Those that have resumed public Masses: are you doing anything differently?
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 37
    I’m assuming many of us in the USA have resumed some public Masses.

    Is anyone doing anything differently, be it willingly or unwillingly?

    Our diocese has mandated the use of only one musician and one cantor for the time-being.

    For weekend Masses, our pastor only wants one verse of a hymn sung at the opening and closing and a hymn at Holy Communion. No sung Gloria, Responsorial Psalm, Sanctus, or Mystery of Faith. We are permitted to sing the Gospel Acclamation, Great Amen, and Agnus Dei. It seems like a jumbled mess, but oh well, I guess.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 555
    Singing only one verse of a hymn makes absolutely no sense - you may as well use something antiphonal.
  • CatholicZ09,

    We're not allowed to have music, full stop.

    Here's a question, to expand yours, slightly: given what the documents tell us about priorities in singing, should we return our music in a specific order?
  • WGS
    Posts: 244
    Especially for the Ordinary Form, refer to the Three Degrees of Participation in Musicam Sacram.
    Thanked by 1janetgorbitz
  • TCJ
    Posts: 696
    We can have an organist and a cantor. Since I often double as cantor, I've taken the liberty of having a cantor and singing harmony when I can. We sing the Entrance, Offertory, and Communion antiphons, the full Ordinary (aside from the Credo) and a hymn during Communion. The responsorial psalm is no longer responsorial because we sing it straight through. Recessional is instrumental.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    WGS is right, but it is worth going through the list and cross referencing to GIRM, in order to persuade others that an 'old' document is still relevant. And, IMPORTANT to note that the chants between the readings have a changed emphasis, so also check with the Instruction for the Lectionary - the Alleluia has been promoted in the hierarchy!
  • Joseph Michael
    Posts: 205
    No entrance hymn. The Introit (GR) is sung--various settings: Willan, Arbogast, Ostrowski etc. Cantor and organ

    Kyrie, Gloria, Psalm response, Alleluia, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith, and Agnus Dei are sung by the congregation. At first, it was meant to be the cantor, alone. But, people in the pews just started to sing on their own. (Everyone wears a mask.)

    At Offertory, I have been using hymns that have a familiar refrain so that people in the pew can sing if they so desire.

    Communion: We wing a Russian Orthodox anthiphon "Receive the Body of Christ" which the congregation knows. In between the antiphons, the cantor sings the Communon Proper and Psalm verses.

    No closing hymn--just the organ.

    So from a four hymn sandwich, we are down to one.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 460
    EF, first official public Mass since March. Rushed through to allow time for next Mass in busy borrowed parish. Every other pew and four out of five seats per remaining pew blocked, which made for an introvert's delight and prevented all talking. Amazing! Had to sign up to get in, and it was 'full'.

    Mini schola (2 people in the loft) sang an entrance hymn, a Communion hymn and Salve Regina. No sung ordinary or propers, to save time. Communion on the tongue, with the adaptation that one must be Anglo-Saxon in the line (come up the middle aisle, return by the side aisles) to maintain a gesture of distancing. At least half the people didn't receive, either for health reasons or because it hadn't been possible to arrange Confession before Mass this time, but next time there will be.

    But my God, what a pleasure! I was so happy to be in a normal church, in a normal parish, in a normal Mass. I was so very grateful.
  • Our bishop has said no congregational singing or choirs. As a result, the Ordinary of the Mass is spoken. We have been singing the Entrance and Communion Antiphons from Fr Weber's propers, doing hymns at the Offertory and at the Recessional, and singing the psalm and gospel acclamation.

    The musicians have been an organist and cantor. For the mass I normally do music at, there are two of us who both play organ and both sing. We switch off who does which job each week, but we sing the propers together a capella.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,639
    As far as Society chapels go it's left to the discretion of the pastor. (Ironic, huh?) I've been to two different chapels that have resumed high masses - one on Pentecost, the other of Corpus Christi Thursday. The chapel I attended today advertised a 9am mass on its website - I arrived twenty minutes early to find myself ten minutes into the mass. Turns out that there are now low masses at 830 & 10 to accommodate the Covid Cootie Concerns, and that this would be in effect until the end of July. (Bare-bones websites with outdated information are still a universal constant of the Society.) The pastor was kind enough to allow me to practice on their organ, an old Wicks, so that's a plus.
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 171
    Our DM was laid off until the end of the year and isn’t even allowed to volunteer in any capacity related to his job.

