'60s catholic folk mass


To Catholics and lapsed Catholics of a certain age, it might seem like a dream: For a few years starting in the mid-'60s, maybe while a high mass was being celebrated upstairs, church basements that were filled with fabric fish cutouts and folding chairs provided a habitat for clean-cut college beatniks - and even young nuns wearing casual clothes! - to strum songs like The Youngbloods' "Get Together" on acoustic guitars, perhaps with bongo accompaniment. Overnight, a solemn medieval ritual, unchanged for centuries, made way for a hootenanny.

Liturgical composer Ken canedo, in his slim 2009 history, "Keep the Fire Burning," analyzes the "folk mass" as the upshot of a few concurrent events: Pope Paul VI's 1963 Second Vatican Council encouragement of vernacular non-Latin liturgical language; young Catholic's growing focus on social justice in the wake of JFK's assassination; those same young people's growing Kingston Trio and Joan Baez collections; and the predicament that, when English-language Catholic hymns were suddenly allowed, not many existed.
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