Fourth of July
  • I met with another DM the other night and we shared ideas on programs for the summer. She has programmed America the Beautiful as the recessional song for the last Sunday before the 4th of July and I was upset. She said since it was the recessional, it was fine, but I totally disagree. So, I was wondering how many DM's out there have programmed Americana music. We have breakfast in our parish and I thought I'd play some CD's with Americana on it, but certainly not for mass.
  • I plan music for the Mass itself, not holidays or private devotionals. July 4 is on a Wednesday this year, and we will have a Mass on that day and the homily and, I am sure, some of the music outside of the Mass will have a patriotic bent (ie. recessional hymn). Memorial Day week-end this year was Pentecost - we had propers and hymns for Pentecost. We had a separate service for Memorial Day. I get some grief for this, because people like having a two-fer - come to Mass on Sunday and get the July 4 music, or Veteran's Day music, or Memorial Day music, etc., etc. - without coming to the separate service. I am not a fan of that.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    We will sing "America the Beautiful" on July 8th as a recessional. Recessionals are not part of mass, since mass is over after the dismissal. The last hymn just gets the priest and procession off the altar and out the door.
  • Ally
    Posts: 227
    America the Beautiful is job security for some...and if otherwise I can plan music that is actually appropriate to the Mass the rest of the time (or work slowly towards that end), then I can live with America the Beautiful as a recessional 3x a year (..and I am even Canadian!)

    Thanked by 1PurpleSquirrel
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,005
    I don't see the connection of either weekend Mass this year to Independence Day. At all.
    Thanked by 2Gavin E_A_Fulhorst
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,306
    I am not programming any patriotic music for the weekend Masses, either before or after Independence Day. I AM programming patriotic music for our 4th of July Mass (we have Mass on every civic holiday).

    Most of those patriotic songs, if you sing enough verses, have a significant reference to God. Plus, I get to keep my job that way!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    There is no connection, but if I don't program the song either July 1st or 8th, I will get complaint after complaint. It isn't worth it, so I will program it, for recessional only.
    Thanked by 1Ally
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,697
    I typically only program patriotic music if there is no "other" Mass on that day. If July 4th were a Sunday, then perhaps I would program a patriotic hymn as the closing (if it were a normal Sunday in Ordinary Time). Since this year there will be a Mass (with music) on July 4th, I'll save the patriotic music for that day and use normal ecclesiastical music on Sunday.

    A funny story... Last year I was substituting as organist at a parish on Memorial Day weekend. The organist left me only the music for the Mass, but then in the notes said "play something patriotic at the end of Communion." Well... the thing is, I'm Canadian. I don't know American patriotic music by heart like most organists. But, when I sub at this place I typically do whatever I'm told - the stipend is good and the organ is terrific. So at the end of Communion I improvised upon the only patriotic song Canada and America share. Most folks heard a slight variation on the tune My Country 'Tis of Thee... though in my head I was going back to high school and remembering God Save the Queen.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    I'm using "God Of Our Fathers" as the recessional hymn on that day.

    I really don't see any reason not to do this - Although there are propers for Introit, Preparation and Communion, the recessional hymn only need be "appropriate." There is also a legitimate tenet of liturgy that it is in part informed by culture. This isn't an excuse to bring in mariachi's and bongos, but to sing a hymn praising God that has a patriotic bent to it is, I think, appropriate.
  • Paul_D
    Posts: 133
    If the pastor asked everyone to recite a prayer for the country at the end of Mass, how would that be different? Have we forgetten that a "national hymn" is a prayer, not simply a piece of patriotic music?

    Reviewing the words to America the Beautiful, it is certainly a prayer of petition, albeit part of a mixture of patriotism, national pride, etc. But not beyond the realm of prayer.

