Priest goes country, writes bluegrass Mass

“There was some Catholic toe tapping to the strains of banjo and fiddle” as the first bluegrass Mass was celebrated recently “exactly where it belonged: the ‘birthplace of country music,’ Bristol, Virginia,” according to a story written by Jean Denton in The Catholic Virginian, newspaper of the Diocese of Richmond, Va.

We learn how Father Edward Richard, a bluegrass musician and a professor and vice rector of Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, brought bluegrass musicians together at St. Anne’s Catholic Church to help him lead worship through the music he composed for the “Saint Anne Rhythm and Roots Heritage Mass.”

The Mass was the brainchild of St. Anne’s pastor, Father Timothy Keeney.

10 Responses

  1. Is it 1969 or 2009? A priest who says the traditional Latin Mass should know better than to participate in this nonsense.

  2. A blue grass mass is about as dated as this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-NOZU2iPA8 . Gregorian Chant is the new avant garde in liturgical music.

  3. Hey Ken, a culturally adapted mass is not per definition less respectful. Never heard Missa Creola? We honor God with head, heart, soul and body, why not with country music?

  4. This is worse than nonsense. It is a gross liturgical abuse that needs to be reported to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. That a vice-rector and professor of a seminary and a pastor could perpetrate a sacrilege of this sort in 2009 is unbelievable. Both their bishop and the Congregation for the Clergy should remove them from their posts, subject them to canonical sanctions, and require them to undertake suitable penance and liturgical re-education.

  5. Without hearing any of the music, or knowing much of anything about the bluegrass Mass, I would hesitate to assume it’s a liturgical abuse. One of the beautiful things about the Gospel is its ability to be proclaimed in a variety of ways, to people throughout history in different places, cultures, etc. This may have gone too far, but to suggest that this priest and his bishop should immediately be removed from their posts seems also to go too far. It is sad that the reactionary, uncharitable debate style of our culture is finding its way into the Church.

  6. If the lyrics of the mass parts are liturgucally correct according to the GIRM, it doesn’t matter *what* style of music it is set to.
    Ken and Paul are jumping to conclusions that the music itself is not liturgically correct according to the GIRM, and that is apparently a knee-jerk reaction. Ben has it right.

  7. A Blue Grass Mass sounds novel, but is it disrespectul? Is it uncanonical for the Novus Ordo Mass?

    It is hardly grounds for excommunication, penance, and other church sanctions. Such penalties seem to be the work of Ultramontanist ultra “traddies”, SSPX types, and other anal retentive old reprobates.

    The threat of Church punishment should be greeted with howls of laughter and deserve nothing but derision.

  8. Cultural adaptation of the liturgy is the point, and it’s perfectly legitimate. I suspect that those here who are upset about this would be equally disturbed by a typical Mass in Africa…but African Catholics and Appalachian Catholics are just being themselves, which is not only okay but officially approved in the strictest official liturgical directives, etc.

  9. Paul, on what are you basing your comment anyway? Please explain to me exactly how this is a liturgical abuse. You have a little reading to do I think. The Church has long allowed inculturation in the Mass. I’ll admit, this may not be an appropriate form of worship where you live, but we live in Appalachia. This form of music is a part of our history and our culture. It was done in a prayerful way and helped many people to gain a better appreciation for the liturgy.

    I am personally offended that you would make such comments about my culture and call for sanctions against the priests involved without knowing more about this. Please keep your hateful comments to yourself.

  10. Hi, Paul. I can understand where you, as an individual might not appreciate a Blue Grass Mass. Still, to say it is a liturgical abuse is the same as saying that you alone know what kind of music God likes. My belief is that God loves us all equally and He appreciates the music that we use to glorify His name. I don’t think it matters to him what genre of music is used. I don’t remember anywhere in the Bible stating that only chamber music can be used to glorify God. I suggest you find a church that uses your favorite music and go to it and that everyone else does the same.

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