My priest opposes Latin hymns and sung propers. Advice?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,535
    Well, FWIW, whatever communion chant is being sung *during* the rite of Communion, it begins while the celebrant is consuming Communion, not after...
    Thanked by 2G kenstb
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    communion chant ... begins while the celebrant is consuming Communion, not after

    Can anyone tell me whence comes the resistance to this (for a nice change,) clear rubric?

    I've been "corrected," and in the day when I had some little responsibility was unable to successfully change the praxis as it stands in many, if not most parishes.

    In the "old" GIRM or the "old" Rite was it very clearly the other way?

    Were people ever fixated on watching the priest consume the way they were on watching the elevation?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,535
    Well, IIRC from being helpfully corrected on this point in the past, the rubric for the Solemn High Mass was that that chant also began during the celebrant's communion.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,401
    G, very good question.

    The good part of the intractability is, imho, the sense that some people have of a Communion procession. That is not a bad idea I suppose. So the Communion chant is for the Communion procession.

    It disunites the two Communions, though: the Communion of the priest and the Communion of the people.
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,034
    Also because the period after the Lord, I am not worthy, through to the beginning of the Please join in our communion hymn, is one of the few periods of silence in the rite in practice.
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    At my parish, the practice has generally been for the choir to receive Communion first, but we must wait for an EMHC to come up to the choir loft. Meanwhile, the priest/deacon/EMHCs begin distributing Communion to the congregation. So, by the time any singing starts, the Communion procession is well underway.

    Also, our practice has always been to ring the bells when the priest drinks from the chalice. So, it would be a little odd to start the Communion chant precisely "while the Priest is receiving the Sacrament," then have bells rung in the middle. Starting the chant immediately after the priest receives ends up being more practical.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    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?


    marc, yes, that is indeed what I'm offering as a viable solution in the former question; OTOH mathematical realities with many modern parishes who commune under both species mitigate against a strict interpretation of the GIRM.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,535
    It's just not a good moment for silence (because it obscures the essential unity of receiving communion); the ritual envisions silence in another place. Ideally, there's no need for a specific aural announcement of the communion chant.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,612
    We sing the Communion Proper as the priest drinks from the chalice. If it is a choir mass, I play (except during Lent) while the choir receives. Afterwards, the hymn begins. I don't want to turn that hymn into "99 bottles of beer" to cover all of the communion procession. Repeating the same verses again and again is ridiculous. All this is a bit more continuous at masses with a cantor.

    In reality, doing exactly what the GIRM asks is difficult if not impossible. What were those crazy bishops thinking?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,535
    I love psalmody for the Communion chant. Psalms 34, 78 (78:24-25 is a great antiphon text for communion even joined to other psalmody), 84 and the Magnificat, just for starters. Worth having all in staple repertoire for the congregation. You can move from one to the next as needed as well.
    Thanked by 1Andrew_Malton
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,673
    Adam Bartlett has versions of Psalm 34 in all 8 modes available at http://www.illuminarepublications.com

    If you sing the actual Communion Proper and need to elongate it afterward, just continue on with Psalm 34 in the same mode.
    Thanked by 1soarmarc
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,481
    If I may make another suggestion for the communion chant. It sounds like your priest would be a fan of Taize. This is how we started and then made the gentle transition to SEP. It worked very well, and at the same time we were blessed with a priest who wanted propers and more Latin. But no one noticed the transition. Some Taize is in latin and can be nicely matched up with the proper refrain or psalm of the day. The verses can be taken from the psalm of the proper, easily found online in the Simple English Propers.

    I think we will be noticing differences in those graduating from St. Augustine's Seminary in the coming years.
    Thanked by 1Paul_D
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    @canadash Funny you should say that, because my priest is indeed a huge fan of Taize. We have even had several special Taize masses over the past year. Although, to be fair, all the chants we have sung have been in English. But it's certainly something I will look into. Can you point me to any specific chants you have used during Lent or Easter?

    We will certainly see differences in newly ordained priests. I know two seminarians who are currently at St. Augustine's, and from what I've seen and heard, the Church's sacred music tradition is alive and well.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,481
    O Christe Domino - Used as a refrain during Lent.
    Crucem Tuam - Lent
    Throw in a few English ones for good measure. "Jesus Remember Me" and "Stay With Me" along with lots of chanted verses work well at the veneration, or communion on Good Friday.