    One can argue that it is divorced from religious practise in common use, therefore has no place in church. On the other hand, should we not continue to remind ourselves and others that the Deity is addressed in this hymn, and we should invoke Him anytime the national hymn is sung. Thus connecting it with the liturgy, after the liturgy has formally ended, can serve to continue to associate the hymn with a sacred context.
    Thanked by 1E_A_Fulhorst
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    I don't really have a strong opinion either way (and I havent been at this particular church long enough to know if they "care,") but this year, since it falls right in the middle of the week, I think I'm going to just ignore it and expect that the congregation won't really be thinking about it, since it's several days away in either direction. (unless people are asking for it explicitly.)
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    I currently attend a parish where God Bless America was the offertory hymn, (and the only music, at most of these Masses,) on Corpus Christi, Pentecost, one of the Sundays of Advent...
    I'll be out of town, so I don't know what the Fourth or its bookend Sundays will be like.
    I used to think people who told stories like this, (I've heard them described as "liturgical porn",) were making them up, or at least exaggerating.
    Live and learn.

    (Save the Liturgy, save the World)
    Thanked by 1PurpleSquirrel
  • fp
    Posts: 63
    This year is a litle "special" as the american bishops are recommending:
    "Fortnight For Freedom

    The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty."
    ...more on the USCCB website.
    Anyone knows what will be sung in DC at the final Mass?

  • Not to enter the 'patriotic songs' debate, but it seems to me that the rather self-conscious and psuedo-pious protestation that a recessional, so called, that follows the dismissal is not a part of mass is just a little bit silly and artificial. Of course, technically, it isn't a part of the mass; but, just the same, it is attached to it and should in no way be treated as something totally foreign to it, or detracting from its solemnity. If one is going to sing a hymn at this point, one should have the day's lectionary in mind just as one does with all other music associated with the mass. It should function as a dignified and appropriate hymn accompanying the retirement of the sacred ministers and reflecting on the theme of the day. It isn't a part of the mass, but, on the other hand, it functionally is. Who would want to follow a late Beethoven quartet with Scott Joplin while making out that the Beethoven was over so there was no harm done? The same holds true immensely more for the mass. Consideration of this should suggest the appropriateness of attaching patriotic songs to within thirty minutes of the mass.
  • Well, Jackson, as cogent as your points prove, you've nonetheless entered the "patriotic songs" debate and called into question the distinctions that mark certain hymn texts/tunes in a broader spectrum. I would liken the singing of JERUSALEM in the UK as not substantially different than singing MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY here in the US. There are elements of secularist, patriotic sentiment that some taking up their singing may hold dear, but don't necessarily negate the theological or worship context (in the Howe-eschatological aspects.) OTOH, the singing of GOD SAVE THE QUEEN or AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL, even having a clear tendon of prayer intent in tact, infers a more nationalistic emphasis.
    For me, the question only arises if the national observance falls within the weekend sequence of Friday to Monday proximity. And in any case, no one is under obligation other than ettiquette or manners to remain present in the church after "Ite missa est. Deo gratias," even if the celebrant hasn't left the sanctuary. So, your aesthetic point is made and valid, but technically irrelevant. But local customs often dictate what is displayed in this window of opportunity: a grand postlude, a hymn of any kind, silence, the recitation of the St. Michael prayer, etc.
    In reality I'd speculate 80 percent at least of congregants herd themselves through the exits ASAP in the average RCC parish. Maybe we should try Bart Simpson's solution, and sing "In a gadda da vida/In the garden of Eden, honey, don't you know that I love you?" just to see if the PIPs haven't joined the zombie apocalypse.
    Thanked by 1PurpleSquirrel
  • Arrrgh! I guess, Charles, that you are right. I'm in the debate just because I spoke in it whilst feigning to be above it. So be it. I make no distinction at all between British or American patriotic songs: they are all what they are. And, regardless of your clever sociological observations about the mindless exit strategies of numerous Catholics, they are foreign to the genuine apprehension of what the mass is and is all about; as foreign as Joplin is to Palestrina. But then, there ARE (aren't there?) those people who will sing patriotic songs (with the most meagre of prayer-like fig leaves) at the eucharist (and just who is fooled as to the real object of adoration?), just as there are people who will put ketchup (or, failing that, catsup) on a chateaubriand, or salt on a wound. They just don't 'get it'.
    Thanked by 2Gavin CHGiffen
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    If it's not the day, I ignore it. If it is, I either do a sole closing hymn, or a patriotic prelude OR postlude. Or how about this - works by American composers? I've been known to do that, too.

