Whats happening to congregational singing?
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 593
    In our parish there are many times when the congregation only sings the refrain of a song. It seems to be something that is happening more and more. I'm wondering if other cantors in other parishes are experiencing this?

    Is the role of cantor to be a soloist and the congregation backup singers?

    Is this a trend in the Catholic church that musicians, music directors, choir directors and pastors feel that active participation, musically speaking, by the congregation is sufficient if they just sing the refrain?

    What's happening to congregational singing? Your thoughts.

    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • While 'active participation' does not require the congregation to sing everything, no it is certainly not the role of the cantor to be a soloist with the congregation as 'backup', or 'singing the refrain'. (I set aside the responsorial psalm and similarly explicitly responsorial items, of course.)

    I haven't seen this happening in my parish, although we very rarely sing anything with 'refrains' in the sense that I suspect you have in mind.

    What hymns are you singing? Some contemporary songs, especially, have frankly weird verses (often changing in melody or rhythm from verse to verse) that could be throwing people off. Traditional hymns do not have this problem.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    Well, it should be noted that many songs in the contemporary idiom were actually designed for the congregation only to sing the refrain. (You probably wouldn't know this unless you had the original octavos that explained the composer's intentions in this regard.)
  • Yes, this happens regularly at our parish. There are a few things that come to mind that could be happening:

    1. The initial excitement of singing everything all the time is wearing off, and people don't want to anymore, except for the parts they know really well or still enjoy.

    2. If the practice at the parish is (as it is in many places) to sing only enough verses to cover the liturgical action, then the people aren't hearing the entire hymn every time, reducing repetitions of the refrain, but more importantly restricting the number of times they experience those wacky verses if the song has them. This results in the people simply not knowing the song.

    3. Especially in the case where your parish has a "Mr. Caruso" as Thomas Day calls him/her (big-voiced cantor bellowing into a microphone), the congregation might be simply listening to the voice that is drowning them out, especially on verses where they might not be as secure in singing.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    It seems to me, as I have noted before, that singing has fallen on hard times. Children are not taught singing in school music programs as they once were, and music and art are the first classes to be cut in a budget crisis. This may account for many hymns being published in lower keys than originally, since the lack of instruction in singing has effectively crimped the range of lay singers. Singing for most folks is in the car on the way to somewhere, not in church.

    Don't blame everything on the diva cantors. There was one Paulist priest in town who was un-affectionately know to local musicians as, "Fr. Broadway." He out-sang and effectively shouted down the congregation. I never knew whether he just loved to sing or wanted to hear his own voice. Who knows?

    You are correct. MD, that some contemporary songs are seemingly meant for professional singers. They are beyond the abilities of the average congregant. Some of those "hymns" are so poorly written and trite I suspect many just don't find it worth the time and effort to bother with them - yes, Haugen and company, there are intervals other than sixths and time signatures other than 6/8. Why does that stuff from the "contemporary" composers who are no longer young, all sound alike?
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,678
    The problem is that so many churches are just singing songs at Mass and not singing the actual ritual. Go to a church where the actual Mass is sung every Sunday and you'll hear congregational singing - tons of "and with your spirit"s and "thanks be to God"s.
  • Reval
    Posts: 163
    In our parish there are many times when the congregation only sings the refrain of a song. It seems to be something that is happening more and more. I'm wondering if other cantors in other parishes are experiencing this?

    When you say "song", do you mean hymn? What happens if the cantor does not sing during the "songs"? I think that anytime the cantor is singing, the congregation thinks "if he's singing, I should be listening". I don't think the cantor singing encourages any other singing but his own.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    1. Liam's apt comment was, more or less, presaged by Fr. Lucien Deiss' catalogue of psalms and canticles. He was the first post-conciliar composer (of whom I was aware) to specifically write for a dialogue, soloist on verses, all on antiphon/refrain.
    2. As I've often said in threads like this before, "cantors" ought not to be normative. Yes I know that's the new normal, but it's wrong in the contemporary culture. Doesn't really matter how talented the singer is.
    3. Replace song leaders with choirs, even if only 2 or 3 gather in His Name. Choir needs to be good, not just competent. Work always to improve the choir.
    4. Consider this philosophy for choirs bolstering congregational participation for Ordinaries, Processionals, Psalmody, and the various alius cantus types:
    PIPs/congregations please note: Lead, follow or get out of the way.
    I say that with no malice or hubris. If a DM/choirmaster presents worthy repertoire with that intent, they know what they're supposed to do, it's simply up to them to do it.
  • As we have introduced a choir that sings once a month, I have noticed that congregational singing has dropped a little at all the other Masses too. Someone said to me the other day that "we're not sure if we're allowed to sing any more". I will be fixing that misunderstanding!
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 593
    I'm sure many of you would like for me to specify what song or hymn but I don't want to get off topic and start tearing apart a particular hymn and song. If it helps we sing mostly from the blue Gather Hymnal. Some works of Andrew Motyka - communion chants mostly, we will be doing the Advent Entrance Rite by Hommerding and we are planing to sing the Hymn for the Holy Year of Mercy for this year and next year and so not to belabor the point in general our music director has a well rounded mix of church music. That being said in my 40 years of singing there seems to be a trend toward having the cantor do all the work...haha

