Counselling needed.

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

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oopsorganist
Posts: 739
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 9:55 pm
Location: Leeds

Counselling needed.

Post by oopsorganist » Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:19 pm

I once was talking to a manager - not in church music - who stated that noone should need counselling as a result of their job.

Anyway. Being not involved in church music no more, I am aghast that my old and offending parish are asking me what to sing. This is impossible to do.

When I mention the new translation, they ask, is it mandatory?
Then they reveal they are going electronic with CDs and have bought ........ wait for it, a set of CDs which contain Acclamations which are not the new translation. Someone has sold them the old ones. Or they have got them from somewhere.

So, I suggest they ask the Diocese for help. And they say, well, it is OK for parishes to do whatever they can and anyway, because the parish priest isn't bothered they can do what they like. They can be the only parish that is not able to sing the Diocesan recommended settings and can sing the Israeli Mass of the American Mass. And the Salazaar Gloria. And so on.

And they don't want any more expense to boot.

So then I suggested with great kindness really, considering what has happened, that they ask a bod associated with the parish, who composes such things, if that person would teach them their Mass settings. Which I am sure are as good as any and would help foster inter parish musical relationships.

But that was not to their liking either.

Which is kind of the mess I came into 16 years ago when I took up that burden.

And to be fair or tubby bear as they say round here, even mentioning all this to me is giving me quite severe distress.
uh oh!

High Peak
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:49 pm
Parish / Diocese: Diocese of Nottingham
Location: Derbyshire

Re: Counselling needed.

Post by High Peak » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:07 pm

John 11:35

As do I!

How the liturgy is celebrated is SO important to the spiritual life of the Church. One thing I have learned over the last two or three years since being invited to take up my present ministry, is that you do not need outstandingly talented musicians and singers (though it can help! :D ) but you do need a sensitivity to the liturgy that comes through research and reflection; both of which require the investment of time as well as guidance. This guidance, in my experience, rarely comes from our PPs.

I have mentioned on these pages before how our dioceses need to ensure that they get materials, information, etc., to those in parishes that are charged with liturgical duties. Otherwise, even the most well-meaning parish musician may continue dishing out music that has the spiritual nutritional value equivalent to bread and water.

blackthorn fairy
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:36 am
Parish / Diocese: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Wellingborough Northamptonshire

Re: Counselling needed.

Post by blackthorn fairy » Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:58 am

OH dear Oops, you are well out of that lot! And to think that they are still giving you grief! I don't know what the answer is other than to have nothing further to do with them. And I sincerly hope that wherever you are now, whatever you are doing in whatever capacity, you are managing to achieve some sort of spiritual fulfillment.

alan29
Posts: 1062
Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 8:04 pm
Location: Wirral

Re: Counselling needed.

Post by alan29 » Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:12 pm

Shake dust from feet. get stuck in to another parish.
Their problems are no longer your problems.

MARYFA
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:35 pm
Parish / Diocese: DIOCESE of LEEDS

Re: Counselling needed.

Post by MARYFA » Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:30 pm

You have all my sympathies. Would it not be a good idea to forward this post to your Bishop, the chief
liturgist of the Diocese? He should be made aware of this lamentable situation and be prepared to do something
about it. Has not the Leeds Diocese got a highly regarded Music Department? is it not part of their job to educate
Priests and people about Liturgical Music?

oopsorganist
Posts: 739
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 9:55 pm
Location: Leeds

Re: Counselling needed.

Post by oopsorganist » Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:56 pm

Thanks for support
I don't want to make a fuss which is why I went quietly, magnanimously really - it was scandalous - the things that were happening - and all around music in some way too. Like a big mound of all the problems we encounter in our various roles, but all happening at once. I laid awake last night fretting and reliving all the reasons why I became increasingly upset to the point of disappearing. That, and retiring, on Tuesday, from my paid employ. A difficult decision to make.

I can't find another parish. I feel that I have failed. Should I have stayed and fought? I do not like fighting of any kind over music. It is very wrong. I have been a few places and the music is so so. I have found a parish that sounds like it does more recent composers. I shall get myself over there one week.

The man who thinks I am on hand to give advice :roll: insists that electronic computer music is the whole future in the church :oops: and that any composer who has rewritten classic favourites of the Mass settings has only done it for the money. I noted that the music is not planned for Easter :| yet - I ended up getting very het up and upset - whilst he also got upset and ranted at me, that the Holy Holy is a very sacred heart of the Mass but the words used are not going to matter so much. So they don't know the words and they can't remember the tune. Big job for the angels, this one.

I would like to know who sold them the CDs? Surely they are not readily available if they are out of date?

I spent the last whatever years since the new translation was produced, teaching the Plainsong responses and a new Gloria but Lordy, Lordy - no one can remember them ? ! ?

As my friend said today. "Go find a man who knows nothing about it, and then take his advice". "We women know how the church works".
uh oh!

