Sunday, March 6, 2005

DISPOSABLE vs. PERMANENT - a comparison

(Originally written November 19, 2002, while I was working at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Providence, Rhode Island)
The following was sent to RITE Magazine (by Liturgy Training Publications) by me in response to a wonderful article written by a Yahoo! buddy of mine, Mr. Brian Carmody, who is assistant director of Worship in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

I received in my mail yesterday my quarterly mailings from my diocesan Worship Office. In that mailing I received the October and November/December 2002 issues of RITE. I was very elated to hear from Brian Carmody in the October issue. Brian and I chat periodically over the Internet.

"What's Your Story" (your first of three beige blocks)
During the Summer of 2000, after a year at my current parish, I made a presentation to my former pastor in hopes to change our worship aids from OCP's "Today's Missal and Music Issue" to GIA's "Worship III". The cost factors that Brian Carmody illustrated via chart are very similar to the presentation I sent to my pastor. Needless to say, with the pastor realizing that money must be spent now but will be far saved in a few years, coupled with the fact that, being in a parish that uses mostly traditional repertoire (one of our Masses is in Latin), why are we using a resource that is about 80% contemporary, my presentation succeeded rather quickly.Because of this, we are now entering our third year of utilizing a worship aid that 1) will stick with us for about 10 years or so, at least, providing our pastor sticks around that long, 2) is saving us thousands in the next few years, 3) provides the congregation with higher quality Psalms, and 4) fits the traditional needs of our parish.By the way, I showed the article in RITE to my pastor this morning, and he proudly reported that he has recently been seeing his savings realized.

"By Heart"

You ask if our parish sings mostly by heart. It's actually a mix here. Our parish is very good about opening up hymnals, but is also very good at picking up refrains (Psalm responses, hymns with antiphons that we use during the reception of Communion, etc.) without the aid of a hymnal.Such is also the case with former parish's Gospel Choir, which sings at our 9:00 Mass three Sundays a month. The Gospel Choir rehearses to the point where they do not need to hold a piece of music 80-90% of the time. The congregation at this Mass often follows their repetitions and what not, or simply claps. Also, of course, is the Benediction people, the ones who know two "O Salutaris Hostia" (Werner and Duguet) settings, two "Tantum Ergo" Settings ("St. Thomas" and Mode III), (note, both in Latin) and of course, "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" (at least the first verse). On the normal course of traditional music, people gladly lift up their hymnal and sing well, at both our English Masses and at our Traditional Latin Mass, giving full praise to God.

"Touchy Subject"

I am very much in favor of permanent hymnals over disposables- not only because of cost savings in the long run, but because of annual waste savings as well.Take for example, OCP's "Music Issue". Of the hymns included in the "Music Issue", only about 2 to 3 percent of the music in the next issue is added for the first time. To make room for this miniscule addition, that same percentage of what might have been used in your parish (or might not) will be dropped. Hymnals, on the other hand, will provide a lasting repertoire, usually about 10 years, unless the pastor that supported the hymnals gets reassigned and replaced by a pastor who doesn't. You don't have to worry about losing a few good hymns to replace a few new ones. And with your savings, you can get copyright permissions several times over for those new pieces.

I hope this letter settles the debate a bit. :-)
+In Christ,

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