    When I cantor, I am very conscientious of my role and booming Caruso's don't exist in our parish, I'm told old to be booming any more anyway. The most favorable of compliments given to me and I hear this more often than not, is that the congregation can understand me. We have a well rounded group of cantors and a good choir.

    Also, the topic is not about the sung Mass parts our congregation does a very good job with these. They do quite well when the deacon chants or the pastor. We are still struggling with Latin in the congregation but that's slowly coming.

    I like CharlesW comment as it seems to hit the nail on the head

    You are correct. MD, that some contemporary songs are seemingly meant for professional singers. They are beyond the abilities of the average congregant. Some of those "hymns" are so poorly written and trite I suspect many just don't find it worth the time and effort to bother with them - yes, Haugen and company, there are intervals other than sixths and time signatures other than 6/8. Why does that stuff from the "contemporary" composers who are no longer young, all sound alike?


    To me (IMHO) the difference between a hymn and a song is, a hymn written with a melody easily sung by both adults and children and teaches us the principals of our faith. If it doesn't meet this criteria it shouldn't be in any music directors line up.

    I also like PaxMelodious comment, I'm sure this is a big factor in all parishes with choirs and cantors

    Someone said to me the other day that "we're not sure if we're allowed to sing any more".


    I think from the various comments I have a pretty good picture of whats going on in other parishes. Thanks all for your comments.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,241
    Thank you for sharing your experience, Don. Your contribution is an important one.
  • The only true cure - 1. literally sing everything at Mass (except the sermon/homily), 2. have singing classes for children K-3 grade more than once a week and if at all possible before they attend the Mass - using chant, traditional hymns as well as classical vocal pedagogical techniques, 3. no more cantors and antiphonal psalmnody between cantor and congregation for it dumbs down the congregation and gets them use to singing refrains, 4. have choirs of children 4th grade to right before voice change for boys then graduated them into the adult choir, 5. no more solos, no garbage music, refrain from refrains and be bulldogedly consistent, steadfast, and uncompromisingly dogmatic. Such a music director may not be loved (at first), but they sure will be respected!
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    " . . . but they sure will be respected!"

    pretty sure that's not a sure thing....

    Even the best of goals and plans can be undermined, not only by others, but by our own personal limitations and flaws.
  • When they only know the refrain...

    http://youtu.be/shIACXmg7Bc
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    One phenomenon I've noticed with modern G&P songs is that the congregants are given only the words, not music. And the words aren't written with regards to the musical phrasing - just random line breaks. Following it is much harder for those of us who grew up with 60s and 70s music, or traditional hymnody.

    I've found myself singing mostly refrains in some cases, because it's just too frustrating to try to mumble along with the verses. And in many cases I find the words trite and would rather focus on prayer.
  • The consistently greatest effect in congregational song I have ever been able to achieve in my exceptionally normal parish is with anything call-and-response. "I say Kyrieleis, you say Kyrieleis..." Psalms always elicit good participation, as do Gospel Acclamations. Dialogues take a bit of work when the people aren't accustomed to them regularly, but somehow are mostly there in the Catholic brain.

    New music, unless you are coaching (when?) will always depend on your determination to use new repertoire consistently and their willingness to open the book. Nor do I begrudge the people who don't open the book, esp. at the offertory (much rather they open their wallets) and communion (their mouths). But I do know that if I introduce a new "refrained" piece, it will get a much better response initially than a new foursquare hymn, since the hymn is not call-and-response.

