Praise and Worship, and School Masses
  • mbwittry
    Posts: 26
    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: 2,586
    Is the pastor of like mind?
  • mbwittry
    Posts: 26
    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: 374
    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.
  • Try compromising. Propo music for Mass and times set aside for praise and worship assemblies outside of Mass.
  • mbwittry
    Posts: 26
    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: 143
    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: 993
    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: 26
    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: 1,296
    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 2CHGiffen canadash
  • 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 1canadash
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,686
    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: 6,519
    More than one priest has expressed that he likes Jazz when these discussions come up.

    It's a way of taking a neutral position.
  • OrganistRob320OrganistRob320
    Posts: 111
    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: 1,296
    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: 26
    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: 1,029
    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?
  • 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: 8,129
    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: 8,129
    yes
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • [duplicate post removed]
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,129
    CGZ... please do not delete yourself
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,894
    I think the bigger problem is summed up as follows: you cannot serve God and money at the same time.
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 269
    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.

    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • JonathanLCJonathanLC
    Posts: 49
    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!
  • 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 1canadash