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Enter the Journey

posted Feb 16, 2013, 6:54 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Feb 16, 2013, 6:55 AM ]
On the first Sunday of Lent, the Church celebrates the rite of election, or “enrollment of names” for those who will receive the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation and Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil. Mark Friedman, music minister at St. John Fisher Parish in Cincinnati, OH wrote this song with his long-standing musical partner Janet Yates Vogt specifically for liturgies that celebrate RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults)… 

Enter the journey. Come to the song.
By God you are chosen, by name you are called to follow the vision, carry the cross.
Enter the journey of faith as the fam'ly of God. 
 
But this song isn’t just for catechumens. Fr. Greg Friedman, O.F.M. writes on AmericanCatholic.org “Those who are already baptized are still on a journey. Our faith must be renewed, our baptismal promises affirmed, each time we gather with the Church for the Eucharist, where we hear God's Word and come to the table to be transformed into the Body of Christ. We bring to that experience our questions, our sinfulness, our hunger and thirst, our need to grow, our longing for God.” 

It takes on particular intensity during Lent as the scripture readings relive various journeys as the model of the journey Christians take from sin to redemption: Adam and Eve leave Paradise; Israel’s exodus from Egypt to the Holy Land; Jesus goes through the desert; Peter, James and John ascend the mountain; and Jesus rides into Jerusalem.

The musical form of the verses is call-and-response; a succession of two distinct phrases alternating between a leader and the gathered assembly. One side “calls” a phrase, and the other side “responds.” This form originated in tribal gatherings of Sub-Saharan Africa. Enslaved people brought it here with them, keeping it as they converted to Christianity. A leader prompting responses from a congregation eliminated the need for hymnals and compensated for illiteracy. Similar to litanies, the assembly is required to both sing and listen – a necessity of human communication. For it to work effectively, the dialogue between the cantor and congregation is essential.