Read the article 'Hallelujah is our song' and answer the following questions. Then share your answers in pairs, small groups or in a classroom discussion.
1. Have you ever heard of Joe Melendrez? Read the interview with Joe. How do you think music can affect your love of God?
2. Read the interview with Sarah Hart, song writer and retreat leader. Do you think having music in your life, through the Church makes a difference to how you view singing or playing at religious services?
3. Joe says that although he was born and raised a Catholic he was merely ‘culturally’ Catholic’. What do you think he really meant by this? Get into small groups and discuss this phenomenon of being ‘culturally Catholic’. Do you think that many of us in Australia are ‘culturally Catholic’ in the 21st century?
4. As a class have a discussion about music in the Church. Do you think that it is too ‘old fashioned’? What could you do to change this in your school or parish?
5. Do you know of any other artists who are playing religious music that might be relevant, in order to update your liturgies?
1. Most classes would be having reflection days or retreats during the year. Ask your REC or Faith and Mission person if you could be involved in choosing the music for your Mass or paraliturgy.
2. Go on to the relevant websites joemelendrez.com and sarahhart.com to find out more about them.
3. Find out what the theme is for your reflection day or retreat, then go on to Youtube and listen to some of the songs, raps and hymns by Joe Melendrez and Sarah Hart. Could any of these be used by your class or youth group?
4. Both Joe and Sarah will be here in Australia late in Lent and around the Easter period. Ask your teacher to find out if it is possible for either of them to attend your school and to perform for you or even to host a music workshop. Sarah runs woman’s retreats. If you are a girls’ school perhaps there could be a time for Sarah to run a reflection day for you as she runs women’s retreats. Joe can also be contacted through journey2christ.com.au. Find out where he is appearing and organise an outing to hear him or better still to have him come to your school or parish.
5. Listen to ‘Rosary Rap’ and rap along with Joe.
For younger students
1. Explain to young children that there are singers who sing religious type songs in a modern medium. Find an appropriate song from Joe Melendrez or from Sarah Hart to give them an idea about what you mean.
2. Put them into groups and ask them to try to write a poem or prayer about Jesus and then sing along with it. Let each group perform there song or prayer in front of the class. They could put it to the music of one of the nursery rhymes if they find it too difficult to compose a tune to go with their words.
3. At the next Mass or paraliturgy use their song, if appropriate, in order to encourage the young students to take a better part in the Mass or liturgy.