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  • Deacon Dan Wright serves the Diocese of Austin, Texas. His work outside the parish is as a special education teacher serving students with significant cognitive disabilities.



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October 26, 2006



Amen. But as much as I love percussion, may they rule out bongos and other drums in a New England Mass. One lives in fear of "Babalu" breaking forth one day..

Other than that, I never had a problem with the music at Mass, except during Communion. It would be nice to be allowed to think our own thoughts while He is so close within, in Flesh and Blood..

Thank you for the reminder that these are charged with the care of our souls. I will indeed pray for their decisions.

marco frisbee

Now if only we could get some musicians/worship directors to follow the current directives before throwing this at them.

Having been a director of worship before, I can say that it's actually easy to do. But some folks just love hearing a Communion Song so unrelated to the Eucharist it's not even funny, but has a nice guitar in it.

Then again - the looks on the faces of some in the pews when we blew the dust of the old "Monthly Missalettes" and played "Take Our Bread" during the collection. Genius, I tell you!


The problem is not one of which instruments are appropriate -- though guitars and drums are easy scapegoats. And the problem is not just about which texts for music are appropriate -- although that certainly is needed.

It's much more complex -- having musical guidelines and making them available to musicians, having just compensation and clear expectations and good working relationships between musicians and pastor (or even between musicians and the music director).

And let's not forget that there are three judgments to be balanced in choosing (and presenting) music at liturgy: musical, liturgical and pastoral. So while I may wish on a musical level to bury Carey Landry's "Lay Your Hands" in hole, never to be unearthed again, I have to say in a particular parish, in a particular anointing service, sensitively rendered, it might be the perfect accompaniment to the movement of the Holy Spirit upon those in need of healing.

Musicians in many, if not the vast majority of parishes, are volunteers with limited time, given little if any direction. Those who do invest in professional training are often underpaid and overstretched, particularly in the Catholic Church.

Wouldn't it be refreshing for the Bishops to address that? How might they better support the people called to do this work, rather than just the policies by which they do it?

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