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Friday, 18 July 2014

In praise of Bill Riccio

William Riccio, lector, organist and master of Ceremonies Extraordinaire, has a post at New Liturgical Movement.

Not quite sure how to say this without it coming out wrong, but his decorum as MC is as near perfect as it is because it is not TOO reverent.
See? I knew I would say it wrong.
It IS reverent, but it is devoid of the showy, airy-fairy reverence that some mistakenly bring to their office in the sanctuary.

It is, if you will, an efficient solemnity, the solemnity of a man with a job to do, more concerned with doing what needs to be done while drawing as little attention to himself as possible except when necessary, such as in the impressively  no-nonsense minimalism of his visual instructions as to posture, given to us as a congregation in the EF liturgies, (where I am more than a little at sea, and wasn't crazy about how far forward in the nave Jonathan Ryan's schola sat, since I like to have as many pews loaded with people who already know what they are doing in front of me as possible,) rather than making sure his face has that "Don't I look holy?" wide-eyed half smiling expression that the worst 5th grade brat in a choir always has when you almost catch him doing whatever it was he was doing.

You know the look, there's probably a Church Lady, (of either sex,) at you parish who wears it when she's not making Father's and your life miserable.

Well, didn't THAT turn into an uncharitable rant?

Anyway, I really like Mr Riccio's manner, he certainly doesn't speed through things, but neither is there an inauthentic reverence that depends on mere slowness -- rightly, as one might as well attempt to achieve solemnity by, oh, I don't know -- turning the organist's pages slowly.

In his posts he notes something I thought I had perceived as well, the youthening of our clerical attendees, (a very good thing!)

And he expresses something I have never been able to get across to non-musicians whom I have urged to attend, the profound spirituality of the event, the retreat aspect of the entire week.

Because the CMAA is not, when all is said, about music at all.

All the musical preparation, the musical focus, the musical skill, the musical education -- it is all in the service of the real focus of the Colloquium, which is the Source and Summit of our Faith, our Eucharistic worship of the Living God.

And thank you, Mr Riccio for helping us do that.

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