Diocesan common Mass settings

The bishop of the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi is mandating two musical settings which must be used throughout the diocese for the first half year of the new Missal:

* Belmont Mass (OCP) by Christopher Walker;

Missal Simplex (WLP) of Michael O’Connor OP based on Richard Proulx’s Gloria Simplex.

Waddayathink? Is it a good idea to have a common setting or two known by everyone in the diocese? If so, which setting(s) should it be?

Let’s see if anyone out there has any opinions about music. I doubt anyone does, but I could be wrong about that.



  1. Seems like a good idea. The music he’s picked is chant-like and devotional. If you don’t like those adjectives, perhaps the RC church is not for you!

    1. Are you suggesting the other music is not devotional? Are you suggesting that there is only one style of music appropriate to Roman Liturgy? Even the Church doesn’t do that. She loves GREGORIAN chant, and holds it in high esteem when all things are equal, but She doesn’t limit the music choice to chant. If She did, then newly composed chant would not be allowed. Only traditional chant would be permitted, and we know that is not the case.

      1. What other music are you referring to? No I’m NOT suggesting that there’s only one style of music appropriate to the Roman liturgy, but I AM suggesting that if you don’t think that chant has a place in the church, perhaps the church is the wrong place for you!

      2. I believe the same thing is happening in our diocese, however we have already made our selections and we have selected two. I am pleased to say that one of them is Kevin Keil’s Mass in Honor of St. Francis Cabrini. Very, very nice job, Kevin!

        Fr. Jim Blue

    2. So, Tom: You’re saying that people cannot celebrate mass using the musical styles of their culture? How would you explain this to a vibrant African American Parish in a downtown city? Or, a Hispanic parish in another city?

  2. I am all in favor of recommending mass settings to a diocese, but I am not in favor of mandating the use of a setting or two for 6 months, especially when they are both chant style settings. It’s fine if you ask all the parishes in the diocese to learn a common setting so that they can all sing it at diocesean liturgies, but to limit them to one style for half a year is not a good choice. Different parishes have different musical tastes, and what works well in one place may not in another. Since neither of these masses have choral parts, choirs will not be able to enhance the music with harmonies, especially during Christmas, when many choirs enjoy pulling out all the “stops”. I say leave it up to the parishes to choose music that is a good fit, and select a Diocesean Setting for everyone to learn.

  3. If by prescribing these 2 settings he’s banning the use of the new missal tones however, I think that’s a bad idea. Wouldn’t it be good if everyone got to know them first?

    1. This also means that a parish that has been chanting in Latin would no longer be permitted to do that either. A diocese should recommend quality mass settings in various styles, and then let the parishes decide what will best help their assemblies to pray.

    2. It certainly seems that he is banning the tones in the Missal: “As Bishop and Guardian of the Liturgy for the faithful in the diocese, I mandate all parishes in the Diocese of Jackson to use only the above two Mass settings for Masses in English for the above listed transition period.” He’s also banning any other settings that have been approved by the BCL.

      I can’t say that he’s overstepping, but he is certainly mis-stepping, and likely to create a larger problem than he’s attempting to solve. Unless the bishop is present in and to every parish in a way that gives him intimate knowledge of its week by week worship, then, as Kevin Keil has said above, “let the parishes decide what will best help their assemblies to pray.”

      1. I am not sure the bishop’s liturgical remit extends to proscribing what is provided in the Missal with Roman recognitio.

  4. My second thought is that since these masses are in English, parishes that celebrate mass in other languages are ignored completely. Perhaps that is not an issue in this Diocese, but again I fell it’s too limiting. Also, “Life Teen” masses will find the style shockingly different from the music they are used to. You may feel that that’s a good thing and it’s about time they used “proper” music to worship the Lord, but as long as the content of the music conforms with church teachings, the style is one of personal taste and should not be mandated by the Diocese.

  5. Fr. Ruff – initially this bishop’s suggestion did not appeal to me. Let me revise that – know Jackson, MS and given it quasi-missionary region, parishes, and lack of resources from most of the diocese, and if he has consulted with his music ministers/pastors – this actually might be a “wise” and helpful suggestion for the pastoral situation he faces in his specific diocese. There may be a few parishes within Jackson, Vicksburg that could do something else and should be allowed given their specific resources. Not sure I would use this approach in a large urban setting in an archdiocese? But, would like to hear from Paul Inwood, or Rory Cooney, David Haas, Flowerday – you are the guys who have the pastoral experience, composers, directors, etc.

