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The Singing Cathedral

“The diocesan cathedral… should be regarded as the express image of Christ’s visible Church, praying, singing and worshiping on earth. … The cathedral church should be a model for the other churches of the diocese….” (Ceremonial of Bishops, #43 & #46)

What does it mean to be a model?

The first thing I think of when I hear the word model is the glamorous person placed on a magazine cover. We know now that many of these pictures are altered and don’t reflect reality. They are supposed to catch our attention, create some sort of drive in us, and move us to improve ourselves.

Likewise, a scientific model explains how things work. While closer to reality, they too are subject to revision and may not reflect a complete version of what really happens. Scientists work to improve models or develop new ones according to the available data. In this way, models continue to evolve and change.

Models demonstrate our aspirations and our understandings of the moment. For the cathedral to be a model, we must put forth our best effort. We will fall short from time to time because we are human. Those failures only make our model more realistic. Our best effort does not mean perfection. Only God is perfect.

The Church calls upon us to be active participants in worship. Through our actions, gestures, acclamations, responses and singing, we become Christ visible to the world. Every parish in the world receives that same call. As a cathedral, we are to model those actions for the surrounding community.

While having good cantors, choir members, or instrumentalists can help us model good music, the best singing includes all the members of the congregation. As we celebrate our anniversary of dedication, let us remember our call to be a model of good music so that we may become the singing cathedral.