Two designated music settings available
By Mary Woodward
Many of you are well aware that the Mass has been retranslated into English from the Latin and the current translation will no longer be used beginning the first Sunday of Advent this year. This new translation is the result of about 10 years of study, work, drafting and redrafting.
Almost all of the congregational responses such as the Confiteor, the Gloria, the Creed, the Memorial Acclamations and the Sanctus have been changed. Over the next few weeks we will feature these important Mass parts in a little more depth and detail in Mississippi Catholic.
Throughout the English speaking world Catholics will be adapting to and learning these new responses in their parishes and missions. As several of these responses are usually sung, musicians have been busy producing new Mass settings or revising current settings to fit the new translation.
A few weeks ago after reviewing comments from parish music ministers and consulting with other bishops around the country about how they were handling the new translation and music, Bishop Joseph Latino issued a directive asking all parishes and schools in the Diocese of Jackson to choose from two designated music settings for a period of six months beginning in Advent.
The rationale behind this is that many of our people travel from parish to parish throughout the diocese and we would like for everyone to be able to focus on learning the new responses without having to focus on several different melodies or tunes.
In visiting parishes and schools around the diocese for the past several months for confirmations, graduations, dedications and anniversaries, I have experienced a wide variety of musical styles and talents in our liturgies ranging from simply sacred to choral enhanced to praise bands.
At times I was able to join in the responses and at other times I was not because I was unfamiliar with the particular setting chosen. People from the parish knew the responses and could sing, but visitors could not.
Therefore, the bishop, in exercising his responsibility as shepherd of the liturgy in the diocese, decided to ask that two settings be used for a transitional period so the faithful would be able to actively and consciously participate in the Mass as they learn the new responses even if they are visiting another parish in the diocese.
The two chosen settings are very similar in style as both are based in plain chant. One is more traditional in nature “Missa Simplex,” and the other is a little more modern and lyrical – “The Belmont Mass.” These two settings are to be used by parish music ministers and school Mass coordinators from Advent through Corpus Christi 2012 (June 10).
Not only will this give the faithful time to learn the new texts, but it will also give musicians and pastors or lay ecclesial ministers time to study the large number of new and revised Mass settings to determine which ones might work best for his or her parish community in terms of talents and style of worship.
When the transition period ends then parishes are free to start introducing new and revised settings with the intent of further enhancing the liturgy through music being careful not to create a concert by the choir or song leader, but to create a spirit of prayer and thanksgiving through the one voice and heart of the body of Christ joined together in public worship.
Since the official implementation date for using the entire translation is the first Sunday of Advent, there arose some discussion among bishops, pastors and musicians over the fact that the Gloria might need to be introduced sooner. The Gloria is not sung during Advent and the first time the new translation would be sung would be on Dec. 8 and then not again until Christmas.
So at the June meeting of the U.S. bishops, it was decided the sung responses such as the Gloria, the Memorial Acclamations and the Sanctus could begin to be introduced musically in September.
Now parish music ministers who will play a vital role in the transition to the new texts will be able to start teaching the congregation these parts of the Ordinary in the fall using the settings so that on Christmas day the faithful will be able to join in with full voice.
As we move closer to the fall and the implementation of the new translation, we certainly appreciate the cooperation and dedication of all pastors, religious, LEMs, and music ministers in introducing the new texts so that all the faithful will experience a renewed understanding of the liturgy and the importance of actively and consciously participating in the Sacred Mysteries as one body and one voice.
(Mary Woodward is diocesan director of the Department of Evangelization, which includes the Office of Liturgy.)
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