Saturday, June 30, 2012

UPDATED! A NEW PRIEST IN THE DIOCESE AND THIS MOST HUMBEL REPORTER AND BLOGGER'S REVIEW OF THE CATHEDRAL'S ORDINATION RITE

Father Adams studied at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and was fortunate enough to be selected to read the second reading at Pope Benedict's 2010 Midnight (10:00 PM) Mass. Fr. Adams is from Cordele, Georgia, about one and half hours south of Macon on Interstate 75 and it is a small town. Bishop Hartmayer joked during his homily that all of Cordele was at the ordination Mass in Savannah.


A few hours ago I got back from a priestly ordination for Father Jason Adams at our Cathedral, our new bishop's first priestly ordination.

The music ministry was provided by St. John Catholic Church's youth choir in Valdosta and their cantor, choir director and organist.

It was splendid and I will note that the Cathedral has finally dropped the contemporary Litany of the Saints (thank God) and for the first time in a decade used the traditional one. It has been slightly revised and this was the first time I heard the revised English Litany. It was done marvelously by a very well "voiced" cantor and the organist discreetly making some accompanying melodies, but very discreetly.

The youth choir is the parish's elementary school's choir. They are indeed first class. All their motets such as "Ave Verum," "Take and Eat" and "Do You Know Your Shepherd's Voice?" done at Holy Communion were outstanding.

As well for the Investiture with stole and chasuble they sang "the Call" by Toolan--outstanding. I haven't heard that in many years, but they sung it in such a classical way and it was very moving!

Their processional was "God we Praise You" and recessional choice was Te Deum Laudamus (Bedford) with a refrain that was too difficult for the congregation due largely in part because it was unknown.

Now my critique:

First this choir and music ministry was outstanding and blew me away and they could sing at any Cathedral in the world, they were that good!

My biggest complaint or alarm had to do with the Instrumental Processional that was absolutely stunning, but I believe inappropriate for an ordination or really for any Church liturgy. It was "Entrata Festiva" (Flor Peeters) and had all kinds of fanfares, organ, trumpets,tympani and cymbals. It was entirely too triumphalist and coronation like in style. But it was stunning, absolutely stunning, although the cymbals sounded out of place in the Church and way too loud in our Cathedral's acoustics, although I love tympani. Can the cymbals though! Cymbals are thoroughly too loud and have a cheesiness quality during the Sacred Liturgy!

The Gloria was the Mass of Creation as were the Sanctus, Mystery of Faith, Great Amen and Agnus Dei. They were sung classically but I think I would have liked a different Gloria sung straight through and without refrain and a choir Agnus Dei.

I would have preferred the English Missal's chant for the Sanctus and perhaps using the Jubilatio Deo Mass in Latin for all Cathedral Liturgies especially bilingual ones although yesterday's ordination was not bilingual. The Gregorian Chant melodies would have brought a more humble and sober note to the quality of the music.

Instead of the coronation fanfare for the first part of the Procession, I would have loved to have heard this choir chant the EF's Introit for Ordinations and then go into "God We Praise You." That would have set a different tone and signaled this was an ordination of a humble transitional deacon and not the triumphal coronation of a king.

Please note this Hollywood Production (which doesn't sound Hollywood at all compared to the Hollywood sound of the "Entrata Festiva" and some of the other music in this production). The processional is like a horse race, but it is the music I would like for you to note especially at the Entrance and other parts and how Hollywood knew how to portray the sacred character of the EF's Ordination Rite, very sober, isn't it?


The other antiphons were lacking too at the Offertory and at Communion. I don't know what is prescribed for the various parts of the ordination but I would always suggest using that first.

But overall, this ordination was marvelous and the music exquisite. I would simply encourage the Cathedral Music Ministry to move in the direction of becoming a model for the rest of the diocese in the recovery of the official Propers of the Mass, the Introit, the Offertory and Communion Antiphons as well as the propers of particular rites during the actual rite such as Ordinations and weddings.

10 comments:

ytc said...

Entrata Festiva would be better for a cardinal's enthronement or a pope's coronation. It has just enough Romish cheesiness to be a hit in, for example, Milan, at Cardinal Sodano's Masses.

