Trouble with Music Director for sister's wedding
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 369
    My younger sister is getting married in the beginning of June and has had considerable trouble getting the music director/organist and priest at her fiancé's parish to agree to include a couple of chants and a piece of polyphony in the Mass. My sister is rather shy and non-confrontational and so agreed (against her will) to a "compromise" of including those pieces with the caveat that "Gift of Finest Wheat" must be sung at Communion, and the "Mass of Creation" must be the Ordinary, rather than the ICEL Mass, because the music director has the inane opinion that the "Mass of Creation" is better for congregational participation, despite the fact that literally only the immediate family members of the groom will know it, and it's not a very intuitive piece, while literally every Catholic I've ever met knew or could follow along with the ICEL Ordinary.

    I'm effectively leading the small schola and I've thought about using my Yale student flex and asking if I can bring in a different organist since it's pretty clear that the one in question despises the music that forms my family's spirituality and is the actual music of the Church because of mislaid notions of "participation". Is there any way I can approach this without making things worse?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,031
    So having the wedding in a different church is not an option?
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • Vilyanor,

    How avoidable was this?
  • um, it is my understanding that you can bring in another organist, however you will have to pay the church musician as well. Honestly, I'd probably do it, it affordable. Your sister will be happier and it will ultimately be a more pleasant day.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,033
    Is this church in DC by chance? This sounds oddly like a conversation I had regarding a friend's son's funeral.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,606
    Follow the church's policies (as long as they don't do anything invalidating or heretical) or move to another church.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,606
    Though to be honest once I did a wedding at another church that the parish demanded that we do the Celtic Alleluia as the acclamation before the Gospel. Sadly I forgot my music and couldn't remember how it went - so we sang the Gregorian Alleluia as I had a GR with me.
  • Incardination
    Posts: 705
    I would first speak with your sister. Her sensibilities and shyness may lead her to accept the musical status quo of the parish in question over perceived bad feelings it might cause with pastor / music director.

    If she (as I suspect) would want her brother involved in the Mass to provide the music, next step would be to find out what policies of the church in question govern outside musicians for weddings. As Elizabeth suggests above, there may be a bench fee for the organist... or perhaps not. Every church is different.

    However, there may still be a fly in the ointment... the church may still exercise the prerogative of determining the parameters around the music your group would perform. Particularly if it is (as seems from your description) that there is prejudice involved.

    Good luck - congratulations to your sister.
    Thanked by 2canadash Vilyanor
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,816
    Why must the wedding take place at this 'church'?
    The suggestion to have the wedding at a more congenial church is sterling.
    What about the groom's feelings - about which we haven't heard anything.
    This is all really preposterous -
    Have the wedding somewhere else.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,796
    Where is this, generally speaking? There's no need to name the parish, of course, but perhaps we could suggest one that will be more congenial.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,781
    Given that the wedding appears to be within 5 weeks, changing venue at peak wedding season strikes me as improbable.

    One might choose *not* to sing the Ordinary if the only setting thereof on offer is objectionable. Admittedly back-asswards in terms of liturgical norms, but it's hardly outside the realm of possibility.
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 107
    Why must the wedding take place at this 'church'?
    The suggestion to have the wedding at a more congenial church is sterling

    Canon Law dictates which church a Catholic couple can be married in and who can preside over it in order for it to be valid (the priest needs jurisdiction). It can be changed for good reason, but it requires paperwork, permission from the pastor of the territorial parish (not simply the one they’re registered at), etc.
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor MarkB
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,031
    Canon Law dictates which church a Catholic couple can be married in and who can preside over it in order for it to be valid (the priest needs jurisdiction). It can be changed for good reason, but it requires paperwork, permission from the pastor of the territorial parish (not simply the one they’re registered at), etc.


    If this law is still in effect, I can assure you it is seldom practiced. In our area, weddings occur at whatever parish will accept the fees from the happy couple and can schedule the time.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,404
    IMO:
    1. Talk to your sister about this. It is her wedding and though you may not like it, she may not care that much to make a fuss.
    2. See if you can pay the organist to stay away if she doesn't mind you doing that.
  • mmeladirectress
    Posts: 707
    >> Canon Law dictates which church a Catholic couple can be married in and who can preside over it in order for it to be valid (the priest needs jurisdiction).

    Licit is one thing; valid is something else.
    The couple confer this Sacrament on each other.
    A marriage celebrated in due form but without express permission of the competent authority of the Catholic Church between a Catholic and another baptized person enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church is "prohibited" (illicit) but valid. (see Canon 1124). There are other Canons which deal with additional ways in which marriages can be illicit, but valid.
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 369
    A change of parish is impossible this late. Unfortunately the priest has voiced his support for the director's notions of "participation". I'll talk to my sister, and see if she's wlling for me to pursue a bench fee.

