Catholics applaud Bishops for music courses ban


Many Catholics in Zimbabwe have applauded the move by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference to limit the number of new hymns that are composed and introduced into the Church per year.
Only one diocese will compose and introduce not more than 18 songs per year. This is opposed to the old set up where up to three dioceses were releasing new songs in the same year. Many of the songs from the courses never found space at the parishes as parishioners had no time to learn them before another batch of new songs was released. There were more than 60 songs released each year, meaning one had to learn a new song every week to keep up with the new hymns.

 

Fr Chiromba, Secretary General of Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) said the directive of the Bishops Conference on new was given last year and it says categorically that"There will be ONE music course from one particular Diocese per year.” Time should be spent revising the old songs.

Fr William GuriC.s.s.R, commenting on Facebook page Jesuit Communications Zimbabwe, said “One of the important features of Catholic liturgy is it's stability through standardization. The yearly composition of new songs, and the constant changing of tunes goes against this and makes liturgy unstable and out of standard. Good liturgy requires stability of both content and form.

“The other difficulty with the many new songs is that they still do not cater for all the parts of the Mass and for the times and themes of the liturgical cycle. It would be useful if one composer would compose a full lenten Mass, or a mass for the Holy Spirit, of a funeral mass or a mass for the saints etc. unfortunately our Shona liturgy comprises a mixture of different compositions which sometimes are at variance with each other. That is why we are still far from a Shona Rite, like the Zairean Rite. Most of our composers are not schooled in theology and liturgy and even music itself. There is more to developing a liturgy than just feeling good about some biblical words or prayer and putting a tune to it! The education of our composers will be a more worthwhile and fruitful exercise than the annual music courses in every diocese.

Another, TawandaMunyika, said “ It is indeed a good thing (the ban) because you would find people are not even getting to know songs because choir leaders are at music courses every time, let there be refresher music courses at deaneries and parishes plus the songs are now too many”

FloriaMarozva, commenting on the same, said “(the ban) is good in the sense that it preserves the composed songs in the mind of the people giving them chance to reflect more on the theology presented in the songs, digging deeper to find their meaning, sinking all into their lives to use them in prayer when necessary before moving on to other new compositions. There is always a tendency to ignore other songs in favour of new ones.”

Ritchie Vicky Mugari said “the move is in the right direction though it is too harsh. Two courses per year with 10 songs each is not bad. we are really going to have quality compositions now .Bravo ZCBC”
 
But there are a few who disagreed, and Alex Mapolisa is one of them. “A big NO so they mean some of us who aspire to be music composers for the Church have to wait for periods as long as 9 years to get opportunities to present our songs? I do not see how this will motivate young composers.

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