A typical small parish recessional
  • Chrism
    Posts: 773
    The singing of the choir is vigorous and tuneful. They appear joyful, not downcast. The accompanist hits no false notes. The tabernacle is in the center. A statue of St. Anthony overlooks the people. The hymn itself is by the venerable Fr. Caswall, and was included in the St. Basil Hymnal (although the version we're hearing was probably alted by one of the modern houses).

    Watch

    While there are obvious problems, I don't think they are primarily with the music (I don't know if they can afford an organ).
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    That's a sweet image and scene.

    For Catholics, they are singing to some degree. By standards of other denominations, however, there is barely any singing at all. This is clearly not song arising from the people.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,325
    Although an atypical situation, this is my paradigm of audience participation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01nXQmrYPWQ

    Check out how many of the audience need not the printed words.

    Actually this video makes me very happy, for some reason...
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    What I observed is that it would appear (to one unacquainted with the Mass) nothing particularly important is going on. Look at the actions, ignore the hymn, maybe turn the sound off: The deacon (where's the priest?) walks out, slapping his hands together for some reason, in the manner of someone who just finished an unsavory and dull task. The people at the stands are moving their mouths, and hence at the least communicating something to the assembly before them. However, the assembly seems uninterested in what is being told to them, as about half of them follow the deacon down the aisle like a child diving into a cookie jar as soon as mother's back is closed. A few stand and have conversations in place, as one might after a meeting. For some reason, a minority of people stand staring at the floor, shoulders slumped in apathy. If someone said to you, again without knowledge of what's going on, "these people are, by the actions occurring before you, practicing religious devotion and deriving spiritual benefit from the appreciation of a sacred art," would you believe them?

    To me, this would appear to be some sort of large corporate meeting of the unwilling, with the deacon being an authority figure to keep people there. As soon as he leaves, no one seems to have any interest in what the choir says. What is really going on? The people, following a most sacred rite, are remaining to engage in performance of a sacred art for their spiritual benefit. They are expressing their joy in the resurrection. But is this obvious to anyone?

    As Chrism says, if there are any issues here, they are not in the music, and I agree. Although I would ask the suitability of an American Gospel-style hymn at what seems to be a predominantly Asian church - that's probably not something they would be able to easily take ownership in. But my main point stands: this does not appear to be an activity that is worth the time of the people gathered. So why are they being asked to do it?

    Disclaimer: I mean no disrespect to the music ministry, clergy, or congregation gathered. One cannot judge the devotion of a large group of people from another culture based on one hymn. I only wished to evaluate the visuals from an objective, uninformed viewpoint so as to demonstrate my point.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,662
    The Deacon's hand-playing is very distracting. That's the only thing that really "jumps out" at me as very wrong. People in visible liturgical roles really need to video tape themselves and watch once a year or so to make sure they don't have any habits that are unprayerful or distacting. We all develop these over time and need to actively and consciously work to get over them.

    The people seem highly uninterested in the hymn. I'd think an instrumental piece would be a better choice, especially since the recession of the clergy was so short. Recessional hymns are good things when there is a long processional line, long aisle, etc... Otherwise, a piece of instrumental music seems to be a better choice.

    The fabric hanging from the ceiling looks very distracting to me. It's swinging in the wind.

    Also the singers and pianist being visible makes it feel more like a performance and less like a liturgical act. I'm sure they don't see it that way and that their intentions are good, but if they were in a loft their voices would seem to flow from behind the congregation and lead their song. Instead the congregation is left looking up at them, just as they would at a concert or tavern performance.

    Furthermore, and this is a personal pet peeve that I work on with my cantors and choir all the time: don't close the books the second the final note has been cut off! Give the hymn a second to sink in. Could you imagine if immediately after reading the last line of the Gospel the Deacon slammed shut the Gospel book as though he was so glad it was all over? Sing the final note, wait a moment, then quietly and discreetly close your book. If the hymn is really a prayer, you don't need to close it the second the prayer is done, as though you're terrified that more prayer might be waiting and ready to come out of that book. Take a moment, a silent Amen if you want to think of it that way, before going on your merry way.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "I'd think an instrumental piece would be a better choice, especially since the recession of the clergy was so short."

    This would be my preferred option here. Besides "cover music" I'd also take into account the sensibilities of the parish - this would not seem to be one where a final hymn is an advisable idea. Perhaps a brief chant from the choir would be suitable. At any rate, I believe what they are doing isn't doing the job.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Pet peeve of mine: the clapping at the end. I'm even uncomfortable clapping in a church at what is specifically a concert (the altar and tabernacle have been moved, etc.). In fact, I went to a concert in a church recently, and all the folks with me were of the same mindset and didn't clap at all (and even stood up for liturgical songs), to the point where the choir director had to say, "I know we don't clap in church, but this is a concert so you're allowed to clap at least once at the end :)"

    It's just a symptom of a much greater attitude problem.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,662
    Lol - someone really needs to make a very serious video of a schola dressed entirely in cassocks chanting an introit masterfully followed by a crowd of several people clapping, cheering, fist-pumping, hooting and hollering at its conclusion. It would be a youtube classic.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    whoops! We always clap (quietly) after the organ postlude !
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • BachLover2BachLover2
    Posts: 331
    i don't agree with clapping in the church, but the church does allow clapping for the supreme pontiff, if he visits your church.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Why? That seems strange. Whenever I saw Benedict during Mass (on TV) while he was in the US, he winced every time people started clapping for him. I don't blame him--it was annoying, happened to much, and was in awkward places in the Mass.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • BachLover2BachLover2
    Posts: 331
    i don't think it is supposed to be during Mass. like, if the pope gives a talk in a church, etc.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    that makes more sense!
  • Dan F.Dan F.
    Posts: 205
    Actually, I remember when the Holy Father processed in for vespers at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception that all the bishops in attendance gave him a round of applause as he entered. Pope Benedict did the half-wave/half-blessing gesture until he reached the sanctuary.

    Clapping bugs me, too. I don't clap unless the celebrant specifically asks the congregation to acknowledge something (musicsions, first communicants, etc.). I'd rather give a few light claps than stand there being annoyed.

    It seems to me that visiting bishops are the worst in this regard. Before the final blessing there always seems to be credits that roll:

    "Thank you all for inviting me to worship with you today, especially Fr. Joseph and Deacon Peter. Thank you to all the servers, readers, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist [sic], singers, cantors, organist, choir director, children's choir, ushers, money counters, sanctuary decorators, liturgy directors, custodian staff, gardeners, parish manager, director of religious education, and of course all of you wonderful people in the pews who made this visit possible! Let's give you all a round of applause.
    ...
    ...
    ...
    "The Lord be with you."

    Is this Public Relations 101 in Bishop School or what?
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    I wanna know, why can't they do that AFTER the final blessing? Are they afraid everyone's going to run away immediately?
  • BachLover2BachLover2
    Posts: 331
    i don't like clapping in church, either
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    Clapping bugs me, too. I don't clap unless the celebrant specifically asks the congregation to acknowledge something (musicsions, first communicants, etc.). I'd rather give a few light claps than stand there being annoyed.
    My husband is a convert, but the Methodist church of his childhood was pretty formal and he hates applause in church. So when others are puttin'em together, he has adopted a silent gesture he observed Pope John Paul perform when others were applauding: hands slightly curved, palms facing, held about chest height, and "bobbed" slightly.
    Not to be outdone in pretentious eccentricity by Himself, I usurped JP's successor's gesture which some commentator on EWTN referred to as "piano fingers."

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)