Applicants, Applicants

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The applications for the Director of Music Ministry are pouring in. I have three more coming this week, and two next week. Matthew is still at the top of my list. I am having the same trouble deciding as I did last time: Experience or Potential?

Today we did a Votive Mass for Mary, The Mother of God. The May crowning had already taken place on Mothers's day.

Procession: Immaculate Mary
Opening Hymn: All are Welcome
Psalm: My Soul Rejoices, (Gelineau) recited verses
Acclamation: Halle, Halle, Halle
Offertory: Gentle Woman
Acclamations and Lamb of God: Creation Mass
Communion: Table of Plenty
Closing: Digo, Si, Senor

Matthew's choices promise to be much better. Stephen arrives today. He has a Masters in Vocal Pedagogy so it looks like he would be an organist that could do wonders for our cantors. We shall see.

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how in God's great Name did you put up with this guy??? Two songs (I wouldn't dare call these "hymns") I wouldn't touch with a 39-1/2 foot pole - "Gentle Woman" and "Table of Plenty".

Of course, I wouldn't go as far as "MotherRat Thy Feet" either.

I would have closed with "Immaculate Mary", rather than opened with it. As for the rest: perhaps open with "Daily, Daily, Sing to Mary" (the tune OMNI DIE DIC MARIAE), have the choir sing the Victoria Ave as an offertory motet (or, if no choir, sing the Arcadelt Ave solo), and a decent Magnificat during Communion (simple setting would be the tone 6 from Worship II).

I don't know Matthew that well, but from reading his blog, I can say you'd very likely be in good hands with him.

Best of luck in your search.

I just wish we sang the same good songs over and over and over again.

Gentle Woman? How on earth did he manage to make that sound Broadway-showtune-ish?

Sorry, that was mean...

It could have been worse... he could have picked Ashes as the Processional Hymn.

Still praying for you.

Programming when you come into a situation where the parish, and particularly the children, have been used to -- shall we say, less than appropriate? -- music, I am finding to be a real tight rope.
Yurodivi's column on eating beetlegrubs was instructive. Mary Jane Ballou, IIRC correctly, said much the same thing on her blog, albeit less colorfully.
I have managed to get through the school year only playing Halle Halle once, and that was not for the gospel acclamation, but for a procession where we wrote verses reflecting the proper it was replacing.
And I "smoothed out" the rhythms considerably. Since trying to teach some basic music reading skills is one of my aims with the choir, until at least one of them can actually break the rhythms down and count it properly, the kids accept that more solemn rhytmic patterns are more appropriate.
And some of them are starting to understand the concept of prosody and why bouncy tunes that misplace the accents may not be the best means of transmitting the Word of God.
And there have been moments such as a 6th grader being the only one in her family who knew and could sing along with the Salve Regina when she heard it on a television broadcast of a memorial to the Pope; or when a 3rd grader recognized the Litany of the Saints sung at the Vatican (what? the Becker isn't universal?) and was excited becasue that was the "new one WE did at Easter!"
And they are starting to notice when the same phrases they have just sung in an entrance hymn come up in Fr Gary's homily -- oh, so THAT's why you picked that song!

Adults are a different matter.
We're having a Mass of Thanksgiving for Tom's retirement this weekend and he picked out City of God, Amazing Grace, Let There Be Peace on Earth, Halle Halle, Take the Word of God With You As Ya Go... it'll be swell.

Have you ever heard our bishop sing?

At least his voice does full justice to that line-up.

So much for Trinity Sunday. The one concession they allowed was that we sing the psalm of the day (the canticle from Daniel.)

Matthew writes:
"Gentle Woman? How on earth did he manage to make that sound Broadway-showtune-ish?"

Good question. When I look at it, I hear Elvis' "I Can't Help Falling in Love". My friend Jason somehow hears the "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald".

Put me in Fr. Jeff's shoes --- I'd (in my most lenient state) issue a written warning the first time I heard my organist play it. Period! Go figure - I was fired from my former parish for keeping that trash (along with the old Haugen-Daas-Jesuits hits) out of the parish repertoire.


Fr Jeff's standards are laudably high. But it's clearly more a matter of creating forbidden lists. Church musicians who think of themselves at the wavefront of quality must be able to do two things:
- Have a workable repertoire of liturgical music that both fits their standards and helps the people pray. Even if the parishioners have good (or not so good) reasons for not trusting the "classics," it's still the music director's job to make it work. No matter how long it takes. The director is getting paid to serve, no matter how unfair it seems (or however uncultured the assembly is).
- See particular repertoire choices as means to a greater end, namely the worship of God and the sanctification of the laity. If you can't grasp the big picture of the gospel and be able to work with it, you belong in the conservatory, not the parish.

