School Masses

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zarlino
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School Masses

Post by zarlino » Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:06 pm

Hello everyone.

Does anyone around here have experience of school Masses? I recently took up a post in a Catholic school, having previously only worked in non-faith schools. I have many years of experience of organising music in a parish church. Part of my remit is to develop the music in the weekly school Mass. When I started the music was basically a four-hymn sandwich. I have taught a set of Eucharistic Acclamations (Mass of Creation) and a Gospel Acclamation (Salisbury Alleluia) which are being sung well, and I am about to introduce a Lamb of God.

The Responsorial Psalm is currently read, not sung. What are your thoughts on this? I would like it to be sung, but there is some resistance on the basis that it provides opportunities for pupils to participate by reading (the obvious reply is that pupils would still be participating in the role of cantor). I know that on a Sunday the psalm "should" be sung. Is this also the case for a weekday Mass? Any thoughts on a sung Lord Have Mercy?

More generally do the liturgical norms for Sunday parish Masses that are the subject of much discussion in this forum apply equally to weekday school Masses? Are there any guidelines or documents which relate specifically to schools which I should be considering?

Future plans include introducing alternative settings of the acclamations, etc., forming a group of instrumentalists to accompany (currently just a piano is used), acquiring an affordable Allen-type organ (there is an atrocious drawbar monstrosity gathering dust at the back of the chapel), and increasing the involvement of the school's chamber choir in the Mass to lead the singing.

Thanks for reading... I look forward to any responses.

alan29
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Re: School Masses

Post by alan29 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:45 pm

A couple of questions
What age are the pupils? Would the music department have anything to offer?

Chris
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Re: School Masses

Post by Chris » Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:58 pm

The Diocese of Leeds put a helpful document together a few years ago which whilst more generally about school liturgies, does refer to music on several occasions.

http://www.dioceseofleeds.org.uk/education/files/GuidelinesforCelebratingSchoolMassesFinalRevisedTextApril2011.pdf

Ephrem Feeley
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Re: School Masses

Post by Ephrem Feeley » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:23 pm

I have been teaching RE and Music in Catholic schools in Ireland for nearly 20 years now - the past 11 years of which I've been in a great all-girls' secondary school with a strong tradition of music. I think what applies to church on Sunday morning applies right through the week too - and age shouldn't really come into it. Good quality music and principals of liturgy transcend age.

Six years ago, we set up the Schola - a group that specialises in liturgical music (chant, modern and traditional hymnody, organ, conducting etc). It requires a fair amount of voluntary work by myself and the other teacher that co-directs the group, but it pays dividends. The soloists for all our school liturgies come from the Schola, who also sing the odd motet or verses, while the entire school sings congregational lines, sometimes in parts. You might check out our department website - http://www.musicatmercy.weebly.com - which should give you a fair flavour of what we do.

Regarding the psalm - it should not be read. Get your students to act as cantors, soloists and psalmists and you can never be accused of preventing participation.

We also purchased a fabulous Content Mondri (2-manual, around 30 stops) digital organ for the department - an investment that has also paid off, time and time again. Much more reasonably-priced, and (in my opinion) better sound quality and a better build than many Allen organs.

The funding for developing this liturgical music programme comes from the Bishop of the diocese, and the parish. Our commitment, in return, is to sing at a modest number of Sunday masses during the year, and to provide musical leadership on confirmation day.

Southern Comfort
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Re: School Masses

Post by Southern Comfort » Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:57 pm

Ephrem Feeley wrote:Much more reasonably-priced, and (in my opinion) better sound quality and a better build than many Allen organs.


That would not be difficult! Allen are the pits.

zarlino wrote:do the liturgical norms for Sunday parish Masses that are the subject of much discussion in this forum apply equally to weekday school Masses? Are there any guidelines or documents which relate specifically to schools which I should be considering?


The liturgical norms in documents such as GIRM and Celebrating the Mass apply to all Masses. GIRM has a few specifics about weekdays (e.g. para 63).

One or two dioceses have good guidelines for school celebrations. I will go away and look them up for you.

liturgyprof
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Location: London

Re: School Masses

Post by liturgyprof » Fri Jun 05, 2015 7:16 am

So glad that SC wrote 'Allen are the pits', rather than 'Allen is the pits'. Both may be true, of course: who am I to judge?
One of the challenges with singing the responsorial psalm in a school setting may be that there is not time/opportunity to properly prepare ministers for a new psalm for each Mass. Use of the common psalms gives more opportunity to build up familiarity and confidence and for ministers and assembly to come to better know and internalise the psalm texts and settings.
Allen Morris

Tom_Neal
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Re: School Masses

Post by Tom_Neal » Fri Jun 05, 2015 4:12 pm

Ephrem, it's great to hear of your work in Ireland. Congratulations! It's particularly heartening to hear of Gregorian chant being sung at your school. Could you tell us a little more about that? God bless!

