My priest opposes Latin hymns and sung propers. Advice?
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    Hi all,

    A brief introduction: I am a rookie choir/music director at a suburban Catholic parish outside of Toronto, Canada. Since September, I have been leading the music at our main Sunday Mass with a small choir of 5-6 people.

    For the 20+ years that I have grown up in this parish, it's been 4-hymn sandwich all the way, and everything from P&W to Glo-ri-a *clap* *clap*. But over the past six months, I have been working to change that. Things had been going well, up until today.

    Being the First Sunday of Lent, I decided to program some traditional hymns, sing some Latin, and (possibly for the first time in the 50+ year history of my parish) sing the proper antiphon for Communion.

    Let's just say that my parish priest was not impressed.

    The program was as follows:

    1st Sunday of Lent
    Entrance: Forty Days and Forty Nights (HEINLEIN)
    Kyrie XVII, option B
    Offertory: Attende Domine (Chant in Latin)
    Sanctus: ICEL English chant
    Agnus Dei XVIII
    Communion: SEP, followed by Eat This Bread (Taize refrain)
    Recessional: Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days (ST. FLAVIAN)

    Following the Mass, my pastor gave me the following "requests":

    1. No Latin hymn at Offertory. In his words, the Offertory is a time for the congregation "to sing and praise God."

    My thoughts: I have no reservations about singing in Latin when the hymn is in our Gather hymnal, as is the case with Attende Domine. However, that's not the issue---I don't know of any liturgical guidance that deems Offertory as the time for a congregational hymn.

    2. No proper antiphon at Communion. My pastor believes that music at Communion must be either the antiphon or a hymn, but not both. And he says since the antiphon is usually not long enough to chant until the end of the Communion procession, a "hymn is preferable."

    My thoughts:
    a) I know that at both our local seminary and cathedral, the proper is often sung in addition to a hymn.
    b) Our Communion procession is usually longer than just about any single hymn; I usually continue with solo organ improvisation on the hymn. So, I could similarly follow the sung proper with instrumental music (During Lent, perhaps I could add additional psalm verses instead), but I sense that my pastor still won't be satisfied.

    3. Do not sing the Agnus Dei in Latin. Sing only in English. Although, singing Kyrie Eleison is still acceptable.

    My thoughts: For the past two years, our parish has been singing the ICEL chant "Lord, Have Mercy" (Edit: "Lamb of God"), which is based on the melody of Agnus Dei XVIII. I thought we were ready to make the switch to Latin. Agnus Dei XVIII is also in Gather, but I doubt that's the real issue here.

    So, my pastor has invited me to discuss these issues with him. I am familiar with the GIRM, Musicam Sacram, Sacrosanctam Concilium, etc. so I already have some idea of how I will defend my musical and liturgical choices.

    My vision has always been to eventually implement all the sung propers and help my parish rediscover the treasure of Catholic music. But less than a year in, this is a major roadblock.

    I would greatly appreciate any advice, as I'm sure many of you have been in similar positions before and have more experience with liturgical music than I do.

    -Marc
  • aria
    Posts: 85
    Yikes... that's a lot to lay on you right after Mass like that! I think it would've been nicer for him to ask you to make an appointment to discuss music. But I guess at least this way you have an idea of what he was going to say before you get there.

    I'd say he could definitely use some liturgical music education but be careful about how you educate him. It's hard to tell people they're wrong in a way that avoids them getting defensive and the whole conversation falling apart. And in the end, I think you have to follow his directives requests.

    That being said, I recommend you pick one thing out of that whole list that you really think should be done and gently advocate just for that. Let everything else go for now (unless he's genuinely open to dialogue). It's gonna be a tough road though (in terms of the big picture), if you don't share a common vision.

    One question for clarification: Before today's selections, the only chant your parish was doing was the ICEL "Lord have Mercy"? Or were you doing other chants as well? I'm just wondering how drastic of a shift it was this week for people?

    My motto is "baby steps". I know a lot of us want to move the music along faster, but I'm starting to think that our efforts may not be fully realized in our lifetimes.

    Thanked by 2Liam CHGiffen
  • Happy Lent.

