Ritual for the Unspoken Grief

I was away from home and from my husband when my miscarriage happened during my summer pastoral studies in Chicago. I remember answering the door to welcome a colleague during the first few days after the miscarriage. I was not keen for a visit since my pain was still raw, so we both just fell into a long silence after she told me how sorry she was for my loss. When I finally looked up and saw the gleam of tears in her eyes, I broke down and cried with her. Until today I still think of it as the day God wept with me.

When parents experience a pregnancy loss, frequently the grief goes unspoken because secrecy often accompanies the early stages of pregnancy. Support from the community can be rare, as most of the time most friends and family do not know anything about the loss. Even when the grieving parents do share their loss, the many kind comments and sentiments they receive often fail to alleviate the sorrow and guilt parents feel.

Surrounded by ministers who had been shaped by their life experiences and ministries, I was blessed to have been able to confide in those who understood and knew what I had been through. My experience as a liturgical minister did not help in preparing a ritual for my own child. The sorrow was very numbing and I was simply unable to be resourceful.

Looking back, words cannot express my gratitude for my thoughtful colleagues who prepared and organized a Liturgy of the Word to commemorate our loss. It is difficult to put pain adequately into words but rituals speak beyond words alone because they consist of symbolic actions and language. It allowed me to give voice to my pain through prayers and lamentations. It sanctified my experience as I was entrusted to God’s loving care and compassion.

It is truly a humbling experience to be at the receiving end of so much love and support, and to encounter Christ in the face of friends and family. As God’s people, we are not meant to grieve alone. God weeps with us. In the embrace of the community, grieving parents allow themselves to be sustained and cared for as they put the pieces of their lives back together. Our grieving should naturally unite us with the community, a place where both have something to give and receive.

The Diocese of Calgary invites parents, their families and friends to join us in a prayer gathering by attending the Memorial Liturgy for Miscarried and Stillborn Infants on Friday, March 24, at 7:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 1307 - 14th Street SW. For more information or to RSVP, please visit our website at

Related Offices Carillon Office of Liturgy
Related Themes Liturgy

Rite of Election & Call to Lenten Renewal

This rite closes the period of the catechumenate proper of those individuals seeking Baptism at Easter and initiates the final, more intense preparation for the sacraments of initiation both for the catechumens (subsequently called the "elect") and for baptized adults seeking full communion with the Catholic Church (known as "candidates").


There will be no gathering at St. Monica's School. Please arrive DIRECTLY to St. Mary's Cathedral.

Arrive no less than 30 minutes prior to the celebration. Doors open one hour before the liturgy.


Parishes have been assigned to Saturday or Sunday.

Seating is assigned. See the head usher upon arrival and be seated by an usher.

You may fill in the registration form electronically or by hand and send by e-mail, fax, or mail.

The registration form is due no later than February 28, 2017.

Click here to download the complete registration and information package including your assigned celebration date.

Register online here for Saturday, March 4, 2017 | 7:30 pm - St. Mary's Cathedral

Register online here for Sunday, March 5, 2017 | 3:30 pm - St. Mary's Cathedral

Related Offices Office of Liturgy
Related Themes RCIA Liturgy Liturgical Celebration Baptism Parish Life

Sing the Liturgy: O Beauty Ever Ancient, Ever New

Alost child calls out in a busy grocery store – “mama, MAMAAA!” Can you hear the music? Can you hear the intensity, the tone, or the dynamic? This is not an example of everyday casual speech, but a call that begs to be heard. This past October, the Sacred Music Committee invited music directors and clergy from across the Diocese to spend a day to explore chant during the Sing the Liturgy: O Beauty Ever Ancient, Ever New workshop lead by Lowell A. Davis, executive director of the St. Basil School of Gregorian Chant.

The above example of a child calling out to his mother helps us to hear that &lquo;sung speechrquo; or chant is a useful tool to proclaim your situation or, in our case, to proclaim the Word of God.

The Church has a vast treasury of music which has been with us for generations to help us proclaim scripture beyond casual speech. Chant lets us hear the Word of God, united in one voice, with a renewed sense of understanding and purpose.

