“Sing like a Catholic”?

Yesterday, at the Anima Conference, I picked up a book from Mary Long’s bookstall (from the Catholic Bookshop next to St Francis in the City) called “Sing like a Catholic” by Jeffrey A. Tucker (the link, BTW takes you to a page where, for free registration, you can download a full copy).

It is a passioned piece intended to follow up where Thomas Day’s 1995 book “Why Catholics Can’t Sing” with a practical guide to the restoration of the “treasure of inestimable value” (Vatican II) which is the traditional sacred chant of the Latin Rite in our parish liturgies.

His modus operandi is Fr Zuhlsdorf’s “brick by brick” strategy. All it takes (all it HAS taken in the States) to begin a true revival of the true music of the Roman Rite of the Mass is dedicated and voluntary enthusiasts who have the support of their parish pastor to have a go and start learning and using the traditional chants in their liturgies. Get informed and experienced by attending training days, colloquiums etc. Download the music from the internet for free (he gives a host of sites that are now on the web, foremost of which is MusicaSacra.com), form a schola of singers, and go for it. Of course there is more to it than that, but the first requirement seems to be the will to do something rather than nothing.

Nevertheless, I am in two minds about Mr Tucker’s project.

1) My first mind is to say “Yea and Amen”. It would be wonderful if Mr Tucker could come to Melbourne to give some lectures/training sessions on his ideas and skills (would there be support for this, do you think?) After attending Fr Lawrence Cross’s Byzantine liturgy at the ACU chapel last Friday at 12noon (something I do every now and again) I am reminded of how beautiful a liturgy can be when the music that is sung is an organic part of the liturgy itself. Although I won’t say a lot more about my “first mind” at this point, let the Reader understand that I see the restoration of chant in the liturgy as “a good thing”.

2) But then my second mind kicks in – primarily because my task today is prepare the music for the liturgy at our “mass centre” at the girl’s Primary School for next Sunday morning when I am rostered on as Cantor. This “second mind” is what I want to give some time to in this blog.

The liturgy in our parish has been on the up and up over the last four years or so. Two parish pastors ago, what happened at Sunday morning mass was so laid back it was almost horizontal. It was a valid Eucharist (more or less), but sometimes strained the definition of “liturgy” to breaking point. The pastor had been there for a dozen years, and this was “the way things were done” in our “community”. A change of pastor’s saw, as ever, a change in style of the liturgy, and it was a step in the right direction. Two years later another change of pastor has brought in another giant step in the right direction, and, thanks to the wise guidance of the intervening priest, the liturgical good sense of the new pastor has been widely accepted without comment.

That being said, music is still a problem. Many weeks the mass is spoken except for tape recorded songs. The groups who do provide music put a lot of effort and skill into leading the singing of the songs, but still the choice of song material is a little sad, and the emphasis continues to be upon the songs in the classic four-hymn sandwich rather than on the ordo or the propers of the mass. For eg. only at masses for which I am cantor is there a sung psalm and Gloria.

I myself am limited. I have tried encouraging others to join me to form a small choir, but with no success (keep in mind that the congregation at our mass centre is under 100 generally). I also have no musical backup – again, not through lack of trying. I have received criticism during the singing of the psalm because “no one wants to listen to your [ie. my] voice when they come to mass”. Fair enough. Why should they? So I am disinclined to use music that would have large parts of me singing solo.

So, here’s what I do.

I use a good quality keyboard with midi-file programs to provide the accompanying music while I cantor. I aim to have all the usual ordinary parts of the mass sung, although Kyrie and Lord’s Prayer continue to be said. I use modern settings generally rather than chant settings (although I would love to introduce the simple settings we use unaccompanied when I cantor at lunch time masses at the Cathedral). I chose three or four hymns that follow my guidelines for good hymnody for the procession, communion and recessional (the fourth being for the offertory). For the communion, I tend to favour the use of simple repetitive chants such as Taize or Michael Herry’s stuff so people can sing them without having to look at the overhead screen for the words while they are moving about.

In general visitors (rather than regulars) have commented upon my choice of music favourably, and it seems that the midi-file thing works very well in the circumstances (and yes, the keyboard can do a passable imitation of an organ).

So that’s the reality. I applaud Mr Tucker’s ideals and wish I could see them in my time and in my parish, but for the moment it seems like the hope of heaven rather than anything truly achievable.

