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 Post subject: Full conscious active participation?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:55 pm 
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Jedi Master
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Greetings,

IN SC #14 it calls for Full, Conscious, Active Participation in the liturgy by all involved, including lay people. Just a question: If much of the liturgy is done in latin OR the propers are sung by the choir without giving any texts to the people: How does this fulfill the mandate of the church for pariticipation?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:19 pm 
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It seems to me that there are times in the Liturgy where that participation is silent and individual. After receiving Communion, it I as an Individual who try to absorb the awesomeness of what just happened.

Yet at the same time, the entire congregation is called to a subliminal participation by the choir's communion hymn. At least in my parish.

Pax Christi

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 Post subject: Re: Full conscious active participation?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:51 pm 
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TP wrote:
Greetings,

IN SC #14 it calls for Full, Conscious, Active Participation in the liturgy by all involved, including lay people. Just a question: If much of the liturgy is done in latin OR the propers are sung by the choir without giving any texts to the people: How does this fulfill the mandate of the church for pariticipation?

peace


Having read several opinions on this subject, the full active participation seems not so much saying/singing the same words, movements, or making any noise at all, but being like Mary Magdalene, or John, at the foot of the cross; entering into the action with the fullness of one's heart. Not easy to do, at least consistantly. That is where the sense of the sacred helps one enter into the sacred action.

God bless,
mark

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:57 pm 
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Greetings,

You said: After receiving Communion, it I as an Individual who try to absorb the awesomeness of what just happened. Yet at the same time, the entire congregation is called to a subliminal participation by the choir's communion hymn

Response: Actually, the Girm mentions that the Unity of our voices in song show the unity of spirit. It seems very open that we should being singing together, not just praying while the choir sings. But then it says that the first choice for music at communion is the Roman Gradual, which is difficult for a choir much less full community singing. The Girm seems to contradict itself in these recommendations.

peace

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:02 pm 
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Greetings,

You said: Having read several opinions on this subject, the full active participation seems not so much saying/singing the same words, movements, or making any noise at all,....

Response: SC #14 has line that people often forget it is full, active conscious participation ACCORDING to the Nature of the liturgy. The nature of the liturgy has just be described in SC 1-13, which is the internal transformation through the encounter of the paschal mystery. So the Participation is an Internal participation first and formost, HOWEVER, there are other places where participation are mention where it does mean responding and singing etc. So it is both that are called for by the council in some way.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:24 pm 
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Quote:

Response: Actually, the Girm mentions that the Unity of our voices in song show the unity of spirit. It seems very open that we should being singing together, not just praying while the choir sings. But then it says that the first choice for music at communion is the Roman Gradual, which is difficult for a choir much less full community singing. The Girm seems to contradict itself in these recommendations.

peace


It is a contradiction, isn't it. Our parish only sings two hymns - the Processional and the Offertory. I presume the congregation is not restricted if they want to join the choir in the Communion hymn. Perhaps it is my personal attitude that moves to listen rather than participate.

Pax Christi

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:30 pm 
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Greetings,

I would like to have a worship aid with the chant in it so that if a person would like to join in they could. It could also have the words in english in the worship aid so they could meditate on the prayer. But for me this is just daydreaming right now.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:37 pm 
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It's possible to do that, TP. You could print out sheets or even paper hymnodies that you leave in the pews. People would refer to those for the chant.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 7:43 pm 
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At one parish I worked at the pastor was friends with the choir master (or maybe it was the music librarian, don't remember) from St. Meinrad's Seminary and Archabbey. They had some great chants for Mass and the LotH. They also had software for reproducing the square-note notation. When I moved to my current parish I kept the catalog; I've got it in my office somewhere - I'll see if I can find it.

At our parish we chant the Lord's Prayer in English for certain seasons - not neccessarily limited to Advent & Lent, but at least during those times. We also chant the Agnus Dei. I think that's a good place to start. I have colleagues that go full throttle and begin doing lots of chant, polyphony and other 'high church' or cathedral style music as soon as they come into a parish. They get great participation from the choir. But the congregation stops singing.

I have read the Holy Father referring to the idea of 'delegation,' - where singing of certain parts of the Mass, for instance, the Offertory or the Sanctus is done by the choir on behalf of the congregation. This would enable the community to offer the very best of the music of our sacred tradition while the congregation unites itself spiritually to the musical response of the choir. I can see the merit in this for certain times in the Mass. But as far as the Sanctus is concerned I would rather the entire community (congregation and choir) join together in a simple chant then have the choir perform a Sanctus from Palestrina or Mozart.

At the other end of the spectrum we sometimes have music that engages the senses, that is so much 'fun' to sing that I get a little concerned that people forget the what and why of the singing. I have been to liturgies where I had to wonder if the people weren't merely responding to the constant barrage of emotive 'pop' sensory input. When this happens I think we deprive congregations of their right and duty of consciously participating in the liturgy - instead we end up with full, active, 'unconscious' participation.

I personally as a music director am not satisfied with the extremes of either paradigm. There is a balance somewhere. I can find that balance on paper, but working in a real parish where the choirs and congregations each have different strengths, weaknesses, histories, repertoires, limitations (actual or self-imposed), likes and dislikes...

Therein lies the rub....


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 11:42 pm 
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Mary was a full and active participant in the Passion and Death of Our Lord. I try to imitate Her.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 12:29 am 
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Mary was a full and active participant in the Passion and Death of Our Lord. I try to imitate Her.



But Mary's FAC participation was...silent, at least in the scriptures.

