Praise and Worship, and School Masses
  • mbwittry
    Posts: 35
    Dear Friends,

    I am in need of some articles, resources to point to about a ongoing challenge I have for parish Masses with school children. I play for three school Masses a week (one of them being an 'All Scholl Mass' and have worked very, very hard to bringing the children good repertoire. We sing as much of the Sunday parish music as possible, and I do use some repertoire for the Masses that is only appropriate for those liturgies; I still the keep the bar as a high as possible. Now, we have an assistant principal (DRE) who is a lovely lady, but clueless about liturgy and liturgical music and a principal who is asking for the children to sing Praise and Worship at Mass, among other things. I am in a constant state of choosing my battles and comprosing as tastefully as possible (also educating along the way) so i don't end losing my job. I have avoided "Spirit and Song" and i am trying to avoid using Praise and Worship for Mass. I am preparing myself to meet with pastor, and looking for anything written specifically about this challenge. My suggestion is to have something outside of the liturgy. The principal actually said, "Well, well could have Mass in the gym." How does one inform the so 'uninformed' when they are not interested in learning?
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,606
    Is the pastor of like mind?
  • mbwittry
    Posts: 35
    He likes good music, but doesn't like conflict. The last comment he made to me was there is room for all kinds of music (true......but) and mentioned the 'Jazz Mass' composed by Dave Brubeck.... We have started forming and educating a liturgy committee; so there are a few folks who understand....
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 439
    If, in their mind, "outside the liturgy" = "Mass in the gym," then why is this person entrusted as the "D" of "RE" in a Catholic parish, or principal of a Catholic school?

    Overseeing that, by the way, is not your job. It is the pastor's. A gentle reminder to him of "nemo dat quod non habet" and its application to the field of religious ed, and a serious conversation about just what kind of Catholics he wants his parish school to produce and send forth to the world, may not, however, be out of place, if this gets too dire and intractable. He's been to seminary, so he should understand.

    Or, at least, an admission that, whatever the dogmatic and catechetical lights of these people, their liturgical sense does not match and, therefore, liturgical formation should be entrusted to, say, the competent DM (you), as a complementary team effort.
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 108
    Try compromising. Propo music for Mass and times set aside for praise and worship assemblies outside of Mass.
    Thanked by 2Kathy MNadalin
  • mbwittry
    Posts: 35
    I am trying to suggest that but I need something to refer to (in an article or explanation) why it is inappropriate for Mass. I know why, and can state my case, but my pastor, and the two principals ask why we are the exception.....i.e., everyone else is doing it.
    The saddest part is that these two ladies do not want to learn, and don't even have a clue how informed they are.......Plus now, they are proposing that a team of students 'plan the Mass' once a month. Sigh........
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 184
    From Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship; United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2007

    G. Music in Catholic Schools
    54. Catholic educational institutions have a special obligation toward music and the Sacred Liturgy. Catholic schools are called to foster the joy of singing and making music, to cultivate the repertoire of sacred music inherited from the past, to engage the creative efforts of contemporary composers and the diverse repertoires of various cultures, and to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy worthily.
    55. Catholic grade schools and high schools, which sometimes have students from several parishes and a variety of faith traditions, should at a minimum help all of their students to become singers. Singing should be a regular part of the school day, e.g., in homeroom, in music classes, and at school assemblies. School Liturgies, while appropriate to the age level of the participants, should follow the prescriptions of nos. 110-114 in this document, and the other relevant guidelines on sacred music. Choirs should be promoted, and their ministry should be employed regularly at school Liturgies in accord with nos. 28- 33. A variety of musical styles is recommended at school Liturgies, while care should be taken to include selections from the repertoire typically sung by the wider Church at Sunday Liturgies. In this way, students will be introduced to music they will sing throughout their life, and they will be better prepared for their eventual role as adult members of the worshiping assembly.

