Upcoming Changes - Song, music and liturgy
Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, the Bishop-Elect of the Diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, will be leaving us shortly. I wish to congratulate him on his appointment and thank him for all that he has contributed to our diocesan Church, especially while he was rector of the Grand Séminaire de Montréal and then as Episcopal Vicar for pastoral personnel and as director of the Office du Personnel Pastoral. We will most certainly miss him. We will organize an event to express our heartfelt appreciation to him after the Christmas holidays.
The departure of Bishop Gendron, P.S.S., requires that we reorganize our team. While a stimulating exercise, it is never a simple task. How do we maintain continuity and, at the same time, be open to new ways of operating?
After a lengthy period of reflection with Msgr. Jean Fortier, we have opted to rejuvenate our diocesan team. I wish to thank Msgr. Jean for his great generosity and assistance with this task, during which he had proposed that he resign as Vicar General and General Coordinator in order to inject new blood into the management team.
I am, therefore, pleased to announce that Msgr. André Tiphane, C.S.S., will become our new Vicar General, General Coordinator and Moderator of the diocesan Curia. With a specialization in missiology, Msgr. Tiphane has an impressive track record and possesses well-recognized pastoral and leadership skills. I know a very good team will be formed as a result.
Msgr. Jean Fortier, P.H., for his part, will succeed Bishop Lionel Gendron as Episcopal Vicar for pastoral personnel and as director of the Office du Personnel Pastoral, a post he had previously held and had served with great competence. I wish to thank him for his willingness, flexibility and spirit of openness.
Fr. Alain Faubert becomes the Episcopal Vicar of the Région Est. Assistant to Msgr. Fortier for the last three years, Fr. Faubert had previously served as assistant to the director of the Office de l’Éducation à la Foi for the Montreal Catechumenate and for the service Nouveaux Espaces. Thank you, Alain, for accepting this new challenge.
After a steadfast commitment spanning more than thirty years in service to the Church of Montréal, Fr. Pierre Côté, S.J., is leaving to assume an important post within his Jesuit community, that of director general of Villa Saint-Martin. I want to express my deep gratitude to him and to wish him the best of success in meeting this new responsibility.
Succeeding Fr. Côté, Msgr. Roger Dufresne, C.S.S., will become Episcopal Vicar of the Région Sud-Ouest. Currently the Episcopal Vicar of the Région Laval-Repentigny, Msgr. Dufresne had previously served as a longtime pastor of Sacré-Cœur-de-Jésus Parish. His lengthy experience working within this blue-collar district will serve him well in meeting his new responsibilities.
Fr. Pierre Murray has accepted to become Episcopal Vicar of the Région Laval-Repentigny. Fr. Murray has been the pastor of Bienheureux-François-de-Montmorency-Laval Parish for many years and has served in various functions within parochial ministry. I welcome him to the diocesan team.
Deacon Robert Sauvageau will leave his role as director of the Office de l’Éducation à la Foi, to become assistant to the Moderator of the diocesan Curia and to the General Coordinator, without prejudice to his responsibilities as coordinator of the diocesan Offices and Services. I thank him for his willingness to assume these roles.
Finally, Fr. Denis Dion will become the director of the Office de l’Éducation à la Foi, where he has served as assistant for many years. Fr. Dion majored in catechetical ministry at the Institut Catholique de Paris. He most certainly has the necessary qualifications to take up this new challenge.
These nominations are effective as of January 2011. I hope that they will further stimulate our efforts to propose Jesus Christ to the people of our diocese.
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“Praise the Lord with the lyre… Sing to him a new song” (Psalm 32:2-3)
Preparing to celebrate, November 22, the feast of St. Cecilia, — the patron saint of musicians — led me to think of writing a few words on the importance of song and music in the liturgy.
In the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, promulgated December 4, 1963, the Second Vatican Council stated that sacred song “forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy” (SC 112), and it underlines that “liturgical worship is given a more noble form when the divine offices are celebrated solemnly in song, with the assistance of sacred ministers and the active participation of the people” (SC 113).
The instruction Musicam Sacram offers a good explanation of the meaning attached to this statement. It says: “Indeed, through this form, prayer is expressed in a more attractive way, the mystery of the liturgy, with its hierarchical and community nature, is more openly shown, the unity of hearts is more profoundly achieved by the union of voices, minds are more easily raised to heavenly things by the beauty of the sacred rites, and the whole celebration more clearly prefigures that heavenly liturgy which is enacted in the holy city of Jerusalem” (No.5).
As we read these texts, we can appreciate the numerous efforts undertaken to encourage Sunday congregations more and more to sing with one voice and one heart. These efforts have born fruit. However, one does wonder about the fact that not many clergy when they preside at liturgies actually sing the parts reserved for the presider. Is this a desirable or undesirable development? Jean Crivelli wrote: “The minister’s singing is not a show. It should be more a means of presence, of being there in the middle of the sanctuary as a model of prayerful presence amidst his gathered brothers and sisters” (Voix nouvelles, March 2006, p.7).
We must also reflect on the place and importance of instrumental music — particularly organ music — during the celebration. Music must not be considered a secondary element, incorporated to create an atmosphere, to accentuate the festive character of a celebration, to promote a reflective or meditative mood, or to provide a transition between liturgical actions. Instrumental music is much more than that. At particular moments during a celebration, one can and must ask that instrumental music evoke and introduce a sense of mystery to the celebration. Although without lyrics, instrumental music knows how — sometimes even better than lyrics — to touch both heart and soul.
† Jean-Claude Turcotte
Archbishop of Montréal