As a person on the hired end of parish staff, I can relate that many clergy thought they were getting the message across, but didn't. As a music director, you have a parish repertoire list: what people know and sing. If certain songs don't belong (for whatever reason) take them off and don't use them. That seems to be a no-brainer to me. Did the departing music person program the offending songs just to leave a parting shot? (And if he was fired, what was he doing still working there?)

Getting back to the pastor's standards: be realistic about them in the upcoming hire. As Fr Jeff has described the position and the parish, he wants and needs an experienced pro who thinks along the same lines as he does. And it can't hurt to have it in writing and ask the new person to apply concretely those given standards in serving the parish's worship.

All other things being equal, the notion of hiring for potential is intriguing. Personally, I like the idea and it fits my personality. But if I were in a high-demand situation, I'd have to suppress my desires and hire the best choice for the position/parish.

I've been drawing much resistance and a bit of amusement at our parish by trying to explain to people that the Mass no longer has an "Offertory" but rather a Preparation of Gifts (and Table) and that what we offer in the latter part of the Eucharistic Prayer is our connection with Calvary.

Apparently, Preparation of Gifts is just too long for some of those who prepare our worship aids, and the music director insists that term was used in the papal funeral Mass, so if it's OK for Rome, it's OK for us.

I sympathize a bit with anyone trying to plan a Mass to celebrate in the month of Mary to please those (and, in our parish, choir) who expect devotional hymns at Mass in May. Probably because I belong to the "theme" of every Mass is the life/death/resurrection of Jesus.

Most of the popular songs written in English before Vatican II don't fit well in liturgy. (But who added the ridiculous verse to Immaculate Mary about predestination that shows up in some hymnals? I don't remember that from childhood.)

Once one decides to have a "Marian" Mass, the die is cast. Would folks come for a procession and crowning in a non-eucharistic service where we could let all the devotional elements have pride of place? Maybe with a rosary, hymns, litanies, a bit of scripture, etc? Where prayers can legitimately be addressed to Mary, in a way they aren't supposed to be at Mass?

"the Mass no longer has an "Offertory" but rather a Preparation of Gifts (and Table)"

Says who?
Not being smart-mouthed, but who or what with any authority says that?

I'm not saying that we _don't_ have a "Preparation of Gifts" but only that we _do_ have an Offertory, at least according to the official documents.

From the current Girm -
74. The procession bringing the gifts is accompanied by the Offertory chant (cf. above, no. 37b), which continues at least until the gifts have been placed on the altar. The norms on the manner of singing are the same as for the Entrance chant (cf. above, no. 48). Singing may always accompany the rite at the offertory, even when there is no procession with the gifts.[end quote]

If it's a matter of what to put in the Worship Aid, the only thing most parishes would list there is what was being sung, and it seems at least equally 'correct' to call that the Offertory song (assuming you're not doing the proper, in which case it would ONLY be correct to call it the "Offertory Chant.")

"Preparation of the Table" is an expression I have never heard, is there anything official that calls that part of the Mass by that term?

I couldn't agree with you more about the Marian deovtions DURING Mass.
I have been trying to get our musicians interested in I Sing A Maid, which at least looks "through" Mary to the Paschal mysteries, or Be Joyful Mary, in much the same vein, though more sombre.
May is an all around nightmare with people wanting the most mawkish Marian hymns on Mother's Day (whihc was Ascnesion in my diocese this year,) and Battle Hymn and God Bless America and Let There Be Peace On Earth on the Sunday next to Memorial Day (as if that superceded Body and Blood of Christ.)

Actually, in the GIRM, only the action taking place is referred to as the "Preparation of the Gifts". Note the words "the Offertory Chant" is sung. So, wouldn't we still use the term "Offertory hymn" instead of "Preparation hymn" or "Presentation hymn"?
This and a few more pet peeves in my latest blog article at . Included also are such pet peeves as "Gathering Song" and "Sending Forth".

As for the Immaculate Mary verses:
Yes, GIA does have a set of verses by Brian Foley that seem to be more toward scripture ("Predestined for Christ by eternal decree, God willed you both Virgin and Mother to be...) as opposed to the normal devotional verses in hymnals by the other publishers. I actually prefer to use that "Predestined" verse at Advent IV, Immaculate Conception, and Mary Mother of God, while preferring the more devotional verses at devotions services (or even between rosary decades).


have a look at 79 in the 2002 GIRM, which clearly describes Offering as one of the chief elements of the Eucharistic Prayer.

that's become, more or less, a point of catechesis in contrast to brining up the gifts as "offering"

I wish they hadn't left the old term Offertory chant in there for the part no longer called "Offertory"

It's not so much the people offering the gifts (e.g., the procession of some layfolk bringing the stuff up, or even passing the money basket around), but what's actually going on at the altar...
"Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this bread to offer..."