And my one and only misgiving about the whole project of restoring the chant (which somewhat qualifies my “Yea and Amen” in my first mind) is that it seems that this is done at the expense of hymnody. I know we have had some god-awful songs thrust upon us over the last forty years, but the Church universal also has a treasury of hymnody which could be described as “of inestimable value”. The Sunday mass is about the only time when Catholics ever come together for worship, and if they don’t learn to sing hymns at mass, where will they get the value of this rich treasury?

Perhaps it is the Lutheran in me, but if Mr Tucker says he wants Catholics to “sing like Catholics”, why is it that what he seems to be proposing actually proposes that Catholics SING LESS in the liturgy, and LISTEN MORE to the choir or schola? Is this entirely healthy? At least in the Byzantine liturgy with Fr Cross, all those present joined in singing the choirs pieces. I don’t see it as a step forward in Catholic sacred music to silence the congregation to the point of being a prayerful audience. This isn’t an expression of some post-Vatican II “participation theology” at work in my mind here, it is the conviction that singing praise to God is an valuable act of worship for the soul and the Church, whether in the choir or in the pews. Of course they don’t have to sing everything all the time (I am in favour of good choirs singing a polyphonic Sanctus without the congregation jumping in to spoil it all), but they need to have an opportunity to sing to God – and hymnody provides that opportunity. Hymnody and chant ought not to be seen as enemies or as “either/or”. Lutherans after all (there I go again) are capable of doing both well.

Any way, over to you discussion.

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37 Comments

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37 responses to ““Sing like a Catholic”?

  1. Ben George

    1. Regards you singing: Anyone complains, tell them “Well I’d be glad to have you come sing with me!” They will give you some random excuse. Let that be your excuse. “Why are you just up there singing by yourself?” — “Well, Gary ‘can’t sing’, Judy is ‘just soooo busy’ and etc etc etc”

    2. Have faith that good music will eventually have its intended effect. OF COURSE people are going to rebel against that, because OF COURSE they would rather hear milquetoast trash that doesn’t challenge them to live a life of virtue. Ignore them. I know that sounds “non-pastoral”, but seriously, if you’re in a position to choose and play the liturgical music then for the love of God, obey the Pope, not the “audience”: you don’t have an audience, you have a duty.

    Just wanted to point out some resources to you:

    http://chabanelpsalms.org/

    http://isaacjogues.org/

    http://lalemantpolyphonic.org/antoine_daniel_mass_parts/

  2. Matthias

    ah mary long, i use to work at a TAFE with her,except in a different department,but same Campus.
    singing hymns to the Glory of God is as you say a valuable act of worship,as is the chanting-something i am needing to get use to.Neither should alienate the other.

  3. Salvatore

    Two quick points (I really should be working):

    You are I think correct in thinking that Mr. Tucker’s project would restore the chant “at the expense of hymnody,” and in this I must say I agree heartily with him. For – and I fear you don’t want to hear this – it needs to be clearly stated that metrical hymnody has no traditional place in the Mass of the Roman Rite. The proper place for metrical hymnody in our Rite has always been in the Divine Office; and even there it is strictly subordinate to psalmody. Mr. Tucker’s project (as I see it) is precisely to restore the sort of integrity to the Roman Rite that you so admire in the Russian, and doing this will inevitably mean the abolition of music that has no native place in the Rite.

    As for reducing the congregation to silent spectators, I can assure from experience that by the time the congregation has sung all the responses to the Mass and the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus & Agnus Dei, they have generally had as much (& often more) singing than they can cope with. If you want silent spectators the best place is to stand at the back of a typical Parish Mass as the amplified cantor regales the sullen crowds with yet another rendition of “Eagles Wings” 😉

    • Again, I don’t disagree with most of this, Salvatore. I know the truth of which you speak.

      BUT (and I think there is a but):

      1) The treasury of English (and Latin/German translated into English) Hymnody is IMMENSE and valuable. Of course, the treasure is to be found by mining through much rubbish, but this is not to underestimate the value of hymnody per se.

      My question is that, if not in the Mass, then where and when and how will Catholics be able to benefit from this treasury in their worship lives today? (Divine office, sure – but I imagine that the days when there will be a well attended celebration of the Daily Office in the parish worship schedule is even more distant than the days when the chant will be fully restored to all parishes.)

      2) As Joshua points out elsewhere, there is in fact a very good historical background for the use of hymns AT (if not IN) the Roman Mass (especially, as he points out, in the German experience – Luther didn’t invent singing hymns at Mass, afterall). While recognising that the hymns are not strictly speaking a PART of the mass, I think we can recognise that the use of popular hymnody DURING the mass does have a long and almost universal tradition behind it.

