We’re trying something new and different at Our Lady of the Rosary. I’m rather tired of the “Formal-Informal” divide in liturgical circles. It seems there are two styles–Happy Clappy Campfire Liturgy or Strict and Formal Solemn High Maahhss”.

While I’m temperamentally biased toward the second I can see that there are lots of Catholics who are turned off by it and tootle off to the Campfire Songs and homely homilies because, while they don’t like that too much, it’s better than the Palestrina and Pergolesi and Mozart and Monteverdi with which they do not connect, and which they perceive to be highbrow and hifalutin.

So I’ve been wondering why there can’t be a middle way. Why there can’t be good music that is reverent, simple and accessible to all without being tacky, trite and sentimental?

I have been very much influenced by monastic spirituality so we’ve started a 5:00pm Mass on Sundays which I call ‘contemporary contemplative’. The Mass is said very simply and reverently with much use of silence and very simple chant–some Taize music and simple, old fashioned American gospel tunes, simple Anglican hymns as well as some 16th century English liturgical music and Gregorian chant.

We’ll see how it goes. If you’re in the Greenville area, come by some Sunday at 5:00 and see what you think.