I won't mention the name of the church I attended Mass at today, for the sake of humiliation. I will tell you it is in the Diocese of Fall River, though less than five minutes from my home (driving) which sits in the Diocese of Providence.
The church itself is a good-looking traditionally built church. Not very big, not very elaborate, but definitely decent-looking. The pews are in a traditional style. There is a choir loft, from which the choir "sang". The choir was accompanied by an "organ".
OK - you're probably wondering why I put the words "sang" and "organ" in quotation marks.
The 9:00 AM Mass I attended was a total freakin' nightmare - ranging from community room entertainment (aka "geriatric glee club" with a borderline tone deaf cantor) to an all-out love fest. Let's start from the beginning.
I arrived about twenty minutes early. You could easily hear the conversation between the music director and the organist (yes, two different people), arguing about the condition of the organ. It turns out that it's one of those so-called "church Hammonds". The only difference between this Hammond and your typical Hammond is that this Hammond uses actual stop tabs instead of drawbars. The sound is still the same - crappy. I've heard better sounding organs in ballparks.
The pew books were the OCP Missal and Music Issue, plus the maroon-cover Gory and Puke. The Gory and Puke, thankfully, wasn't used. But the music selected from the OCP Missal and Music Issue was (on the most part) bad enough. In fact, the only decent selections (despite the fact that they were horribly played) were the Psalm setting and the recessional. NONE of the selections even remotely related with today's Mass.
Here is the order of events that passed for Mass this morning at this church:
In lieu of prelude, the organist practiced his hymn playing.
Entrance hymn was Blest be the Lord (blech!)
The pastor begins Mass by saying that he was in conversation with his sister outside before Mass, when suddenly she told him "hurry up, you're late".
The Gloria was recited, and probably better off. I'd hate to imagine the setting.
The Psalm was the Alstott setting (Give thanks to the Lord for he is good...) from the missalette, which, as it is, is fine. The cantor, however, was borderline tone deaf, missing as many passing tones as possible, not to mention being underneath her notes by AT LEAST a quarter tone.
The Boston Celtics Alleluia was bellowed (big stress on the word "bellowed")
The homily wasn't too bad. I'll give credit where it was due. He did quite well on the Divine Mercy.
The Creed was skipped. :-(
The offertory was Amazing Grace (played with a hacked gospel revival feel), but not before the pastor's big announcement calling for more "eucharistic ministers" (you mean, "extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion", Father) and that there was a class for them at a church a couple of towns north, followed by his other big announcement that he recently acquired a "new pet" - a "robot puppy".
Sanctus, Christ Has Died, and Amen were from the St. Louis Jesuits Mass. The "sopranos" that bellowed the descants were way flat, as much as a half step.
The worst of it (IMO) was the rite of peace. After what looked like a typical "offering of the sign of peace", the pastor, accompanied by the choir's bellowing of John Foley's Peace Prayer, went up and down the entire center aisle shaking hands and giving hugs (big Barney-like hugs to the kiddies - scary).
The Communion hymn was One Bread, One Body (blech!)
WHILE purifying the Chalice, the pastor proceeded to crack jokes about coffee and donuts after Mass.
The recessional was Now thank we all our God. Finally, a good solid traditional hymn, though botched up badly by the organist.
The choir geriatric glee club decided to follow that up with their own community room-like rendition of Let there be peas and carrots on earth. So much for a good ending.
Next week's experience will be much better. I guarantee it. Details to follow.