A friend forwarded me an email she sent to her music group, concerning input on the new Roman Missal. Explanatory note: they are implementing Ed Bolduc’s Mass of Saint Ann, including the through-composed version of the Gloria.
First of all, excellent job on the Glory to God on Saturday. The group was solid. I had a few people talk to me afterwards about it. While they enjoyed listening to us and thought we did a great job, there was also sadness in their voices. One woman in particular commented that it was a shame…that (our parish) has always been such a singing congregation and she felt the Glory to God and the Holy, Holy were barriers to that. She was happy to listen to us but that (our parish) was always a great singing congregation and she was feeling a sense of loss. She commented that the Glory and the Holy were not “intuitive” and she blamed the new words. I assured her that they would be singing with us and that she shouldn’t despair…the Glory to God was a difficult piece of music and that it took us three hours to learn it. I assured her that the new words should not be seen a barrier. I also told her that we were just beginning and they would learn the new Mass. I also assured her that we would be introducing other Masses that might be more intuitive for them. I have noticed that they are singing the Memorial Acclamation, Great Amen and Lamb of God–those are definitely the more accessible sections of the Mass of St. Ann. The final thing she told me is that she travels a lot and the one thing she liked about being Catholic is that it didn’t matter where she was, she could go to church and find a Mass setting that she knew and could sing…she mentioned the Mass of Creation. I assured her that there was a new translation of Mass of Creation and it was my hope that we would at least learn the Glory to God from it.
I share this story with you not to find criticism with the new Mass but to illustrate a larger point: parishioners are going to be feeling some loss and some fear as we begin this process toward the new translation. I think what struck me was the sadness I heard in her voice. We are lucky to be in a singing parish and it is noteworthy to hear their frustration when they feel they can’t sing. I do think this is wrapped up more fully in the larger transition. Change is difficult. It is always difficult. Even when it is the right thing. Even when it makes sense. So, let’s be sensitive to the fact that folks are feeling nervous and a loss at this change.
Any comments? Stories about your own parishes?