08 August 2010

Coast to Coast

The title does not refer to the oddball late-night radio show, but rather to my recent move. My blog partner, Lizzy, moved to the East Coast a few years ago, and my husband and I have now joined her on the Atlantic shores! Not only are we now living on the East Coast, we are living in the South. This should be interesting! My husband has his first full-time job as a church organist at a Catholic parish in the diocese of Raleigh (I won't be disclosing the parish name or the town where we live).

Today was my husband's first official day as the new organist, and he has already stirred up a controversy! The parish music director is in his sixties, and I think the pastor (Msgr) is too, but we and the parochial vicar (Fr. M) are in our twenties. Fr. M is a NAC grad and fairly conservative--for instance, he sang many of the dialogues, collects, and part of the canon today. My husband, noting the lack of Sanctus bells, used the organ's zimbelstern as makeshift Sanctus bells. The music director chewed him out for it after Mass and said that the pastor had decreed no bells would be rung, so for the next Mass the zimbelstern was laid to rest. After the second Mass, Fr. M (who is on for most of the Masses because Msgr is on vacation) said, "Why no bells? I liked them!" My husband explained that he'd been told not to, and Fr. M frowned. "I'll send an email to your boss," he said, "and you can use the bells at my Masses. I wasn't aware that Msgr had any opinion on Sanctus bells."

Obviously there is some kind of generational disconnect here. The music director also informed my husband that "None of the churches on the East Coast use Sanctus bells anymore" which I know for a fact is not true. I can name at least half a dozen in New York alone that use bells. The young organist and the young priest clearly have different ideas about how liturgy ought to go from the older music director and the older priest.

We will have Fr. M over next week to bless our new house (and it's an actual house, with a yard and friendly, quirky neighbors--I'm going to the neighborhood watch meeting on Thursday and planning my vegetable garden). We'll try to get him to stay for dinner, and talk about life at the parish. I know he can only be forthcoming to a certain degree, but maybe it will give us some insight into people and situations that we might need to be careful of. Wish us luck!

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