    I don't know why holidays have to get expanded to "the holidays", or a "holiday weekend". Every. Last. One. It doesn't make you more patriotic just because you want to have your hangover on Sunday instead of Monday or Thursday.
  • Wow, I'm beginning to regret starting this thread, although some comments regarding the recessional as not being part of the mass disturbs me. Technically, I suppose, one could assert that after the dismissal is given the mass is "officially" over, but, like some of you have said, you can't just turn it off. And even if 80% of our congregants do leave, there is still that 20% that deserve good music. If we are to advocate a more vertical approach to religion, and hence worship, then I would argue that singing anything that is NOT vertically approached (patriotic music) would, indeed, go against what we feel is right. We argue that some publishers use all "me" centered music. Well, isn't ANYTHING that is NOT God-centered, going against the grain?

    Just my humble opinion. Thanks, in any case, for all the responses.
    Thanked by 1PurpleSquirrel
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    I think you should make music decisions based on your congregation, its needs, and its pastor's directives. We all do that. What works in one situation may not work at all in another. In all my years, I have yet to see two congregations or pastors that were alike.
  • MT56, no regrets necessary at all. My sentiments are with yours, Jackson's, Gavin's et al. I think, after so many years, that our forum has a bit of a particular Beatles' song ethos, "I get by with a little help from my friends (end segment there, thank you.)"
    The bit I mentioned about "ite missa est" is a pretty stark reality rather than assertion. I thank God that customs prevail providing us some sort of "punctuation" moment, and I suspect that where the organ should rightly prevail as the heavenly hosts.
    But no worries....
  • I think that the Ordo provides for a Mass of Thanksgiving on Independence Day in the US. At that Mass, I don't think that it is in bad taste to use music by American composers based on the Propers of the Votive Mass. And I see nothing wrong after singing the proper offertorium, of singing "Almighty Father, Strong to Save," the All-Services version of the Navy Hymn (since I served in the Air Force, needless to say I
    love the third verse)- or sing it after the Dismissal. If you have lots of Tenors & Basses,
    sing a verse or two TTBB. I don't think anyone will complain. You might get some new recruits! I get teary-eyed on the last verse: "O Trinity of love and power ..."
    Thanked by 2Gavin PurpleSquirrel
  • I seem to recall that we had this discussion last year.
    And, if my memory is accurate, no minds were changed....
    Some did the right thing,
    some did the wrong thing,
    and others were willing or unwilling victims of 'pastoral' circumstances.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,182
    And now I will go find a recording on-line of Ives' "Variations on America".
  • francis
    Posts: 10,709
    Heavens Patriot

    Imperfect world
    Perfect Sacrifice
    Blemished nation
    Spotless Lamb

    Heal our divisions
    Give us resolve to
    Sing of YOUR kingdom
    The New Jerusalem
  • RC, while you're there, send the new Vatican II Priests Conference Organization thingy a recording including Charles' "The Unanwered Question" and "Central Park in the Dark." The Bernstein recording is definitive and apropos.
    Thanked by 1PurpleSquirrel
  • costanzodcostanzod
    Posts: 15
    Here's what the NPM website has to say:

    JULY 4: INDEPENDENCE DAY Lectionary #594A

    In 2012, Independence Day falls on Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time (Lectionary #378). July 4 is also the optional memorial of St. Elizabeth of Portugal (Lectionary #594). For special celebrations of Independence Day, consider using readings from the list given at #594A. Note that the U.S. edition of the Roman Missal includes special texts for the celebration of Independence Day.

    In choosing music for today's celebration, pastoral musicians should check to see which readings and prayers will be used. If no special texts will be chosen, then they should keep their focus on the readings of the day and make choices that allow the word to be heard and celebrated. Perhaps the liturgy could conclude with a hymn that gives thanks and seeks guidance for the nation. Appropriate choices include such famil­iar hymns as “America the Beautiful” and “God of Our Fathers,” which are found in most hymnals and service books. Less known but very appropriate is “This Is My Song,” sung to the tune Finlandia.