    56. Catholic colleges and universities show that they come “from the heart of the Church” especially in their worthy celebration of the Church’s Liturgy, which should be a priority at every Catholic school. Catholic institutions of higher education should cultivate a high level of musical skill and a broad range of repertoire at campus Liturgies, and they should strive to make use of the talents of the entire academic community, especially music students and faculty, while taking care to include selections from the repertoire typically sung by the wider Church at Sunday Liturgies.
    .....
    72. Chant is a living connection with our forebears in the faith, the traditional music of the Roman rite, a sign of communion with the universal Church, a bond of unity across cultures, a means for diverse communities to participate together in song, and a summons to contemplative participation in the Liturgy.

    From Musicam Sacram (Vatican II

    18. Among the faithful, special attention must be given to the instruction in sacred singing of members of lay religious societies, so that they may support and promote the participation of the people more effectively. The formation of the whole people in singing, should be seriously and patiently undertaken together with liturgical instruction, according to the age, status and way of life of the faithful and the degree of their religious culture; this should be done even from the first years of education in elementary schools.

    And then we'll wrap up with Sacrosanctum Concilium, also from V2.

    115. Great importance is to be attached to the teaching and practice of music in seminaries, in the novitiates and houses of study of religious of both sexes, and also in other Catholic institutions and schools. To impart this instruction, teachers are to be carefully trained and put in charge of the teaching of sacred music.
    It is desirable also to found higher institutes of sacred music whenever this can be done.
    Composers and singers, especially boys, must also be given a genuine liturgical training.
    116. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.
    But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30.

    The natural question that follows is "what sort of music is to be used?" The remainder of these documents gives the answer. You can easily find them via Google and extract the parts most necessary to your situation.

    As to "why everyone else is doing it", the answer is really quite simple: they are a) uninformed or b) disobedient. That's all there is to say. We're not Protestants who can worship as we wish; we serve under the authority of our bishops and the Pope.

    Good luck.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen canadash
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,004
    I'm just going to send prayers...and a reminder that you're welcome to call and vent whenever, since I'm very familiar with the situation! It's almost a tradition to undermine the good work of the music director there!

    I do second the thought of praise and worship adoration or the like outside of Mass, since with devotions the liturgical law of the Church is much more permissive...since, properly speaking, those devotions aren't liturgical!
    Thanked by 1mbwittry
  • mbwittry
    Posts: 35
    Thanks all....... please keep sending anything you wish to share. I have read all these things and refer to them, but I'll keep increasing my stash.........ever challenging. Most all of the teachers are now allowing me to do my work, and yet I have two principals.......blah, blah, blah!
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,424
    And there's this from Kathy on ths Chant Cafe 24June
    Sing worthy music with children. It almost goes without saying that children outgrow childish music. When they outgrow the music, won’t they be in danger of likewise outgrowing the faith? Given the number of young people who either outgrow their faith, becoming “nones,” or who turn to more formal expressions such as the Extraordinary Form, it seems worth looking at the option of teaching young people the best liturgical music–chant and polyphony, according to the Second Vatican Council–from their earliest years.
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen canadash Kathy
  • MbWittry,

    I recommend that you think of the problem differently. You're not going to win the argument, given the situation you describe. Therefore, prepare for two things: to bear witness to the truth, and to lose your job.

    The pastor who likes good music but doesn't like conflict..... if you're supposed to make peace with those who want you to violate the liturgy.... this, you can't do.

    The assistant who is a good person but clueless about liturgy..... this is your best chance to make progress. (Yes, I know that sounds weird). She understands the idea of areas of expertise. Point out to her that it would simply be wrong to have someone who knows nothing of a subject area to be teaching that subject area to those who know more about it. When she grants this, assert that you've spent much time learning how to do your job properly, and that this is something best left in your hands.
  • Fr. Christopher Smith also has an article on the Chant Cafe titled "The Liturgical Formation of Children:" http://www.chantcafe.com/2019/06/the-liturgical-formation-of-children/
    Thanked by 2canadash Kathy
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,781
    I would suggest that what passes for P&W cannot credibly be justified as something that "meets children where they are", which may be said to summarize a typical family of rationalizations for it by people who profess Concerns About Young People. It might be rationalized as something that some adults imagine is closer to where children are, but if you were to subject it to empirical analysis of middling to greater depth one would have problems. It's offered as a seemingly more realistic alternative to something that certain adults assume is *more* alien to children: sacred music. The problem with that assumption is the "more". A lot of what passes for P&W is not as close in structure to the kinds of music typical American children themselves sing together (that's different from listen to) as may be assumed. It's alien, in its own way. (It's also not particularly closer in idioms to indigenous musical idioms of other cultures, either. Its native idiom if anything is Amurkan commercial music, not popular music in the sense of music drawn from the singing habits of a people.)
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,538
    More than one priest has expressed that he likes Jazz when these discussions come up.

