Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
You might notice that the last few weeks I’ve been leading us to chant the “Our Father” at some of our weekend Masses. This is because almost a month ago now we had another music seminar by Adam Bartlett… This time up at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Toledo. I believe there were about five parishes represented by the musicians in attendance. Adam Bartlett reminded us that the first level of chanting should include all the ordinary parts of the Mass, and the propers. The ordinary parts are things like the opening and closing greetings between priest and people, the “Gloria”, the “Holy, Holy”, the “Lamb of God”, the Preface with its dialogue, the “Our Father”, and the great Doxology and Amen at the end of the Eucharistic prayer. The propers are the three unique prayers of each Mass (opening, offertory, post-communion) and the antiphons for the day (entrance, offertory, communion).
This applies especially to Sunday Masses, which are all “solemnities”. For weekday Masses, you will notice that we only sing the Gospel acclamation with its alleluia-and-verse, and the doxology after the Eucharistic prayer. This is to draw attention to the gospel, the highlight of the “Liturgy of the Word”, and to the doxology, which highlights the consecration that has just happened as the high point of the “liturgy of the Eucharist”. On feasts and solemnities, however, much more singing should be happening, so that people experience the principle of “ascending solemnity”. So, being reminded that the first and most basic level of chant involves the ordinary parts of the Mass… and this really includes the “Our Father” – I decided to try to be more faithful to chanting the Our Father if we can at Masses.
On another note, here is a short recap of last week’s homily. Because the prophet Malachi spoke for the Lord to chastise the people of Israel for the very poor offerings to the temple, and because in our Gospel Jesus spoke about the Scribes and Sadducees – religious leaders of the day – not actually holding themselves to the same standards as the people, not being willing to help the people carry the religious burdens being laid upon them – it seemed the perfect opportunity to speak about our sacrifice to God of our lives, in terms of time, talent and treasure, i.e., stewardship of our lives. To suggest that I’m trying to avoid falling into the complacency of those scribes and Pharisees who were not willing themselves to take on the same burdens, I drew a parallel between all that you do in your domestic church (your family), and then all that you do serving and giving at the next level up, your parish; and all that I do on the level of my parish (parallel to your domestic church) and the ways I’m called to serve at the next level, which is the diocese. I understand what it is to give above and beyond my immediate spiritual family. And I acknowledge that I have areas I can grow in, when it comes to my spiritual life and managing all the service being asked of me, even beyond service I already give within my own parish. It is also to say that I understand what it means to fit such demands into an already busy life at the family/parish level.
The new news is that we are finally at a place where I think we can layout a diagram of our parish service for everybody to see. I think this can be very inspiring for everybody, to see at-a-glance everything happening because of generous/active parishioners serving the parish. This diagramming will also take into account various ways we should tweak the ministry/service structure in order to make things more effective and efficient (to use Bishop Thomas’s words). I’m grateful to the Volunteer Life Committee work that has been done to lay a foundation for this next step – creating a diagram that we can publish for everybody for the sake of better communication; and analyzing the current structure for possible improvements, all based on input from the various volunteer area heads who gave input to the volunteer life committee. I really hope that this effort to analyze our current volunteer ministry structure, and open up opportunities for other parishioners to serve who perhaps do not yet have an area of ministry… I really hope that this effort makes things much more effective and efficient for everybody.
On a final note, many, many thanks to what you put so much work into making the ALPHA retreat work last Sunday! I know it is a sacrifice of much time and talent for many people. I also know it is well worth the effort, to give people the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to transform them through such a retreat!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,