Download the Dedication Mass Music Aid Podcast
If you would like to download a "podcast" version of this page, I have it all in one audio file here:
Congregational Music for the Dedication Mass
Whether or not you are attending the Dedication Mass, you may want to learn some of the music, as it may be appropriate for use at various times throughout our Liturgical year.
This Mass is special for many reasons, we have a beautiful new sanctuary, new pews, new floor, and many other improvements. But above all, this Liturgy is important because of our new altar which will be dedicated by Bishop Burbidge. The altar is the focal point of all that happens at the liturgy. It is the place where time and space are extended to the infinte and we become part of heavenly realities. It is here that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is made present to us.
My hope is that by familiarizing yourself with the rite and the music before you come to the Dedication Mass, you will be able to better participate in the rites. Let us go step by step through some of what will be happening. Each of these sections has an mp3 which you can download and listen to.
The entrance rite: Entrance Antiphon and Hymn
The choir will begin by singing the entrance antiphon: Come to the altar of God, the God who restores the joyfulness of youth. Joy is a recurring theme throughout the celebration. Our place of worship, in particular the altar, is the source of our greatest joy - our salvation is made manifest here.
The antiphon will then segue into the opening hymn, a familiar tune with new words appropriate for the occasion: O God of Font and Altar.
An interesting side note: if you happen to watch the procession, you will notice that no one bows to the altar, nor will the Bishop kiss the altar as he proceeds to his chair. The altar in not consecrated, yet and no reverence is yet merited. Sometimes we don't realize how significant something is until we go without it.
Just as at Easter, we will not have a penitential rite--no Kyrie, no Confiteor. Instead the Bishop will walk through us sprinkling us with holy water, reminding of us of our Baptism, the first time we were cleansed of our sins.
The Responsorial Psalm
The psalm chosen for this occasion is psalm 122: I rejoiced when I heard them say, Let us go to the house of the Lord. This setting was newly composed for this occassion and will become a regular in our Sunday worship, as it is appropriate for use on any festive Sunday.
The Depositing of the Relics
After the homliy, we go into the Dedication Rite. This rite have four parts, the first is the placing of the relics of six saints inside the altar. You can find out which saints when you come to Mass on Sunday! The importance of having relics in the altar goes back to the very first days of the Church in Rome. With the first wave of Christian persecutions, the faithful would gather at the tomb of a holy matyr and celebrate Mass, using the tomb itself as the altar. They could think of no holier places in Rome than at these tombs. The tradition continues today in our church. Since we cannot go to the tomb of a saint, we "bring the tomb" to our church. For more info I refer you to a homily by Fr. Hudgins. A mason will seal the relics inside the altar, at the very spot in the table where the bread and wine will be consecrated. While the relics are being sealed we (the choir and congregation) sing the antiphon: Saints of God, you have been enthroned at the foot of God's Altar, pray for us to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The music for this antiphon was written by David Mathers for the Dedication of St. Mary's in Fredericksburg in 2010.
The Anointing of the Altar
The Altar is then anointed with holy chrism, reminiscent of the moment when Jesus' feet were anointed with costly perfume. During this time we (choir and congregation) sing the Antiphon: God, your God has anointed you with the oil of gladness and joy. Once again the theme of joy is present. Notice how the action of anointing is transferred to us, for we too have been anointed, both at baptism and confirmation. Again, we will be anointed before death as Jesus was. This anointing reminds of our role as priest, prophet, and king to which we are all called. For more info on this, I refer you to a homily by Bishop Barron.
This setting is newly composed for this occasion, and may also reappear periodically to remind ourselved of this festive day.
Incensing and Lighting of Candles
The last two parts of the Dedication rite involve the incensing of the altar for the first time and the lighting of candles. During this time the Choir will sing two choral meditations.
After the Dedication Rite is complete we transition into the Liturgy of the Eucharist which will proceed normally as a Sunday Mass.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this and I hope that you will be able to participate more fully in our Dedication Mass.
Practice files for Choirs
Follow the links above to a page with files to download. Most recent files are at the top of the page. Happy practicing!
Interesting in joining the Choir?
Contact Michael Galdo, email@example.com
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