the proper place of propers
  • -b
    Posts: 55
    Jeffrey's article in the summer issue of Sacred Music continues to puzzle over the phenomenon of the replacement of sung propers with hymns or other music by the choir or soloists at "Vatican II" masses. I have been directing an Extraordinary Form choir for a year now, where we sing the high mass only once a month. It suddenly occurs to me that for all these low masses in which we are prohibited (!) from singing the propers, I'm doing exactly the thing we all regret about the OF loss of propers. I choose processional and recessional hymns, and then "incidental" music for during the mass. We sing during the mass, but not the mass. Even if we're singing a wonderful, classic plainsong chant with a eucharistic theme during communion time, it's still just a musical choice by the choir director. We also are not allowed to sing the ordinary at low masses.
    Isn't that just what was going on in many parishes right before Vatican II? Mostly low masses on Sundays, because the choir couldn't handle all the music for high masses. And isn't that why the Council urged liturgical renewal with more participation by the congregation? When the choice of hymns versus propers was given, peop-le took the easy way and chose hymns, in whatever style that might have been or become.
  • I am music director for an FSSP parish, and we have a sung liturgy every week except for two months during summer.
    Honestly, I love taking my own ego out of it and being required to sing the propers. At this point, we still use Rossini for two of the five, and hope to be full propers almost exclusively in two years.

    Besides being wonderful prayers, singing the propers gives me a chance to accept the liturgy as something given, something I work toward, and not something I craft. That approach is worlds away from how I operated in OF parishes, what with liturgy committees asking for their favorite songs and pastors making requests. How many Saturday nights did I sit around and choose four hymns, mostly taking into consideration 1) what the pastor wanted, 2) what sort of connected to the readings and would not rock the boat, and 3) what I could personally tolerate.

    This is not to say that the OF can't be celebrated beautifully and according to the ideal, of course. Colloquium liturgies are an exemplar.

    Even so, I wonder if the biggest problem with the myriad of options in the OF is that human nature sets in and we often end up with the easiest or most favorite. How often does 'the people should be able to sing it' mask another motive: 'whatever is familiar or easiest'.
    Thanked by 1Ralph Bednarz
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thank you Singing, Mum. I love what you said above. If it's ok with you, I'd like to share your post with my schola. It's hard, but not impossible. Following Christ is not an easy path. I believe those who give Him the best and the most of what we have will please Him, and the rest He will fill with His blessings.
    Reforms of the Church in history have been necessary, because it's us who are keep changing and keep going away from the Church's teachings. Vatican II gave lots of options so we can start where we are, but also clearly and carefully says what the Church wishes for the music of Her liturgy. We need to work toward that higher goal, the most sacred music we have for the most sacred liturgy. The options the Church permits are the steps and means to go up the higher level, but sadly many parishes use that options as the ends for wrong reasons. Satisfying people's ego is misleading since Christ institided the liturgy, not people. Following the Church's instruction takes lots of sacrifice and humility in our part, because that's the only way we can truly obey His call.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,476
    Perhaps "ego" is not always the problem. People don't submit for a lot of reasons, some of them having to do with ignorance and custom. Some probably having to do with devotion!

    Fortunately the propers are inherently attractive. The more they're used, the more people will want to sing them.
  • -b
    Posts: 55
    I agree especially with the comment about "ignorance and custom." With the prevalence of low masses on Sundays in the time just before the Council, people were not hearing propers sung, and if so, rarely in Gregorian chant. That's why it's such a challenge today to introduce the concept.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,891
    I think the lack of availability of English propers for some years after the switch to the vernacular, caused propers to disappear. Most took it as a mandate to change everything into English, so with no sources, there was no usage. When the English propers became available, hardly anyone cared anymore and saw no reason to change. Of course, by this time, many did not even know what propers were. Given that so many parish music programs were taken over by "nun-strummers" with little musical education, ignorance was a also a factor.

