Placing the Eucharist on the Organ!?
  • lmassery
    Posts: 326
    I've read through some past posts on how to enable choirs to receive communion, but here is a new question I cannot find a clear answer to yet. Two members of my choir are Eucharistic minister in the summers and would like to start bringing the Eucharist (both species) up to the loft, placing them down on a patten on the organ, singing the communion hymn with the choir, then going back and picking them up to distribute. The one I spoke to is convinced there is nothing wrong with this practice but my instincts tell me this can't be a good idea. I feel uncomfortable playing the organ with the Body and Blood of Christ sitting on it next to my books and pencils. I combed the doc. Redemptionis Sacramentum which deals with Eucharistic abuses but couldn't find anything specifically about this. Can anyone point to other documents that would give a clear answer? Thanks
  • lmassery
    Posts: 326
    I should add that the current practice has been other EMHC come up, wait for us to finish singing, then dinstribute and make it back downstairs in time.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,469
    This is just weird! Does your pastor know about this?
  • As eucharistic ministers they FAIL.

    Now I'm entrusted to carry the Body and Blood of Christ to His believers.

    Oh, I think I'll put Jesus down 'cause I want to go sing. Then I'll pick Jesus back up and finish.


    FAIL

    But you know that. Prior to VATII priests would open the tabernacle and everyone in teh building would immediately kneel until he had closed the doors. While leaving the church and driving to take communion to a patient in the hospital, he was not allowed to talk.

    Gone to hell in a handbasket...does this help people understand why churches are emptying?

    Send this question to your diocesan paper and it will never be printed!
  • lmassery
    Posts: 326
    True, frogman. The pastor knows and is against him putting Christ down. But this person who asked always asks for good reasons and saying "it's not reverent" won't be enough. That's why I want documentation.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,469
    I think the pastor needs to tell him to stop, or give up being a eucharistic minister. I know my pastor would.
    Thanked by 1lmassery
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,440
    I would venture only grave necessity (tending to someone who is is having a seizure, for example) would justify such a practice. Certainly nothing chronic of this sort: once you are ministering holy communion, that is the only thing you should be doing until you are done with it. If that means not singing, it means not singing.
    Thanked by 1lmassery
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,784
    This may be a case that the documents don't cover, since they don't take every imaginable variety of idiotic action into account.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,669
    "But this person who asked always asks for good reasons and saying "it's not reverent" won't be enough."

    What about "it's very irreverent"? Would that work?
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    I thought from the title of the post that someone else had encountered the #$%@ priest who once left me the Blessed Sacrament on the corner of the console aa I scrambled to finish a phrase.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Surely the following would suffice:

    1) Our Lord may never be left in the Monstrance alone, that is, without at least one adorer.
    2) All opportunity toward profanation is to be avoided.
    3) Who is adoring Our Lord on the Organ?
    4) NOTHING should ever encourage an attitude of casual-ness in the Liturgy, or toward the Blessed Sacrament.

    God bless,

    Chris
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,469
    G, I have only encountered that while subbing in a Methodist church. I clearly explained that I could not receive communion with them. The pastor left bread on the organ console. It may still be there, for all I know. I never worked there again.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,665
    well, congrats! we all seem to have a consensus that God shouldnt be treated like hors d'voures in the choir loft!

    hell in a handbasket is right... the church has come to a very low point.

    bravo to you all for keeping proper decorum toward our king.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 326
    Thank you all for the clear and hilarious comments. I suppose a good explanation will suffice in the absence of an explicit reference to church documents.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,227
    The documents of the Church, as a general rule, are proscriptive, rather than restrictive.

    Basically this means that they tell you the correct way to do things, or give you a couple of choices regarding how do to something. What they DON'T do is try to imagine every crazy thing that someone might do and then specifically outlaw each of those things.

    Or another way, they tell you what you should do, rather than what you shouldn't do.

    Say the black, do the red.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,478
    Why can't the choir go down for Communion? I don't understand? I choose a soloist or schola to sing the proper and the rest of the choir (and organist) can go down for communion, then the soloist can go down while the choir sings. I just think that people should avoid carrying Our Lord around the church unless absolutely necessary. Then choir members can have the opportunity to avoid an extraordinary minister altogether.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,469
    We have the minister come up to the choir loft. We are all getting too old, and those stairs are really steep, steep, steep to get up to the loft.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    I can see this is conversation playing out with the old Mark 2:15 argument: "If Jesus can sit and eat with sinners and tax collectors, he can sit and relax on the organ with us musicians for a while."
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,665
    what part does jesus usually sing?
    Thanked by 2Ally CHGiffen
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    One parish I worked at, which had a loft, would distribute to the choir after mass. After the closing/postlude, we'd walk to the altar rail together, and the priest would return from the sacristy (cassock, no vestments) and distribute hosts from the tabernacle.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    There must be some sort of rubrics/norms "Guidelines for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion" or, "Guidelines for bringing Holy Communion to the sick" or something, that could provide a starting point!
  • Francis,

    In nearly every setting of the Passion, Jesus is a bass.
    Thanked by 1veromary
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,440
    Not a fan of the distribution of communion after Mass. It's valid, but there's no good reason the congregation cannot wait for the rest of its members (the choir) to receive. The postwar American Catholic Prime Directive of "Thou Shalt Not Do Anything That Unnecessarily Prolongs Mass" is not a good reason.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,478
    Your reason Charles is entirely valid. We're not quite there yet, but I can see the time is coming.
  • There is no reason for singing to fill the time of communion.