    It’s a useful exercise for everyone involved* to ponder—at some length—the situations where it’s preferable** for God’s Word to be substituted for words of human composition at God’s Holy Mass, where God is the primary Actor.

    *At the very minimum, the Pastor and those to whom he delegates his pastoral authority regarding music; maximally, everyone who assists at the Mass.

    **Neither asserting that it's not permissible, because generally speaking, it is permissible; nor asserting one style of music over the other, because the Psalter section in the hymnal in question has serviceable material for Entrance, Offertory, and Communion.
    Thanked by 1teachermom24
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,618
    If you are going to argue the rules to the pastor, you yourself will need to be careful not to cherry pick an interpretation. In a battle of cherry-picked interpretations, the pastor's wins.

    I suggest you spend less time focusing on defending your choices and more on understanding the pastor's interpretations and goals.
    Thanked by 1soarmarc
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    @aria He actually sent me his comments in an email. I didn't speak to him directly after Mass.

    Since the revised English translation was introduced in 2011, our parish has been singing the ICEL chants for all the ordinary, i.e. Lord, Have Mercy; Gloria; Holy, Holy; Memorial Acclamation; Lamb of God. (I've corrected my error.. I meant that "Lamb of God" is based on the Agnus Dei XVIII, although we've sung the Lord Have Mercy as well.)

    We have also sung the Kyrie from Missa de Angelis during this past Christmas season. So, chant is certainly not new for us.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Well, I suppose there's a fulcrums's worth of possible ways to respond, KLS, et al, but I remember one tactic that father Mahrt has used for decades and posted even within the last week. Should the cleric in question frame his edicts ala "There are to be no ________ at _________, or such," Mahrt (gently) inquires from the cleric "Where is that stipulated in the GIRM?"
    Of course, one has to know the GIRM like the back of one's hand and more (implications, inferences and so forth.)
    But the other thing our young friend OP Marc has to determine is does he want to continue leading under such conditions; can he risk offering even the slightest rejoinders without recrimination?
    Thanked by 1Chris Allen
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,532
    Lent probably isn't the best time to introduce Latin anyway: in a lot of parishes, people feel that chant is penitential music and Latin is a burden -- but of course we don't want to give such an impression. We don't want these beautiful things to be limited to six weeks of the year!

    Be glad for the progress you've made in six months, and if the pastor sets some limits, make things as beautiful as possible.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    I wouldn't ask for a GIRM citation. The pastor is ultimately in charge of his parish and is responsible for it, including the liturgy.

    Were I a pastor, the answer "It's not in the GIRM; It's in force because I said so" would work quite well for me.
    Thanked by 2Liam Andrew Malton
  • Paul_D
    Posts: 133
    If it's happening at the seminary, there is hope for the future. But priests of a certain generation might never come around. Some of your neighbouring parishes might have dealt with this. I have send you some local contacts by PM.
    Thanked by 2soarmarc canadash
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,618
    Charles

    Much depends on age and relative experience to pull that off - successfully....
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,072
    I will be frank and honest.

    I have been in that situation a number of times.

    Most likely, EVEN when you do everything that is asked of you, if your philosophy is not the same as that of the pastor, you will not be able to move forward. The pastor MUST be behind you 110% AND be willing to back you up in the face of those who are against you in your choices and preferences, even if your choices and preferences align with those of Holy Mother Church.

    If you want to stay in your job as long a possible, do whatever you are asked. And when you have done that, it still is no guarantee that you will keep your job.

    We live in times of great confusion.

    Pray for wisdom and strength to do what is right for yourself and for all involved. (your family, the parish, etc.)

    2 1 Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation.
    2 2 Humble thy heart, and endure: incline thy ear, and receive the words of understanding: and make not haste in the time of clouds.
    2 3 Wait on God with patience: join thyself to God, and endure, that thy life may be increased in the latter end.
    2 4 Take all that shall be brought upon thee: and in thy sorrow endure, and in thy humiliation keep patience.
    2 5 For gold and silver are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.
    2 6 Believe God, and he will recover thee: and direct thy way, and trust in him. Keep his fear, and grow old therein.

