I'm one of those poorly catechized people you

Hi all, this is my first post. I’ve been reading the forum, regularly for about a month.

I’m a happy Catholic. I’m thrilled with all aspects of the faith. I go to mass 2-3 times week. I often go adoration before daily mass. I read voraciously. I pray often. I volunteer. I pay close attention to every homily. I go to confession, but I am still lost in many respects.

Part of the problem may be my age and my look. I’m an older woman and I look Catholic. To look at me, you’d assume I was a cradle Catholic. You’d think I’d been attending mass for decades, but in reality, I finished RCIA about *five years ago and I am still trying to catch on.

I am well aware that I am “poorly catechized”. But what’s the remedy?

-Where can I go to catch up with the rest of you?
-Where can I go to learn and practice and understand the songs sung in Latin, that are completely foreign to me?
-I can follow the mass, but where can I go so I can learn to flip through a missal in the daily adoration service and follow along with the readings?
-What are those readings? The Office?

  • Which missal is the priest reading from, exactly? What about the rest of you, flipping pages like experts?

I have all the Catholic apps. I use them to the best of my ability. I can’t tell you the effort I have put in, trying to understand what is going on. I have read twenty books explaining the mass, alone!

I simply wasn’t taught much of anything in RCIA. It’s been like a huge puzzle / guessing game for me, since. In English, Spanish and Latin, no less.

I love being Catholic. I’ve never been happier in my life. I’m thrilled. But becoming properly catechized is not the easiest thing in the world! I feel as if I left RCIA with a rubber-stamp “Catholic” on my forehead. I’ve been trying to learn to swim, since!

I hope this doesn’t sound like a complaint. I love the church. It would be nice to be able to actually sing with y’all though…after five years!

What’s crazy to consider, is that I’m fortunate that I’m able to go to daily mass and spend time reading. What are people with less time to invest to do?

I wonder if cradle Catholics have any idea the barriers that newcomers to the faith have to overcome in order to fully participate. It may be particularly daunting for someone with no prior religious training, which is my circumstance.

I think it’s important to consider this, because at this point, in the US, most people grow up without religious education of any kind. I understand the church is trying to better educate the children. But the parents aren’t going to bring their children if they’re not engaged themselves.

The Catholic education, in my experience, mirrors what’s happening in the whole of society. We send these young people to college…to take remedial math and English. I left RCIA - pretty much clueless, outside of knowing with certainty that I wanted to be Catholic.

As I said, I do a lot of reading. I know that there is movement to better catechize people coming into the church. For example, RCIC used to be a one year program at my parish. It’s recently been expanded to two.

Unfortunately, my son attended the one year program and he learned very little. We’re both deeply, Catholic, I’m sure of that. But he’s having the same experience I am. We know we’re supposed to be there. We can see that Catholicism has improved our lives, dramatically. But will we ever fit in?

How long will it take me to learn to sing in Latin the way some of you have for thirty or forty years? Five more years? Ten years? If you know a shortcut, please help.

I hope I’ve communicated well enough to be understood.

Just imagine this: you’re Catholic, as of last week. You want to go to adoration. You feel compelled to go.

You walk in church with no instruction, whatsoever. You don’t know when to stand, when to kneel. You don’t know the etiquette, you don’t know what people are saying or what they are singing…or what the songs mean.

Only those who are staunchly committed are going to stick with this and try to figure it out. We could and should make this a lot easier for people…by better educating them in the first place.

My Catholic education was vague and non-offensive. No particular rules… For example. sexual ethics were presented more as “suggestions” then “rules”. “You shouldn’t” is different from, “Don’t!”

This is true of my son as well. “You’re not supposed to have sex…but you probably will, so…”

We were told to get a rosary, but not taught how to pray one and why…

So here we are, trying to catechize ourselves. And we may appear stupid. And we may be ignorant, but this doesn’t mean it’s by choice.

And if you are 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 years old and you’ve been going to mass all your life, don’t assume that your age peer shares your experience even if they (by race) appear to be obviously Catholic.

