It's not a coronation...

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Parish / Diocese: Archdiocese of Cardiff

It's not a coronation...

Post by FrGareth » Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:49 am

Paul Inwood's article on community-sensitive liturgy in the latest Music & Liturgy reminded me of a common saying by our Rector when a student was approved for a ministry, candidacy or diaconate - ""It's not a coronation..." he would warn the candidates.

I was very mindful of this when the time came for my own priestly ordination in May 2007. How was I to design a liturgy which drew in the diverse people who would be coming?

First, who was coming?

[*]Members of the parish - in Wales - where I was serving as deacon, which would host the ordination, and where I would stay as priest - where a volunteer organist (a musician by profession) animated a small but dedicated choir, supporting a good mix of traditional and contemporary Catholic music;
[*] Lots of young adults who knew me from Youth 2000 or Catholic Charismatic Renewal;
[*]Family members and family friends, none of whom are Catholic
[*]Ecumenical guests from the local churches and from the Salvation Army where I used to worship...[/list]

Quite a mix!

First decision - a Mass setting. As Paul Inwood suggests, a responsorial setting makes most sense, and I chose Derek Fry's "Ave Maris Stella" Mass setting. This one needs a schola to carry it well - so I had the parish choir rehearse it and use it as our parish Mass setting throughout Eastertide, giving people 5 weeks of practice before the ordination.

Next, I decided to share the musical leadership between the parish choir, with organist, and a small music ministry from the Sion Community, where I had spent 3 months on their mission school as a deacon.

I decided to produce the service book myself, and for the sake of those unfamiliar with Mass, put in the whole text with directives of when to sit, stand or kneel. As for the little matter of copyright, I recuited a local SSG member to handle the paperwork!

So I offer the following as an example of a liturgy deliberately designed to be inclusive of a very mixed congregation:

[*]Gathering song - Come & Fill This Temple (A. Friesen) - Sion group sing verses, all learn refrain before Mass begins.
[*]Entrance hymn - All My Hope on God is Founded (R. Bridges - accompanied by organ)
[*]Kyrie & Gloria - Ave Maris Stella Responsorial Mass (animated by parish choir)
[*]Responsorial psalm - Jeremiah canticle, "O the Word of My Lord" - D. Lundy's Song for a Young Prophet (expecting that many people will recognise the refrain, parish choir sing verses)
[*]Second reading - in Welsh, with English translation in the service book.
[*]Alleluia - Celtic (O'Carroll & Walker). Known everywhere, in my experience
[*]Litany of Saints - a setting by Gerard Bradley carried by cantors but with some simple people's response lines.
[*]Hymn during vesting and procession of bread and wine - Holy Spirit, Lord of Light to a traditional English tune arranged by Javier Elderfield. Sung by all, accompanied by the Sion group sing verses, all learn tune before Mass begins.
[*]During the sign of peace between the newly ordained and other priests - I Will Offer Up My Life, M. Redman - performed by the Sion musicians, the only "performance piece" in the whole Mass not intended for the congregation to have some part.
[*]Sanctus & Acclamation - Ave Maris Stella Responsorial Mass (animated by parish choir)
[*]Doxology - at the discretion of the Archbishop (always the wisest policy!)
[*]Agnus Dei - Ave Maris Stella Responsorial Mass (animated by parish choir)
[*]During Communion - 1. This Is My Body (Owens & Lundy: sung by all - giving choir a chance to get communion first)
[*]During Communion - 2. Bread of Life, Truth Eternal (CJM music: verses sung by choir, accompanied by Sion - needed a bit of rehearsing on the morning beforehand)
[*]During Communion - 3. Adoremus Te, Domine (J. Berthier, Taizé: refrain sung by all - cantor from the choir singing verses over it)
[*]Following the dismissal
1. Regina Caeli - unaccompanied - first line intoned by the newly ordained priest
2. Invitation Fountain (If you lead me Lord, I will follow) by M. J. Pritzl - animated by Sion group
3. Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer (P. & W. Williams) - naturally to Cwm Rhondda, a tune first performed 100 years previously in a church in this very town!

At this point I was meant to come back into church for first blessings, but as soon as one person approached me outside the church in bright sunshine, a queue formed, and the plans for the musicians to improvise for as long as I was IN the church giving blessings was superfluous!
Revd Gareth Leyshon - Priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff (views are my own)
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