What's the "next step?"
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Background: Three years ago two parishes in the diocese merged to form a new one. A new pastor was appointed. Within several months the existing music director decided that the transition was a good time to step down. The new pastor hired me. The pastor and I are on the same page. Our parish could be considered to be a "reform of the reform" parish. The liturgies consist of mostly orthodox hymnody from the Worship IV hymnal, with some chant being used. The organ is the only instrument used at mass, with occasional flute, violin, or brass. The propers are used, with material from Christoph Tietze's "Introit Hymns," "By Flowing Waters," and Andrew Motyka's communion antiphons. The choir is semi-professional, with the professional singers also making up a schola. Both groups sing polyphony as well as good contemporary choral music.

    The above situation describes the liturgies in general. At the "principal mass" on Sunday morning, you could say that we raise the bar a bit further. The introits and Communios from the Graduale Romanum are typically chanted before whatever english hymn or music that there is to be. The mass is chanted, with all prayers and orations being sung.

    I would say that latin is used liberally, to the point that at a given mass we could have two propers, two choral motets, and the Agnus Dei sung in latin. During October and Eastertide the mass ends with the Marian Antiphon, Salve Regina or Regina Caeli, respectivly, being chanted by the entire congregation in latin.

    The question for today: In evaluating where we've come from and where we're headed liturgically, the pastor said that after keeping this liturgical praxis for almost three years now, he's ready to take "another step" towards traditional liturgy at the "principal mass." We're ready for another incremental change towards traditional liturgy. We're just not sure what it should be.

    We are considering introducing the chanted Pater Noster in the fall. I'm in favor of it, but I guess there's something that makes me hesitate about chanting the Lord's Prayer in latin, since the english chant that we currently use IS one of the few chants that EVERYONE, from ANY parish knows.

    We could learn the creed in latin - but that would be long and probably, frankly, laborious to sing every Sunday of the year - and then only one mass in the parish would know it, because we'd definately not be ready to introduce that at ALL of the masses (The people couldn't take that,)

    What is your advice on the next step?
  • BenBen
    Posts: 3,114
    The pater noster is worth learning. It's one of the prayers specifically mentioned by the documents that the people should be singing.

    When my bishop introduced it at the cathedral, he began by doing the English and Latin every other week for a few months, then making the switch, that way, it wasn't too frustrating. Now, they sing it well. If you're worried about people getting frustrated about not singing, that might be something to consider, it worked for us.
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 892
    Wow. I'm jealous. Far be it from me to offer advice when you are so far a head of where I am at the moment, but since you asked, here's my to cents:

    What about the Gloria and/or Sanctus? Although the documents specifically suggest that everyone be able to sing the Credo and Pater Noster together in Latin, I think that Gloria and Sanctus work better for congregational singing. I probably wouldn't do the Pater Noster (in Latin) at only one Parish Mass--if you were to do it at every Mass that would be different. The Credo is certainly more challenging, but why would you have to do it every Sunday? Perhaps start with a polyphonic Credo sung by the choir only at special Masses, and perhaps a simple English chant for the congregation to warm-up to the idea of a sung creed. If that is wildly successful, then try a sung Credo in Latin. Credo III I don't thing would be too hard for a congregation accustomed to listening to Chant to pick up. Even then, once it's learned, you wouldn't have to sing it every Sunday.

    This is all pure speculation on my part, since we are still singing mainstream, unorthodox American hymns (songs)!
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    We do chant the Sanctus in latin at all the masses during lent. We have in the past chanted the creed in english with Fr. Chepponis' Jubilation Mass setting.

    My choice would probably the the De Angelis Gloria in latin as well, but I'd want to do it at all the masses and the pastor said he doesn't think the people at the other two masses are ready for that. He's probably right.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    Ideas, some of which you may already be doing, and some of which are not musical....

    1. Benedictine (the Pope) or ad orientem altar setup.

    2. Use the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer 1) exclusively. Pray it, or large portions of it, in Latin. Perhaps focusing on isolated pieces of it: "Oremus" "Mysterium Fidei" "Per Ipsum, et cum ipso..." etc.

