Tuesday 27 July 2010

The Blog of Arthur Crumly on the role of the MC at a Missa Cantata

The eminence grise of MCs, Mr Arthur Crumly, has updated his blog with instructions on the role of MC during a Missa Cantata.


The Missa Cantata seems to be subject to local variations more than any other form of mass. This is because the standard envisaged by the Missale Romanum, and the Roman commentators, was that of solemn high mass with the deacon and subdeacon. As Fr Hilarius Dale commented, the Missa Cantata was unknown in Rome, where there were always plenty of clerics to staff a high mass whenever needed. Not so in England, or most other places. The MC at a Missa Cantata takes on all the tasks of an MC at High Mass, but also some of the tasks of the deacon or subdeacon at High Mass - as appropriate. What precisely is undertaken by the MC gives rise to local variation.

Nonetheless, in England, through custom, a relatively standard form of Missa Cantata has evolved. It doesn't seem to correspond entirely to Fortescue-O'Connell, which is slightly different.

There is, on the SST website, a document produced for training purposes on the Missa Cantata which attempts to write down the standard pattern. Mr Crumly's notes are a welcome addition, and they also have helpful diagrams.

The current writer's observation is that the standard of serving at the Missa Cantata is often not a clear, precise, and confident as it might be. Worse, things are done which are just plain wrong. Servers and even MCs often seem oblivious of the fact that they aren't getting it right, but blunder on regardless. Furthermore, when given the opportunity to sign up for training, they do not enrol, so lose the chance to "share good practice" and improve the standard of serving in our churches.

It is to be hoped that all MCs, and those who regularly serve at sung mass, will read the notes of Mr Crumly and, having read them, learn them and put them into practice. If so, we can look forward to higher standards of altar service, to the greater glory of God.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr Forster,

    Thank you for your kind and supportive comments regarding my posts about the Missa Cantata.

    God Bless,