    What to do now? I have re-introduced communion propers, and it's been a success. Perhaps my next move in another year, will be to put the offertory propers back in. As for the introits, I have used them for special events, for example, the bishop processing in at confirmation before beginning the entrance hymn. Even then, I used a 4-part Russian chant, not Gregorian. I have no plans to restore the introits at Sunday masses, because I think stately, powerful entrance hymns simply work better for processions. Not everything in the EF transfers well into the OF, and I find the introit is an example of that. I fully expect to be damned to the eternal flames by the next few posters for not loving introits, but that's the way it is. I find them too musically "weak" for processions. They may have been fine for the priest coming a few feet from the sacristy, but don't seem to work as well for long processions. However, introits are still useful as preludes and the text, if in a language understood by the congregation, can set the tone for what follows.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    If you have your pastor's support, a bit easier. And if 'Ignorance' is the problem, it's easy to cure. Especially with today's technology, I don't see much excuse.
    I see we need lots of musical saints in our time (I think we have a lot here.) who said 'yes' to His call of ministering and teaching people with Church's sacred music, wherever they are. Some might find a bit easier, some don't, but the 'reform' cannot be fulfilled without the dedication of those musical saints. I'm sure there's a good reason why we are wherever we are now. And what we see as a failure or success might not be as they are in His eyes.
    If we love Chirst, we love His Church and obey Her teachings and pray for the wisdom to carry out our task. That's all we can do.
  • I'm going to respond with a rather literal "take" on the notion of "place." This coincides with having just yesterday done "my duty" by completely filling out OCP's "Music Issue Survey," which I regard as pointless (not meaningless) and obligatory. It will get sent along with my usual apparently irritating suggestions.
    Those of us "here at CMAA" and many others obviously have crossed a perceptual threshold regarding the myriad issues of how liturgy is best conducted, performed and prayed. And we see some form of beatific vision that we believe we can enact both locally and universally. Around here, we seem to have agreed that such vision requires us to freely "care enough to FREELY SHARE our very best" with our musical gifts and talents. The issues that Jeffrey has so eloquently and repeatedly emphasized regarding IP and creative commons v. copyright restrictions is at the crux of the dilemma of the "proper place."
    Discussions over the years with my pastors and vicars about these issues result, at best, with some sort of resignation to keep the status quo of the major publishers' newsprint worship aides. Why? IMO, simply because of our penchant and addiction for the convenient fix. Priests and musicians agree that this or that solution might be more "ideal," but the TPTB hold sway that (for example, currently) the Missal and Psalter texts will soon change, the English translations and chanted settings await promulgation, logistically in this economy we have neither the strategic nor personnel resources to abandon the leaflet missals for weekly handouts, much less the stomach required that would demand more coherency of music selection on the part of disparate musical leaders, etc., yada, and so forth.
    Now before countering with the absolutely perfect suggestion that the answer lies in the easy switch to a PBC or the Gregorian Missal, we have to look back to the other side of the threshold and see that modern American worship reflects modern American values that have held sway despite the parodies of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and "Madmen."
    To me, interestingly the Liturgical Press Company offers two contrasting examples of how a fairly large business enterprise has tried to solve this problem of "proper place" with distinctively different approaches. BY FLOWING WATERS is generally acknowledged as one of noblest attempts to organically reintroduce many of the ideals of the "Mahrt" paradigm into parish worship, and was so salutated. And a couple of years ago the same company introduced PSALLITE, which as far as I'm aware didn't even make it up an eighth of the length of the proverbial flagpole. They (with no disrespect to Dr. Ford or the other editors) along with the Adoremus Society's first hymnal edition, the Collegeville Hymnal, and others basically operate in the "niche market" level of the worship aide economy.
    So, where will the "proper place for propers" actually end up being? Hopefully, through some sort of near-miraculous collaboration of the USCCB/BCL, NPM, CMAA, other stakeholders with the "Industrial Liturgical Complex" of so villified recent memory. Gasp, "Do you suggest that BREAKING BREAD actually could continue to prosper with the inclusion of select settings of the Propers printed in their correct locations (ala Gregorian Missal) or as a sequential section, alongside the requisite hymns, songs, psalm settings and Ordinaries? Well, do you, Charles?" Ready now for the Bride to cold-cock me, I do. What's more, remembering that most of us do not work anywhere's remotely near the existential territory of St. John Cantius, I believe that because of our inherent preferential option for the convenient, the conventional wisdom still resides in Portland and Chicago; and that was why the USCCB walked away from the Pandora's Box a few November plenaries ago and deferred the "white list" of texts to those Sees. (Incidentally, having Francis Cardinal George preside at colloquium gave me much more hope in this regard. I can live with that.)
    Whether or not, once the texts of the Missal and Psalter are released, each parish invests in a hardbound or newsprint missal/hymnal, TPTB that have more muscle and influence over tptb will have convinced those publishers to advance the works of the Ford's, Weber's, Kelly's, Ostrowski's, Rice's et al for inclusion within their main product offerings.
    Then progress will be made real in the hands and sight of the celebrants and the faithful.
    I know this vision falls short of the real paradigm, an optimally fuller return to the tradition of the chant and augmentation of same through the beauty of polyphony.
    But I can't see any other macro-systematic way to further this process along.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,204

