ALL the main aspects of the recent Instruction on sacred music and the liturgy as it applies to parish worship were covered at this year's summer school of the Society of St. Gregory, held at Endsleigh Training College, Hull, last week.
Fr. J. D. Crichton spoke on the parish as the assembly of God's people; Fr. H. Backhouse on the Mass (in general terms) as the chief expression of their worship.
Particular forms of the Mass— the dialogue Mass, the Mass with hymns, and the High Mass—were expounded by Fr. J. B. O'Connell, Fr. Clifford Howell, S.J., and Fr. J. O'Mahoney respectively. Finally, Mr. Donald Attwater spoke of the use of a missal, the chief way of participating by internal attention at a Mass which affords no opportunity for external participation.
All these lectures connected up with each other logically, and were highly appreciated. Each in turn was made the subject of discussion at a special session during which the members of the school divided into four groups for the purpose.
The programme, moreover, was not limited to theory; it included the celebration of Mass according to each of the forms treated by the lecturers. Members, therefore, could assess from their own ex
perience the practical possibilities of each form for parishes of varying degrees of liturgical maturity.
A useful adjunct to the school was the provision of a book display, where members could not only purchase copies of the text of the Instruction which was being studied but could also examine— and buy if they wished—a great many books and pamphlets on the liturgy and allied subjects.
Music, too, was available here for those who took part in the Plainsong and polyphony classes organised under expert teachers. A particularly welcome and practical item in the music programme was the daily session devoted to learning English hymns.
This 1959 summer school was undoubtedly one of the most successful ever held by the Society of St. Gregory. It was remarkable for the exceptionally high proportion of those attending for the first time.
This, it is hoped, is a sign that people are beginning at last to realise that the society is not an exclusive body of musical experts, but has much to offer to the average Catholic who has no specialised knowledge but is interested in learning about and taking part in the Church's worship.
By Fr. Clifford Howell, S.J.