My son will be celebrating his First Communion this month. The children will be singing “Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary.” Having grown up mostly in Europe, I am not familiar with this song. Is it appropriate for First Communion?
While many will not agree with me on this, I really believe this is not suitable for Mass.
*]Praise and worship songs in general are usually not suitable for Mass because:
*]They are quite different in sound and style to Gregorian chant, which is the model music in the Roman Rite. The closer a piece is to chant, the more suitable it is.
*]They lyrics are often sorely lacking in solid theology, or occasionally heretical. Almost always, though, they do not give sufficient attention to catholic teaching, and only talk about more protestant ideas. They simply are not sacred music
I really don’t think this qualifies as sacred music. Yes, they lyrics are probably ok after a quick glance, but the style is problematic. If you put an agnus dei to heavy metal, does that make it suitable for Mass?
Why do we not embrace the rich treasury of sacred music that we have available to us?
There is a danger when introducing genre into the liturgy that is incompatible with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. While our souls do become sanctuaries at the moment that we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, the song in question does not speak to that reality.
An excellent litmus test for a song’s suitability, insofar as the Holy Sacrifice is concerned, should be, in my opinion, Sacramentum Caritatis No. 42:
- In the ars celebrandi, liturgical song has a pre-eminent place. (126) Saint Augustine rightly says in a famous sermon that “the new man sings a new song. Singing is an expression of joy and, if we consider the matter, an expression of love” (127). The People of God assembled for the liturgy sings the praises of God. In the course of her two-thousand-year history, the Church has created, and still creates, music and songs which represent a rich patrimony of faith and love. This heritage must not be lost. Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another. Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided. As an element of the liturgy, song should be well integrated into the overall celebration (128). Consequently everything – texts, music, execution – ought to correspond to the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, the structure of the rite and the liturgical seasons (129). Finally, while respecting various styles and different and highly praiseworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the request advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed (130) as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy (131).
Children should not be cheated out of the Church’s rich patrimony of sacred music. Sadly, it seems to me that well-meaning CCD directors seem to think that the First Holy Communion Mass is a place for experimentation.
I give my stamp of approval to what Benedictgal and theMC have posted. I’m currently in the agonizing process of weeding that stuff out at my church. If only someone hadn’t started in the first place! I think the only thing it does is give everyone the idea that anything is acceptable to do at Mass and it starts people wondering where exactly (if any) the line is drawn between appropriate and inappropriate.
I have never heard this sacred song before and there may be others in the same boat,so here is a link to hear it-----
Now let me just say,my first hearing on this Gospel song is that it is a knockout sacred song–praise the Lord!! It has a really catchy tune,the words are great–is not the ideal that you would forever want your child to be a living santuary for The Lord,all their days?I wish that my soul would always be a santuary and a living tabernacle that Jesus abides in–not sullied by sin!Alas,my own sactuary(soul) is not as spotless and pure as your own child ;as he or she approaches Jesus,who loves little children.
Now the question is–is it appropriate for a childs’ first Communion Mass:I personally do not think that this Gospel Sacred Song is suitable as a Hymn to be sung at any Liturgical Mass
.Perhaps, I would consider an exception for an African/American Catholic Congregation where Gospel music is part of it’s liturgical experience.I have seen approved African Liturgies in the Africa; where Gospel music and singing is a major part of their culture.
But if you worship within the Latin Church–which I suspect includes the majority of the western world,then I would argue that Gospel type music is not appropriate for a liturgical setting.
But as a preparation for communion in a classroom,or on a bus trip where kids(and us big kids:D )can sing it loudly and prayerfully to our hearts content.Sure beats listening and singing the trashy songs on the secular airwaves.Our beloved Pope John Paul 11,introduced Sacra Song festivals each year to encourage writers,music creators to come up with great songs like
Prepare Me To Be Your Sanctuary.His Holiness had in mind this type music at social settings; not Hymns for Liturgical Worship at the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, at Mass.
Prays and best wishes for your child,“their Angels are always before Me in Heaven”(Jesus)
Good point–once the horse has bolted—!
There is no secret that “the roll your own liturgical ideas” are rife;I feel sorry for children who are not taught their Faith.I know it expands this thread, but it shows how many children are cheated by this "modern"approach to Catichetical Instructions.
I’m not sure I agree with you, but that is beside the point here.
I would definitely not give them an exception. The only reason why they now think of gospel music as liturgical music is because we have allowed this so long. The deffinition of sacred music in roman rite parishes that are predominately african american is still the same as other parishes, and just the same as St. Peter’s in Rome. That is the last thing we should do.
I can’t speak to gospel music lyrics, but the music itself is certainly not sacred music, and I imagine the lyrics aren’t always always as good as some of the older hymns.
Agreed. Don’t forget that thsoe african american parish are still part of the roman rite (latin church) too.
Yes, go ahead and sing this on a bus or in a class, but make sure it’s in addition to normal prayers (rosary, divine mercy chaplet, angelus). Don’t let it replace them.
That’s kinda dumb. I think it’s a protestant hymn.
Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All would be a better choice.
I did not read all the replies but I personally like this song a lot and i think that it is quite apropriate.
I just have to say I love your forum name “graceandglory”
Hinds feet on high places is a fantastic book for sure!
I used to be muchafraid too…:o
I would not choose this song for a First Holy Communion Mass (or any other Mass), but it is more theologically sound than many of the so-called communion hymns printed in the most popular hymnals, where in one truly-heretical song, Jesus “becomes our bread and wine.”
We sing it at Mass all the time.
Thank you. In 6 years of posting and emailing, you are the first to mention my handle.