In the past two and a half weeks I have had quite a few different emotions running through my system in regards to language, singing and life in general. Starting with languages, I had a week of solid conversational French practice while I was in Kentucky on a mission trip with my friend Ernest. For those who don't know, Ernest is from Cameroon and fluent in about eight languages ranging from Italian to Bengali. After that week I jumped right back into my studying and am progressing at a very pleasing rate in French. I anticipate that I should be able to call myself fluent in French by the new year. That may seem far off to some of you and not long enough at all to others, but the truth is that languages can be learned quickly if the motivation is there.
The frustrations of my past two and a half weeks came in singing. During my week in Kentucky I was unable to practice at all outside of singing for daily mass. When I got back in the practice room the next week I felt like my voice was not doing anything correctly. Then, luckily, I began to turn things around late this past week. I also had a realization that I have been breathing far too shallow for far too long. Now that I am taking completely full breaths I have found that singing is feeling much better again. My current frustration now is finding the funds to get down to NYC for a lesson with JRL. I posted an ad on my facebook asking for applications for a patron, but no one seems interested which is sad for me.
Now onto my diatribe which will take this blog of course momentarily. This past evening I attended a "Teen Life Mass" at a nearby Catholic Church. I had recently heard stories about these masses from traditionalist (like myself) speaking of various horrors inherent in this style of mass. To my mind, these were all verified during the course of the mass. The purpose of a Teen Life Mass is to reach the teens through more "accessible" music and encourage their participation. However, to me, I was attending a protestant mega-church worship service rather than a mass. The major problem I have with the music is not necessarily the music itself; contemporary christian music has its place, but not in the mass. There was a huge disconnect between the upbeat, bubble-gum music and the solemnity of the rest of the rites of the mass. Not only that, but the music had nil to do with the actual readings, which it is supposed to according to the general rules for the mass. Also, the whole point of this music is to engage the teens and youth of the parish more, however I saw a very small percentage of these people actually participating in the singing! There were other problems within the course of the mass liturgically speaking. During the mass I vowed to never be at another Teen Life Mass in my life. What this type of mass does is set up the youth of the parish to leave the Church! I pray that the new missal and future reforms will save our youth from the horrors of the Teen Life Mass and bring back a sense of reverence to the Mass.