Acclamation or Call/Response?

After three months of assessing my new parish’s musical repertoire–mostly once through each song or hymn to see how people sing–we’re implementing new music, a Mass setting.

My predecessor had a plan to implement the Lopezes’ Misa Santa Cecilia. But when she pulled back from full parish service earlier this year, the expansion from the Spanish-language liturgy was set aside. Having experienced this music at the parish’s 4pm liturgy, I thought the English version would fit well for a community that sings a fair bit of contemporary music in the Spirit & Song catalogue.

An interesting experience at my parish this past weekend in connection with this. I planted some observers at the Saturday night Mass who reported the people sang well at the rehearsal two minutes before Mass. “Deer in headlights” was how one person described the people at the acclamation at the Mystery of Faith.

I shortened the rehearsal time and had a songleader work the piece this way on Sunday: Save us, Savior of the World (then repeat); for by your cross and resurrection (then repeat); you have set us free (then repeat). I don’t like using this style, but it’s better than pews full of deer.

I like the music for this setting, but the syncopations have taken awhile to take root with the choir members. As for the assembly, it will probably take some weeks to get a good comfort level with this.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Acclamation or Call/Response?

  1. Jim McCrea says:

    You were wise to wait 3 months to understand your parish, its people and their musical abilities, likes and dislikes.

    There are far too many parishes wherein a new pastor or MD decideds that (S)He Knows Best within a couple of weeks of being on board and wreak havoc thereafter.

    Yes, Todd, you know of whom and where I speak. That parish has lost at least 60 active members (out of 400) because of THAT bit of nonsense.

    • Liam says:

      Well, it took 6.5 years for my former parish to have its I-Am-Going-To-Fix-You-And-Good pastor to get reassigned (implementation pending). After offertory had been halved, and a nearly similar drop in attendance at key Masses, the diaspora scattered to divers places. The delay appears to have been purely to save face. Meanwhile, an important and successful legacy in American Catholic liturgical music of the era of conciliar reform was largely tossed into the heap. So, tell me about it….

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