    3. If you are currently accompanying much of the chant you are doing, start accompanying less and less.

    4. What are you doing for the Psalm? Doing it better/differently would likely have little impact on the congregation, so that's a safe place for change.

    5. Same with the Alleluia before the Gospel. If you aren't already, could you move toward the Proper Alleluia?

    6. Are the other elements of liturgy - the vestments, the candles, the furnishings, the harrumphing of the ushers - as good as the music?

    And I'm not joking about the Ushers. I'm amazed at how much excess crap goes on around a liturgy that people seem to be unaware of. Worship aids needs to be beautiful, announcements need to be short and to the point, processions need to be organized and orderly, communion distribution needs to be efficient and solemn, ushers need to be quiet, floors need to be clean, etc.

    Given the high level of musical achievement, I'd be surprised if these other items are being ignored. But at the same time, given the high level of musical achievement, it makes sense to shift attention somewhat to all the other matters.
    Thanked by 1Hilary Cesare
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    My choice would probably the the De Angelis Gloria in latin as well, but I'd want to do it at all the masses and the pastor said he doesn't think the people at the other two masses are ready for that. He's probably right.

    Richard Clark has a wonderful English Mass setting based on the De Angelis.
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 343
    I would be very hesitant about introducing the Latin Pater noster as the "next step" if the congregation already sings the Our Father well.

    Chanting the Creed would seem to be the logical next step; it sounds like you have reasons for not wanting to do it in Latin though. The Chepponis setting is serviceable apart from the tedious refrain; if you've used it in the past that would seem like a place to start. Maybe drop the refrain completely and have the choir alternate verses with the congregation? Alternately, the ICEL setting of the creed would make sense.

    You say that "The mass is chanted, with all prayers and orations being sung"--does this include everything? Verbum Domini/ Deo Gratias (or their ICEL equivalents) at the readings, etc.? The Orate Fratres?

    You might look at introducing melismatic Alleluias. Not necessarily the proper Alleluia from the Graduale at first, since you are proceeding by increments, but perhaps along the lines of the melodies indicated in the Graduale Parvum, or the ones in the Parish Book of Chant. You could use the same melismatic melody week after week until it's well known and introduce more musically elaborate Gospel acclamation verses (if you have a good cantor). Likewise, the cantor could sing more complex verses during the responsorial psalm.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,306
    Where could one find this Clark setting?
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    The Ambrosian Gloria with the celebrant intoning, the schola singing the rest in alternatim with the congregation would be a relatively easy step.

    "look at introducing melismatic Alleluias"

    And while we're at it, off-topic, when the Gospel acclamation is not sung by the congregation, do the people generally sit throughout the Alleluia at an OF?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,697
    GIRM without commentary:

    62. After the reading that immediately precedes the Gospel, the Alleluia or another chant laid down by the rubrics is sung, as the liturgical time requires. An acclamation of this kind constitutes a rite or act in itself, by which the gathering of the faithful welcomes and greets the Lord who is about to speak to them in the Gospel and profess their faith by means of the chant. It is sung by everybody, standing, and is led by the choir or a cantor, being repeated as the case requires. The verse, on the other hand, is sung either by the choir or by a cantor.

    a) The Alleluia is sung in every time of year other than Lent. The verses are taken from the Lectionary or the Graduale.

    b) During Lent, instead of the Alleluia, the Verse before the Gospel as given in the Lectionary is sung. It is also possible to sing another Psalm or Tract, as found in the Graduale.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,697
    That being said, yes, I would recommend congregations remain seated until the final Alleluia if in the OF the actual Alleluia is used.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Richard Clark's MASS OF THE ANGELS is available from CanticaNova.com
    We are using the Gospel Acclamation only at this time as we've chosen Chris Mueller's Missa pro editione tertia just prior to reading through the Clark. Once we read the Clark we were actually torn between the two, but decided to stick with plan A. However, were we to do (as often occurs) a deanery or diocesan Mass we would defer automatically to the Clark for its beauty and accessibility.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • Since you ask. (smile):

    1) Use Credo 1, not Credo 3. (It works better with Missa Orbis Factor, which is appointed for the time after Pentecost. Lest you worry about this: I taught it to a group of non-Catholic elementary school students. A choirmaster of my aquaintance has the congregation sing it (and the Gloria) antiphonally with the choir.