    Laudate Dominum - Easter
    Jubilate Deo - Easter
    Laudate Omnes Gentes - Easter

    Magnificat - Marian (May/October/Marian Feasts)

    Ubi Caritas: Holy Thursday: Offertory

    Veni Sancte Spiritus: During the Baptisms/ Confirmations @ the Easter Vigil

    I will also suggest the "Parce Domine" by Chuck on this forum found here: http://www3.cpdl.org/wiki/images/e/e3/Parce_Domine_with_Psalm_51.pdf
    Learn it in English. You can just sing the melody for the verses. Next year, you can sing it in English one week and then in Latin the next... sneaky!

    I can't think of more off the top of my head. If your priest is a fan, he probably has some books somewhere.

    Does your priest like Spanish? Polish? What about French?... though with Quebec's talk of separation, this may cause issues. (purple font)

    PM where you are located. I'm close to TO as well.
    Thanked by 1soarmarc
  • It comes to mind that there are a number of rather short, quickly and easily learnt, Latin chants for the joyful seasons of Easter, Christmas, Pentecost, etc., as well as penitential seasons, readily available in Liber Cantualis and other readily available books. At your next meeting with your pastor sing one of these with a joyful smile on your face...

    For instance:
    Surrexit Domine - - - LC p. 100
    Ascendit Deus - - - - LC p. 70
    Spiritus Paraclitus - - - LC p. 99

    These, both words and music, are so easy and immediately attractive that your congregations could learn them effortlessly. Even people who resist chant might find them irresistable.

    Liber Cantualis has also quite a few other brief and attractive chants that would be ideal to fit in at offertory or communion. These are so disarming that only the incorrigably and purposefully grumpy could fail to be enchanted by them.
    Children love them.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • aria
    Posts: 85
    Another Taize piece that comes to mind for Lent (esp. Good Friday) is Adoramus Te, O Christe: http://cantusmundi.blogspot.com/2010/04/adoramus-te-o-christe-taize.html and http://cantusmundi.blogspot.com/2013/03/adoramus-te-christe-taize.html .
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    So, the other shoe has dropped... I had a meeting with my pastor.

    In summary, I think he has conceded the Communion proper to me (the lesser of 3 evils, he called it). However, he was not open to dialogue when it came to Latin, a "foreign and dead language" as he put it. Evidently, someone forgot to inform the Vatican.

    Essentially, he believes that in order for the congregation to participate in the Mass, they must be able to sing. But reading between the lines, he has to be able to sing.

    From my priest's perspective, last Sunday's Mass was a series of unfortunate events: An entrance hymn he didn't know (Forty Days and Forty Nights), an offertory hymn he had never heard (Attende Domine), and an Agnus Dei in Latin that he couldn't sing. Apparently, my saving grace was singing Lord Who Throughout These Forty Days---a hymn he knew well---as the recessional (This explains why he uncharacteristically waited for all 5 verses before exiting).

    On Attende Domine, I suggested singing the verses in English and only the refrain in Latin; no dice... "Why would you do that when you have an entire book to choose from?" ...that book being Gather, but let's not go there. Honestly, I'm reluctant to even sing Attende Domine in English this Sunday, but I'll give it a go.

    For the ordinary, looks like I will just revert back to the ICEL chants. And I'll bring back the de Angelis Kyrie at Easter.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the other choirs at my parish does in fact sing a full Latin ordinary once a month (They would probably sing it every week if they could). They sing at an 8:30 morning Mass, but my pastor believes that the 8:30 crowd is different from the 12 noon crowd. Apparently, the presence of children and families at the noon Mass precludes me from singing Latin.

    Not much more for me to say... I think my current situation is unsustainable. As many of you have already said, my pastor must share my vision or else it's not going to work. I'll have to pray and discern whether I'm meant to continue in my position or to start looking for greener pastures.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    See if you can compromise and have a mixture of the two. Evidently, as the parish has had some exposure to Latin and chant they are used to it.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    Essentially, he believes that in order for the congregation to participate in the Mass, they must be able to sing. But reading between the lines, he has to be able to sing.


    Yes, that's very true. I've noticed in some of the priests with whom I have worked that they feel very strongly about the necessity for them to be able to lead singing themselves, as if "the people" won't do it without them.

