Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Symposium Features First Mass With ‘New’ Missal

By MARY ANNE CASTRANIO, Staff Writer | Published September 1, 2011

“And with your spirit …” responded attendees at the recent Southeastern Liturgical Music Symposium during the event’s Saturday morning Mass, trying out the new translation of the Roman Missal for the first time, a highlight of the event.

All went well, including singing the solemn chants for the Mass parts, with the exception of the response at the Sign of Peace, when “And with your spirit” wasn’t printed in the program (as other changes were). At least half of the congregation incorrectly responded to “The Lord be with you” with the familiar “And also with you,” bringing a burst of amusement from those attending, and a smile from Father Douglas Martis, the keynote speaker, who was presiding at the Aug. 20 Mass.

On Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent, the new English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal will begin to be used in parishes across the United States, Canada and other English-speaking countries. And in June, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that instead of waiting until Advent to implement all parts of the new Missal, the musical settings of the people’s parts of the Mass can be introduced beginning in September.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory gave permission for the revised version of the Mass in English to be celebrated at the symposium, as part of the education process for musicians and liturgists.

Claire Gilligan is the new associate director for the archdiocesan Office of Divine Worship. In an email, she said, “This was indeed the first celebration using the new Missal translation in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. … It seems to have gone very well. Even the one seeming snafu (the confusion after “The Lord be with you” at the Sign of Peace) was strangely instructive and memorable, I think, and I suspect it will help many people to remember the correct response.”

Musicians and liturgists from Georgia and the surrounding states gathered for the Atlanta Archdiocese’s annual symposium on Aug. 19-20. The symposium, held this year at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Atlanta, featured a concert of sacred music and a wine and cheese reception on Friday evening, followed on Saturday by the keynote speaker and different sessions led by various renowned teachers and musicians, who also participated in a panel discussion at the end of the afternoon.

The symposium focused on the challenges for liturgical musicians as the new translation of the Roman Missal will begin to be used in parishes this fall.

Gilligan said, “We were very pleased with the symposium, and our impression is that the vast majority of our participants were, too.”

The more than 300 participants came from five different states and from 54 of the parishes in the Atlanta Archdiocese, an increase of more than 60 attendees from last year’s event.

Father Martis provided a lively and enthusiastic keynote address. A priest of the Diocese of Joliet, Ill., he is director of the Liturgical Institute and chair of the worship department at Mundelein Seminary of the Archdiocese of Chicago, as well as the editor of “The Mundelein Psalter.”

Father Martis encouraged attendees to use the new Missal as an occasion to move forward in the celebration of Mass.

“It cannot be just about moving into new terms,” he said.

He described the historical context of the changes, asserting that “every generation can claim sacred liturgy for themselves.”

The Mass, he said, “moves us from the sensible, visible … to the Spirit.”

He said, “We need to engage our entire being, our heart and soul in this act of worship.”

Father Martis also discussed the idea that the Mass gives those who participate a “discipline for living out the Christian life.”

He said, “At our liturgies are people of different gifts and abilities … and the intention of the Church is not to make us all the same … it is Pentecost, the miracle of many voices.”

Speakers for the four sessions offered at the symposium included Father Jan Michael Joncas, an associate professor of Catholic studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., and a noted author and musician; Alan Hommerding, senior liturgy publications editor at World Library Publications; Scott Turkington, organist and choirmaster for the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston, S.C.; and Ken Canedo, a liturgical composer and author from Portland, Ore.

One attendee, Ellen Nunez, of St. Maurice Church, Fort Benning, said that the symposium felt like a “kickoff” for the revised Mass.

She said, “Chant is a good way to go to bring us all down to one level.”

The symposium was a good way hear the revised Mass “in all its glory” with the many trained musicians who sang at Mass, Nunez said.

She added, “I have to go back to six to 10 voices that are not trained.”

St. Mary Magdalene’s pastor, Father Dan Fleming, already knows what Mass parts his Newnan church will be learning—the “Mass of St. Ann” by local musician, Ed Bolduc. Most of the new Mass settings are available to listen to online, he said.

“I liked it at rehearsal,” he added, when his choir “played their rendition” of this Mass. He said, “I preached (on the revised Mass) last Sunday, and people enjoyed what they were hearing.”

Gilligan said that feedback from the symposium was positive, adding that a number of musicians are reconsidering their plans for introducing the new Mass parts after attending the event. The Mass at the symposium included the chants composed by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

She said, “There were a number of musicians who, before the symposium, had no interest in using the ICEL chants (as we’ve recommended to all our parishes), but who have changed their minds thanks to the experience of singing them together and (hearing) the thoughts of the speakers and other participants.”

The next Southeastern Liturgical Music Symposium will be held on Aug. 24-25, 2012.