    2) Following on Adam's point: reduce, remove and recycle the amplification system. God doesn't need a hearing aid. If the Mass isn't theocentric, the orientation is backwards.

    3) Don't forget that "participation" doesn't mean activity and that silence is an important part of worship, because it involves listening to God, and entering into the mystery.

    4) Remember that there are parts of the Mass which are in dialogue.

    5) Again, building on Adam's point: do everything possible to make prima dona solos "save, legal and rare", to quote Fr. John Zuhlsdorf.

    That's just for starters.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 2,069
    Fr. Doug should chant more of the prayers (I don't think he does them all, does he?) He could chant the gospel reading.
    Could he mandate that other celebrants use the Confiteor, so we don't have any more nasty surprises?
    Maybe introduce the offertory proper?
    Re the Psalm: alas, we've lost our miraculous cantress. But we've got or can get other good ones. I think that essentially upping the game for the Alleluia ultimately means taking the response from the people and giving it to the choir, which is pretty major. It might be interesting to give the Psalm to the choir, maybe in psalm tone at first, then in Anglican chant.
    ALTAR RAIL/ditch the EMHCs except perhaps for the choir's
  • lmassery
    Posts: 412
    I would love to see an altar rail there. The pastor could still make receiving in the hand while standing an option for those who are not comfortable right away. I would also recommend a chanted Latin Gloria and perhaps Arlene OZ's a capella responsorial psalms which are easy and beautiful.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    An altar rail is in the works.

    Do you chant the Gloria in Latin at your place?
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,697
    If they can sing the ICEL Missal chant, then getting them to sing Gloria XV shouldn't be difficult.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 2,069
    czg: God doesn't need a hearing aid, but the people might. But in this case, the hearing aid might need adjustment. This place is a huge boomy barn. From the choir loft, it's very difficult to understand the readings and homily. It's a matter of reverb rather than volume, and I wonder whether less volume might = more clarity (pga, do you know the history of the sound system there? Might it be time to have it re-examined, after/in conjunction with a new organ?)
  • Robert wrote about my musical setting of the Nicene Creed from Jubilation Mass:
    The Chepponis setting is serviceable apart from the tedious refrain; if you've used it in the past that would seem like a place to start. Maybe drop the refrain completely and have the choir alternate verses with the congregation?
    Concerning the refrain:
    • Tedious? I beg to differ.
    • Necessary? No.
    • Optional? In discussing the Creed, paragraph #170 of the U.S. Bishops' Document Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship says:
    The use of a congregational refrain may be helpful...
    The point is rather moot anyway, since the revised version of Jubilation Mass (2010) and the Nicene Creed from that Mass in Worship IV (#341) do not include an optional refrain.
    Thanked by 2Robert irishtenor
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,501
    We chant the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin most of the year. We change the settings of all but the Gloria to suit the season. I think the congregation is getting used to it all.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    re: Clark's Mass of the Angels...