    In the meantime, we are prohibited from any and all singing, even just one person singing the Benediction hymns away from everyone else. Congregational humming is legally permitted now, though.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,827
    So from a four hymn sandwich, we are down to one.
    a slice of bread
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,839
    UK
    We have Cantor and Organist, but from my reading of the government guidance a couple of Cantors is possible.
    5min sermon has been suggested by the bishop... we had incense at Benediction yesterday but not at sung Mass today. Any way we have only been open Saturday and Sunday, so we will see what changes...

    So solve problems we sing Vespers and Compline each Sunday in my house, with half the choir around to eat drink and of course sing!
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • JaredOstermann
    Posts: 442
    Sioux Falls Cathedral - pretty much regular music since May 16th. Congregational hymns, Ordinary (choirs are off for the summer anyway - but we've had scholae for ordinations and a couple of weddings). Masks at the discretion of individuals since May 16 (we provide hand sanitizer and disposable masks at the entrances for anyone who wants them). In other words, almost 100% our normal summer routine.

    My choir singers are excited to be back in the fall.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,629
    St. Sebastian Akron EF (D. of Cleveland)
    We get a cantor and an organist, and diocesan guidelines are to discourage people from singing by singing music that they don't know.

    So here's what I'm doing differently:
    1. There are no hymns (we usually split a hymn between pro- and re-cessional). Organist plays Fr. and the 2 servers in and out.
    2. We're doing either Credo VI or a composed Credo (not so much that because of course I didn't copy them with the unison Masses because we'd rather have people sing the Credo.)
    3. I'm doing more composed Masses, because chant really isn't a solo gig. When we do a Gregorian Mass, it's off the beaten path. Definitely no VIII or XI.
    4. Dan the organist and I can move through repertoire fairly efficiently, so I'm doing more new solo things for offertory and communion motets. Limit to that: just have a half hour before the Mass to put things together.
  • Cantor and organist here in the Diocese of Harrisburg. Minimal hymns. Lots more organ!

    Hoping to be able to resume choirs in the fall, but only time will tell.
  • mmeladirectress
    Posts: 844
    >> diocesan guidelines are to discourage people from singing by singing music that they don't know.
    Ho ho. That hasn't ever stopped our singers; i wonder why the diocese thinks it would work for the congregation!

    Now returning you to the original thread.
    As our Masses are outdoors, we are having sung ("EF") Mass, with masks optional and spacing as required (and record numbers attending).
    Miss the organ, though. Having strictly voices w no organ means that my choices of choral pieces are dwindling
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Jeffrey Quick
  • tandrews
    Posts: 73
    All 3 propers used, mostly from Rice gradual. Some cantors are stepping up and trying Motyka communion antiphons for a challenge. When it's just me I'll use Weber/Bartlett chants. Congregational singing is only responsorial psalm, mode VI Alleluia, and the closing hymn with all verses. Everything else spoken unless a priest starts chanting anyway, then we follow suit.

    Organ preludes and postludes galore!
  • In British Columbia, Canada, our archdiocese reopened public masses nearly two months ago. Strict limits of 50 people, spaced out in every third pew. Parishioners have to sign up ahead of time and only those on the list may attend. To accommodate as many faithful as possible most parishes have increased the number of masses - our priests are working hard!

    We have a lovely little late 1800s tracker organ near the front of our church, so I've been playing and singing from there. My pastor prefers By Flowing Waters Propers with some modifications, and we use the ICEL chant in English. I prepare sheets with the antiphons for the congregation to join, and they sing along somewhat. They sing quite well for the Ordinary. And, we live stream the whole thing.

    But, I only get to do this for one mass, so that my attendance wouldn't keep others from fitting on the list. This means I've been months now without my beloved EF mass!
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 76
    I've just been essentially playing background music on the organ for prelude, procession, offertory, communion, and postlude. No singing at all. This concerns me, as previous to the congregation returning and COVID in general we had full sung Mass on Sundays (OF). This also concerns me because we just lost our (absolutely instrumental) pastor to a transfer, and I'm worried the new guy might get the wrong message via total lack of any sort of sung Mass.
  • btodorovich87
    Posts: 59
    Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend: no congregational singing. Solo cantor permitted within a separate, closed room. To accomplish this we have a tent in our loft surrounding the organ console and with clear plastic around the perimeter. Inside that I built a separate "room" for a cantor. So we can have both myself and the cantor singing if we desire.