    Your thesis is dead-on. The "silent" Low Mass was an aberration; Rome has always wanted the Mass to be sung, period. You are also correct that the OF hymn-emphasis derived precisely from the OF "low" Mass, which utilized hymns.

    There are lots of theories about "Low" Masses--I suspect that it was difficult to round up a schola for every Mass AND there was a "parking-lot" Mass-timing consideration, too.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,891
    Charles, I have successfully resisted buying anything from OCP for many years now. Every time that idea comes up, I squelch it. However, that doesn't mean I am all that happy with what we get from WLP, which is a small number of missalettes for daily mass and for the choir. We only buy enough for the Sunday congregation during Lent, because of stations, benedictions, etc. which are in the missalettes. We use the RitualSong hymnal, for no other reason than we own enough copies for everyone. For the propers, I have to make photocopies for the choir. It would be great if they were in the hymnal, but they are not.
  • The Catholic Church may be the only denomination in which, if you follow the rules of the church as regards music in the liturgy, you will be fired.
    Thanked by 1Earl_Grey
  • CW, I'm glad that, at least, RITUALSONG is your default hymnal, it is, IMO, the most comprehensive of the big gun offerings. We also use xeroxed propers for the schola and choir.
    The point of my post, though, was that they, as well as their Latin counterparts and other items, OUGHT TO BE MANDATED to be included in all hymnals and worship aides by TPTB.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,891
    We have to be the only church that does not have a denominational publishing house. The Episcopalians, Presbyterians, etc. can publish a hymnal and everyone uses it. Given what some USCCB committee might come up with, not having our own publisher could be either a good, or a bad thing. But I am sure the independent publishers have not done a good job of following church directives.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    I know many people bristle at this suggestion, but we really do have to move slowly. I have bought into this notion.

    For my part, I have resigned myself to the probable fact that my work in restoring sacred liturgy will only go so far in my lifetime. I'm 26 years old. I fully expect to die at a ripe old age and STILL have "Here I am, Lord" and "Eagle's Wings" in the hymnals that are in the pews. BUT - might it be commonplace by that time for the choir of nearly every church to be singing latin motets regulary? Might it also be a matter of fact that every church has an organ, and it is used regularly and is the primary instrument for most of the masses? And will the people in the pews be singing certain parts of the ordinary in latin on a very regular basis in nearly every parish in the country?

    If we will have moved that far by the time I die, I will be happy. I already see progress from the time I began doing this work up till now.

    This mess took a long time to get into, and it's going to take a long time to get out of. It will probably be more than 100 years before we are back to chanted propers at every mass and true sacred music as being a universal tenet of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    We all have limits. I can either focus on what I can, or what I can't. The restoration of the sacred music will be done on 'His time' not ours. So be joyful.

    Gaudeamus omnes in Domino.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 754
    Who got it right, where and when? That is, have we, since the chant revival of the 19th century, been looking back to a mythical golden age, in which ordinary and propers were chanted thoughout Christendom? Or might discussions like this have been taking place for centuries (granted that the Novus Ordo will have brought a new dimension to them)?
  • PaixGioiaAmor,
    Hey, you sound like me when I was 26. Now I'm 58. You may not live a long enough life (though you live a century) to see the retirement of OEW; but I believe you will see full fruit blossoming from TROTR and a Church that cohesively adheres to "holy, beautiful and universal" as the attributes of worthily worshipping after the manner of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Remind me sometime to tell you of an encounter Dr. Treacy and I had with a little old man at Walgreen's near Loyola who'd worshipped at one of the colloquium Masses.
  • Noel, this is likely redundant to what you've already realized- the Holy Roman Catholic Church is not a denomination. Your point, though, is as sadly true as it is ironic and moronic.
    BTW, your dedication repertoire is magnificent.
  • Charles in CenCA: Tell all of us about this encounter, please! (When you have the time…)
  • Aristotle, I was out the office door and almost at my car....but some ladies were waiting in the hot valley sun for a volunteer at the building where I'm located (former convent.) So, I've let them in and have made the time.

