Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Overflow and Overcrowded Christmas Masses

As I sit here at my desk in early December, I remember well those days when I ministered as director of liturgy and music in parishes in Florida and here in suburban Chicago. Every parish, because of its size and the expected number of visitors at Christmas, needed to add overflow Masses. These would take place in a social hall, basement, or gymnasium. I remember well forgetting year after year that I had to provide some kind of worship aid for these overflow Masses and I was always scrambling to create a new one each year. I always also felt badly for those people, especially at the Vigil Masses and the Midnight Masses, who stood the entire time, sometimes along the side walls of the church and even down the main aisles. When we sang, it was the people in the pews who had the hymnals to which they could refer; those standing had nothing.

Two yeas ago here at WLP, we had a conversation about this pastoral dilemma and decided to do something about it, both for Christmas and for Easter. At the same time, we heard from a pastor in a southern diocese who asked us if we could put together a Christmas worship aid that could be used year after year in his parish. Our editors put their minds together and came up with WLP's Christmas and Easter Mass booklets.

Here is what the Christmas booklet looks like. It has a high gloss, durable cover that is designed to last for years. I just snapped these photos, so please excuse their unprofessional quality.

The booklet contains the Order of Mass. This is especially important for visitors who do not yet have a full grasp of the new translation of The Roman Missal.

We decided to include the readings for all four Christmas Masses: Vigil, Night, Dawn, and Day.

We also chose nineteen traditional Christmas hymns and carols to include in the booklet:

Adeste Fideles/O Come, All Ye Faithful
Angels We Have Heard on High
Away in a Manger
Behold a Virgin Bearing Him
Gloria for Christmastime
Go, Tell It on the Mountain
God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
Good Christian Friends, Rejoice
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
It Came upon the Midnight Clear
Joy to the World.
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
O Come, All Ye Faithful/Adeste Fideles
O Come, Little Children
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Silent Night
The First Nowell
The Snow Lay on the Ground
What Child Is This

We at WLP are always trying to think of ways to help pastoral musicians in their ministry, especially at the times of the year that are most taxing.

Please consider placing an order for these booklets for your overflow Masses; it will save much time and effort and pay for itself in a few years just on the printing costs.

Thanks for listening to my little commercial today.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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