Survey says: 22 parishes, 19 Mass settings –UPDATED 10-14

Pray Tell friend Michael Silhavy does interesting blogging on music and the new missal over at Twin Cities Mass Settings. Today he put up the results that have come in so far on his survey of Mass settings that will used by archdiocesan parishes in Advent.

22 parishes, 19 settings!

Hmmm, are we going back to 1966 and starting over? Will it be a complete free-for-all? Will it take about 25 years for commonly-used settings to emerge? Let’s hope not.

Oh, Silhavy’s post is titled “This is Really Getting Crazy.” Check it out. — awr

UPDATE 10-14: Michael Silhavy reports it’s up to 57 parishes and 24 different settings. MoC is leading with 11 parishes using it.


  1. It won’t take nearly twenty-five years. A little thing called the Internet will speed the process of discovery and discussion along immensely. I say five years until a common repertoire emerges.

  2. Five years? Maybe. In the meantime free-lance organists who have made a living in urban areas are going to get a taste of hell. Gone are the days when you could agree to sub at any given parish on short notice and not have to worry if you had the music or – heaven forbid – could play it.

    1. By the looks of most of these settings, sightreading shouldn’t be much of a problem. Its not Sondheim…

  3. I expect that the same variety of choices is present in my neck of the woods. However, the powers that be have provided a very helpful starting point:

    The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is publishing our own worship aid with the entire text of the Roman Missal and five settings of the Mass:

    Roman Missal chant
    Janco: Mass of Redemption (Revised)
    Proulx: Community Mass (Revised)
    Janco: Mass of Wisdom (New)
    Keil: Mass of St. Frances Cabrini (New)

    These Mass settings were vetted and chosen by a committee of music directors after extensive research in meetings and a series of workshops where we surveyed music directors, pastors, worship commission members and parishioners. They are not mandated, but they are recommended as a beginning for a common Archdiocesan repertoire.

    I forget how many of the worship aids have sold, but I recall Karen Kane (the director of the Worship Ofice) saying that sales have reached well into the tens of thousands. A very good start…

  4. His holiness seems to subscribe to millefiori liturgical theology and praxis, well if your on the ‘right’ side of things that is – so if this is the result of voxclara and the new missal mess I intend to enjoy the new artistic (and not so artistic) interpretations of it in their abundance.

  5. All of the parish in the diocese are going to begin with one common setting. Thus the Triduum, ordinations, etc., won’t be a problem because everyone will know one common setting.

    To my ear Kevin’s “St. Francis Cabrini” is of the greatest merit, artistically. But for now we have to learn the common setting. Then we will learn Kevin’s.

  6. How many of these settings are new settings as opposed to revised settings of old Masses? How many of these are new settings for the parishes that are using them?

    Research shows that familiarity leads to liking, and specifically with regard to music, if you plug music, i.e. repeatedly play it, it increases in popularity, hence the payola scandals.

    Last weekend a completely new Gloria was practiced at a local parish. The choir sang the whole thing. Then the choir sang each first, followed by the people. However we sang the old Gloria for the Mass. Bad idea from the familiarity leads to liking viewpoint. We should have sung the new Gloria. If the exact same process was repeated for just the Gloria for three weeks in row, that would mean hearing the new Gloria 9 times in 15 days. If people don’t like it by then they are not going to like it. I would do this same process for each of the sections of the Mass.

    Of course this process that I am suggesting for promoting liking is entirely different from the process for promoting learning, e.g. by the choir. Distributed learning is better than massed learning. It is better for the choir to practice an entire Mass once a week for three weeks than to practice it three times in one practice session. Now if some people from the congregation are willing to come early before Mass and practice the whole Mass each time they would learn it better but they might not like it as quickly as the other procedure.

    If most parishes are going to new music it will be a good thing that these new Masses are being introduced now. The earlier the better so that the familiarity leads to liking phenomena for the music has run its course before the first Sunday of Advent and people will have some familiar music to lean on when they begin to encounter unfamiliar words.

    1. I agree with Jack. They should have just used the new one at mass. And if it’s important, in the diocese permission has been given for using the sung parts of the new missal now. Either that or use the old one for the brief Christmas season and don’t worry about the Glory to God until OT of 2012.

  7. Or the internet will speed the multiplication of settings. Even at the Chant Cafe, people are trotting out new settings once or twice a week. Anybody for Sanctus CCCXXV, or Mysterium Fidei B CDLXXVI, or Gloria MCMLXIII?

