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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

October 24, 2016

Mix and match Masses

evelyn @ 6:04 pm

Following the liturgical shake-up of the 2010 Missal, I wonder if somewhere along the line the idea has taken root that you can’t split up a Mass setting into its component parts and use them separately?

I know of three parishes, and have heard of more, which adopted a certain revised Mass setting in its entirety at the time of the Great Change in 2011. They must have made a real effort, as the setting I’m thinking of includes a through-composed Gloria. Five years on, they are still singing it. Even if some of the people are becoming restive and would like a change, the idea of again going through the process of learning a whole new Mass setting is making them think twice.

Other parishes, mine included, tackled the 2011 challenge with a bit of mixing and matching …

OK, the Agnus Dei hasn’t changed, so we can use existing ones for now. The Sanctus has changed just a teeny bit, so we’ll get tweaked versions of the ones we know, and maybe find a couple more. Hmm, those Memorials are all new. Better go with the ICEL chant for the time being …

… and so on. The upshot is that five years later there is quite a variety to play with. For example, a single Mass could have the Missa de Angelis Gloria (in Latin), a Sanctus by Schubert, an ICEL Memorial Acclamation chant and the old Bellahouston Agnus Dei. My parish is currently ringing the changes with four Glorias and five Sanctuses, although we do need to find a new Agnus or two, and the Memorial Acclamations are rather hanging fire.

Agreed, these patchwork Masses don’t have the unity of a Mass by one composer, but they make it much easier to introduce and teach new Mass parts, slipping them in one at a time. And we’re not singing the same melodies week after week.

Unless we mix-and-matchers have got it all wrong, and the Church has indeed made a rule about unity of music. I wouldn’t put it past them. Does anyone know?

Don’t answer that.

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