    You might recall seeing during one of the midweek Masses an elderly man wearing a blue/white ethnic looking hat towards the front third of the nave on the gospel side. He was wearing shorts and flip flops with socks. He never took off his little hat until he approached the altar for reception. He clearly wasn't colloquium, but he was obviously knowledgeable if not pious, save for the little hat. Didn't think anything about it.
    I then was asked by Dr. Treacy if I could drive her to Walgreen's for a second visit as she'd broken her only pair of glasses and had purchased some reading lenses at a magnification that was too powerful. So, said "sure" and off we went. As in the previous day's trek, it was hurried as she had a board meeting on this particular day during lunch. She was exchanging glasses at the front clerk's as I noticed THE OLD MAN standing at the entrance. I went up to him and asked "Sir, did you enjoy this morning's Mass?" He looked, smiled a little forlornly, and said in a vague European accent, "Yes, I very much did...Dominus vobiscum." "Et cum Spritu tuo." I replied. Then he said "I don't think those days will be ever coming back." I looked at Dr. Treacy and back at him and said, "Oh, sir, don't believe that. That is why we are here, now in this city. There are many of us working very hard to help restore beauty and solemn worship and music to the Church." He smiled, shook our hands, we thanked each other and Dr. Treacy and I returned to the campus. Maybe he was CMAA's angel that day, found hospitality in our tent, and we can expect a renaissance in a year or so! God willing.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks. I hope he saw a hope.
  • Beautiful; thanks, Charles :)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,476
    Then there was the university maintenance man who had stopped into one of the Masses to hear the music. I left Mass to cough and he was there and had a lot of questions. He loved the music, wanted better liturgy and teaching, loves the Pope--real salt of the earth sensus fidelium stuff.

    Most memorably, he noted that since the priest was facing the other way, ie ad orientem, he's more like one of us; he's not the center of attention.
  • likewise beautiful, Kathy; thanks. Seems we're all on "God's side" here. That seems proper.
  • G
    Posts: 1,396
    "taking my own ego out of it and being required to sing the propers.... singing the propers gives me a chance to accept the liturgy as something given, something I work toward, and not something I craft. "

    Beautifully put.

    "choose four hymns, mostly taking into consideration 1) what the pastor wanted, 2) what sort of connected to the readings and would not rock the boat, and 3) what I could personally tolerate."

    I only laugh in recognition at this description to keep from wailing and gnashing my teeth in recognition.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • JennyJenny
    Posts: 147
    Thank you Charles. I had noticed that gentleman as well and wondered how he found us- or more to the point- what he thought of us. There are no coincidences.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 754
    Charles (in CA) wrote:

    There are many of us working very hard to help restore beauty and solemn worship and music to the Church.

    Is it a matter of restoration, or of working towards the ideal in our generation? That is, was there ever a time when it was normal to hear the ordinary and the propers sung in a parish church, outside of the magic circle of those places where professional musicians have gathered? I ask partly out of historical interest, and partly for practical reasons. There's a world of difference between saying: we should do this because it is the ideal; and we should recover the practice of our forebears.