    Sirach

    Thanked by 1Jani
  • kenstb
    Posts: 358
    Remember that you are only six months into your tenure at the parish. Patience and a thick skin are a necessity in the ministry of music. In my parish, I email the pastor a copy of my planner for the Sunday Mass on Wednesday. That way, if he has questions or requests (rarely), he can advise me prior to choir rehearsal. It also avoids surprise on his part.  

    As far as reclaiming the wonderful tradition of Catholic music, you need to bring the congregation along slowly. Perhaps when Lent is over, use the melody of a chant you wish to sing as an instrumental for a few weeks until the congregation is accustomed to it before premiering the piece with your choir.  

    In general, people resist culture shock, even if it's their own music. Take your time. The best teachers don't let on that the lesson is underway. While you have the right goal in mind, be sure that you discuss the speed of your implementation with your pastor. It's more important early in your ministry to develop a level of comfort with the boss.  
  • aria
    Posts: 85
    He actually sent me his comments in an email. ... Since ... 2011, our parish has been singing the ICEL chants for all the ordinary ... We have also sung the Kyrie from Missa de Angelis ...


    Ok, interesting. So the propers are what was new today, then? Well, I think it's a reasonable transition but if the priest is saying to stop then I think you're stuck. :-(

    @kenstb has some good advice about using the melody of a chant as an instrumental for a few weeks before you start singing it. I've heard similar advice from a respected DM in my area. That's a good way to help "bring the congregation along." Unfortunately, it sounds like the one who needs bringing along is the priest...

    All I can say is, tread lightly, be patient, and pray. I wish I had more advice for you. :-)

    Thanked by 1soarmarc
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 995
    Consider Rice's Simple Choral Gradual. Its choral harmonies might be received better than the SEP's monody.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Motyka
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    Thank you all for the advice and encouragement!

    A couple points of clarification that may be helpful:

    - Chant is not new at my parish. We have sung English chant for over two years (ICEL). We have chanted Kyrie XVI and Kyrie VIII. We have sung Togni's quasi-chant "Parish Mass". My pastor doesn't seem to be objecting to chant; just Latin chant.

    - I am in this position purely as a volunteer. At this point, I feel a responsibility to the congregation to work through this. Honestly, even with no Latin and no propers, whatever I'm doing now is better than what may replace it were I to quit.

    So the propers are what was new today, then?

    @aria: The Communion proper was new and Latin was new.

    I suggest you spend less time focusing on defending your choices and more on understanding the pastor's interpretations and goals.

    @Liam: Thanks. This is helpful. I think this is likely the way I will approach it. After all, my pastor is going to have the final say, regardless of what I think.
    Thanked by 3chonak aria CHGiffen
  • It seems to me that if your people have been accustomed to an English chant ordinary for a number of years, you are far ahead of many congregations and should be thankful that your pastor is pleased with it. It may have been better if you had previously discussed your desire to introduce a modicum of Latin and a new item (antiphon) to the liturgy, but it isn't too late amicably to talk this over with him and hope that he will, at least eventually, assent to your designs and see the wisdom in them. Your parish, as you describe it, sounds like one that would be the envy of some who live with priests and bishops who Presume (with groundless* authority) to forbid all chant in any language or form.

    And Chonak is right: don't be too too disappointed that you didn't get to sing Latin and an antiphon during Lent: the last thing we need is for more people to associate these aspects of our heritage only with penitence! Indeed, a better time to introduce them in a not altogether welcoming environment is during a joyful season, or, intermittently, during the enduring lengths of Ordinary Time.

    And, when you have your imminent tete a tete with your priest, don't push too hard: be content to plant seeds if you sense that he isn't ready to acquiesce. Better than during Lent would be to sing a joyful Latin office hymn during Eastertide, or introduce our Lady's Eastertide votive antiphon, Regina caeli laetare after the dismissal. This would be a modest beginning for the faint of heart and the fearful of deeper waters.

    _________________

    *Groundless because it is in direct, willfull, contravention and disobedience of the express will and legislation of the recent oecumenical council and successive popes.
    No priest nor bishop has legislative OR 'pastoral' authority to alter or forbid liturgy and music such as has been enjoined and legislated and catechised by oecumenical council and pope. The word is 'groundless', as in usurped dictatoriality. The Greek word for such as usurp power not given them is, I believe, 'Tyrant'.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • aria
    Posts: 85
    My pastor doesn't seem to be objecting to chant; just Latin chant.


