Planning Ahead

Golden EagleYesterday I started looking at music planning for the coming Fall. Before I got to work, it had only Mass settings and Psalm assignments in the grid. As of quitting time last night, it had a few ideas.

Charles will nod in approval I did notice the propers for the 23rd Sunday (4th of September). Since the parish doesn’t have a setting in the repertoire for Psalm 42 (except maybe the Alstott setting we’ve used at Easter Vigil) I thought the 63rd would be a good Communion selection. A harmonious choice, not an exact match. Psalms 62 and 84 communicate longing for God pretty well, too.

Then I peeked at the readings for 9/11, which falls on a Sunday for the third time since that day. It doesn’t seem like a day of infamy will get a national recognition on the level of a civic holiday. But people are still touched, if not haunted by the vulnerability of that day. People have forgotten the Maine, even if they have a vauge memory of TR’s legendary heroics. Pearl Harbor a bit more–it has a movie named for it now.

After two times in cycle A, the new century’s observance lands on a day in which Jesus responds to the righteous with three (or two, in the shortened version) parables on seeking the lost. Hardly an exact match. I’ll have to ask a few staff colleagues what the community expects.

The Communion choices are interesting: Psalm 36 and 1 Corinthians 10:16. The latter, I assume, can be yoked to Psalm 116 like it is for Holy Thursday. Recalling the Last Supper with one of our settings of that Scripture would be interesting. Or maybe because the other antiphon refers to “shelter in the shadow of your wings,” I could program “Shelter Me O God,” or even “On Eagles Wings.”

What do you think? 9/11 fading because of the seemingly fruitless war that followed it? Stick with the readings, and maybe the proper psalms?



About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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10 Responses to Planning Ahead

  1. Liam says:

    There’s been a cycle of American civic remembrance that has developed since roughly JFK’s assassination, and it has to do with the confluence of mass media with the turnover in generational memory as old birth cohorts die and new birth cohorts are born ( think about it: there are no children in America’s elementary, middle or high schools today – except for those who are unusually displaced out of their normal birth cohort – who would have any distinct memory of 9/11/2001 – and the *median* American in age terms *today was the age of a collegiate senior when it happened….)

    1. For tragic events, annually for the first 5 perhaps first 10 years for the most tragic ones.
    2. Each fifth year thereafter until the 30th year.
    3. Each decade thereafter through the 70th, and by that time and the 75th anniversary, living memory has become extremely marginal.This year will be the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

    9/11 is largely holding to this pattern. 2026 will be interesting – it will be the Semiquincentenary of American Independence. (There’s a bill in Congress to establish the U.S. Semiquincentenniel Commission this year.) So, the 25th anniversary of 9/11 will be fitted into that, I suspect. By then, the youngest living people with perhaps vivid memories of the day will be roughly 30 and older, and nearly half the public would have no first-hand memory of it. This is the reason public memory always shifts, and why pledges of “We Will Never Forget” are necessarily illusory.

    It’s interesting that for the Civil War and, at least for the first couple of decades after World War II, veterans mostly want to FORGET the wars, and there was not insistent public commemoration – commemorations began to stir up as more veterans died in larger demographic waves. (World War I was forgotten so quickly that the finale of Gold Diggers of 1933 was a searing condemnation of American national amnesia that’s never since been replicated since.)

    • Liam says:

      PS: I can’t help but include a link to “Remember My Forgotten Man” because about the only thing to rival it as a downer ending (and this one is MUSICAL!) in the great films of Hollywood’s Golden Age is the immortally downer (and tellingly now almost FORGOTTEN) ending of “Make Way For Tomorrow” (1937) – which is STILL relevant to this very cultural hour:

      Roger Ebert wrote about Make Way for Tomorrow: “a nearly-forgotten American film made in the Depression…The great final arc of “Make Way for Tomorrow” is beautiful and heartbreaking. It’s easy to imagine it being sentimentalized by a studio executive, being made more upbeat for the audience. That’s not McCarey. What happens is wonderful and very sad. Everything depends on the performances.”

      Civic and cultural memory is a distinct thing. There’s living memory of the first-hand generation; then the living memory of their children and grandchildren – the second-hand generation. The latter memory becomes important when the thing being remembered is culturally contested – as with the residue of the Civil War, Reconstruction and it’s half-life in the civil rights struggles after World War II (when the second-hand generation was trying to preserve what was handed down by the first-hand generation) – it’s only now with the third-hand generation of memory that there’s a serious reconsideration of the place it has in the future.

      And this is relevant to the Church because the Church has its own cycles of memory. Vatican II is but one contested memory of this sort….

