Cantors/Choir Members: What do you do at Consecration?
  • One thing that has consistently bothered me about cantoring or singing in the choir has been the awkwardness of my posture during the consecration. As everyone kneels immediately after the Sanctus, I and my fellow-singers are left awkwardly standing so that we can "lead" the people's response to the Mysterium Fidei. Sure, I do my best to very obviously turn my attention to the mystery at the altar and bow my head at the showing of the Body and Blood of our Lord, but from an example-setting standpoint it bothers me.

    Do any of you deal with this conundrum? Do you feel it's better, as a cantor and/or choirmember, to sing the "Memorial Acclamation" from a kneeling position? How do you handle this?
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • I usually have the choir stand for the singing of the Mysterium Fidei, the only few seconds of standing they do throughout the entire Canon. I'm a firm believer in standing being the best posture while singing. I sure can't accompany while kneeling - I have to sit.

    Througout the remainder - all points from the end of the Sanctus to the priest's "Mysterium Fidei", and from the "Unde et Memores" to the priest's "Per Ipsum", the choir kneels just like everyone else.
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    In the loft I kneel until I need to be on the bench to give the celebrant a pitch to chant the "mysterium fidei."
    If I am cantoring from downstairs in the sanctuary, I kneel throughout.
    The volunteer cantors variously remain at the cantor stand in the sanctuary and bow profoundly at the priest's genuflections, or walk down the few steps and kneel in the front pew.
    Unless it is a new and completely unfamiliar (to the PIPs,) ordinary i do not ask, or indeed want them to sing into the mic for the Eucharistic acclamations.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    We stand, both in choir and when cantoring. The choir risers frankly have inadequate room to kneel, so we'd likely cause more commotion than reverence if we attempted it. And the people rely on cantors to guide them towards which of the Memorial Acclamations has been selected for the day. I never feel fully comfortable with being the only person in the church standing (except for the Priests and the latecomers against the walls). But reverent posture, folded hands, and a profound bow when the Priest genuflects (and even when he neglects to do so) help focus attention on the important Action taking place.
  • We all stay kneeling and try to sing out during this time, and we choose the simplest and shortest settings possible so that this awkward part of the new Mass comes and goes with as little disruption as possible.
  • IMO Catholics are not taught how to kneel these days. Even if one has some trouble getting down, or up again, the posture of kneeling should be virtually the same on the torso. I actually kneel with a straighter back when kneeling directly on the floor. The higher and cushier the padded kneeler, the more prone to sloppy posture. One major hint - point your toes (yeah, you have to polish your dress shoes occasionally anyway!) so that you're kneeling on the soft part just below the kneecap - and RELAX! If you have something in front of you to help you up and down, be careful not to lean on it - that's more like sitting down. Oh, BTW, if you're stuck with nave floors that slope down towards the Altar, you'll probably get shin-splints!
  • We have no kneelers in the Fatima oratory, so we stand throughout the Canon.

  • We don't have kneelers in the choir area, so everyone hits the ground with the knee. Just has to happen.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Steve: I've noticed that Episcopalians and really liturgical Lutherans have horrible (by Catholic standards) kneeling posture. They always touch their posteriors to the pews! Then again, I attended St. Paul's Episcopal in Norfolk, VA, which had colonial-style pews, and you CANNOT kneel properly in those! You actually have to do the Episcopal slouch to kneel in those types of pews! I find Catholics have a lazy standing pose actually, although that's usually because the teens are looking bored and the adults all have a book (Missalette) in their hands. Where when I went to the Orthodox liturgy, I found the people were extremely reverent while standing. An odd thing to nickpick, but it's interesting to note the differences in terms of posture.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    I'm in a typical post-VC II architectural-styled building with the choir, organ (console, anyway), etc. in an area in front and to the right as one faces the sanctuary. Unfortunately we sit in chairs that lack kneelers. I'm told that originally the choir area had chairs with kneelers that were moved to the chapel and replaced with these awful, second-hand monstrosities with no kneelers.

    I'm working on getting a carpenter who sings in the choir to build special moveable "stalls" that will incorporate kneelers. In the meantime, I try to model what the GIRM calls for, i.e., because we have to stand during the canon of the Mass, I bow when the priest genuflects. Not everyone has picked up on it, but they're slowly coming around.

    On a different point, I think there are some pew/kneeler manufacturers who have absolutely NO CLUE how to create a kneeler that permits people to kneel comfortably without necessitating the "posterior on the pew" posture. I have found that at many churches the pew backs stick out farther than the kneeler, making it impossible to kneel in a comfortable fashion, that is, so that the knees and hips are directly over one another. If the pew back is sloped for the comfort of the person sitting in it, it typically means that the top edge of the pew back will be almost in line with the kneeler behind it, making it impossible for the person kneeling to comfortably kneel with knees and hips in line. I get tired of hooking my elbows over the pew in front of me just to keep my balance. Am I crazy, or is this a problem others have experienced?
  • Stella611
    Posts: 111
    I am not yet a music director, but when i have been home to help direct music, i have kept the choir/group or whoever is singing with me or when I am by myself, kneeling, because the acclamations are all ones that people know. there's really no need to lead them in my opinion, if they are well known, people will either choose to sing them or they won't. I am also partial once i am back home permanently to establishing permanent responses, such as the "christ has died.." one in the adoremus hymnal at the beginning and the simple chanted Amen response. I think it is quite ridiculous to do some big choral response at this time in the mass. If the priest is chanting the mysterium fidei or the ending of the canon, the common sense thing to do is to have a chanted response back. once they learn these simple chant responses, the choir would just always kneel with the people. it's not a time to have a cantor or choir "lead" a congregation.
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    Oh, I guess I should add, since others discussed it, in the loft I kneel on wood, in the sanctuary I kneel on marble.
    I'm out of shape, lazy, and have bad knees from dancing; "no kneelers" has nothing to do with whether one chooses to assume the posture of humility or not.
    (I'm not saying anyone who doesn't care to ought to kneel, merely that the presence or absence of kneelers is immaterial.)

    Save the Liturgy, save the World
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    Sorry, should also have added that our acoustics are such that kneeling, facing the altar and away from the people, there is no problem at all "leading" the singing, unaccompanied, even if it is a new, unfamiliar acclamation fro the PIPs.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • john m
    Posts: 134
    We do not have space for kneelers in our choir loft, so the choir stands respectfully. I (organist/director) stand with them as an expression of unity. At Masses at which the choir is not present I kneel at the railing of the choir loft.
  • john m
    Posts: 134
    I should add that not only does the choir not have space for kneelers, they do not have space to kneel without kneelers; their rows are too close together and the loft risers are not wide enough to space the rows more generously.
  • bsven
    Posts: 20
    Dear Kimberley, I am totally on your wave-lenghth about this part of the Mass. Simple chant responses are the best thing to teach the people for this time. Those big choral responses are distracting. Long live simple chant!
  • Lawrence
    Posts: 123
    We kneel.