The future of liturgical music in the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, sounds even clearer than before, thanks to Bishop John Doerfler’s January 26 instruction “Sing to the Lord, all the Earth!” Founded upon the 2013 pastoral letter of his predecessor, the now-Archbishop Alexander Sample (Archdiocese of Portland), the present instruction is, in part, a practical implementation of the Marquette diocese’s vision for liturgical music.
By the end of 2020, each parish and school seeks to accomplish five objectives:
1. Learn to chant the Ordinary parts of the Mass in English that are found in the Roman Missal. These parts will be sung by the congregation some of the time throughout the year.
2. Learn to chant the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei from the Missa Iubilate Deo. These parts will be sung by the congregation some of the time throughout the year.
3. Learn to chant the Communion Antiphon in English to a very simple tone that everyone can sing. The Communion Antiphon will be sung at every Sunday Mass. A hymn may be sung after the Communion Antiphon while the congregation is receiving the Blessed Sacrament.
4. Use a hymnal approved by the diocese to ensure the musical quality and doctrinal integrity of the Sacred Music. The hymnal will include a broad repertoire of hymns from classical to contemporary.
5. Attend annual regional workshops for parish musicians (provided by the diocesan director of sacred music) to assist in the implementation of these directives. The sacred music director will also assist music teachers in Catholic schools to implement sacred music in the school curriculum and at school Masses. Finally, the director stands at the service of parishes upon request to help implement sacred music in other ways.
According to the February 19, 2016 issue of The U.P. Catholic, the Diocese of Marquette’s plan was developed after consultation with both priests and laity. “It’s all about helping to make the Mass more beautiful,” Bishop Doerfler explains. “It’s all about growing. It’s all about beauty and people are attracted to beauty. One of the key points in evangelization is doing music well.”
For more information, visit www.dioceseofmarquette.org/sacredmusic.