      3) As for being able to chant the whole mass AND sing hymns, well, Lutherans everywhere do it all over the world on a weekly basis. NOT impossible, in other words. (Strictly speaking, Lutherans actually interupt the action and stop the liturgy when they sing a hymn – they don’t just sing hymns to cover a liturgical action. In other words, hymn singing as such forms a part of their liturgy and is written into their rubrics. I’m not recommending this.) Especially if the choir/schola sing some or most of the chants, then there is plenty of room for congregational singing. This happens at the Cathedral here in Melbourne on Sundays at 11am – the choir sings the Introit, followed by the Congregation singing the processional hymn. At communion, ditto: Choir then congregation. Of course, the Cathedral procession/communion goes on long enough for both of these. And a recessional hymn is always far and away the best way to end mass, especially as there is no chant for this spot.

      • Salvatore

        Ah, but it’s the question of AT or IN that’s crucial!

        Indeed, I would draw a sharp distinction between singing the Mass and merely singing at Mass; between singing the texts appointed by the Church to the melodies that generations of Catholic musicians have devised for them, and simply singing some extraneous compositions (however laudable they may be). Surely if our goal is truly the “actual participation” in the Sacred Liturgy desired by the Council then it is the Liturgy (in its entirety) with which we must start?

        The place for vernacular hymnody is, of course, the place it’s always had; at the various kinds of devotional exercises with which the Church surrounds her Liturgy – benedictions, venerations, processions, pilgrimages and so forth. Perhaps the key is trying to get away from the lamentable modern idea of the-Mass-as-the-only-thing-you-can-do-in-church?

        Finally, I don’t think that singing the Chant as well as a selection of hymns is the answer. Apart from the fact that it would unduly prolong the Mass, it is the hymns themselves, with their insistent metrical pulse and strong harmonic drive, which are the disturbing element. I wonder if you can appreciate the great beauty that the Liturgy takes on once it is stripped of these intrusions and simply allowed to unfold as it was meant to be – a seamless and harmonious unity of music & ritual?

        • “Apart from the fact that it would unduly prolong the Mass”

          Mmm. There’s an idea that would never occur to anyone but a Western Catholic, Salvatore. Try suggesting this as a “bad thing” to a Eastern Catholic or a Lutheran and they would laugh out loud!

          “it is the hymns themselves, with their insistent metrical pulse and strong harmonic drive, which are the disturbing element.”

          Umm. (Again.) “Disturbing”? Like drums and electric guitars and stuff, you mean? A bit “African” perhaps? Like that evil rock n’ roll stuff? Like Youth Masses? I’m trying to get my head around this objection. It is true that Early Germanic Hymnody had a good beat to it – not that it would be recognised as such by modern singers… Bach has a lot to answer for there. The metres were very odd by modern standards… they seem to owe a fair amount to medieval musical traditions… I think you are drawing lines in the musical sand that are just a little too marked for my liking.

          “I wonder if you can appreciate the great beauty that the Liturgy takes on once it is stripped of these intrusions and simply allowed to unfold as it was meant to be – a seamless and harmonious unity of music & ritual?”

          As it was meant to be? As who meant it to be? Who are these great “designers” of the latin liturgy of whom you speak? Was there ever such an “idea” behind the liturgy as we have received it? Or is what you are talking about a theoretical refinement that really has more to do with the realm of ideas than reality? I am not arguing against the chant. I am simply saying that I don’t think there was ever a time or ever will be a time or ever should be desired a time in parish liturgical practice when the chant was the only thing that was sung at Mass on Sundays.

          • Salvatore

            A few quick points.

            Length of liturgy. Given that the Fathers of the Council were concerned that the Liturgy should not be too long and repetitious (SC 34 & 50), I submit that my concerns do not deserve your scorn.

            Metre/harmony. I’m not sure what I have said to provoke such sarcasm here. In any event if you can’t hear the difference the Chant and metrical hymnody, I doubt that I can describe it.

            As it was meant to be? I find your response to this surprising but significant. I’m afraid that I tend to regard the Liturgy as the result of patient development over the whole of the Church’s history. It would never occur to me that it could be the creation of a “designer” – much less a committee of them.