  6. This bishop is verifying his authority: when he gives an arbitrary order, how many people obey? This is a test.

  7. Excuse me, but did it not yet occur to anyone that the ICEL setting (for which we should thank our host here) ought to be de facto acquired by each and every English speaking RC congregant at English-language Masses?
    From thence onward, yes, I believe each bishop should endorse a particular setting for his see, if for no other reason than diocesan and deanery level Masses conducted solely in English. (Tho’ those may be going the way of the DoDo bird in the near future.)
    Furthermore, the second Mass setting choice should be the one I have yet to compose! Once it’s finished, before the toner is yay driethed on the spindle, my crack publicity team (made up of former Rev. Harold Camping associates and Newt Gingrich staffers) will hand deliver copies to all parishes spanning the Anglophone globe, save for the Globe Theatre, as that’s not really a church is it?) I’m predicting it will be ready and in everyone’s folder by November 27th of this year of our Lord 2011! You heard it here first, not at Chant Cafe!
    And a wise bishop would convene a wise council of liturgical musicians with serious resumes and of significant tenures in his or another diocese. Whisper-voice, shhhh….believeth ye or neigh, I actually qualifieth under those twain criteria! Shhhh….
    I return to from whence I cameth. (MR3 prepping, no cause for alarm!)

    1. Charles;

      If ye are serious, and me hopes you be…I shall be first in line (or online) for a copy!

      Our Liturgical Commisssion met a few weeks back and we verified our Bishop’s request that the Missal Chants be the “common setting” for our Diocese, and therefore the first setting undertaken by parishes in our Diocese. There is no mandate that it be the “sole setting” used for a 6 month period or anything, but when you really think about it, how many settings can you practically introduce in a 6-month period?

      That being said, a Bishop, even the Bishop of Jackson MS, has every right to regulate and dictate liturgical norms in his own Diocese. I am a bit concerned that his specific directives at the very minimum conflict with the “spirit” of the USCCB’s intention that the Missal Chants be a normative setting. He isn’t “banning” that setting as some have suggested…6 months will fly by rather quickly, probably before most parishes are even able to introduce both of his suggested settings. As such. he’s not really “proscribing” and certainly not “banning” the tones given in the approved Missal.

    2. Mr. Culbreth,

      I admire beyond words your ability to speak so clearly with your tongue stuck that firmly in your cheek! Well played, Sir!

      And I look forward with bated breath for the appearance of your PR team in my diocese.

      1. Mon ami, Lynn,
        Mercy bowcups t’ yall down unda as well.
        I wouldn’t hold that breath for now, or at least make it a staggered breath- my crack PR team left me without notice to help reconstruct Congressperson Weiner’s Q factor among his own caucus.
        Maybe Vox Clara ex-patriotes will rush to mine aid.
        Or some of Hosni Mubarek’s former cabinet….

    1. Fr. Jim;

      Not really liturgical police, but let me relate a story that could well play out in such an instance.

      The previous Bishop in our Diocese was rather, well, lax about things liturgical, and leaned more towards the “Let it Be” approach to Bishoping. In several parishes (OK…more than several) of our Diocese, Holy Saturday was routinely observed as just another Saturday, with the regular Mass schedule observed…meaning that we had a 2:30PM, 4:30PM and 6:00PM “Easter Vigil” in my parish, and in quite a few other parishes. Then about 5 years ago came our new Bishop. He was apprised of this situation and appropriately horrified, and quickly sent out a “letter” to all parishes specifying that the liturgical norms for Holy Saturday were to be followed, and there was to be only one Vigil Mass, and that was to begin after sundown. There was some grumbling to be sure…go figure! But that isn’t the end of the story. The Bishop’s office requested the published schedules from each and every parish in the Diocese to make sure that there weren’t any “early vigils” being scheduled. Word was that the Bishop’s office was obtaining copies of parish bulletins from every parish for the weeks leading up to Holy Week. A parish or two, nonetheless, tried to slip in the extra Masses via announcements from the podium during Masses the week or two before. That was when it was discovered that there were individuals in a number of parishes attending Masses and reporting back to the Bishop’s office if such announcements were made. The Chancery apparently knew which parishes were going to have issues and sent, yes…spies. After some Pastor reshuffling and re-assignments, the following year saw a very uniform compliance with the Bishop’s directives concerning Holy Week Masses.

      I could see something like that happening in this case, given the Bishop’s rather strong wording.

  8. As Music Director for the Diocese of Buffalo, I have recommended Scott Soper’s Mass of Awakening for use throughout the diocese beginning in Advent. We have had several workshops throughout the diocese to present this. It was also presented to all the priests of the diocese at their recent convocation. It was received very well and everybody appears to be on board.

  9. I am more and more worried by what I read about authorities in the Church. Shades of Uno Duce, Una Voce

  10. Hi Father, kind of assuming that was directed my way?
    “This happening…” Which part, the ICEL or everyone obliged to FCAP my as yet uncomposed magnum opus?
    Let’s say the ICEL part doesn’t float yer boat.
    My response would simply be “Why, then, do we invest capital and credibility establishing such “benchmarks” as the ICEL setting, or for that matter “Jubilate Deo/Dead Mass” and then personally behave like some sort of democratic, free market, all’s laizzes faire in love and war and anything goes if it plays in Peoria?
    Do we have some sort of liturgical suicide pact that the magisterium isn’t privvy to? “Okay, when they order us to chant together, we all move to Australia and join Brian Houston and Hillsong Ministries, got it?”
    Father, the part about Vatican II that I get the most: WE have to be the Liturgical Police. And we have to know the law before we go to morning roll call. And honor and uphold the law. And serve the law in humility and obedience. Is that so hard?

