Sunday, February 7, 2010


I just finished celebrating our 2:00 PM monthly Sung Extraordinary Form Mass. About 100 people in attendance. After two years of a monthly event, we have developed a culture for Gregorian Chant. Some people think it is impossible to do and they even question if it was done prior to Vatican II. Their version of history is that most parishes only celebrated low Mass and didn't even sing metrical hymns that were allowed for the procession, offertory, communion and recession. They say these were only sung at popular devotions, like Benediction and novenas. I know for a fact that is untrue--we did sing at Mass, hymn and many Marian hymns, sometimes misplaced at processions and communion time.

They believe Gregorian chant, not only plain but the more complex was and is just too hard.They think that scholas and choirs just can't pull it off in the normal, run of the mill parish. If any of you who are old enough to remember accurately what it was like in a typical parish in pre-Vatican II times, please let me know what was the custom in terms of the low and high Mass and the nature of the choirs at that time, in terms of capability. It seems to me that most parishes had a "principal" high Mass most every Sunday, maybe not summer, and then a multitude of low Masses, but even the low Masses had four hymns.

Many thanks to Nelda Chapman, our United Methodist Music Director and organist for her love for the "classics" both the OF and EF Masses! and allowing us to be a Post Vatican II singing parish that includes the complete array of our tradition! Ho-ray!

You should have heard them today! And you should have heard the congregation joining in the Latin Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei and metrical hymns that were sung--who said Catholics don't participate in a full, conscious and intelligent way in our EF Latin Masses--lies, all lies!


kiwiinamerica said...

Wonderful. Perhaps I'll have to come to Macon.

Our own fledgling Extraordinary Form Mass here in Augusta was canned by the Bishop during our recent sudden,*cough*........."transition", if that's the right euphemism.

I don't see it returning.

Anonymous said...

The laity singing in Latin the Credo is always one of the most moving parts of the EF Mass for me. Singing or Praying the Ordinary in Latin, whether it is OF or EF Mass is something we all can and should do.

Jenny said...

Kudos, Father, to you and all the faithful who make it happen!
We're so envious here in your former parish...

Robert Kumpel said...

Father, I cannot help but admire your steadfast courage. We need more priests like you for the Holy Father's renewal to take effect. Please don't let anyone dissuade you from moving forward.

Henry Edwards said...

Our local TLM community is fortunate to enjoy just such a glorious EF high Mass every Sunday. Essentially every regular attender sings the Ordinary (Credo as well as the Pater Noster, etc.) and actually prays the Mass (especially the Roman Canon) using a missal or missalette (including surprisingly young children).

Incidentally, I understand the idea that people should sing the Mass (the Ordinary), rather than merely sing (hymns) at Mass, dates back to the same 1903 instruction of Pope Pius X in which he emphasized the "actuosa participatio" that Vatican II recommended.

Paradoxically, a principal goal apparently was elimination of the "four hymn sandwich" which unfortunately remains as ubiquitous now as then.

Templar said...

As a zealous supporter of the monthly EF Mass at St. Joseph, I must truthfully say that our group while stable and inching up in attendance is not yet currently very vocal. The Schola is wonderful, and hides our inadequacy well, but it has taken some encouragement from Father McDonald to get us to come out of our shells vocally.

I will say this though, we would be much better if we had more practice, and having just 1 EF Mass a month, plus a couple extra opportunities during the year, makes for remarkably little practice. I was glad to see Father introduce some Latin parts for the OF Masses as it will provide practice that is usable for the EF.

My real hope is that some day the Mass Schedule will include a weekly EF, but I reluctantly accept that it is not feasible yet.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I like full congregrational singing the Mass, I agree Father, lies, lies lies

Anonymous said...

Dear Father,

I just found your blog through a link posted by the New Liturgical Movement, and was much edified to recognize (before seeing your name) your post as that of a priest I have much admired at St. Joseph. I have attended a couple of your Second Sunday Masses, coming up from Moultrie with my mother. Otherwise, I have often gone as far as Atlanta for Masses celebrated by the FSSP.
Now I wish to express my gratitude for your blog and for your Mass.
Presently I study in Rome, where I have the opportunity to attend the EF Mass daily, and also to see the close coexistence of the two forms of the Roman Mass. I have seen both forms influence the other bringing more reverence to the Mass generally. I am happy to see news of my own diocese, and to see the growth of the EF Mass there, thanks in a large part to your efforts. Thank you.