    I apologise for asking the same question twice, but I believe it to be a significant one.
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    Where, in the US, can one find a place where the songbook in the pews is The Gregorian Missal?
  • Ian, though I try to parce my words so as to best reflect my ideas, I see your point. As to the matter of restoration, I can only say the following- at this moment of my 40 years as a practicing Catholic, "restoration" for me means seeking to redress the denigration of worship by an incipient and proliferating culture of egotism. This culture is manifested in many more ways than music- constant chattering, Masses as photo-ops, lay and clerical ministers unwilling to subsume themselves in how they conduct their offices at worship in order to lead and direct our attentions fully eastward, et cetera ad nauseum. From my view, not in the loft, the tension between anthropocentric and theocentric worship isn't really all that tense in American parish life; "Sing a newchurch into being" is a reality that compels many of us to work "very hard to help restore beauty and solemn worship and music to the Church." Historical interest is only useful in that it should inform us in this work in this moment. The ideals, we trust, have been conchorded and canonized over more than 2000 years of organic practice; even though we can compare and contrast the geneological branches of liturgical forms, the vine and trunk are founded in worshipping the Creator in whose presence we should be both ever humble and grateful, as He provided us alone with the greatest gift in the universe, His Son and the sacrificial offering of Himself for the final remission of human sinfulness.
    I remember my Master's mentor professor exclaiming that the scholas of the renaissance were unequivocally superior artistically to any of our own era. I questioned the logic, not to mention hubris, of such a declaration. Now, 22 years later I don't see any value in even discussing that issue, even as an artistic concern. Whether or not the Brudieu Requiem was sung "better" 400 years ago than it was a few Saturdays ago is supremely irrelevant. That it was sung that all present could enfold their faith with those souls of the deceased CMAA members in the living act of the Supper of the Lamb (thank you, Dr. Hahn and Fr. Keyes) was the sole and exiquisitely sublime, humble raison d'etre.
    Now contrast that with most of the modern funerals for which many of us provide music assistance- the line between praising and remembering the deceased soul and the anamnesis that enjoins us to pray and praise God for the promise of salvation is generally very blurred. Same with weddings, confirmations, first get the picture.
    I've hit that moment where I realize my bluster has outlived its stay. But I'll conclude with this- I looked over the pamphlet for a prominent "Liturgical Conference" held annually on an island state of the U.S. yesterday. One of the two keynote speakers for this year's event is retired bishop, Abp. Remi DeRoo of Vancouver, a self-proclaimed evangelist for the Spirit of Vatican II. As a curiosity, I'd invite anyone to google the archbishop's name, read a link to an interview (2002) in (then-named) Modern Liturgy and take in his contentions about what exactly were the pre-eminent concerns of the council and how they've not been realized in liturgy. And if you buy all that, I'll give you my Tom Conry LP which features "Anthem."
  • G
    Posts: 1,396
    One of the two keynote speakers for this year's event is retired bishop, Abp. Remi DeRoo of Vancouver, a self-proclaimed evangelist for the Spirit of Vatican II. As a curiosity, I'd invite anyone to google the archbishop's name, read a link to an interview (2002) in (then-named) Modern Liturgy and take in his contentions about what exactly were the pre-eminent concerns of the council and how they've not been realized in liturgy.

    Not to mention, IIRC, his Excellency's presidency over one of the funnier Giant Puppet Liturgies in recent memory.
    (Photos of it inspired me, and I came up with a solution to the "vocation shortage.")
    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Brilliant!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,476

    G, you're the Weird Al of the liturgical world. Well done!
  • Pes
    Posts: 623

    Where, in the US, can one find a place where the songbook in the pews is The Gregorian Missal?

    I like this cutting right to the bone sort of question. I think the answer is "maybe in a monastery."

    Which raises the question of whether, at bottom, what we're trying to do is suggest to average parishes that their experience of the Mass ought to be, basically, monastic.

    We're asking them to adopt, as their own, a monastic culture, a monastic spirituality.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,476
    We're asking them to adopt, as their own, a monastic culture, a monastic spirituality.

    This is what the Eastern Church does.
  • In Salem, Ohio in the 1950's and early 1960's, 10:30 High Mass was sung by men and boys, Gregorian Chant Mass, Propers to the Rossini tunes except for Feasts, which is I why I know Dominus Dixit years and years later.

    A gentleman from Youngstown, Ohio came over and started the choir and trained the director AT THE INVITATION OF THE PASTOR. In 1964, in the presence of then teenager Joseph Barry Smith, Director of Music at St. James Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY today, was at the organ when the director collapsed and died while conducting the choir at Mass.

    Morning High Mass was sung daily M-S at 7 and 8, Gregorian Chant Ordinary and Rossini Propers.

    This was the norm in almost all Catholic churches, it is my understanding.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    That was not the norm at either of the two parishes where I sang (Diocese of Cleveland) in the late 50s/early 60s. Daily Masses (6:30, 8, noon) were Low Masses. Sunday 10:45 was the only sung Mass.