    I suspect the published settings will be a vast improvement on 1966. But who knows? Maybe the best thing to come out of this mess will be a new springtime for composers and such.

  8. I think this is interesting. I am not as militant as the folks at The Chant Cafe about chant, but this is one case where chant is ideal: it’s easy and requires no music. We’ll still sing hymns, so the organists can keep their jobs, and eventually we may move to a more musical setting, but to me, the changes are already enough – let’s learn the liturgy with a simple intonation, and then later choose a really nice setting. The ‘adaptations’ I have heard sound a little bit like musical square pegs in round holes. As much as I have enjoyed the Glorias by Haas et al., refitting them makes them sound funny, like a piano slightly out of tune. It is a case where the familiarity is missed, IMO.

  9. My dear Charles, this Charles hardly qualifies as militant yet does qualify as a Chant Cafe folk. Jeffrey surfaces here and everyone knows he’s as sweet as a Hostess pie. Adam’s potency as an arranger and archivist is matched by his courtesty and charity. And Fr. Smith is polite and deferential to a fault. That’s the Cafe staff pretty much right now, and I’m on vacation! Customers can be crabby now and then, same as folks who occasionally frequent these hallowed bandwidths.
    Now to your and Todd’s irrascible point: the new chants that are “trotted” out in much less grandeur and a measure of “shock and awe” found in the trade shill periodicals, are, if nothing else, mindful of a solid, legistated preference clearly stated in VII documents: adherence and coherence with the principles of chant that distinguish this musical language from any other in a readily discernable way: it works best, and perhaps only, at worship!
    I was somewhat surprised at Michael’s initial responses as the Bolduc St Ann seems to be gaining momentum in many places. When it was discerned among my folks in consensus, its association with LAREC was unknown. It, like friend Ken Macek suggests, may not make the second generation of formidable settings. But, even to this chant guy, it has as much “street cred” (maybe more) than MoC or Janco’s AngelsSaints.
    I think another aspect missing in Michael’s survey is whether those parish-named settings were the only settings per parish. We (four merged) are rotating three plus the ICEL. The ICEL’s my mandate. But I can’t enfrorce equanimity among my staff when their forces and abilities vary so much. The Big Tent thing an’ all.
    (Hint: give Patrick O’Shea’s MASS OF THE MEDIATRIX serious look. Not quite the masterwork of Mueller, but legit art and accessbility for the FCAP-minded.)

    1. Well, I didn’t mean to suggest that ‘militant’ meant discourteous, Uncharitable or impolite. But, in the context of that particular blog, chant is the Alpha, and the Omega, and pretty much all the letters in between. That’s okay, and I am very grateful for the things that I have learned from it, but the length to which it seems to seek to exclude other music is what I mean by militant.

      I personally like chant; it suits my voice fine, and I don’t find it very hard to learn and it is easily within the range of almost any parishioner who wishes to sing. But my music director is opposed to the use of it – she actually wrote that repeating the same note too much was harmful to the human voice (I didn’t say that, she did), and I do not think it can supplant all music at Mass, at least not over time. People do like their traditional hymns, and to a lesser extent, modern Mass settings. In the meantime, it’s a good choice, IMO.

    2. An irascible point (that’s with one r.)?

      Only animate subjects can be irascible. Did you mean irrational?

      Didn’t you vow to be succint?

    3. “Jeffrey surfaces here and everyone knows he’s as sweet as a Hostess pie.” Except of course when he occasionally makes gross generalizations or sometimes uses disparaging terms regarding the sincere efforts of some parish musicians and even some composers (I recall a minor skirmish he and I once engaged in concerning the relative artistic value of the popular Glory to God setting of Carroll Thomas Andrews). But we all get a little feisty sometimes, so I guess that’s nothing too bothersome to handle. Sometimes I like gooseberry pie (a bit tart), other times chocolate cream (very sweet).

  10. I note the references to the internet on this thread. The new translation does not have any stability, because books generally are losing stability. The embarrassing career of the new translation through its various revisions will not end when the new books are plopped on the altars. A clumsy, unreadable translation will succumb to its own built-in obsolesence.

  11. “A clumsy, unreadable translation will succumb to its own built-in obsolesence.”

    From your mouth to God’s ears.

