Good Friday Prelude-What would you do?
  • SMire
    Posts: 13
    Looking for feedback/thoughts on a prelude for Good Friday.

    I'm new to the parish I currently work at (7 months on the job), so this is my first Holy Week with the congregation and let's just say they're pretty far from traditional...I've made some progress already with introducing them to a few "new things," but these transitions take time and I must pepper in chant and other things of beauty with the pieces that the congregation/choir are already accustomed to so as to soften the blow, so to speak.

    This congregation is also unbelievably chatty before, during and after Mass. I worry that, after observing how they are on a regular basis, that the incessant chatter might detract from the task at hand. I'm considering having my organist play something very low before we begin the procession in silence, but I worry that this really isn't proper...what would you recommend in my position?

    TIA
  • Tia,

    No, it isn't proper, but neither is chatting before, during or after Mass -- at least while in the Church building. There's much that needs to be corrected in your parish, by the sound of it, but doing another wrong thing won't help them to see the error of their ways.
    From their perspective, I think you'll discover, an end to the chatter would be an end to the "task at hand", as you put it. They have no sense (yet) of terribilis est locus iste.

    Organists playing on Good Friday.... a bad idea, regardless of how common it might be.

    On the other hand, you could ask a reliable gentleman of the parish to lead (say) a rosary or a chaplet or Stations before the liturgy, which could help. You could ask your pastor to post signs at the entrances to the church, clearly urging silent reflection. This same pastor could preach throughout what remains of Lent on the value of silence.




    Thanked by 2SMire RedPop4
  • SMire
    Posts: 13
    Thank you, Chris! The rosary is a beautiful idea, but I'll have to run it by my liturgist...Huge parish, lots of red-tape. Please pray for the success of this!
  • MarkB
    Posts: 839
    Sometimes the lesser of two evils is acceptable in a given circumstance as the best that can be done.

    In the circumstance described, I'd say playing organ instrumental softly prior to the start of the Good Friday liturgy with the intent of discouraging chit-chat in the nave qualifies as acceptable, especially if music is going to be accompanied during the liturgy instead of sung a cappella.

    I'd prefer organ instrumental to tacking on a rosary or stations of the cross prior to the Good Friday liturgy, which I think are misguided suggestions. Celebrating stations immediately prior to the Good Friday liturgy is redundant, at best. Similar with praying the sorrowful mysteries.

    Let the liturgy be the liturgy. The Good Friday liturgy calls for silence at the entrance, and silence ought to precede it. I think no talking with soft instrumental music better adheres to the rubric for silence than extra-liturgical spoken prayers preceding the liturgy.

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  • SMire
    Posts: 13
    Thank you, Mark! Certainly something to think about, I really appreciate your perspective and agree with the rosary or some other spoken prayer would defeat the purpose of trying to attain silence ahead of the solemness of the Liturgy.
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 171
    I would recommend doing nothing. I would simply have someone announce at the beginning of the Triduum that you would appreciate it, given the solemnity of the days, if the congregation would enter and depart in silence. You could also include a note to that effect in your order of worship.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 831
    My experience in trying to use music to silence a chatty congregation is that it does not work. In fact, quite the opposite. People will only chat louder so they can be heard above the organ.
  • Marc Cerisier
    Posts: 454
    My experience in trying to use music to silence a chatty congregation is that it does not work. In fact, quite the opposite. People will only chat louder so they can be heard above the organ.


    I share that experience. As a test, I progressively added one stop at a time over the course of the prelude at a diocesan confirmation (very slowly—over 10–15 min, maybe) until the organ was really quite “present” in the room. When I picked my hands up, the roar of the congregation—basically shouting at this point—was astonishing. It was a fun experiment, and was used as evidence when I would be asked to “play so everyone won’t talk.”