    Same applied when we visited family in New York and Boston,
  • Pes
    Posts: 623

    This is what the Eastern Church does.

    Oh, I know, and from what I've been able to observe, it works. Villagers -- in the true technical sense of the word -- participated robustly in the Divine Liturgy, for example. They seemed to love the entire thing.

    Coming out of an OF Mass said hurriedly in English (no music), a Ukrainian Greek Catholic friend of mine once asked, "that's it?"

    The question remains poignant.

    But for some reason, I have a hard time imagining parishioners in spaghetti-strap blouses, flip-flops, oversized football t-shirts, sweatpants, and any article of clothing festooned with advertising brands, "taking to" monastic culture as their own. In my opinion, the United States is ancient Corinth writ large. We live in a Corinthian world (cf. St. Paul), and here, monastic spirituality is considered ascetic in the extreme.

    And yet attractive, for the same reason.

    It's interesting.
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    St. Edward Newark CA has Gregorian Missal in the pews! (found via google search..i've not been there)
  • See: "Keyes, Rev. Jeffrey, C.PP.S"
    He's such a "fashionista-trendsetter!" ;-)

    Pes, check this out-
  • -b
    Posts: 55
    Where, in the US, can one find a place where the songbook in the pews is The Gregorian Missal?

    At the brunch on Sunday at the close of the Colloquium, I suggested to Jeffrey that it would be interesting to know what kind of services the Colloquium folks are involved in at their parish: OF or EF or both? Latin, English? High mass/low mass in EF? Gregorian propers, mixed Latin/English, Rossini, or just hymns, what for propers? What hymnal in the pews/songsheets printed up to provide music for mass, etc. Clearly, there would be many more possible questions, so many that the whole thing might become too cumbersome to be of much use. St. John Cantius, for example, seems to offer every possible option in both forms, except the missa groovy.
    Such information would only speak for this group, and not the vast majority of Catholic parishes, but I still think I might find encouragement seeing where my situation fits on the continuum of this historical movement we find ourselves in--endeavoring to alter the course of Catholic ecclesial culture in the USA. Fortunately, we have Pope Benedict at the helm and we just can't go too wrong if we know how to be patient, and ultimately refer all our efforts to his steady guidance which is readily available in so many writings.
    It occurs to me that possibly the one thing that distinguishes the CMAA group from mainstream (?) Catholic musicians is a higher level of musical training, not to mention liturgical education that we've mostly, I suspect, pursued largely on our own. So it comes back to education with a big E, hardly an original observation of mine.
    And if I may reiterate more or less, I find it very instructive to be working with the local EF community. That culture in many ways reveals where we were before Vatican II. The challenges I face in attempting to bring the local customary liturgy more in line with the EF ideals (high mass as a rule on Sunday, Gregorian propers, congregational parciticpation in the ordinary--when we're allowed to, once a month at the high mass) are curiously similar to the challenges most of the rest of you deal with in the context of the OF. I'm curious how many speakers in this forum work with the EF, and how it is working in their parish. We know St. John Cantius and Mater Ecclesia are exceptional.
  • @tdunbar That was an urban legend—more accurately, a misreport—started by me. Fr. Keyes informed me that while they have the Gregorian Missal, it's in the loft, not the pews.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,476
    The Gregorian Missal is rather too expensive to have in the pews, isn't it?
  • G, that was HEEEEEElarious. I'd enter it in NCReporter's poetry contest, if there is one.

    The Gregorian Missal belongs in the loft, or wherever the schola is. The PBC can fit nicely in pew holders.

    That's one more super neato thing about chant. Its variety of forms accommodates all- hymns and ordinary for everyone, more elaborate propers for the choir/schola to sing and the people in the pews to delight in. Even in the OF, the people are not expected to sing the propers. But you knew that.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Tom: St. Joseph's Church in Detroit has the Gregorian Missal and Adoremus Hymnal in the pews for their Ordinary Form Masses.
  • Gavin, does this mean that the congregation sings the propers at St. Joseph's?
  • Mon cher MA, at least it means they're provided the opportunity with the occasion to do so.
    Well done, Detroit.
  • marymezzomarymezzo
    Posts: 236
    I'm with singing mum. It really doesn't make sense for the Gregorian Missal to be in the pews when there is no expectation that the congregation ought to sing the propers. If they're capable, they need to be in the choir!