    From the remarkable 1880 article from "Studies in Worship Music" about congregational singing at the London Oratory, I can only reproduce:

    "The refrain or chorus which many of the hymns have is also a secret of their power. As the couplet returns, verse after verse, the most listless can join; those who have no books, or, having them, cannot read, take up the words which form the burden of the hymn, and which repetition has made familiar."


    And I have to reproduce as well:

    "There can be no question, in the second place, that the Oratory congregation sings heartily because of the easily caught and tuney melodies to which the hymns are set. The Roman Catholics are under no Genevan traditions as to the type in which a hymn-tune should be cast. They have no “syllabic” propriety; their notion seems to be that the best hymn-tune is that which common people take up most heartily. They adapt airs from all sources; national songs, instrumental movements, &c., and are careful to admit no tune without strongly marked character, and rhythm easily learnt and easily remembered."


    And of course,

    "Mr Pitts, in his “Oratory Hymn-Tunes,” has arranged the melodies for unison singing. The harmonies are not in vocal counterpoint, but in the form of instrumental accompaniment. The air is accompanied by staccato chords on the first of the bar, by arpeggios, by pedal passages, and such devices. In this way the hymns are sung at the Oratory – men, women, and children all taking the air. The pronounced rhythm of the organ part keeps up the spirit of the singing, and prevents dragging."


    Uncanny how like the tunes and rhythms (and structures) of the tunes in 1800's Catholic hymnbooks are to the stuff in Gather. Perhaps Haugen & Co. were onto something after all. Then again, this wasn't liturgical music at the time, but devotional.

    Also worth a thought: Strophic stuff is for the Office. Mass music has always been antiphonal, and yes, with only the cantors singing the verses.
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • The consistently greatest effect in congregational song I have ever been able to achieve in my exceptionally normal parish is with anything call-and-response.


    "Just tell us what to do: we don't want to think on Sunday mornings, much less pray or sing."

    Someone mentioned on another thread that the major issue is that there is a problem in Catholic prayer life. This is proof.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeV6pxSkcso
  • "Just tell us what to do: we don't want to think on Sunday mornings, much less pray."

    Someone mentioned on another thread that the major issue is that there is a problem in Catholic prayer life. This is proof.


    That's hardly proof, unless there is also a problem with Catholic prayer life in the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, which is mostly this kind of singing. If you haven't figured out how to sing along with the Litanies by the third intercession, you have a problem. This is also the kind of singing that the estimable Mr. Meloche considered a great virtue of traditional liturgy earlier in this thread.

    I think that a lot of parishioners prefer an unmediated liturgical experience. They don't want to pick up a hymnal, read the text, fiddle for their wallets/envelopes, switch to the other book (missalette, mass-setting insert, whatever) for the next thing, and then at the end of the liturgy have sung everything, read a lot of words in a book, but experienced nothing. But if the song is intuitive, if there is a refrain that they can sing as they process to communion, if they are led, without a book, into the sung Kyrie after the penitential act through good use of a precentor, then it is a very authentic, meaningful, and enriching experience of worship for them.

    And I don't think this approach to liturgy is necessarily a defect in prayer life. In fact, it is historically the approach Catholics took to praying the Mass, until the liturgical movement, only augmented to allow for sung participation.

    If changing liturgical chants were mostly antiphonal, and the unchanging parts of the Mass sung to a few solid settings, why couldn't the entire assembly chant the Mass without a book, and then through seeing, listening, and praying, experience unmediated the liturgical action unfolding before them, really the only good reason to do it in the vernacular in the first place.

    Not so unappealing.
  • The problem wasnt in the type of singing but the attitude that supports mainly call and response with general congregations not willing to learn entire hymns anymore, at least not in my parish.
  • Sadly, I think part of the issue might be that they are tiring of a constant feeling of "new music" and change, even though in our cases the "new music" is old music. They just want someone once and for all to set a repertoire and stick with it. Change is tiresome. Radical change unabated for 50 years is exhausting. At least Pope St. Pius X's reform felt like it was a one-time deal unto perpetuity and universality.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I'm glad you qualified your observation with "sadly." New music, old music? Schnoo music, Schmold music. Is it good music? Stick with this maxim- the people don't know all that they like, and will like. Like=Nice. Don't count.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,099
    They just want someone once and for all to set a repertoire and stick with it.

