The best possible use of pastoral time (after the Liturgy itself)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    In a recent Chant Cafe blog post, I claimed that the very best use of pastoral time, after the Liturgy, is the education of children in Gregorian chant.

    Does this sound like an exaggeration? I don't think so. I think that giving children the beauty and prayer of chant should be our #2 pastoral priority. The formative years are a "golden hour"-- and they are slipping by at this very moment.
    Thanked by 2JulieColl CHGiffen
  • I agree. So little "pastoral time" is spent on music anyway. I understand that Pastors are busy people and they don't always have time for "extras" like music (we all know music isn't extra, but unfortunately in Western society, it's viewed that way because after all, isn't it just entertainment?
    Thanked by 2Kathy CHGiffen
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    Another way to put it: Gregorian Chant is the best catechesis and faith formation you can give your parishioners.
  • Kathy,

    I'm not sure I put teaching children Gregorian Chant 2nd. Third, perhaps, behind teaching authentic Catholic attitude to participation in the liturgy. (Teaching the beauty of the liturgy and drawing the next logical step: how to respond the proper understanding of the liturgy; in my mind, are two steps.)

    Might I recommend that part of the teaching here is in the introduction of beautiful Catholic poetry, already designed for the liturgy or devotion, even if we read them in translation. The musical aspect isn't negligible, but see the beauty of the text to encourage them to worship God:

    Adoro te
    Vexilla Regis
    Jesu Dulcis Memoria
    Lauda Sion
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    I couldn't agree more, Kathy! We started a children's schola in October, and we originally had them sing at Mass once a month, but they are learning so fast that we are now going to twice a month.

    I'm finding that there are so many ways the children can coordinate their singing with the adult schola. We can alternate verses on the Kyrie and Gloria; they can sing chant in alternatim with polyphony, and they greatly enhance the singing of our entrance and closing hymns.

    They are also beginning to learn the propers, starting with the Communion antiphon and the Introit.

    The children's voices bring such joy. My husband always tells them sotto voce before each Mass: Don't be afraid! Fill this chapel with the sound of your voices, and by golly, they do! I think it really helps them to sing in alternatim with the adults. It's a very natural and confidence-boosting step.

    You can see how they have begun to take ownership of the music and how they take to chant like ducks to water. If we accomplish nothing else, I will always be happy that these young folks will carry the music of the Kyriale, the propers, the chant antiphons and sacred hymnody with them forever wherever they go. What we learn as children stays with us the longest.
  • I agee with Kathy, that this is an important activity. My childrens schola don't sing at Mass, but at Eucharistic adoration, which is for them. Great opportunity for catechesis prayer, music, a bit of history, art appreciation, you name. There is a bit of everything in there.
    BTW I am developing a schola awards system, for them to work towards. My hope is to make it a freely available and adaptable programme for anyone with a youth schola. Let me know if you are interested and I can share what I have so far.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I find this statement to be hyperbole. Not far off from the truth, mind you. But still, hyperbole.

    What is "pastoral time", for that matter?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    By pastoral time I just mean the face to face time that parish staff and volunteer leaders spend with individuals and groups.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • I'd amend the idea to "MUSIC," not just Gregorian chant.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    I'd stand by my original expression, for now at least.

    a. I was thinking it was hyperbole too, but then I realized thst I couldn't think of anything so important.

    b. Most music isn't perfect for prayer and recollection, and relatively little is genius quality. Of that "little," almost none can be grasped by pre-tens. Chant can. So even on a music-ed basis, chant is uniquely valuable.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen bonniebede
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    Bonnie, I'd be very interested in hearing more about your schola award system. I'm assuming this is based on knowledge of chant? Sounds like an awesome idea. My girls wear berets and sweaters so maybe they could earn chant scholar pins for their berets. : )
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    I'd like to hear about the awards system too. It was something I wanted to do but didn't know where to begin.

    Does it deserve a thread of its own?
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    Maybe so. This sounds fantastic. Chant Scholar I, Chant Scholar II, Cantrix, Cantor . . .

    I'm trying to think of the possible levels. Successful completion of Noel's chant books, Words with Wings or other chant books could figure in there, too.

    Speaking of chant, has anyone seen Fr. Eduard Perrone's online chant instruction course on Michael Voris' website? It looks quite impressive.
  • Great thread!
    What a relief to know that the best use of pastoral time prob isn't rereading looooong wedding email chains. :)

    At first I thought the statement might be hyperbolic, too. But then I thought and thought, too. As a musician working in a parish, I can't think of a better use of regular pastoral time, either...

    It never ceases to amaze me how quickly and thoroughly the youth learn Gregorian chant. The language hurdle is really nothing for them, as they have no Latin allergy. No major pitch issues caused by years of bad vocal habits. Much less fear in general. Many have time and computer skills to explore sounds of sacred music on their own- and they are excited that the music they sing is sung by Catholics around the world.

    Biggest joy- the prayers mean a lot to them. They are able to go deeply into their faith and devotional life, and they enter into the shared litirgical life of the Church. It's great catechesis.

    I also use prizes along with the games. If someone else doesn't start a thread about that, I will as soon as I can!

    Now I feel much better for sitting around and thinking up pedagogical (mostly solfege and rhythm) games.

  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    "SOLFEDGE" SYSTEM? - at least it wasn't "SOULFUDGE"
    Thanked by 2JulieColl Gavin
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    Pastoral time not being used for golf? This is sacrilege!!!