Monday, December 26, 2011

St. Ferdinand - Florissant

Happy 3rd Day of Christmas!  I'm a little behind.

For Midnight Mass on Christmas, I attended St. Ferdinand.  This is a modern church.

The choir is in the front on the left and the music was accompanied by a piano.  Before Mass there was a program with singing.
Opening:  O Come All Ye Faithful
Nativity Blessing:  Silent Night
Gloria:  Sing Glory
Communion:  We Adore These Tiny Hands; When Blossoms
Closing:  Go Tell It on the Mountain (complete with tambourines and clapping)

Odd Happenings:  There was a procession around the church during the opening song.  There was an Alleluia after the Gospel.

Homily:  Father talked about a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, I Heard the Christmas  Bells, written during the American Civil War.  Longfellow had thoughts of joy even in the midst of despair, even though his heart was torn by the War.  We are a people of peace.  Bless us on this Christmas Day.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer II and there were bells and incense.

And now I'm going to throw a nutty.  We have this nice shiny new translation.  I know that the translation has been available to musicians for at least a year, if not longer.  Why are we using music that goes with the old translation and putting the new words in it?  I have 2 problems with this practice.  1.  I can't remember new words.  My brain has connected the old words with that melody.  I have the same problem with songs that have been made more inclusive.  I still sing the old lyrics.  And apparently, some of the choirs don't remember the new words either.  2.  The words don't fit in the music!  With this setting, the one with the Sing Glory to God in the Highest.  Yeah.  Shoehorning the new lyrics into the music.  They don't fit.  The cadence is wrong or something.  It was horrible.  Horrible.  My brain was going nuts.  I was having a hard time remember the new words when my brain was like hey no...this is the old stuff.  They don't give us peeps in the pews the actual music, so it's not like I could see how the music and the words were fitting together.  I realize new music is expensive.  But for the love of my ears...take up a collection and buy new music.

View From the Back Pew

Nativity in the Sanctuary

Nativity in the Vestibule

Station VIII:  The Holy Women

Not sure I like the placing of those white boxes to block the window.

Website of St. Ferdinand


  1. I am not a Parishoner of St. Ferdinand but I must say I disagree with some of your post. First of all, how is a procession during the Opening Hymn and an Alleluia after the Gospel an "Odd Happening" Midnight Mass is supposed to be celebratory and joyous and MANY Catholic Churces use an Alleluia after the Gospel for Christmas and Easter. It's exciting and beautiful to rejoice after hearing God's Word! Secondly, you said you just showed up there for Midnight Mass…the rest of the congregation has been singing that Gloria since before the change over and HAD music to go with it and used that music until they didn’t need it anymore. Also, how is that any different than showing up to ANY church and not knowing the Gloria they are singing? I have visited other churches for the first time and I had never heard the Gloria before and I didn’t have the music. I would have rather been able to know it enough (even if I had to sing the old words) then to not be able to sing at all!

  2. I did not mean odd as in bad, I meant odd as in different. I don't believe that a second Alleluia is actually an option, but I'm not a liturgist.

    The problem is that on Christmas, you get many people that may not be parishoners because they are visiting their families or they are C&E or CAPE Catholics. They may not A. know about the new translation or B. it may not be the music they are used to.

    Additionally, people do move. It may be someone's first time as a new parishoner.

    It was not a criticism of St. Ferdinand perse, it is a criticism of the practice in general. The problem is that the words no longer fit the music. This was the perfect time to introduce new music and teach the congregation something new.

    It strikes me as strange that those in charge emphasize full and active participation by the laity but do not give us the tools to actually do so.