  12. You know, I have no problem with Jeffrey promoting hundreds of even thousands of chant settings at the Cafe. Since books are becoming obsolete, there’s no danger of Agnus Dei MDLXX getting used as a coffee napkin.

    I am more amused than “angry” when comparing the relative restraint of, say, OCP compared to my perception that practically every other CMAA member has composed a plainsong Mass setting and it’s available online. More power to composers everywhere: that’s my motto.

    I suspect that with the high quality of composers today compared with forty-five years ago, we might be in for a very, very long sifting-through time and we will likely never see another Mass of Creation in our lifetimes.

    Equally amusing that with Fr Smith and his apologists supporting uniformity over at the Cafe, that we are very likely entering a period in which there will be even less uniformity of Mass settings from parish to parish. Interesting how people and possibly the Holy Spirit pushes back when some agendas are trumpeted as gospel.

    1. Hi Todd,
      And you know that my use of “irrascible” (sic) was not intended to make you come off as angry. Curmudgeonly, maybe, but definitely not “angry,” though Mr. Pinyan’s clarification was helpful.
      I’ve personally pointed out to Jeffrey that, in effect, we, the CMAA loyal opposition, are in point of fact glutting the market of settings, hymnals, missals, psalters and whatnot quite prolifically of late! And that does raise the secondary issue of how to navigate through these hundreds of settings.
      I don’t think it would be of value to speculate on that task. But what I think you and the other loyal opposition party are intimating, if not directly declaring, “If it wasn’t for this whole MR3 debacle, we wouldn’t have to be enduring all this hooey!” Valid observation and point.
      That’s what’s quite telling about Mr. Silhavey’s casual survey- 22 parishes, 19 different settings.
      So, as Mr. Pluff and others have argued, perhaps there is, in this particular circumstance, a unique and particular need for some top-down discernment and determination. I’m not of that opinion, but I understand it, especially in relation to the other liturgical hot potato being tossed about regarding Phoenix and Madison.
      My opinion, and I’d wager yours as well, is now that we have a unique watermark in our post-concilior era thrust upon us with MR3, we have also a more informed, inspired and capable population of composers who will bring to the table of plenty some pretty awesome stuff, or so I predict. Much gratitude ought to be afforded to our generation of composers who paved the way. And yes, sifting through the next few generations of offerings will be labor intensive, but we got skills and time. As you and Ken have said, maybe there won’t readily emerge a ubiquitous and universally acclaimed setting in our lifetimes. But they will come.
      I think there’s plenty of irony to go around and poke fun at all our entrenched ideals.

      1. No worries, bro.

        I don’t really think 19 settings in 22 parishes (or is it 22 Masses in 19 communities?) is bad. If the chant era didn’t produce a standout that lasted, I doubt that a raft of modern composers will either.

        I’m just enjoying watching the fur fly.

        We’re using Saint Ann, by the way. Probably follow up with Renewal. One of the students is writing a plainsong setting. If I don’t tell CMAA he’s connected with me, maybe it will show up as Mass of the Day sometime in 2012.

  13. I’m not usually an advocate for top-down imposition, but I wish we had more clear leadership in my corner of the world. I would have preferred that the Diocese had requested that every parish start with a common setting of the Mass. Perhaps all parishes could have started with the ICEL chant setting, then one common contemporary setting, then freedom to choose others. Instead, we will continue to have little if anything in common among neighboring parishes.

    I’ve even heard from parishes that are divided within themselves–one setting for school Masses, another for weekend, another yet for the Sunday evening youth Mass. It’s like the Tower of Babel all over again!

    1. Scott, since we’re in the same corner of the world, I thought I’d chip in! I agree with you entirely about uniformity. I think it’s an issue of bishops and presbyterate, though. There is a lot of discontent with the new translation on the part of the clergy, who feel (for better or worse) that this is all being foisted on them, etc. I don’t think that most bishops really want to have to deal with that issue. In addition (pax awr), I’m afraid that the ICEL chants are in a thankless position: many on the chant side (especially those with more of an Old Solesmes approach) don’t like the settings (or use Latin anyway), and those on the other side (sometimes musicians, but very often clergy) don’t like the aesthetic of the chant. All this is leading to chaos. I think it will just take time to pan out.