    I’ve never been asked to provide a prelude to Good Friday, but if I was it would be Walcha’s Herzliebster Jesu. I’m currently helping out at a church that expects preludes and postludes during Lent, and have really enjoyed rediscovering rep I haven’t gotten to use in years.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • I understand Mark's point about the Stations, and find it a valid criticism of the position. Nevertheless, since organ music is (or should be) forbidden, putting it in is (clearly) not the right solution. Recorded music is equally verboten -- as another thread has asserted. No more appropriate would be a showing of scenes from The Passion of the Christ on the east wall of the church beforehand. A meditation on the 7 last words would work. (Don't invent your own, for goodness sake, but use Abp Sheen's!)

    Remember always that where the parishioners are, as a whole, is not where they should be, and you can't get them where they belong by taking them in the opposite direction.

    Another idea: a public reading of a chapter (or selections) from Cardinal Sarah's book on silence.

  • I like the passive aggressiveness of reading Cardinal Sarah like that.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,029
    If people are of sufficient ignorance to chat loudly prior to Good Friday, then no amount of "soft" organ music will stop them either.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    You really are going to have to get the pastor in on this to stop the talking. Playing softly doesn't work since they will only talk louder. You could do a short program of Lenten music beforehand so they might listen instead of talk. If it is a children's choir they might be more inclined to listen. Parents generally think their children are gifted even when they are clearly not and would be more likely to listen.
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  • Felicia
    Posts: 87
    My parish is doing something different this Lent at the Saturday evening Mass: Vespers 30 minutes before Mass begins, Missal chants a capella, soft organ accompaniment on hymns, and no recessional (except for Laetare Sunday); everyone leaves in silence. There has been noticeably less chit-chat. But IMO the thing that really encourages this quieter atmosphere is that the group of very reverent young people who have been singing at this Mass stand in silence as the priest, deacon, and altar servers exit, then they immediately kneel and pray.
  • I would definitely not have any prelude but you might consider putting "Please observe a sacred silence before the solemn service of Good Friday" at the top of a worship aid. You could make it nice and large with bold font, underlined, etc. Anything to get the message across.
  • TrentonJConn,

    I didn't mean it to be passive-aggressive, but I can see how it would come over that way. One could also initiate a study group in Lent on the value of silence.
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  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,930
    "Let There Be Silence Among All Who Enter Here"

    Post on all three, four, five, or six doors as you enter into the church.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    I once saw a sign over a church door that said, "if you must talk, whisper a prayer."
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,761
    If we can’t have silence on Good Friday —of all days— then we shall never have silence.

    Perhaps the weekend before the pastor could make an announcement asking for people to observe a silent recollection in honor of the gravity of the solemnity.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 831
    I was once at a church in which the pastor had a sign which said "Respect for the Blessed Sacrament includes silence in the church." If he caught people chatting in the church, he let them know about it. Last time I was there, the signs were gone, but nobody talks in the church, so I guess they did their job. More churches need to do that.
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  • KARU27
    Posts: 184
    This might be considered theatrical, but a few years ago our pastor starting turning off the lights before Mass started, so it was kind of dark in the Church. It does seem more prayerful. The downsides are that it's a bit blinding when the lights are turned back on at the beginning of Mass, and it does seem theatrical.
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  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 339
    What would I do? I’m not employed by the church, so I would go into St. Rose of Lima mode and confront them about what is going on right now and to show some respect for our Lord.

    Where is the pastor in all of this? This is a case of lack of knowledge of what the Triduum is. The Church is in mourning. There isn’t supposed to be ANY instrumentation, especially organ. Even the bells are silent and we use the crotalus at the Sanctus and consecration instead of the bells, which really has an emotional impact on me, I find. We don’t even use the organ to intone for the priest.

    The priest needs to tell people the church is in mourning and now isn’t the time for visiting. Save it for Easter. You should not have any instruments, especially organ.

    I think it’s time to restore the Church ministry of the person with the hooked stick who used to hit people with it if they stepped out of line. Not the most politically correct thing to do, but it might actually get results.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,761
    TJC, we do something similar. All the nave lights are on, but our priests kneel in prayer for a few minutes before getting vested, and as they pray, the altar spot lights are turned off. Once they finish, those lights are added to the rest but that only occurs a few minutes before mass starts.

