Ideas for Lent

Notes from the Z Files

OK, I know it's late to plan too much, but here are some liturgy ideas for Lent, which started March 1st (Ash Wednesday):

* No Gloria nor Alleluias during Lent, but you can sing "Lord Have Mercy" – Kyrie (I love Matt Maher's) -- just remember to coordinate with your priest on when to come in playing – in fact, coordinate with your priest on ALL this stuff. :)
* Along those lines, we sometimes omit the opening hymn altogether and have a silent procession or sing the Kyrie as the procession. (Priest may do the Greeting from the back of Church).
* For the Lenten Gospel Acclamation, I never tire of doing Michael W. Smith's "Thy Word" (SS 211). (I'm sure there are some other great ones.)
* Consider doing a different Mass setting – for example, if you have been doing Mass of Life or Joyful Heart from the Spirit and Song books, think about going back to Mass of Creation (or vice versa). If you're looking for a new one, Christian Cosas, the Music Director at St. Dominic Savio in Affton (and also plays piano at St. Clement at Sunday 6 PM) has an awesome new setting called, "Mass for the Risen Church". If you're interested, you can contact him at .
* Consider doing a "theme" song – one that you might play every week during the Lenten journey. Last year, we did Matt Maher's "Lead Me Home" and in previous years, "Sometimes By Step" by Rich Mullins, "I Will Choose Christ" (Tom Booth), and "More Than A Prayer" (KZ). There are so many great songs, talk to your youth minister, your priest, other musicians for ideas.
* "CGH's" as I like to call them – "Catholic Greatest Hits" – songs like "Prayer of St. Francis", "We Are The Light of the World", "On Eagles Wings", "Servant Song", Foley's "Come to the Water", etc. are great all year, but Lent may be the right time to bring some back. Even though I play two "youth" Masses each Sunday, we like to play one of those almost every week – it connects the generations, and for many Catholics, young and old, it's just very welcoming to have some familiarity. Plus, there are some great "older" songs!
* Having said that, there are some incredible P&W songs – new and old – including some from composers right here in St. Louis – but I'll save that for another day.
* In general, bring the energy level down a notch, a little more plaintive, prayerful.

Finally, take some time to pray with your music ministry this Lent. Maybe you always do, or maybe you have slacked off a little. In any case, it's a great time to refocus on the reason we sing and play. Think of John 3:30 – ask the Lord to increase and for us to decrease. If you can get everybody together on a separate night, great, but even if everybody comes early to a rehearsal. Just ask everyone to put down their instruments and let's take time to pray.