    ("Normal" = hymns at entrance and offertory. Common psalm or hymn for Communion)

    For COVIDtide: Entrance antiphon from LCSG, sung Alleluia, offertory hymn, communion antiphon from LCSG or SEP. Organ pre/post.

    While I miss the peeps being able to sing the dialogues and ordinary, I like the lessened reliance on hymns!
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Carol
    Posts: 560
    COVIDtide, is that your own coinage?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    That usage has been popping up in a lot of conversations, not all of them of a specifically religious context.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • btodorovich87
    Posts: 59
    COVIDtide, is that your own coinage?


    I'd like to take credit, but I think I saw it somewhere...
    Thanked by 2Carol tandrews
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,027
    Here in Birmingham, Alabama at St. Paul's, we basically have low Mass with organ for the anticipated and early morning Masses. Organ music just for entrance, offertory, communion, and sortie. The choral Mass has a six-voice ensemble. They sing the Gregorian proper (incl. gradual and alleluia) and a Gregorian or polyphonic ordinary, with motets at communion. It's great, but weird on account of 1) only having part of the choir there, and 2) the celebrant not singing anything other than the Gloria incipit.

    This is all because 1) we can really only have 6-8 distanced people in our loft, and 2) we have no congregational singing purposely because of COVID-19 concerns. I think the thought here is that it's a much less invasive ask to not have people singing vs. taking temperatures on the way into church (although we DO do that for the choir), etc. We also have separate lines for Holy Communion for those who wish to receive on the tongue and those who wish to receive in the hand. This is very reasonable, but does make the communion procession a good bit longer.

    I am enjoying the challenge of putting together the choral Mass every week and teaching my professional singers more about cantillation, especially in the responsorial chants. That said, I find it a challenge to keep the volunteer singers (who aren't singing now week-to-week) engaged through Zoom chats and the like. It's just not the same. For that reason alone (and the fact that choir rehearsal is very social here in normal times), I'm hopeful the pandemic ends quicker and more completely than current medical wisdom suggests.
    Thanked by 1Joseph Michael
  • tandrews
    Posts: 73
    For COVIDtide...


    This joyful covidtiiiiide!
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • mmeladirectress
    Posts: 844
    >> I find it a challenge to keep the volunteer singers (who aren't singing now week-to-week) engaged through Zoom chats and the like. It's just not the same.

    Yes.. worrisome. One singer has already stopped even coming to the sung Mass, and may quit entirely.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,629
    I've been using COVIDtide for awhile. Before that I was using CoronaLent, but CoronaLent here ended at Pentecost.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Carol
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,827
    Jeffrey:

    I think you meant Pentacovid.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Elmar
    Posts: 238
    We had to start with a single cantor in June, due to possibly enhanced risk of virus transmission through singing. By July 1st (announced a week in advance by the bischops' conference, a day after a press conference by the prime minister) quite a few rules were relaxed a bit, except for singing: some research needed to be finished.

    The government released the results on June 30th; allowing for group singing at 5ft distance with the usual hygiene measures. Now we a waiting for 9 days that the bisshops' conference announces the obvious (scheduled for this week, with some other announcements): that their requirement for allowing choirs in mass has been met.

    In one of the parishes where I work, the pastor has dared to draw this conclusion by himself!
  • JaredOstermann
    Posts: 442
    Elmar - do you have a link to the government study? That seems to be big news.

    I believe the major American studies will be finished by the end of July.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 238
    It's not a government study properly speaking; rather the results of the expert consulting process on the state of the scientific knowledge and ongoing(!) studies.

    This is the advice given on the subject of singing in choir by the national health institute RIVM:
    https://koornetwerk.nl/rivm-advies-per-1-juli/
    and in a more general context:
    https://www.rivm.nl/coronavirus-covid-19/werk/generiek-kader-coronamaatregelen

    Bishops said that they were only waiting for this advice to allow choirs to re-start; now we are waiting another ten days that they actually do so...

    A good starting point concerning scientific studies that lie behind the official statements is
    https://virmus.nl/

    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,827
    Elmar:

    According to your link the chart recommends 5 feet between each zigzagged choralist.

