March 27, 2015

Roncalli choir, singers from around archdiocese to sing at Holy Week liturgies

By Natalie Hoefer

Holy Week is the most sacred seven days of the year for the Catholic Church and all its members.

With this fact in mind, director of archdiocesan and cathedral worship Andrew Motyka sought to involve as many members of the archdiocese as possible in the musical aspect of the Holy Week Masses to be celebrated by Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.

As result, about 55 adults from around central and southern Indiana will sing at the Chrism Mass at 2 p.m. on March 31, and the show choir from Roncalli High School in Indianapolis will sing at the Holy Thursday Mass at 7 p.m. on April 2.

The involvement of Roncalli’s show choir is the first of what Motyka hopes will be many future appearances of archdiocesan Catholic high school choirs.

“We were looking for more ways to get the youth involved in archdiocesan events with music, specifically at Masses with the archbishop,” he said. “My first thought was we could start asking the choirs from the Catholic schools in the area to have their choirs to come to different events.”

Roncalli “just happened to be the first” high school that Motyka called.

Other Masses in which Motyka will seek high school choir participation include adult confirmations on Holy Trinity Sunday, the Golden Wedding Jubilee Mass and other archdiocesan events.

“Practicing will be a bit of an adventure,” Motyka admitted. “We’ll be meeting right before the Mass. We don’t have a separate rehearsal planned. But I trust Joey [Newton, Roncalli’s choral director] to prepare them very well, and I know that Roncalli has a great group, so I’m not worried about their preparation.”

Practice for the archdiocesan choir singing at the Chrism Mass was also handled uniquely this year, given the distance several members of the choir will be traveling.

The archdiocesan choir, which sings twice a year for the Chrism Mass and the ordination Mass, is formed by invitation, Motyka explained.

Invitations are sent to past members and to music directors throughout the archdiocese, encouraging them to notify their singers about the opportunity to participate in “these days that are very important to the life of the archdiocesan Church, of which every parish is a part,” said Motyka.

This year, about 55 people from as far south as Jeffersonville, from Terre Haute, New Albany and many from in and around Indianapolis will sing at the Chrism Mass. Motyka is pleased with the number, which is about 20 more than those who usually participate.

“I think this year what contributed quite a bit to the growth we experienced is that we’re offering an alternate rehearsal site in Jeffersonville,” he explained.

Two practices will take place at St. Augustine Parish in Jeffersonville, with Derrick Grant, the parish’s director of liturgy, leading.

Practices will also be held in Indianapolis, “then we’ll come together on the day and practice with the whole group,” said Motyka.

“I’m very excited to involve especially the people from outside Indianapolis who, because of the geographical situation, don’t get the chance to participate in these kinds of events—it’s a long drive.”

Motyka said he appreciates the effort and time that people are putting into singing at the Chrism Mass and the Holy Thursday Mass.

“When they come to the cathedral, they’re not coming as guests or as people that are outsiders, but they’re entering into the life of the archdiocese,” he said. “This cathedral is theirs. This archdiocese is theirs. I love that they can come and visibly be a part of that.” †

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