    It's a way of taking a neutral position.
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • OrganistRob320OrganistRob320
    Posts: 119
    I offer a bold-beyond-all-rational-thought here: Has anyone ever asked the children what they enjoy/want to sing? People are always amazed when my children's choirs would want to sing the Ave Verum chant or the Mode I Ave Maria instead of "Who You Say I am (I'm a child of God Yes I am)" or any of the other solo-songs that "liturgists" say children love over and over again.... Children are far more intelligent and receptive than we adults give them credit. Do an experiment: Put one of those solo-songs that only the artist who composed it can sing up against a good old fashioned hymn that everyone knows... and judge the "congregational" participation. My money is always on the music that was written for congregational song.
  • I always argue from practicality. Docs, especially church docs, make people’s eyes glaze over.

    So, try something like this, which is what I would say:

    “My experience with praise and worship music is that the kids don’t respond to it in the way you might think they would. They have responded well to the music we are doing, and I would like to continue with that.”

    Just in case, it’s OK to have some singable “contemporary” music with a relatively traditional structure as a backup. (Spirit and Song does have a fair amount of this.)
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,424
    From the OCP promotional video for Spirit and Song, at the foot of the entry: ... sure to enhance any liturgy or special celebration.
    Category
    Entertainment
  • mbwittry
    Posts: 35
    Thanks for all the comments, folks! I have been working with the assistant principal/DRE for two years, and now in the third, she still pushes for ridiculous things. I have written much in emails to her and spoken face to face. We have a good rapport, praise God, but the craziness just doesn’t stop. This is how she views the Church, and the new principal is more of the same. I am going to get my thoughts together and approach the pastor. I will not do praise and worship for Mass, and I will not allow the children to randomly pick their favorite songs for Mass. That is what the principal did at Confirmation and it was one heck of a negotiating with her present. I just need to think this through and convince the pastor. We are ruining generations of children because of poor or no adult formation and just bad taste...... :)
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,069
    Good for you for standing your ground. Frankly, though, I think your pastor is doing you a real disservice by refusing to delegate liturgical music to you, and then unambiguously backing you whenever someone (well-meaning or not) comes up with harebrained ideas. Instead, he allows those who are dilettantes at best to influence the direction of the sacred music program, which is highly inappropriate.
    Thanked by 2cesarfranck Elmar
  • Ask the assistant or the pastor if there is a free choice of readings for Sunday Mass at any point. Ask why there isn't.

    I'm glad you have a good rapport with these people. Is it good enough for you to say, bluntly, that she's asking you to do something you're quite sure isn't the right thing to do?
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • Mbwittry,

    Here's my contribution (or part of it) from a time when I was faced with a Catechism teacher who insisted the First Communion class had to sing everything, and the music had to be upbeat:

    [This has been at Philip Blosser's website for many years now, but I'm sharing it because it seems most apropos. There are more, but not available on line.]

    "Liturgical Song" Parodies: by Christopher J. Garton-Zavesky


    I'm not Afraid....

    You shall cross a barren desert,
    caused by jingles such as this.
    You shall wander far from safety,
    singing "I am on my way".
    you shall mangle words in "modern" tongues
    and none shall understand.
    You think you're replacing God. How sad!

    I'm not afraid: your time won't last for always.
    Come back to God,
    and He will give you rest.

    If you pass through raging tempers on the way,
    you shall not frown.
    If you walk away from ICEL's charms,
    You SHALL NOT BE HARMED.
    If you stand with God against the foe,
    and death must be your call,
    Know that He is with you,
    through it all.

