On February 8th, Fr. Jan Michael Joncas presented a lecture, “Preaching and Singing God’s Word: A Ministerial Partnership” at the University of Notre Dame as part of the Marten Program in Homiletics and Liturgics. I was fortunate to be able to attend the evening’s Mass and lecture, and share the following notes.
Central theme — a plea to clerical preachers/presiders and church musicians to form a covenant (truce or brit) with the following ten precepts.
- Coordinate ministerial plans (i.e. communicate early and openly about choices of lectionary texts, liturgical texts, prayers, special blessings, etc.).
- Do not be the cause of violations of conscience (i.e. Priests, do not attempt to change out a hymn that was carefully selected for the liturgical setting for an insignificant reason. Musicians, do not select music that is clearly inappropriate for Mass).
- Appreciate the music of spoken language.
- Allow music to illuminate an event.
- Examine musical forms to potential structure some sermons.
- Engage in preaching inspired by the presidential texts.
- Engage in preaching inspired by the communal liturgical prayers (i.e. Kyrie, Gloria, Profession of Faith, Sanctus, Agnus Dei).
- Explore using “hymns of the day” (a Lutheran custom).
- Evaluate regularly and systematically (evaluate the preaching, music, flow of service, etc. from the perspectives of ministry team and people in the pews from different demographics).
- Nurture ministerial spirituality of both clergy and musicians.