Just another Mystagogy Monday . . . week two.
How did it go in your parish over the weekend?
Well, at Saint James, I thought it went fine for the second week. About half the people are responding "And with your spirit" at those particular moments. The response at the sign of peace is the most challenging.
We have a particular challenge at Saint James. Our pastor is a Benedictine monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana. For his entire priesthood he has used the "Saint Meinrad Tones" for the prefaces and for those times when he sings the Eucharistic Prayer. These tones are really an ingrained part of his own "Catholic DNA." Apparently Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB, of Saint Meinrad, is working to set the new translation to the Saint Meinrad Tones, but he has not completed this work. So, my pastor is trying his best to use the chants as they appear in the Missal. I feel for him. For me it would be like trying to sing "Happy Birthday" in a different mode, or with a different melody, or in a minor key. Let me tell you what happened yesterday.
At the preface dialogue, the music director played a few cue notes for the chant as it appears in the Missal. And it went beautifully. The pastor then began to chant the preface from the Missal, only to discover that he had turned to the wrong page and was chanting a preface for Ordinary Time, which he had not prepared. It kind of fell apart. So, he simply stopped, looked at us and said, "Well I am still having some trouble finding my way around in this book, so let's start that again." It was an honest liturgical moment and I thought that his stopping and explaining was quite appropriate. I felt like the congregation was saying, "It's OK, Father, we understand; don't worry about starting again." So, he started again, only this time he reverted back to the Saint Meinrad tone for the preface. Before we had the chance to respond, the music director interjected, "Let's start that again." Then he played the cue notes again for the Missal chant and we were back on track. It all seemed very natural to me; just honestly moving through something very new for all of us.
As I said, I feel for my pastor, who not only to learn a new translation, he also has to learn these new chant tones. I have lots of confidence that we will eventually all get on the new translation highway.
As for me, I am having difficulty spiritually entering into the liturgy. I find myself too aware of what the next thing is to happen (Oh, I need to pick up the worship aid now to pray the next set of responses), and I feel I am not paying enough attention to what is happening in the moment. I know this will pass as I become more familiar with the new translation, but it is pretty frustrating right now.
So, I have two questions for you:
1. How did it go in your parish over the weekend?
2. How is it going for you spiritually?
Thanks for listening.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.