    I'm not afraid: your time won't last for always.
    Come back to God,
    and He will give you rest.

    Blessed are the poor,
    for the Kingdom shall be theirs.
    Blessed are those who've wept and mourned,
    who've prayed "God's will be done."
    And if wicked men at ICEL hate you
    for your love of God,
    Blessed, blessed are you.

    Be not afraid: the end is close at hand.
    Come back to God,
    and He will give you rest.



    On Eagles' Wings ...

    Yoo hoo!, here in the shelter of the Lord,
    we abide in His shelter for life.
    Hear from the Lord, your refuge:
    "In sin you should not trust"!

    And He can raise you up on Eagles' wings,
    He can keep you safe from harm,
    make you soon shine like the Son,
    but only if you're in His Hand.

    The snare of the fowler can't catch a bird like you,
    and famine can't bring you to heel:
    if you know better than God,
    what need have you of shield?

    And He can raise you up on Eagles' wings,
    He can keep you safe from harm,
    make you soon shine like the Son,
    but only if you're in His Hand.

    You needle each and every little thing
    which you see and you think has gone out.
    Though thousands tried before you,
    they erred and so do you!

    And He can raise you up on Eagles' wings,
    He can keep you safe from harm,
    make you soon shine like the Son,
    but only if you're in His Hand.

    For to His angels (HIS angels don't you see?)
    He's given the charge to call home
    ungrateful souls,
    so they bear you up.
    Would you turn away their earnest plea?

    And He can raise you up on Eagles' wings,
    He can keep you safe from harm,
    make you soon shine like the Son,
    but only if you're in His Hand.



    Sing to the Mountains

    Sing to the Mountains, sing to the Sea
    This is Our new Liturgy!
    This is the day which We have made,
    Why doesn't earth rejoice?

    We will take thanks from you, My lord.
    We are so great and strong:
    We have saved your church from death,
    We are the church, hear Our SONG:

    Sing to the Mountains, sing to the Sea
    This is Our new Liturgy!
    This is the day which We have made,
    Why doesn't earth rejoice?

    Holy, Holy, Holy Cow!
    Heaven and earth are full of Our Glory!!!

    Sing to the Mountains, sing to the Sea
    This is Our new Liturgy!
    This is the day which We have made,
    Why doesn't earth rejoice?

    This is the day when the lord is made
    modern and hip, up to date.
    We have turned the church around:
    each person now their own pope !

    Sing to the Mountains, sing to the Sea
    This is Our new Liturgy!
    This is the day which We have made,
    Why doesn't earth rejoice?



    City of God

    Awake from your slumber,
    arise from your sleep:
    we're shearing the plumper
    of god's little sheep.
    From people in darkness
    we've hidden the "Light",
    the "Truth" which can guide them
    though dark is the night:

    Let us build the city of Us,
    so their fear be turned into prancing,
    for our lord, our hand in his glove,
    has freed the lambs, let them stray.

    We are children of morning,
    we are daughters, okay?
    The One who has loved us
    will do as we say.
    The lord of all blindness
    has called us to see
    new light in His People
    The Church newly Free.

    Let us build the city of Us,
    so their fear be turned into prancing,
    for our lord, our hand in his glove,
    has freed the lambs, let them stray.

    Got the lite? In Us there is no darkness.
    Let us walk in our light, the children of new birth...
    O comfort the people;
    make gentle god's words.
    Proclaim to our city
    the day of her birth.

    Let us build the city of Us,
    so their fear be turned into prancing,
    for our lord, our hand in his glove,
    has freed the lambs, let them stray.

    O City of Gladness,
    O Vatican Two,
    Proclaim our New Tidings,
    OUR Church is brand new!

    Let us build the CITY TO US,
    so that fear is turned away prancing,
    see: the lord, from heaven above,
    has given us newly a WAY.



    I have loved you with a narcissistic love

    I have loved you with a narcissistic love,
    I have seen you, and you are me.....
    I have loved you with such narcissistic love,
    We can worship, just you and me.

    Seek the place of the Lord since he's been moved
    if you find Him I'm not doing my job.

