Online Edition – Vol. VIII, No. 5
Adoremus Survey Results
In February the Adoremus Bulletin surveyed readers on a variety of topics. The survey was included as a separate flyer enclosed in the February issue. The response was outstanding — 7% of AB readers completed the survey.
The survey revealed that 75% are laity, more than half of them married (58%) — mostly with children (87%). Twenty-five percent are clergy or religious: priests (18%), deacons, seminarians and religious (7%). Of the priests, 66% are pastors.
Typical comments on the survey praised Adoremus’s work, for example: "Catholics need to be more knowledgeable about our Church’s doctrine. Adoremus provides us with authentic Church teaching. Keep it up — you are an inspiration".
Most were pleased both with the Adoremus Bulletin and with other items Adoremus has produced.
Adoremus Bulletin — Reader suggestions
Readers were asked to identify topics that they would like to see in future issues of the Bulletin.
Of the choices given, 72% of respondents said that they hope to see more in the AB about liturgical regulations and about Catholic customs and traditions.
A few readers suggested — in the space allotted for additional comments — that Adoremus make its articles shorter and less scholarly. One reader suggested that Adoremus summarize its articles, particularly complicated ones like papal or Vatican documents and reports on bishops’ meetings.
One reader said that "All the articles are good, but some of them are way more than I need or want to know. They are geared more for liturgists at cathedrals — not parents in the pews".
Another reader asked that Adoremus "translate to the faithful in the trenches what [the bishops] are doing".
We recognize that many liturgical issues are quite complex, and it is indeed hard to follow the many ins and outs, unexpected byways and side-streets these discussions and decisions involve.
Even bishops sometimes become confused by the often tortuous paths liturgical changes follow, as anyone who has attended bishops’ meetings in recent years can attest. And there is considerable confusion even among experts about the current liturgical rules, and how the latest documents will be implemented.
In response to these reader-observations, however, one idea that we are exploring is creating a glossary of frequently-referenced documents and organizations, which may help clarify things somewhat. The Adoremus web site has the full text of many pertinent Church documents, as well as a chronological listing of these with brief summaries.
Practical Solutions Sought
Some readers were most interested in practical solutions for responding to liturgical abuse.
One commented, "I would like to see Adoremus get the bishops and the Holy See to restore liturgical order, especially by reinstating Latin, Gregorian chant, sacredness, silence, traditional hymns, etc. I want to see examples of modernism being defeated and eliminated".
While much of the mail that we receive regularly refers to challenges and difficulties, we are always pleased to hear of what’s working in the parishes. We encourage readers — both clergy and lay — to continue to communicate good news, and, if possible, let us know how they are managing to deal with liturgical abuse.
Our lively letters-to-the-editor column is one of the most popular features of the Adoremus Bulletin, and usually runs two full pages. Most "practical advice" appears in these exchanges, along with answers to concrete questions. (The letters column appears only in the "hard-copy" edition of AB).
The Adoremus Hymnal
One of Adoremus’s most ambitious, difficult and rewarding projects has been The Adoremus Hymnal, published in 1997 by Ignatius Press.
About half the survey respondents (900) had seen The Adoremus Hymnal. Of these, 91% gave it an "excellent or "very good" rating, and 5% reported that the hymnal is used in their parishes. Requests for information numbered 141.
At last count, more than 30,000 copies of The Adoremus Hymnal are in circulation.
In the space provided for additional comments, a few respondents suggested that the Hymnal should have more hymns.
One reader said that the Hymnal was "too Novus Ordo" and needed more Latin, while another said that "It needs to include good contemporary hymns — expand the range, please".
The Adoremus Hymnal was created because there were few reliable sources for traditional hymns — whether in English (not "gender-neutered") or in Latin. Unlike other Christian bodies, there is no "official" Catholic hymnal, and the quality of books that have proliferated in the past three decades is very uneven.
Adoremus’s objective was to produce a hymnal that would offer a solid repertoire of beautiful Catholic chant and hymnody that even small parishes with few resources could use — handsomely printed and at an affordable price.
There are dozens of books featuring "contemporary" music, while many of the classic hymns that appear in The Adoremus Hymnal were on the verge of being lost. Some hymns that are less familiar to Catholics are actually ancient Catholic hymns that were "rescued" by Protestant musicians — from J. S. Bach to Ralph Vaughn Williams.
Our original hope was to produce, in due time, a book of Psalm chants for English and Latin texts. But the English-language scriptural texts for Mass were not definitive. The new Roman Missal, with its added saints days, will require further texts, and translation matters are not yet settled. We have not given up hope that we can dust off our files and undertake the Psalm project at some point.
The Holy Eucharist booklet
Nearly half of those responding to the survey (812) had seen the Eucharistic Adoration booklet, The Holy Eucharist.
Of the those who ranked it, more than half (53%) gave it an "excellent" rating, with another 38% rating it as "very good".
Critical comments about The Holy Eucharist booklet were that it was not "longer, for use at Holy Hour" and that it needed "more than the Benediction service".
We can see the need for a reliable source for personal prayer in a form convenient for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
The primary purpose of publishing The Holy Eucharist, however, was to provide in a simple and succinct form, the rubrics (or instructions) for the celebration of Exposition, Adoration and Benediction in an ordinary parish setting. We were responding to several requests from young priests who are well-disposed to encouraging this devotion, but did not experience it in their parishes while they were growing up.
The survey suggests that people find The Holy Eucharist booklet helpful. There were 601 requests for copies. Nearly 30,000 copies have been distributed since last June, and we are printing about 25,000 more.
While Adoremus has no immediate plans to publish a devotional book for use during Adoration, we have offered as a premium to donors an excellent one, I The Lord Am With You Always, published in Australia by the Society for Eucharistic Adoration. (See catalog page).
The Novena for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy received high marks, with about 95% of those who had seen it giving at least a "very good" rating.
The Christmas Novena and the Novena for the Protection of the Unborn, both published by our sister organization, Women for Faith and Family, also received almost exclusively "very good" and "excellent" ratings from those who had seen them.
The Novenas are overwhelmingly used in family settings (90%), though they are also used in small prayer groups (5%) and in parishes (5%).
Reader loyalty high
One of Adoremus’s greatest assets is its readership and its overwhelming commitment to the Faith. The Adoremus Bulletin staff was very pleased to learn that a total of 85% have been reading the Adoremus Bulletin for more than two years — and 61% for more than three years. It was also cheering to learn that the 15% who have been AB readers for two years or less were as positive in their assessment of our work as our long-time readers.
One of the survey questions asked about membership ("subscription") donations to Adoremus. Because we do not send out "renewal notices" for a variety of reasons, it was not surprising — but still disappointing — that only 37% are annual donors to Adoremus. Another 16% say they make "regular" contributions; 20% said they "don’t remember" when they last sent a donation; and 7% said that they had never donated.
The good news is that more than half of those who returned the survey were inspired to send a donation with it — some of them for the first time.
Some commented that though they value AB, they could not afford a regular "membership" donation ($25) either because they were on a fixed income or for other reasons. Some enclosed a few dollars, for which we are very grateful, knowing that it was a sacrifice for them. (We do not exclude those who cannot afford regular membership.) Many of them promised prayers for us (which we need).
Our new prayer cards, the Saint Michael prayer and the Agnus Dei, were not on the survey. Neither were WFF’s Spanish edition of the Novena for the Unborn and both English and Spanish versions of the Angelus. (For information on all of these, see catalog page).
The Adoremus Bulletin staff is most grateful to all our readers who took the time to complete the survey, and who gave us their thoughts and ideas.
We are listening. Thanks.