February 3, 2014

Our well-attended 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica has undergone some drastic, and less than positive, changes.

We are no longer able to sing our "Blessing of the Lord" to the children as they leave the sanctuary for their lesson, a ritual which I always felt was delightful and enriching.

Second, the opportunity to sing hymns of praise and adoration during the celebration has been cut down to just two in number.

To be sure, we now have the skilled and pristine intonations of our new Schola group and, although we're encouraged to sing along, the obscure and ancient melody lines present a challenge well beyond the average person's ability to follow.

But why is Latin being introduced? I used to adore Latin back in the day, but surely we are supposed to have left that back in the duststorm created by Vatican II.

The ringing of the symbolic bell at the Consecration was taken from us years ago, but now the silence is extended to last throughout the lengthy distribution of the Eucharist. No hymns permitted.

Notwithstanding the ruling that all liturgical music is to be played or sung in front of the congregation, all music is now performed out of sight, behind our backs up in the choir loft.

I'll grant one positive: We are finally able to hear, when there is no a capella singing, the incomparably rich and glorious sound of our superb pipe organ, which generally has been reserved for one quick closing hymn.

The bottom line is this: Apart from the life-giving wonder of holy Mass itself, the revised form of this celebration exerts an unpleasant negative impact on our experiencing warmth, joy, comfort and Christian fellowship, which are the heart of our belief and which we have every right to expect.

Brian Spiers

Letter to the Editor – 03/03/14