For example, there's that old story about the Jesuit seminarian and the Franciscan seminarian. They both smoked cigarettes, and at their seminary they would hang out in the smokers' doorway during classroom breaks. One day they got to talking about the way their religious activities limited their tobacco use, and resolved to do something about it. Both men committed to asking permission to smoke during prayer time.
The Franciscan student went to his superior and said, "Father Master, would you mind if I smoke during prayer time?" Father Master lost his cool. "Of course I mind, Brother! You're a Franciscan! You're supposed to be concerned about creation, and here you are smoking! Look at the carbon monoxide, think of your lungs! And, those things are very expensive, and you're supposed to be in love with poverty! It's bad enough that you smoke at all, much less during prayer time. Absolutely not!"
The Jesuit student went to his superior and said, "Father Master, would you mind if I pray while I smoke?"
It's all in how you sell it.
Now, we who know Gregorian chant know that it's what every parish needs. But perhaps we could do a better job of marketing. What if we were to phrase the question in a way that practically demands a "yes?"
- Father, would you like the children in your parish to learn to pray?
- Father, would you like the people in your parish to become more aware of the liturgical year?
- Father, would you like the teenagers in your parish to be prepared to sing at international gatherings such as World Youth Day?
- Father, would you like to improve the quality of the music in your parish?
- Father, would you like to increase the sense of Catholic identity among the faithful?
- Father, would you like to give the people in your parish the tools that they need to become better disciples?
- Father, would you like to save money on hymnals and worship aids?
- Father, would you like to take the guesswork out of choosing appropriate music for your parish?
- Father, would you like your Sunday Masses to be more meaningful and awe-inspiring?
- Father, would you like to attract young, professional-level singers, eager to volunteer to sing at your parish, simply because the music program is so wonderful?