I just ducked into the balcony of St. Mary Church for the second half of the Mass offered by our parochial vicar. I wanted to be there before the Liturgy of the Eucharist began, because our junior high choir was providing music at Sunday Mass for the first time. Our music director, who also teaches in the school, and I have been wanting to do this for some time--to have our schoolchildren form choirs and provide music as part of Mass regularly throughout the year. We of course want our schoolchildren to learn the importance of music as part of Mass, but we also hope this will reinforce the importance of Sunday Mass for all our families (it is a sad reality that some families will send their children to Catholic school but not attend Sunday Mass).
They did well--they sung the standard, Gregorian Sanctus and Agnus Dei--using the simplest setting that the bishops recommend be introduced into every parish; they led us in "Be Not Afraid" as a communion hymn and "For all the Saints" as a closing hymn. After communion they sang a more contemporary piece--the name of which I do not know--that is a meditation on the Lord's Prayer. It is a very nice piece and they did it well. After the final hymn, they sang a more rousing piece--again, I don't know the name, but if someone from our music program visits here, can you give that information in the comments?
These two contemporary pieces were well chosen and well done--and they belie the notion that we must choose either ancient or modern. The issue is not that modern or contemporary has no place, but rather, the right sort of music that is appropriate for the liturgy, and turns our hearts and minds not inward, but upward and forward--to the Lord who saves us. They did well!
Our vicar, Father Tom, also wore a new, brilliant vestment which was generously donated by the St. Mary Altar Society. I hope to have a photo of the vestment, as soon as I get someone to take a picture of me (or Father Tom) in it. The chasuble, stole and chalice veil were blessed--by me--right before 9 am Mass, and then I used them for the first time.
I obtained the vestment from Saint Bede Studio, after scanning the web for companies to have make a vestment for us. My goal was something a little different--and I was intrigued when I saw a style of chasuble on the St. Bede blog that was worn by St. Philip Neri, St. Charles Borromeo and St. Ignatius Loyola. If you go here, you'll see a post about "a priest from Ohio"--could that be me?--ordering a vestment remarkably similar to the one I obtained!
Later today, I'll stop by a picnic organized by some of our families, including the aforementioned music director and family. The gathering is notable for one feature--it's all our families with four or more children! With great thanks to God, we have a number of families who are--as I like to put it--doing their best to repopulate Western Civilization. It is tremendously encouraging to me and to all of us, and I look forward to stopping by.
Still later, the youth group will have a gathering, starting in the basement of the rectory-office at St. Boniface, focusing on the saints--and as part of that, we'll have a procession to the chapel for solemn Mass--the idea is to recall the catacombs experience of the early Church. After Mass, we'll have a bonfire and 'smores--which allegedly came down from the early Church, but I cannot find a citation for that just now...