Tuesday, March 27, 2018


I've been blessed for most of my priesthood not to be in a parish with folk music. When I got to my new assignment almost two years ago, during the academic year there was a "Lifeteen Mass" which featured worship and praise music twice a month on Sunday afternoon.

I soon discovered that the six or seven people in the choir loft, only two were teenagers and the rest people my age and older.

I soon discovered too that out of the 60 or so people present for this Sunday Mass, only about 10 to 12 were teenagers, the rest my age and much, much older.

Guess who were the one who resented me for canceling the Lifeteen Mass after my first year here?

It wasn't the kids; it was the crowd my age and older.

I saw this at Fr. Z's blog with his caption, what young people want and what old people (my age) want young people to want.

Do you think this is true????????

What young people want:

What old people want young people to want:


TJM said...

Father McDonald,

You are on the mark. I recall that the "reforms" starting in 1964 were championed by the older folks in our parish, and not the young. In our grade school we were blessed to have sisters who properly trained us to sing and respond in Latin at Mass. Our daily Mass was a Missa Cantata. As I have said before, on your blog, that by the time I was 10, I could chant 5 Latin ordinaries by heart. I saw NO need for the "reforms." When I attend Mass in Latin, I am generally one of the eldest, because most of the congregation consists of young families with children. Young people tend to be attracted to authenticity rather than the ersatz.

TJM said...

ps: NIce photo of Burl Ives!

ByzRC said...

Without doubt, 100%, Yes, I think this is true! Authenticity, what young people want.

Anonymous said...

Of course you won't see that reflected in the pre-synodal report just published, supposedly reflecting the desires of young people. Whoever edited it probably has an agenda.

rcg said...

TJM: hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely true. I’m in that “Age of Aquarius” generation, but cannot abide the folk Masses found around this country when we travel. The priest-presiders are often mid to late 60ish. It seems worse in small cities and towns; metropolitan areas seem to be gravitating back to more reverent liturgies.
🎼“We go round and round and round in the circle game.”🎼

John Nolan said...

Nice picture of Quarant'ore at the London Oratory. Novus Ordo, as well.

Carol H. said...

My 26 year old son goes to adoration weekly and wishes he could attend EF masses weekly as well. His biggest consolation is that Fr. Dawid usually does the Mass at his Newman Center, and his homilies are awesome!

Joseph Johnson said...

As for the Diocese of Savannah, please check out the Savannah Latin Mass Facebook page and check out the video(s) of the Latin Mass Schola---all I see are Millenials and no baby-boomers or elders. This should tell us something . . .

Mike L said...

When I was a sophomore in high school, I worked with my Dad and the others in our parish (Our Lady of Good Counsel, Verona, NY) to move the altar so the Mass could be said in English versus populum. I can honestly say that none of us - including our parish priest - really knew what was going on. I'd characterize the atmosphere as one of confused resignation. No one really understood why this change was taking place - what was the purpose?

A Protestant friend of ours (married to a Catholic parishioner) said he couldn't understand why we were changing everything. He said the one thing he'd always admired about the Catholic Church was its consistency and continuity.

For all the snarky remarks about old Church and "pay, pray, and obey", it's obvious now that the "reformers" depended on the "obey" component to pull off their plans.

The Egyptian said...

We used to have a group of Hipster women,all in their 50's, now in their 60's one guitar, one flute and one on tambourine, the tambourinist drug her daughter along to help sing. Used to refer to them as the scalded cat quartet. E gads were they awful, but it was HIP
or as as I used to say on my long deserted blog, HAPPY CLAPPY CRAP

John Nolan said...

A couple of years ago I found myself (faute de mieux) at a vernacular Mass. Nearly everything was sung to the same tawdry little tune, repeated ad nauseam. The idea that the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei should have different melodies (as they do in all Gregorian settings) was no doubt deemed too difficult for modern congregations. For weeks afterwards, that wretched little jingle buzzed in my head like some annoying insect.