Do you know how many times in my life, I had to tell people I wasn’t Catholic?

“You’re Catholic, aren’t you?”
“How can you not be Catholic?”
::blank stare::

Well it turns out, I am Catholic.:rolleyes:

Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this until late in my life and now I have to catch up. Jeez louise, it’s a steep hill!

This is one of the things I am trying to learn:



I have the Latin text, but can’t pronounce this stuff, except in bits. Are there tricks for an old dog?

Do others struggle like this? If you came to the faith, later in life, how long did it take you to assimilate?


Where is your sponsor in all of this?

I am also a convert, and I know exactly how you feel. It took years to start to feel like I belonged.

How do you pick up on it all, since you can’t just catch it from the air? Someone has to sit you down and teach you.

The customs in your local parish may differ from the customs in mine - that part is hard to get used to, as well. You get used to praying the Rosary a certain way, and then you go to a different parish, and it seems like they do it all wrong. So, there’s learning to do it the way they do it in your parish, and then there’s learning what’s essential to it, and what isn’t, and accepting the fact that some people pray different prayers with it than what you’re used to.

With Adoration, it’s the same thing. In certain neighborhoods, everyone chants in Latin. Other places, some guy gets up with a guitar and everyone sings something in English. It’s only much later that you realize that both songs were the same song.

Adoration is both easy and hard. It’s easy because no one actually expects you to sing along or to participate. You can stay quiet through the whole thing and nobody minds.

But it’s hard when you want to participate, because you don’t know the songs, or where to even begin to look for them.

Anyway, here you go:


First chant -

O Salutaris Hostia
Quae caeli pandis ostium:
Bella premunt hostilia,
Da robur, fer auxilium.

Uni trinoque Domino
Sit sempiterna gloria,
Qui vitam sine termino
Nobis donet in patria.

After this, in my parish, we recite three times:

O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.

Then we pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be for the intentions of the Holy Father, followed by several hours of total silence.

At the end of the time of silence, then we sing:

Second chant -

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.

This is followed by spoken words. The “V” is the priest, and the “R” is the people. “Oremus” means “let us pray,” and is said by the priest. The people respond with the words that follow.

V. Panem de caelo praestitisti eis.
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.

Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.
R. Amen.

This set is also sometimes done in English:

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! oe’r ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.

R. Thou hast given them bread from heaven.
V. Having within it all sweetness.

Let us pray: O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament left us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant, we implore Thee, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, as always to be conscious of the fruit of Thy Redemption. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever.
R. Amen.

And sometimes the chant is done in Latin, and the spoken responses are done in English.

Here is the last hymn - this is for when the priest has put the monstrance away, and is processing out of the Church:

  1. Holy God, we praise thy name; 

    Lord of all, we bow before thee;
    all on earth thy scepter claim;
    all in heaven above adore thee.
    Infinite thy vast domain;
    everlasting is thy reign.

  2. Hark the glad celestial hymn
    angel choirs above are raising;
    cherubim and seraphim,
    in unceasing chorus praising,
    fill the heavens with sweet accord:
    Holy, holy, holy Lord.

What I’d highly recommend for the Rosary is to get a children’s book about the Rosary, and use that, to begin with. As time goes on, you will eventually learn the extra prayers that are used at your parish, simply through repetition.


Join something, anything at your parish and let everyone know up front that you are a convert and you are doing all you can to develop and deepen your faith. Volunteer for committees, dinner programs, sit in on RCIA again and again. In short, do stuff. It worked for me.

Thank you, jmcrae. I will print this out and take it will me. I’m sure it will help!

I belong to a huge parish. There are thousands of families - six masses on Sunday, so it’s easy to get lost. I understand that 92 countries represented in out parish. It’s great, but hinders communication in many ways.

My sponsor was assigned and had a number of personal problems. She only came for the ceremonial parts of RCIA. My son’s classes were taught by teenagers…and the church in general had a Protestant flavor to it, though I didn’t understand that at the time.