            Finally, I can only disagree with your statement that “I don’t think there was ever a time … in parish liturgical practice when the chant was the only thing that was sung at Mass on Sundays.” In fact through most of her history the Church has drawn a strong distinction between Liturgical and devotional music, with the latter rigorously excluded from the Liturgy. Of course there have occasionally been (dubious) movements – such as when Joseph II sought to impose the values of the Enlightenment on the Austrian Church – which have broken down this distinction. But on the whole the tendency of the Church’s tradition is quite clear.

            As to the desirability of pursuing chanted Liturgy hear & now … well … as I think it highly unlikely that our liturgical paths will ever cross we can simply agree to differ. No?

            • Hey, Salvatore, I said right at the beginning of this that I supported the restoration of chant to the liturgy. My only point is that I don’t think this is necessarily to be done at the expense of hymnody.

  4. Tony Bartel

    In most Roman Catholic parishes traditional hymnody is just as foreign as traditional chant. It will take a similar effort to reintroduce both, so why not put that effort into teaching the chant of the Church.

    A related problem is that the four hymn sandwich has become the musical norm, to which other music is added on for special occasions. It is considered essential to have music at the Entrance, Offertory, Communion and Dismissal.

    If you read the liturgical texts, the priority should be singing the Preface Dialogue, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation and Amen in the Eucharistic Prayer.

    After this add in the Gospel Acclamation and Responses.

    Then the Kyrie, Gloria and Agnus Dei.

    If a congregation could sing these to strong chant settings, they would be participating in the central acts of the liturgy – the Gospel and the Eucharistic Prayer – as well as learning three great hymns of the Church.

    This music could then be sung at any Mass, from a small weekday Mass to the large Sunday Mass.

    Then cantors and choirs could take their rightful place of singing the propers to cover the Entrance etc. – especially those which are too difficult for congregational singing – at more solemn celebrations.

    I suppose a protestant hymn could even be tolerated at the end of Mass 🙂

    • I disagree about the difficulty of introducing good hymnody as a replacement for the bad hymnody we currently have, Tony. All that takes is a better choice of hymns. The practice and skills and ritual of hymn singing is already in place. Reintroducing the chant is a much bigger task – although just as or even more necessary, of course.

      And I know exactly about the order of importance in singing in the Mass – in fact, the first bits that the regulations require to be sung are not even the ordinary parts of the mass, but rather the DIALOGUE parts of the mass – usually the last bits to be sung anywhere!

      So I know that hymnody comes low on the scale – but it isn’t unimportant just because of this. I might say to my wife “Make sure you buy milk at the shop”, but that doesn’t mean the other things on her shopping list are unimportant or secondary.

  5. PM

    Reducing the congregation to an audience is indeed a risk with polyphony, though not necessarily; at times I find it good just to let the music wash over me.

    But chant is suitable for congregational singing. That was Pius X’s intent when he promoted its revival. And we need to dispel the commonplace view that it is all very difficult and mysterious. A few of the core Mass settings can be learned easily enough, and there are settings available in the modern five-line stave for those who find Gregorian notation too hard. An old Australian favourite using the modern stave, Percy Jones’s Hymnal of St Pius X, is avaailable on line at http://www.nla.gov.au/apps/cdview?pi=nla.mus-vn2152603-s135-e. I remember it from childhood.

    Before we all get too nostalgic, however, have a look at Percy’s selection of hymns. Some of them are marvellous but others (which he probably felt he had to include) are as saccharine and trite as anything from the last 40 years. Even our local EF sung Mass uses the translations from the Roman Breviary by those old Anglican worthies such as JM Neale rather than 19th century Catholic hymns.

    • Percy gets a mention in Tucker’s book on page 19:

      “On the question of new compositions, one subcommission [the prepartory commission on the Liturgy for Vatican II] member, the Australian priest Percy Jones, included a statement that composers should create music for parish use. But sound thinkers on the subcommission found that statement to be too loose and unqualified. Johannes Overath intervened here to draw a connection between the treasury of sacred music and new compositions.”

  6. David,

    I entirely sympathize with your two points!

    As you say, what Tucker proposes is really excellent, but seems so far away from the average parish struggling to sing even four songs…

    On two recent Sundays I was at a nearby Mass centre, and was rather saddened not by the singing – it was actually loud and hearty and tuneful! – but by the really dated seventies/eighties ditties sung, which hardly even referred to Eastertide: I suspect the same songs and like numbers are trotted out no matter the season. While it is better to sing well a limited repertoire rather than sing badly a wider one, it seemed to me tragic that the choir and people there had no exposure to older music of any sort (except presumably Christmas carols).

