Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Monday, 30 May 2011

"... and Canada, and Iraq, and Belgium, and Kenya, and..."

I was not surprised to be asked to sing "God Bless America" as a recessional yesterday, (although I inserted prayers for as many other countries as I could squeeze in, the way I wonder about striving to come up with an appropriate response to "The Lord IS with you," every week.)

This parish uses the work of the hymnographer Berlin as the Offertory song for Pentecost, the Introit for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe... really, it's a go-to. We sing it at weekday Masses whenever the celebrant has a yen to stretch his tonsils.

But even so, I was nonplussed to be asked to join in My Country 'Tis Of Thee for the entrance hymn.

Really? There is NO mention of the Almighty, NO suggestion of prayer.... nothing that makes this jingoism apt for Mass.

And there is no escape. No other parish in driving distance offers any improvement.

At Midnight Mass last year an Extraordinary Minister at the Cathedral proffered the chalice thusly: The Blood of Christ, and Merry Christmas.
At another parish, obviously pursuing a policy of maximum inclusivity for laypersons with the urge to "minister", we heard a different reader at every morning Mass for two weeks straight, of whom perhaps three were competent. Several interuptted themselves in mid epistle to apologize for not having read over "the hard words" ahead of time, and several seemed unaware that the first reading, psalm and Gospel acclamation are not one long reading.

At one parish, only one verse of the psalm is permitted to be sung on Sundays, as "Father gets impatient if the Mass is too long."

At one, morning Masses at the beginning of Holy Week found the PIP in darkness, as Father wanted the lights left off everywhere but in the sanctuary since the (very beautiful) Easter flowers had arrived early, and Father wanted to get maximum use out of, and maximum admiration for, them.

June 13 cannot come too soon.

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