  11. Our bishop is mandating one: the Missal chant. For a year. I think the common setting is a very good idea, and since there’s no way to know which settings will have staying power, it makes sense to use the chant. But I’m not a fan of the one-year mandate.

  12. Choosing a couple of settings for diocesan gatherings seems like a good idea to me. Soliciting suggestions from parishes prior to that selection would be an even better idea. To mandate what settings parishes must use is an autocratic act that is likely to stir up unnecessary resistance.

  13. In the various workshops I have been giving this past year, folks are talking about this.. some diocesan offices have stipulated a particular mass setting not as being the SOLE setting.. but they are asking all of the parishes to at least include the suggested setting as part of their choices.. so when they gather for diocesan celebrations such as Rite of Election, Chrism Mass, Ordinations, etc.. there would be a common setting hopefully known my most folks. Seems to not be a bad idea.

    I am however concerned about such a strategy overall. Let’s do a bit of history here.. let’s look at Mass of Creation as an example. This setting has been seen and used as a common diocesan setting in many diocesan situations. HOWEVER – that was AFTER the setting had “caught on” and seen as successful.

    In the midst of the huge avalanche of new settings being made available from the three main publishers and other sources as well.. there is so much to wade through. And my opinion is this.. we have NO idea which settings are really going to find themselves to be successful, we don’t know which ones will really get into our liturgical DNA (like Mass of Creation, Community Mass, etc).. we have no way of knowing.

    It is my opinion, that the best mass settings have not yet been composed.. and we probably will not see those until some 5 years or more down the road. We need time to get used to these new texts. The desire (certainly understandable) to have unified and common settings is a bit too soon for my thinking. While it is messy – I think we need to struggle through for a while, and find out what settings that are now available will cut through and really stick with folks – and also, be patient to see, after a time of testing and experience with these new settings – better settings of the Mass that will come down the pike. I think we need to be a bit patient.

    1. Well, David, from GIA, yours is IMO the stand alone highlight for now. Interestingly enough, my recommendation to my contemporary associates of it hasn’t gained traction. Hmm, are we like getting old?
      Good points about settings taking root. The Danish (Kraehenbuhl?) was like the first of that era, Peloquin’s Gloria was the only movement of that Mass everyone embraced. Vermulst Peoples another example of pervasive acceptance becoming default until the SLJ Euch. Acclamations came along.
      Where I’m thinking we’re on the same wavelength is that a tabula rasa, new start is not a bad thing. We’re gonna sew some new seeds, some bad, okay, good, great…that will fall on rocky soil, sand and good earth. Gonna take time.
      I’m just happy that many of these new settings will include chant inspired vocabualaries, and get a fair singing and hearing among a new generation not biased away from those traits. We still on the same page?

    2. Back in 1983 Chris Walker was i/c of Music at Clifton Cathedral (UK) .He was asked by the Bishop to assist the parishes in the diocese to learn a Mass setting (I cannot now remember which) for use at Confirmations, the Glastonbury pilgrimage and all diocesan events where the people gather in large numbers.

      This was useful for some years – nothing lasts for ever! It also had the huge advantage of showing the outposts of the diocesan empire the quality of new music available. But Chris is an inspiring teacher, and an MP3 player is a poor substitute!

  14. In Australia, where parishes were allowed to begin using the new translation of the Order of Mass from today, the bishops recommended the chant plus six locally-composed Mass settings for use in parishes that were chosen after a lengthy consideration of submissions to the National Liturgical Music Board. We’ve been allowed to use them since the beginning of the year.

    The motivation was not only to encourage some common repertoire for diocesan celebrations, etc., but also to guide parishes (which typically don’t have paid music directors) in the selection of Mass settings. The board and National Liturgical Council also saw a need to encourage work by Australian composers.

    Beyond that, I haven’t heard of Australian bishops mandating specific Mass settings or time frames in their respective dioceses, but I could be wrong.

    More about the recommended settings for Australia is at http://www.catholic.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1829&Itemid=403

  15. The Archdiocese of Omaha has commissioned a Mass from David Hurd (“Mass in Honor of Saint Cecilia”), which is slated for inclusion in the same Liturgical Press publication as the oft-cited “Psallite Mass” (see http://www.theromanmissal.org/LUYH.htm). Archbishop George Lucas has placed this Ordinary setting alongside the other Missal chants as the center-piece of the Archdiocese’s preparation for the new Missal translation, the liturgical renewal of the local church in general, and the continuing formation of parish musicians and clergy.

  16. Common settings for diocesan Masses is a concern for only a very small percentage of the people, probably far less than one percent. Hardly seems worthwhile to have the other 99% of the people learn them.

