Faith

It’s fascinating to note just how integral music and singing are to the world of spectator sports. Whether it is baseball, football, hockey, or basketball, sports fans (especially at the collegiate level) often support their teams by singing and chanting. As long as music and singing are present, there’s hope for your team. When the singing stops, you know your team is in trouble. And that’s when the grumbling begins. “Why’d they leave him in […]

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