Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Looking back over the last 5 years...

Someone just asked me to explain the "plan" that Fr. G and I had as we improved the music and liturgy at St. P. Well, we didn't really have much of a "plan," we mostly just did what seemed like a good idea at the time, thinking at every step to try and make the liturgy more like the Church envisioned it, and with the only other clear goal to teach the congregation the Latin Mass Ordinary that all Catholics were expected to know after Vatican II, as complied by Pope Paul VI; "Jubilate Deo,."

It seemed appropriate for me to think through this, as I only have a few more weeks at St. P. :-(

Looking back on this 5-year period, I must say that I am quite impressed with what has been accomplished!

Here's the timeline as I remember it-
-I started working at St. P
-immediately began phasing out 1970s popular style music, and replacing with more traditional hymns or other acceptable (sometimes contempoarary) music
-I began singing Communion antiphon for the first couple minutes of Communion every Mass (she would sing the English translation first)
-taught/reminded translation of simplest "Agnus Dei"
-created and put in pews a small hymnal supplement that contained some latin as well as english translations of chant (and other hymns/prayers we thought might be useful)
-several of the (female) choir members were interested in joining me in singing the communion, I would send them a recording and they would learn it on their own every week
-taught/explained translation of and began using "mortem tuam," (but this was discontinued soon afterwards)
-meanwhile, more traditionally-minded parishioners were starting to come to St. P, who came deliberately for the combination of better music choices we offer as well as the preaching/reverence/etc of Father G.
-Put the communion rails back up from where they had been in front of the first pews.
-meanwhile, congregation singing more chant, especially english translations of things like Adoro Te and Jesu Dulcis
-Introduced chanting of english translation of Introit at 10:30 Mass, set to a gloria-patri tone (based on Anglican Use Gradual); provided a photocopy in the pews for people every week. Explicitly taught to congregation the first few weeks, then just let them follow the choir afterwards (since the melody remains the same every week)
-taught simple Sanctus to congregation at all Masses (it was included with a word-for-word traslation in the hymnal supplement we made.)
-began including a very simple, shortened version of the Proper Offertory (set to a simple psalm tone,) on the same page as the introit. Began using it; we treat it similar to the responsorial psalm: I sing it, the congregation sings it, I sing verses of the appropriate Psalm alternating with the congregation singing it for the remainder of the Offertory (following an Offertory hymn.)
-re-introduced "mortem tuam" memorial acclamation
-invited the congregation to begin receiving communion at the communion rail at the 10:30 Mass (I believe that most people do, since that is the most popular Mass for the more traditionaly-minded people to go)
-taught and began using latin "Gloria" at all Masses (over the past 4-5 years, as we have been teaching all the latin Mass Ordinaries, we have not usually been doing all of them at the same time. We have usually just done one or two at a time, with other settings, like Proulx's Community Mass. It has only been the past few months [a year?] that we have been doing them all in Latin.)
-began offering a monthly Extraordinary Form Mass
-invited the congregation to receive communion at the communion rails, if they wished, at all masses. (the option still remains to receive standing, usually from an EMHC.)
-Sometime in the next few months, we plan on updating our hymnal supplement to a more permanent book, which will include more chants (also in latin, like Veni Creator,) as well as all of the Introits that we will need, in the English settings described above.

Two other things to note that don't really fit in the time line:
- I would NEVER have attempted anything close to this without the full support of the pastor.
- As a result of his support, at every step of the way, we both worked together at catechizing the people and explaining and teaching everything. I don't know how you would do that without a supportive pastor, and I do not think the people would appreciate it or get much benefit from it if they did not understand why we were changing things.


NAG said...

Well done Mara!!!
Keep it up where ever you go.

NAG said...

Of course Mara, with the Pastor's cooperation.