PLANNING
  1. Today is Laetare Sunday, the midpoint of Lent. Will your people notice? When they enter the worship space, will this Sunday look different from last week? Will the music sound different?
  2. Laetare means “rejoice.” The entrance antiphon in the Missal reads, “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.” We don’t often use the entrance antiphon because we begin the liturgy with a hymn. Seeing what the Missal has, however, can guide us in choosing our opening song. Can the musicians find a hymn or song that echoes the theme of that antiphon?
  3. Whether people notice that this Sunday is different somehow will probably depend on how the rest of Lent is being observed. The Missal notes: “In this Mass, the color violet or rose is used. Instrumental music is permitted, and the altar may be decorated with flowers.” That rubric assumes that instrumental music is not being used on other Lenten days and that flowers are not evident during the rest of Lent. The color of vestments is optional, but a rose vestment is a clear symbol that this day is different.
  4. The décor and the vestments are relatively easy to adjust for Lent. The more challenging (and thus often ignored) guidance is the one about music. The rubric at the beginning of Lent (see Ash Wednesday in the Missal) says: “During Lent, it is not permitted to decorate the altar with flowers, and the use of musical instruments is allowed only so as to support the singing.” It goes on to note that Laetare Sunday, solemnities and feasts are exceptions to this rule.
  5. What might work in your community? One easy step is to remind all the musicians that silence is a value in every liturgy and especially during this penitential season. So even if instruments are used to support the assembly’s singing, there should be no purely instrumental music. When people are not singing, let silence reign.
  6. Beyond that, how can musicians scale back the instruments for Lent? Can organists use a simpler and lighter registration of stops? Can some songs be accompanied by a single instrument, like a flute or violin or guitar? Can the assembly actually sing many songs without instrumental accompaniment? A good cantor can get people started on the right note and keep the pace of the singing steady. One advantage of this approach is that people may actually hear themselves singing. They may well be surprised at how well they can do without instruments supporting them, which might increase their confidence in singing the rest of the year. Talk with the musicians and see what can be done to simplify the aural environment in Lent.
Adapted: LAWRENCE MICK ©2018: The pastoral/worship planning resource from 2018 Reflections, 2020 Reflections can be read at National Catholic Reporter website.
OUR SUNDAY READINGS
  • Reflection for June 13, The 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    by eezell3 on Saturday, June 12, 2021

    When I was about a year old my mother took a picture of me sitting on my father’s lap. I’m holding a book open in front of me, a picture book on the English alphabet. My father is looking down, his mouth open as if he’s reading to me. If you look closely at the

  • Study Guide for June 20, The 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    by eezell3 on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

    Here’s a link to the Sunday readings for June 20 (usccb.org). Sample Commentary on Mark 4:35-41 Jesus earlier revealed his power over evil and sickness. When he cast a demon out of a man (1:23-27), he spoke almost the same words that he speaks here to the storm. In both cases Jesus rebukes the forces

PRO-LIFE MESSAGE

This season is given to us for our spiritual growth and ongoing conversion. Today’s readings remind us that God has shown mercy throughout history. An understanding of Israel’s painful exile and God’s ongoing fidelity are important for us and our own review of how God’s mercy has been reflected in our personal lives. Today, we have another chance to make this story our own.

CATHOLIC MORAL THEOLOGY
  • Seeds of Eternal Life in the Soil of Ordinary Time
    by Patrick Clark on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

    11th Sunday in Ordinary Time This Sunday’s readings may be found here at the USCCB’s website: Ezekiel 17:22-24 Psalm 92:2-3,13-14,15-16 II Corinthians 5:6-10 Mark 4:26-34 It can be tempting to think that the Bible is primarily about eternal truths or “religious beliefs,” particularly when one sets out to offer to others an interpretation of its

  • Lectionary: Corpus Christi Sunday
    by Patrick Clark on Friday, June 4, 2021

    All the readings for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ may be found here on the USCCB website. Exodus 24:3-8 Responsorial Psalm: 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18 Hebrews 9:11-15 Sequence: Lauda Sion Mark 14:12-16, 22-26 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This post was originally written by Beth Haile on June 5th, 2012 under the title “Solemnity

  • Lectionary: Trinity Sunday: Mysterious No Longer?
    by David Cloutier on Thursday, May 27, 2021

    Too often, the Trinity is presented as a mystery, and sometimes this sense of mystery is simply presented as a puzzle. The Trinity can’t really be explained, because God can’t really be explained. It’s all a great mystery. We have to take it on faith. For all the ways in which those statements are obviously

  • Lectionary: Pentecost
    by Conor Kelly on Wednesday, May 19, 2021

    Acts 2:1-11 Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 Jn 20:19-23 The feast of Pentecost is sometimes described as the “birthday of the Church,” because it marks the commissioning of a new community that has a special responsibility to carry on the mission of Jesus after he has returned to heaven (a

  • Lectionary: Jesus’ Wager and the Time in Between
    by Emily Reimer-Barry on Friday, May 14, 2021

    This is a guest post by Dr. Victor Carmona, Assistant Professor at the University of San Diego. The readings for the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord can be found here on the USCCB website. First Reading – Acts 1:1-11 Responsorial Psalm – Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9 Second Reading – Eph 1:17-23, or 4:1-13,