The Big Switch

One of the occupational hazards of being a musician at the last Mass in the building on a Sunday is that, every feast of Christ the King, you are enlisted to help switch out the hymnals.  Our hymnals don’t contain the extra “daily Mass” sections anyway, so they get this job done on Sunday after the noon Mass when there’s a captive audience of musicians and their kids to help with the job (not to mention the deacon’s teenage grandson!)

A couple of people wanted to take home a copy of the old hymnal.  That’s never a problem, as they’re just going to be recycled anyway.  But I observed to a friend, after someone asked us if they could take an old book home, that these hymnals are even more out of date than the hymnal usually is, come Christ the King Sunday.

Our parish has done a commendable job of preparing everyone for the Big Switch, and I don’t mean the new hymnals:  the change to the new translation of the Roman Missal.  Once a month, the priests would devote the homily to this topic.  Several workshops were open to the entire parish to explain the translation in detail, review the Scriptural connections, and go over what we can expect beginning next Sunday.

Before Mass yesterday, instead of singing a prelude, we reviewed the new Creed with the assembly.  My observation was that people were good sports about giving it a chance, and there wasn’t even any audible stumbling over “consubstantial.”

My only issue with the whole thing is a musical one.  Many changes have taken place in the words to the sung acclamations.  Some phrases are added, some subtracted; with the exception of the Great Amen and the Lamb of God, the acclamations needed to be rewritten to accommodate those changes.  I’m only familiar with two settings for the new Mass, and while Mass of God’s Promise was done quite well, the retrofit didn’t work as nicely with Heritage Mass.  Guess which one we’re currently using at our parish?  Sigh…

The folk group I sing with is really going to miss the acclamation that the teenagers in the group call “The Happy Gloria”–the one by the St. Louis Jesuits.  Last I checked, this was not on the slate to be redone in the new form.  It’s not our pastor’s favorite, because it takes so long to sing, but it really is a happy Gloria.  We just can’t help but sing it like we mean it–and isn’t that the point of the Gloria, after all?  There have been many times, after singing the last notes of that acclamation, that we musicians have met each others’ eyes and just known that we’re all thinking the same thing:  we have BEEN TO CHURCH.  We have WORSHIPED.

So I really hope they fix that one, because we haven’t found another Gloria that moves us to sing with such gusto that we don’t have much voice left for the Responsorial Psalm.

Next weekend, we’ll have to pay extra attention.  Musicians, especially, since some of our usual verbal cues might be different.  That’s a good thing, though.  Every once in a while, you need to get off auto-pilot and pay attention.  Everyone will have to pay attention, and, for a time, read along.  It’ll take time, but we’ll get there.  Musically, too.  But most of all, I’ll miss that Happy Gloria.

2 thoughts on “The Big Switch

  1. I don't know specifically which Gloria you are speaking about, but I am with you on the feel of the song. That song is all about giving glory and should be a joyful song (especially since we don't sing it during solemn seasons) yet it seems too many versions are slow and plodding. It will be interesting adjusting to the new translation. We've gone over the changes at Mass, but so infrequently that I know it will still seem new for a while.

  2. I'm not being a hater when I say this, but I'd rather SAY the Gloria that sing it. I actually can't stand all the musical details. Like, when all stops and we all wait for the music to start up just to sing "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again" (I can't remember what the new one will be or if we'll even sing something like that). It's just ridiculous . . .but remember, it's only my opinion. I have learned to just go with the flow.

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