I understand it now. We have a new pastor. He’s come in and turned the parish back to Catholic! I’m sorry if this sounds bad, but it’s the case. I have learned more in the last six months then I did in the last four years.

Basically, I was taught, “Catholic Lite”, but I crave something deeper. It’s become available now, so I’m trying to take advantage of this opportunity.

Unfortunately, I will be moving in a year. I am hoping to strengthen my foundation so I won’t be so lost in my new parish.

As for the rosary, I have learned to pray it, though I don’t think I understand it the way I should.

I enjoy the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and pray it several times a week, so I’m coming along on some front.

My major challenge right now is to be able to participate fully in adoration before the daily mass. The chant is beautiful and I want to know all of it, rather than 1/4 of it in spots!

I can find the songs and some of what is recited…

“Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood…”

What I’m can’t catch it the beginning of the adoration. I think it may be part of the Liturgy Of the Hours…but I’m not sure.

The pastor has the missal and rattles off the page numbers. I have a missal (but maybe not the right one). He also has a heavy accent, so I don’t necessarily catch the page numbers! I didn’t know the Liturgy of the Hours was part of the missal - I have to look and my head swims.

I have the Liturgy of the Hours on Kindle or my phone, but don’t want to have a device in there…though I’m tempted by frustration in wanting to figure this out. I won’t do it, I’m just saying that I wish I could.

I understand I know enough, to find my way from here, eventually. I just wanted to speak up about this.

I think it’s a great disadvantage, to not be raised Catholic, that’s for sure. And I tell a lot of people this. Non Catholics, I mean.

I tell them to do their kids a favor and get them to the Catholic church!

I’m a natural when it comes to evangelizing. Too bad, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m trying to fix this!

Anyway, thanks! I am printing this and will go to adoration and mass on Monday and see what I can match up!

Don’t worry! It takes time!

It’s commendable that you are very spiritually involved in the the Faith. Excellent!

Some resources:

All kinds of catechetical topics… will more than make up for what was not taught in RCIA:


As for learning learning traditional Latin chants and hymns, I would Google and print them. You can find websites with an English and Latin translation side by side.

Also, check out this Youtube Channel called:

Oremus | Catholic Prayers and Devotions


God Bless! I will pray for you! A Church with a 2,000 year history has lots to share, so don’t worry that it takes you while to get the full hang of being a Catholic.

Honestly enough, I felt very comfortable after a short bit of time. In fact, I thought that learning what to do during Mass would be difficult or foreign to me, and that it would be something I’d have to really study. As I came to find out, the Mass is rather simple to participate in, the most difficult aspect being memorizing something like the Nicene Creed. If I get stuck, I use helps and tools.

While I have to point out that our RCIA was simply awesome, I also think there’s nothing at all wrong with having to do a bit of work by yourself. If I have questions about something or other – i.e., do I have to bow while kneeling during the consecration, as the celebrant genuflects – I simply look up the answer, and am usually satisfied within a few minutes.

I would also have to say that radio shows like *Catholic Answers Live *or EWTN’s Open Line are, quite frankly, incredibly worthwhile catechesis resources. Listening to questions that people have, and then hearing the answers, can be quite an education.

Hi Tangled! I read your post with great sympathy. I am in my early 50s and I was actually raised Catholic. Catholic schools through elementary grades, CCD after. I was a great student and raised in an educated, cultured home. However, because I was in school in the 1970s, during a time when US Catholic educators sought to “modernize” curricula, I too ended up being poorly catechized. That’s because it was no longer thought that we students at the time needed to be drilled in the basics and we were denied what everyone before us read as their birthright. Therefore I suggest you purchase it, what I ultimately started using with my own children: the St. Joseph publishing house version of the Baltimore Catechism, VOL 1 and 2. It’s the no excuses no beating around the bush exposition of basic beliefs and practices that anyone older than you or I would have known by the time they were in high school. They also publish a first communion class version that is more basic, and it introduces children to a Catholic mindset and attitude of piety.

