Immaculate Conception, Ravenna OH (11 AM)

I really should have taken my camera with me. The inside of this church is drop-dead gorgeous…white walls, high brown beams, a large choir loft, hard floors, exquisite statuary. The front had the usual post-v2 “altar”-ation, but tastefully done. It is everything a Reform-of-the-Reform church building should be. Alas, it is not that kind of congregation.

Music, OTOH, was another issue. Everything was accompanied by a piano and a chantress, the hymnal was Gather Comprehensive, the hymns and Ordinary were all in the post-V2 (as opposed to Vatican 2, which is chant) eccleasy-listening style. They were well performed generally; there were some intonation issues in the Psalm, but that seemed to be the result of a modal mismatch between the response and the psalm. The priest did not sing any of his part.

Of course, there was not a mantilla to be seen, but a number of bare shoulders. To the young woman in the backless magenta number, about 6 rows from the front on the Gospel side: this means you! I still have too much testosterone and not enough grace. If I wanted the female form to be a focus of my worship experience, I’d still be Wiccan.

The homily, by the deacon, was interesting. There were no bells at the Elevation, which I missed, even though I was paying attention; sometimes I’m not, quite, and those bells tell me Look up, this is important! But, in general, they did things with proper reverence. They had EMHCs halfway back in the church, and I tried out my new solution to the choreography problem: walk up, bow before the Sacrament, and walk on. Nobody batted an eyelash, and everybody got into their original seat OK.

This particular Mass is disqualified for me, because of the appalling music. Like I said about Newton Falls, they should sell the piano to feed the poor. I saw pipes up there in the loft, but who knows, they might have gotten hippie-church stupid in the ’70s and threw out the console. So they should sell the piano and buy a Roland C-180 and a decent amp, or a $50 Salvation Army store Genie, or, well, anything. Indeed, I’m beginning to think that the Church should ban pianos entirely. Yes, there is legitimate music that you’d no longer be able to do in church, but they’re as much an incitement to musical sin as backless magenta tops are to concupiscence. But there are also some real positives in this church. I’d be willing to check out the 7Am or 9AM masses…maybe there’s an honest Low Mass without music in the bunch. And if you like sacro-pop, well, you could do far worse than here.

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One Response to Immaculate Conception, Ravenna OH (11 AM)

  1. Jeffrey Quick says:

    Re the music, see here:
    http://notitiae.ipsissima-verba.org/pdf/notitiae-1969-406-406.pdf

    Translated as:
    SING THE MASS; DON’T SING DURING THE MASS

    From various parts we have been asked whether the formula of the Instruction on Sacred Music and the Sacred Liturgy of Sept. 3, 1958, in n. 33 is still valid: “The faithful may sing hymns during low Mass, if they are appropriate to the various parts of the mass.”

    The formula has been superceded.

    It is the Mass, the Ordinary and the Propers, which is to be sung, and not “something”, even if it is “appropriate”, which is imposed on the Mass. Because the action is one, it has one face, one accent, one voice, the voice of the Church. To continue to sing motets, if they are purely devotional and pious (such as the Lauda Sion at the offertory of the feast of a saint), but extraneous to the Mass, in place of the texts of the Mass being celebrated, represents the continuation of an unacceptable ambiguity: giving bran instead of good wheat, watered-down wine instead of fortified wine.

    Because not only is the melody of interest in liturgical song, but the words, the text, the thought, the sentiments clothed in poetry and melody. Now, these texts must be those of the Mass, not others. Thus, sing the Mass, and don’t just sing during the Mass.

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