Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Sign

Recently I had been considering getting more involved at church, and wondered what role I should sign up for. I had been leaning toward being a lector, perhaps, but hadn't made up my mind. And then this Sunday I read a notice in the bulletin:
Liturgical Committee

Fr. A___ is in the process of forming a Liturgical Committee for the Parish. People interested in art, environment and learning more about the Liturgical Seasons of the Church are welcom. THis will involve time for workshops and formation, and the study of some Church documents. The committee will be responsible for the church environment during Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter season. If you are interested, please call the office and leave your name. Deadline for signing up is Friday, May 5, 2006.

Ching! I called this morning. If someone's going to be responsible for the church environment during the holiest days of the year, I'd rather it be me and see it done right than sit in the pew complaining about the decor.

Do you think it would help if I described myself as having studied theatre, acting, directing, and design, and mentioned that I'd designed sets for plays in college? Do you think that my few months of professional experience as a stage manager and production assistant would carry some weight? I wonder if that would matter more than a desire to follow the Church's guidelines for proper liturgy.

Q: If you were going to overhaul our parish's liturgy, what would be your first move?

A: I'd read the Church documents on Liturgy

Q: And then?

A: I'd read them again.

Q: And then?

A: I'd read them again, just to be sure.

I just hope I'll never find myself in need of Liturgical Anonymous.


Rick Lugari said...

If you're serious about getting a leading position on the liturgical committee here's what it takes:

1. You MUST wear polyester pant-suits. Nothing else will do.

2. Makeup is strictly forbidden.

3. You must have a take-charge personality (read be an uncompromising bitch).

4. Read Environment and Art in Liturgical Worship by the NCCB. It will be YOUR bible.

5. Read the GIRM. It's easier to find loopholes and counter Liturgical Nazis that way.

6. God gave you a priest so he should be the center of attention. Move the tabernacle out of the sanctuary.

7. If singing is praying twice, dancing must be praying thrice. Liturgical dancers are a must have.

8. Perhaps God's greatest gift to ecclesial art is felt. You can redecorate your entire church by spending $20 at JoAnn Fabrics and the labor is free...have the CCD kids cut out Jesus fish and glue to various swatches.

9. There is nothing more holy than holding hands at the Our Father. You must excommunicate anyone who fails to comply.

10. 5 minutes for the Sign of Peace is a bit too hasty. Our brothers and sisters just can't get caught up in that little time. How many times have you left Church thinking, "darn, I forgot to ask Fred about those persistant hemoroids. If only the Sign of Peace wasn't so rushed."

11. Father is over-worked, you must ensure that there are plenty of EMEs to distribute Communion for him.

12. It must be posted that there will be no kneeling. Some people can't kneel, and it wouldn't be polite for others to kneel in their would smack of spiritual pride.

13. It would also be beneficial to change your name to something like Gerty.

There are many more tips, but I'm out of time. Good luck Gerty.

Darwin said...


The other half of the thinking is: We recently got a new pastor who doesn't seem quite as solid as our old one. Not that he's actively un-solid (is that term?), he just doesn't project solidity. And in response to that many of the more orthodox members of the parish have been taking the "back off, wait, and see" approach. However, forming a new liturgical committee sounds downright dangerous. Can't let the bozos be the only ones there.

I must applaud MrsD on being ready to enter the lion's den. Me, I was just thinking of offering to help out with the rotation of mowing the parish lawsn...

Bernard Brandt said...

More power to you, Mrsdarwin.

Do realize that it will probably be an uphill battle, but will be worth it.

My only suggestion is one that I learned from the late Lord Bertrand Russell, in his Autobiography. His counsel was always to seek out and read the periodicals of the political opposition, if only so that one could know what they were thinking and planning. You might want to check into the americanchurch periodicals (at least online) so as to have a better view of what's on their so-called minds.

Oh, and one other thing: do check (with both their extensive online sheet music library and their links) and see how the other half prays. There's a lot of stuff that might be usefully adapted to the Latin Divine Liturgy.

Rick Lugari said...

Yeah, Darwin...could be trouble. Serious advice would be for MrsD to play nicely and to come across very cooperative until she's in. Once in, if nothing else, she should be evaluating every suggestion through the eyes of GIRM and make it clear that they would be failing in their mission if they did not conform with it. And that armed with the GIRM and other props she will fight any transgretion, even if it means taking it to the bishop, then the nuncio. One person CAN upset the whole thing. Better it to be upsetting for the good, than the bad.

Fidei Defensor said...

Go for it Mrs Darwin, fight the good fight! Keep those liturgical dancers out at all costs!

Anonymous said...

Of note, the parish DID have liturgical dancing once in a while before y'all arrived. That was two pastors ago. He was the type of pastor that liked to delegate out much of his own responsibilities. My impression was that he showed up to administer the sacraments and not much else. Thus, the environment that made it hell for the previous pastor... too many lay people with way too much authority.

The liturical dancing was almost certainly a product of this. Go for it, Mrs. Darwin! This even sounds like something my mother-in-law might like to contribute to.

Dr. Thursday said...

Get a copy of Chesterton's A Miscellany of Men and read the essay called "The Conscript and the Crisis"... When he wrote this, he was not yet Catholic but unlike most media-types, he could describe accurately and perceive more deeply than whole rafts of theologians... the ACS has it.

Heck. It's so important wrt liturgy I may have to post it on my own blogg...

mrsdarwin said...

Dr. Thursday --

Do post it on your blog. I'd love to read it.

Hey, Tex! I've been trying to get a hold of your lovely wife -- where y'all been? Anyway, the new pastors aren't wacky, but they're nothing to write home about. But if Father is serious about reading and studying the documents, then maybe good things will happen.

Bernard, that's good advice about the opposition. And I'd love more sacred music in our masses, whether it was Eastern or Western. The 9:30 mass in particular could really use a musical makeover...

Anonymous said...

The 9:30 mass in particular could really use a musical makeover...

You mean you don't like the jr. high band combined with bad guitar music (both the musical works and the and strum patterns) and juvenile hand motions?

We were out with our friends this weekend enjoying a long weekend on the Pacific coast. I must say, the beaches in Washington leave much to be desired... like heat. But we did see some neat things, like the rainforest including a bear! We're home now. :-)

Dr. Thursday said...

I have posted the essay here. I look forward to your comments.