    Thanked by 2irishtenor Jenny
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,306
    I think we're going to use that! What a beautiful setting--thanks to you gentlemen for sharing and to Mr. Clark for writing!
  • rob
    Posts: 148
    Wow, congratulations for having accomplished so much. I vote with the others above for a Credo (Tedious? Not so much as the fate of the holy souls in purgatory. Remember there's still an indulgence attached.). And, trust me, there's nothing so glorious as hearing all the faithful sing a profession of the faith.
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    As a relatively simple "next step," how about singing the seasonal Marian antiphon in Latin after the Ite?
  • lmassery
    Posts: 412
    We have not done a Latin Gloria at my place. I'm glad to hear about the altar rail.
  • Form is important. Chant the introits alone, not attached to a hymn. It will create a new environment- chant a capella. According to the hierarchy of degrees in MS the Creed is required even before hymn. We chant the ICEL Creed every Week.Latin is less important than you think. Celebrate the weekday Solemnities- the Annuciation. Presentation, Sacred Heart, Nativity of the BVM. A good time to experiment with your new ideas with a more engaged congregation. Simple events where much grace is received. Better yet stop over and bring your rosary and some good cigars!
  • Jeffry,

    "from the choir loft, it's very difficult to understand the readings and homily. It's a matter of reverb rather than volume, and I wonder whether less volume might = more clarity"

    The real solution is to sing the readings. Ours are beautifully sung by a deacon or by father. As to the homily, there's never a solution with more amplification. Clear speech is the issue, and the solution needs to address this. (I can say this without knowing the parish. Sometimes the solution is an architectural one, as at the missions here in California, when the pulpit is sometimes some distance from the sanctuary. Sometimes it's a matter of a canopy of sorts on the pulpit. Sometimes the speaker needs to slow down and enunciate more carefully.)

    Thanked by 1gregp
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Awesome! Thanks for all your great suggestions.

    Adam, we're very lucky that a lot of those other elements are in place! Great servers, seminarian in cassock as MC, beautiful vestments and processions, etc.

    Everyone else, I'm looking at the Clark english setting of mass of the angels. It's wonderful!

    Cantors and celebrant are amplified. The cantor typically sings only the psalm and alleluia from downstairs with a mic though, and possibly the verses to the communion processional if it is a verse/refrain composition. Not doing ANY amplification is a no-go. It's real hard to hear. And, yes, people in the 1930's didn't have it - but they weren't conditioned the way people today are and wouldn't complain about not having it the way they will today.

    There is, however, not one mic in the choir loft used for the choir ...

    Ralph, thanks, and yes, cigars soon are a must!

    Jeff, don't worry. We have a new cantor. She is a wonderful singer and she's also from Kansas City, which wasn't actually a reason that I hired her, but it sure didn't hurt. I spent two happy years living there and found the quality of person that inhabited that region to be a cut about the type I've found anywhere else. I think you'll like her.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 2,069
    cgz, one problem there is the use of lay readers. Ours are generally pretty good, but I don't think they're singers. So do you take "the people's part" from them, and give it to a chorister?
  • Adam's suggestion are all good.
    Further! If you are already singing dialogue, collects, Our Father, pax, propers, ordinary + motets and anthems, the universal prayers ('prayers of the faithful') and always use incense, the obvious 'next step' is to sing the readings... all three of them, all the time, but at least on all solemnities.
    You seem to be in an enviable position.
    Let us know what you 'next step' turns out to be.

    (Oh, and if you really wish to leave no stone unturned, there is also music for chanting the confiteor.)
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood CHGiffen
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    JQ, how are you btw?
    So do you take "the people's part" from them, and give it to a chorister?

    As RotR advances (or not) from parish to parish, the question you ask will be a huge connundrum.
    Two examples in your scenario-
    1. At our mother parish (it may have spread to the other three) I started the invocation/response being sung at the Universal Prayer. On a couple of occasions when neither of the two lectors (when deacon not there) forgets to go to the ambo, I go to the "epistle" pulpit and chant the intentions entirely. People always come up afterwards with positivity. But at least we chant "Lord, hear our prayer." But if I were to suggest reassigning the intentions to choristers, the lectors (we have to remember, they felt called to "ministry,") would want my head on a pike. Same thing if-
    2. Once in a blue moon a celebrant chants the gospel. We chant the Kalenda at Midnight. People notice this stuff and LIKE IT, WANT MORE OF IT. Imagine paring down the lector ministry roster to just daily Mass schedules, as we have no weekend Missa Lecta's.
    Isn't this the fulfillment of "clericalizing the laity?" And I don't demean the laity by asking.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Even our place has it's limits. Getting rid of lectors would not go over well.

