New Language, New Mass Settings ... But Will It Fill the Church?

My husband and I talk a lot about our Church and where it's headed.  With the new language to be implemented at Advent and the talk of using more Gregorian chant for the Mass settings, we both often find ourselves scratching our heads and wondering, "Why?"

Will these changes really bring people to our faith?  Will it bring those who have left it back?  Will it keep the young people, who after 8 or 12 years of Catholic education, suddenly stop going to church altogether?  As Bishop Fulton Sheen said, "I tell my relatives and best friends, 'If you want your children to fight for their faith, send them to public school. If you want them to lose their faith, send them to Catholic school.'"  OUCH!
Music is a high priority for my husband and me.  If the music is consistently bad, we probably won't attend Mass at that church anymore.  Where we attend Mass now, the music is pretty good.  It's not complicated and I don't feel like we've just been to a funeral.

For me, that's the key (no pun intended!).  I love the sounds of a beautiful organ, but I don't want to attend a funeral every week.  The organ can be played in a lively fashion.  Obviously during Lent the music should be subdued and more somber to reflect what Our Lord and Church are about to endure.  But I have watched interviews with so-called music experts that seem to want to drag us into a dark and gloomy night every weekend.

So I was surprised when I ran across Mass of St. Ann through Dr. Jerry Galipeau's blog.  Not only is it beautiful, it is very lively and uplifting!  Whew!
I don't know about you, but I want to leave the Church, happy that I came!
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  • Siblingless, you might find the article at the following link interesting for a different take on music at Mass:

    http://www.chantcafe.com/2011/06/why-praise-and-worship-music-is-praise.html

    I've had the good fortune to see the Mass from both pre- and post-Vatican II. There is a difference. In pre- Vatican II, things were more solemn/serious and focused on Christ. In post- Vatican II, it seems like the focus has shifted from Christ on the Cross, and the Eucharist to the individual and community. Lots of "feel good" stuff, which I'm not sure is helpful.

    The problem with our youth, I think, is that they're spoiled. They think they have to be entertained 24/7, or at least every waking hour. And we parents think they have to be entertained, too, or else they "won't play" the way we want 'em to. I think the Mass, solemnly presented, and properly understood, carries with it a sense of the mystery of God that is lacking in most (not all) contemporary approaches we've seen since Vatican II.

    The changes in the Mass since Vatican II weren't done the way Vatican II intended. They went off the rails fairly early on. We through out the baby with the bathwater, I think. Hopefully, the new changes will start to put the wheels back on the rails.

    Just my opinion. :)

  • As a lifelong Catholic of a younger generation, I can speak a bit to Augustin58's concerns.

    Certainly, I can't say I come from a pre-Vatican II experience, but I can tell you that from my experience, the instrumentation (organ vs. guitar) isn't the deciding factor on whether people are focused on Christ and the Eucharist at Mass.

    It's what the musicians do with the instrumentation they have and the lyrics of the songs they choose.

    I've been to plenty of Masses where the organ, traditional hymns, etc. are used, and they can be either uplifting and Christ-centered or distracting to the Mass-goer because the organist chooses to play such an arrangement that's either too loud or focused on his/her virtuoso playing.

    I've been to plenty of Masses using guitars, where the songs themselves and the way the singers/guitars are arranged successfully brought me into focusing on Christ, his love and my mission in Him, and Masses where the guitarists focused more on rocking out in a song to make people feel good.

    I've even been to Catholic Masses in African-American communities where a gospel choir sang, and their traditional black Gospel hymn successfully helped me become so emotionally moved to adoring Christ in the Eucharist we were all receiving in that moment.

    It's not whether the song comes from the 1500's, written in a monastery to be performed a capella, 1964 in a black gospel church, 1975 in a Jesuit residence with guitars strewn across the room, or 2011, written by a praise/worship artist. It's what the song's lyrical content is (is it within the bounds of Catholic teaching), how it's arranged, and whether the musicians augment the lyrics to create a Christ-centered atmosphere.

    Admittedly, some people are more drawn toward different musical arrangements based on what they're used to, what they grew up with, etc. There is nothing liturgically wrong with that...it's just a reality.

    I'd argue that more parishes should offer - if they can get the volunteers to do it - more musical options for Masses, having different ensembles do different Masses, as long as they're directed well to focus the musical choices and the arrangements on bringing people closer to Christ.

    Just like Augustin58, just my opinion, too.

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