    However probably a larger percentage of the people go to Masses in other parishes, and more will need to do so as we have fewer priests and fewer Masses, so some coordination among neighboring parishes, parishes within the same city or same county might be useful.

    On the other had too much coordination might be a bad thing. Surely whatever new music is chosen, some people will dislike it. They should not have to go far to find something different, certainly they should not have to leave the diocese.

  17. Neither of those Masses would be a go for me. So were I in that diocese, guess they’d have to deal with my insubordination.

    My Mass settings have been picked out. For the most part, we’re just using revised settings. I find no reason to give up Jubilation/Angels and Saints/Creation. I’ll add two new ones and we’re set.

    Our diocesan committee has recommended Mass of Renewal – the NPM winner. No way. I won’t say anything more than that.

    I find that people who attend Diocesan-wide liturgies sing extremely well, whether a piece is new or old. As long as it’s in the worship aid, people will sing it fine. No need to put individual parishes through pain so they will know the Holy when we have the Chrism Mass or Ordinations.

    1. Re #37: I wonder whether our parishioners will be able to put new words to a familiar tune.

      In reading sessions, my colleagues and I have stumbled over the first measures of Creation (revised). We chuckle at our stubborn musical memory and continue on to the familiar succeeding measures. Between us, we have YEARS of musical training, but still we make this mistake. The difference between musicians who make mistakes and non-musicians who make mistakes is that musicians pick up and go on while non-musicians stop in confusion and/or embarrassment and/or frustration.

      My point is, I advise a NEW setting with a NEW tune because of the way that I understand music (and ritual and memory) to work. I suggest that, when we choose these new settings, we consider what made Angels & Saints, Creation, etc. successful and look for settings which have those features/qualities (looking for a better term here and failing).

      My two cents.

      Siobhan Maguire

  18. It seems the height of arrogance for a diocesan bishop to prohibit the use of chants that are actually in the new Roman Missal.

    Also, it seems foolish to make decrees that are unenforceable. He’s making himself look impotent.

  19. Of the six settings recommended in Australia, only two (perhaps three at a pinch) are even remotely suitable for suburban parishes with limited musical resources. They are, at least, only recommendations, and each parish is being given a lot of leeway in the timing of how they get from now to then (advent). We have had assistance from our archdiocese, but the musicians employed failed to completely obscure their distinct lack of enthusiasm for any of them. Spending time listening to the many samples online from GIA, OCP etc is a rather dispiriting experience as well musically, and I hope David Haas is right that the enduring masses are still to be composed.

    As far as the chant settings go, if they are part of a movement of the spirit from the laity upwards they will flourish, if they are imposed by the bishops they will get absolutely nowhere. In the very limited sample of people willing to be part of the music ministry in our local suburban parish there are exactly zero people stepping forward to lead the assembly in chant.

    1. As far as the chant settings go, if they are part of a movement of the spirit from the laity upwards they will flourish, if they are imposed by the bishops they will get absolutely nowhere.
      Respectfully, as AWR often asks, “Evidence, citations please.” If one takes a moment to comprehend that last phrase quoted, much more than worship music is doomed. After 41 years traversing the music landscape, I’d love to hear a bishop step up and lead vis a vis liturgy and music in his own backyard. And I’d wager so would the PIPs.
      In the very limited sample of people willing to be part of the music ministry in our local suburban parish there are exactly zero people stepping forward to lead the assembly in chant.
      Wonder why. And that could be easily remedied. And I have evidence of that, if asked.

  20. I think it would be reasonable for the bishop to say “This particular setting is the one we will use (by large majority) in the cathedral, so it is a good idea for you to use it in your parishes as well, so that when your parishioners come to the cathedral for Mass, they will be familiar with the setting we use here.”

    I do not think it is reasonable to dictate what settings (and only those) must be used throughout the diocese. That stifles creativity in one of the places where creativity is meant to exist in the liturgy.

  21. The Bishop of Jefferson City, Missouri, has mandated that only the ICEL chants be used for the first 12 months from the 1st Sunday of Advent. And the Bishop of Leeds, England, is making very strong noises in the same direction, without actually specifying “nothing but the missal chants”.

    I too am convinced that putting all our eggs into any basket this early is a mistake, and that we won’t see the really good settings until 2-3 years down the road. This will particularly be the case in England and Wales, where the approval process is operating on distinctly different lines from other countries and thus the appearance of new homegrown material from those countries is being significantly delayed.

    1. The Bishop of Jefferson City, MO, has made what I expect will be a serious mistake. Those who love chant [and there are some who aren’t quite so stuck as to prefer/demand it to the exclusion of all else] will be happy, but those who don’t care for it, or not all that much, may well decide it’s not worth the effort. MUCH harder to get folks back than to avoid losing them in the first place. And Jeff CIty isn’t a Catholic-dense region, so there’s little ‘cultural encouragement’ to stay.

