Monday, April 12, 2021



Mr. Paul Parco, cantor:

For the past five years, I have regularly celebrated our Cathedral Basilica’s EF High Mass on Sunday. They have an exquisite schola of young people who chant both Gregorian and Polyphony without accompaniment. It is what I would call the pure Latin Rite Mass of the first millennia. 

When I celebrate this Mass, I feel as though time has stopped and God, the Church and the Mass simply are as God stated in the Old Testament that He is “I AM”. I am connected to time and eternity. 

On Divine Mercy Sunday as well as next Sunday, our organist is on vacation. Thus at our 8 AM Sunday Mass, we are being led by a very competent male cantor a Capella. 

While our music is more contemporary and in the vernacular, it created the same sensation for me as I experience at our cathedral. It is also the epitome of “noble simplicity” for both forms of our one Latin Rite. 

With our English Mass, I could really hear the congregation singing and some of them actually were adding descants!

Have you experienced the sung EF Mass a Capella? Have you experienced a vernacular OF Mass sung a Capella with all the propers chanted as well as all the priest’s parts and congregational parts chanted?

Truly awe inspiring. 


Pierre said...

Once when our organ was on the fritz, we did an entire a capella Mass with the congregation using simple Gregorian tones. I never heard the congregation sing so well. We should have stuck with it, rather than reverting to the 4 hymn sandwich once the organ was repaired

rcg said...

I believe Pierre is on to something. We often did not have organ music and our schola was relatively small until the last few years. It was very beautiful anyway and inspiring. However, our now larger schola and professional organist are wonderful for the ‘big’ Masses, like Easter.

Anonymous said...

I love unaccompanied singing, where you can actually hear the singing. Not gonna happen in this smaller church where 1/5 the floorspace dedicated to the music director's grand piano to accompany a choir of 2-3 leading the congregation in her up to date own compositions of the Gloria (new and improved words), Our Father, and the priest bleats as Kermit the Frog what sounds a Muppet Movie tune for "in the unity of the Holy Spir-It, all glory and power are yours almighty Father (crescendo) forever and ever and ever, amen amen amen amen and amen."

Pierre said...

Anonymous at 5:41 pm,

My little country Church had the same set up with a big grand piano for a 2-3 person choir in the front of the Church, encroaching on the sanctuary. In comes our new pastor a couple of years ago and he gave the grand piano the boot, returning it to the family that donated it. He then purchased an organ (used, but nice ) and had it installed in the rear of the Church. Order was restored to the sanctuary and we do not miss the piano one bit. Full disclosure: I am an accomplished pianist who cannot abide the sound of a piano in church. He also gave the Propers pride of place giving the alii cantus the boot as well

Anonymous said...

Everyone going up for Communion on that side must then squeeze between "choir" and piano to get to the side aisle and file past the lovely stained glass patchwork emergency exit door to return to their seating. And yes, right up front.

With all the broadway music riffs going on, and stepping all over the priest who is obviously too slow, I feel as if I should be handed a scotch and water when I go up, and really could use one by then.

Anonymous said...

Well, Pierre, sorry you "cannot abide the sound of a piano in church." Guess you better not come by my church in 30327. We use the piano occasionally, sometimes at the offertory, though we otherwise use the organ. But hey, at least the choir in 30327 is at the back, in the loft where the organ is...

Anonymous said...

Would hasten to add regarding the wonderful modern parish with grand piano, that the emergency exit and its twin opposite are the only windows, and the music so rousing and modern that the congregation joining along in the difficult but ever so trendy tunes from 39yrs ago is extremely muted, but who cares when you have a grand piano banging away accompanied by a soprano carrying the tune and a husky voice contralto singing always in grating minor harmony?

It never ceases to amaze me how tone deaf are the musical leaders at several of the churches wirhin an hour drive of here, one music leader who does not know a tune older that 50yrs of age moves with the priest to three churches toting his electric piano and amplified voice drowning out any who would join him, his wife and child sitting next to him, the child exceptionally unruly and amplified as well.

Do these music "ministers" not notice that rather than enhancing singing/worship, that they crush and stifle it? It seems they are too busy performing to notice small details such as nobody else is singing.

Oh, for unaccompanied music.

Pierre said...

Anonymous K at at 10:05 PM,

LOL - If you were the celebrant I would never come. I attend Masses celebrated by Catholic priests, not Democratic operatives.

Pierre said...