    How do I offer a bench fee without it sounding like a bribe?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,796
    Let's not recommend anything even illicit.

    Hey, I just remembered: Pope Francis has granted SSPX priests permission to conduct weddings: any chance your sister and her fiance would like to go trad? :-)

    A bench fee is not a bribe: in effect, it's just paying for the freedom to choose musicians you prefer. It's simple: "We'd like to hire a particular organist from outside the parish for the wedding. Do you charge a bench fee?"

    As a last resort, you could make the service a wedding without a Mass, if the pastor doesn't accept that "Mass of Creation" would be offensive.
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 107
    If this law is still in effect, I can assure you it is seldom practiced. In our area, weddings occur at whatever parish will accept the fees from the happy couple and can schedule the time.


    It’s so common now that the paperwork is done as a normal procedure.
    Thanked by 2MarkB CharlesW
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 107
    As a last resort, you could make the service a wedding without a Mass, if the pastor doesn't accept that "Mass of Creation" would be offensive.

    That’s not a very good reason to forego the graces of a Nuptial Mass. If she doesn’t have a Nuptial Mass, the bride doesn’t get the Nuptial Blessing, which can only be received during the Nuptial Mass. Music is important, but not as important as the graces the couple receives during the Nuptial Mass.
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor canadash
  • petrus_simplex
    Posts: 35
    Speaking as a married man of 22 years, marriage (including the in-laws) always necessitates compromise. I would like to advocate for making the groom's family comfortable at this Mass as well. If this is their parish, no matter how bad the music, I think you need to play by their rules. If the Mass of Cremation is their thing, I think you have to use it.

    Now, on the other hand, if the in-laws are of the same mindset, then I would put a little pressure on the priest to adapt to the "pastoral" needs of the families. Most people, even parish priests, can be reasonable with some gentle persuasion.
  • Mass of Cremation


    Amusing typo.
  • petrus_simplex
    Posts: 35
    Amusing typo.


    Not a typo.
  • Marc Cerisier
    Posts: 424
    An unfortunate situation, but I echo MM’s comment above—

    Follow the church's policies (as long as they don't do anything invalidating or heretical) or move to another church.


    It was not uncommon at the Cathedral to suggest to a couple that it might not be the best venue for their wedding, as they would come to meet—having reviewed our policies—wanting to get exemptions to every one of them. It was horrible to deal with. There were other parish options that were much more accommodating.
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,004
    A third the Matthew and Marc's thoughts. You either pay off the incumbent organist, or go elsewhere. I actually got married at the church where I now play (about five years before I got the job here), and did this very thing. Easiest check I ever wrote.
  • (...but you didn't play for your own wedding, I hope)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,031
    Depends on the church. We have a strict policy that if you have a wedding, you have to use one of our approved organists. You can't pay them off and replace them. Everyone knows I hate weddings so I have three organists for now who will play for them. It's either one of the three, or no organ music.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,004
    Nope! I think it was Dr. Gerre's last (second to last?) wedding. Really glorious. My colleague but him up to improvising versets on the Mass IV Agnus. That was more or less the peak of my musical life. Oh well...
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 267
    If she doesn’t have a Nuptial Mass, the bride doesn’t get the Nuptial Blessing, which can only be received during the Nuptial Mass.


    Actually, the nuptial blessing is given at weddings celebrated outside of Mass. I typically chant it (the new edition of the Order of Christian Marriage provides music) so as to add back in some of the solemnity that is lost by not having a nuptial Mass.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,722
    Not a typo.


    ALSO not a typo: Massive Cremation.
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 121
    We still have nuptial blessings at our wedding "services".

    Sorry for the stress. I wonder if the musician doesn't know how to accompany or play the chant. More work for them. Then again, you are unique in knowing Catholics who know the ICEL chants. The participation line smells like a cop out to me, since so many people don't participate at all at weddings (unfortunate tradition of a spectator sport). That being said, I would see if you could get the polyphany in and compromise with the MOC ordinary.
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 121
    To clarify, I would bet the majority of PIP of most parishes do not know the ICEL chants. I didn't mean to insinuate it is odd for anyone to know them.
    Thanked by 1PaxMelodious
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 369
    I talked to my sister and she's asked to just keep things as they are, so Mass of Creation it is. At the very least, we'll get to sing my restored Nuptial Mass introit and communion, as well as the "Propter hoc" antiphon I composed, so I can get by with that. It is a really beautiful Church, a lovely Neo-Gothic parish with a dash of Art Deco. It's unfortunate that most of the parishes in Omaha are by default very poor in liturgical and sacred music formation.
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen Carol canadash
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,816
    Oh! So you're in Omaha.
    Have you looked into St Barnabas' ordinariate parish?
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 369
    I'm quite familiar! I've been lucky to attend Mass there several times, including at the Dedication by Bishop Lopes. Fr. Catania also generously stepped in to celebrate my Nuptial Mass last year when the pastor at St. Peter's (basically the only remotely traditional OF parish) had an opportunity to go to Rome.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,796
    Well, at least you can make it as little bad as possible :-)
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor canadash
  • tandrews
    Posts: 34
    I'm quite familiar! I've been lucky to attend Mass there several times, including at the Dedication by Bishop Lopes. Fr. Catania also generously stepped in to celebrate my Nuptial Mass last year when the pastor at St. Peter's (basically the only remotely traditional OF parish) had an opportunity to go to Rome.


