Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Class Mass

I still want to respond to an earlier question, but I wanted to say a few things about another issue first.

So I went to Mass at my elementary alma mater this morning. To be wholly truthful, it is a bloody wonder that the majority of these children aren't atheists after such a liturgy.

First off, the music. Sung by a cantor at a pitch easily eight octaves higher than 99.9% of human can reach, the notes of the hymns were totally inaccessible. Then again, even if the songs had been sung at any pace other than a funeral dirge, I don't know that I'd have been able to sing - the songs were the most deranged settings of the Mass parts that I've ever heard. As a professional musician and a (VERY) regular Mass attendee (try every day) I think I have a good sense of music...but this was just ridiculous.

Directly behind me there were a group of children (I believe a parent was with them) who had something of the "Old Country Buffet" operating on their pew. In the space of a 50-minute Eucharist, they went through several courses of food ranging from Ziplock-sealed cereals to pretzels to some sort of gummy fruit snack that smelled like cherries mingled with scorched rubber. While the rest of us were praying, they were milling about re-enacting various scenes from "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Harry Potter." Okay, that's hyperbole.

After communion, several classes ascended the altar and were led in a meandering rendition of Dona Nobis Pacem sung about 100 beats too slow and 100% off key. Then we applauded them.

Ryan-the-curmudgeon: cute does not good liturgy make. I'm firmly of the school that if you can't do something well, don't do it at all. Especially the liturgy. I was really distracted throughout the entire Eucharistic celebration.

I'm sure it's tinted by nostalgia, but I remember our school Masses being great events. We ALL sang loudly (granted, we were given reprieve from homework assignments if we achieved full and active participation) and we all knew the songs. The songs were selected especially for us and were the melodies that we could both grasp and enter into. Today's hymns were more appropriate for the Mass celebrated at "Sunny Acres Retirement Home" where short-term memory is the rule and hearing aide batteries fill bowls instead of M&M's.

So that's my morning rant. I haven't yet had a delicious Enstein's coffee (I'm heading out now for it) which definitely impacts my mood. But I thought I'd share my post-Mass musings for your consideration...or entertainment...or mortification.
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