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VML
Posts: 674
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Parish / Diocese: Clifton Diocese
Location: Glos

Re: Counselling needed.

Post by VML » Mon Mar 30, 2015 4:38 pm

Oops, I really feel for you. Though we do have a singing parish, and I am responsible for Holy Week, I have lost many hours of sleep over the last few years about one person who decided….. :x that we should have four leaders, one for each week of the month...
As it happens, I now lead alternate weeks, but 'their' week happens to be Easter Sunday, and the main musicians are away at a youth Church event from Saturday!
The 'leader' apparently intends to 'do' Easter Sunday, but since most of the 'choir' all have done their bit for the Vigil, and are mostly over 60, they are not coming back in the morning; I did quietly say to her that I was willing to play the organ if she wanted me to, -she plays guitar-,
but I have heard nothing, even in response to a request to all choir and musicians so that we have at least some idea of who will be there for the Triduum. We gave up on practices when I spent too many practice times sitting in the church on my own.

I will be at the Easter morning Mass with family. PP has sort of decided that Easter Sunday is 'not about the organ,' but I think that is just to placate me. He is actually worked off his feet and has also lost much sleep about the situation. He is very supportive of what we do, and is singing his parts too.
I hope you can find some way through all this. I have kind of acquired a choir: a community choir that has recently started in our local library who needed an animator. They actually meet at exactly the times we would have had parish choir practice. You may find something local that would give you some fulfilment too.
I understand the parish situation. You would not want to go to another parish when your own is part of your life.
There is some good advice offered here, think about contacting the diocese for help in refreshing the music. I suppose this is not easy when you are no longer 'in charge', but you could ask fairly innocent questions as a punter in the pew.

quaeritor
Posts: 326
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: oxfordshire

Re: Counselling needed.

Post by quaeritor » Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:09 pm

VML wrote: think about contacting the diocese for help in refreshing the music.

I'm not sure you'd get much of a result there, Oops - I get a distinct sense that music is no longer the current "big thing". We read more than a year ago (I think) that two dioceses had abolished their "heads of music" positions (excuse me for not remebering the formal job titles) and the Archdiocese of Birmingham's Liturgy Commission Church Music Committee (now there's a title for you!) has disappeared into thin air - I can't even find a link on the archdiocese website - at least it used to have pretty pictures of the members!

IMHO, (and for once it really is a HO) it's worth taking a step back and having a fresh look. Let's ask ourselves what the reform of the Mass was really aimed at. Try Googling "American Polka Mass" and pick out some of the YouTube clips to get an impression of what was going on. Here's one
(sorry - I've forgotten how to make an elegant link)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSLijTYuV0E

If you can bear to cling on for about 4 of its 49 minutes you'll come to the Gloria and realise just why the new rules stipulate that the words of the Gloria must never be altered. (Full marks to the priest, by the way, for leading the Eucharistic Acclamations himself, unaccompanied - must have been too challenging for the band!! More priests should be prepared to do that if all else fails.)

Once a year in Oxford there is celebrated the Misa Campesina - a Nicaraguan folk mass (Oxford is twinned with Leon) from the era of liberation theology. Here is the Sanctus:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZBTtdcOdJg

I like that, by the way, but it's easy to see that in its new instructions the church was not pursuing those renegades who put a comma before the third "Holy" (or should that be the other way round?)

It's hard for those of us who have stood on our heads and jumped through hoops (tricky, especially if attempted at the same time) to try to confrm to the new norms to realise that perhaps it's not as important as we thought. If it doesn't matter to our priests, and it doesn't matter enough to our Bishops for them to persuade our priests to take it seriously, what chance have we got?

Now I've gone and made myself grumpy again!

Q

PhloridaPhil
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Parish / Diocese: St Lawrence, Diocese of St Petersburg
Location: Tampa, Florida
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Re: Counselling needed.

Post by PhloridaPhil » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:13 am

I think the previous writer may be referring in part to me! Yes, it is true that the post of Director of Music for the Cathedral & Diocese of Hallam was declared redundant a year ago. I would like to think that the post enabled me to provide just the type of support to musicians and clergy that oops is talking about ... or at least that her erstwhile PP requires. in fact some clergy in that oops' diocese even approached me to offer advice and workshops, presumably because they chose not to approach their own diocesan office.

In the situation oops describes there is no other recourse than to take the concern to the bishop. If this fails then perhaps also a 'name and shame' approach might be appropriate through organs like the Tablet.

Liturgy is so important to the spiritual life of the faithful that I cannot conceive of a bishop ignoring his responsibilities in this regard. What was the point of the Bishops' Conference letter last Pentecost ending the period of transition to settings of the revised translation? It was an instruction given to the whole Church of England & Wales and not just its musicians.

oopsorganist
Posts: 739
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 9:55 pm
Location: Leeds

Re: Counselling needed.