    My other issue is with the whole notion of "participation." There is a very grave disagreement among people in the church about what this actually means. For some, it specifically means singing. For some, it only means doing the spoken responses; and for others, it means being present in mind, body, and spirit for the reception of the Eucharist. SC does mention the participation of the faithful in "...songs, psalms, etc..." but nowhere does it say that they have to be singing 100% of the time there is music. That, at least, is my take on it. I disagree with those that propose that "participation" means that the congregation is able to (and does!) sing EVERYTHING that we do, and that we are not allowed to do ANYTHING that they wouldn't be able to. I have two main problems with this: 1. It ignores the fact that people can participate at Mass through internal dialogue (prayer) and reflection (also a form of prayer) and that just because they are not singing, or not able to, does not mean that they are not participating, nor does it mean that they are not able to participate; and 2. It ignores the fact that in order to participate in any singing at all, unless you have been to music school or trained in singing in some other way, you must be able to learn the music BEFORE you can sing it: it doesn't matter how "easy" or "singable" the music is: if you haven't learned it, you can't sing it; which also takes a dig at hymns that are "forbidden" because they aren't "singable."

    I also think that this is a political issue, not a musical or administrative one. There are people who want something, and Latin and propers get in the way of that, so they spin it to make it look like those things are so very bad for the Church and that "the people" won't "participate" if we use them. I've actually heard those arguments before. It's as if "participation" has become a buzz-word used to manipulate the clergy into doing what "the people" (the 2% club) want them to do.
    Thanked by 1soarmarc
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,401
    I would definitely head for greener pastures, but in the meantime get the parish through Easter in the classiest possible way. Every hymnal has some non-terrible hymns in it. I don't know how many of them would be familiar to a priest who has never learned Forty Days (!) but there are still plenty to choose from. The Cry of the Poor is not terrible, for example, and you can squeeze two more uses out of your recessional. Does he know I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say, or The King of Love? These are not terrible.

    No Latin. He has made that clear and he is in charge.

    He is probably one of the many priests who were told in seminary that FCAP begins with him. He HAS to sing everything, he probably truly believes, God bless him. Bad news all around.
    Thanked by 2soarmarc Jenny
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,535
    "my pastor believes that the 8:30 crowd is different from the 12 noon crowd"

    The widely unspoken reality in many, perhaps most, American Catholic parishes is that they are better understood as a federation of co-existing sub-parishes that share sacraments, space and staff. While there are people who might regularly attend weekend Mass at differing times, that's not typical of people in general. So, the "crowd" at each Mass may tend to have a distinct personality. I actually prefer that this is acknowledged rather than attempt uniformity across all Masses.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Do they know "return to God?" I find it quite tolerable. You could try that.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,612
    I don't know where you are and how often they rotate pastors. If he will be leaving in the near future, then go along to get along. You may have better luck with the next guy. Other than that, you probably need to look for another job in a better place.

    He is correct about differing congregations. I have at least 4 that share the same building. Then there are two others that I don't deal with which have nothing much in common with the Sunday morning groups.
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 638
    Liam's mention of sub-parishes has been my experience as well. Each congregation has it's own distinct personality based on the people who regularly attend ONLY that Mass.
  • soarmarcsoarmarc
    Posts: 42
    So, the "crowd" at each Mass may tend to have a distinct personality. I actually prefer that this is acknowledged rather than attempt uniformity across all Masses.

    Completely valid point. I think the question is, to what extent should this affect the choices we make in sacred music and liturgy? And to what extent do we strive for universality?

    When is it more important to—instead of giving people what they want to hear—give people what they need to hear?
    Thanked by 2francis Adam Wood
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,535
    Universality does not mean uniformity. The rite offers several options. Uniformity has no necessary correlation to assuring that people are being given what they need vs what they want. It just makes life easier for the people who are providing music at multiple Masses; that's not irrelevant, but it's a pragmatic concern that ranks below other considerations, that's all.

    On a somewhat related note, I find priests and musicians who participate in multiple celebrations of Mass for a given day are vulnerable to thinking of progressive solemnity as involving differentiating among those celebrations, wheres as the "sub-parish" that attends each Mass has no experience whatsoever of that kind and only experiences differentiation as between different days of celebration, which is more of appears to the intention behind the idea.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    There is great wisdom, as ever, in Liam's observation. And as I type, Liam's response to marc jumped in line, which basically states what I'm going to also offer.
    marc's question of prioritizing "importance" between what the faithful need versus want remains in my estimation an unnecessary idyll, if not idol that trips so many of "us" up as we move about looking for "greener pastures."
    Strident voices who adhere to the extreme poles of the combatants in the music wars insist upon essentially orthodoxies they've constructed from, ultimately, their own conclusions about what the church has legislated and taught is fit practice. And from that we can expect a pile and layers of words, citations, anecdotes, statistics and declarations to proceed to all like prophecy. Sometimes it causes me to tremble... because it indicates that we (directors) appear to be a class of artists/apostles of talkers, rather than listeners. And that's sadly ironic because we often admonish our singers that our art requires the use of the sense of hearing/listening as more beneficial to the art of singing than that of the larynx and the "voice." In that light, it is no small wonder that most of us are constantly dissatisfied with our career situations, are flummoxed by local controversies and contention, and as I've said, move on, thus creating another "Groundhog Day" for the next sacrificial lamb who takes up the DM mantle.
    Here's my advice, succinct and direct:
    1. Work with what you have in front of you, both in repertoire and personnel. Transform yourself before trying to transform the people to whom you're responsible.
    2. Envision the trajectory of what you feel needs to be accomplished over an undertermined, indefinite period of time according to-
    A. The standards of beauty that Dr. Kwasniewski's writings indicate are the bedrock of an informed artist.
    B. The standards of performance that Todd Flowerday correctly insists must be attendant to any repertoire chosen to accompany ritual and worship.
    C. The standards of professionalism, personal interaction and positivism that Carl Diershow advocates for us all.

