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February 8, 2024

How to engage your parish during Lent with responsorial psalm videos


 

Throughout my 40 years of music ministry, I usually find myself running a little low on energy when Ash Wednesday rolls around. In Michigan, we are in the depths of February gloom. The snow on the side of the road is laced with dirt. My car is frosted with road salt – and so are my clothes when I bump against the car, my feet soaking in a slushy puddle as I fill the car with gas. This has been going on for many weeks – shoveling, defrosting, scraping, blowing and insulating against the snow and slush that surrounds us.

“Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.” That is the cry of the people in the responsorial psalm of Ash Wednesday. It’s in this setting that we begin the journey of Lenten renewal and spiritual awakening in preparation for the paschal mystery of Holy Week and the Easter season.

If you look at the refrains of our current cycle B refrains, you can see a fitting map of the Lenten journey:

  • Ash Wednesday: Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
  • 1st Sunday of Lent: Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth.
  • 2nd Sunday of Lent: I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
  • 3rd Sunday of Lent: Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
  • 4th Sunday of Lent: Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you.
  • 5th Sunday of Lent: Create a clean heart in me, O God.

To help my parish engage with the beautiful Lenten journey articulated by these refrains, I have been posting videos of the weekly psalms on our parish website. It’s a practice I hope you’ll consider! I post the videos a week in advance so they have a little time to soak in before parishioners hear them.

 
 

If you have the resources to create videos each week, it’s a great way to meet your parish online as an act of ministry and evangelization. With the amount of time we all spend viewing social media on our phones, we ought to be meeting our faith community in that town square.

It’s also a good way to get others in your parish music ministry involved. It could be just piano and voice, or a whole ensemble – or, if it’s too much for your ministry to record weekly videos, even just providing a link to someone else singing your psalm setting will help your parishioners connect to the approaching Sunday liturgy.

May our 2024 Lenten journey be an energizing ascent to Easter.

 

You can find instructional videos featuring the music my resource of responsorial psalms and Gospel Acclamations, Forever I Will Sing 2024, here.