    Suggested Psalm: Ps (121) 122
    One of the “songs of ascent,” this psalm praises Jerusalem as the place where God’s name is honored and God’s Torah is put into practice. The proper antiphon from Masses “for the Country” is based on Sirach 36:15: “Give peace, O Lord, to those who wait for you.” But other settings of this psalm with a more familiar antiphon—and with settings that might be more familiar to a congregation gathered on July 4—might also be used.
  • The last vernacular Mass at which this was even a question (for me, but not for most on this thread) my pastor, a veteran, gave firm instructions that no patriotic music was to be used. Mass is not the praise of our nation. I had no problem with this, for it merely confirmed my sense that anything which intrudes into the Mass draws our attention to ourselves and away from God.

    Now, in answer to the general objection that some of these pieces could be used as prayers and are (therefore) appropriate, consider the experience of my mother-in-law, who came to see a real purpose in singing "mother Mary come to me", right before she came to her senses and decided that the Beatles didn't belong at Mass. If the Beatles belong at Mass, John Lennon's Imagine can be there, and so nothing can be excluded.

    This highlights something else: while the Mass is the source and summit of our lives in Christ, it is not the only part of that life. If we knew (collectively) more of the Church's repertoire for the liturgy of the hours and ..... we wouldn't even consider recourse to the other stuff.

  • How surreal, I'm sitting here in Salt Lake City an hour before closing Mass, and on NBC the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is performing immaculately the Roy Ringwald arrangement of Berlin's "God bless America" with all those clever chromatic ornaments!
    Thanks, no thanks.
  • I think Charles "hit the nail on the head." There is a difference between patriotic songs and national hymns. "God Bless America" and "Almighty (Eternal) Father, Strong to Save" are two very different classifications. Check the texts and backgrounds of the two.
  • Before the final Blessing today our priest made everyone stand up and sing our National Anthem. (Greg refused to accompany. I kind of don't blame him.) It's funny because Fr. Donatus is "on loan" to us from Nigeria. So here's this Nigerian priest directing the Canadian National Anthem to a congregation made up of international tourists, mumbling the lyrics because he didn't know them, and GRINNING the whole time.
  • Perhaps this sweet priest was trying to be respectful of the area. I was told "no patriotic music AT ALL", when I asked about recessional music for today. I totally agreed, although I think the people would have appreciated it and sung wholeheartedly.
  • mwa
    Posts: 22
    This mangling of the calendar is even more irritating than the Halloween decorations I have to look at for an entire month in my neighborhood. Despite the celebrant's closing with telling people to come to Mass on Wednesday if they wanted to hear him sing "God Bless America," we sang "America the Beautiful" for the recessional
    (along with "Seek Ye First" for Offertory and "Amazing Grace" for Communion) What is it that our civilization is lacking that we cannot leave observations in their full vigor at their proper places but must arbitrarily extend them and thus dilute all their dynamism?
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    I guess this must have been the external solemnity of Independence Day. ;-)
  • Since the "Mass has ended" and everything that follows that declaration isn't that important... how about some Aaron Tippin "Where the Stars and Stripes and Eagles Fly" or maybe Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA?" Everyone could stand up all at the same time when we get "and I gladly stand up *dramatic pause* next to you..." lol
    Thanked by 1RedPop4
  • Caesar Sunday: In the US, celebrated on the Sunday nighest July 4, on other days in other countries. My EF Ordo for 2015 gives that as Pentecost 6, so that's what we'll do.

    Interesting that this thread revived right before EF Christ the King, too...
  • people who will sing patriotic songs (with the most meagre of prayer-like fig leaves) at the eucharist

    This reminds me of the traditionalist "American Catholic Church" (I think that's right?) from Walker Percy's Love in the Ruins, where the Elevation piece is always "The Star-Spangled Banner".