Today being the feast of St. Augustine I was hoping to attend my diocese of St. Augustine’s celebration which included Mass, a procession and to be capped off by a speech by historian Michael Gannon. Unfortunately the local weather made this impossible. As a result I had to attend Mass at a parish that had a later Mass. The phrase "When we sing,we pray twice" is attributed to St. Augustine and he might have revised it if he attended the Mass I did. I thought I knew what was in store when I saw the Gather hymnal, but it turned out it wasn’t used. I guess they considered this hymnal not to be vapid enough and they had spiral booklets of their own hymnal. The priest who celebrated Mass did give an excellent homily and even chanted some of the Mass, but the music the choir used was discordant to say the least with his reverential celebration. Think what it would have been like to watch the Passion of the Christ with Barney on the soundtrack.
The choir included a drummer, electric bass player, and one acoustic guitar player. They had the tendency to drag every song they did on and on. When they did the alleluia before the Gospel I swear it lasted at least three minutes. I think I said alleluia when they finally finished. The same thing for the Agnus Dei. They had one of those multiple line introductions not actually part of the Agnus Dei and then said the refrains so many times that you were never sure when the verse would actually change from " have mercy on us" to "grant us peace." Now I have experience all this before and am getting better at just ignoring it and concentrating on the sacrifice of the Mass instead, or at least I though it was. After receiving Our Lord in Communion I was kneeling and trying to pray when what do I hear? Bah-ba-ba-dum-ba-da …, yes a drum intro followed by an electric bass for a couple of lines until the choir chimed in. Not exactly conducive to prayer. For the final hymn they invited children up to play the maracas and I witnessed the choir do some choreographed arm movements to whatever it was they were signing (I am desperately trying to purge it from my memory.) At the end people clapped and I can only hope that it was in response to the choir finally finishing. I am just not sure how people can be so oblivious to just how inappropriate the music was. At times during the Mass my wife and I would exchange glances when we were just dumbfounded by the music.