Next gen young Catholics in sacred song

sacred song

Filling Sydney with sacred song is a vision that’s caught hundreds of young Catholics’ imaginations. They want to make that vision real.

They’ve begun well. A 1,100-strong student choir assembled at St Mary’s Cathedral for Mass on 23 November to prove a sacred music renaissance is underway.

Jubilate Deo!

Bishop Richard Umbers celebrated the Mass to mark the partnership between Sydney Catholic Schools and the Jubilate Deo programme.

The young Catholics’ musical renaissance began in 2018.

Since then, Randwick Brigidine Catholic College’s Jubilate Deo director Ronan Reilly and his tutors have trained students from nine primary and two secondary schools.

Their repertoire was inspired by Pope Paul VI’s vision of a Church familiar with Gregorian chant.

Besides lifting their voices in song, the students chanted the Mass responses.

They say learning church music connects them with their faith and each other. They also say it’s “fun to sing”.

Positive feedback from parents and principals will see the Jubilate Deo programme expanded to include more schools. Parishes and Catholic university chaplaincies may also join in.

The programme aims to enhance people’s participation in local liturgies and unite the archdiocese in song at events like the annual Walk for Christ.

Great opportunities

Being ready to sing for huge events could be wonderful, Umbers told the young Catholics. He had an event in mind: he prepared and delivered the archdiocese’s bid to host the 54th International Eucharistic Congress.

Sydney hosted the 20th congress he told the congregation filling St Mary’s Cathedral.

That was back in 1928. Half a million Sydneysiders joined a procession of the Blessed Sacrament from the Cardinal Cerretti chapel in Manly to the Cathedral.

“Wouldn’t it be amazing 100 years later to sing all together in the streets of Sydney like that again?” he said.

The 2028 host’s name will be announced at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Congress to be held in Ecuador next September.

Traditions important

In his homily, Umbers recommended that schools use Mass chants found in the Roman Missal.

Those sung prayers include “both the old and new, innovation and the time-tested.

“The Mass we are singing today is a treasury of tradition, a beauty which is expressive of prayer” he said.

“We’re all singing together and there is gravitas, a certain solemnity. So that as we make melody to the Lord we feel and experience the sacred.

“The sources for our song are Scripture and the Liturgy, and we pray as Christians as we sing.”

The director of religious education and evangelisation for Sydney Catholic Schools is positive about the Jubilate Deo initiative.

It has been good for Catholic education and the whole Church, he says. He’s looking forward to the programme expanding.

He says young Catholics are benefiting from it by “immersing themselves in an experience of the good, the true and the beautiful.

“Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium reminds us that when one encounters beauty, one encounters the Lord himself.

“This morning I think we would all agree that that were moved by the experience we had—certainly an encounter with the divine.”



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