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Vietnam bishops release guidelines on church music

Vietnam bishops release guidelines on church music

Father Peter Nguyen Kim Long, 76, has composed hundreds of hymns. He has welcomed the recent publishing of guidelines on church music in Vietnam. UCAN

HO CHI MINH — Bishops in Vietnam have offered official instructions on church music to help Catholics worship better and in conformity with liturgy.

Bishop Vincent Nguyen Van Ban, head of the Episcopal Commission for Holy Music of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam, said it is time the church in Vietnam had official guidelines on sacred music.

“It aims to bring about a consistent standard in the music ministry that satisfies church teachings,” said Bishop Ban.

In the past dioceses and parishes provided music on their own, separately and even unsuitably for liturgy, he said.

Copies of the new guidelines were published at the National Seminar on Sacred held in Ho Chi Minh City on May 2. The documents also have specific regulations for composers to compose hymns.

Bishop Ban said his commission in the future will offer detailed instructions so that Catholics can apply them to services consistently.

Thomas Aquino Pham Dinh Vi, a conductor from Nam Hoa parish, welcomed the move.

“Singing hymns aims to glorify God and lead the community to God, not showing off your talents,” he said.

Father Peter Nguyen Kim Long, who composes hymns, said most of the hymns in Vietnam have in the past not fundamentally obeyed church rules on music.