Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Joy of Mater Ecclesiae

Although I am now at a parish with beautiful and amazing liturgy, I have found that there are still things I have experienced in the Latin Mass that I miss very much and have not experienced elsewhere. That is why I still miss Mater Ecclesiae at times. I miss the bold congregational singing of the chant mass settings, especially the creed. Even when we would sing a polyphonic mass setting, the creed was always for the people to chant. And they would raise the roof! Especially at "et unam, sanctam, catholicam, et apostolicam ecclesiam". that always was a powerful and beautiful moment. I miss Karl's bold organ music after the gospel. I miss the clear chanting of the texts by Fr. Pasley. Never have I heard better priest chanting anywhere. Not because there are not priests out there with better quality of voice (but even those are few), but because Father combines beauty with clarity and appropriate speed. You can truly understand his Latin and he often sounds like he could be as fluent speaking in Latin as he is in English because the sentence flow is so often spot on! Kudos to Fr. Pasley. I also think it is important if at all possible for the congregation to have books of music. Even if they can't read notation (supposedly), you would be surprised how many start to understand chant notation because it is simple enough to start picking up on it. It helps them to really learn the mass settings. Those music books should also have hymns I think. Although hymns are not to be the primary music, there is nothing more joyful to me than hearing a congregation raise the roof with a devotional hymn at the end of Mass. I would feel a deep sense of loss if we did not have such hymns as "The Strife is O'er", "This Joyful Eastertide", "On Jordan's bank", "Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silence", and so many more. They give a cultural voice to our faith when appropriate. I have never been a member of a more joyful, faith-filled congregation than that of Mater Ecclesiae Catholic Church. There is such an earnestness about the faith there, and a love of participation in the mass, both internally and externally. I miss hearing a congregation really sing, and I mean REALLY SING. It has provided some of the most beautiful and moving moments in my worship of God in the Mass.
God Bless Mater Ecclesiae and their parish priest. May he grant them continued spiritual growth and many years more to worship God together. May their love for the faith reach much farther in the lives of others than they may ever know.

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