• from a recent post: the choir sing the psalm tone versions of the propers (which the people could easily learn to sing were that desired)

    We want to schedule Tenebrae on Good Friday again this year
    There is always a good turnout, and booklets are provided to everyone with marks for the psalm tones, however, I'd say that maybe 5% of the people join in at all.
    If I had to guess the reason, I'd say it's Fear of Latin. What can be done to encourage greater participation? 15 minute workshops in the Sundays before Holy Week?
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 114
    I definitely would love more workshops to teach ME things. Imagine someone handing you a sheet of song lyrics in Norwegian, and asking you to sing along. I'd have all my concentration on trying to sight-read the foreign text, let alone figure out where the melody is going. At best I will mumble.

    My own convert's experience in the Church is that no one ever explains anything. Or, they explain theological things (the 10 commandments), but not practical things (how exactly to confess, which I learned from a youtube video!). So I vote ten times for "please have more workshops, classes, handouts, explanations and teaching of practical matters, so we idiots in the pews know what to do!" :D

    Positive example: there's a church in Madrid that celebrates the Mozarabic rite, which has its own chant. 15 minutes before each daily Mass a guy gets up and runs through the simpler chants, so that the congregation can join in those parts. The nuns upstairs sing the propers themselves, as that is complex.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,646
    Is this EF/OF? At what time are your Good Friday liturgies?
  • Yes, EF.
    With respect - my post concerns ONLY how to get people to participate in the psalm tone. I'm very much hoping that we won't already get sidetracked with discussions of what time...
    a separate thread might be ideal for that. thanks!
    Thanked by 2Liam CHGiffen
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 178
    I don't think it's fear. Some people don't want to sing Latin and they don't want to learn. It's a mind set. Since February we've been chanting the Ave Regina Cealorum after the dismissal but before the recessional hymn. First the choir and cantors had to learn the chant well enough to lead the congregation. Before that it was announced in the bulletin and on our parish website. For a couple of weeks the choir practiced with the congregation before Mass. It is chanted at all the daily Masses as well. In short, we did everything to teach the congregation the chant and many of them are chanting. I would say the key to our success was in the preparation. Oh, this not an EF mass although they do chant it at our EF mass.
  • Fear of Latin -


    There are a variety of obstacles in teaching liturgical Latin to congregations (and, even, to some choirs). There is not one specific cause nor one specific solution that will be applicable in all cases. Any, all, or none of them may be at work in one's own congregation and/or choir.

    1. Irrational hatred - for this there is virtually no cure and no defense.
    This can be very infectious - those who have this hatred are usually vociferous about it and may (and often do) infect unwitting others.

    2. Fear of learning something new and strange - rational and loving catechesis should reach such people. Appeal to their natural human love of learning generally, and of learning more about their faith. Respond with love of the person and love of the subject. You are, after all, sharing a beautiful treasure.

    3. Associating Latin with the ancien regime by those who have been conditioned to believe it was 'done away with' by Vatican II. The more open-minded folk who suffer from this illness may very well respond favourably to kind and patient catechesis. On the other hand, those who have a constitutional and existential attachment to this nefarious conditioning will likely not be impressed with any amount of patient catechesis - nor be swayed by what pope, council, or catechism actually have said and do say.

    4. One one's self must have an authoritative grasp of what he or she is teaching. People will, normally, respect those who 'know what they are talking about' and can talk about it in an engaging manner. One should be able to read Latin as if one spoke it fluently, and to give at least a rough translation of what one is reading. This will convey to one's brethren that they, too, can master litrugical Latin. Being sure of one's self can be infectious on others who will respect scholarship.

    5. Regardless of the presence of any or all of the above illnesses, it is essential to have the backing of the pastor. Not only the backing, but the active support. Everyone should know that 'father wants this'. It was once said that Napoleon's presence on the field of battle was worth 10,000 men. The same can be said of having one's pastor on and at one's side.

    6. Do not be swayed or cowed by Mr, Mrs, or Miss Disgruntled Loudmouth who may want to throw stones in one's path. These people speak only for themselves. They do not speak for everyone - though, if they can get away with it, they will sway everyone. One should never lose charge of the situation, and should be prepared deftly to 'handle' any obstacles.

    Much more could be said of this problem, this problem which should not be a problem to, of all people, Catholics. It is one of the cruel ironies of our times that great numbers of Catholics dislike, loathe, abhor, or downright hate and despise Latin (because for fifty years they have been taught and conditioned to) - while large numbers of Anglicans, many Lutherans, and a few others are quite favourable to Latin and enjoy it in their worship. And, truth be known, there really are large numbers of Catholics, both OF and EF - not to mention Ordinariates, who love Latin and respond to it with glee. (Even at Walsingham the 8am Sunday mass features one of the Gregorian ordinaries and Credo III sung by the people a capella and in Latin.)

    So, on the other hand, one may have the good fortune to have a choir and congregation who are receptive, who enjoy learning their heritage, who respond with enthusiasm, and are a blessing to teach - to whom to impart this beautiful knowledge.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen eft94530
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,319
    Before I offer my 2c., I have a few questions:

    Is the parish EF (SSPX, FSSP, ICKSP, &c.) or OF?

    Are other portions of the Divine Office (i.e. Vespers or Lauds) sung during the year?

    Are the Propers chanted at Mass? If so, are psalm-verses employed (e.g. at Communion)?

    If OF, are Gregorian Masses in Latin used during the year? More than just the Jubilate Deo/ICEL Mass?

    How much do the people participate in the singing at regular Sunday Masses?

    Are the people ever required to sing a cappella at Mass?

    Are microphones and/or 'cantor'/song-leader regularly employed at Masses (OF)?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,201
    If the people do not regularly do something like this (eg Vespers), you don't have much hope at a one-off. Familiarity is essential*, workshops might help, but regular worship would be better.
    Unlike Mass, you do not need to allow people to prepare spiritually to participate in the Holy Sacrifice. So maybe something can be done or said before the service?
    Sometimes people feel the choir/schola is doing it all so well the music should be left to them.
    * This from Canticum Salomonis recently-
    Domenico Bartolucci recalls:
    “When I was a boy I remember that the people used to sing in church. They sang at Vespers (all from memory: the antiphons, psalms and hymns); they sang at devotional functions (Way of the Cross, Marian devotions, etc.); they sang in processions (the Magnificat, Te Deum, Lauda Sion, and other hymns); they sang even at Solemn Mass sometimes. (When I was a boy, each Sunday at my little church there was a Solemn Mass, and on normal Sundays the people sang by themselves.)”
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 178
    To add to my comment above "repetition" was a key factor. I've noticed especially in our parish a kind of "formula" that the music director uses, that is, every hymn must or at least in someway match the readings of the day. If you think about it, the readings change every day, so if your hymnody is changing every weekend, people will be less likely to sing.
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 450
    Regardless of the presence of any or all of the above illnesses, it is essential to have the backing of the pastor. Not only the backing, but the active support. Everyone should know that 'father wants this


    Yep. And once you have the support, practice beginning every sentence with "Pastor ________ said..." :)
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,201
    The OP wanted advice on chanting office psalms, the point of psalm tones is that there is a limited number. For the very good reason that those involved should be concentrating on the words, which in this case they have in front of them. But the people still mostly won't do it unless they are familiar with it, and know the tunes/tones.
    Similarly putting in hymns as substitute Mass propers, changing weekly, is not very effective because of the variability. Starting Mass with a hymn tune people do not know has a knock-on effect right through the celebration.