    Like this?
    image
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Clever retort, but off the mark as regards CONGREGATIONAL music.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    Clever retort, but off the mark as regards CONGREGATIONAL music.


    So this.

    image
    399 x 648 - 47K
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,465
    Here's a new mantra for you: the Missale Romanum is the celebrant's book, the Graduale Romanum is the schola's book, and the Kyriale is the people's book.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 593
    I have been reading through many of the comments and I like what Carl D says.

    One phenomenon I've noticed with modern G&P songs is that the congregants are given only the words, not music.


    This is very true or they are only given the music of the refrain and not the words at all of the song.

    I take point with ClergetKubisz,

    The problem wasnt in the type of singing but the attitude that supports mainly call and response with general congregations not willing to learn entire hymns anymore, at least not in my parish.


    I don't think congregations are unwilling to learn new hymns if the content of the hymn is worth learning and is easy to learn given the definition I expressed above in my previous post.


    And I feel that what NihilNominis says is great observation

    Sadly, I think part of the issue might be that they are tiring of a constant feeling of "new music" and change, even though in our cases the "new music" is old music.


    I must admit it seems at my parish there is always something new being introduced and it's up to the cantor to carry the verses and the congregation the refrain. Whether it is something from a G&P hymnal or a home brew.

    Here is what I think what is most lacking in Catholic hymnody today, our "communion with the saints".

    When I look at the hymns that my grandparents sang the content of the hymn was decidedly devotional. There was a communion with the saints in praising God. The words were prayerful and meaningful and most importantly they evangelized the individual when he or she was away at work, play or driving down road.

    The real measure of a good hymn is whether that hymn is teaching us anything of our faith and steers clear of this "identity crisis" that I'm Jesus in one verse and somebody else in another verse. I can't raise you up from the dead and you can't satisfy the broken heart and by all means please remember me.




  • In our parish, the congregation sings only the refrain of the Communion song, and it is very successful.They have memorized the refrains, and carry the singing throughout the Communion rite. I find that at other parishes I visit, no one sings the whole Communion song because once they get in line, they stop singing and don't pick up the hymnal when they return to their seats.
  • Salieri and ryand had me rolling. Just saying.
  • There are too many roadblocks stuck in the way that music chosen, performed and made available to the people in the pews at the present time, to foster congregational singing at Catholic Mass.

    Lack of training for organists, reliance on untrained and unqualified "singers" to "lead" the singing without enough vocal ability to do it without a microphone.

    Buildings built to save energy (low roofs - and comfort and cheap maintenance - carpeting).

    If a protestant church did not hand each person a bulletin for the entire service, having and understanding the importance of giving people easy access to everything they needed in their hands laid out clearly in order, and the work under the assumption that people can and will read music by giving them a hymnal in four parts, singing there would also be poor.

    Instead they are giving a flimsy booklet that they are expected to leaf through to find the Mass ordinary, the readings, the Mass text and, somewhere in the back hymns in melody or just the words.

    Catholic priests fail to understand the concept of basic marketing to an audience that they themselves use when attending events - even horse racing.

    2. If the practice at the parish is (as it is in many places) to sing only enough verses to cover the liturgical action, then the people aren't hearing the entire hymn every time, reducing repetitions of the refrain, but more importantly restricting the number of times they experience those wacky verses if the song has them. This results in the people simply not knowing the song.


    Why pick up a hymnbook and leaf through it to find that you are going to be stopped without singing the entire hymn?

    The protestants understand that a hymn is prayer and almost never, ever, sing just a few verses. Cutting it short to save time enforces the idea that it's not important. It's a time filler.

    Protestants often preach on the words of the hymns and choose them to make this possible. When's the last time a priest raised a hymn in the importance in the minds of the congregation by preaching on it or even mentioning it?

    All of this can ONLY be solved in the seminary. All our efforts in parishes are not going to make any difference at all as we are replaced by people who know nothing and could care less about music and what it could be in the church. The only places we can work are ones with enlightened priests. Period.

    As a CMAA member, you can make a difference by donating books to seminaries, visiting and offering to host seminarians at your church and offering classes for them, deacons and priests in your area.


  • AMEN Noel! AMEN!!!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    Noel

    I would also add that, given what seems to be a significant decline in the amount of time most young Americans spend in being educated in reading music (whether in school or at home), we're dealing with people who are largely unused to singing or playing music but only listening to it (Protestant churches with a stable tradition of strong congregational hymn singing - especially Episcopalians, Methodists and Lutherans in the US context - have a better hand dealt to them in this regard).