    Finally, remember Ecclesiates, for everything there is a season. A time to think inside the box; a time to think outside the box.
    Thanked by 1Jenny
  • aria
    Posts: 85
    I'm sorry to hear things have taken a turn for the worse... if you can stay there while keeping love and charity in your heart, I encourage you to consider sticking with it.

    You mentioned that there are a lot of families at the Mass for which you lead music. If all you do is ICEL chants and every hymn (in English) that you can "get away with", you will have done much to make sacred music part of the those children's musical being. Even just getting the melodies in their ears (and their souls) is a great foundation. Maybe all you'll ever get to do is lay the groundwork for even better music in the future, but that's still a worthy endeavor.

    Look at it this way: If your priest grew up Catholic and doesn't know a smidge of Latin (even just for Mass) AND he doesn't know Forty Days and Forty Nights it's not really his "fault". He obviously didn't hear those things in Mass growing up. If you abandon sacred music in your parish by moving on (and no one takes up the cause), that'll be another generation of kids (some of whom might even be called to the priesthood) who grow up just like him. Sad, sad, sad.

    If you can stand it, stick around and, in your own, subtle way, keep sacred music alive.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    baloney. The Mass is the mass. This catering to preferences, tastes and parish clicks is nonsense and is the reason there is such rampant confusion and the "Church is in eclipse". (see La Salette).

    If you want to invent your own flavor of religion, go start a nuchurch. Many have the philosophy for remaking the liturgy into what they want as opposed to what the Church prescribes. That is why we have priests kowtowing to money and influence instead of to the sacrifice. It's just a subtle excuse to justify the novel and the false pretense of the need for multiculturalism and diversity and innovation which is the way of the new age and relativism ("we can placate everyone"). It will ultimately find its end in a "universal" religion that embraces not only differences in musical taste, cultural distinctions and inclusive leanings, but will also include the worship of false dieties. (see world day of peace)

  • Liam
    Posts: 4,535
    And have a nice day.
  • While I agree with those who call for a degree of flexibility, I think you need to get out of there. A priest who will actually forbid Latin, calling it (in his words) "a foreign and dead language," has more issues than just Latin. You are dealing with a pastor who:

    1. Has no idea what he is talking about.
    2. Has no qualms about creating sweeping policies based on that ignorance.

    Take care of yourself and your family, and find a better situation for your own sanity.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,067
    Liam's observation is pretty accurate anywhere, including EF oratories (even in them you'll have a "low Mass crowd", etc., etc.) I think everyone has to find what they feel are non-negotiables. For me, it's actually not Latin, although we do Latin at all the Masses here fairly often. My big emphasis would have to be that the modal system and chant are not the enemy, and in fact tie us closer together as Catholics in prayer. This weekend, we're doing the Gregorian introit at 11, while the non-choir Masses have one of Columba Kelly's short refrains. The communion at all Masses this week is Adam Bartlett's. We're learning Kyrie XVII at the 11AM, but probably not until a few weeks from now at the other Masses.