    Ok, gotcha. Hang in there, you can work with that :-) How about Attende Domine in English for the next two Lent seasons and then on the third year, bust out the Latin?

    Or, consider moving even more slowly. For example, a local DM I respect a lot suggests very tiny baby steps like this... say you've got the congregation singing Sanctus XVIII in English. After awhile of using it, switch out *just* the phrase "Hosanna in the highest" to "Hosanna in excelsis".

    Yes, that feels painfully slow to those of us comfortable with Latin but consider that maybe God's only "job" for us to get this ball rolling and no more than that (i.e., we may not see the fruits of our efforts but they are surely not wasted). We've seen that a couple generations of junky music has become the norm. I once knew nothing else, myself. If all we do is expose a generation of Catholics to sacred music, well, maybe within a couple of generations, that'll be the norm for them. :-)

  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    May I also add that innovation could ameliorate some of the tension Father "feels?" We alternated the verses of "Attende" from English to/from Latin with the antiphon in Latin. No complaints. Then we used unaccompanied "Parce Domine" for dismissal as we cannot use our customary organ postlude.
    Regarding the propers, particularly the Communio, it is the rare parish that musn't resort to the use of EMHC's and deacons after the fraction and "Non dignus..." Even in small congregations the antiphon of the Commnio can be chanted immediately upon the celebrant's communication and extended as whatever ministers are present wait to receive under one or both species. And that office belongs to the choir. Then the use of a congregational hymn/alius song effectively functions both as a fourth option and the much misunderstood "hymn of praise." I do not see that as not only illicit, but against the principles of the GIRM. And Rice's "Simple" or "Choral" Communio's artfully can be used as mentioned in lieu of the SEP's or Weber's etc.
    The introits, if utilized as a prelude (not ideal, but practical), can hush the noisiest of congregations, whether in Latin or vernacular. The strophic versions by Pluth and Tietze can be complimented in certain cases by grafting the introit paraphrases onto the hymntune with an appropriate seasonal text.
    Necessity: mother of invention.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Work somewhere else.
  • Have a civilised, collegial, meeting-discussion with your priest, in which you recommend the agenda which you would like to realise over time and diplomatically, and in which you seek sincerely some clarification of his views. He may be amenable to granting you some delegation of authority to carry out your programme while consulting periodically with him. If this doesn't bear fruit, do what Gavin suggests, for it's good advice!
    Thanked by 1soarmarc
  • That was a lot to put on you right after mass, but, unfortunately, I can relate to that kind of "meeting". God bless you as you begin your ministry. I've learned the hard way that music ministry can be extremely challenging and unless you have the support of your pastor behind you, almost impossible.

    I would like to comment on a couple of things. First of all, your pastor's attitude about congregational singing at Offertory. I told my choir that offertory separates the mass between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist and is a good time to reflect on the readings and prepare for the next part, not to mention that the collection is taken up during this time and most people are fumbling in their purses trying to find their envelopes for the basket. My pastor has been supportive. I've had my cantor chant the Attende Domine during Offertory, however, so that we are not in complete silence and it's worked well.

    We started chanting the Sanctus and Agnus Dei from Jubilate Deo and that is working well, although it's taken the last three years for the people to fully grasp the Latin, but they are now singing.

    Chanting the Introit can be a problem with people who have never heard the mass begin that way, and may I suggest that baby steps in that regard be taken.

    The hardest thing to overcome is to understand the directives given in the GIRM and music documents, while still maintaining a good working relationship with your priest and congregation. And no priest is going to want to hear a layperson tell them he is wrong. As everybody has said, baby steps!!!! I learned the hard way, going into my position with gusto and wanting to "change the mass". The priest was new to the parish and wanted me to change all the music from full P&W masses to chant, hymnody and polyphony. Had I taken those baby steps from the onset, things would be very different now. Things have turned around, but not without a lot of tears and stress.

