If you’ve been following along during Lent, you’ll know that the past six weeks have mostly been about finding ways to breathe life into the way that I pray, primarily through the discipline of the Liturgy of the Hours. One of the great unexpected results of this Lenten project has been discovering a lot of resources that, if I were still involved with youth ministry, I could definitely see myself using over and over again. Hopefully, you’ll find them useful in your ministry!
I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again — it’s really hard to find music written for Liturgy of the Hours that is geared toward the contemporary Christian music crowd (i.e., many of the youth and young adults in your parish ministries!). One album that I came across that does a really good job of 1) staying true to the text of the prayers (i.e., does not take liberties with paraphrasing) and 2) has a fresh feel to it is A New Day by Steve Angrisano.
Below is a friend from back home (i.e., California!), the talented Lawrence Mora covering “Benedictus” by Steve Angrisano (click here for lyrics). Angrisano wrote this song for use during Morning Prayer (Benedictus is another title used for the Canticle of Zechariah, in the same way that Magnificat is also used to refer to the Canticle of Mary). I could see using this song to introduce Liturgy of the Hours to your youth and/or young adult ministry.
#2) As Morning Breaks and Evening Sets by Tony Alonso
Another great resource for introducing Liturgy of the Hours to young people is As Morning Breaks and Evening Sets: Liturgical Prayer Services for Ordinary and Extraordinary Events in the Lives of Young People by Tony Alonso.
This book provides an excellent foundation for anyone who wants to learn more about the structure of Morning/Evening Prayer, and how to adapt it for the group that you are praying with. There are lots of great ideas for using Liturgy of the Hours at special times, like honoring high school seniors for the upcoming graduation, but more importantly, it empowers young people to choose their own songs/psalms/readings to customize their own prayer service.
I could imagine using this book as the backbone to a retreat for budding liturgical musicians, where the goal would be for them to construct an Evening Prayer for everyone to pray together at the end of the day.