    If the choir can sing the communion chant without the organ, the organist goes to communion.

    After some silence, the organist may play. After some more silence the entire congregation and priest may join together in a hymn AFTER communion, as the current church documents recommend.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,665
    andrew

    yea... but perhaps that is strictly the IDEA of us mere mortals. maybe he was ACTUALLY a tenor. does anyone really know?
    Thanked by 1veromary
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    My advice is to adopt the following practice:

    1.) Keep a group of about 5 or 6 to sing the communion chant.
    2.) Send the rest of the choir (and the organist) to recieve communion.
    3.) When this group has all returned, start a communion hymn
    4.) Send the chant group for communion.

    Another option:

    1.) Keep the choir in the loft and commence the communion chant.
    2.) Send the organist down for communion.
    3.) When about 80% of the congregation have recieved communion, send the choir.
    4.) Get the organist to play an appropriate interlude.

    One of my personal favourites is an interlude on "Picardy" from the Oxford book of service music for organ. I lengthen it by first playing through the hymn tune picardy onec through, and then improvise for as much as I need. I have used this same piece as an offertory interlude aswell on days when I might only have a cantor or be running the whole show from the organ bench on my own. I usually print the antiphon for the Communion chant in the mass leaflet and a few people try to join in after a few verses.
    Thanked by 1E_A_Fulhorst
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,440
    Most likely, he was a baritone. The peak of the voice distribution curve for men is baritone and that for women is mezzo. True SATB voices are much further out on the curve. Which is one reason SATB choirs comprised of *real* SATBs (admittedly, a rare thing) can sound a bit less than optimal when dealing with music that is designed for unison singing by baritones and mezzos (that is, the bulk of the congregation).
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Ally
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,789
    OTOH, ostensibly SATB choirs are themselves often replete with a number of baritones forced to sing either tenor or bass (or worse, to hop back and forth) and, correspondingly for women's voices, chock full of mezzos forced to choose (if possible) between soprano and alto (or voice-hop between the two).

    With enough voices available, it makes sense to perform SMzATBarB music (usually designated SSATBB or SSATTB) whenever possible, say when you can have 2 or 3 (or more) on each of the 6 parts. It makes it much better on the true mezzos and baritones. And it is generally more suited to the medium sized choir than SATB divisi (SSAATTBB) scoring. CPDL currently lists 54 SSATBB sacred choral works (one of them is my "Ave verum corpus") and 170 SSATTB sacred choral works.
    Thanked by 1E_A_Fulhorst
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Being a Tenor has nothing to do with it. I'm a Tenor (truly, I struggle to hit the C that Baritones do with ease unless it is first thing in the morning or after two glasses of red wine), and I would never dare attempt any such thing with the Eucharist!
  • With enough voices available, it makes sense to perform SMzATBarB music


    I'm sorry, but I don't listen to hip-hop.
    Thanked by 2Gavin Adam Wood
  • At one church, several members of the choir had difficulty with the stairs to the loft. To make an extra trip down and up, with added time pressure, was hard enough for them that they chose not to receive Communion, when no minister was assigned to the choir.

    I've observed a couple of churches where the minister uses a pyx. Before Mass, the celebrant is told how many hosts to put in the pyx for the choir. After the celebrant receives, the choir chants the communion antiphon and verses, while the minister brings the pyx to the loft. The choir receives after the chant, then goes on to sing an anthem or lead a hymn. The minister either returns to the sanctuary with the empty pyx, so that it can be cleaned with the other vessels, or it is cleaned after Mass. Either way, the tabernacle can be closed without waiting for the return of the pyx.

    Receiving after Mass is not a good symbol/instrument of unity. It's like the hired help eating after the restaurant closes.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,469
    My choir has several people who are now in their eighties. The choir room is in the basement. The choir loft is 20 feet above the main floor. I found some folks get too winded with all those stairs. We have a designated minister who takes communion to the section of the church where the handicapped sit, then comes on up to the choir. It works well for us.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • mahrt
    Posts: 516
    Several of my choir do not receive communion (some Protestants with good voices who love the liturgy); the rest of the choir receives communion right at the beginning, while the remaining "schola" sings the communion antiphon with psalm verses; when the rest of the choir returns, they join in the next repeat of the antiphon, until it is time to sing a motet at the conclusion of the congregation's communion. This works very well, though it does not solve the problem of steep stairs for the eighties.