    "Catholic priests fail to understand the concept of basic marketing to an audience that they themselves use when attending events - even horse racing."

    Look at Catholic parish websites: pitiful pitiful pitiful on average. It becomes very clear that the normal Catholic approach to evangelization is: we and you are obligated to do X, so we have no need to advertise. You're supposed to be here, and if you don't feel that way, that's on you. Et cet.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,059
    The protestants understand that a hymn is prayer
    Very true, that is a key difference between protestant and Catholic worship. If the Catholic Church had an official hymn book for Mass, with texts given the same scrutiny as they give to the propers, then we could use it without undermining our faith. However as things stand, some hymns commercially available are pernicious.
  • Reval
    Posts: 163
    The protestants understand that a hymn is prayer and almost never, ever, sing just a few verses. Cutting it short to save time enforces the idea that it's not important. It's a time filler.


    Yes, as a convert, I don't understand this. Is music at Mass a prayer, or is it meant to cover "liturgical action"? I know some clever wag is going to answer "yes".
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,080
    I'm just amazed that there are Catholic congregations out there that actually sing! Most of the people in my parish don't even open the hymnal.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    Reval

    The prayers are contrapuntal.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2CXQQa7Z34
    Thanked by 1Reval
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Is music at Mass a prayer, or is it meant to cover "liturgical action"?


    The introit, alleluia, offertory, and communion propers, with their psalm verses, cover liturgical actions. The gradual psalm and the Mass ordinary are themselves liturgical actions.

  • Is music at Mass a prayer, or is it meant to cover "liturgical action"?


    Music is integral to the Mass, and sometimes - like a ballet- two actions take place simultaneously.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,536
    I often wonder about the Agnus as a liturgical action: Anglicans have several options for a "Fraction Anthem". How usual is it for the Agnus to be followed a long silence punctuated by snapping before the communio begins?
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,697
    Well, hopefully never, because in the OF, it accompanies the fraction which is followed by the dialgoue. In the EF, the fraction is accompanied by a silent prayer. The celebrant sings Pax Domini, etc. and the Agnus follows, after the Pax at Solemn Mass.
  • Music is integral to the Mass, and sometimes - like a ballet- two actions take place simultaneously.


    No.

    Otherwise, organists and choir directors would be ordained and celibate. And that dog won't hunt.

    If music were as important or even important to the church for Mass, it would not be in the state it is in now.

    Saying this is as silly as saying that a Mass without burning candles is not a valid Mass.

    (OK, Ben, we won't bring up incense.)

    To say and believe that music is integral to the Mass completely and utterly puts music and gaudy vestments on the same level as Transubstantiation.

    These things only clothe the Mass with sounds and sights but are trivial in comparison.

    But the Goldberg is transcendental.
  • Which brings to mind how much music would have suffered if Bach had been Catholic.

    PS: thanks for the Goldberg....just found out that the forum software filters youtube audio - click through to YouTube to hear the difference.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    There's something annoyingly Roman about the compulsion to determine which elements of the liturgical praxis are "integral" and which are trivial or could be dispensed with.
  • Gives Thou Us Some Kind of Break....interrupting & discontinuing Mass