Don’t worry so much about “catching up with the rest of us” because we are all in different places in our spiritual journeys and in our learning, loving, and living the Catholic Faith. Michelle Arnold made an appropriate comment in the July-August issue of Catholic Answers magazine on pg.5 where she writes “Learning the Catholic faith is a life-long process. The man who says he knows all there is to know about the Catholic faith is a liar.”

I think we just need to make progress. Progress in our understanding, in our knowledge, in our practice, in our holiness, etc. Just make progress and you are doing great. And it can be small, day by day progress. It doesn’t have to be monumental. It sounds to me from your post that you are making great progress!

I believe, above all, that there is really only one thing necessary each day: to be faithful to Jesus.

I would suggest talking to your priest on how learn more about the faith.

One thing I will say: there’s a lot of stuff on the internet about the Church, and it is not always accurate or useful, even when it looks legitimate.

Also, when I reference poor catechized folks on here, I’m not blaming them. And no one but God has all the answers. It’s just the way things are sometimes and we need to take proper steps to address it.

Thanks for the prayers and the reference to different resources. I’m going to check them out.

I like the Kindle books published by Catholic Way Publishing like this one:
The Catholic Collection: 734 Catholic Essays and Novels on Authentic Catholic Teaching

It has essays written as far back as the 1500’s, up to about 1950.

They have a whole catalog of epic Catholic works. Most of the books cost 99 cents - I’ll be reading the rest of my life.

I enjoy this to no end. I feel I am finally getting an actual education. Becoming Catholic is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, without question. I’ll be so happy when I can follow along with everything.

I have attended various meetings at my parish. I also visit the sick, because I feel strongly called to do so. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing this for as long as I can walk and talk. Lopsided as I may be, my heart is in it, completely.

I take my teenager to youth group, and I go to some of the lectures the new pastor has arranged, which have blown me away. Floored me. So I am not sitting on the sidelines or anything like that.

I’m telling you, it’s my appearance. I look an Italian movie, Catholic. No one has ever looked at me, ever in my life and thought I was anything but Catholic. So I think a person would assume it be insulting to offer someone like me advice. It’s kind of funny and I can’t blame people for making assumptions.

I have thought about going through RCIA again. A priest teaches it now, since the new pastor took over. But I have studied steadily and while I have time, I don’t endless time. Also, I am early morning person and they have the classes at night.

After bouncing this off y’all, I think the next thing to do is attend the morning adoration service, as often as possible, and get over this Latin hurdle, once and for all.

Once I do, I’ll help others. I really don’t want to be someone who is Catholic but clueless! I really have tremendous faith. It’s the nuts and bolts and getting the wires tied together right, that throws me for a loop. In fact, that’s what inspired me to write.

Last night, I read where someone wrote about going through the motions at mass, but not really feeling it. I feel it, tremendously, but may be reading the book upside down - oops!

I am sick of this aspect of being a practicing Catholic. Of being on the wrong page. If I could go get drilled on the various liturgies, I would be there. I would like to practice the songs. I wish I drove around a lot, I would get a cd and drive around, singing them, until I actually could.

I feel I have to learn this now. When I move, I will belong to a small parish. I am sure there will be advantages to this, but if I want to learn these chants, I better do it now.

Thanks again, for the support.


No CD is going to have everything, but this is a great CD, with a lot of Latin hymns. I really love it. Also it comes with a book that has the Latin lyrics with English translations.

Catholic Latin Classics

Well, it’s hard to say, not being there. You could start with the The Holy Eucharist booklet at the bottom of this page: adoremus.org/catalog.html

Actually, the whole www.adoremus.org site has a lot of interesting information about Catholic church music, particularly in Latin. You might want to check the index of the music articles, to see if any of it looks interesting to you: adoremus.org/Musictoc.html

If it makes you feel any better, I wasn’t taught much in CCD, either. Being a cradle Catholic doesn’t mean you know anything. :slight_smile: I left the Church for a decade and when I came back I was in a pretty similar position to yours, although through choir at a (secular) university, I was used to singing in Latin.

