The Liturgy: May 2004 Archives

Pentecost At Bond


Calvert House
The Catholic Center at the University of Chicago
May 30, 2004, 11:00am, Bond Chapel
Pentecost Sunday(C) Domenica Pentecostes

Antiphonum ad Introitum, When The Day of Pentecost, BFW 184, Psalm 104, Grail Text
Sprinkling Rite, Springs of Water, BFW 144, Dan 3:77-79, NAB
Gloria, De Angelis
Psalmus, Lord Send Out Your Spirit, BFW 131, Psalm 104, Lectionary 63
Sequentia, Veni Sancte Spiritus, Graduale Simplex`
Antiphona ad Acclamationis, Triple Alleluia, BFW 142
Antiphona ad offertorium, Alleluia Psalm I, BFW 186, Psalm 68
Sanctus, De Angelis
Post Consecrationem, Mortem tuam
Agnus Dei , De Angelis
ad Communionem, Spiritus qui a Patre procedit, alleluia, Graduale Simplex, Psalm 78, Grail Text
Ite missa est, O Holy Spirit, By Whose Breath, RS 616

BFW= By Flowing Waters
RS= Ritual Song, GIA

I would like to pay tribute to the singers, the schola that has dedicated themselves to the 11:00am Mass these past two years. It has been an honor to sing and to pray with them. It was a pleasure to hear how well the congregation has progressed. They filled the chapel with their song, and even followed the lead of the choir, observing the dynamics set by the antiphon at the Offertory. The choir picture above was take last winter when Cardinal George came to celebrate with the Calvert House Community.

It is been a great joy. I will miss this part of Chicago. Thanks especially to Ann and Dawn who led the choir in my absences. Dawn will be continuing with the choir in the coming year.

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It was 1985. I was director of Music at St. Edward Catholic Church. Doing packing today I came across one of my old journals. This entry was dated January 21, 1985:

The challenge of the pastoral musician and liturgist is not to come up with new songs and new forms all of the time, but to do what you have with great care and beauty.

Last week in my journal I was developing some other thoughts about liturgical music in the context of interviewing possible music directors.

It is occurring to me that liturgical music seems to be practiced in parishes in our country in two main categories.

The first category: Music is chosen to please us. It is supposed to make us happy, to make us comfortable. It confirms us in our current state. It fulfills us. It may even confirm us in some of our prejudices. It entertains us, it tickles our fancy. It appeals to something deep in our emotions, brings a lump to our throat, or a tear to our eyes. It pleases us and makes us feel at home.

The second category: This music is designed to take us somewhere else, to lift us from our present state and give us a taste of another world. It is supposed to challenge us and convict us. It is supposed to be a vehicle whereby we might give ourselves. This music puts us in relationship, not just with the people in the room, but with the people of the world and with all the cloud of witnesses throughout the ages who have gone before us marked with the sign of the cross.

This is rough thinking. The thesis has not been developed enough. I have only begun chewing on this. The categories seem a bit too black and white. Things are not all that clear. For example, “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” may fit into both categories. Examining individual songs may not be the way to go, but it may be best to look at the whole parish repertoire and approach to worship in general.

In general, it is my opinion that most parishes in this country are more comfortable with the first category.

Any thoughts?

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I was pleased to find this article via other bloggers. Thanks to Rex Olandi, and Aris.

It has some interesting suggestions. One that resonated well with me was the very first suggestion to turn down the volume.

The Microphone has done more damage than good to parish worship. This is a realization that came to me slowly over the years, but I am firmly convinced now. It the parish where I was pastor for seven years we eliminated the cantor for everything but the psalm and the communion. Everything else was led by the organ. Of course that all changed after I left.

At St. Edward I had an experience that confirmed this. Last Christmas I presided at two masses there. The music and the liturgy were beautiful. After communion there was a meditation sung in the choir loft by the choir and two vocalists. It was too loud and even distorted coming through the microphones. It was jarring. It destroyed everthing they had done so far. Why did they even need microphones in the loft?

This is what makes it so difficult in choosing a music director. How do I find someone who is competant in organ and voice who also has a care for the volunteers in the choir, and also has a care and concern for the community at worship and has no need to entertain them?

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I am still amazed that I was there. It was a fascinating experience and an incredible conversation. There were about 15 of us around the table in the hotel conference room for most of the day yesterday. The meeting was held in Chicago and it seems I was invited simply because I direct the Gregorian Chant Choir at the University of Chicago. It was a Consultation on Chants for the New Roman Missal conducted by the Secretariat for the Liturgy of the USCCB. Msgr Moroney conducted the meeting, and Fr. Bruce Harbert, the executive Director of ICEL was present. Cathedral Music Directors from Chicago, Seattle and St. Louis were present as well as the Directors from GIA, OCP and WLP. NPM was represented by its president, and then seminary musicians and chant directors from St. John, St. Meinrad, Sacred Heart in Detroit and St. Joseph, Rensselaer were there.

The Translations of the new texts will undergo many transformations in the next few months. There are, after all, eleven Bishops Conferences commenting on them at the moment, but there are already musicians around the country that are developing the principles by which they will be chanted. One thing is sure, the next edition of the Roman Missal for use in English will have a greater emphasis placed on presider chant.

[UPDATE: comments closed]

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Guess who was at Mass this morning.

Have a safe trip down to Texas, Aris.

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The recent liturgy document has fostered a great deal of discussion among Catholic Blogs, and even in this household. In many places there are some who take issue with the church's right to "meddle" in the liturgical affairs of the local assembly.

I have no desire to be a slave to rubrics. I simply wish to celebrate the Eucharist in a community that is focused, not on me and not on themselves, but on Christ. Too often I have seen the discussion develop into an apologia for what the presider or parishioner has a "right" to change or do with the liturgy.

I, for one, am happy with the document. There are a few things about it I question, and there are places to take those questions. Simply dismissing the rules as unreasonable does not serve the people well. The new GIRM and this new instruction seem to be calling for a greater reverence in and for the liturgy. I think this is a good thing, and I am more than willing to study the liturgy a little closer, and to make an effort for greater reverence in and for the Eucharist.

One Catholic Blog talked about this as receiving a document without theological justification. I do not want to quarrel with his experience, so much as to provide a different perspective.

He said, Good liturgy is not only faithful to the structure and rubrics of the Roman rite, but is also an artistic endeavor.

I wish to gently take issue with the idea that the liturgy is an artistic endeavor. Please do not take anything I say to mean that the liturgy should not be done well. But who is the artist? If the liturgy is a place for me to display MY art, then I am not serving the liturgy but using the liturgy as a way to serve me. At liturgy, I am not the artist. Jesus is.

I think the church has a perfect right to govern the course of the liturgy and how it is celebrated.

If how creative and artistic I can be takes priority over matter, form, structure and rubrics, then I have formed a plan to change the liturgy and not allow the liturgy to change me. It then becomes the liturgy of Jeffrey Keyes, not the liturgy of Jesus Christ.

American culture has not served the liturgy well because artistic forms are mostly based in entertainment values. The church is helping us rediscover some worship values.

The liturgy is not a set of rubrics or a recipe to follow. It is a home, a place to meet the one who hase loved me and poured out his last drop of blood for us. It is where I meet him.

We are to do the liturgy well. It is the center. It is the most precious event of any day. We are to provide our best. (Often this is quite difficult in the morning.) But evn if I have failed to cast off the sleep from my eyes, it is stilll a call to a relationship with another, and not an expression or exercise of my art.

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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the The Liturgy category from May 2004.

The Liturgy: April 2004 is the previous archive.

The Liturgy: June 2004 is the next archive.

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