Prayers and Advice requested
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 76
    Hey folks. Over the last five years, I have worked very closely with the priest at the parish of my employment (I'm DM and organist) to slowly implement Sung Mass in the OF on Sundays and feasts. The church is a small country parish, and over the last five years we have gone from literally not having music regularly to full Sung Mass (with chanted dialogues, orations, ordinaries, propers, English Credo, etc). I also built a small volunteer schola from the ground up. For the last twoish years, things have been pretty steady and standardized, as we had more or less arrived where we wanted to be liturgically.

    Our very supportive priest was transferred this summer, and we have received a new priest. This stands to potentially undermine what has been built over the last half decade. I've talked a bit with the new guy about our musical "mission" so to speak, but I don't quite know where he stands. He is certainly a good and holy priest, but I'm not positive that he will support the program as it stands currently, or that he will be willing to sing Mass. I'd be happy to make any number of accommodations so long as the ordinary setting is dignified, the propers are sung in some language, we keep the Credo, and the Mass itself is sung. How would you recommend talking with him in a way that advocates for the preservation of what we've built without coming across as a bossy DM who is overly controlling? Is there any other advise you'd give as regards this situation? Please send up an Ave or two for the preservation of sacred music in our parish, I'm a bit nervous.
  • Trentonjconn,

    I don't know the man who is your new priest, but I'm familiar with the New Man Won't Commit to Supporting Existing Program problem. Sometimes the existing man won't commit to the program he asked you to implement.

    Concrete suggestions:

    1) Pray for wisdom and prudence for yourself.
    2) Pray for this priest.
    3) Engage him on topics which aren't your sphere of influence. (Invite him to lunch, for example, so you can get to know how he thinks but without direct reference to your topics) .
    4) Prepare (as you see fit) your resume for a job search.
    5) Offer to help him become a confident singing priest, if you correctly identify that he's uncomfortable, working with him at his most convenient time.
    6) DON'T make this a power struggle between him and YOU. If what you're doing is what the Church calls musicians to do, you can implement a proper plan without getting personally invested in it (if that makes sense). It's not YOUR ideas he disapproves of, and YOU'RE not asking him to knock the chip off YOUR shoulder.
    7) Accept suggestions for improvement, even if you can't implement them. Sometimes, doing exactly what he says, you persuade him that his idea was half baked and that you aren't as green as he thinks you are.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    I would advise keeping a certain perspective. The new priest is probably still figuring out where the light switches are. He has no idea whom to trust. Music is probably not his first priority (this is a good thing).

    Don't bring up the subject, but just keep doing well, and try not to worry about it too much.

    Many priests go into new parishes with the idea that they will wait a year before making changes. And hopefully by that time, you will have impressed him with your steadily excellent work.

  • Elmar
    Posts: 238
    the New Man Won't Commit to Supporting Existing Program problem
    priests go into new parishes with the idea that they will wait a year before making changes

    This is the challenge; especially as a combination of the two: not (obviously) aiming at quick changes, but neither (obviously) supporting what's being done.
    Sometimes the existing man won't commit to the program he asked you to implement.
    Exactly that in our parish. Luckily I'm working elsewhere, but it's a pain in the neck for volunteering. Our priest is devout and orthodox and a great shepherd, but you always have to guess what he really wants (e.g. he suddenly introduced a vernacular 'Our Father' in the Latin sung OF mass, to the horror of our DM, and continues to switch languages a libitum in the dialogues).
    Thanked by 1francis
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,830
    Elmar

    This is exactly the primary problem with the NO... nebulous rubrics that are changeable by the priest or bishop at any time, and all are subject to their whim, mood or philosophy. No one can build a stable, worthwhile music program on that tenet.

    And now put covidtide on top of that and you are dealing with daily uncertainty and frustration that has you looking over your shoulder at every turn.

    Prayers are rising up for all.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 238
    Francis, we have comparable problems with our EF mass.
    (and not to mention in other areas of volunteering)
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,830
    Elmar

    Is music being unexpectedly altered in the EF too? Can you elaborate?
  • Carol
    Posts: 561
    Been in the same parish for 50 years+ and, while new pastors think they wait a year to implement changes, I have rarely (or maybe even never) seen this happen. By now I am resigned to this. Some changes seemed jarring at first but I have come to appreciate them, some I have never grown accustomed to, and most are just window dressing. I know people who jump back and forth between parishes as pastors come and go, but I figure I have been and, God willing, I hope to be in this parish when the next changes come along.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Elmar
    Posts: 238
    Francis,

    In the case of the EF (low mass) it was about whether people, or the server only, give the responses. On the one hand he said he was fine with the congregation responding; on the other, he refused to tell other congregants to stop giving you dirty glances for actually doing so.

    He told the schola that he was dreaming of having us sing an EF high mass, but the actual plans of our DM were quickly shelved.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,830
    Elmar

    Pater, Ave, Dox for you.
    Thanked by 2StimsonInRehab Elmar
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,639
    Elmar, he should tell his congregation that the rubrics of the Mass have never included ANY directions for the participation of the congregation. Actual participation covers a wide variety of actions at Mass. Just imagine how "well-behaved" our congregations were compared to a mediaeval Cathedral.

    Low Mass partisans need to stop acting like mini-Bugninis. Dialogue Masses aren't the end of the world.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,984
    StimsonInRehab - you are almost right about participation, but :- Ritus servandus III;10
    facta a circumstantibus Confessione, Celebrans stans respondet: Misereátur vestri, etc.

    and VII;7
    Orate, fratres, et secrete prosequens: ut meum ac vestrum sacrifícium, etc. perficit circulum, revertens, junctis manibus ante pectus, a manu dextera ad medium Altaris. Et responso a ministro, vel a circumstantibus: Suscípiat Dóminus sacrifícium de mánibus tuis, etc.

    And, of course
    Circumstantes autem in Missis privatis semper genua flectunt, etiam Tempore Paschali, præterquam dum legitur Evangelium.
    Thanked by 2StimsonInRehab Elmar
  • sergeantedward
    Posts: 175
    This is exactly the primary problem with the NO... nebulous rubrics that are changeable by the priest or bishop at any time, and all are subject to their whim, mood or philosophy. No one can build a stable, worthwhile music program on that tenet.


    @francis Yeah they can. I've done it as DSM in 3 NO parishes, and have mentored a number of DSMs in doing the same. Yep, it is hard. But what good thing isn't?
    Thanked by 1Elmar