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 CNS Story:

MISSAL-MUSIC Aug-20-2010 (930 words) With photo. xxxn

Acclimating musicians, congregations to missal changes poses challenge

Choir members sing during Mass at St. Mary's Church in Rochester, N.Y. (CNS file/Mike Crupi, Catholic Courier))

By Mark Pattison
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The new Roman Missal authorized Aug. 20 for use in the United States beginning in Advent of 2011 will pose significant challenges to both the musicians performing music based on new Mass texts and the congregations expected to learn them.

"The thing that's on most people's minds -- rank-and-file music directors -- is how to adapt to new texts, especially for things like the Glory to God, which is essentially the most heavily changed from the one we've been using for many, many years," said Charles Gardner, who is director for spiritual life and worship and director of liturgical music for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

In an Aug. 18 telephone interview with Catholic News Service, Gardner also expressed concern that "the most commonly used wording of the Memorial Acclamation -- 'Christ has died,' etc." might not appear in the missal. The texts made public Aug. 20 for what is now called the Mystery of Faith did not include the phrase Gardner mentioned.

One liturgical music figure said musicians should not be bothered by the changes in Mass texts. The new translation was designed to follow more closely the text in the original Latin.

"It's unleashing a lot of creative energy" among liturgical music composers, said Michael McMahon, executive director of the National Association for Pastoral Musicians, based in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring, Md.

Publishers are "on the verge of releasing ... samples of new and revised Mass settings," he told CNS.

The publisher OCP, once known as Oregon Catholic Press, is preparing a book for parishes that subscribe to its missal aids and annual "Music Issue" supplements with as many as nine new Mass settings that parishes can choose to sing.

McMahon said, "We're half-expecting there to be a grace period, at least for sung settings of various Mass parts. They did this again back in 1970 (the year the first edition of the Roman Missal was issued), which will allow people (time to acclimate themselves). There are not that many sung texts that are changing."

The Aug. 20 announcement of the implementation date by Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, marks the formal beginning of a more than 15-month period of education and training leading to the first use of the "third typical edition" of the Roman Missal at English-language Masses in the United States on Nov. 27, 2011.

The missal, announced by Pope John Paul II in 2000 and first published in Latin in 2002, has undergone a lengthy and rigorous translation process through the International Commission on English in the Liturgy during much of the past decade.

Since mid-April, Msgr. Anthony Sherman, director of the USCCB divine worship secretariat, and Father Richard Hilgartner, associate director, have been conducting workshops around the country for priests and diocesan leaders on implementation of the new missal. The workshops will continue into November.

Marty Haugen, composer of the widely used "Mass of Creation," has already revised his setting of the Sanctus to incorporate the new text, which now begins "Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts," said Tom Tomaszek, OCP's director of artists and repertoire.

Tomaszek said it might seem as if liturgical music publishers and composers will be able to cash in by selling new books with the newly mandated texts, but he said that for the past three or four years, parishes had held off from buying new hymnals and similar items because "they all knew it was coming" and didn't want to be shackled with books they could use only for a few years.

Ken Canedo, a liturgical musician and composer who was just starting to hone his craft in 1970, said of that era: "We all learned new Mass settings at the time. The difference between 1970 and 2010 or 2011, we were living in a culture of change. Just a few years before, in 1964, we changed from Latin to English. In 1970 it was just a matter of course.

"Maybe three generations have grown up with the 1970 text. We're not in a culture of change in the liturgy anymore," Canedo added. "I think in just a couple of months, if history is a guide, we're all going to get used to it and wonder what all the fuss was about."

And, in the "everything old is new again" department, World Library Publications will reissue Jan Vermulst's "Mass for Christian Unity," composed to meet the pastoral needs of English-speaking congregations trying to get used to Mass in the vernacular in 1964. "The new translation is closer to the 1964 translation than the 1970 translation," McMahon said.

"The missal itself is more musical than the previous edition," McMahon added. "I'm kind of hoping that all of us will be able to incorporate that into our liturgical repertoires."

Gardner, in Indianapolis, said the new missal encourages singing of the Preface Dialogue, which begins with the priest's "The Lord be with you." The people's response, currently "And also with you," will change to "And with your spirit." If the dialogue is sung, noted Gardner, "that would be a signal that something different is occurring."

Gardner said it would likely be difficult to teach the new Gloria to a congregation gathered for Christmas Mass, since the Gloria is omitted during Advent. He said he hopes parish music directors could find a version of the Gloria that uses one line of the prayer as a chorus, easing the transition.

Acknowledged McMahon, "We've got our work cut out for us, no question about it."


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