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CNP Feedback - Going Well

Q. Dear CNP:

You must hear this often, but I want to add my voice to those thanking you for the helpful content on your site, particularly the Liturgical Planning Pages, CNP Feedback, and other Musical Musings pages.

I was hired by a local parish several years before I converted to Catholicism. The parish had experienced a run of more than ten years of uncooperative music directors, and the parish welcomed this non-Catholic, myself, who submits to leadership, respects authority, and basically does what he is asked in accordance with liturgical guidelines. As I studied the Vatican documents, the GIRM, and Diocesan and Bishops' directives, I came to realize this past year that much of the instruction from our liturgy director and former pastor were not in keeping with liturgical guidelines. Thankfully, our new pastor has given me his blessing and freedom to move our music back on track.

A seminarian in our parish mentioned CanticaNOVA Publications and Music for the Liturgy a few months ago and I checked them out. The change your material has brought about is absolutely phenomenal. I discarded 60% of the choral music on file: everything from Broadway tunes, pop songs (yes, even a Beatles song that was used in Mass before I arrived), and beautiful choral pieces with texts that are clearly not in keeping with Catholic doctrine (evangelical/Baptist music).

I stopped selecting pop-sounding pieces from a very popular publisher's paperback hymnal, regardless of how well the text fit, and opted for more sacred or chant-like settings. We began singing more Latin, and I have edged away from the piano and accompany the majority, if not all, of our Mass with the organ.

I was not aware of the number of people passing through our doors each Sunday "parish-shopping." It seems many, many people have grown tired of the pop-song/feel-good evangelical-style Masses, and are looking for parishes with "real Mass," as many have called it.

Since initiating these changes three months ago, we have received the blessing of our pastor, our bishop, two visiting archbishops and a cardinal to promote and keep pursuing this new direction. Our choir has nearly doubled in size and I had to start a second choir. An opera singer and a professional cellist from Europe selected our parish from the many in our area and have joined our music ministry because of our music selections. I am using much more of my music education. Better yet, for the first time in thirty years of church music directing, I am musically challenged. It is invigorating!

Ours is one of many stories, I am certain, although I don't know how many you actually get to hear about. Thank you for the many, many hours, the expense, and the spirit in which you create, compile, and share your information.

Happily Renewed

A. Dear Happily:

We know of many stories such as yours because of notes with orders and other brief comments. However, no one has documented a success story quite as eloquently as you. Thank you for your commitment to noble and beautiful church music. We at CNP are more than happy to play a part in your parish's musical progress!

Gary Penkala
CanticaNOVA Publications

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