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A couple of weeks ago I read in a Catholic church’s Sunday bulletin a notice from the parish priest which said that the new Missal, which contains a number of prayers to be sung would require revised Mass times.

He said that the revised liturgy has a number of prayers which must be sung instead of spoken.  He wanted his parishoners to know that the guidelines for the new Missal strongly suggest that the priest have a period of time after Mass to rest and regroup for the next celebration of the liturgy.  He added that some priests, not surprisingly, would find the increase in sung prayers difficult to master, at least in the short term.  He warned the parishoners that, as a result, there would need to be more time between Masses and that the current schedule would have to change.

I wonder if this is why, in the Latin Mass, the priest recited the prayers in a soft voice.  If you have attended a Latin Mass, there appear to be many more prayers for the priest to recite.  When I last attended in Cannes two years ago, the books we were given were quite thick, about 60 pages altogether.

In principle, the new Missal sounds as if it is an improvement on the current one.  However, I do wonder about the wisdom of saying that more designated prayers must be sung at each Mass.  My late father, certainly, almost always preferred a Low Mass.  Had he lived, he would have been attending this revised Novus Ordo.  I think he would have decided that he was too old to attend, which he would be, if he were alive today.

There was a time when priests learned how to sing and chant at seminary. (They also used to learn ecclesiastical Latin, which has been dispensed with in far too many.) In any event, I hope in all seriousness that priests will be taught how to sing and breathe properly.  Otherwise, the new Mass will wreak havoc with their vocal chords, possibly on a chronic basis.  This often happens with child singers, who perform on stage without proper voice training.  I hope this will not befall Catholic clergy, who have enough to deal with as it is.  Some in England are responsible for two churches, depending on the number of parishoners at each.

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