At the workshop, Mr. Davis proposed this concept and described it as the “unity of the community.” This is useful to know when we discern why and how we might use chant in our parish worship. We become one voice through word, song, soul, and prayer. Mr. Davis said, “chant is highly energetic, it flows, it stresses the weight of the text, and deepens our prayer.” The best part is that it’s not difficult. One of the resources† we practiced involved us using a set of chanted Entrance and Communion Antiphons for the church year, composed by Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB. The texts have been taken directly from the Roman Missal and the musical line is formed with the text in mind. Cantors or choirs have a role to play but more importantly, so does the congregation, as we endeavour to become one voice in prayer.

As a musician, it is fascinating to see how music begins, how music notation develops, and how it is passed on throughout time. What I was really looking for at the conclusion of this workshop was a hook that I could use to implement in parish liturgies. When asked, Mr. Davis suggested, “Why not start with chanting the communion antiphon?” We have the text, and we have a simple chanted melody that can be learned by ear, and this is definitely an achievable goal. It’s concise and doesn’t subtract or change anything that we are currently doing musically.

Ideally, this example will start a conversation amongst parishioners, liturgy committees, and pastors. Ask: How often and during which celebrations throughout the year might we use chant? How deep will we dig into our vast and historical treasury of music?

As a music director, I like this new tool in my toolbox! This is actually a lost, but now found tool that we can use. I have one final consideration for you: What can you as directors, cantors, choirs, and our true choir (you, the congregation) enact this coming Sunday based on what I’ve shared from this recent chant workshop? The short answer is everything! Consider, uniting as a community, and sing words like “Glory,” “Praise,” and “Joy” with more conviction. Listen to the psalm for the week, and respond with equal intensity; and maybe, chant a communion antiphon or two!

The Sacred Music Committee works through the Office of Liturgy to carry out the Bishop’s mission of Sacred Music in the Diocese. The SMC researches current issues and practice in liturgical music and promotes understanding of music in the liturgy throughout the Diocese. Members of the SMC are people of prayer with experience in catechesis and music ministry. They have discerned a calling to this ministry and enjoy working as part of a team. For more information or questions, email:

Related Offices Carillon Office of Liturgy
Related Themes Liturgy Liturgical Music

Dismissal to Rite of Election & Call to lenten Renewal

Dismissal to Rite of Election & Call to lenten Renewal and Signing the Book of the Elect

This dismissal takes place ideally at a Sunday Mass (or at another convenient time) after the homily or at the end of Mass.


My dear friends,

You are about to set out on the road that leads to the glory of Easter.
Christ will be your way, your truth, and your life.

In his name and in the name of this Parish Community of _________________
we send you forth to the Mother Church of our diocese, St. Mary's Cathedral.

I now invite you forward, catechumens, to sign your name in the Book of the Elect.
(Have someone call out the names of the catechumens. Only catechumens sign the book).

I now send you for the Lord has chosen you
to join other catechumens who are seeking baptism at Easter
to be received by our Bishop Henry, and numbered among the elect.

And you candidates, who are seeking full communion in the church,
or preparing to complete your initiation;
we send you forth from this community to celebrate with the Bishop
the Rite of Calling Candidates to lenten Renewal.

In this rite, you will be invited, along with the entire community of the faithful,
to use this holy season of lent to prepare
in a most intense, serious and spiritual way,
for the renewal of your baptismal promises at Easter,
and to become full members of the Catholic Church.

You have been chosen by God and have entered with us into his way of lent.
May Christ teach you the value of prayer and fasting in meeting temptation,
especially during this time of lenten retreat.

Be assured of our loving support and prayers for you.

Go in peace. Soon you will gather with us to be nourished at the Eucharistic table.

You may include this intention in The Prayers of the Faithful:

That all catechumens and candidates may experience the universality and love of our Catholic faith as they meet with our Bishop for the Rite of Election and the Rite of Calling Candidates to lenten Renewal in the Catholic Church.

Related Offices Office of Liturgy
Related Themes RCIA Catechist Formation Liturgy Prayers Liturgical Celebration Parish Life Initiation
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