A monastic Mass broadcast. Vocations without hijinx ensue.

Andrea Tornielli passed this along from Vatican Insider of La Stampa.

It is in Italian but here is the general line.

The director of Tv2000, the television broadcast of the Italian Bishops Conference, transmitted a Mass from the Benedictine monastery of nuns S. Maria delle Grazie in Orte.  It was just the Mass.  No commentary.

Contrary to most broadcasts of Mass they just broadcasted Mass.

Two women called the convent by phone and asked to be admitted (“varcare la grata”… love that phrase).

A few observations.

Clearly a bit more is needed for a verification of a religious vocation than seeing a Mass on TV, but this could have been a clarion call for those women who already had the sense of a calling but didn’t know where to go for religious life that didn’t have liturgical worship that would quickly drive them away or drive them gaga.

If we simply let our liturgical worship be liturgicial worship, it is efficacious.  For priests and ministers and choir: when we get ourselves out of the way and just say the black words and do what the red words say, Christ – the true Actorcan be more clearly heard and seen.

Benedict XVI is trying to point us toward a renewed liturgical worship.

Also, this underscores the important of silence.  But too often in our churches we have incessant talking and, in place of dignified sacred music worthy for worship, we get someone caterwalling … caterwauling into a microphone as if were the music track of a catfood commercial.

Ars celebrandi, folks.  Continuity.   This isn’t rocket science.

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5 Responses to A monastic Mass broadcast. Vocations without hijinx ensue.

  1. dawnmaria says:

    For some reason, I think it’s spelled “caterwauling.” Unfortunately, I also hear some caterwauling from a female member of the choir at an EF mass. It is much worse, however, when the cantor caterwauls into the microphone at an OF mass. Whether it is an EF mass, or an OF mass, the caterwauling is unacceptable.

  2. Laura R. says:

    For priests and ministers and choir: when we get ourselves out of the way and just say the black words and do what the red words say, Christ – the true Actor – can be more clearly heard and seen.

    Amen, Father! This is the real heart of the matter.

  3. ray from mn says:

    It’s not only “caterwauling” (definitely the first time I have used that word).

    I think that the words of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, OF or EF, current or proposed, are very important and worth hearing.

    On most occasions, I prefer to attend a Mass without music accompanying it. My second choice would be a cappella singing by the congregation or, cantor, choir or schola, with no pounding organ, piano or other loud instrumentation.

  4. Sol says:

    Also, this underscores the important of silence. But too often in our churches we have incessant talking and, in place of dignified sacred music worthy for worship, we get someone caterwalling … caterwauling into a microphone as if were the music track of a catfood commercial.

    This is only too true for too many organists, who either don’t or cannot play in such a way that the organ guides the people in singing. When the organ stops are used wisely and the organist knows his abc with regards to musical harmony, there is scarcely need for using the mic at all, save for minor corrections when the congregations falls out of sync (as people have the tendency to slow down when singing during liturgy). Sadly, many people still believe that the organist’s major task, choro absente, is to sing. No it isn’t, brothers and sisters. The organist’s main role is to PLAY THE ORGAN, and play well. It is up to the people to sing.

  5. Sol says:

    @ Ray: I suspect the reason you refer to the organ as ‘pounding’ may be that your organist is simply not up to scratch (for many reasons, and since I want a nice quiet day, I won’t get started on that one) . For some reason, many people seem to believe that the organ is somehow a distraction during Mass, simply because it is ‘too loud’. It’s all a matter of HOW it is being played. For example, I cannot imagine playing the Gloria using only quiet flute voices, it’s the Gloria, one wants to underscore what this hymn expresses using organo pleno, and rightly so.

    Technique and harmony is key here. I agree that an underqualified and unskilled pseudoorganist can ruin it all, and that in that case you are right to be fed up with the organ during Mass. When it is played properly, though, it truly lifts your mind to God.

    Also, consider for example the works of Max Johann Reger. His choral ‘Ein feste Burg’ ( if you want to listen to it, there is a great rendition by Prof. Seifen on You Tube) blows your head off. But look into what the Psalm wants to say, and then it becomes more clear why the choral is the way it is. The organ is supposed to be loud like a thunder and majestic, and mighty, precisely because God is. Of course, at some moments during Mass, the more delicate stops are used, for example during the Kyrie, the Agnus, before and during the distribution of Holy Communion and so on. It’s a matter of what is appropriate and when.

    Getting rid of musical instruments during Mass is not the solution. Bringing in good organists, who will be respected and paid properly, maintaining and looking after existing organ and ditching tambourines, guitars, banjos etc. certainly is.

    Also, the a capella choir which you seem to prefer as a better option can also sing in such a way that describing it as pounding is not far off the mark, either.

    My main line of argument: choir, the organ, the organist should all complement each other and thus enrich the Liturgy. The fact that I have seen with my own eyes that it’s clearly not the case in hundreds of parishes far and wide, is an entirely different matter for a separate discussion.