  22. Here in our deanery (NOT at the diocesan level, mind you), I thought it would be a good idea to have at least one common setting of the new texts, not necessarily an initial setting but at least one that we could all agree to introduce within the first year or so. Our deanery demographics are changing, and most of us think we can expect consolidations in the next few years, and I personally feel that the more we can do to make such transitions easier for folks, the better we serve them.

    In order to try to discern a common setting, I organized two meetings (and numerous emails!) for deanery musicians, to read through and evaluate some of the many new compositions. We discussed the pros and cons of revised settings, as well as considered various modes of instruction for our congregations. We have also talked about leveraging our joint resources to purchase and/or create (with copyright permissions) congregation cards more easily than each parish could alone. We haven’t made final choices yet on which setting/s to hold in common, but the conversations themselves have been valuable in terms of evaluating the music from different viewpoints.

    I would have loved to see this kind of conversation at the diocesan level. Unfortunately, that did not happen here. I think such conversations are better than mandates, all things being equal.

  23. Madden and Pinyan – good insights and comments. From this week-end, pulled out one big request –

    for those pastors with very limited resources and because of multiple commitments, no time to date to study or prepare the new translations, they are looking for “Best Practice” in terms of a temporary transition that will succeed and not prove negative. A few others with resources and dedicated ministers/time would prefer Paul Inwood’s approach. (Paul – guessing Jeff City is John Gaydos – taught by his uncle).

  24. I worked with Bishop Latino on this. We decided to mandate the two settings for six months so that all the faithful could focus on learning the texts and not be confused by new or revised tunes. It is only six months. A lot of our people travel and attend different parishes throughout the diocese. Having familiar tune will facilitate learning the new texts in our mind’s eye. After the six months parishes are free to coose from the “myriads” of settings available including the ICEL tones in the missal. This also gives missions and parishes with less resources plenty of time to explore and find settings that will fit their parish.
    Love all the comments. We appreciate every one of them and are happy to see such passion for the liturgy of out beautiful church.

  25. I forgot to mention that we presented several settings at a workshop for music ministers with over 100 in attendance. These are the two we narrowed it down to and we decided not to choose one but to give the choice of the two. So there was parish consultation as well.

  26. Why is any bishop pushing any privately prepared music this early in the game? Who is applying pressure to make such a decision? Art there marketers/lobbyists out there working the network of bishops? How much is having a required diocesan text worth to its publisher?

    What need has any bishop to promote anything else when there is an entire new translation and chant format to be learned?

    Have the bishops extended permission for wide and free distribution of the chant in the new missal? That seems like the needed first step.

    All of this concern about new Mass settings seems to be putting the professional musicians’ carts of seeking variety in front of the horse of developing FCAP in the new texts and music.

    Let individual parishes try these additional compositions for the next two or three years and let us begin to see what filters our before asking every parish in any diocese to buy and learn some untested music.

  27. Since all of the revised settings are almost totally “new” in text and tune, (except Gospel Acc., Amen, Agnus Dei – in most cases), our parish has decided to learn first a “New” setting. We are having a directors’ sight reading session this summer and will review offerings from WLP, GIA, OCP, and LTP. This will involve directors of the adult, children, hispanic, comtemporary, and Life Teen choirs. The presiders (and hopefully deacons) are also going to attend so we get the total picture from everyone. My suggestion is to learn one english setting (Spanish settings are almost all OK) for all english choirs and one bilingual setting for parish wide celebrations.
    I agree we won’t really know for 5 years which settings have longevity in the hearts of the assemblies but we need to start somewhere. I also agree that this is a perfect opportunity for all parishes to learn the missal chants (latin for some, english for others) so that there is some sense of musical/liturgical unity in a diocese. I prefere to see bishops pastorally inspire their people to follow rather than mandate/force them along a given path. To mandate is their perogative but it doesn’t work as well if you want to engage the hearts of your flock.

  28. The Diocese of Jackson has about 100 parishes and missions; half less than 300 people and half more than 300. We have a large number of Latino immigrants as well. I pastor three parishes, and I lead the music in two of them because so far, after two year, I have not been able to get leaders going. Only one of the three has a volunteer organist. This is the Bible Belt, so a deep appreciation for chant is not manifested here, even though I personally like it since I am a former monk. The “mandate” from the see city to these little country places, with needs for some bilingual liturgy, hits me like a cold fish in the face. It is out of touch with the reality we live. I see the need for some common settings for diocesan gatherings, but because of distance, they are very few, Chrism Mass and Ordinations. I am not familiar enough with the chants in the missal nor the two settings we are limited to to evaluate them well, but I know I am stretched already trying to minister to folks in small gatherings and miles apart. It is just crazy to me; another manifestation of the bigger problems we have in the Church. Another “POWER” solution which would better be left to a recommendation rather than a mandate and room to adapt at the local level.

