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Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Did You Hear What I Heard, part 2

So, much to my surprise, Amy Welborn picked up on and responded to a couple lines from my post to her blog (reproduced here.)

One commentor below noted that those who complain about music should help out -well, I'd say that some of our most vociferous critics of music in contemporary Catholic liturgies are those who are indeed musicians themselves, or have been (believe me, I have done my share in both simply participating in parish music and leading it, God help the congregations). The point is this: preparing music
for liturgies takes time and practice. Even the dreaded Haas/Haugen repertoire takes practice, and I know the choir in our parish takes time to practice their more elaborate solo turns, each of which, it seems to me, would be well-suited to the Presbyterian church down the street - musically and lyrically, they do no suggest "Catholic" at all, which does not surprise, considering our music
director isn't Catholic.

She asked for updates on Incense and Keeling, so I posted this, partly in response to her question and partly in response to reading 150+ (thusfar!) comments on Christ-masses--so many of which were unhappy at what they had watched.

-5 PM Vigil and 11 AM Christmas Day Mass at "small university parish in a southern capital city."
-Midnight at "Mother Church" in same area

Update on smells, bells and kneeling:

At our small parish, Fr. reminded us before Mass about the kneeling during the Creed, and asked us to help him remember. Things went fine at 5 PM & 11 AM. We had incense, carried at 5 PM by a young lady who had not served in this way before, but who learned quickly. She also supervised ("emceed"?) her younger siblings who also served at the 5 PM Vigil Mass. At 11 AM Christmas morning, we had one server, an older teen who "came out of retirement" (per Padre) to handle incense duties. We seem to only use bells at Easter. We heard all the saints' names in the Eucharistic

At the larger church, I didn't hear a mention of kneeling, but the audio system is a bit scratchy for the spoken word. Seated where we were, behind a large pillar, kneeling was a bit problematic, but my husband and I managed to get knees to the floor during the Creed--no one else did, at least that we could hear/see. Sung Eucharistic Prayer, from the MOC, so no Linus, Cletus, Sixtus, etc. Monsignor had a striking clear tenor, and the effect was still high-ish church.

One reason it took our family so long to swim the Tiber was a recognition of what so many commenters have said--there's a lot of not-so-good-music out there in Catholic churches, especially when compared with what one can hear at larger Protestant churches. I don't think that this is just because of lack of trained musicians, or constantly changing alternatives in the annually revised songbooks from OCP, etc. I think that there is also less of a tradition of congregational singing--the full-voiced, multi-part, deeply felt singing that one would hear for "A Mighty Fortress" or "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" or lots of the Fanny Crosby songbook. Maybe even for "Go Tell It On The Mountain"? I see plenty of Catholics sitting in pews week after week, not singing anything!

I get to hear Michael Dubriel speak on "Developing a Spirituality of the Eucharist" this past fall at a Eucharistic Conference in SC. One of his themes was "When in Rome..." and it addressed complaining and criticizing what you see and hear in church, rather than looking for ways to focus on the essentials--we are being presented with Jesus-body, blood, soul and divinity! He didn't say to ignore abuses or to not strive to improve what can be fixed, but I really appreciated Michael's reminder that we are not there to be entertained. To get the most out of the Eucharist, we must bring ourselves to God and be prepared to put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.

Great advice for any time of year.

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