    I have loved you with a narcissistic love,
    I have seen you, and you are me.....
    I have loved you with such narcissistic love,
    We can worship, just you and me.

    Seek the place of the Lord if you're so bored!
    If you find Him I'll board up the door.

    I have loved you with a narcissistic love,
    I have seen you, and you are me.....
    I have loved you with such narcissistic love,
    We can worship, just you and me.

    Seek in place of the Lord the people here
    in the presence of "Voice of God" songs.

    I have loved you with a narcissistic love,
    I have seen you, and you are me.....
    I have loved you with such narcissistic love,
    We can worship, just you and me.
  • My compromise is : french equivalent of "prise and worship" as processional and recessional music (which is not stricto sensu part of the Holy Mass), against good music during the mass. Then, we created a choir for the willing children and have them learn and sing good music : My posture is that we must let the children sing what they learnt and demonstrate their work and performance...
    The extracts of Vatican2 above are I think good references as they cannot be rejected as passeist or integrist ones.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,252
    NOTE....

    non PC comment follows...

    chuck the praise and worship genre... you will do better in serving the Kingdom of God.
  • Francis,

    Do you mean that to use the "praise and worship genre" is not to serve the kingdom of God, or that to use the "praise and worship genre" is to not serve the kingdom of God?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,252
    yes
  • [duplicate post removed]
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,252
    CGZ... please do not delete yourself
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    I think the bigger problem is summed up as follows: you cannot serve God and money at the same time.
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 277
    It sounds to me like you need to teach a workshop for interested children, to teach them HOW to pick suitable music for Mass. Even better, run it as a course with the children having to demonstrate what they've learned by actually choosing music for a school Mass.

    If you're lucky, the teachers might want to sit in and they would learn too.

  • Mbwittry,

    Pax Melodious has a great idea, and I highly encourage you to pursue it. You can teach a short course on music at Mass, and aim it at children -- not childish people, but interested children. Don't begin from the standpoint of ancient or modern tastes in music. Ask questions like this:

    How many of you perfectly understand everything about God? (Answer: no raised hands)
    What is the purpose of Mass? (To worship God).
    Which of these pieces of music sounds better for the worship of an almighty and mysterious God ? (choose clearly different kinds of music).

    Imagine if part of your job was to use God's own words to praise Him. Do you know that this is still done in some places? (Chanted office)

    And so it goes, such that the anthropocentrism of the "Praise and Worship" music is disclosed.

  • JonathanLCJonathanLC
    Posts: 52
    I am very sorry to hear that you are having a tough time. I would suggest a few easy steps to make a transition to better choices possible:

    1. Find a suitable Mass setting that has a light P/W feel. Matt Maher is better than most, though there are others. This should satisfy the adults.

    2. Include either an easy introit or communio. The introit hymns by Kathy Pluth are an easy way to introduce the propers. This is the initial move to start implementing the full propers.

    3. Choose hymns that are traditional. There is no P/W equivalent to traditional hymns that could be considered suitable. There are, however, a few really good P/W style psalm settings available. PM me if you are interested.

    4. When Choosing a responsorial psalm, the Chabanel set would be my go to.

    Re psalms instead of hymnody - There is a great movement in the Evangelical communities to singing the psalms, so it might be a good start to use their settings which have a P/W feel. The Psalm is sung in part as in the case of the longer psalms or in full if the shorter ones.

    As you implement some education for the kids and the teachers, you can transition to something better. It is better to find people where they are and lead them by the hand in a better direction. Good luck!
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • Don't feel any obligation to continue using Praise and Worship music. Some things are ideally suited to the Mass. Praise and Worship music (as a genre) is as well suited to the Mass as a fish is to a bicycle (to borrow an image).
  • Canadash, thanks for showcasing that! Probably the high point in Sacred Music at the school in recent memory. The youngest choristers at that Mass were in Grade 3.