    Honestly, the biggest thing is just seeing priests kneeling in contemplative prayer before our Lord that probably does it, although the lights don’t hurt.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 460
    This would have to come from the pastor, but

    1) Catechesis in the Holy Thursday homily at the latest about Th/Fr/Sat forming one giant liturgy, in that there’s no dismissal Thursday and no greeting Fri or Sat, and that this is an invitation from the liturgy to truly live in the moment of the Triduum, recalling Christ’s Passion: to watch at the tabernacle on Thursday night and spend all of Friday in deep recollection on the Crucifixion. If he would point out the truly strange beginning of Good Friday, when words fail and even the Happy Presider falls down before God, sunken in grief, then you might have better behavior.

    2) Lights lowered toward the end of Holy Thursday, for the procession to the altar of repose, and kept down after Pange Lingua is finished.

    3) Lights off for Good Friday, raised minimally after the Collect to permit the readings to occur. People just don’t act normally in the dark, and even the most obnoxious get really uneasy
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  • Liam
    Posts: 4,604
    If you want to maintain the silence after the Good Friday liturgy, in the OF make use of the option to have the veneration cross left in a place for people to continue to venerate after the end of the liturgy.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,160
    I'd say playing organ instrumental softly prior to the start of the Good Friday liturgy with the intent of discouraging chit-chat in the nave qualifies as acceptable...


    Wait, wait!! Aren't you the "RULES ARE RULES" guy regarding the EF?

    To the topic......the whole point of reducing use of the organ throughout Lent and bringing it to zero after the Mass of Holy Thursday through the Gloria of Holy Saturday is to emphasize the seasonal penitence. The organ represents joy; it is all of creation singing to its God. Non-organ concentrates the mind on what happened on Good Friday: sorrow.

    Tenebrae's message is exactly the same. Extinguishing the Light--thus, darkness--is a metaphor.

    If anything, artists should be very sensitive to these manifestations. By the way: it is very easy for congregations to sing hymns without organ accompaniment, if there's a strong cantor. Try it sometime.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,093
    Organ music won't stop the talking.

    I was at the installation Mass of our previous Bishop: There was a whole SERVICE of hymns, prayers, and anthems before the Mass that was talked through. An organist colleague and I were the only people in the nave who attempted to sing the hymns, but gave up when we couldn't hear the Tuba over the din of the talking.
  • I suffered through a situation similar to Salieri's just above here. It was three or four years ago. I had been retained to play a Christ mass for Houston's French community at the chapel of St Basil at UST. I had great delight, no, glee in choosing some French baroque noels and some Langlais, both of which I imagined these people would delight in. Huh! To my utter shock and sad disappointment they talked loudly, very loudly, throughout these carefully and gleefully chosen voluntaries. I was moved almost to tears.

    The worse was yet to come. the ordinary parts of the mass were sung by eight or ten quite non-gifted early teens who attempted to play guitars and flutes as they sang. It had all the din and musicianship of a class of kindergartners. How disillusioned I was at this group of French would be difficult to put into words! I trust that somewhere in France French culture can be found uncluttered with modern junk - not to hint that there is not some very good modern music, but it was lost on these people. I think it's endemic in our times, times in which adults seriously remark rather shallowly to one another that 'well, Christmas just for the children' - ditto E

    ____________________________________________________________________

    As for Good Friday, one of my favourite pieces for this occasion is Bach's setting in the Orelbuchlein of O Mensh betrubst dein Sunde gross - played with a plaintive regal or schalmei against a rohrflut and light but distinct pedal - or, try a 4' flute topped off with a nazard or a tierce for the solo part.

    O Lamm Gottes unschuldig, a canonical offering, from the same book is also very appropriate and not to difficult.

