Tuesday, May 17, 2005



In the previous article I linked above, I responded to other people's pet peeves. Now, here are a few of the pet peeves of my own.

Let's start with some of the terminology that's been used and abused as of late:

Gathering Song (in place of "Entrance Hymn" or "Processional Hymn")
The Institutio Generalis Missalis Romanis rightfully uses the term "Entrance Chant". Why? Because of the actual call at that time for the "Cantus Introitus" in the Roman Missal. It never calls for a "Gathering Song". It calls for the "Entrance Song" - not the entrance or gathering of the people into church (that should happen BEFORE Mass), but the entrance procession of the priest and other ministers entering to the altar. Those who remember the Tridentine Mass probably remember the dialog at the foot of the altar, based on Psalm 42(43), which starts "Introibo ad altare Dei" ("I will go to the altar of God"). "Introibo" is from the word "Introitus", meaning "Entrance".
This "Gathering" intelligence is typical of many a parish, unfortunately. It's just another sign that Holy Mass is a "focus on ME". Look at all the (so-called) hymns you see now in hymnals and count the times the word "Gather" is used. "Here we are".

Presentation (or Preparation) of the Gifts (in place of the "Offertory")
Many a time I've heard the announcment "Our presentation hymn is..." or "Our preparation hymn is..." NO NO NO!
The IGMR distincts the action taking place as the "Preparation of the Altar and Gifts" and the music being sung (correctly) as the "Offertory Song".
Self-centeredness in the liturgy can be observed when the "Presentation of the Gifts" means the a few select people get to go up and give the gifts of water, wine, ciborium, and even the big basket of money collected (in many cases), to the celebrant. The main focus should be the celebrant offering the bread and wine to God, so that they may become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Hymn of Sending Forth (or simply "Sending Hymn") (in place of the "Recessional")
Before I elaborate on this, let me remind you that the "Recessional Hymn" is STILL not part of the liturgy, with the exception of the Funeral Mass ("In Paradisum").
Now, the real "Sending Forth" is known as the "Dismissal", at which the priest says "The Mass is ended, go in peace" ("Ite, Missa est") and the people respond "Thanks be to God" ("Deo Gratias"). The hymn, added by custom, accompanies the procession out the door of the priest and ministers, not the sending forth of the people (see previous sentence) or the people heading out the door. The latter can be accompanied by a good organ postlude, and should not take place before the priest leaves. But again - another sign of self-centeredness in the liturgy. And the dang publishers (OCP in particular) use these terms in their planning aids ("Today's Liturgy"). So, guess what musicians and liturgists are exposed to.... you guessed it!

Here's another big turn off. I've been known to turn down jobs at any parish that refers to their church as the Worship Space. No more naves or sanctuaries these days. No more vestibules either. They're now Gathering Spaces. Here we go again with that dang "gathering" bit. You wanna shoot the breeze, do it outside - AFTER MASS! It just sounds so generic - just like the third verse of "All Are Welcome" cites: a "banquet hall on holy ground".

And what's so bad about receiving Holy Communion on the tongue??? Seriously! That's how I was taught (in 1971). At my daughter's First Communion rehearsal, a week before the big day, the class was taught how to receive in the hand. The tongue wasn't even an option for crying out loud! I was this close to asking the nun out loud, "can you still receive on the tongue?" So, at Mass, while many were receiving in the hand, I went up, knelt, got back up. The priest said "The Body of Christ", I responded "Amen", and put the tongue right out with a look on my face that states "put it there - where it belongs"!

After the rehearsal, the pastor and I got talking, and I told him about my move to Holy Ghost. And he said to me "ah, you must get along really good over there. That pastor's the traditional type, just like you". That's not a bad thing now is it?

More to come when my mind wakes up a little more.

+In Christ,


Anonymous said...

Why did you kneel before receiving the Body onto your tongue? I could go get my GIRM and quote from it, but I'm pretty sure it discusses the bowing of the head, not kneeling....no?

Brian Michael Page said...

I did both - knelt (for about a second), got back up and bowed. Further, it also says in paragraph 160 that Communion cannot be denied because you're kneeling. :-)


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't even consider denying Communion because someone knelt (or genuflected)in addition to following the norm. That would be truly silly and sincerely hope that my comment did not imply such. It take it from the smiley that you get that.

