It's wonderful to be here in Boston, spending some time with my family as I gear up for two RCIA workshops to take place at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Braintree this afternoon, then repeated tonight.
Weather here is, in a word, miserable. Remnants of tropical storm Lee are drenching the area now.
I found one of yesterday's comments about the new translation and early implementation to be quite interesting:
I made a point to find a parish that is continuing to use the old mass settings. In my view, this is the final period that we have to enjoy the old mass settings--we will have many years in the future to enjoy the new ones beginning in January. I see now as a time to treasure the old settings.
This comment ends with the phrase "time to treasure the old settings." These settings have been a part of Catholic life for much of my own lifetime; I believe this is true for those who follow this blog as well. When I think back and recall my earliest memories of the Mass, probably the earliest memory regarding music that I can conjure up was during the time when I was a very young altar server.
Just a few miles from where I am sitting right now stands Saint Charles Church in Woburn, Massachusetts. I started serving Mass as an altar server there right after the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council were being implemented. I always looked forward to serving at funerals, for two reasons. One, I really liked the more complicated Masses like a funeral with its preparation of incense, the greeting of the body at the beginning of the Mass, the incensation of the body at the end of Mass. Two, I got to get out of class across the parking lot at Saint Charles School!
The earliest musical memory that sticks is the singing of the Sanctus at those funerals. I remember that the only person who sang anything at those funerals was the woman who sang from the choir loft. No one else joined in the singing, no one at all. But what I remember was how beautiful the Sanctus sounded.
And, it wasn't until we at WLP decided to revise some of the Mass settings that had been published in the early years of the reform that I discovered that the Sanctus sung at those funerals was from Jan Vermulst's Mass for Christian Unity. Even as I sit here listening to it, I realize that, for me, this is one of those treasures. And I am so glad those who use WLP's worship resources asked us to revise this Mass setting. A treasure that, for many, had disappeared from the repertoire lists, is once again being rediscovered.
So, some treasures will take their places in liturgical history, becoming, over time, "those settings we used to sing before the 2011 new translation." Other treasures, like Mass for Christian Unity, are being rediscovered.
What an exciting time in the world of liturgical music right now. All you have to do is read the comments from the last few days. Musicians are teaching new and revised settings. People in the pews are being given a new song.
Are we at the threshold of a renewed renewal?
Please, feel free to comment. Feel free to share your earliest memories of music at Mass. What is the first Sanctus you ever remember being sung in your lifetime?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.