    I had some friends over to my church (which uses a ridiculous amount of P&W) and we sang a Palestrina Mass and 2 anthems. Goes to show you that not everything's a lost cause.
    Thanked by 2canadash cesarfranck
  • mbwittry
    Posts: 35
    Thank you for the continued discussion and support, friends. The true problem here at present is not the children, and not the teachers, the two principals. If they both would simply allow me to do my job and give me a just little time with the children for teaching liturgical music on a regular basis (monthly?), everything would be fine. The children do not complain about the music, and my choir sings anything I give them, and I only give them good, solid repertoire.
    Thanked by 2cesarfranck BruceL
  • SusanBenofy
    Posts: 5
    A couple more articles that may be helpful:

    www.chantcafe.com/2011/06why-praise-and-worship-music-is-praise-but-not-worship/

    www.chantcafe.com/2015/09/lets-revisit-praise-and-worship-music-is-praise-but-not-worship/

    Both are by Fr. Christopher Smith. The first, I think, might be helpful in making your point about using P&W only outside of Mass, since he discusses this at some length. He believes P&W is not appropriate at Mass because, in his words, it is “praise” but not “worship.” The distinction he makes between “praise” and “worship,” can be expressed in more traditional language as that between devotions (his “praise”) and liturgy (his “worship”).

    Compare Fr. Smith’s passage with the following from Romano Guardini’s Spirit of the Liturgy:

    It is important that this objective nature of the liturgy should be fully understood. Here the Catholic conception of worship in common sharply differs from the Protestant, which is predominatingly individualistic. The fact that the individual Catholic, by his absorption into the higher unity, finds liberty and discipline, originates in the twofold nature of man, who is both social and solitary.

    Now, side by side with the strictly ritual and entirely objective forms of devotion [i.e., liturgy], others exist, in which the personal element is more strongly marked. To this type belong those which are known as "popular devotions," such as afternoon prayers accompanied by hymns, devotions suited to varying periods, localities, or requirements and so on. They bear the stamp of their time and surroundings, and are the direct expression of the characteristic quality or temper of an individual congregation.

    Although…popular devotions are both communal and objective, they are to a far greater degree characteristic of their origin than is the liturgy, the entirely objective and impersonal method of prayer practiced by the Church as a whole. This is the reason for the greater stress laid by popular devotion upon the individual need of edification. Hence the rules and forms of liturgical practice cannot be taken, without more ado, as the authoritative and decisive standard for non-liturgical prayer. … The forms of popular piety should rather continue to exist side by side with those of the liturgy, and should constitute themselves according to the varying requirements of historical, social, and local conditions. There could be no greater mistake than that of discarding the valuable elements in the spiritual life of the people for the sake of the liturgy, or than the desire of assimilating them to it. (See Chapter 1 of Spirit of the Liturgy)


    This distinction might help with your argument for using P&W at a devotion of some kind, but not at Mass--at least with the pastor.

    Though the Council called for devotions to be updated, they were, instead, generally abandoned after the Council. And all the experiments and adaptations to the liturgy tended to make it appeal to particular groups, and so be more like devotions, losing the distinction Guardini sees as crucial. As a consequence, if the principals are familiar only with post-conciliar practice, they have never really experienced the role devotions should play. This may be why the one of them suggested Mass in the gym when you recommended using P&W "outside of Mass". Could they be persuaded that introducing the children to various kinds of devotions (some including P&W, others perhaps with chant) would contribute to their religious education--and would contribute to their Catholic identity at least as much as service projects?

    I think this also relates to the idea of “planning” the liturgy to appeal to a certain group.

    Guardini says that it is because of this objectivity that the liturgy “is a school of religious training and development to Catholics who rightly understand it.” But if the liturgy is “planned” specifically to make it appeal to a specific group, such as children, the necessary objectivity would be lost, rendering the liturgy ineffective as a school of religious training and development. Could it be the absence of such training through liturgy that causes so many teenagers and young adults to abandon the practice of the faith? F. Smith, in his article says that of his friends who were also in Life Teen none are Catholics today.