    People here "tolerate" a lot, if you want to use that word ... we've even gone to having all male servers almost all the time. They've accepted latin pretty readily and with minimal complaint, and the complaints about not singing Haugen/Haas have died down.

    But they do have their limits.

    As for the intercessions, I am in favor of chanting them, but it's more of a practical thing here: I need the cantor, who doubles as a soprano choral singer, in the loft in time to start the offertory motet.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439

    You consider making the liturgy sound beautiful by chanting/singing more of it to be "clericalizing the laity"? Tell me you are kidding. Singing belongs to all the faithful, cleric, religious and laity alike.

    Offer to teach the lectors to sing so that they don't feel left out. In my parish, the deacon sings the intentions most of the time, and even when it is spoken, there is a slight period of respectful silence between the intention and "Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer". (At least in your parish, the laity get the job, but let's do it right, shall we? I know no disrespect is intended, but in many parishes where the intentions are spoken and rattled off the tongue, it sounds like "Gimme this, gimme that, gimme, gimme, gimme.....", no moments of silence so that people can contemplate the prayers. With singing since it generally takes longer to sing a line than speak it, people can internalize what is sung.) I do not know about my fellow parishioners, but I love the singing of the intentions, for there is a sense of solemnity in the act of making our requests to God our Master as beautiful as possible, much like no one would write a petition to a king of old in a mumbo jumbo fashion.
    Thanked by 2chonak CHGiffen
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    You misunderstood me grossly. I'm definitely in favor of sung lessons. However, as you rightly mention the remedy lies in not in replacing lectors with choristers, but adding cantillation ability to whatever (repeat "whatever?") criteria liturgy coordinators or pastors have in place to formate credible lectors.
    My use of the term "clericalization of the laity" actually was borrowed and is somewhat perjorative to those laity who elevate their ministerial status and self regard well beyond the propriety of the office. I hope you understand my position much better now.
  • Melofluent,

    I would encourage this: let the Epistle be sung by the Deacon. The scola can sing the psalm, in whatever form it takes. Since the Missal of Paul VI has 2 readings instead of one, I suppose one could make a case for a second singer, but the Deacon should sing the ep


    It tells us the depths to which the modern liturgical balloon has sunk that, as you put it,

    Even our place has it's limits. Getting rid of lectors would not go over well.
    People here "tolerate" a lot, if you want to use that word ... we've even gone to having all male servers almost all the time. They've accepted latin pretty readily and with minimal complaint, and the complaints about not singing Haugen/Haas have died down.

    "All male servers" is still the norm of the Church, since "girl altar boys" (as an acquaintance called them, approvingly) are technically an option. It would be akin to saying "healthy food" or "three square meals a day" is tolerated. Since the worship of God is not about us, the canard of lay participation, while popularly accepted, is still wrong-headed.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Believe me, I know. And you, of course, are right.

    But I guess where the "rubber meets the road" so to speak is that while we are not here to cater to people as a sort of customers, at the same time we do not need to preside over massive discontent. The reality of a city-parish living on a shoe-string budget is that we, frankly, cannot have the attitude that "what we are doing is best and if you don't like it, there's the door."

    As evidenced by my description of the liturgies, we've already pushed quite a bit compared to a lot of places. Keep in mind that upon said pastor and myself arriving here, the organ and piano were IN FRONT IN THE SANCTUARY, the repertoire was a CONSTANT and steady diet of David Haas and Marty Haugen, chant was used only a little, and only at the vigil mass, and the buzzwords when describing liturgy in the place were "full, active, conscious participation," and the description of being a "singing parish" - not a bad thing - but as code words for everything that we know is wrong.

    So in only three years, we've done some good things, in my opinion.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I didn't mean to diminish what you had accomplished. I simply think it's fair to identify that "better than critical" is hardly the same as "in good health".