  29. Maybe it would not be a bad idea for a parish to simply change one of the Sunday Masses to a low(er) Mass. I know that according to the GIRM no said Sunday OF Masses are permitted. Still, why not just sing a hymn at the entrance, sing the gradual in a vernacular adaptation, graduale simplex, or psalm-tone, and sing a recessional hymn? Actually, I wish more parishes would do this all the time. I also pray that the “no low Mass on Sundays” will be struck from the GIRM at some point in the future, but that does not seem to be forthcoming.

    Maybe people would become more comfortable with the new translation if they simply spent time quietly contemplating its words. The emphasis on congregational singing can be a distraction for some people. Better, then, to let the contemplative worship in solitude. Understanding does not necessarily require accompaniment.

    1. Actually, people are more likely to pick up the new translation if they are given the opportunity to anchor it through music rather than recitation.

      I for one pray that the discouragement of the “low” Mass on Sundays and festal occasions (and all Sundays rank at least equivalently to feasts of the Lord) is retained. Solitude is not what the Mass is about.

      1. Yes, for many music is important both for aesthetic reasons and for didactic reasons. Some of us are rather high functioning autistic types who do not absorb information in typical ways. In a very informal and non-blind poll, I’ve found that some autistic laypersons and priests prefer the EF low Mass. I do not find this surprising, as the silence tends to appeal to those whose minds are running in high gear but often speak few words.

        I wish that liturgists, composers, and bishops would keep in mind that there are some who do not fit well into the standard worship metric. Perhaps there is no metric, and the standardization that is imposed often alienates some Catholics needlessly. Why then legislate for many at the expense of others? Maybe non-autistic people love music. I can only stand it in very small doses. There are more of us than many liturgists realize.

      2. Only one said Mass a Sunday should be celebrated. Perhaps at 7 am or whenever the first Mass is celebrated would be a good time-slot.

        A said Mass does not necessarily mean “warp speed”. It’s been my experience that some priests like to say the first Mass of the day. Often these priests will give the Mass due attention. Some of the best homilies I have ever heard have been preached in the early morning.

        A early said Mass also means a later start for the organist, the choir, a cantor or soloist, etc. Accompaniment is not needed with a responsorial psalm; if the congregation can sing a gradual and parts of the ordinary, even better. Also, often an adult from the early congregation will volunteer to serve the Mass. There is usually no difficulty fulfilling all of the needs for a said Mass even at an early hour.

        I only hope that the new translation offers some new possibilities for the priests and laity who are attracted to a different type of contemplation.

  30. David Haas is right. Likely the best Mass settings have yet to be composed.

    The bishop is well-meaning, and perhaps he’s trying to forestall rebellion on implementation.

    I think you have to implement the chant setting if you’re going to impose anything.

    I’m not implementing anything till I see the full score. Still waiting to see some of those.

    And any new setting we choose will have to be flexible: suitable for a cappella singing at daily Mass, and suitable for piano or organ accompaniment with either a songleader or choir.

    Admittedly: hard to get excited about this.

  31. while I am not happy with a mandate on what to sing I am most disturbed that the music is not appealing or to our hispanic members nor is it bilingual which is what i am used to doing. I feel these two mandated settings will be alienating the hispanic members in our parish. I have been looking for a mass setting that can be used in english or Spanish or both. that is what unifies us. A rural parish is never understood by anyone unless they have literally walked in our shoes for more than a short visit.

    1. Vonda, be worth your time to audition the PSALLITE MASS: at the Table of the Lord (Liturgical Press) by Dr. Paul Ford, Paul Inwood, et al. It would serve those needs precisely.

  32. Well, honestly Todd, it’s difficult for AARPer’s like you, me, et tu David, to get in a lather about what we likely tho’ secretly regard as craft and mechanics. But I’m thankful that David and Jeffrey Herbert actually agree that awaiting the unveiling of a new Mass setting by moi will be simultaneously an act of charity and penance.
    Now if I could remember where I left my muse….?
    Oh…Todd, I got yer flexible down: one guy/gal and a barrage of synthesizers (up in the choir gallery for the retro ethos), and digital voice modulators whose signals are processed through the Bose wave discreet speakers (faux naturale, can it get any better?) so that chant sounds like Heilingen Kreuz, polypohony (only canons) like The Sixteen, strophic hymns like the MTC or any true Mennonite church, and all contemporary stuff dialed into a. Brooklyn Tabernacle; b. Hillsong or c. the original cast recordng of any Stephen Schwarz musical.
    And I’m working with some kid down the street on how to link all that up with hologram projected imagery that syncs, and the image only shows the monks from Santo Domingo de Silos perfectly lip synching, even if it’s to “Missa Soon and Very Soon.” It’s all good.
    Gotta go to bed, flying to Colloquium first thing in AM, where I’ll likely be asked to politely leave and try to fit into Louisville…sigh

  33. In San Antonio, we have a much different situation, given the number of liturgies offered in Spanish and bilingually. We have actually suggested that this past year be a year where parish choirs come together and decided upon a common Mass… one that all can embrace. Whether they sing it in English/Spanish/bilingually… and that they continue this for a year. We have actually made some progress. At the same time, many parishes are going to 2 Masses – one for the Spanish/bilingual liturgies and one for the Masses in English. For the most part, if a bilingual setting is used now, it can be maintained – only having to adjust to the new Memorial Acclamation in English (there is no Christ Has Died in Spanish), and adjusting the Gloria.