So, what about unity in all things? Personal preference yielding to common unity? If some kneel/genuflect, some don't, some don't bow their heads, some do the profound bow, some kneel only with no bow.... I'm just asking, where is the unity? Again, no offense, but how is kneeling when not called for different from the "me" of "gathering" that peeves you? Isn't this a way of saying look at me. Geez, this sounds arguementative...please forgive me because I do not mean it to be. I'm new at blogging.......

Brian Michael Page said...

Would unity be broken if a few select people opted to say the Rosary during Mass? That's still done as well, but I never hear any complaints. My late grandmother, who was of Polish-American descent, was one of those people, as she could not drive, and a parish with a Polish Mass was a hike and a half from where she lived. She could speak English, but was borderline, and only knew Mass in Polish.

I'm working on another article which should be posted in the next 24 hours of so, on another form of "unity". Stay tuned, my anonymous friend. :-)


Anonymous said...

Joachim much enjoyed reading this post -- most especially the discussion of the "hymn of sending forth". This writer is still trying to figure out what exactly that might be, since, as Brian correctly stated, the faithful have already been sent forth by the priest: ITE, missa est! Joachim finds it highly amusing and gives his nod of agreement to the statement that liturgical planning helps (such as the one from OCP) include a slot for this strange, non-liturgical half-sung, semi-congregational postludium belt-a-long (the sending forth song-or-whatever-thing).
Joachim enjoys reading the classified ads in the American Organist (Joachim is NOT an NPM member, the only Catholic musician in his city who is not and shall never be, world without end)and muses at the funny listings of many Romanesque Catholesque Churchesque employers who have "worship spaces" and "gathering spaces" and "donut spaces". These touchy-feely terms make Joachim want to run to the nearest "barf-and-puke space".

Brian Michael Page said...

Always good to see you here on these blogs - referring to yourself in the third person, as usual (hehehe).

Of all the pastors I've worked with, only one (rightfully) did not allow a recessional hymn. After the REAL "sending forth" (Ite Missa Est), he would just tip himself out, not down the altar, but behind the high altar, which leads directly to the sacristy, and I would just go into the postlude.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that the use of a recessional hymn is bad. It's grown popular since Vatican II. I also don't think Vatican II encouraged it in any way shape or form, either. It was one of those things figured in "Our Parish Prays and Sings" and the '65 "People's Mass Book" - really intended for use at Low Mass, and not the Missa Cantata.


Todd said...

Brian, I can't get worked up about your first peeve: gathering was used as early as the Didache to describe what we're describing. The Eucharist is not a mindless gathering, but a harvest of believers for a very particular purpose. The first song is about three things other than the entrance of the ministers. Gathering sort of fits as well as entrance, but I usually just announce the hymn without a descriptor. I've wondered what would happen if I began Mass with, "Open up your hymnals for the closing song, number 522." Would I get a reaction?

On your second peeve, preparation is correct, not presentation. The preparation of the altar and gifts is what goes on at that time, so preparation song or chant is more accurate for the 1970 Missal. Offertory is part of what's going on, but not all.

Worship space? People used to just say church, and now, does it mean the building, the people, or the hierarchy? Vestibules are definitely out; I prefer narthex or preferably, courtyard. No problem with nave either; it's the best term. I can buy the use of "worship space" in connection with makeshift liturgy: in stadiums, hotels, whatnot.

Congrats on your daughter's First Communion. My Brittany celebrated hers too this year.

Brian Michael Page said...

That is all I do as well at the entrance - "Please stand and join in singing hymn number 342 - Gift of Finest Wheat". I still say the "gathering" should have taken place before said announcment.
As for the offertory, here's what paragraph 74 of the IGMR starts off with:
The procession bringing the gifts is accompanied by the Offertory chant (cf. above, no. 37b), which continues at least until the gifts have been placed on the altar.
As for the worship space terminology, I agree with you there, especially with makeshift spots (airports, outdoor Mass, etc.). At my church, we do have a "Narthex", as termed by the pastor. Still beats "gathering space".
Congrats on your Brittany's first Communion as well.

+In Christ,