Over a hundred musicians – choir directors, cantors, organists and instrumentalists – from across the Archdiocese of Glasgow converged on St. Aloysius, Garnethill on Saturday 27th August for a workshop run by the Archdiocesan Music Committee on music for the new translation of the Missal. The numbers clearly indicated the level of interest in the topic, and the commitment of the musicians of the Archdiocese to ensuring that their congregations would be prepared for its introduction.

After an opening Morning Prayer, Fr. David Wallace (who had just returned from the World Youth Day in Madrid) spoke to participants about the opportunities provided by the new translation. This was an opportunity to look afresh at our liturgy, an opportunity for development and growth. Clearly parishes were different in their resources and needs, and would handle the introduction of the new Missal differently, and this was perfectly acceptable.

Fr. David Wallace gives opening talk

Changes would take time to get used to, and looking at this positively, it was not a bad thing if we had to slow down when we prayed! Prayer is the main purpose of Mass. We should enjoy the challenge and grasp the opportunity to learn. There are increasingly resources available on the Internet to help with this, including www.romanmissalscotland.org.uk, www.stmungomusic.org.uk, rcag.org.uk/liturgy and others.

A number of sessions then followed on musical settings of the new texts. Mgr. Gerry Fitzpatrick took the participants through the chants in the Missal, stressing the importance of sensitivity to the words when using them. Grace Buckley introduced a selection of revised settings of existing Masses including the Marty Haugen Mass of Creation, the Schubert German Mass, the Fitzpatrick Jubilee Mass, and the Bellahouston Gloria. The encouraging point, she suggested, was that much of what was currently used can continue to be used with little change required.

Completely new settings for the new text were introduced by Maria Madden and Dorothy Gunnee. These included Dr. Noel Donnelly’s Dalreoch Mass, Mgr. Fitzpatrick’s St. Andrew Mass, Tony Giovanazzi’s Hebridean Mass, the Cill Choirill Mass by Peter Rose and Ann Conlon, and the St. Margaret Mass by Harry McFarlane. Clearly there was a good selection of material already available for parishes to choose from. Mgr Gerry made the practical point that the new musical settings should be introduced gradually to ensure that congregations are given adequate opportunity to learn. As musicians, we should always remember that the purpose of music in the Liturgy is to help people to pray better.

Fr. John Gannon followed up the musical sessions with a discussion on the role of the priest. He asked the participants to remember that the priest needs support in the celebration of the liturgy. There should be a partnership between priest and people. The priest has the responsibility to lead, but the music ministry has the responsibility of supporting and helping the priest. The objective should be mutual encouragement. The final session was presented by Frank Stewart on the technological resources available now to assist church musicians in their work. Music can be put on YouTube for rehearsal purposes. There is already a St. Mungo Music YouTube channel and one called National Catholic Music is to follow. Music resources are included on the St, Mungo Music website and on RomanMissalScotland. There is an App for the IPad which will assist organists. Live broadcasting over the Internet is possible too, with the appropriate licences.

Some of the participants at the workshop

Participants were given sample materials to take away and a CD of some of the music presented at the workshop. The workshop will be followed up by further local sessions throughout the diocese. Suggestions on locations were discussed with participants, and a finalised list will be published on the St. Mungo Music website as soon as details are available. It is also hoped that a workshop specifically on the use of technology can be arranged, in view of the clear interest of those present.

The hard work of singing etc. during the day was fuelled by a lovely buffet lunch provided by the ladies of St. Aloysius who took the large numbers present in their stride and even had some left over for “doggy bags”!