    Like you (OP) and Andrew say above, you just have to know your "tolerance". Being naturally pessimistic, I tend to worry that any change could bring on an even worse result, but that's no way to live your life. In addition, too long in a place that's not right for you (even if you're doing the job well, good people there you don't want to leave, like where you're living, etc.) will probably affect your health and family life. That's really not good, and over time would really be terrible. I'll say a prayer for you at stations tonight!
    Thanked by 1soarmarc
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    And you have a true day. (don't really subscribe to nice at the cost of truth... i lived in the 'nice' church for decades and then God knocked me off my horse. i was the example of 'nice', traveling internationally and pandering their wares, appearing on TV promoting 'nice'. been there, done that, repented, and am forgiven. now on with the TRUTH.)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,612
    What is truth? Wait, I have heard that before...
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    .
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    This place just gets better and better ...
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    charlesW

    What is true for you may not be true for me!?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,401
    Guys. Relax. Tomorrow everybody can have a burger and cheer up.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,612
    No we can't have burgers during the Great Fast. ;-)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,401
    Well, the Latins can, and that'll help! ;)
    Thanked by 1francis
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,612
    Have some good chocolate. It's probably better for you. :-) This will be true chocolate consistent with the true faith.
    Thanked by 3Kathy canadash Liam
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Humming "Past time with good company".....
    And I love seafood, t' boot!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,865
    Sympathies, soarmarc.

    The fact that your priest never heard of "Attende Domine" tells you he had a deprived liturgical formation, and perhaps that is what he is following. With "Attende", at least you can point to the fact that it's commonly printed in mainstream "missalette" booklets and hymnals, so you can prove it's not something known only to you.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    There's a very lovely ATB version arranged by one Tyler Rusco at CPDL that we're using to augment the hymn this season. Quite accessible.

    http://www2.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php?search=attende+domine+ATB&fulltext=Search&title=Special:Search
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen canadash
  • To priests dealing with a director of music who chooses music he does not know is like having a bookkeeper who has a different way of accounting for cash in and out - a frustration and a nuisance.

    Expecting them to be convinced by you that your way is better is nothing but a nuisance to them. They've attended many more Masses than you have and your way does not fit the model that they are used to.

    Get along or get out. Trying to "change" them implies rather strongly that you know more than they do...not a very good position to be in.

    As Mellowly Unaffluent said above, if you are leaning towards a pole that strays from what he knows, you are an irritant and a pain, since you are not asking him what he wants and doing it. He signs the checks, not Rome, the GIRM or Musica Sacra.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I resemble that remark! I tell ya, I can't get no r-spect! (Whatever Barry wants, Barry gets.) Take my wife, please! Badaboom.
    Actually true vets of this scene know that many of us do "know more than they do....," but it isn't ever prudent to shove that reality down their throats, fo sho'.
    I don't completely subscribe to the two G strategy for myself, though (go to get along.) I do very much believe that another G stratagem does work and yield positive results:
    GUIDE 'em. And whenever you really and gradually shift the pair o' dimes, it doesn't hurt to give them credit for dreaming up the notion in the first place. "Yes, Father really wanted me to teach the people about the proper processionals, wasn't that GREAT? (Tony the Tiger voice.)"
  • stay salty, even though all people give bitter experience.

    I have similar story, in our Cathedral, they need additional choir group to fill in. Our schola cantorum happily and voluntary want to serve Church. We have been gave 5 A.M. Mass time. So we are prepare and serve the Church.
    After three times we serve the church, when we made ourself ready from 4 A.M. (this is traditionaly 1 hour before mass we readying ourself, wear choir vestment and warm up) , another assigned pastor's choir group is come. They said suddenly, our service is not require again with gentle manner, kick us, in 5 A.M. mass.

    smile :)
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,401
    Ouch. That is early morning purgatory! God bless you.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,865
    If your group does not have an opportunity to sing at Mass, you might like to start singing Vespers together weekly. It does not require the presence of a priest, even.
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    Wow, Jeff, that you can tell that story with a smile is evidence of a real understanding of musicians role as servants. With Kathy, I say, God bless you.

    O Mellow One, I thought you were speaking of me when you talked about G strategies, and I hadn't recalled offering any such. Through my bad, through my bad, through my self-centered bad.

    They've attended many more Masses than you have
    Noel, that's not always the case, and is sometimes part of the problem - younger, or at least newer priests have trouble acknowledging longer experience of these things in many a layman, or worse, laywoman.
    And even priests with many years experience are sometimes no match for Church Ladies in this department.
    One of my parishes, the liturgist and pastor had been grammar school classmates, and she had been a daily communicant long before he thought of going to seminary. He told me once that he only felt his job was safe because he knew Theresa Rose couldn't lift the monstrance.

    But let us all look to the future. There are a number of "innovations" (singing the verbum domine dialogues, having a Corpus Christi procession,) that I plumped for every year for seven years without success.
    I thought the pastor's "maybe next year, baby steps for now," was his way of dismissing me kindly, benigne, but since my tenure many have been instituted, bit by bit.

    We must continue to plant trees we may not see grow.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)