Post by oopsorganist » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:44 pm

Phil, had you been in our diocese to guide and support, this whole situation would never have happened - both the problem in Advent where I have felt it necessary to my well being to leave my parish ( and strive to find somewhere else to worship) and the current problem - one where well meaning people are trying to get some music going in my absence, and lacking the skills and knowlege to do so well -
and in the process of doing this, causing me a revisitation of extreme stress. I must the only person in the UK to have PTS disorder from singing hymns!

The thing is, where a parish really cannot get enough musical skill together to make reasonable quality music, then they should not try to do so. "And with the choirs of angels...." the Mass is still acceptable to God even without a four hymn sandwich and sung Acclamations. And if people go to a particular church for a good old sing of hymns, well, they might be better in a Methodist service where that is the content of the service. And the theology and the opening of the Word. And the sermon. All hymns.

But I think someone mentioned before in another thread - it can impact on the collection plate and attendance. So what does that say about what is happening to parish communities. I dunno. Something.( And if a parish values its/organist/ liturgy planning/ musical whateverist or what you call it - why would you replace them for the visit of the prelate by the offshoot of the Diocesan music department? Derail the current liturgical music development for a one off performance - Sigh, I suppose that is alright. Maybe good came of it. Who knows? Certainly the SSG did not get a look in and a word said for them! Tsh.)

And if your value is actually in money terms - why do we end up buying all our own stuff? Grrrr.

And then additionally, if the church is only going to be used by families and children for the annual fairy party we call First Holy Communion ....? I dunno.

So I do need to let it go. Somehow. Maybe prepare to be a path of non resistance. If the person who has managed to upset me, starts up - I see them quite regularly in another walk of life - I will have to say "Oh, that is nice" and "Great. Do that", "Well done" and then leave the room and bang my head on a wall. Certainly, they are not going to listen.
There will be a better place for me and your prayers might guide me there.
At least I can chill out at weekends. Well, every day now. I have today officially swopped the tension for a pension. :D
uh oh!

alan29
Posts: 1062
Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 8:04 pm
Location: Wirral

Re: Counselling needed.

Post by alan29 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:28 pm

Congrats on retiring - I heartily recommend it.
You're right, good music attracts. it shouldn't be so, but it is. Got to be worth dioceses investing some of their debt into training and resourcing - should be seen as an aspect of evangelisation. something about the church being the only organisation that exist for non-members.
As for the one person who winds you up ... a quiet word along the lines of "none of my business any more" ought to do the trick!

oopsorganist
Posts: 739
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 9:55 pm
Location: Leeds

Re: Counselling needed.

Post by oopsorganist » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:39 pm

Ah, I never ever thought of saying that. Simples really.

I cannot say No. Must learn to say No.

Also, I could learn to play the accordion. That Polka Mass, that was something eh?
uh oh!

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keitha
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Re: Counselling needed.

Post by keitha » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:15 am

Quaeritor said:

"...and the Archdiocese of Birmingham's Liturgy Commission Church Music Committee (now there's a title for you!) has disappeared into thin air..."

Just to respond - Birmingham hasn't given up on liturgy and music (!) - the Committee referred to had a fixed term of office that expired, but we still have our music adviser, however, serious illness and a parish move intervened in the process of designing the Committee's replacement, which had to be put on ice. However the prognosis (both for the replacement and our music adviser's health!) is, thankfully, improving. Watch this space!
Keith Ainsworth

quaeritor
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Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: oxfordshire

Re: Counselling needed.

Post by quaeritor » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:03 pm

keitha wrote: . . . . Birmingham hasn't given up on liturgy and music (!) . . .

I'll join you, Keitha, in not mentioning the adviser by name - although many posting here will know him well - and yes, I had heard he was ill, but making progress, thank God,, and of course I wish him well - this is in no way pointed at him personally.

However, it was 2004 when I emailed him about the already prolonged unavailability of the committee website (which I have never found "on air" since, although I haven't actually checked every day, or even month), and the resource centre, and he was then about to be moved (for the time before last) but looking forward to relaunching the activities.
". . put on ice . . " - ? - that's some depth of ice!

There are valid discussions to be had about the relative importance of various activities - including of course that of being a Parish Priest - but the net result is that had Oops been in the Archdiocese and looking for the advice or backup suggested above there would have been nowhere to turn.

Q

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keitha
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Re: Counselling needed.

Post by keitha » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:00 pm

:) :) :) The Music committee website still exists - the full content was removed in late 2013, but it exists as a contact point still

http://www.abcm.org.uk/

There was (and still is) a link from the Diocesan website...but finding it can be a pain in the neck. The Diocese needs the new structure that is currently being considered and the relevant body, when formed, needs to have a catchier name than can be easily found, and a more obvious link on the Diocese website. Of course, if the Church had more money and could even begin to finance some support for liturgy so that it is not wholly dependent upon unpaid volunteers who have to work for a living, or upon full-time parish priests who have too many other jobs to do, this could all be done faster and more professionally...but then I feel the beginnings of a rant coming on! :)
Keith Ainsworth

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