This is one danger in home education. There is the temptation to think that the sky is the limit, then go off in a zillion different directions at once, then wonder why we never seem to get anything done. Taking on too much, many parents crash and burn. This is chaos.
The other danger is that of paralysis. There are so many choices available it can be hard to tell where to start. Some find the whole thing too daunting and stick with the same books they used as children or a particular package of lesson plans.
The same can be said of hymns replacing propers. Take this Thursday for instance. It is the feast of St Matthias, Apostle. It is also Ascension Thursday, although this has been transferred to the Sunday in my diocese. It is also the beginning of the nine days leading up to Pentecost which is credited as being the origin of all novenas. And it is the month of May, so we have to pick something for Mary.
We can look at the Readings and find Peter and the Apostles choosing Matthias by lot. The Gospel tells of Jesus giving the New Commandment of Love.
So, when it comes to choosing hymns, there are many different options open—more options than there is space to use them.
Have you seen all the hymnbooks Jeff uploaded the other day? There are thousands upon thousands of hymns out there! Even just one hymnbook usually contains a few hundred.
It’s worth noting that many Catholic hymns come from the Divine Office, especially Vespers. Looking at Vespers, each day has just one hymn. The main part of the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours is the Psalmody. The Psalms are your meat-and-potatoes. The hymn is your ice cream.
So, back to Mass. If we go with the Propers, then our choices would be far simpler. An Ordo can tell you which direction is the one to take. There is also still room for a hymn or two – before and/or after Mass and maybe even another if there’s time at Communion. The important things to sing are the Ordinaries which don’t change and the Propers which reflect the feast or season.
With the Propers you can see a path to take. Everyone can start on the same page. The element of personal preference takes a back seat and the Church’s treasury of sacred music comes forward.
In case you’re wondering about the photo, this is my 2 year old daughter. I planned to get a photo of her wanting everything and thought we could pile the trolley high with toys to illustrate the point. Instead she dismantled my efforts saying “One at a time”.