Ephrem Feeley
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Re: School Masses

Post by Ephrem Feeley » Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:57 pm

Tom_Neal wrote:It's particularly heartening to hear of Gregorian chant being sung at your school. Could you tell us a little more about that? God bless!


The germ of the idea to set up a Schola came from a one-time surplus of teaching hours that our school had back in 2009. Sometimes these would be used for sport, or special needs, but on this occasion the principal asked if my wife (who is currently involved in doctoral research on the development of the Alleluia) would come in to teach the girls chant, for one hour weekly for eight weeks. Sixteen girls showed up out of morbid curiosity. They learnt two pieces: the Puer Natus in Bethlehem and the O Sapientia antiphon, which they recorded and was subsequently broadcast on Lyric FM, the national classical music radio station.

Following the success of this venture, we decided to expand this into a full programme - one lunchtime a week, subsidised organ or voice lessons for interested students, plenty of good choral work, some conducting lessons, principals of good liturgy, plenty of modern and traditional hymns and a good proportion of chant and medieval music. The local PP was asked for ongoing, minimal support, as was the bishop. The first serious investment was a Content Mondri digital organ.

Six students enrolled the first year; the numbers have steadily grown to the point that our auditions have to be somewhat more rigorous than earlier on. We now have 24 girls from 1st to 6th Year (12-18 years of age), probably the maximum that the group could ever be and still have its ministerial function. We are clear that it is not just a performance group, like the other choirs in the school. The goal is to train the next generation of liturgical music ministers.

Ephrem Feeley
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Re: School Masses

Post by Ephrem Feeley » Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:07 pm

Apologies for the poor spelling: in a school setting, we're too used to dealing with principals. Of course it should be "principles of good liturgy".

To go back to zarlino's original post, we believe that this model is sustainable and do-able in most Catholic schools, particularly those with an already-established tradition of choir. All that it takes is a bit of courage, a couple of teachers with a concern for liturgy to get involved, and minimal funding by parish and/or diocese.

Keraulophon
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Parish / Diocese: Southwark - Kent

Re: School Masses

Post by Keraulophon » Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:57 am

The Directory for Masses with Children, which can be downloaded from the Liturgy Office, says that "Verses of psalms, carefully selected in accord with the understanding of children, or a song in the form of psalmody or the Alleluia with a simple verse should be sung between the readings. The children should always have a part in this singing, but sometimes a reflective silence may be substituted for the singing."

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Gwyn
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Re: School Masses

Post by Gwyn » Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:10 am

The Directory for Masses with Children,

I note that it's a 1973 Annibale Bugnini document. Does that help? Wasn't he a bit iffy? I'm open to fraternal/paternal correction.
:D

Southern Comfort
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Re: School Masses

Post by Southern Comfort » Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:36 pm

Gwyn wrote:
The Directory for Masses with Children,

I note that it's a 1973 Annibale Bugnini document. Does that help? Wasn't he a bit iffy? I'm open to fraternal/paternal correction.
:D


You've been reading too many vitriolic blogs, Gwyn!

Nothing wrong with Bugnini. He wasn't a freemason, as some have suggested, but a loyal servant of the Church who has come in for a lot of personal vilification because some of those who did not like the post-Vat II reforms needed a scapegoat on which to vent their spleen. The Directory on Masses with Children was a ground-breaking document and still very much in force.

Another 1973 "Bugnini" document was Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass, "signed" on Corpus Christi that year. Nothing wrong with that one, either. Apart from Bugini as Sacretary, it was signed by the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Arturo Tabera, who did not in fact become Prefect until 8 September of that year (Rome often puts fictional dates on documents :mrgreen: ). Cardinal Tabera paid a visit to the SSG Summer School the following year, 1974.

Keraulophon
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Parish / Diocese: Southwark - Kent

Re: School Masses

Post by Keraulophon » Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:39 pm

The 1973 document is cited in a footnote somewhere in the current edition of GIRM. Its existence is reasonably well known among RE coordinators and chaplains in schools - at least in my home diocese.

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