Poor Box My wife had

Poor Box
My wife had an observation as we left choir rehearsal last night – “Why are the poor boxes here so dinky? You can hardly fit a folded dollar bill in the slot. At St. Mary’s in old town, the poor boxes were huge! People were emptying their pockets as they walked out of the church. Our poor boxes look like the brick walls so you can’t even see them.” and she ended with the Lay Person’s Call To Action: “I’m going to write the pastor a letter!”
She’s right. The poor boxes at our church look like little bricks. It’s certainly not a reminder of our responsibility. And it’s particularly fitting the we have options for directed giving that might not necessarily end up applied toward legal fees or court settlements.

So today is Cardinal Law’s

So today is Cardinal Law’s big day. I suppose at this point the general public knows enough to declare a verdict on Law’s leadership – and we’re wondering why he’s still wearing the red hat in Boston. Personally, I think he’d look good in stripes. (scroll down a bit)

My choir is doing the

My choir is doing the Palestrina “O Rex Gloriae” on Ascension Sunday along with the Stravinsky “Ave Maria” since it’s May.
My parish is a regular old suburban parish with over 100 volunteers spread out over 8 ensembles. Music at Mass ranges from the super-Evangelical praise-song “Awesome God” (not done much, thanks to our Awesome God) to sacred polyphony in Latin. We’ve got all sorts of stuff in between. It’s accomplished by a different group for each of five Masses that has a different focus in terms of musical style. We have tried to standardize psalms and eucharistic acclamations in order to have some common repertiore while keeping a real balance in the final set of music for each Mass.
One big issue is music directors who got their masters in Liturgy while moonlighting at the piano bar. If any pastors read this, next time you hire a music director you’d be better off hiring someone who knows that Bach is not pronounced “Batch” and is comfortable letting the choir know the proper latin pronounciation of phrases like “Ave Verum Corpus” and “Pange Lingua” and even “Alleluia.”
Errr… who am I kidding. No pastors are going to read this.
I’ll write more about balance in liturgical music repertiore another time.

Well it’s amazing this blog

Well it’s amazing this blog has been up for a week and we are already getting email.

What’s wrong with silence during Communion? Are we so hooked on sensory overlead that quiet is so rare in our lives? Go shopping, the stores are filled with Muzak. Get in the car, turn on the radio. Go home, turn on the television. Go to church and they sing whenever there is a nook or cranny to cram in a song. The space between “Let Us Pray” and song or vocal prayer is a nano-second at best.
I have longed to have at least one Mass that would have no music and no singing at Communion for those of us who would like to use that time for silent prayer and meditation. But whenever I mention it, I am politely turned down.
Your blog is now one of my Holy Blogs of Obligation (thank for that phrase to Amy Welborn) and I am a regular morning visitor.

Silence forces us to acknowledge the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit within us. And that’s exactly why some people are uncomfortable with silence – it forces us to acknowledge that outside of our distractions and the general hub-bub of our lives we need to take time to listen to God. And God might be telling us something we really don’t want to hear but need to hear in order to grow in our life with Him.
On March 8, 1997, the Holy Father addressed the topic of the liturgical reform during a meeting with bishops from France during their visit ad limina apostolorum:

It is also appropriate to add here that besides the word and the hymn, silence has an indispensable place in the liturgy when it is well prepared, it enables each person to develop in his heart spiritual dialogue with the Lord.

Also, this document includes a reference that assumes there’s some silence after the receipt of communion in the liturgy.
My best suggestion for getting some silence at the appropriate times is to start small: 1-2 minutes of silence after communion is not too much to ask. Ending the communion hymn sooner to accomplish this is fine, and the instrumentalists need to be on board with the idea that just because no one singing doesn’t mean someone needs to start noodling on the piano, guitar or organ. If you to strike a balance betweening singing and silence, you’ll probably have more success than suggesting no music.