    We have advised the parishes about the 2 bilingual settings used by the Archdiocesan Choir for those liturgies. Many parishes use them now.

    There is something valuable in a diocese mandating such a move for a year period… it allows the new wording to take heart in the faithful. The reality (at least here) is that the choir members will learn and sing the Mass settings ad nauseum and the people in the pew will have 30 seconds to 2 minutes to sink their teeth into it… and the average Catholic attends Mass one out of 3-4 weeks, so if you want it to really take hold, the new setting must be used for a long period of time.

    Our Bishops have CDs of various Mass settings. They have been actively listening to them. We (the NPM Chapter) are working this summer to provide a list to our Bishops of the Mass settings to be employed at the parishes. This way they can, at the very least, pop a CD in the car on the way to a parish and get a better idea of what is being used. Our hope is that there would 4-8 settings, at the most, across the entire Archdiocese. And I honestly think that will be the case.

  34. Our Bishops have CDs of various Mass settings. They have been actively listening to them. We (the NPM Chapter) are working this summer to provide a list to our Bishops of the Mass settings to be employed at the parishes. This way they can, at the very least, pop a CD in the car on the way to a parish and get a better idea of what is being used. Our hope is that there would 4-8 settings, at the most, across the entire Archdiocese. And I honestly think that will be the case.

    I like this idea, and wish we had this same sort of openness here. We are so limited in some of the smaller places, that music which is so important, cannot be as good as it might.

  35. David, Paul et al
    The eggs in one basket thing might just prove to be the prudent if not wisest approach by comparison to how things went down in and after1964, yes?
    Not at the expense of letting the creme rise over the years to come, but to make a concerted effort to be enabled to actually sing with one voice in English parishes. Each bishop and parish pastor ought to engage in this process, realising that variety isn’t discouraged, but certain unity in sung worship can be acquired and applied.
    I don’t buy the “we’ll get bored” argument. If congregations have dealt with Abba Father for 35 years, we can find it in us to learn to love praying thru chant at some weekly Masses.
    This is my first tablet post, from Denver Itnl. Boys and toyz.

  36. Living in the Diocese of Jackson, I can see the great benefit of this mandate for a diocese like Jackson. Jackson is the largest diocese on the eastern side of the Mississippi river with about 100 parishes and missions and only about 40 priests. Because of the size of the diocese, it is extremely difficult for the bishop to make his way around to every parish and even more difficult for the Diocesan office of Liturgy to ensure parishes are doing what they should be doing. Already, most parishes have music directors with little experience with sacred music and so the settings used (and sometimes composed for the parish without the bishop’s approval) do not always reflect the great musical tradition of the church (and the text the church gives us to use). With that being said, this is an extraordinary corrective measure on Bishop Latino’s part. Mandating two settings which are both available from highly popular publishers within our diocese will make it more likely that parishes will cooperate. Parishes may not always have music for the accompaniment (and they wont sing un-accompianied) of the ICEL chants. However, when a mandated mass setting is easily found in the missalette the parish already subscribes to, it is more likely the mandate will be followed. While I would enjoy walking into a mass where the propers are sung and the mass chosen comes from the Roman Graduale, such an option is not feasible when you live in an area where most of the music directors are untrained in sacred music. This mandate is a great step towards the ideal, while recognizing for now we can only have the real.

    1. I really hope that no diocesan liturgy office considers it to be their job to “ensure parishes are doing what they should be doing.” The original assignment in STL and I assumed most other places was to assist the parishes by providing resources, references, expertise, training opportunities. I am sure that our first three liturgy directors would be horrified to think they should exercise a policing function.

      I did not know that composers’ needed the approval of the ordinary so long as they did not change any words.

      Mandating two setting will pay well for those two publishers.

      How is this a corrective measure if nothing has yet had a chance to malfunction?

      What is the problem with getting accompaniment for ICEL chants. What accompaniment is needed? It is chant. All you need are lead singers and perhaps the starting pitch.

      What does it mean to be trained in sacred music compared to being trained in music?

      I know that some of my liturgical studies classmates were musicians who could not bring themselves to put liturgical values ahead of their musical values, but that is quite different from being trained in particularly sacred music.

      I would like to see musicians trained to be accompanists rather than featured performers.

  37. A few comments from the other side of the fence (I sing in an Episcopal church, usually at a service where most everything is sung) – Tom, you may find this odd from me, as you’re used to hearing from me as a musician who likes to sing things that are decidedly not congregational.