    That dedication was so much fun to play for!
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,069
    Isn't Christ the King (Omaha) pretty decent liturgically, though somewhat unusual in architecture?
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 100
    Perchance, why was gift of finest wheat insisted upon by the organist? Seems terribly odd to me unless someone from the family requested it.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 369
    @irishtenor, it's alright now that the former pastor of St. Peter's is pastor there, but liturgically it's along the lines of ICEL Mass with decent to meh hymns. That's about as good as you can hope for in Omaha. The architecture is fine for the period, but nothing exceptional. What is exceptional is how bad the Last Supper mural/sculpture behind the altar is. Nightmare inducing might begin to get it across.

    @ServiamScores, I think it's as simple as "because P A R T I C I P A T I O N", for which apparently the likes of Marty Haugen and Dan Shutte are the magisterial authority.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,816
    ...the magisterial...
    Ha!
    What a 'turn of phrase' in reference to MH and DS!
    Magisterial is such a wonderful word, used to underline undisputed excellence, superbness, and Truth.
    It is so fitting that it could almost be said to be onomatopoetic.
    How passing strange to use it in reference to badness.
    I do suppose, though, that one who excels in badness could be referred to as having a magisterial command of the innately horrible.
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor CHGiffen
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 369
    Aye, a magisterium utterly hacking in majesty…
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,858
    You had us expecting something much more fascinatingly horrible than that. Give it a patina of centuries of candle soot and it'll hardly get a second glance.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,404
    It looks like Jesus is going to hit someone or is dancing a Spanish Dance. It's so...large.... Well, it isn't as bad as this. Jesus is larger than life-sized and is above the tabernacle. You can't escape him.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,796
    I fixed Vilyanor's link:

    Olé!
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,816
    The several nice examples in Vilyanor's link of the Christus Rex (as opposed to the more normal crucifix) are interesting - and quite unusual in Roman Catholic churches.

    Upon Walsingham's rood screen is a Christus Rex, examples of which are actually more ancient than the crucifix. (More ancient than either are prominent representations of Christ the Good Shepherd). The crucifix did not become quite so ubiquitous until quite late in the mediaeval era (XIIIth century or so) - and at that mostly in the west.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Vilyanor
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 121
    Re Christus Rex and the crucifix- that is very interesting. It became quite popular in the 90s in local suburban churches to have the risen christ in front of the cross as opposed to the crucified Christ. Many "tradition minded" people rebuked the images, saying it forgets the sacrifice and pain of Jesus. This reminds me of my last pastor/boss who would remind people that the "tradition" with which they described themselves were in comparison to the history of the church, not so traditional after all. He used to say, "if you want to be traditional, do XYZ" and reference early church Fathers or practices. I loved that man (may he rest in peace) but alas, he wasn't the most pastoral of priests to most people!
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 121
    But the last supper image is quite gaudy! It really doesn't bring me to ponder the mysteries. It kept me thinking- gee, I wonder how the apostles could have access to such brightly colored robes. Haha.

    And I won't even expound on where the lines draw us to in the christus Rex image canadash posted. *sigh* There IS good liturgical art. We just need to patron these artists more.

    I purchased this image of the Sacred Heart recently. It draws me right to his heart. It is a stunning picture on my wall that gazing upon brings me to prayer. I was thrilled as well to see an image of Jesus actually looking somewhat middle eastern!
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 369
    Maybe look again and zoom in a bit. The faces are just in the uncanny valley where they don't look quite human enough, it's quite disconcerting to me at least.

    The Christus Rex is lovely. Why it isn't in the place of that abomination unto the Lord is anyone's guess. The lack of artistic ability in the mural makes me think it was perhaps attached to a large donation (Christ the King is the wealthiest parish in town). It's probably too "beloved" now by the parishioners to replace. It just goes to show that taste is often poor.
  • KARU27
    Posts: 106
    Their lack of feet and legs is also remarkable. They're just...floating there.
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,816
    ...taste is often poor.
    Like the poor themselves, the poor in taste we will have always with us.
    One thing is certain, that just as intelligence and wisdom are not guaranteed to reside in the same person (and all too often do not!), likewise, wealth and taste are all too often strangers to one another.
    Poor taste rules in many spheres, but perhaps the most hideous and irredeemable poor taste is that encountered in a religious context.