My biggest suggestion: read the Catechism. Yes, the whole thing. Yes the big version, not the condensed one. This will NOT help you with the different practices and habits, but the most important thing is the beliefs, and it’s really a beautiful read.

Here is a web page with the pronunciation of Church Latin: ewtn.com/expert/answers/ecclesiastical_latin.htm

My biggest hint for singing Latin: When in doubt, pronounce it mostly like Italian. Its not perfect, but it’s better than trying to pronounce it like English. :slight_smile:

As for what they’re using at Adoration, I would suggest you just ask someone at your parish. It’s not the same everywhere–I’m pretty sure there are a few options for readings to use. You might just pop into the parish office and explain your situation a little and ask them what people use. If I went to your parish, I’d have to ask too. It’s just that being a cradle Catholic, I’d know that what they’re using isn’t universal so I wouldn’t be embarrassed about it. :slight_smile:

God bless you!


I’m also a convert and in some cases a revert as well. Long story that goes with the latter. I am a first class bookworm, therefore I suggest you begin with the simple books and work your way forward. For example:

Catholicism for dummies
Why should Catholics genuflect by Al Kresta
The youcat

Are three basic books I suggest that you begin with. If you look up resources or books for people to learn more about their faith, or use similar terms, I am sure you will find more. I have seen quite a few threads over the years.

As for knowing your catechism, I have noticed that among most Catholics, it is the converts that know their catholic theology verses the ones who grew up in the faith. It is a sad reality and there are always exceptions to this rule but it is a generality especially among my friends inside the Catholic church.

I hope this helps,


You’re welcome! :slight_smile:

As for the rosary, I have learned to pray it, though I don’t think I understand it the way I should.

Have you been taught about the Mysteries? Essentially, the Rosary is a kind of meditation that takes up your whole mind, both the left and the right brain, the emotion, the intellect, the soul, and all. This is what makes it difficult to pray, but also very rewarding when you can succeed.

The obvious part of the Rosary is the spoken prayers. The next layer is the Mysteries, which are the stories about Jesus that go with each of the different decades of the Rosary. What you want to do is, while you are praying out loud the spoken prayers, you’re also making a little “movie” in your mind of the events that are being portrayed in that particular Mystery. (This also requires that you know your Bible fairly well, which means, Bible study, if it turns out that you don’t know these stories well enough to picture them in your mind’s eye.) As you are doing that, you are also lifting up your personal prayer intentions for each Mystery, as well, and also the prayer intentions of the other people in your Rosary group. This part makes the most sense to me when I align my prayer intentions with the actions of the Mystery - so for example if I’m praying for someone who is pregnant, I would align my intention for her with at least one of the first three Joyful Mysteries, which pertain to Mary’s pregnancy and the birth of Christ. But if I had an urgent prayer for her, and my group was doing the Luminous Mysteries, then, okay, I would just pray it anyway, without worrying about that aspect of it.

I enjoy the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and pray it several times a week, so I’m coming along on some front.

That’s a brilliant start - you can’t go wrong with the Divine Mercy chaplet. :thumbsup:

My major challenge right now is to be able to participate fully in adoration before the daily mass. The chant is beautiful and I want to know all of it, rather than 1/4 of it in spots!

I can find the songs and some of what is recited…

“Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood…”

Ah, yes, the Divine Praises. :slight_smile:

What I’m can’t catch it the beginning of the adoration. I think it may be part of the Liturgy Of the Hours…but I’m not sure.

If it’s the Liturgy of the Hours, this will not be in the Missal - the LotH has its own set of books, and there are different sets depending on circumstances, and then depending on which set of books the priest is using, the page numbers will be vastly different, so you want to find out which version of the Liturgy of the Hours the priest is using, and then find out where you can obtain a copy of it, so that you can follow along more easily.

And first you want to find out if in fact it’s the Liturgy of the Hours, or something else.

Heres a good line for you louise

don’t know if you’ve heard it before but…

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”

there you go

pardon the pun:D

Thanks, everyone! This has been a big help. I am pretty sure he’s reciting the morning prayer (Lauds) form the LofH. I will verify this.

