The Armchair Liturgist: Songs on a Wall

armchair.jpgDeacon Greg Kandra gives a thumbs down to projecting music on a wall at liturgy. Not every church is arranged for this to work. Some places like my parish are arranged antiphonally and there is no optimal space to project unless we removed our baldacchino and installed a two-sided screen. Other parishes don’t have a large-enough space on a wall to do it.

But suppose your parishioners worship all facing the same direction and the wall up there is pristine and clear of clutter. Would you do project? Why or why not?

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Songs on a Wall

  1. Liam says:

    So many people get PowerPoint poisoning in their jobs, they don’t need PSTD at church….

  2. John Drake says:

    I’d be in favor if it were used to project the congregations responses in LATIN! Then we could once again learn the universal language of the church. Otherwise, it seems to me a terrible idea that forces a greater emphasis on the hymns than on the central sacrificial nature of the Mass. (The article certainly did not mention the use of cameras that might zero in on the celebrant, for example;e, as he elevates the host.)

  3. Brendan Kelleher svd says:

    A few years back, while in the Philippines attending a workshop in Missiology, I was able to attend Eucharistic celebrations in a variety of settings. One of the most memorable was in Manila’s ‘infamous’ Tondo – Smokey Mountain – not an area notable for a high literacy rate. I only noticed one hymnbook, in the hands of the guitarist and song leader. The song leader sang the verses and the congregation sang the verses from memory.
    However at both our Theologate, in Tagaytay, about an hour and a half south of Manila, and again in our college seminary, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, both at the Eucharists attended, in the main, by our seminarians on weekdays, and then at the Sunday Eucharists, Power Points displayed on an undecorated wall to one side of the sanctuary, were a regular feature of all liturgies.
    Later, in conversation with members of both communities, I came to realize that the various Eucharists had quite differing congregations, with a consequent diversity in musical tastes. The cost of providing hymnbooks for each of the groups would have been prohibitive. At our college seminary in Quezon City there are at least eight celebrations of the Eucharist every Sunday, with a couple more time slots in the afternoon to accommodate groups attending various functions held on the campus. If your priority is having the people sing, then maybe the aesthetics should become secondary.
    During that same workshop I was once more reminded of the ability of our Indonesian confreres to remember the words and music of an amazing number of hymns, and to harmonize effortlessly whether singing with an accompanist or a cappela. And more recently, I had the pleasure of hearing a some younger Indonesian confreres here in Japan, confreres with less than a year in the country, harmonize to a hymn written in relatively classical Japanese. For them, once they have internalized the basic melody, having the lyrics, the verses somewhere they can refer to, seems all that is necessary, be it in a book, a printed handout, or on a wall/screen.

    I’d love to have found time to comment on your commentary on LV, but extra teaching commitments this year, including some new courses, are cramping my schedule. But let me just say that it seems our battle to get the powers that be in Rome to understand our missionary/pastoral needs will continue for some years hence.

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