For quite some time the National Pastoral Musicians have been running this survey asking to name a "song that made a difference".
Gerald at The Cafeteria is Closed had this to say:
"One has to look at the Eucharist, else things are just too discouraging."
This may seem true in many parishes, but there IS hope, Gerald. We have the right man on the Apostolic See. So, that's a help. There is talk of "crackdown". One only has to check out the PowerPoint presentation at the US Bishops Secretariat on Liturgy site to see that. How far it goes remains to be seen, of course. Our own Jason left a really good comment on Gerald's article.
Shawn at The New Liturgical Movement had this to say:
"At any rate, let's always remember as well that mere popularity is not the criteria for liturgical music. Its also about its formative power and appropriate character as regards the sacred liturgy, and not simply one's emotional attachment."
So right, Shawn! And think of this - one person once told me (on the NPM boards, too, believe it or not) that just because a song is in a hymnal doesn't necessarily mean it's fit for Holy Mass. Of course, this person was referring to Benediction/Adoration hymns. The same could be said for half of the top 25 on the "survey" - namely the banal little ditties got mentioned - like the top four, or, as Gerald mentioned, six of the top nine.
Fr. Kocik, at the diocese next door to me, had this to say in his comment on Shawn's article:
"On Eagle's Wings" so overused, one would think the Requiem Mass is more aptly called the "You Who" Mass (in keeping with the tradition of naming Masses according to the first words of the Introit)."
I also took the liberty of being the first to comment on Shawn's article:
"Your last comment is RIGHT ON THE MONEY! Funny the amount of calls I get for this one for funerals, especially considering I flatly refuse to use this (or any other of that Glory and Praise-like muzak) on Sundays - not even on the First Sunday of Lent, when every single proper in the Gregorian Missal - introit, gradual, tract, alleluia, offertory, and communion, is based on that Psalm."
On Eagle's Wings (to which a local organist friend of mine is familiar with a parody called "Beagle's Things") IS based on Psalm 91. It's too bad it sounds more like a "love ballad" than a hymn. Some good Psalm 91-based chants are right in your fingertips for just a little over thirty bucks. The source in question: The Gregorian Missal for Sundays! Look up the First Sunday of Lent - EVERY Proper for the day is Psalm 91-based. In fact, the Tract is the entire Psalm! Even better, you could sing the entire tract to a Psalm Tone for the sake of simplicity. Psalm Tone 2 is usually really good for that tract.
Even J. Michael McMahon, the NPM President, had this to say:
"Currently filling in as a parish choir director, McMahon said, "I'm always surprised how many young people ask for 'Ave Maria' or 'Panis Angelicus' at weddings and funerals."
Younger people are developing that "sense of the sacred", can you say? Younger priests are also promoting the sacred. My own pastor is not much older than me (hint: one of my mentors once told me when I told him my age, jokingly, of course, "you're still a punk!"). There are exceptions to this statement, but I can't say there are many. Restoration of the sacred is becoming far more vocal, thanks to the wonderful technological means we have called the Internet.
Over here at my parish, when it comes to eagle's wings, the "bird flew".
In this parish, we have the cure for the "bird flu" of eagle's wings.