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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

If only parishes could adopt this model

I enjoy reading the MusicaSacra forum because of the kinship I feel to those who post there.  It's a forum for those who have a genuine love of Sacred Music.  A lot of sharing and venting goes on there.  Most of it is constructive.

Tonight, I share something posted on this respected forum:

  2. 1. The Musical Chapel of the Papal Basilica of St. Peter is happy to welcome ‘guest’
    choirs who wish to animate the Liturgy. They must demonstrate their suitability and
    be able to guarantee a quality of song that is worthy of it surroundings.
  3. 2. The Musical Chapel of St. Peter’s Basilica follows the norms of the Magisterium of the Church regarding liturgical song, and especially the Chirograph of John Paul II and the latest pronouncements of Benedict XVI in the matter of liturgical music.
  4. 3. The liturgy is celebrated in the Latin language, according to the Roman Rite. Gregorian
    chant has first place. The guest choir is expected to chant the Ordinary of Holy Mass
    in alternation with the Musical Chapel of the Basilica.
  5. 4. As a general norm, the chants from the Ordinary to be executed are:
    Sundays of Advent: Missa XVII Credo IV
    Sundays of Christmas: Missa IX Credo IV
    Sundays of Lent: Missa XVII Credo IV
    Sundays of Easter: Missa I Credo III
    Sundays of Ordinary Time: Missa XI Credo I
    Feasts of Ordinary Time: Missa VIII Credo III
    Feasts of the B.V. Mary: Missa IX Credo IV
    Feasts of the Apostles: Missa IV Credo III
  6. 5. The guest choir may sing:
    - at the Entrance procession until the moment when the celebrant reaches the altar.
    The Gregorian Introit is sung by the Musical Chapel of the Basilica.
    - at the preparation of the gifts and relative offertory,
    - at Communion, after the Gregorian antiphon has been sung,
    - at the end of Mass, after the Blessing.
    The program of music must follow the Liturgy of the day and will be agreed upon
    with and approved by the Choirmaster.
  7. 6. Singing in St. Peter’s is a stupendous prospect: all those who wish to do so may apply
    to the Chapel Prefect, in full freedom, without restrictions on the part of any
    organization, travel agency, or other. The application, which will be vetted by the
    Choirmaster, is to be sent if possible along with some recordings useful for verifying
    the qualifications of the choir and with a proposal of songs for the liturgy in which
    the choir is requesting to participate.
  8. 7. Participation in the Capitular Mass is free of charge. Nonetheless, the Chapter of St.
    Peter’s Basilica accepts with gratitude the free offerings of guest choirs who wish to
    participate in maintaining quality liturgical service in the Basilica. An official receipt
    will be issued.
  9. These norms were approved by the Most Reverend Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in an audience of 17 December 2006 and he has mandated their publication.
    Msgr. Tarcisio Cola
    Canon of St. Peter’s

Reading this, I wonder why we can't employ the same standards in the average parish.  It would certainly lead to greater solemnity, dignity and majesty in the Mass. 

Part of the problem with the lack of quality music that we have in many of our parishes lies with the publishing houses, especially the big two: OCP and GIA.  OCP seems to only promote their stable of composers in their "liturgical" guides and usually do not give any importance Sacred Music.  GIA, in my opinion, had some credibility until they pretty much vandalized the Worship III hymnal with revised "inclusive" language that took all of the beauty out of the hymns.  Smaller hymnals, like Adoremus and the St. Michael Hymnal, make valiant efforts at providing parishes with Sacred Music.  However, it is hard to compete with the marketing gurus from OCP and GIA. 

I do take comfort in two seminarian friends of mine who are members of a schola in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.  These young men have grown in their love of Sacred music and they show great promise.  I only hope that  St. Cecilia will continue to help guide them throughout their journey to the priesthood so that they can lead their parishes by example.  It is a shame, though, that the Archdiocese did not see fit to use its own schola to provide the music for the Installation Mass of its new Archbishop, the Most Rev. Gustavo Garcia-Siller.   I was disappointed with the Gloria.  I was excited when I heard the Latin, but, then, the choir launched into Spanish and merely used the Latin as the refrain.  The Gloria was excruciatingly long.  The responsorial psalm was worse, having been accompanied by what sounded like Mariachis.  The psalm has its own tone; it's not supposed to sound like a regular song, let alone a performance piece.   

One can only hope that with the advent of the revised translations, parishes will try and take a serious and hard look at their music programs.  Even though some of the settings released by OCP and GIA do not do the revised translations justice, maybe these pieces can serve as the catalyst for a true change, a real reform of the reform.

1 comment:

  1. "Reading this, I wonder why we can't employ the same standards in the average parish."

    One word: MONEY.

    There is a business side to every church. The average parish doesn't invest much more than a few bucks for a generic hymnal and a low to barely adequate salary for a "musical director" whose qualifications are that he or she can play an organ. To put it bluntly, you get what you pay for.

    You want better music? Go to your pastor, your parish council and finance committee and hound them relentlessly and endlessly to start taking music more seriously until they do.