    I have even used some carefully chosen French Tierce or Cromorne recits. These must be of the sort that are condusisive to meditaion.

    Some Howells would fitting.

    But is this not all moot, since presumably you are not supposed to play voluntaries during Lent? --- though we of the Ordinaariate can.
  • We have zero noisy talding at Walsingham. No sceaming of babies - their mothers have a gift for lovingly shushing them and whispering to them - or take them to the cry room. And people don't talk before mass. They focus on the mass. Before the mass begins there is an aura of reverence and expectation.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    In my years of playing for the NO during Lent, I often played those Bach chorales as introductions to the sung hymns. They are hymns, after all. I followed the rules of using organ to accompany singing, only. I didn't deal with the EF and was not concerned with what they did.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,761
    I understand the reasoning behind no (or limited) organ during lent, but I confess it saddens me. There are so many wonderful pieces in the repertoire for lent.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW CHGiffen
  • Jehan_Boutte
    Posts: 246
    I suffered through a situation similar to Salieri's just above here. It was three or four years ago. I had been retained to play a Christ mass for Houston's French community at the chapel of St Basil at UST. I had great delight, no, glee in choosing some French baroque noels and some Langlais, both of which I imagined these people would delight in. Huh! To my utter shock and sad disappointment they talked loudly, very loudly, throughout these carefully and gleefully chosen voluntaries. I was moved almost to tears.

    The worse was yet to come. the ordinary parts of the mass were sung by eight or ten quite non-gifted early teens who attempted to play guitars and flutes as they sang. It had all the din and musicianship of a class of kindergartners. How disillusioned I was at this group of French would be difficult to put into words! I trust that somewhere in France French culture can be found uncluttered with modern junk - not to hint that there is not some very good modern music, but it was lost on these people. I think it's endemic in our times, times in which adults seriously remark rather shallowly to one another that 'well, Christmas just for the children' - ditto E


    I am saddened, but not surprised with what you are saying: today, France is, unfortunately, a "Low-Church" Catholic country; and I am not even sure we can say it is a Catholic country.
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  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 460
    I understand the reasoning behind no (or limited) organ during lent, but I confess it saddens me. There are so many wonderful pieces in the repertoire for lent.


    At least for me there has always been ample opportunity to play them – weekly Stations, penance services, retreats, and other devotions, where the people who attend are already disposed toward reflection, and more likely to be receptive.
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen dad29 RedPop4
  • Jehan,

    There are Catholics in France, as evidenced by the large number (relatively speaking) of seminarians from that country which are popping up in Traditional seminaries.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    I understand the reasoning behind no (or limited) organ during lent, but I confess it saddens me. There are so many wonderful pieces in the repertoire for lent.


    Every year on "Pink Sunday" I played as many of those Lenten pieces as possible. I also wore a pink shirt and encouraged others to do the same.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,930
    Every year on "Pink Sunday" I played as many of those Lenten pieces as possible. I also wore a pink shirt and encouraged others to do the same.
    The color is rose... not pink.
  • Jehan_Boutte
    Posts: 246
    There are Catholics in France, as evidenced by the large number (relatively speaking) of seminarians from that country which are popping up in Traditional seminaries.

    This number is insignificant when you compare it to the size of the French population. I don't like that situation, but I cannot deny France is now a secularized country.
    Having said that, there are still Catholic faithful in France; there are good and holy priests, whether Charismatic, Traditionalists or the like. But they are a minority - a drop of water in a vast sea. God willing, this situation will change.
  • Jehan,

    I didn't mean to suggest that France was a country teeming with faithful Catholics in every hamlet and city. Indeed, France appears to be mostly burning the fumes of her Catholic heritage. All I meant was that there are more traditional seminarians in the two well known associations than in all the diocesan seminaries combined.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    The color is rose... not pink.


    At our place, it was shocking pink. I think actual Roman rose would be closer to a salmon color. Even our tabernacle cover would have shocked Victoria's Secret. But as we all know, Victoria doesn't have any secrets.
  • For the record, rose is just a shade of pink. They are both correct, rose is just a little more specific.
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  • .
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,053
    Both rose and pink are the names of flowers, used as colour names but not precisely defined. Rose has been used as a colour in English since the 12th century, pink only since about 1700.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Jehan_Boutte
    Posts: 246
    Chris,

    You are right, many "Trad" seminarians are indeed coming from France; the majority of orthodox French priests are not trads though, they are diocesan or come from the Communauté Saint-Martin; but they are imbued with a traditional mindset, whether liturgically or spiritually.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    Interestingly, the "rose" used by the local Trads has more of a red color that is darker than pink. The NO rose is pink. Don't know if that holds true elsewhere.
  • Jehan,

    Tell us more, please.
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  • Jehan_Boutte
    Posts: 246
    All right.

    Take last year's ordinants in the FSSP: out of the ten, only one is French. The others are Germans, Austrians, and Americans.
    Then, consider the ICKSP: they ordained eight priests, out of which three are French.

    That makes four French priests ordained for the two main traditionalist communities in the Church. That's not a very big number, though most French dioceses would be more than happy to have three or four ordinations (consider the fact some dioceses didn't have a single ordination in the last fifteen years).

    Compare this with the Communauté Saint-Martin, which had twenty six new priests this year; also consider the Communauté de l'Emmanuel (a Charismatic community), with eight new priests (I don't like the way they celebrate the Sacred Liturgy, but I cannot deny they are for the most part good and orthodox priests). Granted, some of them are not French, but the majority is.

    I am not at all writing this to say France has no place for Tradition; on the contrary, most young priests in France love and embrace it, to various degrees. For instance, consider the good work of Bishops Marc Aillet (in Bayonne) and Dominique Rey (in Toulon), with relatively flourishing seminaries, where most seminarians are traditional in their approach of the faith.
  • Thank you. This part
    That makes four French priests ordained for the two main traditionalist communities in the Church. That's not a very big number, though most French dioceses would be more than happy to have three or four ordinations (consider the fact some dioceses didn't have a single ordination in the last fifteen years).


    demonstrates my point. Compared to a 15-yr drought, 3 ordinations in a single year is a relative monsoon, since there are more in the pipeline.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 593
    I don't know if you are planning for the Novus Ordo, but I think the hymn Ecce Homo would be a wonderful piece to use for Good Friday and during Lent. If you have a good schola or choir, you could do this hymn acapella. This hymn appeared in five different Catholic Hymnals: the Wreath of Mary, Ave Maria Hymnal, Mount Mary Hymnal, the St. Rose Hymnal, and the Laudate Hymnal. The Laudate Hymnal borrowed from Mount Mary, so it’s the same arrangement and I didn't include it. So far, I've only uncovered two melodies. One was composed by the Sisters of Notre Dame (I like this one the best), the other gives credit to Fr. F. T. Walter. I don't know very much about him. The Ave Maria Hymnal version credits a German Gesangbuch, but it looks like the same melody credited to Fr. Walter.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,761
    Indeed, France appears to be mostly burning the fumes of her Catholic heritage.

    I distinctly remember having a conversation with my host family when I studied abroad in Paris. My host mother was shocked that I was going to be attending Mass every week. "Tu vais aller à la messe?!" Her eyes were as big as saucers. She just couldn't comprehend that anyone would still choose to go to Mass. It made a rather deep impression upon me, and nearly a decade later, it is one of the things I remember most clearly about my time there. She. was. stunned.

    Her genuine difficulty with that tidbit of information made more sense to me when I attended regular masses at St. Sulpice. It is only a few sq ft. smaller than Notre Dame and can accommodate 2000 worshippers quite easily. I don't think I ever saw more than 30 people at Mass, and that's in the center of a city of millions of people. And among those few faithful in attendance, I was the only one who attempted to kneel during the consecration, and I got looks for it too.