Over the last 40 years, U.S. Catholics developed a repertoire of Mass settings for their sung participation in the celebration of Eucharist, according to the Diocese of Rochester’s Liturgy Office, which is part of diocesan Parish Support Ministries. Each parish has its own unique set of Mass settings, but parishes also have found common settings for diocesan celebrations, funerals, weddings and other intercongregational celebrations.
The implementation of the new translation of the Roman Missal will render the present repertoire useless, the Liturgy Office noted, and present parishes with the challenge of learning new settings for the sung parts of the Ordinary of the Mass: the dialogues, Glory to God, Gospel Acclamation, Creed, Holy, Memorial Acclamation, Great Amen and Lamb of God. Composers and publishers have been busily at work preparing rewritten versions of already existing Mass settings or composing new ones. What is becoming available from the publishers may seem bewildering to parish pastoral and liturgical leadership. What is available, what to choose, will the people get it, can we afford to buy all new music for our choirs, and other questions are arising.
Leadership and all music ministers need to reckon with the fact that where we are after 40 years is not where we will be in the 41st year, the Liturgy Office noted. Patient rebuilding of our repertoire will be required.
In light of this situation, the Diocesan Liturgical Commission made the following recommendation to Bishop Matthew H. Clark through the Presbyteral Council in April. The recommendations were accepted at the council’s May meeting.
All the parishes in the Diocese of Rochester will learn the English chant setting for use during the first year of the implementation of the Roman Missal, at least for the Mass dialogues and acclamations of the Eucharistic Prayer. The commission made this recommendation for several reasons:
* This simple, new musical setting will help all the people of the diocese to learn the revised translations more easily.
* It will ensure full, conscious and active participation at diocesan celebrations at the cathedral and at celebrations with the bishop around the diocese.
* It will allow parishes to continue sorting through the many options for additional Mass settings during the coming year, and to make the choices that are appropriate for their congregations.
* It will help avoid excessive costs for purchasing new music since the chant is to be printed in all worship aids and supplements.
* It can be a decision easily affirmed by the next bishop.
* It links us with the rich tradition and amplifies the beauty of the human voice in praise of God.
By using the chant setting as an introduction and foundation to the revised sung texts, other choices can be made over the next several years that will rebuild a suitable repertoire of Mass settings in each parish.