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    A View from the Pew

    Stories from the Trenches: Preparing music for the revised Roman Missal 

    Story One

    After perusing all of the new and revised translations for the New Roman Missal (hereby known as the NRM), Lee Gotmusick decided to use the revised Mass of Revival. He really wanted to use the revised Mass of Cremation because he felt that this revised setting of a familiar mass would best serve his community. However, at the eleventh hour, Father Biretta did not agree with Lee’s choice and told him to switch the music that Lee planned to teach to the assembly on the day that Lee planned to begin the instruction implementation. Lee taught the revised Mass of Revival. Father Biretta made known his displeasure that the revised Mass of Revival did not satisfy his liturgical expectations in the same way as the ICEL chants in their purest form. To avoid warfare, Lee plans to revise the revised Mass of Revival to satisfy Father Biretta and accommodate the needs of the assembly in his parish. Headaches transpire.

    Story Two

    Organist Amelia Goodheart plays for two Sunday Masses every week. She accompanies Diane Donethisawhile who leads sung prayer at St. Joy in the Pines. They communicate when needed with Jonathan Wellintentioned, who accompanies Choir AARP that sings at the weekend vigil Mass. Amelia and her pastor Father Zucchetto select several revised mass settings that will easily accommodate the text and music changes this Advent with minimal upset to pew people. When Amelia Goodheart makes the obligatory call to Mr. Wellintentioned to inquire what music Choir AARP will sing, Mr. Wellintentioned tells Ms. Goodheart that they will sing a Holy from one revised mass setting, Form A (Christ has died) acclamation from another mass setting and an Amen from another mass setting, none of which are included in the hymnal the parish uses. When Amelia Goodheart tells Mr. Wellintentioned that Form A may no longer be used starting in Advent 2011, Mr. Wellintentioned responds, “Ooooo, really?” Amelia Goodheart then asks Mr. Wellintentioned how in the world the people will learn and sing their new music if their music cannot be found in their worship aids. Mr. Wellintentioned tells her that he never considered this issue a problem in the past; people just listen while Choir AARP sings those acclamations. When Ms. Goodheart pushes the conversation further, she discovers that Mr. Wellintentioned never considered the issue of a sung Gloria during the Christmas season.  Amelia Goodheart emails Father Zucchetto to alert him that there might be trouble in River City and asks the pastor to consider stepping in to help. Father Zucchetto tells Amelia Goodheart that he needs to pray and discern how to approach the situation. Blood pressures rise.

    Story Three

    Avon Champion directs a program of 200 volunteer musicians, which includes the principle Sunday choir, a funeral ensemble choir, a youth choir, a children’s choir, an instrumental ensemble of string, brass, woodwind and percussion instrumentalists, fifteen cantors, two librarians and a partridge and a pear tree (she keeps the partridge in the tree on her desk in her office, just for fun). Avon’s people learned both new and revised mass settings at assembly sings that she held one evening per month for six months in her parish. Additionally, her pastor Father Getitright wrote briefly on the upcoming NRM changes in the bulletin throughout the same six months. He took the opportunity to do liturgical catechesis during the homily surrounding the Sunday readings. Further, Father Getitright and Avon Champion invited a speaker to present a two hour workshop in the parish to deepen reflection on the liturgy and the new language changes in the NRM. Emails went out to the entire parish listserve about the changes and invited questions and comments from people regarding the changes. Avon Champion and Father Getitright held weekly coffee inquiry sessions every Sunday for two months after the Saturday night vigil mass and one Sunday morning mass. Gratitude ensued.

    The names of the people in the stories have been changed to protect the innocent. However, the stories are all true. Do you have a story to tell about the liturgical procession toward Advent 2011? Write in. Anonymously, of course.