Demographics and the advancement of the reform
  • I asked, and I'd like to re-ask in this separate thread, a question I posed addressed to those who are in parishes where any of the following have been instituted or "reformed":

    - Use of chant within OF Masses (please specify if it's the Parish Book of Chant, By Flowing Waters, the Gregorian Missal, etc.)
    - Use of "Benedictine arrangement" at one or more weekend Masses (regardless the music, but I'd assume it'd be at the least hymns, etc.)
    - Introduction of "versus aspidem" or "ad orientem" orientation of the altar/priest celebrant
    - In the absence of these, the overall ars celebrandi of the priest celebrant.

    Please focus on pure data; avoid journalism as much as possible. I'm looking for information regarding the demographic of your parish. Also, please tell me if you'd characterize your pastor as intellectual or scholar insofar as he has read the most recent books, articles and documents on issues relating to ars celebrandi, the Augustinian notion of the connection between beauty, truth and goodness, or other writings by Benedict, etc., and whether or not you (as DM, if that's your position) and he are able to have meaningful in depth discussions regarding these topics?

    Also, if you and the pastor have engaged in a rigorous catechesis via the parish bulletin or websites and local blogs, how has this been received and what has worked best? How would you characterize things like age, income level, educational background and depth of spiritual and catechetical development the parishioners have generally?

    If you're particularly pleased with the success of the work and have a stable relationship with your parish and your pastor, identifying your parish, etc., would be a great way to "get the word out." Otherwise, do what is necessary to mask this info.

    To some extent, I think this would become truly valuable data when surveying and considering the progress or lack of progress made in the last several years since the Holy Father instituted his "Marshall Plan" for the reform of the liturgy.
  • On Tuesdays and Thursdays, at the chapel of one of our local hospitals, the priest, a monsignor, celebrates Mass "ad orientsum" on a regular basis. He also leads us in the recitation of both the entrance and communion antiphons, as well as in the singing of the Gospel Acclamation, the Sacntus, the Memorial Acclamation and the Great Amen.

    Demographics are hard to tell because, since this is a hospital chapel, the flow of the faithful is different.

    Now, when he celebrates at the parish (he is our parochial vicar), he doesn't have the chance to celebrate "ad orientum" because we are in a space that is used as the cry room. However, we do recite the entrance and communion antiphons and sing the Gospel Acclamation, the Sanctus, the Memorial Acclamation and the Great Amen. The lunch time crowd attends this Mass; however, it's a mix between the retired, middle aged, college kids and people on their lunch breaks from work.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,060
    Our associate has the practice of the Benedictine arrangement at his masses (minus candles: just crucifix). I think the rationale is that candles will cause more of a ruckus by some. He doesn't really encounter opposition over this because he is a fine celebrant, preaches well, and generally keeps his personality out of things as much as possible.

    One of my projects this year is to have the choir sing English translations of the propers, then hopefully get a good English plainchant setting going later...changes a la what Jeffrey mentioned taking 8 years for him. I heard this is what the Oratorians managed to do in their parish in Philadelphia.

    The demographic of the parish is fairly upper middle class; it is considered one of the best, safest Catholic neighborhoods in the city (I mean, really Catholic: some blocks only have a couple Protestant families at most.) There are a lot of big families, and an active parish school (500+ kids), although liturgically speaking the kids don't get very good catechesis. I would characterize the catechetical formation for adults to be somewhat incomplete; there are a lot of people who know their stuff through their own efforts, but not really because they're learning it in the liturgy or at adult ed (there's not one of those programs.) Spiritually, I think there are a lot of people who want to know how to be Catholics, and not just be "Catholic activists". There is a lot of potential, and lots of folks who are really open to the church teachings on a lot of things, including liturgy. The pastor is a good priest, but perhaps not on the same page as those of us who would like to implement the Benedictine reforms. Our associate is a convert and knows his way around the reforms well; he also says an EF mass at another parish.

    Speaking humbly, I would say the last musician here was very good, but was more interested in the music-for-sake-of-music than that of what the Church really wants (he didn't really give liturgical, theological, or "spiritual" considerations a lot of weight in the mix). Therefore, things are generally good musically, but have a very Protestant feel (4 hymns and all.) My goal is to build on the strengths whilst moving things more toward repertoire more suitable for the liturgy.

    I'm optimistic.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I'd also like to ask questions on what kind of classes can a parish offer to adults who want to be more educated as Catholics? We have lots of Bible studies, but not much on the Church teachings, documents or traditions. My pastor one time even said in his homily that the Catholic should learn both Church's tradition and the teachings of the Bible. He also said that some people overanxious on traditions. Funny thing is that there are lots of Bible study groups, but none on Catholic teachings or traditions. Based on what he said, I like to suggest to him that our parish should have some adult classes on those. I'd like to lay some ground work for our parish people, so they can be more open and understand on Sacred music. Any suggestions on what books or topics on Catholic teachings and Traditions that a parish can use for a class? I'd appreciate it. (Our parish is in a middle class suburb with many young intelletual couples.)
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Try going to the documents themselves. A study group on Sacrosanctam Concillium, for example.
  • Mia - From what I've seen, the classes have yet to be written. There are some video programs (ala the Hahn collection) that I've seen used, but without the qualified discussion leaders to pick up afterwards, I don't see much use to them.

    What is needed would be decent catecheses on The Liturgies of the Church, Church History, Workings of the Vatican, Church Music through the ages, the Rites of the Church, etc. With an increasing number of lay people taking advanced degrees I would think there might be an increase of master's theses that could address these issues. In turn, some of them could be expanded into the classes.

    Key to the whole process will be approval and cooperation of your pastor. But it's just possible you've stumbled into your true vocation here!