fun while it lasted, sort of
  • teachermom24
    Posts: 298
    Our pastor informed me last week that he and the "parish council" decided, "due to the form and number of choir members", to eliminate the choir and the position of choir director effective July 1. I have been at this two years and am not unhappy to be done with the stress and problems (I actually offered to resign last spring), but I am sad for the parish and the few faithful choir members.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,341
    Oh, I'm sorry that your position and the choir has ended in a difficult way. Prayers that something fruitful occurs for this parish with regard to music and liturgy.

    What does "form and number of choir members" mean?
    Thanked by 1teachermom24
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,532
    The most treasured art of the church receives this sort of treatment.

    Sad.
    Thanked by 1Ben Yanke
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,384
    Shake the dust from your sandals and move on. If there is a neighboring parish that you can tolerate, take some of your choir members with you - along with their tithes, etc. I hope you get something better.
    Thanked by 2jpal canadash
  • teachermom24
    Posts: 298
    "Number" refers to the choir ending with 6 members, 4 of which are in my immediate family. I have no idea what "form" refers to. I inherited the "form" from the previous choir director though have added to it with communion and offertory antiphons. I have never received any guidance regarding the "form" of the choir. The lack of communication has been one of the most difficult burdens of this job. My 16yo son will continue as organist for one Mass (the one where the choir sang) but I have no idea who is going to select the music after the summer. I offered that my family could continue to sing the liturgical parts (psalm, Gospel acclamation, communion and offertory antiphons) as volunteers (in the interest of promoting sacred music) but I guess that got "lost in the mail" because I have received no response to that offer.
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    teachermom...this is classic passive-aggressive behavior. The parish council and/or the pastor doesn't like the music you are providing. They are therefore playing the numbers game to get rid of you. The fact that they are not even wanting you to continue as volunteers illustrates this.

    I would be willing to bet that someone on the council has volunteered to pick the music already, and will pick four hymns off the list offered by one of the major publishers.

    The only question I have for you is...if they are not paying your son AGO scale wages to play the organ, why is he continuing? Those in charge have already proven that good music for the liturgy is NOT a priority for them. So let them have what they are asking for and find another parish.

    My two cents. YMMV.
  • teachermom24
    Posts: 298
    I believe you're right, Wendi. Our family stands alone in the parish regarding sacred music. My son is getting $50/Mass which I believe is fair, given he has no training as an organist (aside from his 2.5 years of experience now and he will begin organ lessons at the local university in the fall). And in the rural south, organist jobs are exceedingly rare as are organs in churches. We visited another parish last week "just to see" something else--all I can say is, if my son can still play the organ, we are a lot better off where we are. We have visited other parishes up to an hour away--horrible, horrible "music" if any at all (the parish last week had piped in "chimes", no congregational singing AT ALL) and at one parish the priest told my daughter as she knelt to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, "That's not how we do it here."

    Anyway, we don't know what to do now. Just praying for guidance.
  • In light of this and having been through this experience myself, the question is:

    Will there come a day in which Catholics will be able to come together, form their own parish and hire priests?
    Thanked by 1ContraBombarde
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,341
    Will there come a day in which Catholics will be able to come together, form their own parish and hire priests?


    Knowing a few Protestant Christians... This has its own set of problems.

    It is sad. Have you looked into any "Anglican Use" parishes? I had no idea we had one in our city. I have friends who love their liturgy. May God bless your discernment.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,341
    Will there come a day in which Catholics will be able to come together, form their own parish and hire priests?

    Trusteeism: we already had that in America; been there, done that, it's gone.
    Thanked by 1Chrism
  • teachermom24
    Posts: 298
    having been through this experience myself


    I've been through this once before, though with a dictator priest and when I was the DRE. It's just so sad for the Church . . . I do not at all regret the past two years and am very thankful for my children's sake and my own for the opportunity to learn about sacred music. I would never have found this site had I not been in the position I was. I know God has a place for our family (just hoping He doesn't put me through this wringer again, but if He does, so be it).
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,281
    Will there come a day in which Catholics will be able to come together, form their own parish and hire priests?


    This turns parishes into social clubs and priests into chaplains.
    cf. The Episcopal Church
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,384
    Yeah, but it makes riding the rotten priests out of town on a rail much easier. LOL.
  • The lack of communication has been one of the most difficult burdens of this job.


    Boom. That's it. Every unpleasant experience I've ever had in a parish comes down to this. Either the pastor and I weren't communicating well or we had different understandings of our discussions.

    On the flipside, I've been happiest when I can have weekly meetings with the pastor, even if they're short just to "check in." I'm very much a "no surprises" kind of person, and constant communication makes surprises tougher to come by.

    It also builds a collegiality between you and the pastor. Don't underestimate the value of friendship. Musicians who never speak with their pastors might end up on their bad sides without even realizing it. Communication is key.
    Thanked by 2Earl_Grey JulieColl
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,281
    Yeah, but it makes riding the rotten priests out of town on a rail much easier. LOL.


    I know you're only joking, but-
    No.

    It makes riding the good priests, along with their meddling musicians and orthodox teaching, out of town on a rail a lot easier.

    cf. When Sheep Attack
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,384
    You have a good point, Adam. It can work both ways.
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    I understand. Sometimes it's more about accepting the best of the worst.

    If that is the situation in which your family finds itself, I have two additional suggestions. Offer it up, which really helps you too...(well it helps me to better bear an unbearable situation if I can offer it to God), and make sure that your son the organist doesn't end up compromising too much in what he's asked to play.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,112
    Musicians who never speak with their pastors might end up on their bad sides without even realizing it. Communication is key.


    Totally true. We (my family) has made a point of trying to get to know our current pastor, and now our new pastor. It's a smaller parish, so he often comes over for dinner, or to hang out for the super bowl, or for Easter dinner. Most of them are really interesting guys! It works wonders. Befriend them!
  • teachermom24
    Posts: 298
    make sure that your son the organist doesn't end up compromising too much in what he's asked to play.

    Yes, I will watch over him like a hawk. Still don't know how this will all play out.

    It's a smaller parish, so he often comes over for dinner, or to hang out for the super bowl, or for Easter dinner. Most of them are really interesting guys! It works wonders. Befriend them!


    Interestingly enough, before I got the news of my dismissal, we had invited him for dinner which is tomorrow! Should be an interesting evening.

    On the flipside, I've been happiest when I can have weekly meetings with the pastor, even if they're short just to "check in." I'm very much a "no surprises" kind of person, and constant communication makes surprises tougher to come by.

    It also builds a collegiality between you and the pastor. Don't underestimate the value of friendship. Musicians who never speak with their pastors might end up on their bad sides without even realizing it. Communication is key.


    At the risk of sounding defensive, the lack of communication is not my fault. I have tried from the very beginning of his coming to meet and discuss the music--never fruitful. He is very young (ours is his first parish as pastor) and not American. All of this has contributed to the outcome where we find ourselves now. It does not surprise me; it's just the way it is and given our parish, predictable. My family gave our best and it was rejected. So be it. God has something else for us to do.
  • Oh, please don't be defensive. I was throwing general advice out into the internet-ether, not commenting on your specific situation about which I know nothing. In this situation, the collegiality-angle sounds like it's too late even if you weren't already doing it. It's not a fix-all; I was just commenting on what my experience is in these situations.
  • Ignoto
    Posts: 126
    Do you know what kind of music they will switch to now that the choir and choir director position have been (sadly) eliminated? I know you said you have no idea who is going to select the music, but do you have a sense of what the musical change might be?