      I, for one, really like the model followed by the archdiocese of Omaha (and pardon me if I have this wrong): the cathedral and diocese commissioned David Hurd’s very beautiful setting, and have it licensed to use gratis in every parish of the diocese. It’s a wonderful setting with enough chant aesthetic to be pleasing to those who want that, and enough harmonic forward motion (to my ears) to satisfy those who want the music to move the text more than the other way around.

  14. Since I’m in a different parish and diocese every week, it is interesting to see how varied is the policy from place to place. The diocese I was in last weekend (Lansing) has mandated the same music in every parish for the first 6 months. The setting in the diocese the week before (Charlotte) were totally different. This weekend will be somewhere in Missouri – we’ll see.

    But one thing I do notice – that the Gloria is much less singable in the new translation. It reminds me, oddly enough, of some of the unsingable 70’s songs. I’m not a musician or liturgist and absolutely have no dog in this fight, but the long, warbling, irregular length stanzas are unmemorable at best. But with at least 19 different settings out there, I probably haven’t experienced the best yet. So I can say “come along with me, the best is yet to be” Or so I can hope!

    1. Sherry,

      We started usig the new Gloria in September, and I entirely agree with you about it being much less singable in the new translation. I have no idea how our director feels personally about this whole new mess, but the mumblings in the back rows of the choir make plain the singers’ discontent. It’s ugly with a capital “Ugh!”

  15. When it comes to mandating a common setting, I’m inclined to agree only if it’s the third setting learned in the parishes of a diocese.

    The reality is that variation among parishes is so great in most dioceses that the same setting that sounds great and contributes to participation and worship in some parishes will actually have the opposite effect in others – due to parish size, culture, and music minitry characteristics (including presence of an organ).

    Yes, there is value in developing a common repertoire (something we are working on within our parish cluster), but that should not be the top priority for any diocese unless it believes that church/community is fundamentally formed and experienced at the diocesan level.

  16. It seems a great deal of time and trouble to make parishes spend time learning a setting for the unusual occasions when a few people from the parish may participate in a diocesan event.

    The diocese should provide audio and video of its important events on its website. People who plan to attend a service there can simply learn the music on the web by looking at past services.

  17. I am doing a similar survey in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Of the 26 parishes that have responded that they have chosen a mass. . .

    7 are doing the chants of the Roman Missal
    4, Proulx Community Mass
    2, Mass of Wisdom
    2, Heritage Mass
    2, Mass of Creatino
    1 each for Belmont, Jubilation, Mass of the City, Angels and Saints, Christian Unity, St. Charles Borromeo, Del Pueblo de Immigrantes, Renewal.

    And 1 parish is learning the Holy, Acclamation, Amen, and Agnus Dei from the Glendalough Mass, and 3 different Glorias – Mass of St Anne Gloria for the contemporary choir mass, Mass of St Benedict for the traditional choir mass, and Gloria Simplex for the two cantor masses on Sundays.

  18. Why were we expecting anything less? With three major publishers and the internet, was a glut of Mass settings somehow a surprise?

    If a diocese had mandated anything, the liberals would have been up in arms about top-down imposition.

    And if a diocese had imposed, lets say, Mass of Wisdom, the conservatives would have railed at its modernist, inorganic roots (with all apologies to Steve Janco – it was only an example).

    Was there ever a winning course of action?

    1. That’s pretty-much what has happened here in the Archdiocese of KCK, though not necessarily divided along a liberal-conservative line of divergence.

      The Mass of Christian Unity was chosen as a setting which would make a good presentation of the revised texts and bridge the gap between the few music directors who wish to promote sacred chant and the majority of music directors whose musical palates are wholly inculturated (in a largely eclectic manner).

      The MCU has been identified as “too much like chant” by some, and “just another (non-chant) setting” by others. It’s been railed as “boring”, “too repetitive” or “a waste of my time and energy” as well as praised as “straightforward”, “pleasant” and “accessible”. It seems just about everyone who has offered any opinion dislikes the Glory to God.

      Originally, eight settings were “recommended” by the Office for Liturgy: revised Creation, Angels and Saints, Heritage, Resurrection, Sing Praise and Thanksgiving, new Wisdom, plus the Missal chants and “Jubilate Deo” Latin chants.

      Once the call came from the archbishop for a “common setting” the contenders besides MCU were Mass of Wisdom and the revised Heritage Mass. The ICEL chants of the Missal were also briefly considered, but it was immediately felt that hitting the folks with new texts AND a new “style” of music (little-used in most of our parishes) would not have been pastorally prudent.