    • Liam says:

      PS: And this reverie on memory (getting recursive, as reveries on memories are wont to be) reminds me of two passages from the second half (Perestroika) of Kushner’s “Angels in America”, which now strikes me as an *American* spiritual {well, in the play, it effectively draws from a messy but powerful group wrestle of Jewish, Christian, Buddhist and Hellenic traditions} book-end to what happened in NYC on seven years after that part of the play debuted on Broadway:

      Harper: ““Night flight to San Francisco; chase the moon across America. God, it’s been years since I was on a plane. When we hit 35,000 feet we’ll have reached the tropopause, the great belt of calm air, as close as I’ll ever get to the ozone. I dreamed we were there. The plane leapt the tropopause, the safe air, and attained the outer rim, the ozone, which was ragged and torn, patches of it threadbare as old cheesecloth, and that was frightening. But I saw something that only I could see because of my astonishing ability to see such things: Souls were rising, from the earth far below, souls of the dead, of people who had perished, from famine, from war, from the plague, and they floated up, like skydivers in reverse, limbs all akimbo, wheeling and spinning. And the souls of these departed joined hands, clasped ankles, and formed a web, a great net of souls, and the souls were three-atom oxygen molecules of the stuff of ozone, and the outer rim absorbed them and was repaired. Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there’s a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead. At least I think that’s so.”

      * * *
      Prior: ” . . . The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come. Bye now. You are fabulous creatures, each and every one. And I bless you: More Life. The Great Work Begins.”

  2. I knew there was a cosmic connection to KLS, and Kushner’s epic is it. Required reading. When I do my pool exercises I put on the soundtrack and bliss out.
    Todd, I’ve retired from my perch lobbying for RotR. At times it’s enough just staying in a faithful relationship with the RCC in toto (how’s that for a pun? Emerald City and my little dog, too.) Land’s sake, my man, if you’re gonna do 42, do the Hurd. Grail, schmail.;-)

    • Liam says:

      Well, I saw each part at the Walter Kerr Theatre with friends of mine. It was a time that is now largely forgotten (recursive again); Americans like their tragedy melodramatic, and melodrama only mocks that time. Kushner makes that clear in the play.

      It happened to be the last time I went to the theatre in NY.* It was stunning and sublime. I can to this very day still hear in my mind’s ears the voices of the original main cast. The performances were indelible. Meryl Streep is great, but Kathleen Chalfant’s performances (multiple roles) were immortal. Pacino vs Ron Leibman ditto.

      One thing – you need to understand that, in the original Broadway run (or at least what I saw), they used the optional ending (which you can read in printed editions of play, at least the ones I have) of Roy Cohn in Hell taking God’s call to act as God’s defense lawyer – which just tied up the thing in a way that is indescribable.

      And *this* which came out this week is freakin’ amazing:

      * My first time was at the end of the final run of Fiddler on The Roof. My last attendance at a *musical* on Broadway was as a high school senior, sitting on center aisle about 15 row from the stage of the-then Uris (now Gershwin) Theatre, beholding Sweeney Todd about a month after it opened. *That* was overwhelming. I remember my classmates singing “A Little Priest” on the bus ride home. It so suited 1979.

    • Liam says:

      I’ve posted this before, but Kushner scene of the diorama (at NY’s Mormon Visitors Center) of the Mormon pilgrims at the that comes to life was something else with Marcia Gay Harden in the role of Harper Pitt:

      “Just mangled guts pretending….”
      “That’s how people change.”

      • How’d I know you’d be such a purist! De rigeur.
        In defense of Nichols, I can’t think of a bad performance by any of the principals. Including that of Robyn Weigert as the wax wife come to life in the scene you portray. Justin Kirk, though over the top (as Pacino now and then) was magnifique in particular.

      • Liam says:

        Oh, I am NO purist. The adaptation for film was a very good adaptation for film, and the performance good to excellent. It’s a different medium and a different relationship with an audience. I don’t think the optional ending used on stage would have worked in film, for example. But there are compensations, precisely in this scene that establishes a contrapuntal intimacy to balance the tragic message – that was not something that was as intimate on stage. The Angel’s relationship with Prior is likewise more intimate in the film. As noted in the oral history, a stage production has the audience as a participant – the mass catching of audience breath when Stephen Spinella revealed was a thing – as you’d imagine an audience watching an actor jump out of a burning skyscraper on stage in October 2001 would have been….

  3. Of course, the soundtrack from the HBO/Nichols’ version. Newman hit consecutive grand slams with that score.

  4. Atheist Max says:

    You brought up 9/11.

    But…How can religion fix the very problem it creates?

    “Hate them…hate your life, or you are not worthy of me.” – JESUS (Luke 14:26)
    “…let them be cursed!” – (1 Corinthians 16:22)
    “Have nothing to do with him!” (Titus 3:9-11)
    “Avoid them” (Romans 16:17)

    Jesus really does mean “hate” when he says “hate”:
    “You will be hated because of me” – JESUS (Mark 13:13)

    God commands divisions. He insists upon division. Then he punishes people for not loving each other?

    I see no remedy within this dysfunctional philosophy. But if you do, please be careful.

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