    The issue of hymns: the Germans for centuries in Catholic parts sang vernacular hymns at Mass; just before the Council the Bet-sing-messe (“pray-sing-Mass”?) was officially recognized as a good thing. I have seen Anglican orders of service with an Introit first, then a processional hymn for congregational participation; and after, say, the Offertory, what would be wrong with a hymn there too – often in Perth at the Latin Mass we would do this; the liturgical rule being that at Low Mass vernacular hymns could be sung, but at High Mass only Latin hymns (so we would sing, and also at Communion, the very popular Ave maris stella, or Veni Creator, or Adoro te, etc.).

    It seems to me that there is no reason not to thus treat hymns as they should be treated – great congregational pieces, to be sung after the relevant antiphon or chant.

    As to modern Mass settings – as my former P.P. said, he’s yet to come across a decent modern Gloria. That’s why even in English chant-based settings – as said rightly above – are preferable.

    This morning at the 7.30am Mass at the Carmelite monastery, the priest, nuns and congregation sang “Easter glory fills the sky” at the start, and “Love of the Father, Love of God the Son” at the end. The Mass setting was Mass I (Lux et origo), supplying the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin. The Responsorial Psalm, Alleluia and verse, Memorial Acclamation, ‘Great’ Amen, and Lord’s Prayer were sung; and after Communion the nuns sang a Taize-type item. I must say, I find this quite decent, and I can worship in peace without suffering my usual Latin-Mass-withdrawal symptoms!

    • I think the situation you describe a the Carmelite monastery seems to me much closer to the parish ideal than Tucker’s “purer” (I don’t say “purist”) ambitions. I rather think that the reality is that at the level of parish life, the Roman Rite of the Mass was NEVER sung without the incorporation of popular hymnody in one form or another. Popular piety demands it, even if liturgical rules do not.

      • David,

        Do you read The New Liturgical Movement blog? They discuss all these issues; albeit their focus is much more on top-flight Reform of the Reform or Extraordinary Form parishes &c.

  7. Matthias

    PM what you have expressed ‘reducing the congregation to an audience” is what I am now experiencing. One hymn-a ditty as Joshua has well called it- sung over and over and for something different -over again,or it belongs to Hymns A&M-not ancient and modern but rather awful and mournful. This is a baptist service midweek.Any recognizable protestant hymns -to quote Tony Bartel -are hardly sung,rather newer hymns,because we are a emerging baptist church
    Once we sang Amazing Grace and i let the words and music wash over me to quote PM ,but the instruments were so LOUD ,that the sense of holiness was quickly gone.
    Is it my hearing but if you listen to some of the contemporary Christian songs being played today
    does the singer sound like they are either in pain,constipated,both ,or not realy full of the Joy of the Lord??

    • I notice the same thing – I have had occasion to attend Anglican prayer services in the past (saying Amen to such as with which I can in conscience agree, and not otherwise); and while sometimes they have good singable traditional hymns, other times they have cacky modern trash, unsingable and just as vacuous as what I’ve had to endure among Catholics upon occasion!

  8. Matthias

    If you listen to 3MBS 103.5 FM ,their early Sunday morning program “organs and choral music’ contains more sacred music in a short time,than what i hear on Light FM.

  9. And my one and only misgiving about the whole project of restoring the chant (which somewhat qualifies my “Yea and Amen” in my first mind) is that it seems that this is done at the expense of hymnody.

    Chant is the music most suited to the Mass and should have priority over everything else. A good schola can easily lead a congregation in the singing. Most of the chants are simple enough for the average pew-warmer to pick up.

    Recalling that St Pius X wanted the chant to be restored as the main music for Mass about 100 years ago, I’d say we have been very slow in heeding his call!

    Having said all that, I think good hymns are great to sing!

  10. David K

    David, people might not be aware that the people who created the Jubilus Chant course in West Melbourne also offer group chant classes.

    http://www.sacredmusiccentre.com.au/jubilus/about.html

  11. Well, in that case, you can’t do anything about chant, obviously. In which case you try to do something about hymnody.

    I thought you were saying that if a parish is trying to do something about chant, then hymnody will be left out. Maybe I misunderstood, but the bottom line is that some people will be called to do what they can to improve the liturgy according to Church teaching. And a parish can have a go at either, it ought to make chant the priority, that’s all.

    Whereas, we just have to put up with what we’ve got at my parish. At least until I can learn some more chant and teach our older kids and we can form a little schola!

