Educating the lay people
  • How many of you have had priests who put excerpts of church documents on liturgy and music in the bulletin with their comments when applicable, as a way of educationg the lay faithful? I've talked to several priests who have been implementing the reform of the reform and this seems to be a common way of educating, so that changes are then possible without too much parish upheaval. I am curious to know others thoughts on this method of educating and where they have known it to be done and how effective it has been. Also, whether it was paired with other ways of teaching the fundamentals about liturgy and music as desired by the Council.
  • This is fine in parishes where the music praxis is 100% tending in the right direction but most parishes offer a mix at best, so the chant people must work as part of a diverse program.
  • Our pastor announced shortly after the new year that the Pastoral Council was entering into a review and study of Sing to the Lord, stating that I as music director would also be providing commentary in the bulletin. He told me this after he'd submitted the bulletin article. In fairness, we had discussed the possibility of a series of bulletin articles, but hadn't come up with a plan.

    He told the congregation (via the bulletin) that it will be the Pastoral Council who will make recommendations to him on how to begin implementation of the kinds of recommendations contained in the document, and that he encouraged members of the congregation to share their views with the Council and members of the staff.

    Although there are some parts of SttL that are good, we've all pretty much agreed that the document is highly equivocal. Now I'm expected to publicly "comment" on parts of it, but of course it's expected that my "comments" will be in line with the majority wisdom of the Council. I'll only add that the Council subcommittee studying the document in detail is made up of a semi-retired public school teacher (who taught music), a non-musician who was an active "cantor" who left the program shortly after I came on board (he apparently felt that I had taken the enjoyment out of singing at Mass) and a home-school mother who had two children in the boys' and girls' schola program, but dropped out because the program was too difficult.

    Our parish is a very large (over 10,000-member) suburban congregation, with a proportionally small active membership in the music program. Frankly I don't think any amount of bulletin-based catechesis is going to adequately educate the general parish population. I also can't say that the process we're going through regarding SttL is going to be productive, or go very far in changing the prevailing "we-need-to-be-more-diverse-and-Latin-and-chant-is-ok-once-in-a-while" opinion of the "spirit of Vatican II" crowd on the staff. (Thomas Groome is a GREAT man, and changed the face of catechesis, don't you see? I agree with HIs Excellency Bp. Trautman because he truly understands that a return to Latin would be a terrible mistake. America magazine is one of the most important journals of Catholic life today. Joncas (FATHER Joncas), Haas, Haugen, Penna . . . these are the names of the Catholic composers we should be singing every week. Get the picture?)
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    As someone who is in a minority among TPTB at my parish, and does not have unequivocal support from the person who could effect the most change, I have so far written or placed bulletin articles that are unimpeachable by the fringes, thinking that if they are read, (a big "if,") they will pave the way for future catechesis.
    For instance, one was why we sing the psalms and they they are part of the Liturgy of the Word, not just a song inserted between other chunks of the Word of God. If that is taken to heart, it should go a long way toward explaining why, for instance, I will not program Shepherd Me O God as the Responsorial Psalm anymore than a reading of the script of a Cecil B DeMille movie should be inserted as the Old Testament Reading.
    I am about to do one about what the Ordinary and the Propers are. It might placate the anonymous letter writer who objects to that foreign sounding a capella song at the beginning of communion that seems to be a local custom some times of the year that is so unwelcoming to new members and out-of-towners (she hasn't seemed to notice that the days we sing THAT, we don't sing "Lamb of God....")
    It is difficult convincing people that we're not making it up as we go along, since, umm.... some of what the parish does it IS making up as it goes along.
    Oh, well...

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)