    Catholic Encyclopedia

    For mystical reasons the Church prescribes that the candles used at Mass and at other liturgical functions be made of beeswax (luminaria cerea. — Missale Rom., De Defectibus, X, I; Cong. Sac. Rites, 4 September, 1875). The pure wax extracted by bees from flowers symbolizes the pure flesh of Christ received from His Virgin Mother, the wick signifies the soul of Christ, and the flame represents His divinity. Although the two latter properties are found in all kinds of candles, the first is proper of beeswax candles only. It is, however, not necessary that they be made of beeswax without any admixture. The paschal candle and the two candles used at Mass should be made ex cera apum saltem in maxima parte, but the other candles in majori vel notabili quantitate ex eadem cera (Cong. Sac. Rit., 14 December, 1904). As a rule they should be of white bleached wax, but at funerals, at the office of Tenebrae in Holy Week, and at the Mass of the Presanctified, on Good Friday, they should be of yellow unbleached wax (Caerem. Episc.). De Herdt (I, no. 183, Resp. 2) says that unbleached wax candles should be used during Advent and Lent except on feasts, solemnities, and especially during the exposition and procession of the Blessed Sacrament. Candles made wholly of any other material, such as tallow (Cong. Sac. Rit., 10 December, 1857) stearine (Cong. Sac. Rit., 4 September, 1875), paraffin, etc., are forbidden. The Cong. Sac. Rit. (7 September, 1850) made an exception for the missionaries of Oceania, who, on account of the impossibility of obtaining wax candles, are allowed to use sperm-whale candles. Without an Apostolic indult it is not allowable, and it constitutes a grievous offense to celebrate Mass without any light (Cong. Sac. Rit., 7 September, 1850), even for the purpose of giving Holy Viaticum, or of enabling the people to comply with their duty of assisting at Mass on Sundays and holy days (St. Lig., bk. VI, n. 394). In these, and similar cases of necessity it is the common opinion that Mass may be celebrated with tallow candles or oil lamps (ibid.). It is not permitted to begin Mass before the candles are lighted, nor are they to be extinguished until the end of Mass.
    If the candles go out before the Consecration, and cannot be again lighted, most authors say that Mass should be discontinued; if this happens after the Consecration, Mass should not be interrupted, although some authors say that if they can possibly be lighted again within fifteen minutes the celebrant ought to interrupt Mass for this space of time (ibid.) If only one rubrical candle can be had, Mass may be celebrated even ex devotione (ibid).

    Number of candles at mass

    (1) At a pontifical high Mass, celebrated by the ordinary, seven candles are lighted. The seventh candle should be somewhat higher than the others, and should be placed at the middle of the altar in line with the other six. For this reason the altar crucifix is moved forward a little. In Requiem Masses, and at other liturgical services. e.g. Vespers, the seventh candle is not used. If the bishop celebrate outside his diocese. or if he be the administrator, auxiliary, or coadjutor, the seventh candle is not lighted.

    (2) At a solemn high Mass, i.e. when the celebrant is assisted by a deacon and subdeacon, six candles are lighted. This is not expressly prescribed by the rubrics, but merely deduced from the rubric describing the manner of incensing the altar (Ritus celebrandi Missam, tit. iv, n. 4), which says that the celebrant incenses both sides of the altar with three swings of the censer prout distribuuntur candelabra.

    (3) At a high Mass (missa cantata), which is celebrated without the assistance of deacon and subdeacon, at least four candles are required (Cong. Sac. Rit., 12 August, 1854), although six may be lighted. At these Masses under (l), (2), (3), the two lighted candles prescribed by the Missal (Rubr. XX) to be placed one on each side of the cross, are not necessary (Cong. Sac. Rit., 5 December, 1891).

    (4) At low Mass celebrated by any bishop, four candles are usually lighted, although the "Caeremoniale Episcoporum" (I, cap. xxix, n. 4) prescribes this number only for the more solemn feasts, and two on feasts of lower rite.

    (5) At a strictly low Mass celebrated by any priest inferior to a bishop, whatever be his dignity, only two candles may be used.

    (6) In a not strictly low Mass, i.e. in a parochial or community Mass on more solemn feasts or the Mass which is said instead of a solemn or high Mass on the occasion of a great solemnity (Cong. Sac. Rit., 12 September, 1857), when celebrated by a priest more than two candles, and when celebrated by a bishop more than four candles may be used.

    At all functions throughout the year except on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, before the Mass bishops are allowed the use of the bugia or hand-candlestick. The use of the bugia is not permitted to priests, whatever be their dignity, unless it be granted by an Apostolic privilege either personal, or by reason of their being curial dignitaries. If, on account of darkness a priest stands in need of a light near the Missal he may use a candle, but the candlestick on which it is fastened cannot have the form of the bugia (Cong. Sac. Rit., 31 May, 1817). An oil lamp can never be used for this purpose (Cong. Sac. Rit., 20 June, 1899). At the Forty Hours Devotion at least twenty candles should burn continuously (Instructio Clementina, section 6); at other public expositions of the Blessed Sacrament at least five (Cong. Sac. Rit., 8 February, 1879); at the private exposition, at least six (Cong. Episc. et Reg., 9 December, 1602). The only blessings at which lighted candles are prescribed are:

    of the candles on the feast of the Purification
    of the ashes on Ash Wednesday;
    of the palms on Palm Sunday.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • bugia
  • I must differ with Noel as concerns the integrality of music and the mass. The mass is to be sung! This is (whilst not completely 'normal') normative! Singing the mass is NOT adding something to it: not singing the mass is subtracting something from it. This is fundamental. Not singing the mass is to de-nude it of something integral to it. Not singing the mass is to subject it to an indignity, to rob it of what is integral to any sacred act, and is an affront to God's people and to all that is holy.

