Wednesday, May 10, 2006


(or "liturgeists" - that is, a cross between the words "Liturgist" and "Poltergeist")

I went to the CanticaNOVA site earlier this afternoon to get the link to Jason's article on The Pastoral Musician (originally posted here) for someone on one of the message boards I frequent, and ran into this article by the late Calvert Shenk. Some really good reading by these guys, I'm telling you! Anyhoo...

Mr. Shenk describes two ways of how Holy Mass begins.

1. "Before the Eucharistic celebration begins, the assembly gathers in the worship space. As the assembly sings the gathering song, the presider and other ministers enter. The presider greets the assembly and, in preparation for liturgy of Word and Eucharist, invites them to reflect on their sinfulness."

2. "Before Mass, the congregation enters the church. As the introit or the processional hymn is sung, the celebrant, deacon, lector and servers enter in procession. The celebrant, having made the sign of the cross, greets the congregation and, in preparation for the sacred mysteries, exhorts the faithful to call to mind their sins."

The former reminds me so much of what I heard as I stepped foot into one Fall River church last Saturday in between Masses (I had a 2:00 wedding and then the 4:30 Vigil Mass for Sunday):
(very slowly and clearly by a woman at the console) Good afternoon. Our gathering song is number xxx - SING TO THE MOUNTAINS, number x-x-x.

I still can't stress enough the genericness of the term worship space. It's a long-standing pet peeve of mine, along with gathering song, which is used contrary to paragraph 47 of the IGMR, which states, even in this U.S. Version:
47. After the people have gathered, the Entrance chant begins as the priest enters with the deacon and ministers.

Anyways, Mr. Shenk does a great job exploring the vocabulary of the modern-day "liturgeist". I encourage you to read the whole thing.



Argent said...

I cringe whenever I hear the words "gather" and "presider". What's wrong with the word "celebrant"? Or how about the word "procession"?

Brian Michael Page said...

Me too. Note, btw, the words "AFTER the people have gathered", not "WHILE the people are gathering". If you're gathering at the Introit (and I've said this millions of times), then you're probably late for Mass. Then you've missed out on the tone-setter of the day.

I still use the word "celebrant". I refuse to use the word "gathering", or "preparation", when calling off hymns. In fact, I don't even call off hymns anymore. Though I still, when giving my quick hand written list to Father, I write "In" or "Introit", for the Introit, and for the Offertory, either "$$", "Off" or "Offertory".

BTW, thanks for the greeting, Argent. ;)


Argent said...

Those Monk-e's get around.

Jeff Miller said...

Did you ever see my post "Signs of inhabitation by a Liturgeist"?

It is one of my older ones.