'Folk' is a misnomer. The nearest thing to genuine folk music is found in the traditional Office hymns, e.g. Ave Maris Stella. They are strophic (different verses set to the same melody); they are usually sung unaccompanied; they are modal rather than tonal (a feature of folk music); and their melodies existed in the oral tradition long before being written down.

I don't go to Mass to feel part of a 'worshipping community' This is congregationalism. I don't want to be subjected to what amounts to little more than an hour-long lecture. I have zero tolerance for bad music, not because I am a musical snob, but because I know that with a modicum of effort things could be so much better.

Anonymous said...

How about something between the two pictures in the extremes---too many candles in the first one (looks like a fire trap) and too folksy in the second one.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

I play the piano, the pipe organ, and sang in Church choirs since I was 8. In recent years I have stopped because I can no longer abide the pitiful tripe that passes for sacred music. I have pretty much abandoned the Novus Ordo altogether. Quite frankly, I would rather that a Mass have NO music rather than having to endure the tripe that is served up for our consumption. If a Novus Ordo Mass could be celebrated as they are at the Brompton Oratory, that would be a different story altogether. St. John Cantius in Chicago does an admirable job as well, although with the apostate we have in the office of the Archbishop, I am not confident it will last there.

John Nolan said...


The large number of candles is an annual event, the 'Forty Hours' devotion, of (fairly recent) Roman origin and introduced to England by the Oratorians in the 19th century.


In England there is a shortage of singers and servers for the increasing availability of the EF Mass. On three Sundays a month I sing with an established schola in two Oxfordshire parishes. Recently I am helping another parish in Bedford who are starting a schola from scratch to sing at a Missa cantata once a month.

Brompton Oratory has a professional choir. The Oxford Oratory's choir is amateur but the programme for the (OF) Solemn Latin Mass on Easter Sunday is as follows.

Mozart: Coronation Mass K317 and Alleluia K108
Ercole Bernbei: Exultate Deo
Handel: Hallelujah Chorus
Vierne: Final from Symphonie I

There will be an orchestra. It will be my first Novus Ordo for some weeks and I look forward to hearing other people sing for a change!

I asked Kavanaugh to supply his repertoire for Easter Sunday but he chickened out.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Good to hear that the EF continues to expand its reach. You are doing more than your bit for the cause! Congratulations. I was amazed at the Brompton Oratory choir. When I looked up, I noticed they were relatively few in number, buy the joyous sound they made was magnificent.

Kavanaugh knows that "Gather us in" is not much to brag about!!

TJM said...

Kavanaugh is ignoring this post because he has no credible response but he has moved on to another post on this website regarding Father Longenecker to share with us his "wit, wisdom, and valuable insights."

John Nolan said...


I watched on Youtube last year's Easter Sunday Mass from St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney (Aus). The choir, boys and men, was superb and delivered the chant Propers and a splendid polyphonic Ordinary accompanied by sackbuts and cornetts. The Archbishop, one of the younger generation of prelates and a Dominican, sang all his parts (in English).

It was an excellent advertisement for the Novus Ordo, showing that the vernacular Mass can be celebrated in a dignified way, while by no means excluding Latin (of which there was plenty).

Yes, this is a cathedral. But why can't a small parish have a sung Mass, with simple Propers, and a Latin Kyriale? No ad-libbing, and no hymns (except perhaps a recessional). It could be so easily achieved, and would satisfy many while offending none.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

I hear that good things are happening in Sydney. Thanks for sharing.

I was fortunate growing up because I lived near a Basilica that had a magnificent men's choir, impeccably rendering Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony. My family frequently attended Mass there. However, my parish Church, was no slouch. Although we did not have the same magnificent choir, our priests typically sang the Mass (Missa Cantata) and the congregation chanted the parts of the ordinary proper to them. Now my grandmother's parish was a different story. The Low Mass was the norm. I can readily understand why people at my grandmother's parish might have seen the "reforms" in a different light than I did. I felt deprived of the liturgical beauty I was accustomed to.