      Despite an attempt to foster some “common ground” and a unified approach to the new texts via the MCU, the results have been mixed, with a few extremes expressed sincerely. I am impressed nonetheless with the fact that at least 95 percent of our parishes have responded to our archbishop’s request that a common setting be employed at least through Advent. All our music directors (even the non-compliant types) are truly decent folks with the best interests of the people they serve at heart. The experiment with finding a common setting was of…

      1. What problem, Fritz? Too many settings? This wouldn’t have happened with different words? I hope you aren’t referring to the translation deficiencies – those have been clearly posited and discussed. It frankly bores me now.

      2. Bobby,

        What I means was that the people’s parts that are typically sung were, with one or two exceptions, left unchanged from the current translation, so there wouldn’t have been this sudden fishing around for what would be the setting that everyone would know.

        On the downside, we’d probably have been singing the Mass of Creation into the 22nd century (disclaimer: I don’t particularly dislike the MoC, but there are also other things I’d rather sing).

      3. If we had kept Mass in Latin, we wouldn’t have had the chaos in the 1960’s and 1970’s. How is that different? Change has happened. You roll with it.

        I don’t exactly consider looking for new music to replace 30 year old music to be “fishing”. And it isn’t sudden. Compositions have been being circulated for at least two years. This didn’t drop on us six months ago. We all knew that was coming for a long time.

        I’m very curious to see everyone’s temperament in a year when we realize this is much ado about nothing.

        “I’d like to propose a toast…”

      4. Sorry, Fritz. Didn’t mean to imply we accept reality, stop complaining about everything that occurs and move on. We should keep finding fault with everything that occurs in the rollout. Its maintains our intellectual integrity.

      5. My comment was directed at your seeming unwillingness to accept an explanation of Todd’s remark about why this particular problem would not have been present with the 1998 translation. But, like I said, whatever. It’s not a matter of great import.

      6. No, I don’t accept it. I’m sure we would have found something to carp about had that been the translation with which we were gifted. To say otherwise ignores human nature.

        But, like you said, whatever. I’ll be doing this again in 40 years or so.

  19. If many musicians are turning their talents from writing hymns and folk songs to writing settings of the Mass, this is progress.

    Perhaps over the next five years as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vatican II a fine repertory of Mass settings will begin to emerge.

    If in the next couple of decades Rome finally gets around to giving us a three year cycle of New Propers, then musicians can turn their talents to writing music for the New Propers.

    If by the one hundredth anniversary of Vatican II we have a great music repertory for the New Mass, we will be doing really well.

    Rome was not built over night or even in a century.

  20. Jack, I hope this as well, and hope that I am not wearing rose-colored glasses in thinking that this will happen. A number of the singer/songwriters that have been writing songs, etc., now at least have this on their radar.

  21. My parents’ parish sings Credo III at every OF Sunday High Mass, regardless of solemnity. Yes, the parish always sings the Creed in Latin. The parish also always sings the ordinary in Latin (the setting chosen generally matches the level of solemnity). The parishioners know a few plainsong Masses well.

    I understand that most parishes aren’t going to sing significant parts of the Mass in Latin. This parish is distinctive because those who attend this “hybrid” English proper/Latin ordinary Mass often drive miles to hear it. It’s a “niche market” Mass, even though that is not what the Church intends for Mass.

    Still, Credo III is often sung at Papal Masses. Credo III is also available in a number of new missal English adaptations that are not overly contrived. Credo III, either in the Latin or an English adaptation, might be a good way to show unity with the Roman rite through a well-known traditional plainsong. This unity might be especially necessary in a time of liturgical transition.

  22. Jordan, for what it’s worth, I think Credo I in the ICEL setting is far superior, probably due to its simplicity. Give it a look! In my USCCB RM, it’s p. 525. I like Credo III, but since those who know it know it in Latin, it can be a bit unseemly in another language without any adaptation.

  23. We are now practicing and using parts of Schutte’s Mass of Christ the Savior.
    It has a limited number of Alleluia verses none of them matching the Sunday readings. And so I find myself with pencil in hand fitting in the Alleluia verse of the day. I wonder what others are doing here? Other than a chant form we have always been “fitting the verse to the music” freehand so to speak.

  24. With so many settings and such a hash of who’s using which one and when, I wonder if the Tower of Babel has made its return?

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