I had an interesting experience yesterday at the 9:30 Mass at St. James. We were taught a new setting of the Kyrie. It was in Urdu, a language spoken primarily in Pakistan and parts of India. We have many international students in our assembly during the school year, since we are surrounded by several universities. I appreciate the efforts made at inclusion. The liturgy began with the strophic hymn All Creatures of Our God and King. Then we sang this new setting of the Kyrie, with the men on a perfect fifth drone throughout. It was haunting. But then, just as it finished, the cantor intoned the Gloria, which was set to a lovely chant tone. I was struck at how disconnected the entire introductory rite seemed. It seemed a bit schizophrenic to me, especially the move from the Urdu Kyrie right into the chant.
What I wondered was whether or not the good principle of inclusion overshadowed a more basic liturgical principle here. That more basic principle has to do with the integrity of the rite itself. Should those who prepare music for the liturgy take a look at the integrity of the particular rite first and then plan music accordingly? I think we do a good job with the Eucharistic Prayer, choosing music for the Sanctus, the Memorial Acclamation, and the Great Amen usually from the same musical setting. This lends a certain consistency to the rite itself. Should the same be done when we look at the Introductory Rite? Just a question from this inquiring mind . . .
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.