    Baby steps.............
    Thanked by 2kenstb soarmarc
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,890
    Sometimes I think that priests and congregations don't realize fully how much time it takes to actually catch on to new music, especially when they don't have a regular practice during which to learn it. Just because people don't sing in the first few months doesn't mean they have rejected it or can't do it.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,731
    You said you are singing ICEL chant. Many would love to be in that position instead of where they are not allowed to sing chant at all. Is your goal singing beautiful sacred music, or just the restoration of Latin? They are not the same thing. My goal is sacred music. Latin is an incidental. I have been able to freely use Latin, but it was never my primary objective. Do sacred music first then Latin may follow at some point in the future.
    Thanked by 1G
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    Lent probably isn't the best time to introduce Latin anyway ... We don't want these beautiful things to be limited to six weeks of the year!

    @chonak: I certainly did not intend to limit chant or Latin to only the season of Lent. I fully intended to continue through the rest of the year. I think of Sanctus XVIII and Agnus XVIII as the first steps towards eventually singing other Latin Mass settings, e.g. perhaps Missa de Angelis during Christmas/Easter and Orbis Factor during Ordinary Time.

    In an effort to distinguish Lent from the rest of the year (during which we have been singing ICEL chants), I thought singing the same melody in Latin made sense. But I do see your point - perhaps Ordinary Time would be a better time to start with Latin; Starting in Lent and continuing may cause some people to wonder "Why are we still singing Lent music?"
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    @Musicteacher56:
    Chanting the Introit can be a problem with people who have never heard the mass begin that way, and may I suggest that baby steps in that regard be taken.

    Honestly, the best I hoped for with the introit was to eventually sing it as a prelude, as @melofluent mentions above. Or potentially sing an entrance hymn followed by the antiphon itself. But this isn't even on my radar at the moment.

    ...Offertory...is a good time to reflect on the readings and prepare for the next part, not to mention that the collection is taken up during this time and most people are fumbling in their purses trying to find their envelopes for the basket.

    My pastor has previously told me that Communion is the best time for choir-only hymns since people are not carrying their hymnals with them while processing forward to receive. This is why I saw no issue with singing a choir-only Communion proper. But your comment is certainly a valid argument for choir-only music at Offertory as well. I think it is much better that the congregation pay attention to the actual liturgical rite of the Offertory procession rather than have their heads buried in their hymn books.
  • It's worth noting that the GIRM really does envisage common singing of the antiphon during the reception of Holy Communion, see paragraph 86. Although it does also allow for a hymn "after communion" (paragraph 88) which seems to me more useful since noone in my wants to carry a book and sing while in the Communion procession. The pastor's desire that just one thing should be sung is not out of keeping with this instruction, and repeatedly singing the antiphon is just the ticket. Even easier than repeating the Responsorial psalm, since the Communion antiphon typically gets more repetitions.

    In my parish we sing the Simple Choral proper during communion and usually sing a hymn from the CBW afterwards -- although admittedly sometimes not a hymn but a choir set piece, and also usually starting before the Communion rite is wholly finished. A nearby parish does similarly except that the antiphon is the Latin Gregorian from the Gradual, the psalm still in English. There, the psalm is printed with many more verses than needed, so the cantor never runs out (if he dies he just starts again).

    So perhaps your pastor, who sounds pretty reasonable, would go for such a both-and arrangement, as providing the proper, following the GIRM, and providing hymn-singing: if the psalm were provided with plenty of verses and antiphon repetitions, and the hymn were saved for a little later, and with a little pause, so that it seems to be a post-communion.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,300
    (if he dies he just starts again)

    Good advice for all of us, Andrew.
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • Resisting temptation to edit...
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    Again, thank you all for the suggestions. I hear the "baby steps" refrain loud and clear. I am certainly going to make the best of this situation for now and do the best I can given the circumstances... until perhaps an opportunity arises for me elsewhere.

    To be honest, I think my pastor's objections are not based in concern for the congregation, but rather in his own personal preferences. He loves singing at Mass and has no problem leading hymns by himself (when there is no choir, e.g. weekday Mass or often during the summer). But "The mystery of faith" is usually the most he will ever sing of the Mass itself. And he's either unwilling or unable to sing in Latin, thus he avoids it.

    This past Sunday was by no means the first time that Latin was heard at my parish. In fact, at one of our other Masses, the choir director regularly sings the entire ordinary in Latin; She does this one Sunday each month (I just learned this yesterday). Conveniently, our associate pastor always gets scheduled to celebrate that Mass. The difference is that she has been directing music at our parish for 30+ years, so she wields more influence than me. But I don't mean to dwell on parish politics...

