A Pray Tell reader sent in this letter (identifying information changed), wondering what resources there are to resist projection screens in church. What help do you readers have?
Dear Father Ruff,
I am a long-time organist at a Catholic church in an older, well-established neighborhood in Anytown, ZZ. The parish, Our Lady Queen of Hearts, has a long history of forward-thinking pastors and a beautiful church built with quality in mind during the 1960s. It has a wonderful pipe organ which is why I’m there. There has been a long affiliation with a leading music publisher and the parish has used their materials in church for as long as I’ve been there.
However, on Sunday I was told by the director of music for the parish that plans are underway to discontinue use of the publisher’s materials and replacing them with a large screen on which words would be projected. I’m not sure which words are planned to be on the screen. Certainly words for the hymns would be projected.
I am appalled at that idea, seeing a large screen as an intrusion in the liturgical space of the church. I am also concerned that people on the far left and right sides as well as in the back would be able to view the words. I presume that the melody line would not be included, thus inhibiting presentation of new music to the congregation. Removal of print materials also means a loss of resource for additional meditation on readings or prayers contained therein.
I will be meeting with the director of music and with a member of the parish council to discuss this move – so it’s not set in stone yet. But I am reaching out to see if there are articles about this issue.
I am quite sure that our parish is doing this because of budgetary concerns. If you have any materials that you could refer me to on this subject, I would greatly appreciate it.
A concerned organist