Monday, February 27, 2012

Breakthroughs and Small Moves

On the grand scale, the five Oscar's awarded to the neo-Silent Movie "The Artist" last night attests to the beauty of invention, or the letting in of the spirit to creative innovation, a sort of break-through, Eureka!-evolution.
But yesterday provided my parishes and others with another unique moment. We have a brand new bishop, installed just two weeks ago. As both the "mother church" of our parish cluster and our deanery, we hosted the Rite of Election yesterday. So, we would be hosting both a good shepherd visiting in the "getting to know you" mode and a true assembly (as the congregation comes from many parishes) of people comprised of neophytes to the Faith, and their sponsors. As a sidebar, as we were leaving the morning Masses we spied our new bishop arriving alone (no entourage!) carrying only his vestments, a small case and a big smile.
Here's the small move-breakthrough aspect- we chose to use the Introit for the day, Invocabit me, actually sung by our "true" schola of a few men as Bishop et al made their entrance. The Introit bells signaled the moment (no announcement) and the schola chanted beautifully. At the moment Bishop reached the intersection of the nave and sanctuary, the choir AND congregation took up the singing of Adam Bartlett's Simple English Proper "When He calls to me..." with the men and women chanting the versicle psalm tone in alternatim.
This marked the first occasion in twenty years of being in our parish that the entrance was accompanied only by the processional proper, without the grafting or stuffing of a companion hymn or such. I cannot describe the feeling of rest, of "coming home" that many of us felt as we chanted.
Prior to the service, I did "rehearse" the congregation with the SEP, each phrase sequentially modeled and repeated with ease, and then thanked the people for "singing like Catholics." And I took a bit of liberty to let them know that the chanting of the original Latin that would precede their taking up the Introit would provide them with the opportunity to visually "take in" Bishop's entrance, and that doing so was also a means of participation to be encouraged. (My wife commented that she appreciated that I mentioned that.)
I pray that no one think I'm crowing out here. To the contrary, I am humbled by the opportunity we've been provided by God leading us to CMAA, and then more occasions to spread the seeds of "sacred, beautiful and universal" in our parishes and now the deanery. There are so many "pockets" that are so far ahead of us on the curve of shifting the paradigm. But along with celebrating those examples of leadership, I am still gladdened for this small moment of grace that filled our hearts with joy.
Soli Deo gloria