    As an aside: After Mass this past Sunday (well before I read my pastor's comments), a parishioner came up to the choir loft to compliment me on the music. He told me that even though he couldn't remember all the words in Latin, hearing the Agnus Dei made him "feel alive" and created something "out of the ordinary." ... And I said, "exactly!" ... It's comments like this that keep me going in this ministry, despite the roadblocks I may run into.
  • Exactly the same thing happened at my parish at noon on Ash Wednesday, Marc, after we sang Agnus Dei in Latin for the first time in anyone's memory. I hope it's something in the much anticipated Ontario Spring air.
    Thanked by 1soarmarc
  • G
    Posts: 1,383
    As an aside: After Mass this past Sunday (well before I read my pastor's comments), a parishioner came up to the choir loft to compliment me on the music. He told me that even though he couldn't remember all the words in Latin, hearing the Agnus Dei made him "feel alive" and created something "out of the ordinary." ... And I said, "exactly!" ... It's comments like this that keep me going in this ministry, despite the roadblocks I may run into.

    That's not an aside, that's the lede! :oD

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
    Thanked by 1soarmarc
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,987
    Francis says the pastor has to be behind you 110 percent. I agree. In other words, the pastor has to be in the lead. He has to have been convinced by someone else--not you--before he will believe the GIRM.

    Since he isn't convinced, I wouldn't even try to change his mind.

    If they have been happy clappy for 20 years, there are many people in the parish who will agree with the singalong style the pastor has grown accustomed to. There are also many who won't, but that is not going to sway anything. If the campfire people haven't complained already, and I would be very surprised if that weren't part of what is behind the email, then they'll complain pretty soon. At that point, the pastor is either leading the charge or not, and if not, there goes your program.
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,890
    Kathy is correct. Fr has to be on your side all the way because of the happy clappy people who will complain because they're not getting their favorite campfire songs.
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    Fr has to be on your side all the way because of the happy clappy people who will complain because they're not getting their favorite campfire songs.

    Well, I haven't sung "Here I Am, Lord" in six months...
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 450
    In this case I'd say work on improving the english music first. As much as I don't like the incremental approach, in this case it's the only way. For years, we've had to endure a ratio of fluff-to-substance at about 3:1. Simply start inverting the ratio. As Bishop Sheen would say, don't force it out, crowd it out.

    And play the happy clappy stuff at dirge tempo and look gloomy while doing it which, given the soul-sucking nature of the music, is true enough. :)
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,890
    Yeah Marc I avoid On Eagles Wings as much as possible. Did it once or twice last year, only once this year so far.
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 450
    Well, I haven't sung "Here I Am, Lord" in six months...


    Yeah Marc I avoid On Eagles Wings as much as possible. Did it once or twice last year, only once this year so far.


    The thaw continues. Thanks for the morale boost!
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,890
    The great part about it is that nobody complains. Some people want you to think that if you don't do those types of songs, riots will ensue.
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    I have avoided On Eagles' Wings entirely. I did try singing Be Not Afraid as written once... That was a train wreck. But I really haven't had anyone asking me for these songs, nor anyone complaining that we're not singing them.

    On the other hand, I have had people thank me for singing traditional hymns, such as "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name," which I program frequently. I'd say a good portion of my congregation does prefer the classic hymnody.

    I give credit to our previous pastor for banishing P&W songs and requiring the ICEL chants. I assure you we wouldn't be having this discussion today were he still our parish priest. But as several of you have pointed out, we are still better off than a lot of parishes...