    • Well, the use of one’s kids is something that has occurred to me. I was arranging one of the Chabenal psalms for midi file yesterday, and Maddy came in and joined me in the chanting. “That sounds really good, Dad.” They can chant the Lord’s Prayer and the Ave Maria in Latin and have made a fair go at the Regina Coeli and Salve Regina, so perhaps it isn’t a silly idea.

      No, I am sorry I was misunderstood. I understand that the Chant is the major priority in terms of the liturgy, but using Fr Z’s “brick by brick” strategy, I think the first and simplest place to start is to improve the hymnody that is being used. That can’t be a bad thing, can it?

  12. I meant to say, “And IF a parish can have a go at either, it ought to make chant the priority, that’s all.”

  13. Actually, the place for hymnody is probably during all the processions we should be having! I cannot abide silent processions!

    • Yeah, but Tucker argues that the schola should be singing during the procession so that we can all be watching the ministers enter. Um. I don’t know.

      Mind you, if you are talking about processions in which the people join, then hymns are really great for this. Their “disturbing” beat makes it good to walk/march to. The Litany used to be used for this. Good rythmic stuff. High Church Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics still know how to do this.

      • Tucker argues that the schola should be singing during the procession so that we can all be watching the ministers enter.

        Hmmm. Seems a bit odd to me. Although I am of course a great ignoramus.

        • Yes, I wondered about that bit too. I mean, I like watching a bit of grand ceremony as much as the next bloke, but when it’s just Father and the candle-bearers coming down the aisle, there isn’t much to watch.

  14. Thanks for the thoughtful post — found it on one of my wires.

    I wonder if in the situations you describe, a “both/and” approach to hymnody and propers can be applied, for example:

    At the entrance, the processional hymn may be followed by the antiphon of the Introit (in whatever language deemed suitable)At the offertory, the offertory antiphon followed by the hymnAt Communion, the Communion antiphon followed by the hymn

    Certainly, this would not be feasible if one were to use the the Latin Gregorian settings, but perhaps in the usage of psalm-tone or simple vernacular-specific settings. Most of these antiphon texts are very short, so the hymn could be looked upon as a sort of popular prelude or response to the antiphon.

    For my part, the model of responsorial psalmody, a la the Responsorial Psalms as popularly practiced after the first reading, would be an ideal solution for those looking to implement this in an extensive manner.

    Lastly, the closing hymn — which is, strictly speaking extraliturgical — would run no risk of being stricken.

    I would sooner restore the propers — however minimally as circumstances dictate — than write them off because people are unfamiliar with them.

    (I’ve just added your blog to my subscriptions; looking forward to your writings!)

  15. matthias

    Yes Schutz the Anglo-Catholics/High Church Anglicans (I thought they were the same ) certainly do know how to sing during a procession.
    Two stories from my protestant experiences:
    My upbringing in the Churches of Christ- included a pastor who labelled anything High Church as bowing and scrapping and was quite sarcastic about it,to the point of not showing any grace.(However I made my decision to become a Christian in one of his services)
    When I was in the UCA as an Elder ,i recall the great joy that a Taisze hymn “Laudate Dominum” invoked in the Parish Council president of the Church i was at. When i commented about how he really enjoyed singing it ,he told me that he was Catholic who “converted” to Protestant when he got married ,but he missed the chants and all the holiness of the Mass.

  16. Miss Monification

    David, I have a question that has nothing to do with singing. You were at an Anima conference?

  17. Bruce Brown

    This is a great discussion. My parish on the outskirts of Atlanta was set up as a personal parish by our previous Archbishop. We have two priests supplied by the FSSP. The first director of our schola was the Archbishop’s secretary, now replaced by organist Richard Morris. We’re are not a large congregation, and have taken over an old Baptist church. The inside has been made more Catholic in appearance, and is an oasis of quiet in Atlanta’s fast paced world.

    While he has to play an electric organ, he has taken our small schola and made them into a great sounding group. The congregation SINGS right along, unless it it one of the really complex pieces.

    Since we only do the Extraordinary Form, we are mostly there. Jeff Tucker used to drive over from Alabama every weekend, but finally decided to stay in his parish and work on chant. It has paid off.

    I’ve sent him a link to this blog, and hope he might have the time to comment.

  18. jeffrey

    Just as a side point, if I had my way, Catholic people would be singing far more than most Baptists sing. There are parts for the celebrants, parts for the schola, and parts for the people. It is a not a competition or contest. We all have a role in the sung liturgy. The entire Parish Book of Chant is people’s music — real music for Catholic people.