“…Praise His name and shake, shake off the yoke, shake, shake off the yoke…” are the last few lines of the refrain from the hymn, ‘Freedom Song’, which began the journey of Music Ministry at Liturgy School 2019 as we attempted to navigate this challenge of ‘Hymns’ in the Catholic Church of today in Trinidad and Tobago.
We began our journey looking at the history of sacred music and working through the various musical traditions used for worship. From the early Church’s use of Hebrew and Jewish chants, to the Eastern Orthodox tradition of Byzantine chants which evolved from the people of the desert and making its way to the great cathedrals, then to the Roman Church’s Gregorian chants which still linger even today. We hoped to foster an understanding of where we came from, to now chart the course of where we are going as a Caribbean Church.
If we look at the guidelines of Vatican II which encourages ‘Conscious, Active, Participation of the Faithful’, then our hymn selections will be more meaningful to ensure all present at Mass are included and are actively participating.