    I recently spoke with a choir director from a parish nearby. Though musically-talented, he had absolutely no clue what I meant by a "chant" setting of the Mass. He also expressed his discontent with the lack of Haas, Haugen, and Joncas in his parish's new hymnals...
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,618
    Maybe he doesn't want Latin because it's just too new. Perhaps Syriac would do:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyXcJmuxzm0
  • The appeal to Syriac is interesting, but is this example all that different from some happy-clappy combo-mass music I've heard in our parishes? In our zeal to preserve and restore the best in our heritage while pointing to older cultures and the orthodox, we sometimes forget that bad taste finds a home almost everywhere.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,300
    He doesn't want Latin
    because it's too new;
    and you don't want Schutte.
    Would Syriac do?
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,113
    He doesn't want Latin
    because it's too new;


    The very definition of irony.
    Thanked by 3francis CHGiffen kenstb
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,072
    soarmarc

    I didn't realize that you were a volunteer until after I had posted my original comment, which may make a difference in your being able to continue in your progress apart from those of us who try to stay alive while working in the profession of sacred music. Let us know how things turn out as time goes on.

    As you can see from another 'touchy' thread on the forum, money can be a great distraction and cause many to err.

    To you, Godspeed.

    6 9 For they that will become rich fall into temptation and into the snare of the devil and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition. nam qui volunt divites fieri incidunt in temptationem et laqueum et desideria multa inutilia et nociva quae mergunt homines in interitum et perditionem
    6 10 For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith and have entangled themselves in many sorrows. radix enim omnium malorum est cupiditas quam quidam appetentes erraverunt a fide et inseruerunt se doloribus multis
    6 11 But thou, O man of God, fly these things: and pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness. tu autem o homo Dei haec fuge sectare vero iustitiam pietatem fidem caritatem patientiam mansuetudinem

    1 Timothy

    (Not that I ever became or intended to become rich being a Church musician, but others who are and use money for evil reasons can certainly bring them down.)
    Thanked by 1soarmarc
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,027
    I avoid On Eagles Wings as much as possible. Did it once or twice last year, only once this year so far.
    That might be once too often.
  • Paul_D
    Posts: 133
    That Syriac hymn Liam posted is stunning:

    Day is dawning upon us; the power of darkness is fading away.
    From the true Light there arises for us the light which illumines our darkened eyes.
    His glory shines upon the world and enlightens the very depths of the abyss.
    Death is annihilated, night has vanished and the gates of Sheol are broken.
    Creatures lying in darkness from ancient times are clothed in light.
    The dead arise from the dust and sing because they have a Savior. ...
    Let us glorify the majesty of the Son and give thanks to the almighty Father.
    When he manifests himself, the saints awaiting Him in weariness and sorrow will go forth to meet him with lighted lamps.
    The angels and guardians of heaven will rejoice in the glory of the upright and just people of earth. ...
    --- St. Ephrem the Syrian, 4th c.

    We need more hymns like that -- in English!
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I avoid On Eagles Wings as much as possible. Did it once or twice last year, only once this year so far.
    That might be once too often.

    Well, the one day was yesterday, so OEW's ship has sailed for this year..
    Thanked by 1Spriggo
  • Yes, the hymn itself is stunning.
    Not so the music, the Levant's equivalent of American sacro-pop.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    In the GIRM it does say something about having a hymn after the communion proper as a thanksgiving for the congregation to sing.
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    Then the use of a congregational hymn/alius song effectively functions both as a fourth option and the much misunderstood "hymn of praise." I do not see that as not only illicit, but against the principles of the GIRM.

    @melofluent: Sorry, you lost me in the triple (quadruple?) negative. Are you suggesting that we sing the antiphon while the EMHC's are receiving Communion, and then sing a hymn while the rest of the congregation is receiving? Or are you saying this practice would be against the principles of the GIRM?

    The GIRM for Canada reads slightly differently than the US version, but is effectively equivalent:
    87. In the dioceses of Canada singing at Communion may be chosen from among the following: the antiphon from the Graduale Romanum, with or without the Psalm, or the antiphon with Psalm from the Graduale Simplex, or some other suitable liturgical chant approved by the Conference of Bishops of Canada. This is sung either by the choir alone or by the choir or a cantor with the people.
    ...
    88. When the distribution of Communion is over, if appropriate, the Priest and faithful pray quietly for some time. If desired, a Psalm or other canticle of praise or a hymn may also be sung by the whole congregation.
  • ChoirpartsChoirparts
    Posts: 142
    Likely Fr. Micheal Joncas never envisioned publication and the popularity of “On Eagles Wings” when he wrote it for the funeral of a close friend. Perhaps one will never fully know which hymn will touch someone’s soul in their time of trouble.