    First, I like chant, and can sing multiple sorts, but asking a non-chanting congregation to chant AND deal with a new version of a very wellknown text is disastrous. One thing at a time! In my experience, it’s necessary to have the chant formula solid before the words can dominate, and absolutely down cold before you can drop in a variant text. Reading the notes is not the same as knowing the music.

    Second, limiting the number of settings is quite reasonable for most congregations. We normally use only one setting throughout the year for each service/mass, which lets the congregation learn it cold and sing their parts with energy and a fair amount of accuracy. In fact, if anything, we’ll go back to a simpler setting for festivals so that occasional attenders can join in.

    Finally, memorization and intake of texts does come most easily to many of us through melody. Anchoring new texts to a setting which will become very well known does not preclude other settings in due course.

    I enjoyed reading through this discussion – thank you, Tom, for directing me to it.

  38. I found the verb choice in the bishop’s letter troubling.

    This is not a shepherd guiding his flock by “suggesting” settings that could help parishes with limited resources and/or lack of trained musicians; nor a pastoral leader “urging” parishes to learn particular settings that could be used for diocesan celebrations; but a dictator “mandating” the use of these chant settings, even for school and youth masses.

    This would seem to go against the guidelines in STL # 132:

    “Other factors—such as the age, culture, language, and education of a given liturgical assembly—must also be considered. Particular musical forms and the choice of individual compositions for congregational participation will often depend on those ways in which a particular group finds it easiest to join their hearts and minds to the liturgical action. Similarly, the musical experience of a given liturgical assembly is to be carefully considered, lest forms of musical expression that are alien to their way of worshiping be introduced precipitously. On the
    other hand, one should never underestimate the ability of persons of all ages, cultures, languages, and levels of education to learn something new and to understand things that are properly and thoroughly introduced.”

    What about those parishes where a chant setting is “alien to their way of worshiping”? In the past five years, I’ve seen neighboring parishes make drastic shifts in musical directon (both toward a contemporary style and toward a chant style) that have resulted in animosity and discord in the community.

    Mandating a particular type of music seems like one-upmanship in the “style wars” of liturgy.

    1. “What about those parishes where a chant setting is “alien to their way of worshiping?”

      If this is true, then the music director of that parish has not followed STL as you suggest is the guiding document and has done a disservice to his/her congregation. All Roman Catholics should be able to sing at least remedial chant. If a congregation can’t, I think the music director should be fired.

  39. And what would Jesus say? Yes, Jackson is a big diocese but larger still is the northern area where Rich and I minister. Very small missions who do not have a Eucharist each Sunday and love the Liturgy deserve more than a mandate of November to June. I’ve been to workshops where composers taught new settings and I came home singing them. Our people are NOT dumb sheep who can’t learn. I can understand saying a time period of the Advent season but…… I am working to make the Liturgy enjoyable and meaningful here.
    And to the person who commented on what a pastoral bishop was or was not doing for the Liturgy, I’d like to see more priests concentrating on making the Liturgy live and not just on what is “mandated”. I can’t say that diocesan Liturgies get me excited!
    God bless the composers who continue to hang in there.

  40. Steve, why engage in semantics when you can’t see the rhetorical forest for the polemical trees? Do you feel comfortable dubbing Christ’s command to His followers to be servants of the servants by His example of washing their feet ritually before the Pascal meal as “The Suggestion,” or “The Option,” rather than “The Mandatum?”
    Either Christ is Lord of Lords or He is not, in your estimation.
    Now you can call a bishop “Ray,” or “A Jay,” or Excellency…
    Under the scrutiny of canon law and, if you prefer, common sense, you ought not to call him “Dictator” or “Fascist,” should you care for the state of your soul.
    He, not unlike his Lord and Savior, labors as “The GOOD Shepherd,” not some sychophant junior Machiavelli.

  41. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    I think it would be reasonable for the bishop to say “This particular setting is the one we will use (by large majority) in the cathedral, so it is a good idea for you to use it in your parishes as well, so that when your parishioners come to the cathedral for Mass, they will be familiar with the setting we use here.”
    I do not think it is reasonable to dictate what settings (and only those)

    The relevant situation that I have experienced was in the Archdiocese of Barcelona, where I spent two years and many Augusts. I know nothing about archepiscopal prescriptions there, if any, but the Abby of Montserrat (the very icon of Vatican Council liturgy), which translated the liturgy and the Bible into Catalan, is looked to as the liturgical fons et origo for Catalan speakers (of which there are 7,000,000). The broadcasts of their liturgies are much-heard on the official Catalan stations, and they have used the same ordinary setting for decades, so every Catholic with the slightest interest knows it, if only from radio and television. I only once heard it in a parish church (the default seems to be Missa de Angelis), but everyone seemed to know it then.

    The music (by Gregori Estrada, OSB) would probably not strike most of us as glamorous, but only serviceable and decorous. But the very musical community of Montserrat doesn’t seem to mind singing it every day:

    Only comments with a full name will…

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