So the Chrism Mass absolutely surpassed my expectations.
Awhile ago the office had gotten something in the mail saying we had to supply 3 oil bearers. It was decided that I could be one of them, and we picked two other people.
I thought that every church in the diocese had to have a few people carry up a little teeny jar of oil or something.
nope, for some reason (maybe cuz we're the oldest in the region?) St. P is the church from our whole entire region! (the county.) sweetness.
So, I carried up the giant jar of wonderful smelling oil in front of all those people (that was very heavy. but i did not drop it!)
I don't even know how to describe what I felt then, as the bishop blessed this oil for it to become sacred chrism, and I thought about all of the people that the oil will be used for this upcoming year. wow!
and having ALL of the priests in the whole diocese extend their hand over my oil (and that of the other 5 people,) was like...the apostolic power was like incredible!
now, to critique the music...
(I try to come in to things like this with an "open mind," also knowing in advance that I will probably hate the music, and therefore to not let it distract me. I succeeded.)
Judging from the front cover, the music should have been ideal, there was a copy of some chant "O Redemptor, sume carmen..." on it, but that doesn't mean that the congregation got to sing a lick of what is supposed to hold a "pride of place" for Catholic church music!
Opening: Baptized in Living Waters (Aurelia) I've already written how irritated I was the I couldn't watch the procession if I was singing. Text: all about "us," finishing with "us" being empowered by the Spirit.
Gloria: by Peter Jones. Used insertions of the "Glory to God" refrain. It was so neat, it like made me want to get up and dance! Such an ideal piece of music for...Mass? just kidding.
Psalm: by John Schiavone, Psalm 89 "Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord." By itself, it is a decent Psalm. (decent melody, easy to sing, not irreverent,) however, it's in the rather unusual time signature of 4/2. I observed that when the organist (or cantor, I can't remember,) did it the first time, they cut short a dotted-half-note rhythm. Whenever the congregation sang it, they instinctively tried to correct the rhythm, but were almost fighting the organ. it was strange. I sat there trying to figure out who was right, and the organist/cantor were definitely wrong.
Gospel Accl: "Praise and Honor to You etc" by GIA, no other attributions. It was in 6/8 (which I tend to find as a warning flag for music that is going to be goofy in church. Celtic Alleluia, anyone?) but it had a neat way of raising the "Praise and honor to you" part 3 times within every response of it, that was very natural to sing.
I'm not familiar with what is technically supposed to be sung while the oils are being brought up, they did "O Redeemer receive the song of those who sing you praise" as a refrain thingy by J. Chepponis, but I was otherwise very distracted and didn't listen to that part.
The choir sang a neat arrangement of Ubi Caritas at the Offertory (by Proulx, of course,) but there was certainly no invitation for the congregation to join in on the easy "Ubi Caritas" refrain. I think it involved handbells also.
Mass of Creation, of course. Interesting that this really is the one Mass that EVERY Catholic knows. I wonder what will happen when the translation changes? Like, what the heck am I gonna use at weddings and funerals? (not that Mass of Creation perfectly follows the text ANYHOW!)
I think we sang the Our Father that everyone knows. I only think this cuz I remember that the bishop did a very goofy singing of the part before "For the kingdom..." but speaking of which, does anyone know where what the priest is supposd to sing there can be found? What is transcribed in the Sacramentary is NOT what everyone knows!
Communion: Amen. El Cuerpo de Cristo by Schiavone. (I didn't sing because of course I wanted to be praying instead of singing!) I wonder for how many people there spanish is actually a first language... (actually, now that I really look at the words, they are pretty terribly focused on "us.")
followed by "Take and Eat" by Joncas. I admit I've used the at St. P before, but not recently. it's great for really long Communion processions, which of course this was. It is totally theologically sound, minus the "voice of God" problem, and it even speaks of "body and blood" rather than "bread and wine."
contrasted with the closing song, "We are One in Christ" by Chepponis (good grief, you'd think we only HAD 4 people who have ever written Catholic music!) which, um, not only focused almost completely on "we," but loved to talk about the "bread of life," with of course no mention of how this is actually the Body of Christ. What a waste of a wonderful melody, "Thaxted." However, I don't think I found it as awful as FG did, it's not like there was any actual heresy in any of the songs.
I wonder how long it will take for things to change musically in this little diocese beginning with an "L," in the middle of a state whose initials are "MI" once we get our new bishop...
speaking of which, I've signed up to sing at his installation at the end of April. They didn't say what music we would be singing, but half the reason I want to is to just find out!