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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sicut Cervus

An amazing thing happened last week at Mass.

Background info first: Very often, the choirs at St. John's will do a post-Communion meditation as the priest is cleaning the vessels at the altar. It's imperative that the director of each choir time the piece perfectly to finish before the priest is finished with the vessels; otherwise, the priest sits before the song is finished and everyone in the congregation will then rise from their kneeling position and sit down in the creaky pews. Between the shuffling, creaking, thumping of kneelers being returned to their upright position, etc., it makes for a brutal cacophony of sound right near the end of a meditative choral piece. Talk about ruining the mood.

Anyway, on Sunday, I cut our communion chant a bit short, as the priest presiding at Mass tended to be very "efficient" at cleaning the vessels, and I knew that we needed to start the post-Communion motet a bit earlier than usual. So the choir received Communion and then we started the piece. About halfway through, I started looking every 30 seconds or so to check to see where the priest was; at one point I got a sinking feeling in my stomach, as I knew that he was going to finish before we would, and the end of the piece would most likely be ruined by the congregation hurling themselves back into place. I turned back to the choir with a pained expression on my face and braced myself for the inevitable.

But it never came.

The ending of the piece was beautiful, and not a sound could be heard in the Church otherwise. I immediately looked back towards the front, and sure enough, Father had sat down . . . but the congregation stayed in place. No one had moved a muscle.

Now I've been doing choir stuff at St. John's for 7.5 years now combined, and this has NEVER happened. The congregation ALWAYS sits down . . . must have been the Holy Spirit not wanting to ruin this piece.

(No, this is not my choir! And we only did up to 3:33 of the video.)



Translation:
As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God. (Ps. 41(42): 1)

1 Comments:

At 3/17/10, 10:45 AM, Blogger Scelata said...

That's lovely, you must have a more liturgically astute congregation than you knew.

I'm trying to imagine what reverent silence in my parish would be like...nope, can't do it.:oP

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

 

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