Anonymous at 10:41 PM,

Most of these "music leaders" are progressives, hence clueless and unaware. I was actually in music ministry (professionally trained pianist (never played it in Church), organist, cantor, soloist and choir member, for over 40 years. I finally had enough of the tripe I was being asked to sing or play, so I walked away. I am finally at a parish where the priest is very much into traditional Church music and who celebrates the EF once a week, and where the Roman Canon is used on Sunday along with the Propers, so I am thinking of offering my services once again. No 1970s tripe. It is wonderful being in a truly Catholic parish again.

William said...

Two things that don't belong in a Catholic church: wall-to-wall carpeting and pianos -- both attract detritus.

Anonymous said...

To me, it seems the music folk (and often priests) are not there to worship, but instead are there to perform..."It's SHOWtime!".

This goes equally as well for ritzy large churches (traditional as well) drawing upon often non-Catholic singers in local opera companies, where it is not a choir there to worship but instead an assembly of soloists intent on drowning out each other and anyone else there as well. The same churches who stay busy hosting flower and art shows while anyone wishing to pray is shuffled off to some third rate "adoration chapel".

The concept of "House of Prayer" is largely unknown, even in the fanciest of churches.

Anonymous said...

Uh, Pierre, my pastor, while seldom discussing politics at the pulpit, is hardly a Democratic operative. He is a "real" priest, pastoring a parish in a part of Atlanta that usually votes Republican. I did not see a lot of Biden stickers in my church parking lot last fall, and most people (laypeople) I know there are Republicans.

No, I would not be celebrating as I am not ordained.

The piano did not play last Sunday. Who knows, if you ever attend Mass at the only parish in 30327, you might luck out and not hear it being played!

Anonymous said...

Father K does his destructive best by posting anon and under assorted names just so that folk will go after each other here and disrupt the site. Apparently nobody has heard of "do not feed the trolls".

In any case, I have no preference between piano or organ unless talking a real pipe organ versus a cheap upright piano. The young music guy handling 3 parishes with his electric keyboard could make it sound as a zither if he wanted.

But, he shows up in untucked shirt, shorts and flipflops with amplified screaming child next to him, and really belts it out vocally plus amplified and drowns out everyone else easily, if for no other reason than folk hate his song selections from limited and repetitive modern repetoir, and nobody else sings, except three warbling little old ladies acting as choir at his main church.

The church with the grand piano had to have the front three rows of pews on that side cut away and trashed to make room, it also is ampified and almost never stops playing "mood music" of flourish and riff after riff, and its player likewise ignores whether anyone else can sing or wants to sing the music selections. Talking any known Gloria was not good enough, and so composed own. You come from another parish and you will not know a single song.

Pierre said...

Anonymous at 1:32,

Your comments sound like Father K

John Nolan said...

Those choirs that Sunday after Sunday sing only 'contemporary music' setting vernacular texts invite certain questions.

Some at least will realize that what they are being called upon to sing is decidedly second-rate at best. Are they so committed the (false) ideology that the Novus Ordo has to be in the vernacular from soup to nuts that they happily abandon their musical-critical faculties?

Those among them who are knowledgeable about the place of music in the Latin rite (which in itself has influenced the greatness of western classical music) must be aware of the quality of what was composed by the anonymous geniuses of the first millennium who composed the corpus of Gregorian chant, or the masters of Renaissance polyphony. Yet they are presumably told that this is now irrelevant and so cannot be sung in the context for which it was written. Why? Because a) it is in Latin and b) it does not always allow the congregation to join in.

The idea that the Latin Church should despise its own culture is a very recent phenomenon. The first seven decades of the 20th century aimed to restore it and to a large extent succeeded in doing so. What happened afterwards is a disgrace and I, for one, will have nothing to do with it.

Pierre said...

John Nolan,

Your points are well taken. The “liberal” mindset that despises the Church’s rich musical patrimony also despises Western culture and is hard at work in the secular realm as well

Anonymous said...

Uh, Pierre, 132pm has never met Father K and would not recognize him if he was strolling through some of our landmarks, like Lenox Square, the Centennial Olympic Park or Truist Field. I haven't even been to Savannah in several years. I guess you are not Pierre Howard (the former lieutenant governor of Georgia) or Pierre Dupont (former governor of Delaware).

And tell us what is "Trump derangement syndrome?" Is it being critical of a former president who obviously was not taught civility and decorum?