    That would mean you need a designated amount of space for various number of choralists... according to my math this is generally what is being said:

    choir of 8 = 10' x 10'
    choir of 12 = 15' x 10'
    choir of 16 = 20' x 10'
    choir of 20 = 25' x 10'
    choir of 25 = 30' x 10'
    choir of 30 = 35' x 10'
    1920 x 1080 - 293K
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 835
    Also: do health checks, rehearse in big well ventilated room, etc etc. This is not a license to just pack closer than six feet apart, but a risk-mitigated protocol for choirs based on some science and official practice in Netherlands, rather than on anecdotal evidence from Seattle, etc

    I enjoy the fact that a zig zag pattern with moderate spacing is actually really good practice from the choir director's point of view also!
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 823
    Because someone came to Mass sick, did not wear a mask, and did not maintain social distancing, several people got Covid-19 at Mass and the priest has canceled Mass until further notice. :(
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    They were allowed attend Mass without a mask? I hope that's reconsidered if you reopen before there's a vaccine/therapeutics. Around here, masks are required to even be in queue to get in.
  • BHCordova - oh no !!
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 823
    They took off the mask once they were inside
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,839
    We don't demand masks,
    At the moment if you have the 6ft social distance you don't need masks, but if you have the 3ft plus masks are expected.

    Even though they changed the law to make masks compulsory on public transport, many people are ignoring the advice! also you can use any material for the mask and I think the law did not stipulate that it had to cover your nose and mouth! Then again Chinese Flu came through here month ago, and around 20% have antibodies in London...

    Have they not found a couple of promising therapeutics, and the care given to patients has improved from the previous panic measures. Outcomes seem to be improving... but a vaccine seems to be far off.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 319
    They were allowed attend Mass without a mask? I hope that's reconsidered if you reopen before there's a vaccine/therapeutics. Around here, masks are required to even be in queue to get in.


    How do you have communion though, if there are masks? Or is it picked up as people leave and consumed outside (not a good thought at all).

    Removing a mask properly requires:
    1) Wash your hands
    2 Remove it, and placing it in either clinical waste or a sealed plastic container for later washing
    3 Washing your hands immediately (you've just been touching a cloth that's at least snotty, even if there's no Covid-19 in it)

    Doing that before you take communion - how can it possibly work?

    My parish church is small, so we have very limited numbers. But in most, 2 metre plus social distancing really should not be difficult to achieve.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 460
    We just walk up in a nicely spaced line, kneel on the kneeler, pull the mask down, receive Communion and pull the mask back up before walking back to our pews.

    There's not a lot of logic to anything going on. You can eat in a restaurant, which requires pulling down your mask repeatedly to put food or drink in your mouth.

    We are still dispensed from Sunday Mass, and I could not receive Communion, if I preferred.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    Removing a mask properly requires:
    1) Wash your hands
    2 Remove it, and placing it in either clinical waste or a sealed plastic container for later washing
    3 Washing your hands immediately (you've just been touching a cloth that's at least snotty, even if there's no Covid-19 in it)


    To the contrary, this is not as complicated as people sometimes make it out.

    Are you still thinking of this as though the masks were intended to protect the wearer? The point of common masks is to avoid spreading the germs to the priest and others by sneezing and breathing. So what happens with your hands doesn't make a difference in regard to that purpose, as long as there's no contact by hand.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    No, it is not very compicated. The purpose of masks and hand washing is to reduce, not eliminate, the viral load. Masks reduce spreading in air, but become contaminated, sanitizing hands after touching your mask reduces the amount of virus you subsequently deposit on surfaces.
    You still depend on your immune system to mop up the enemy, the object of all these other measures is to reduce the weight of the attack.
    Incidentally, this country (The Isle of Man) has had no newly detected case now for eight weeks, arrival numbers are limited and have to quarantine. Our community choir re-started rehearsals yesterday, with no protective measures.
    Thanked by 3Elmar Carol tomjaw
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 345
    In the Cleveland Diocese we have been placed on a "Level 3" health threat. The wearing of facial coverings "Masks" is now mandatory. These are the guidelines for our parish https://stpaulakron.org/returning-to-mass
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    Where I've been, Holy Communion was administered to the faithful immediately after dismissal at plexiglass-protected stations at the transept exits.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    "You can eat in a restaurant, which requires pulling down your mask repeatedly to put food or drink in your mouth."

    Which is why so many sensible people are steadfastly avoiding dining in restaurants for any material length of time until there's an effective vaccine and therapeutics.