Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

I suppose I'll post this under the actual name of the cathedral, since I don't really have much to say that is negative... which, btw, it is quite a lovely cathedral, and really looks exactly like what a Catholic cathedral is supposed to look like... (unlike, ahem, certain dioceses in another state to the northwest...)

So, on this day which was both mine and my dear husband's last Sunday without both of us having church/work commitments, we decided to go to the cathedral for Mass, and were not only blessed with the bishop saying Mass, but also were pleasantly surprised with the beautiful music selections!

I didn't take a copy of the bulletin (which had most of the congregational of the music selections in it,) but I'll write about what was notable to me.

Apparently the full choir does not normally sing, and they certainly sounded quite prepared and professional!
There was a lovely organ prelude, followed by the choir singing some beautiful polyphonic piece (I believe it was in Latin, but unfortunately I have no idea what!)

The opening hymn was "Lord whose love in humble service" which isn't such a terrible hymn, although some of the verses have some very annoying PC social justice-y themes to them.
The Kyrie was surprisingly lovely; I believe it was an interesting combination of simple call-and-response with the congregation, with a middle "Christe" verse that was a beautiful polyphonic choral setting.

Followed by, unfortunately, the awful diocesan-mandated setting of the Mass of St. Paul the Apostle Gloria. I mean, it's not such a bad piece of music, but...suitable for the liturgy? And to be sung by a congregation? And the accompaniment, to be played by your average church organist? It's just so...syncopated. I love it when non-musicians (or else professional musicians with no sense of appropriate liturgical music) choose music to be learned by an entire diocese...
Lansing, consider yourselves lucky!
Anyhow, the choral section was really neat to listen to, and the organist was of course fabulous, but none of it really made anyone in the congregation attempt to sing along!

I don't remember much about the might have had cool choral verses.
The Alleluia was taken from "For all the Saints."

The Offertory was a modern-sounding choral piece, probably a bit dissonant for some people, but very nice for the occasion, IMHO.
I believe that the Sanctus/Mem Accl/Amen were from an old-translation Mass.
And now I'm trying to remember the Agnus...I *think* it was similar to the Kyrie (or else I'm mixing them up,) with some congregation, and some lovely choral singing.

The song for communion was that awful "Center of My Life" song, that seems to be the absolute favorite of every single church around here (but I had never heard prior to coming here,) As a song, it really just makes me want to link arms and rock and sway with everyone else around me. Maybe we should all pull out our lighters (or cell phones) and wave them in the air.
I can't remember the verses, but I'm pretty sure that every time I've heard it, something about the theology (or lack of) has really bothered me about...maybe the last verse?
Finally, the closing hymn was the ever-wonderful and rousing "For All the Saints." (with, I must add, the PROPER rhythm... "ALLLLLLLL who by faith..." NOT "All WHOOOOOOOO by faith..."

And then I believe that there was a nice but relatively brief (the church emptied fast) postlude, although I didn't listen closely.

Anyhow, overall the best cathedral liturgy that I've ever seen! I'd give it an 8.5/10!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

St. Joseph in Toledo

Today being one of my last weekends where I am completely free to attend Mass wherever I want (at least until late February, and certainly one of my last in the SE Michigan area.) I received a recommendation to attend St. Joseph in Toledo, which was interestingly on my way to where I had to be later on Sunday!

After an unexpected realization that I must have written down the directions wrong, I knew I was in the right (somewhat sketchy) Toledo neighborhood, driving around on a Sunday morning. I had a vague idea of the cross streets, but couldn't find the church. I saw a steeple of what I was sure must be the church, but no, it was just some Protestant church. Finally I followed my gut, making use of the directions I had to leave the church (which were more accurate,) and saw another (much less impressive) steeple in the distance, which I determined to be it.

I found the church surprisingly small, but I decided that the inside was about the same size as St. P. (It's amazing the difference that being in the city versus country can be!) I attended their EF Latin Mass, and had a few observations.

One of the more interesting was that I noticed a great percentage (10%?) of the women wearing not just mantillas, but pashminas or scarves as a head covering. I must say, I am a fan. I approve of the simple, not-drawing-attention scarf, that a woman might even wear on the street today, (rather than the lacy ever came up with that idea?!)

I won't comment on the music, other than it was about what I expected, (Missa de Angelis, that pretty holy week Adoramus Te, I think Arcadelt's Ave Maria, the Panis Angelicus hymn, etc.) although this is not the first church like this that I've been surprised to find an all-male choir! (small though it may be.) They could also use a new organ. I didn't go up in the loft, but I could see pipes, but, let's just say...I don't think that's what they were using. :-/

The only liturgically interesting things I noticed, were that even though they did Missa de Angelis, they split the Sanctus/Benedictus as is permitted (required?) for a polyphonic setting. (Is that permitted for a chant setting? Every rubric I have ever read has directed it to be sung non-split.)
Also, I noticed that the communion antiphon was sung at the very end of communion. Is this an option, or incorrect?

ok, that's about all I can remember, although I thought there might have been a third liturgical interesting thing... the priest gave a VERY short homily (you know, one of those ones where you just start to really listen...and then he's done!) maybe cuz Mass started more than 10 minutes late I think cuz people were in confession... but yeah, overall a lovely church and liturgy! Thanks for the suggestion, JL!