Friday, March 5, 2010

Preparing the Triduum: Fighting the "Disney Approach"

I hope your Friday of the Second Week of Lent has begun in good fashion.

Thanks to all of you who responded to yesterday's very long post.

I am headed to Orlando in a few hours to present a workshop on the RCIA tomorrow.

The National Association of Pastoral Musicians has undertaken a recording project. They are recording the ICEL chants in the newly translated Missale Romanum. Check out the Pray Tell blog here to find more information. We at WLP were privileged to be able to support this project financially. The more we can all do together to use music as a vehicle to help people sing and pray the newly translated texts the better.

Last night I led choir rehearsal at my parish, St. James. I arrived with a bit of anxiety, wondering how we would be able to prepare all the music for the balance of Lent and the Triduum. These fine choir members rose to the challenge and I left the rehearsal with a very good sense that all will be well.

This brings me to a principle about the Triduum that I have always espoused. When I was in Orlando, the liturgy commissions I worked with had developed what I used to call a "Disney approach to liturgy preparation."



You see, Disneyworld needs to change their big events (light shows, parades, etc.) on a regular basis so that they can attract people who don't want to see the same thing year after year. Many people wanted to approach the Triduum in the same way, i.e. "What can we do bigger and better this year?" It took some time, but we finally came to the conclusion that preparing the Triduum meant relying on time-tested ways of planning the music and ritual movements so that the Triduum changed very little from year to year. This is a thoroughly Catholic approach, I believe. It bore fruit last night. My own parish has had various approaches to the transfer of the Holy Eucharist on Holy Thursday's Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper. I always felt kind of jolted when "something new" was introduced year after year. Last night, we rehearsed the Pange Lingua/Praise We Christ's Immortal Body, which will be the only piece we sing when the procession to the place of repose takes place. It brought me back to my childhood, celebrating this procession at St. Charles Church in Woburn, Massachusetts. It brought me back to the seven Triduums I celebrated as a seminarian at St. John's Seminary in Boston. It brought me back to the parishes I have served over the years as director of liturgy and music. That chant, accompanying that ritual moment, is something that has become a part of my "Catholic DNA." I am greatly looking forward to this at St. James this year. As the choir sang the chant last night, I was transported to places and to communities I had known and loved over the years. That's really what is so wonderful about being Catholic and celebrating the Church's liturgy well.

I am sure you have those "Catholic DNA" moments as well. Please feel free to share those by clicking the "comments" tab below.

I hope that your weekend celebration of the Third Sunday of Lent brings you closer to your own communities and to the Lord.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

1 comment:

Scelata said...

"people who don't want to see the same thing year after year. Many people wanted to approach the Triduum in the same way, i.e. "What can we do bigger and better this year?" It took some time, but we finally came to the conclusion that preparing the Triduum meant relying on time-tested ways of planning the music and ritual movements so that the Triduum changed very little from year to year. This is a thoroughly Catholic approach,"

Amen!

(Save thee Liturgy, Save the World)