Maureen Lahiff -- "I wish they hadn't left the old term Offertory chant in there for the part no longer called 'Offertory'"

The Church -- "Singing may always accompany the rite at the offertory"

Well, SOMEONE call it the "offertory."

Monique writes:
"Well, SOMEONE call it the "offertory.""

I DO! :-)

Hi Fr. Jeff,

I thought you would like to know that the first big paper (17 pages seemed big to me) I did in the Master's program was on the Precious Blood. When I let the prof know what my subject was he said, "Um.. it's not going to be a devotional paper, is it?" I almost laughed. I wanted to say, "Yeah, I thought I'd write about how wonderful Jesus was to die on the cross for me, and how it makes me feel warm inside." But I didn't. I assured him that it would be a theological paper.

I broke the paper up into sections and added some of the "devotional stuff" back in and I posted it on my blog. I want to dedicate it to you for encouraging me so much the first time I gave this topic a try.

Btw, good luck on the hiring.

God Bless, Mary

Oh, thank Heavens someone else had picked the songs. For a moment, I'd thought Father's discernment might have slipped away due to a head injury.

The desire to move away from "Offertory" to describe everything going on at that time of the Mass has a few good reasons:
- Being mindful of the notion that the central offering takes place during the Eucharistic Prayer.
- "Preparation of Altar and Gifts" includes the offering of the people, but also covers the ritual of setting the altar. One might say the "Offertory" is a subset of "Preparation." "Offertory chant" accompanies the act of offering, but not the preparation of the altar? Whatever. Either way, we know what it means, but if some pastors and liturgists want to call attention to the altar and what's happening there, it's not a bad idea to call it "Preparation."
- Similar would be the use of Fraction Rite or Lamb of God. The former term includes both the music and the priest's action of breaking bread. The latter signifies music alone.

I can't believe your former music director dealt with you for so long.

I read the comments on this blog and the blogs of others who leave comments on this one and I am disgusted at the self-serving critiques of music choices that other churches or music directors make. Just because the selections are not the ones you would make, does not make them wrong or less pleasant to God's ears. Just because the music makes you sick to the stomach, or you wouldn't touch those pieces with a 40-foot pole doesn't make them less pleasing to the Lord. Remember, the Mass is for the people to worship God, and not a forum for you to impose your own musical talent or preference.

Please review articles 39 through 41 (The Importance of Singing), in Chapter II of the new GIRM. I want to especially point out the second clause of Article 41 that states: Other types of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful.

I have not found many of your personal selections during Advent, Lent, or Easter able to foster full, active and conscious participation by your community. Please also refer to Article 20 of Chapter I which states similarly including: "the utmost care must be taken ... in view of the circumstances of the people and the place, will
foster active and full participation and more properly respond to the spiritual needs of the faithful."

Please remember that you are the servant of the sacred Liturgy (Article 24) and that the Liturgy belongs to the community you serve, the local church, and not you.

On a final note, I have yet to find the article stating that applause after the Liturgy is not permitted. I have not seen it in my copy of the new GIRM nor in the diocesan guidelines (local adaptations).

Ask yourself this question: Where have your music ministers gone?

Really... GOOD LUCK on the hiring. Maybe try some prayer and discernment too.

"The desire to move away from "Offertory" to describe everything going on at that time of the Mass has a few good reasons"

Oh, the DESIRE is understandable. Insisting that "the Mass no longer has an 'Offertory' but rather a Preparation of Gifts (and Table)", which is untrue, not so much.
"Wantin' ain't havin', Miz O'Hara," said Po'k.

To the topic of the thread, I'm pretty glad, May's almost over and I haven't been subjected to Hail Mary Gentle Woman once. Though I have to go to a funeral tomorrow, who knows?

"Ask yourself this question: Where have your music ministers gone?"

I see music ministers at most Catholic churches, but I believe most Catholic MUSICIANS, or at least far too many of them, are to be found working in Lutheran, Episcopalian and Methodist churches.

" I want to especially point out the second clause of Article 41"

Yup, wouldn't want to look too closely at the first clause, would you?

"I have not found many of your personal selections during Advent, Lent, or Easter able to foster full, active and conscious participation by your community."

I know what you mean, how can you be participating if you aren't making some kind of noise?

My brother and his wife just had their first child.
I was so disappointed to see him holding the baby at the hospital. I mean, he wasn't making a sound. No noise at all. I would have thought he would have been very interested in little Luke, and joyful, but no, he was just being quiet.
I don't get it.

"On a final note, I have yet to find the article stating that applause after the Liturgy is not permitted. I have not seen it in my copy of the new GIRM nor in the diocesan guidelines (local adaptations)."

You won't.
There is no such rule.
When I REALLY like a performance by the cantor or priest, I give'm three snaps, girlfriend.

Closing the thread, folks. Stick to the topic.

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This page contains a single entry by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. published on May 17, 2005 3:07 PM.

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