(Although perhaps her silent cry was that of Rachel: "Give me children or I will die!" - she was given two children as a down payment - John and the good thief - then a WHOLE bunch more!)

Anyway, you're right, Bon. The participant par excellence is our Lady and her participation was more...what? Interior? Contemplative?

It reminds me of part of the opening to Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy...

Quote:
2. For the liturgy, "through which the work of our redemption is accomplished," (1) most of all in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church. It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek (2). While the liturgy daily builds up those who are within into a holy temple of the Lord, into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit (3), to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ (4), at the same time it marvelously strengthens their power to preach Christ, and thus shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations (5) under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together (6), until there is one sheepfold and one shepherd (7).


Participation need not be outward to be active. And if our participation in the liturgy leads us into contemplation, then since we are finite human beings, not able to do all things at once, would we not then give all or most of our attention to the interior expression of FACP rather than some of the outward expressions.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 12:40 am 
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Quote:
The participant par excellence is our Lady and her participation was more...what? Interior? Contemplative?


Yes.

Quote:
Participation need not be outward to be active.


And yes :)

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Uniformity with the Will of God by St. Alphonsus Liguori


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 5:24 pm 
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Greetings,

You said: Participation need not be outward to be active. And if our participation in the liturgy leads us into contemplation, then since we are finite human beings, not able to do all things at once, would we not then give all or most of our attention to the interior expression of FACP rather than some of the outward expressions.

Response: I think we need to avoid extremes. There are people who say that Participation must be exterior, and imply that it is only exterior. That is very wrong since as you have shown there is a strong interior element as well.

However, we don't want to swing the pendulum totally in the other diretion as well. We do not want to completely get rid of the external element of participation. We are bodily beings in Communal worship. The external element is important for US because we are bodily and it is through our bodily actions that we can be led deeper into Christ(singing, bowing, kneeling, etc). We cannot have everything solely internal because we are a sacramental church. It is also communal, so our external participation is our communication to others that God is important. I you sit and outwardly do nothing, the young man next to you might think that you are bored or not concerned with the liturgy because his ONLY information about you is that you sit there with you eyes closed. There is a witness element.

If you know the music, enter into it. Sometimes it is the greatest humility to sacrifice what I want in liturgy. Humility is Good.

I would say, the documents would agree, Participation is both internal and external.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:03 am 
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However, we don't want to swing the pendulum totally in the other diretion as well. We do not want to completely get rid of the external element of participation. We are bodily beings in Communal worship. The external element is important for US because we are bodily and it is through our bodily actions that we can be led deeper into Christ(singing, bowing, kneeling, etc). We cannot have everything solely internal because we are a sacramental church. It is also communal, so our external participation is our communication to others that God is important. I you sit and outwardly do nothing, the young man next to you might think that you are bored or not concerned with the liturgy because his ONLY information about you is that you sit there with you eyes closed. There is a witness element.



I agree. I was going to add a 'but' to my last post, but it was already full of 'buts'.

I youth minister friend and I were talking about this and he likened FACP to a tree. The roots are the interior pariticipation - they should be deep, to keep the tree anchored and to draw nutrients and water from the ground.

The branches and leaves are the outward participation. They certainly have an aesthetic appeal, but they are not just there for decoration, they are also doing their part to keep the tree alive and healthy.

And then, of course, every healthy tree must also bear fruit....

And it is the beauty and shade of the branches and leaves as well as the fruit that bear witness.

------

my previous post needed clarification:

Quote:
Participation need not be outward to be active. And if our participation in the liturgy leads us into contemplation, then since we are finite human beings, not able to do all things at once, would we not then give all or most of our attention to the interior expression of FACP rather than some of the outward expressions.


In my diocese the trend has long been to dress up the liturgy with lots of extras in order to encourage even more participation. We could call it Full-on, Hyperactive, Unconscious Participation! Extras such as...

1. Adding lots of extra hand-motions to the songs. These are usually a mix of real sign language and lame, arbitrary hand motions.

2. Needless additional postures, or variations in the postures that are called for by the rubrics. For instance, being encouraged to link arms or put arms around each other's shoulders in order to form giant concentric people-rings around the altar, swaying back and forth as we sing "Holy, Holy, Holy..." etc.

3. Background music during the Eucharistic Prayer (we need music to sway to, as the celebrant leads into the Doxology) - and yes I know this has long been forbidden, but the practice here was only recently stopped.

4. Replacing prescribed texts with upbeat songs that are loosely based on the prescribed texts and which are supposed to be catchier and easier to sing. This is even done to texts such as the Exultet, all for the purpose of a fuller participation by the congregation.

5. Covering the silences with mood setting music, usually some soft 'piano sparklies.' B16 points out in The Spirit of the Liturgy that we participate more and better precisely by entering into the silence. But so many musicians, liturgists and priests make the unfortunate mistake of equating outward inactivity with non-participation.

Some of these extras IMO tend rather to pander to our emotions rather than lift our hearts to the Lord. I know we shouldn't be doing them, but they still happen. If I'm at a liturgy where this sort of thing is encouraged, I would rather give my attention to "the one thing necessary' than to take part in an outward expression that only gives the illusion of greater participation. These extras have (or had) been a staple in my diocese for so long that I just got used to including them in my considerations. From posts that I've read here and elsewhere, these extras are still being used in other diocese.

I should have been more clear. I am in total agreement that if something is called for in the rubrics, whether to sing or to acclaim or to stand or sit, bow or kneel - i gotta do it, even if my personal inclination would be toward a more contemplative expression.


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