As I look into it, I think he may be calling page numbers of the various Psalms. If this is the case, I can print them in the morning from Universalis. That leaves me with just the Latin to master.

Thanks for the support!

Tangled, what you call “Adoration” is actually the “Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction.”

Rather than buying a missal, you might want to try subscribing to “Magnificat” – it has the hymns (Latin and English) as well as the prayers for this in the “Order of the Mass” section of the magazine.

While most missals contain the same material (exception: Sunday missals have only those masses said on Sunday and the major feasts) the layout of the Daily Missals varies some depending on the whim of the publisher.

You can also buy “pew cards” which have the people’s responses printed on them, some churches have them as well.

The “Adoration” I’m familiar with is done in a “Perpetual Adoration” Chapel. Not all parishes have one, and the adorers are volunteers who sign up for one (or more) hours a week every week. If you can’t commit to an hour you can still go visit whenever you have the time.

Thanks for filling me in on the proper terms, Magdellan2013. It’s helpful.

I am aware of the adoration chapel, but want to participate in “Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction”, which is offered daily for an hour.

The priest leaves and hears confessions for 40 minutes of the hour. I’d drop son at school and get there during the time he was hearing confessions, to spend time in adoration before mass.

I caught on to the close of the Liturgy (other then the Latin) quickly. I was able to find it in the missal. But summer came! With school out, I wanted to go for the full hour, before mass. This is when I was thrown for a loop!

The readings at the beginning of the Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction were extensive. I was lost.

I am the kind of person who would go to mass daily, particularly as I get older. I think of this sometimes.

People who attend Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction and daily mass tend to be retired. If younger people aren’t taught and can’t manage to learn what’s going on, then what?

I understand the church is 2000 years old and it’s not going anywhere. But I spend a lot of time with elderly people. And I know that when they die, their knowledge and their ways die with them, too often.

I realize how limited my experience is, but I also think it’s central to what is going on in the bigger picture with the church.

A year ago, my parish was basically, the Grateful Dead Catholic Church. Once I saw the cantor, standing on the middle of the altar, chugging a bottle of water, while we offered our petitions. Mass was casual / social hour, lots of chatting before the show, basically.

Sorry. I’m just trying to explain.

But then we got the new pastor. Confession is available 6 days a week instead of twice a week,. And the Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction is also new. He’s added masses, got rid of the plastic flowers, and on and on. It’s been a fantastic transformation.

But Catholics at my parish are furious. They’re really mad because the pastor tells the women not to “sterilize themselves” (take birth control shots). They are not too happy about this! They are used to being Catholic, doing whatever they want, and not being bothered about it.

With this battle underway, people are not teaching their kids Latin - forget about it! They are are mad at the priest and this dominates at this time.

Locally, there are plans to address this. They plan to re-catechize adults. When these classes begin, I will be in them, if I haven’t moved. All I’m trying to say, is there’s a serious need for this.

I read somewhere, that anyone who spent time with a Catholic who was really living their faith, could not help but be attracted. I think this is true. I know it’s true. Dozens of people I know have gone back to the church, or looked into it, because they know me and I am happy.

“How are you happy, tangled?”
“Well, I go mass…”

These blocks that make it hard for people are no good.

My generation was raised hearing not one good thing about being Catholic. They make you go to mass…they make you feel guilty. Really, Catholicism is awful.

Do you know, that not once in my life, did I ever hear anyone say they liked to go to mass? That they enjoyed it? Who would sign up for this, with that kind of press?

I do enjoy mass. It is the best time of the day. And I would like to (fully) enjoy these other things offered at my parish, but there’s no on ramp, anywhere.

Up thread, someone suggested I talk to my pastor. I think about it sometimes, but he’s inordinately busy. I believe there are 5000 families that belong to my parish, I think he said that 3500 of them were active.

The parish is split, between English and Spanish speakers. Bridging this is incredibly hard, in actual practice. Each side thinks the other is favored! One side thinks they pay for / subsidize the other side - blah, blah.

