Thursday, November 13, 2014
ARE SOME OF YOU JUST TOO NEGATIVE ABOUT THE ORDINARY FORM MASS EVEN WHEN CELEBRATED WITH CARE?
The laity and I dare say the majority of priests prefer celebrating Mass in their native tongue so that their native ear can understand it without a third party's translation.
But why do so many have an antipathy to men and women, boys and girls fulfilling liturgical roles at Mass even when done marvelously and with great dignity. Are they misogynists? Do they think it detracts from the priestly role and ministry or are they simply negative, unhappy Catholics the antithesis of true Christianity?
I have been blessed to be in parishes for almost 35 years where great care was and is taken with the Ordinary Form Mass even though some of the things that the "reform of the reform" crowd would think are anathema to the proper celebration of the Mass. We had well trained male and female lectors and EMC's and well trained boys and girls who are altar servers, all taking their roles in the Mass seriously and doing so with great dignity and solemnity.
I've been in parishes which have and have had great liturgical music. My first two assignments had folk choirs that were excellent but trendy. The trendiness and novelty were not good, but the product was.
How do we promote the beautiful, dignified and solemn celebration of the Mass today, correcting what needs to be corrected but maintaining lay ministries during the Mass which the vast, vast majority of priests will continue to promote for the Ordinary Form of the Mass?
Let me play that broken record over again:
1. Chant the propers! Even in a Mass that has a contemporary choir or ensemble, someone or an ensemble of someones could chant the Introit even after a rousing contemporary opening hymn. the same for the Offertory and Communion chants.
2. Greater care in selecting the type of music for the other parts of the Mass, such as the Gloria (I would move away from refrain based Glorias as these are way to long and repetitive, the true definition of useless repetition! In fact might even say the repetition of the refrain for the Responsorial Psalm is useless repetition. Does the congregation have to chant this, or could they simply listen to the straight-through chanting of the psalm or be taught how to chant it with the cantor or simply return to the short, succinct Gradual?
3. Attention to detail, the Benedictine Altar arrangement even if modified (I think it is perfectly fine to have the six large candlesticks behind the altar and higher up with a smaller crucifix and two smaller candlesticks on the altar itself with a crucifix central for the priest celebrant to see when facing the congregation. The use of beautiful, clean vestments for all involved.
4. The choir and cantor need to be out of sight either in a choir loft or a slightly elevated space at the rear of the Church. The two other parishes locally in Macon have choirs situated in the entertainment mode up front, one with huge microphones in the face of each singer and the area intrudes on the sancturary and the singers are a major distraction to the actions of the altar. There is simply no need for this and it is a hangover from the 1960's! In fact it gives me a hangover!
Simple following these simple rules would greatly enhance the Ordinary Form of the Mass without making it more like the EF.