Thursday, November 5, 2009

Singing the Dialogues

What a beautiful Autumn day here in the Midwest. I hope that wherever you are, you are enjoying fine weather as well.

At the NPM convention planning meeting in Louisville on Tuesday of this week, there was lots of conversation around the issue of the sung dialogues at Mass. As you may know, the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, as well as Sing to the Lord stress the importance of singing the dialogues: "The Lord be with you. And with your spirit.", etc. Many musicians wondered how they might coax their priests and deacons into singing the dialogues. They also mused about how successful they could be with parish lectors who would be asked to sing "The word of the Lord" at the end of the readings. Recently, in my own parish, we had a newly ordained deacon serving at Sunday Mass. He's a Benedictine Monk from Glenstal Abbey in Ireland. Granted, he happens to have a degree focused in Gregorian Chant, but he did sing the greeting before the Gospel, as well as the "The Gospel of the Lord" at the conclusion of the Gospel. While we had never seen or heard this done in our parish before, we all responded quite well. It, in a word, made the moments more sacred. How I would love to see our lectors begin to do this at the end of the readings.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this and how you would approach the issues of the sung dialogues pastorally. Why? Because we gotta sing and we gotta pray, of course!


byte228 said...

I had the joy of having a chaplain when I was in college that always sang the dialogues and prefaces. I miss that because I think that it was more prayerful compared with the sometimes rushed speaking patterns often used today to "keep the Mass moving". I see the push for sung dialogues in the new translation process as a hidden gem. It will take a lot of training and prodding from within the presbyterate, but God wants us singing and praying!

Chironomo said...

This is at the center of the actual participation in the liturgy called for in Vatican II. Without the sung dialogues (and priests prayers) we are left with a spoken Mass with musical interludes. A Mass that is sung (dialogues, prayers, Ordinary) gives the assembly the opportunity to participate in the Mass itself rather than in singing extra-liturgical texts during the Mass.

How to do that is going to be a long effort. It needs to start with training young children to sing chant, and raising them to be elementary schoolers who can sing chant, who then become High Schoolers who can sing chant, who then become Seminarians who can sing chant, who then become Priests who can sing chant. Other than being a 20-30 year process, it's really pretty simple.

Anonymous said...

Our pastor can't even sing Happy Birthday. A couple of weeks ago he tried to sing the preface. He promised never to do it again.

Anonymous said...

We occasionally have the pleasure of hearing our pastor chant the entire Gospel reading! That sure gets your attention!