The pastor also under tremendous attack, for the immense changes he’s made - though all of them are positive. So really, I’m in the eye of the storm, in this parish, as far as the challenges the church faces in the US.

The pastor has had his plate overflowing since the day he arrived. He’s worked remarkably fast, but most of the staff quit on him. The local Knights of Columbus even withdrew their support. The man who played Santa Claus for 18 years, quit! It’s mind-boggling, really. But this is why I don’t bother him, at this time. He’s got a fight on his hands.

As a newcomer, it’s traditional Catholicism that’s so attractive. I wish there was a Gregorian chant class! I wonder if those of you who know this stuff, and were schooled in it, realize that generations of other Catholics were not. And I hope by writing, that someone may see that it’s hard to learn these things, even if you’re motivated. Maybe someone can fill a gap, somewhere.

I am going to use all the info you’ve offered. I will call the parish office and ask what the reading are in the Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction. They probably won’t know (office staff quitting, left and right, for now). If not, I will get to church early and ask one of the people on their way into the church.

If that fails, I’ll email the pastor.

I will start to practice Tantum Ergo, at home, using youtube.

I’ll come back in a month and tell you how I did! :thumbsup:

I think it’s possible that, given what you have described, he might find it refreshing and revitalizing to talk to someone who thinks he has made “a fantastic transformation.” Priests are men after all, and although he is willing to go to a huge amount of trouble and strife to do what is right, it has to take its toll. Taking five minutes out of a busy day to talk to someone on fire for her faith and happy about the parish renewal may be just what he needs. (Of course, maybe not, too, I’ve never met him. :slight_smile: ) In any case, make sure you spend some of the time you spend in front of the Blessed Sacrament praying for the Lord to uphold him and keep him strong but kind.

Well, I think you have a slightly wrong idea, if you’re talking about being able to read chant notation. I never learned until after I came back to the Church in my 30s, and AFAICT neither of my parents (both senior citizens, but my dad a decade older than my mom) have ever learned it at all. (Of course, my dad can’t read regular music either :slight_smile: ) But if you’re talking about singing chant with regular notation, it’s just like singing anything, except instead of a constant rhythm (e.g. 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4), you take the rhythm (by which I mean emphasis, not the length of the notes) more from the way you would speak the words, and sing very connected up and without bells and whistles. You know how people sing on Broadway? Try to sing as NOT like that as possible. :wink:

This is a reasonable introduction to reading chant notation: ceciliaschola.org/pdf/squarenotes.pdf

It’s not perfect (according to the way I learned chant), but it’s good, and very readable.

Have fun! :smiley:


Thank you, Jen!

My husband and I have both spoke with the pastor personally, more then once, to thank him for his tremendous effort. And we’ve emailed. He’s on fire with the Holy Spirit. He’s a true man of God. He’s definitely glad for the support. He asks everyone who offers a kind word, to pray for him, which we do.

On the chants, I am sorry for my ignorance. I’m not surprised my imagination filled in reality. I’ll say this - the people who attend this service daily, know those chants. I see now, I don’t know how they learned them, but I am determined to be one of them.

Last night, I listened to a number of recordings on youtube. I found two recordings (one woman and one man) where singer enunciated exceptionally well. So from here, I will try to sing along with them at home. Slowly, I’ll get it.

I found a third recording has the English translation, which is great. The chants are beautiful but mean so much more when you understand the sentiment being expressed.

Thanks again, for all the support. It’s been a big help.

If you get to where you can read chant notation, this is the best book ever:


It has everything. I only have the first edition myself at the moment, but the second is supposed to be even better! There’s a PDF of it on the web page, so you can see what it’s like.

And I found that I didn’t have to be very good at reading chant to sing along using chant notation. There is a big difference between sight-singing something and singing along, because you don’t have to figure out the modes. :slight_smile:


P.S. it has all of the translations as well, which is great for knowing what you are singing if you are not a Latin scholar, which so few of us are… :slight_smile:

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