    It would be ideal if people got some catechesis on their musical "responsibilities," if you will--the ordinary and the people's responses to the priest. I've noticed that even at comparatively non-singing parishes (like yours, Frogman), when the priest chants his dialogues, the people practically bellow in response. They seem to know instinctively that when someone speaks to you or chants to you, it's right to respond in kind. They also sing the ordinary.

    Hymns? Not so much.

    And why should the congregation be moved to sing them? I have no patience with those who twist themselves inside out trying to cajole, persuade, beg, or browbeat the congregation into singing something that's not part of the Mass in the first place.
  • Charles, I see your point. I think its dreamy, but I'm not opposed to beautiful dreamers like yourself.
    With the GM in the pews the people could at least follow along, and benefit from the translations. Its a greener long term solution (in the OF) than disposable hymnals without proper texts. And it saves musicians from making worship aids.

    But I agree with marymezzo's practical advice on catechesis regarding who sings what and why. Most of the faithful would love to know some clear expectations. And I've witnessed the same resounding responses at several parishes.
  • -b
    Posts: 55
    Maybe CMAA could print up a handy guide in the style of "Frequently Asked Questions on Sacred Music," citing Council documents and inspiring words by our Pope.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    marymezzo: "It really doesn't make sense for the Gregorian Missal to be in the pews when there is no expectation that the congregation ought to sing the propers."

    The Gregorian Missal is much more than just the propers (neums and Latin).

    The Order of Mass: side-by-side Latin and English, dialogues chanted, etc.
    Mass Ordinaries: all seventeen, plus six Credo, plus others.
    All Sundays, Solemnities, Feasts:
    translations for the propers, side-by-side Latin and English texts, scripture citations everywhere.

    Think of the Gregorian Missal as a Rosetta Stone,
    an artifact which will be instrumental in
    advancing the understanding of both Liturgy and Latin.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    "the Holy Roman Catholic Church is not a denomination"


    1.a religious group, usually including many local churches, often larger than a sect: the Lutheran denomination.
    3.a name or designation, esp. one for a class of things.
    4.a class or kind of persons or things distinguished by a specific name.

    The Catholic church was the first denomination, if you will, the first Christian group, pre-schism the true successor of the apostolic church; the natural outgrowth from the book of Acts... however, it is still distinguished by a particular name--Catholic as opposed or Orthodox (which has the same legitimate claim of being the first denomination) or Protestant or free-will independent Southeastern church of Immanuel God Jehovah Almighty. It is not a protestant denomination, and does not work on the same principles as Bible churches and Family Fellowships and what have you, but it does have a particular name and it is not the only Christian group out there. Not even the only sacramental Christian group with legitimate apostolic succession.

    This is a pet peeve of mine since I grew up in the "Church of Christ," a protestant group that arose in the mid-1800s and adamantly denies being a "denomination" in any way, shape, or form; says they're the church in the book of Acts and everyone else is wrong (and damned, depending on who you ask), whereas they act just like every other anabaptist protestant denomination out there.

    sorry to get off topic...

    "We're asking them to adopt, as their own, a monastic culture, a monastic spirituality."

    Isn't that part of what monasteries are for?! Catholics think fasting for three hours before communion is "ascetic in the extreme." The Eastern Churches regularly fast from midnight the day before--even for evening liturgies, in some places. What about meatless Fridays, vegan Lents and Nativity fasts? Does the Catholic church even have a Nativity fast anymore? I think that the adoption of a monastic culture has been an integral part of the church since monasticism came in to being, at the end of Christian persecution.

    As for the original post! --The whole concept of "low Masses" has always bothered me. While I was in a choir for one for the first three Sundays of its inception, helping it get off the ground with good Latin polyphonic hymns and seasonal chants, there was something that didn't seem right to me. Something about how silent the priest was, as if every single one of his prayers wasn't for us to hear. Something was weird about the ordinaries not belonging to the people. I've been to a sung Latin Mass and that's the way it ought to be... this whole concept of "graduated solemnity" is foreign to the Orthodox church. you pull out all the stops for every liturgy pretty much. That way if you have something you really wanna celebrate (like Christmas or Pascha) instead of stepping up the incense and singing, you just have super long liturgies and feast like crazy afterward.