  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    FYI: I view this forum mostly on Chrome on a laptop, and YouTube plays audio embedded here....it may be your own settings or a device issue.
  • Not singing the Mass is also a way for some priests to get out of what they believe is certain embarrassment. Some just don't have the guts to try. Still, others think it saves time to eliminate that "unnecessary" music, perhaps in order to have time for something else they'd rather do, such has elongating the sermon.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 593
    Liam - Look at Catholic parish websites: pitiful pitiful pitiful on average. It becomes very clear that the normal Catholic approach to evangelization is: we and you are obligated to do X, so we have no need to advertise.


    I don't know about other Catholic websites I think my parish has a well thought out and user friendly design as well as informative. St. Paul Parish

    We have a section under our Music Ministry to help the congregation, choir, and cantors at least for those who are interested. It's a slow start and we are working on ways to improve and let church members know whats coming up and what is required by them.

    Noel Jones - There are too many roadblocks stuck in the way that music chosen, performed and made available to the people in the pews at the present time, to foster congregational singing at Catholic Mass.


    In every parish you have those who pick up the hymnal and sing and those who just wont. So we have two extremes except there is another group, they are the ones who pick up the hymnal and they want to sing but quickly put the hymnal down. Why? They have music, they have the words. There is a cantor doing the singing for them...I mean, helping to lead the singing. Why did they put the hymnal down?

    I can tell you there many times I wish I could put the hymnal down. There's nothing more difficult in introducing and helping the congregation learn a new song that goes against everything you know to be sacred. Thank God that I only had to sing two verses. Sometimes I find myself wishing Father would quicken his pace to the altar and save me and the congregation the 3rd verse. The same can be said at Offertory, Communion and Recessional. Although generally speaking Father seems eager to great his parishioners (haha) and if we are lucky we get two verses.

    But then every once in awhile a traditional hymn is sung like To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King, Holy God We Praise Thy Name, In This Sacrament Sweet Jesus, Attende Domine, Ubi Caritas, you know the ones I speak of...and I'll see more people singing, we sing more verses and everyone loves the old traditional hymn.

    We should sing that more often they'll say. It felt so good to sing that hymn and I feel like I went to church today. I love that hymn, why don't we sing it more often? I hear many other little anecdotes.

    ClergetKubisz - Not singing the Mass is also a way for some priests to get out of what they believe is certain embarrassment. Some just don't have the guts to try. Still, others think it saves time to eliminate that "unnecessary" music, perhaps in order to have time for something else they'd rather do, such has elongating the sermon.


    Our pastor is a young priest and he has good voice, he chant's really well and I know he and the music director go over most if not all the music for the Mass and what we will be doing for that week or month. I guess it all depends on your parish.

    Thanked by 1kenstb
  • then every once in awhile a traditional hymn is sung like To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King, Holy God We Praise Thy Name


    To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King was written in 1941. Whatever else it is, it ain't traditional.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,160
    To say and believe that music is integral to the Mass completely and utterly puts music and gaudy vestments on the same level as Transubstantiation.


    So that Vatican II phrase about 'pars integralis' is--what? Jibberjabber?
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • "Traditional" in hymns means anything that more people will sing that isn't poorly written. Almost nothing from 1960 to now will survive.

    I had to engrave a copyright song yesterday from Weston Priory. It takes 3 to 4 times as long to do one of these as a traditional hymn and the price is higher. Sorting out the copyrights and typing them in at length adds to that.

    Cut these unsingable songs with text that would have gotten you an F in English class if you wrote. Maybe you'll help save a soul or two by not driving yet another person away due to musical apathy.

    same level as Transubstantiation.


    If they are just as important, that may explain why and how people go to Episcopal churches for the music, liturgy and communion justify it. (and please don't quote latin names and phrases. It just scares the children.)

    "Oh, there's no priest to say (notice it's never SING) Mass today, so let's wear vestments and sing. It's just as good because they are equally with Transubstantiation.

    I am not against the Sung Mass, I prefer it.