    As to children doing the planning, one wonders how often these principals recommend to, say, the math teacher that the children be asked to plan a math class (or a class in any other academic subject). I expect that all such planning is left to the teacher since she is supposed to have more knowledge of the subject than the children. To let children plan the liturgy suggests they have nothing to learn about it or the sacred music proper to it, and so it is less important than math. Will they not then think of liturgy as a children’s activity that they outgrow (as Fr. Smith's friends "outgrew" Catholicism when they were no longer "Life Teens")? This could be a problem especially if the children do not regularly attend Mass with their parents and an adult congregation.

    Another article that may be useful on the general question of sacred music is : ">www.catholicworldreport.com/2013/10/25/liturgical-music-today-the best-of-times-the-worst-of-times/

    The author teaches music at Colgate and tries to define what makes music sacred by what he terms “musical semantics” in an attempt to separate make the judgment of what makes music sacred independent from personal taste. He explains this briefly in the article and refers to his book, which is more detailed.

  • >> More than one priest has expressed that he likes Jazz when these discussions come up. It's a way of taking a neutral position.

    I like jazz too, in the late evening and with an adult beverage in hand. It's relaxing (for maybe an hour, then it's annoying). But I don't attend Mass for relaxation. And even if it's held in a basketball gym (I have been to some - it was the only large room in a brand new school building), it's still the Mass.

    Very good discussion going here. Thanks
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 760
    If they both would simply allow me to do my job . . .

    The only person who can make this happen is the pastor. If he's not willing to do this I'm afraid all the documents and bon mots directed at the principals will make little difference. This isn't meant as a counsel of despair, only a suggestion to concentrate your efforts on getting your pastor on board.
  • AndrewK
    Posts: 41
    mbwittry,

    You could emphasize the pedagogical advantages to singing hymns for the school Mass. Hymns by their poetic nature are structured, regular, and takes very little time to learn. Since there is usually one syllable per beat they are learning more than music, they are learning form. They might see it better that way. Keep up the good work!
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • mbwittry
    Posts: 35
    Thanks, Andy! I have used that approach in the past, but the current regime isn't giving me much face time with the kiddos..... :(

  • mbwittry
    Posts: 35
    Thanks Early Grey. That's exactly why I started this forum........to get more ideas so that I can approach my pastor.......prayers appreciated!
  • mbwittry
    Posts: 35
    So friends, I am back. One of the members of our Liturgy Committee is on fire to learn more and wants to get a 'Liturgy Certificate' from Notre Dame University. Is this going to be Orthodox or a bit whacky?
  • MBWittry,

    If the principle of physics applies, an object in motion can change direction, whereas an object at rest can't, so your Liturgy Committee member's desire to learn more is (I guess) a good thing. On the other hand, there are less suitable places than Notre Dame to gain a liturgy certificate, but none come to mind just at the moment.

    If you can get in the line of fire, as it were, and urge this person to reflect first on basic principles, you can make some progress.

    1) Why did God give us the commandment to keep holy the sabbath?
    a) so we could plan to worship Him in our own way.
    b) so there would be time for football games.
    c) so we could focus more on ourselves.
    d) so we would think of the worship of God as the normal state,the restful state, and the other six days as preparation for that.
    e) What are the commandments?

    2) When we worship God
    a) we should focus entirely on ourselves, the proper object of worship.
    b) we should be obedient to the tradition handed down from our fathers in faith.
    c) the community should create a unique act of worship every week.
    d) quiet time should be kept to a minimum because children get bored when they have to sit still quietly.
    e) God? Who's he?

    3) The Mass is

    a) the re-presentation of Calvary and the Last Supper.
    b) a community celebration of itself.
    c) the Lord's supper.
    d) the only time some people get to feel a sense of belonging in the church, so one which should focus on newcomers and the outsider.
    e) a liturgical setting for the announcements and the political action of the community.

    4) The music at Mass should
    a) primarily represent the worshipping community.
    b) in a holy and beautiful manner give worship to God.
    c) be chosen by committee.
    d) be modern, relevant and accessible.
    e) be accompanied by modern instruments and must never include that stuffy, churchy-sound of an organ.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,069
    @mbwittry -- Ask Emily Lapisardi. I'm pretty sure she completed the liturgy certificate at Notre Dame.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,033
    Pastors who don't like conflict are not going to back you up. So negotiating the compromise is up to you. That's very hard when someone with lateral authority is pushing the envelope towards total anarchy.

