Symposium on music and liturgy begins
He who sings, prays twice’ are famous words by St. Augustine which highlight the relation between music and liturgy,” quoted Fr Michael Amaladoss SJ, delivering his keynote on `Music in Liturgy - Singing The Paschal Mystery’ at a Symposium on Liturgical Music.
“‘He who sings, prays twice’ are famous words by St. Augustine which highlight the relation between music and liturgy,” quoted Fr Michael Amaladoss SJ, delivering his keynote on `Music in Liturgy - Singing The Paschal Mystery’ at a Symposium on Liturgical Music. The symposium began in the city on Tuesday to mark the silver jubilee of Kala Darshini, a cultural institution.
Addressing the gathering, Fr Amaladoss said that in the tradition of church, singing means chanting of texts, either from the liturgy itself, like the prayers, or from the Bible like Psalms, or from the compositions by poets, like the canticles.
The document of the Second Vatican Council on the liturgy speaks of a combination of sacred music and words. But then it goes further by associating music with the liturgical action. “Sacred music is to be considered more holy. It is more closely connected with the liturgical action promoting unity of minds, or conferring greater solemnity upon the sacred rites,” he said.
Explaining people about liturgical music, Fr Amaladoss said, “In liturgy, God communicates God's self through word and sacrament to people who respond in faith. This communication is mediated by the paschal mystery of Jesus Chirst in which we participate. This participation is actualised through the presence and power of the spirit and in the church which is the body of Christ. This spiritual exchange between God and the people finds symbolic expression in the liturgy.”
“The liturgy is an action of a community. It is not an action in the sense of making something or achieving a goal. It is not a drama and the liturgy has no spectators, only participants. It is in the nature of play reliving an action or rite, not a mere repetition, but a creative reincarnation of the rite in the present community. The distinction made between liturgical and sacred music in the council documents is important for us in India.
Traditionally, in church, music is used to chant words. The word is the primary means of expression. Music is only an ornament embellishment. Then music comes to be linked to the liturgical action which it makes more beautiful, communitarian and solemn. Music in the liturgy is to include the dimension of ‘Music as Liturgy’. A realisation that music can itself be worship will challenge our reflection in two ways. First of all, we will take music seriously as means of Sadhana. Secondly, music can not only embellish liturgical action but also add to it new dimensions of experience beyond the reach of words and concepts,'' he explained.
Apostolic administrator Rev Fr Govindhu Joji said liturgical music plays a vital role in the catholic meetings. “The prayer songs composed these days are lacking literary meaning in it, which lacks holiness and faith in the songs. Writers should take more care while composing a song by understanding the essence of lyrics first, because the prayer songs should reach all the sections of people attending the prayers in the Church,” he explained.
Archbishop of Visakhapatnam, Fr Mallavarapu Prakash, said that writers should follow the principles laid in the catholic tradition while composing a song. “There is a need of appointing special authoritative committees for finding the errors, while composing a song for the mass prayers. Devotional songs should be composed in an easy way,” he said.
Kala Darshini founder Fr Joe Sebastian SJ, director Fr Ravi Sekhar, Telugu Catholic Bishops Council (TCBC) secretary N Joji Appa, Kurnool Bishop Fr Poola Anthony, Fr Chinnappa and Fr John Raju, representatives of choir groups, musicians, lyricists, composers and instrumentalists were present at the symposium.