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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: the Pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism.”
— His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI (11 May 2005)

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Which Masses Would You Choose?
published 3 April 2016 by Fr. David Friel

PRIEST I KNOW is pastor of a small parish (roughly 150 families). He is working to introduce the beauty of sacred music and has arranged for musicians from local symphonies to provide music at the parish’s Christmas Midnight Mass and the Easter Vigil. In addition to SATB vocalists, the instrumentalists have included an organist, cellist, violinist, horn player, and trumpeter.

Such a project, of course, is limited by funding. At this point, the pastor would like to expand the number of Masses throughout the year at which these musicians play. He has set up two options.

Option 1: Bring in the musicians for the official Vigils of the Church. These Vigils include:

1. Easter
2. Christmas
3. Pentecost
4. Ascension
5. Nativity of St. John the Baptist
6. Saints Peter & Paul

Option 2: Arrange for the more festive music for certain Holy Days of Obligation. These feasts include:

1. Mary, Mother of God
2. Ascension
3. Assumption
4. All Saints
5. Immaculate Conception
6. Christmas

The goal of both options would be to help catechize the congregation about progressive solemnity and to reinforce the importance of either the Vigils or the Holy Days.

If you were this pastor, which option would you choose? If you were his music director, what recommendation would you give him? If you had the funding to add music to 2 or 3 more Masses in addition to Christmas at midnight and the Easter Vigil, which Masses would they be?