Monday, October 17, 2011

Some notes from the GIRM

The numbered paragraphs below are from the 2003 GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal).There is a new translation of the GIRM, just as there is a new translation of the Roman Missal; however, I believe the sections noted below remain largely unchanged.

With Advent approaching, parishes will begin planning for changes in church "decorations" as well as music. Many committees will go with the same thing they've done year after year. But is it really correct? It's worth reviewing what is the mind of the Church as we contemplate seasonal changes in decor!

From the GIRM: 

18. …the entire celebration is planned in such a way that it leads to a conscious, active, and full participation of the faithful …of the sort which is desired by the Church and demanded by the very nature of the celebration… 

289. …[I]n commissioning artists and choosing works of art to be admitted into a church, what should be required is that true excellence in art which nourishes faith and devotion and accords authentically with both the meaning and the purpose for which it is intended.

292. Church decor should contribute toward the church's noble simplicity rather than ostentation. [There should be]…an intent to foster the instruction of the faithful and the dignity of the entire sacred place.

305. …During Advent the floral decoration of the altar should be marked by a moderation suited to the character of this season, without expressing prematurely the full joy of the Nativity of the Lord. During Lent it is forbidden for the altar to be decorated with flowers. Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts are exceptions.   Floral decorations should always be done with moderation and placed around the altar rather than on its mensa.

306. Only what is required for the celebration of the Mass may be placed on the mensa of the altar: namely, from the beginning of the celebration until the proclamation of the Gospel, the Book of the Gospels; then from the Presentation of the Gifts until the purification of the vessels, the chalice with the paten, a ciborium if necessary, and, finally, the corporal, the purificator, the pall, and the Missal.
The Importance of Singing

41. All other things being equal, Gregorian chant holds pride of place because it is proper to the Roman Liturgy. Other types of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful.50

Since faithful from different countries come together ever more frequently, it is fitting that they know how to sing together at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the Creed and the Lord's Prayer, set to the simpler melodies.

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