    In a similar situation, my first step was to examine the current P&W to find 8 or 10 songs I could live with. I.e. they weren't heretical, mindnumbingly repetitive, or infantile, and on the other hand did seem to have the potential to foster prayer. That was helpful pr--to not throw out the entire genre wholesale, by instead accepting some P&W things.

    What I think might then work would be to strategically place 2 of them in each Mass, one before Mass as a call to prayer, and one during Communion. I would not personally let P&W have "the last word" musicwise at Communion, but follow it with an excellent congregational hymn (GIRM 88). So my arc for Communion would be: 1. chanted antiphon with Psalm, 2. p&w meditation thingie, 3. postCommunion congregational hymn.

    If this is done with generosity, politeness, and an overabundance of respect, then you might be able to do whatever you think best with the rest of the Mass.

    In talking to the pastor, it might be most helpful to continually express your pastoral concern for the good of these young souls whose care you all have in common. It is likely that he feels the same concern and, even if he does not take the heat for you, will at least give your progress through the year the benefit of the doubt.

    Take a long view, build relationships, and wait out the politics of what Scripture calls "influential women sympathizers."
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,069
    1) sensible counsel from Kathy
    2) congrats on the 5,000th post, @Kathy!!
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • This probably won't win a bunch of accolades, but perhaps the more traditional music does conflict with other parts of the Liturgy. I used to have this battle all the time - if only these sometimes clueless/sometimes bad-intentioned folks would read the Vatican II documents - then, and only then, would they understand. But you haven't described what the rest of the liturgical life is like at your school Masses or in your connecting parish...

    Does the sanctuary communicate that this is a sacred environment? Where is the Tabernacle in your church? Are the servers reverent? How many Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are there? Do the servers use patens during the distribution of Holy Communion? Does Father feel the need to constantly add his own little 'gems and nuggets' of personal interjection? Are there sacred statues/images in the church building? Are the homilies orthodox? Do the teachers 'plan' the Masses with cute little themes and have students act them out? (I taught at a school where this was common-place during every Gospel reading).

    My point is, if all of these things (or even some of them) are questionable, then your music looks like the outlier. It's hard to sing beautiful music about the great transcendent mystery of the awe that the Son of the Most High, out of loving intimacy for us, would come down to feed us with His very Self when that very Self is distributed in the most haphazard of ways. Or to sing even one of the great hymns (let alone the Propers) when Father, right after it's done, interjects with a "GOOOOOD Morning!" Any sense that we are entering into divine worship is toast at that very moment. And then you and your music have become the problem, the one thing that does not fit in with the other... When that happens, I guarantee you, you have lost, and will never win, and should start looking for a way to move on. For me, I moved on to a Traditional Latin Mass parish, and haven't looked back.

    Before somebody jumps on me, yes, because this parish is still made of PEOPLE, we still have problems and are not perfect. But in no other setting would I have been able to have a Children's Choir Camp the past Monday - Thursday, culminating in a Sung High Mass on Thursday for the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - complete with a Boys' Schola chanting all the Propers and a Boys and Girls Choir, ages 8 - 16, singing a full Mass Ordinary in 2-part harmony, 2 hymns with descants, 2 Motets, and the Ave Maris Stella chant, complete with organum. It was AMAZING, and I didn't have to fight one single battle to get it done. That's how it's supposed to work everywhere. Fighting so hard for it is not your fault, but it also shouldn't be your burden. There is a time to simply shake the dust from your feet and move on joyfully...
  • "GOOOOOD Morning!"
    Vietnam
    Thanked by 1JacobFlaherty
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,033
    I retired from teaching in a Catholic school in 2012 with reasons including what some others have mentioned. I have never been happier and would not even consider going back.
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 277
    You had me agreeing right up until "That's how it's supposed to work everywhere."

    Catholicism is a very broad church, because Jesus set a very broad example. The essence (love God, know God thru Jesus) is the same everywhere. The trimmings will vary from rite to rite, and place to place.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW