A weird line in a job ad...
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,599
    An acquaintance of mine got really excited about a job being open in the city he most wants to live in. He sent me the job ad and asked me to look at it to see what I thought.

    This is something I've never seen before:
    "Play for funerals, rehearse funeral choir before each funeral. Playing for funerals is a requirement of this position and compensation is included in regular salary. If director chooses not to play for a funeral, he/she must reimburse the parish for a substitute."


    My first thoughts are:
    1) It's good that they're being upfront about this and not telling the employee about it after they start.
    2) Who on earth would agree to this?
    3) What if the plague hits the city and there are literally funerals every day, multiple funerals everyday, and this poor person can never again get a day off?

    I know a good friend who had to pay for weekend substitutes - and I thought that was insane also.

    Has anyone seen something like this before?
    Has anyone agreed to something like this before?
    Thanked by 2Elmar BruceL
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,017
    I would never agree to this for weddings, but I've often regretted the way funerals are handled. I feel bad that the music for funerals at a person's own parish is handled like just one more of the dozens of line items the funeral home accounts for to the family. It's such an expensive time, and it feels really mercenary.

    I would agree to this only if it were compensated in another way by the parish, though.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    It sounds like they've had issues with directors either 1. refusing to play funerals altogether, or 2. flaking out on them (or just generally not being available and the parish left high and dry for musicians for funerals). Either way, I agree it's good that they're being honest about it, but I think it is an aggressive and punitive policy: "you have to make every funeral, or we're coming after you."
  • Funerals and weddings are never included in a musician's salary for the very reason that they vary greatly in occurrence and require time consuming meetings and plannings with the persons involved (including rehearsing with any soloists or instrumentalists, or both), often requiring music that the musicians don't have (in which case it is the responsibility of the persons to provide it), or has to take extra time and effort to learn.

    You should not agree to this and could give something like the above for your reasons. As for paying for substitutes, this, too, is quite out of line. The church pays for your substitute when you are on your vacation. If it isn't your vacation or agreed upon leave, it is customary for the musician to pay his or her substitute. But! It is the responsibility of the families to pay musicians for their weddings and funerals. Some churches even have a 'bench fee' - which means that you are entitled to play (and review and approve!) the music for all weddings, and that if you consent to their retaining someone else, you are still paid, in addition to the other person. Ordinarily, organists jealously guard their wedding and funeral prerogatives. Even if you don't rate a 'bench fee', you still, as the parish organist, have the obligation and prerogative of reviewing and approving all music. This is very important, for it is your job to see that the music is consonant with the Church's guidelines. (It is astonishing the absolutely insane and irreligious things that people feel entitled to at their weddings and funerals!)

    Also, if you are entering into a new position you should make it clear that you do not attend wedding rehearsals. And this does not affect your stipend, which should be anywhere from $150 to $300, depending on the calibre of your musical pedigree and accomplishments. This is your base fee for your expertise in playing the wedding. Thus, it isn't out of line for you to charge additional fees for any rehearsals with singers and instrumentalists.

    As for funerals, this is a difficult time for all concerned. I have always had a very lenient policy about funeral fees and accept whatever the family offers (which, on rare occasions, has been nothing), though many times one gets a set fee from the undertaker's.
    Thanked by 3Elmar igneus CHGiffen
  • Elmar
    Posts: 136
    Recently I was asked with my new choir (detailed account in Suddenly I got my 'own' choir(s) for a funeral. Completely normal affair, except that nobody (including myself) thought of including this eventuality in my ad interim contract.

    Just yesterday I happened to discuss this with our music director; I am curious what pastor and the parish coucil will propose in the job opening to come after summer.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,007

    My first thoughts are:
    1) It's good that they're being upfront about this and not telling the employee about it after they start.
    2) Who on earth would agree to this?
    3) What if the plague hits the city and there are literally funerals every day, multiple funerals everyday, and this poor person can never again get a day off?

    I know a good friend who had to pay for weekend substitutes - and I thought that was insane also.

    Has anyone seen something like this before?
    Has anyone agreed to something like this before?


    1. I have to admire their honesty and upfront-ness.
    2.. I wouldn't agree to it.
    3. I would play for free if I get to choose the plague victims. In reality, this is so open-ended you could never plan around it.

    I have never seen anything like this before. Every church where I have worked has said the responsible families should pay for funerals and weddings.
  • Caleferink
    Posts: 292
    I have seen this before - rarely, but I have seen it - and it seemed to me those parishes were looking to refill the position within a year or so. Everywhere I've played, funerals are additional stipends paid by the parish (which is usually paid by the funeral home, which is usually paid by the deceased's family). Weddings are sometimes different in that you may be an independent contractor for such purposes or else, like funerals, the parish pays you out of what the couple has paid the parish. However, in any event, these should also be additional stipends on top of salary because no one can plan for exactly how many of each you're going to have in a given year (unlike, for example, "special services" that usually occur with some regularity - holy days, Holy Week, First Communion, Confirmation, etc.).
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,017
    If I could read the pastor's mind, i would guess that he might be reasoning like this:
    - - The DM is fulltime, and funerals and consultations usually fall during work hours
    - - The parishioner who died and/or his/her family has been contributing to the parish and thus paying parish salaries
    - - When someone dies, they need support from us, not bills
    - - Priests accept freewill offerings for funerals, not stated stipends
    - - The whole office does extra work for funerals.
    - - The parish doesn't charge for the use of the hall, as it would for weddings.
    - - It's only one extra Mass. Salaried musicians play an extra Mass "as needed."
    Thanked by 2Elmar hilluminar
  • nknutson
    Posts: 9
    This is actually more common than may appear. As some stated above, it is nice that they are honest about it from the outset.

    In parishes that I've seen this, although not first-hand, it is mostly a ploy used to boost pay or fund the position. Rather than paying someone, for example, $35k, they can advertise the position as $42.5k, which is much more marketable. On average one funeral per week at $150 to the church would equal $7500.

    If the parish is younger and funerals are less frequent, it may not be as much of an issue as 3-5 funerals per week.
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 794
    I should think it all depends on what the the salary is. When I was in a parish I was never paid for funerals it was considered "part of the job." When they fell on my "day off" as was so often the case. I would still play them and then try to take another day off. Weddings at first were a separate stipend, but eventually that was negotiated into the salary as well (based on an average number, which was supposed to be renegotiated with each new contract). In some ways it is better that way not having to track down a check, but it certainly cuts both ways. If the musician is full time salary with benefits then I think this is fair, providing time off is respected--either by negotiating alternate time off when such a service falls on the normal day off. In any case the parish should pay for the subs when needed if the services are considered part of the salary.
    Thanked by 2Elmar hilluminar
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,757
    Kathy is good at mind reading

    That said, were that scenario accurate, I would still carve out reimbursement for funerals that occur on vacation/holidays/sick time.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Perhaps a compromise could be: musician is responsible for filling all funerals, but parish will pay for subs.

    This of course depends on the reason for the rule. If they're being cheap, it won't help. If they're worried about not having coverage for music in the parish, it could solve things.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,064
    Lots of good comments here.

    The statement in itself just seems a little restrictive to me at first glance, but perhaps in practice there is some wiggle room. I would hope that if the DM is granted permission to go on vacation next week, and then there are 3 funerals next week, that they don't return to work with a bill for somewhere between $300-$500 on their desk.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,757
    Right. And a serious illness might mean far more than one week out of service.
  • Having been actually lied to about funeral stipends before in job negotiations, I suppose I appreciate the honesty. That said, the honesty would make it clear to me that this is not a good/well-thought-out position. It goes back to the idea that we don't really do anything anyway when we're not playing Masses - so anytime we're at work is fair game to expect playing. I've even found some combativeness about this issue - as if funerals give them a chance to "get their money's worth" out of the music director. I don't want to work for people who think that way about my profession.

    Side note - at the parish where I was lied to, parishioners were still charged for my services; I just wasn't given the stipend. Convenient!
    Thanked by 2ClergetKubisz Elmar
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,757
    Jared

    I wouldn't be surprised to hear if the pastor of that parish where you were lied to also took a cut of of the cash portion of second collections for missions, et cet.
  • Just a response to Kathy's points, these are good points; but it's not "just one Mass" in many parishes - it's a regular, randomized disruption to your work schedule and days off (and thus life and family/work balance).
    -All of the parishioner contribution/salary points you make would apply to weddings as well.
    - Although these duties (sometimes) fall during work hours, there is other work to be done during work hours.

    Nathan K. - You raise an important issue. Typically, parishes inflate wedding and funeral numbers during job interviews to make it look as if you can depend on an extra "x" amount of salary that the parish doesn't have to come up with. I suppose if the parish in question in the original post would average numbers and actually pay that amount (rounded up) every year in salary for funerals, as a 'free' service to parishioners, I might be more interested in their position.
  • Liam, neither would I, honestly.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,017
    A parish where I was DM had 6 funerals one year, and the next year had 43 before May. So you never know...
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,599
    Kathy lived through #3 and survived the plague.
    Purple Bold.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,234
    Laugh in their face and run! Those that buckle to their demands are guilty of making it harder for musicians to receive fair compensation for their time and talent. Period.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    This has several serious implications in light of 2 issues:

    1) The Department of Labor has just change the laws governing salaried versus hourly employees; and also The definition of exempt versus nonexempt employees. This means that anyone making less than $50,000 a year will be considered hourly and therefore qualify for overtime. However this also means that they will be required to fill out timecards. It is unclear as to what the impact will be on benefits.

    2) Funerals, when not included in the regular hours expected of the employee, should be counted towards hours worked for retirement income.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen eft94530
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,599
    Church music has always been kind of a job held outside of the laws of the land... How one would actually calculate the amount of hours a church musician works would be truly mind boggling and confusing for all involved. And truthfully I like church music being kind of like the old west... nobody really knows what's going on and we make our own rules. It's a beautiful world.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,234
    Well, the last church job I had did not let me make my own rules. I was chained to the desk and the organ far too many hours, and far too few pesos. so I blew them all a kiss goodbye as they cried in the pews. I also left in tears. the people suffered, I suffered, the church suffers and the beaurocrats are still scratching their dumbfounded noggins. Hell is grinning and it just stinks. (see my post on the vague aroma)
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    I'm glad you think that, matthewj, but that doesn't square with reality.

    In a diocese where a colleague of mine works, and where I worked as a part-timer, the civil lawyers for the diocese first determined back in 2014 that any musician (organist, cantor, instrumentalist) working for a parish could no longer be treated as an "independent subcontractor," regardless if they sang/played once or multiple times. This is based on an NRLB ruling that determined that because those particular individuals worked at a specific time on a specific day and was directed in what work (i.e., what music they would sing/play) they would perform, they by law could not be classified as a subcontractor and therefore had to be registered as an employee of the parish (complete with filing of W-4, fingerprinting, compliance with safe environment policies and other federal regulations) and placed on the parish payroll. In the parish I know of, this meant that even the brass players that were hired once a year to play for Christmas Midnight Mass had to be registered as an employee of the parish, with all the paperwork involved. This even included substitute organists that might be hired for a "one-off." Apparently, based on this ruling, dating back to 2012 (or thereabouts), the "$600 1099-MISC" rule no longer applied, nor applies now.

    More recently, the same diocese has determined that with the new rule issued by the Dept. of Labor, effective now, anyone making under $50,000/yr must be considered hourly and therefore entitled to "overtime pay" if their work exceeds 40 hrs/wk. This means that most of us, who I'll wager do NOT make over $50,000/yr can (and in the case of the diocese in question) WILL be classified as hourly, not salaried, and will have to fill out time sheets and will be paid by the hour and not for the work performed. Further, because of the narrowly-written definition of "manager", "administrator" or "professional", very few, if any, parish music directors would qualify as "exempt" under the new regulations.

    Because these new labor regulations will be tied in with benefits, wages/hours and Obamacare, compliance will be mandatory, lest the Church run the risk of losing its tax-exempt status.

    We need to be paying attention to these matters, and quit engaging in a cavalier attitude that the Church can Do as it Pleases.

    In my own current diocese, where I'm classified as 28 hrs/wk (3/4 time) with benefits, we're being told that 3/4 time is being reclassified as 30 hrs/wk (rather than 28 hrs/wk), and that those who work less than 30 hrs/wk will no longer qualify for benefits. If the diocese chooses to follow federal labor regulations, nobody who is salaried at less than $50,000 will be considered hourly, be required to file time sheets and be paid accordingly; they also will be non-exempt and not qualify for benefits.

    It ain't the beautiful world you think it is. In fact, it's getting uglier by the day.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,234
    David

    that was exactly the situation I found myself in.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    I fear that church musicians will be treated no better than the janitors, paid the federal minimum wage, get no benefits, and have their hours limited.

    This is sinister.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,064
    So, if a DM makes over $50k, then this doesn't apply?
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    If a DM makes over $50k, then they're legitimately considered "salaried" and they won't have to fill out a time card and their pay will be their annual salary divided over equal bimonthly payments.

    Otherwise, all bets are off.

    Read up on this, folks. It's really scary. According to some articles I've read regarding the tech sector, things like answering emails or texts away from the office can't be counted as "on the clock" activities. So, no more working from home on things like answering emails after hours or working up a worship aid on your computer at home. It all has to be "in house." How about practicing at home? Nope, not any more, if the law is to be correctly interpreted.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,064
    Yikes.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    As with all fed regs, your mileage may vary.

    It's hard to tell how any of this will actually shake out. But what is clear is that the federal government does not understand, nor have they ever understood, how artists and musicians work.

    You may recall that Nancy Pelosi, in speaking publicly about the virtues of the ACA, said that if you were an artist, you could continue pursuing your artistic ambitions without fear of losing your health insurance benefits.

    Apparently, she wasn't quite accurate in her portrayal of the facts, and the far-reaching effects of Obama's labor policies are yet to be fully realized, insofar as how they impact our work as sacred musicians.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Yes, it is truly sinister DAS. The government provides administrators with its foul seed, they sew it, and we reap the harvest of shame. The foul seed being "corporate mentality." As I mentioned to my roomy/friend, what proportion of us will program a hymn or motet that will bespeak the gift of Pentecost more acutely and deeply than the homily juxtaposed to it? And TPTB whined, "So what."
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,765
    Kathy conjectured about the thoughts of pastors:
    -- The parishioner who died and/or his/her family has been contributing to the parish and thus paying parish salaries

    But this is fairly often not true. Many departed are people who have been away from the parish for years, perhaps due to illness or a move. It's beautiful that they want (or the family wants) to reaffirm their connection with their old parish community at their funeral, though. The families: well, sometimes they seem unfamiliar with the rite of Mass, to the extent that they need to told when to stand or kneel.

    In addition to the thoughts Kathy proposed, I would add another consideration that may be crossing pastors' minds:
    -- Undertakers routinely charge an organist fee to the families, and I'd rather have the parish take it than let it go directly to the organist. Just one funeral per week would give the parish an extra $10K for the budget.

    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    I will reiterate: YOU CANNOT SERVE MAMMON AND GOD AT THE SAME TIME.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,007
    I will reiterate: YOU CANNOT SERVE MAMMON AND GOD AT THE SAME TIME.


    But I am sure Mammon pays better! ;-)
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    So serving the Church means living in a cardboard box in abject poverty?

    Your comment doesn't even square with Catholic Teaching regarding a fair wage.

    Perhaps you'd like to elaborate on what you mean.

  • doneill
    Posts: 171
    The extra pay for funerals and weddings is really for the extra time involved. Most weddings are on Saturdays, so the pay is warranted. Therefore, if the funerals were guaranteed to fall within the normal working hours, I could agree to it. If they were extraneous, I would expect to be paid extra. The logic behind this is that funerals are a service of the church. Therefore, I would insist in the negotiations that there be one funeral plan for all funerals, and that I would be the one planning said music; no requests accepted. That sounds harsh when people are grieving, but when framed in the right way, can be comforting to the family.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,076
    Catholic employments practices are as numerous as the stars. For a church that is centralized in terms of governance (diocesan structures,etc), those same structures do not apply in terms of employment. Parishes having bad experiences with musicians often resort to draconian ideals such as the above noted practice regarding funerals. I resent matthewj's assertion that church music jobs are outside the laws of the land. That attitude gives credence and support to bishops and priests that we can do whatever we want and have no consequences to our action. There are a host of issues that need significant reform,i.e.: portability of health insurance,portability of pensions, the use of contracted versus salary, funeral and wedding stipends (an ugly discussion as this thread notes) and continuing education developments.

    Sadly, most of these issues go down the rabbit hole of clergy versus lay and don't get a proper airing. And musicians are not collectively supported by any organization such as a guild or union because of our own disparate ideas regarding our work. Meanwhile, the church toils on, sometimes in agony and sometimes in glory.

    In light of that, my own experience having taught me, one must negotiate for what one wants and be willing to search for a proper place to do it. I would NOT tolerate the asinine attitude regarding funerals in the OP's text. I am to a point where I would not work rather than deal with the idiots such as this attitude regarding funerals. But, having said that, one must be willing to have a safety net and be willing to search.

    To return to the original question of funerals, as some have noted, problems regarding funerals on days off, disregarding the preparatory work for funerals and the time commitment for funerals are reasons to say no to the above policy. Or in a much cruder vein: I would run from that parish faster than my legs could take me. The policy is complicit with wage theft in my opinion.

    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • I just have to reiterate - to my mind, the root issue with poor funeral stipend policies is the perception that we don't do anything but play and run rehearsals anyway (we only work about 5-10 hours a week!). So we may as well be playing funerals during work hours. That mentality really strikes me as profound professional disrespect (and/or ignorance), and speaks to a larger issue of education and communication between clergy and musician. In my discussions on this point I try to make clear that funerals typically just "displace" my work to my own time (or displace tasks so only immediately necessary tasks get done this week - that planning or prep or practice or composition I had planned gets put on the back burner). And when a funeral comes up during work hours, guess who stays late at work to make up that lost practice time before Sunday? And even if the funeral is "during work hours", guess who is on the phone outside work hours trying to find a weekday morning cantor with one day's notice and get music to them? Now, I'm not really complaining about all this (I fully understand the variable nature of life as a church musician). BUT the weddings and funerals at least need to be stipended to account in some way for their variable, unpredictable and disruptive effect on my work, life, and scheduling. A week with three or four funerals may be a real grind, and cause me to get behind in various tasks, but at least I take home a little extra money in compensation.

    Doug - I was going to say something similar. If we really want to offer grieving families something, we should offer them the Church's funeral liturgy, done beautifully, rather than expecting them to pick everything themselves. Giving them a $100 discount pales in comparison.

    Finally, people need to understand (even some in this organization) that to play funerals for free is harmful to the profession. You set a precedent that hurts your colleagues, and ultimately hurts the parish and those grieving families as soon as you move on along your merry, thoughtless way and there is no music budget for the next funeral. Speaking from experience here.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    So serving the Church means living in a cardboard box in abject poverty?

    Your comment doesn't even square with Catholic Teaching regarding a fair wage.

    Perhaps you'd like to elaborate on what you mean.


    Perhaps I would.

    Your first comment regarding living in abject poverty is a strawman. I did not say nor infer that living in poverty was simply part of serving the Church, and that earning a fair and livable wage was not something that we should be striving for. There are, of course, higher principles at hand, such as being able to feed and serve one's family.

    Given that, I'm not sure how my comment doesn't follow Catholic Teaching. I know that depriving the workman of a fair wage is a sin that cries out to Heaven, but perhaps you'd like to explain anyway.

    The statement I made can be found in Matthew 6:24: "No one can serve two masters, he will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

    He follows that with discussion on depending on God for one's life, comparing the way of the birds and of the flowers to man's worries.

    The purpose of the statement was to imply that having such terms in a contract as the one we see in this thread, and others like it that are an attempt to squeeze as much service out of a person without paying them for it, constitutes depriving the workman of the fair wage, and is in that way, serving mammon under the guise of serving God. The comment was to remind that you can't do that, as Matthew says in his Gospel.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • doneill
    Posts: 171
    Well said, Jared. I was in a situation recently where the job parameters were negotiated, and then changed with regard to funerals after I started the job. Because I did not have a contract, there was not much I could do about it. I went along with the plan (one could either say I was kind, or I simply acquiesced because I didn't want conflict - your choice). The logic was that funerals were liturgies of the church, but somehow the pastor wasn't convinced of that logic before I took the job.

    On a more positive note - I was in another situation in the past where something similar happened: from the job negotiations, I expected to receive the extra income, but the pastor had some second thoughts about that. However, it was handled well - he did not force anything, asked my thoughts about it, and completely understood when I reminded him that we had already made an agreement about it.

    There is a larger issue at stake here: it is a big problem that many dioceses do not offer contracts, and so the employee is subject to the whims of the pastor, even after agreements are made. And a snarky comment: rather than spending their time trying to overturn legal decisions, bishops could actually see that their lay employees are treated fairly, and not penalized in their health care plans for having children, just because the elderly infirm celibate clergy drive up the costs. They could also come to an agreement that allows lay employees to actually keep accumulating benefits when they move to another diocese. The priests may be bound to a diocese, but we are not. I've heard a lot of good talk about the importance of family life, but behind the scenes it is often not backed up with reality. Expecting your musician to be available 24/7 to play for funerals with no pay, putting a major dent into family time, is an example of that.
    Thanked by 2kevinf Elmar
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,325
    Just a bit of history for the "youngins" on the Forum. From 1969-1973 I was the fulltime music director at St. Mary's Church in Greenwich, CT. [I was also a fulltime student at Manhattanville College (Purchase, NY) the first year, and at Woodstock (Jesuit) College in NYC the next three.]

    I believe it was a usual practice at that time that funerals were included in a typical fulltime DM's job description. That may not be the norm these days, but I would not cast aspersions toward a pastor who wants to include it in his DM's job description - so long as the salary is sufficient to cover the extra responsibility. Kathy, Doug and Jared have all spoken positively about the benefits of having a consistent standard for music at funeral rites - something sorely missing in many parishes today that job out funerals to many different musicians.
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 276
    3) What if the plague hits the city and there are literally funerals every day, multiple funerals everyday, and this poor person can never again get a day off?


    This is a total red herring. If the clergy get a day off (and they will), then so will the musicians.

    I don't see anything wrong with the requirement, provided the full-time salary is reasonable. If you find that there are so many funerals that it's impossible to get anything else done, then you need to re-negotiate the expectations of what else you're expected to be doing.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,599

    This is a total red herring. If the clergy get a day off (and they will), then so will the musicians.


    At least in my diocese, almost every parish has two or more priests but only one full time musician. Though most musicians in my diocese are fine with doing funerals on their days off because of stipends. Or find it easy to find substitutes because of the stipends - without having to pay someone out of pocket to come play.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • doneill
    Posts: 171
    In the past, I have gladly offered my wedding services free of charge - if they are willing to get married in the context of the Sunday Mass, and thus submit themselves to the liturgy of the day. So far, nobody has taken me up on that. The only time I've even seen that happen was a lovely couple of very modest means who had been legally married (for financial reasons), but wanted it blessed by the church, so did the convalidation during a Sunday Mass. One of the nicest marriage rites I've ever witnessed...
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,545
    The day that the seamstress, caterer, and reception hall offer their services for free, I will play a non-stipend wedding.

    If you're shelling out thousands (maybe tens of such), I guarantee that paying the organist is within your means.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,064
    I have played funerals for free a handful of times over the past decade or so. Those times include funerals for:
    --14-year-old daughter of the school secretary, who was in 8th grade at the parish school when she died in a car accident
    --father of school admissions director
    --husband of parish custodian
    --just one time when the family insisted on a 7:30pm Friday funeral and then stiffed everyone on the bills. The parish eventually cut me an extra check for that one so that I wasn't out a Friday night AND the money. Playing a funeral for free requires exceptional circumstances.

    All that said, extra stipends for the organist are standard operating procedure when it comes to weddings and funerals. I count on that money every year -- we're not getting rich on the backs of funeral families/wedding couples!
    Thanked by 1Spriggo
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,599
    I've played a small handful of free weddings over the years - couples who didn't have the means to pay for things. And at all of them I saw no professional photographers, no limos, etc. The Sacraments of the Church don't require seamstresses, caterers, or reception halls.

    I'll offer my services at funerals on my work days for free if there are financial concerns from the family. Usually I'll pull the gym teacher (a professional singer) from the school out of class and have him sing for free too. These are very rare, though, and I'm glad to do them.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,545
    I've been open in my willingness to do these for less/no stipend - especially funerals - depending on circumstances. The one time the office asked me to do a funeral without pay, the family still left an envelope on the piano.

    It's still bizarre that such an expectation (non-stipend funerals) would be part of any church's job description.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 728
    free of charge - if they are willing to get married in the context of the Sunday Mass... So far, nobody has taken me up on that.


    I'm assuming this is just you being facetious?
    Catholics aren't allowed to get married on Sundays.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,325
    Catholics aren't allowed to get married on Sundays.

    While it is true that some dioceses have particular laws which disallow marriages on Sundays, the general law of the Church has no such restriction. And the rite of marriage may even be celebrated during regularly-scheduled Sunday Masses in Ordinary Time.