In my opinion, ordinations, consecrations, and other such events are just important but uncommon enough to be a showcase for liturgical perfection without people getting all seething and furious. I think it should be required in all such special-but-relatively-rare diocesan events to chant the propers and the Gregorian ordinary parts--IN LATIN--and I think the same thing about all public pontifical Masses. This would be a good way to start the reintroduction of sanity into every diocese without people freaking out too badly. Do this for five years to a decade while at the same time reintroducing small bits to average parishes over the same period.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It was over the top as the beginning of the processional and yes a Gregorian Chanted Introit would have set an entirely different tone and one that is appropriate for an ordination rite or any rite of the Church. Vernacular hymns and instrumentals that use tympani, cymbals and trumpet are always going to be triumphalistic and indeed this was. A sung Extraordinary Form Mass using Gregorian Chant or even Polyphony in pre-Vatican II time would never have approached the triumphalism that most Post-Vatican II Mass have approached for ordinations and weddings.

Templar said...

It is just wonderful to hear that Bishop Hartmayer is making changes from what has existed for the past decade. Makes me glad I decided to donate to the Bishops Annual appeal for the first time in over a decade. Brick by brick.

Marc said...

I'm so glad they finally dumped the Litany of the Saints they were using there. At last year's ordination, I thought my head was going to explode when we heard: "Origen and Tertullian... pray for us!"

What?!? Great theologians (except the heretical parts), hope they're in heaven, but they aren't canonized!

Anonymous said...

"I" believe inappropriate...
"I" would have liked...
"I" would have preferred...
"I" would have loved...

One wonders.....

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Instead of "I believe" I could have used, one could say, or something like that, but I use "I believe" to leave open the possibility that I am wrong (as doubtful as that might be! :) ) So I am saying not with certainty that the over the top fanfare for the beginning of the procession is actually just me office my opinion and not giving a dogmatic decree and that my opinion can be challenged in an open court, such as this blog. :)

Jacob said...

Nice video of the traditional ordination. I noticed the attention to detail. The Bishop was not using a crozier and did not wear a maniple at the prayers at the foot of the altar ( which is correct) The ordinands bore the tonsure. I have never been to a novus ordo ordination so I don't know what they do, but it was nice to see the maniturgium. For those not familiar-it is the linen cloth used to tie the priests hands. The priest keeps it. When his mother dies, before she is lowered into the ground, the priest binds his dead mothers hands in this. When she meets Christ, no matter what her actual sins are, Christ will see that her hands gave him a priest and will be merciful to her.

John Nolan said...

The music was 'exquisite'? You cannot be serious! Marty Haugen's Mass of Creation is an egregious example of Catholic-lite pop and since when did the Te Deum, that great hymn, have a refrain? Hardly anything this choir sang is remotely acceptable any more. Compare this with the Palestrina, Tallis and Byrd sung by Westminster Abbey choir in St Peter's on the Feast of SS Peter and Paul, or the traditional plain chant and polyphony sung at the ordination of Fr John Hunwicke to the Ordinariate in Oxford last week.

It saddens me that another generation of quite talented young people are being brought up to sing the same old rubbish which has blighted Catholic worship for over 40 years. How long, O Lord, how long?

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Origen and Tertullian? please. I'll take Augustine and Aquinas...even Calvin before Origen!

Anonymous said...

Not many people get to witness an ordination and I was very blessed to be able to witness one of the most beautiful and humbling experiences of my life. I am not an expert on the music that is proper for such a holy event but if you could have angels sing at your ordination then I believe they were there. There may have been more traditional pieces in keeping with church history but I think it was wonderful that Father Jason asked these youth to be a part of this very special day and I believe all the people involved in the planning wanted the music to reflect the awesomeness of God and give us a bit of heaven on earth. It is probably quite a challenge to get the balance of sound in the awesome chambers of the cathedral but I think the musicians did a wonderful job. As a humble observer I will say it was a blessed and beautiful event that neither Father Jason nor myself will ever forget and I believe God would be most pleased.