The role of liturgical music in fostering active participation in the Liturgy in Kitovu Parish in the light of Sacrosanctum Concilium.
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One of the major concerns expressed by the Second Vatican Council in issuing the document Sacrosanctum concilium was that all the faithful take as full part as possible in liturgical celebrations. One of the first issues considered by the council, and the matter that had the most immediate effect on the lives of individual Catholics, was the revision of the liturgy. The central idea was that there ought to be greater lay participation in the liturgy. Therefore Sacrosanctum Concilium 14 notes that: Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Peter 2:9; cf. 2:4–5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism. Vatican II went much further in encouraging “active participation” adding on the recommendations of previous Popes. Popes Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII consistently asked that the people be taught how to chant the responses at Mass and that they learn the prayers of the Mass in order to participate intelligently. Pope John Paul II concurs: “It is necessary first of all to emphasize that music destined for sacred rites must have holiness as its reference point […] not all without distinction that is outside the temple (profanum) is fit to cross its threshold. In Kitovu Parish It has been noticed that at present, some choirs do not perform their best in line with the sacred music as expected. Many individual musicians and their choirs have introduced certain styles like contemporary music that kill the spirit of worship, yet according to Pope Benedict XIV, (Annus qui, 1956) overly secular and entertainment styles of music are utterly prohibited in the Mass. Pope Pius XII, (Musicae Sacrae. 1956) states that, the introduction of inappropriate music into the liturgy is regarded as “deplorable conduct. There is also a lot laxity in promoting and performance of sacred music in the parish a point which has denied the power of sacred music to foster active participation in the liturgical celebrations in Kitovu Parish. However, we cannot dismiss the fact that effort has been put to promote sacred music though its positive impact has not been realized yet. In reviewing the literature, the researcher dealt more on the teaching of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium solemnly promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963. He went ahead to compare other researcher work conducted and teachings of the church on sacred music and active participation in liturgical celebrations. In the entire endeavour, the researcher employs questionnaires, direct observation, in-depth interview and document review so as to come up with concrete evidences having taken a sample size of 80 people. In the presentation and analysis of the data, it was seen that the majority respondents agreed that sacred music has a lot to do with fostering active participation in liturgical celebration. In discussing the findings, having seen that sacred music is vital, and permit a catholic believer in Kitovu Parish to feel that transcendental attraction which elevates him to a higher level, or at least to higher moments. The investigator has also dealt with the decline in performance of sacred music in Kitovu Parish. Having found out that lack of motivation, Lack of Facilitation and support, Poor Sensitization and Lack of remuneration are obstacle to good performance of sacred music, a discussion has been made on the role of the parish priest in its systematic categories. In Kitovu Parish, the researcher found out that some Catholics feel that what has been lost in the liturgical worship is a sense of mystery. For these Catholics, Sunday liturgy feels more like an informal gathering of people than the solemn worship of God. Many of these Catholics have no memories of the liturgy prior to Vatican II, but they still hunger for a greater sense of the sacred in worship. They want a feeling of awe and a recognition of God’s transcendence. Sacred music was intermixed with other modern music. It is upon this, remarks that a discussion has been raised on the necessity of restoring the nature of music suggested by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1157; if the purpose of the sacred liturgy is the “glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful,” then the glorification of God and the sanctification of the faithful must also be the purpose of sacred music. Having seen all that, the researcher has come up with practical recommendations to promote active participation of the faithful through sacred music. The need of giving special attention in the instruction in sacred singing of members of lay religious societies, so that they may support and promote the participation of the people more effectively. Choir leaders should help the whole congregation to develop a clear understanding of the choir’s role in the liturgy and its importance for the worship life of those assembled. In order to fulfill this calling, all choirs in Kitovu Parish no matter how large or small, no matter how limited or great their skill, should strive for excellence in all that they do. From the suggestion of SC.19 that the formation of the whole people in singing should be seriously and patiently undertaken together with liturgical instruction, according to the age, status and way of life of the faithful and the degree of their religious culture; this should be done even from the first years of education in elementary schools. The researcher recommends that the Education Week Music Festivals should be upheld with great concern and respect to nurture the talents of the young children at an early stage. The researcher concluded by appealing to other researchers who will take up a similar research to put his topic into consideration and make a wide and comprehensive research with recorded evidence and systematic presentation of it. Finally he hinted that all elements in this research serve a specific purpose and are meant to contribute to the spirit of prayer and praise that are the essence of worship.