Wednesday, August 1, 2007


One yesterday, one this morning...

But let's go backwards and start with this morning. This morning I did an 10:30 funeral at Holy Ghost, my regular parish, where I am music director. The funeral was for a 71-year-old woman, died of natural causes, and the church was packed. Visiting priest celebrated the Mass, and did ok - he may have run through a few things a little quick, but except for a "good morning" at the beginning, he was ok. There were no abuses, that's for sure. It was also one of those funerals where the church was packed and I didn't get any "greatest hits" requests. The program looked like this:

SINE NOMINE - For all the saints
Gelineau/Proulx - My soul is thirsting...
Mode VI - Alleluia
Peloquin - I believe that my Redeemer lives
- (I've been able to hit the high "F" nicely now that I'm smoke free for exactly a year and a half as of today!)
Vermulst - People's Mass (Sanctus/Agnus)
Danish - Memorial B/Amen
(Lord's Prayer was SAID)
ST. COLUMBA - The King of love my Shepherd is
Page - Saints of God / May the angels lead you
- (The Saints of God setting I wrote in 1993, May the angels lead you, in 1990)

Now, let's rewind to yesterday morning. Yesterday (Tuesday) I had an 11:00 funeral at St. Teresa of Avila Church in Providence's Olneyville neighborhood. Located in a very run-down neighborhood, St. Teresa's is one of the poorest parishes in the diocese. Personally, I'm surprised they haven't been shut down or merged yet. The pastor is one of those big time "social justice" priests.

Anyhoo, the funeral was for a 36-year-old man who committed suicide. OK - nothing like a second tragic funeral in two weeks (remember, last week I had one for a baby, but that was at Holy Ghost). About 20-25 people in attendance, tops. A habitless nun (probably an RSM, there are lots of them here in Rhode Island) introduced herself to me - apparently she coordinated everything for this funeral. Now, before I go any further with this, let me assure you that the ONLY reason I take any funerals at this parish is that the parish pays me from what comes in from the undertaker (and considering I rent a three-bed tenament in a city in this hellhole state, I could use the money).

The parish, like I mentioned, is about as run-down as the neighborhood it's in. The church is nice looking from the outside, and even inside has some nice points. However, the organ is an old beat-up Hammond B3 with speakers that are so blown that you can hardly hear anything through them (and I warned the pastor about these MONTHS ago when they were first getting just "pretty bad"). The Stations of the Cross are small and simple (kinda small for a medium-sized Romanesque-style church, but not bad looking), however, there are social justice themed posters underneath each one. The back wall has this giant homemade banner with a picture of Christ in the center and all these little community-themed ditties around it. The missalette is WLP's Celebramos/Let Us Celebrate bi-lingual book.

But, back to the funeral. I did get hit with three requests that the secretary called in. Surprisingly, Be not afraid and Eagle's wings were not amongst them this time, though I get hit with those often at St. Teresa's, as well as Gentle Woman. Here was the lineup:

NEW BRITAIN - Amazing grace (requested)
Tone 8G - The Lord is my Shepherd (a capella)
- (trust me, I kept organ use to a minimum since the speakers were so damn blown apart!)
Mode VI - Alleluia (which the nun took upon herself to intone - thank God she used that and not the Celtic)
Temple - Make me a channel of your peace (requested)
Proulx - Community Mass (Sanctus/Memorial A/Amen/Agnus)
O STORE GUD - How great thou art (requested)
- (the nun asked me before Mass if I could do Be not afraid instead, but I successfully talked her out of it)
Tone 5 - Saints of God (a capella)
Mode VII - In Paradisum

One other bad note is that this pastor has this knack for ad libbing through much of the Mass, including the Eucharistic Prayer - big no-no. He also has a habit of allowing eulogies after Communion, though this funeral didn't have one - thank God (remember the one I ranted about - the lady doing a 15-minute stand-up on how her brother told her she had too much to drink?). But the one thing I wanted to choke someone over - THE PASTOR HAD LET THE DAMN NUN PREACH HER OWN HOMILY (yes, the homily, after the Gospel) AND SHE STARTED SINGING SOME GOOFY SONG IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALL! I was freakin' mortified! I was always reared with the fact that only a priest or deacon could preach a homily.

Yesterday's experience gives me serious reservations about wanting to do another funeral at St. Teresa's. However, that $150 always comes in handy when you're trying to make ends meet for your family. I just thank God it's NOT my regular parish and that I'm very happy at Holy Ghost.


Cathy said...

Yep, you have a moral obligation to provide for your family.
You're not doing ANYTHING wrong - in fact, you are working to enlighten these dolts who want crap heretical music.
You can't help it if a nun gives a 'homily.'
Thank God we have a choice of parishes, for sure.
That sounds like hell on earth, or at least purgatory.

frival said...

And no, you're not losing your mind - no one but a priest or deacon is allowed to preach a homily. GIRM #66 clearly states:

The Homily should ordinarily be given by the priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to the deacon, but never to a lay person. In particular cases and for a just cause, the homily may even be given by a Bishop or a priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate.

That seems pretty clear-cut to me... Sadly, there are still a lot of priests who have never gone through the GIRM and don't even know they're not allowed.

Puff the Magic Dragon said...

Would informing your ordinary help or no?