year of mercy 001revThe Glasgow Archdiocesan Music Committee held their Autumn Music Workshop at St. Simon’s Church on 24 October. The workshop covered a number of areas which should be of interest to church musicians and provided plenty of resources.

As always, it began with a short service of Morning Prayer, using one of the leaflets provided to participants. Then there followed a session on music for the upcoming Year of Mercy which starts on 8 December. Participants learned the official hymn for the Year of Mercy – Misericordes Sicut Pater by Eugenio Costa and Paul Inwood – and also were given examples of different ways the hymn could be used: as an introit or before/after the Intercession, as a Communion Antiphon or a recessional hymn.

Mercy clip

There was also discussion on what other music resources could be used during the Year, taking account of the text of the Pope’s Bull of Indiction for the Year of Mercy. Suggestions included: selected Psalms such as those referred to in the Bull (Psalms 102, 135, 145,146) and others with the theme of mercy (Psalms 24,50, 76, 84) ; the Peter McGrail Peace Son; , God of Mercy & Compassion; Amazing Grace; John Bell’s A Touching Place. Pope Francis had also made reference to the Magnificat and the Salve Regina. We should also look to the liturgy of the Mass with its many references to mercy – the Kyrie, the Penitential Rite, Agnus Dei and so on.

This section was followed by a session on popular devotions such as the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the St. Anthony Novena, the relatively recent (in this country) devotion to Our Lady Untier of Knots, Padre Pio devotions, prayers to St. Peregrine for cancer sufferers. These are a continuing part of the life of many parishes and add richness to the spiritual life of many parishes and individuals.

After a break for tea (and lovely home baking from a member of the Committee), the Workshop continued with a session on the music of the Missal, and in particular the part the priest can play in encouraging the singing of the various dialogue prayers. Participants were asked to encourage and support their priests to try even the Preface Dialogue as a starter.

There was more opportunity for singing in the next session on Advent and preparing for Christmas, with introits for Advent, settings of Psalms for the season, Communion Antiphons, finishing with the Introit of Christmas , settings of the Christmas Psalm 95 and suggestions for the lovely feasts that follow Christmas – the Holy Family and Mary, Mother of God.

Possible short Morning Prayer liturgies for Christmas week were also covered, which could be used at morning Mass or even at home.

Morning Prayer

In addition participants were given some of Dr. Noel Donnelly’s short but very enlightening commentaries on the Psalms of the Christmas season. A lot of ground covered in a short space of time.