Mandate one musical setting

Regarding “Parishes introduce new settings” (CR, Sept. 15), I do not disagree with the view that, in an archdiocese as diverse as ours, “it would be catastrophic to only have had one or two musical settings of the new translation to choose from.”

I would observe, however, that a common setting for sacramental celebrations that bring Catholics from all over the archdiocese would be helpful, so that we can indeed celebrate with full, conscious and active participation. I’m not only thinking of cathedral liturgies, but of weddings, funerals and other sacramental celebrations that draw family and friends to one parish or cathedral. This is what the Archdiocese of Baltimore did in 1966, when it mandated Vermulst’s Mass of Unity.

Surely a setting, such as the Mass of Renewal by Gokelman and Kauffman, which was voted on by a cross-section of musicians across the country, could serve the needs of a parish of any size, any musical style, and work with any ensemble from the simple to the full orchestra. Until a setting like Marty Haugen’s Mass of Creation emerges by national consensus, I suggest that the archdiocese could and should mandate one musical setting to be added to the repertoire of all parishes in order to sing the new translation. When I was active as a music director, I kept at least four settings in our parish repertoire. I recommend that the Mass of Renewal be one of them.

The writer is former music director at Church of the Resurrection, Ellicott City.

Catholic Review

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