Monday, November 14, 2011

Mystical Body, Mystical Voice: Successful Workshop in Bend

Here's a report I wrote about our successful "Mystical Body, Mystical Voice" workshop in Bend, Oregon, this past weekend. If only our Diocesan Chronicle would publish it!

What does the opening scene of the movie The Voyage of the Dawntreader have to do with the new translation (3rd edition) of the Roman Missal? A group of parishioners from the Bend area can probably explain it after their participation in a workshop sponsored by the Society of St. Gregory the Great on Friday and Saturday, November 11-12.
The workshop concerned the changes in the Mass that will be evident starting the first Sunday of Advent when the third edition of the Roman Missal is formally and officially put into use. Pastors of many parishes in the Diocese of Baker have begun to use at least some of the revised responses of the people. Changes in the priest’s prayers won’t be heard till November 27.
The USCCB has said:
The entire Church in the United States has been blessed with this opportunity to deepen its understanding of the Sacred Liturgy, and to appreciate its meaning and importance in our lives…Musicians and parishioners alike should soon be learning the various new and revised musical settings of the Order of Mass.
People will be paying more attention to the Mass because of the changes – that’s what gives us the opportunity to deepen our understanding of the liturgy. There’s something to talk about: why have these changes been made?  But if we simply take a utilitarian, mechanical attitude toward it, we’ll just say, “Let’s just learn the new words and get on with it.”
There’s much more to it than that!  And that’s what this workshop is about.
This workshop is based on a program is called Mystical Body, Mystical Voice, which was created by a priest and a layman with extensive education in the liturgy; it’s produced by the Liturgical Institute. Based on sacramental theology and the liturgical rites of the Church, it’s not just a mechanical instruction in what’s changing and how we “do” it; it’s also about understanding the beauty of what the new translation has to offer. It’s about enriching our knowledge of and participation in the Mass. And we’re talking about participation in a deeper sense than simply being a part of the choir, or serving as a lay minister, or usher, etc.
The facilitator for the presentation was Dr. Judith (Jay) Boyd, who also serves as vice-president of the Society of St. Gregory the Great. The workshop included both video segments of dynamic speakers addressing the issues, as well as comments by Dr. Boyd, and discussion amongst the attendees. Participants were reminded of the rich Catholic heritage that lies beneath the surface of the Liturgy, building on 2000 years of Christianity as well as several thousand years more of our roots in Judaism. The Mass is more than it appears on the surface, and participants were led into a renewal of their understanding of the liturgy's spiritual depths and its true meaning.
Another important focus of the workshop in Bend – as well as the one given recently in The Dalles - was the value and beauty of a "sung" Mass. The new edition of the Missal contains more music than previous editions, and the USCCB is encouraging priests and the faithful to reclaim some of the lost traditions of the Church by singing the Mass from start to finish. Participants at the Bend workshop practiced singing the responses, and saw the way the simply chant melodies draw one into the liturgical celebration and move one’s heart and mind toward God.
So, what does The Voyage of the Dawntreader have to do with all of this? It's worth your time to attend a workshop and find out! To schedule one in your parish, contact Stephanie Swee at 541-550-0832, or email her at

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