Calling Diocesan Liturgy Advisers

The last couple of days, I’ve been mulling over the propositions of the Birmingham conference. I have to admit it was pretty much familiar territory. I have heard the passage in Sacrosanctum Concilium “Gregorian Chant… held pride of place… etc etc.” so many times that l have begun to tire of it. I know we should sing all the proper texts of the Mass over a random selection of hymns. At the conference, Joseph Cullen asked the participants, ‘when was the last time you sang the Introit?’ The choir director of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen looked at me and said, ‘last week?’, I nodded unenthusiastically in response. Of course everyone knows you have to sing the introit right, we all sing it, right? I know about the importance of Latin in the liturgy, I know that the priest should be singing the parts assigned to him. I know all this stuff (yawn), I’ve heard it so many times,  because, well, at this point l would like to say, because in my formation as a parish musician (horrible term), my deanery/diocese have taught me how to sing THE Mass rather than…  (I don’t need to finish the sentence because surely by now we are also all bored of what Mgr Wadsworth has to say, I mean how many more times does the man have to repeat the same message.)  Sadly this is not the case.

My diocese do not run courses based on the teachings of Sacrosanctum Concilium, or a practical guide on how to adhere to the principles of the General Instruction to the Roman Missal. (I apologise in advance if they do infact run these courses and I have missed them.)  I have never seen a course on Gregorian Chant. Not even a practical guide to how to sing the Propers of the Mass. I did however attend last year,  the one and only workshop I have ever seen advertised on how to sing the new translation of the Roman Missal. For those that did not read my review of that exhilarating event incidentally run by a couple of people from the Portsmouth diocese, and my subsequent desire to convert to the Anglican church,  then read it HERE.

We need support locally, courses, more internet resources, a forum to enable parish musicians to communicate with each other. There are tremendous resources on the internet offered by the Church Music Association of America but what are we doing? I don’t think the diocese should be controlling the music that is sung in parishes, it is fine after all if one parish prefer the Sussex Mass to the Missa de Angelis. Our priority is to sing the texts of the Mass, it is not up to personal taste,  but people need to know how to, or even where to begin. This is not about ramming Gregorian Chant down people’s throats, it is not about getting rid of hymns all together, neither should it be about promoting the responsorial psalms of the diocesan preferred publisher, it is about gradually educating or possibly ‘illuminating’ is a better word, our musicians about the practices of the church and getting into our schools and teaching the children the music of the Missal. Fifty years after Sacrosanctum concilium, this is now our chance to re-discover the beauty of our liturgy, to sing and to pray the word of God as it was intended. Arundel and Brighton, it is over to you…

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3 thoughts on “Calling Diocesan Liturgy Advisers

  1. Joseph Cullen says:

    I’m still trying to find a way to get to your Sunday Mass, travelling from Minster early but trains are not cooperating. If I got to somewhere like Eastbourne, I wonder if there’s anyone that you know who comes from there by car?

    Joseph Cullen.

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