Full Participation

How many times have I heard priests exclaim their enthusiasm for ‘full participation’ at Mass. It is a kind of modern Catholic mantra. Indeed, not only a Catholic mantra, it has become an ideological slogan before which all must bow. So, in the name of ‘full participation’ we have overturned 2000 years of church architectural tradition and built round churches, fan shaped churches, churches that are auditoria, churches that are circus tents, churches that are stadiums–all in an attempt to get as many people as close as possible to the altar as if proximity to the altar constitutes full participation.

The tradition of sacred music has fallen to this revolutionary creed as well. Down with Gregorian chant and classic hymns and the venerable music of the liturgy and up with tacky songs with sentimental semi heretical lyrics. More often than not this music is imposed on the people. Every kind of secular style of music has entered the sanctuary in an attempt to get ‘full participation’ and all of it has been imposed by well meaning ideologues–and the irony of it is that these are the same people who claim to be democratic and ‘listening to the voice of the people of God’.

And has it worked? I have celebrated Mass at churches where an eager liturgy director (usually an ex-nun or priest) waves his arms about and brings the energy and fake enthusiasm of a Broadway dancer to his task and still the hymnbooks stay in the pew rack, the arms remain folded on the chest, the lips remain firmly closed and the expression of bored frustration remains stamped on the faces of the faithful. I’ve seen the priests celebrate Mass with the ‘game show host’ style of liturgy–all false bonhomie and dumbed down cheerfulness–and his efforts are still met with solid, silent animosity. “Do what you like Father. You won’t get me to open my mouth.”

After experiencing my own frustration at expecting congregations to sing hymns I am beginning to come around to their point of view. Let us stand things on their head and really listen to the ‘voice of the faithful’ and ask ourselves whether they might actually be right. Maybe their instincts to be silent at Mass and not sing or wave their arms about or hug people are right. Maybe they know more about it in their blissful ignorance than we do with all our good ideas about ‘full participation’.

Maybe what the faithful actually want is not wonderful orgasmic hymns and breath taking music. Maybe what they want is a quiet, dignified Mass with a simple, skilled choir or schola. Maybe what they want–even if they don’t know it–is a Mass where they simply watch and pray and listen and wonder at the mystery of what is going on at the altar. Maybe they are ‘fully participating’ in this way and who am I to judge? So I am moving increasingly to the position that I will let the people do what they want at Mass. I will encourage them and direct them, but I will not dictate my views or my tastes and impose them. I will simply say the black and do the red and preach the gospel and try to be a priest not an entertainer.

I also notice how few people in the congregation come out to extra meetings and seminars and services and lectures and Bible studies and all these other goodies we lay on. The attendance is very poor. Where is the ‘full participation’? Well, maybe again the faithful have it right and they are going out from Mass on Sundays to try to live their faith in the workplace, at home, at school and wherever the path of life leads them that week.

If I am right, then suddenly I understand “full participation at Mass” I am there fully and completely and attentively in body, mind and Spirit. I am caught up with the action of the Mass and the transaction between earth and heaven. My whole being is participating in what is going on and as I receive my Lord–Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity–I am fully participating in that sublime and contemplative action of Grace.

Then as I go out into the world, by that same grace, my life is transformed and I am a light in the darkness and the grace of the Son becomes incarnate in my life and I fully participate in a whole life that fully participates in the life of Christ–and if this is what is happening a far, far greater thing is taking place than some priest and music director forcing me to sing Eagles’ Wings for the umpteenth time.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07331688544544080299 Mitch

    http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/pews.aspxpews and their role in active participation. interesting point of view

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05615128769655329309 Me

    Thank you, Father, for this post.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17691145638703824456 kkollwitz

    Singing at Mass actively engages the body in the worship in a way that doesn't happen without singing.Per St. Augustine: Qui cantat, bis orat/ [he] who sings, prays twice.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02288730018702281708 Babs

    While I have always sung at Mass, as I am getting older I'm doing it less and less. I'm a musician, and have led choirs and choruses, but music should support and not intrude, and at least at my church, there is barely any time when we aren't expected to be singing. People can fully participate without opening their mouths. That is heresy, I know!We all need sound and silence. There is too little silence in church because we are afraid of it. Just like most of us keep the noise nonstop in our daily lives. But think for a moment: the tv is on, playing in the background while you are doing something else. What will get your attention quicker than a commercial that has no soundtrack?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09147884706080768351 Deacon Ed

    Right on, Father.It's as if the action of the Mass isn't enough. We must embellish it with performances – performances by the priest, performances by the laity. Everybody needs to be on show. If that doesn't mimic our narcissistic, exhibitionistic, hedonistic culture nothing does. My rule of thumb is to ask: is whatever the Church does, is whatever the Church teaches, is how we worship God COUNTERCULTURAL? Or are we just accommodating ourselves so that people will like us. We had a visitng priest at our parish one Sunday who came right out in his homily and castigated the Bendictines for "their life of silence and prayer." His thesis: we need more talking, as he paraded through the congregation at "the Sign of Peace" shaking the hands of everyone and everything that moved. The next week (he was happily gone), it was my turn in the rotation to preach. I remarked about how our silence was so important to listening for GOD'S VOICE. Yes, more quiet, less fanfare, more reverence is just what the doctor ordered in the Church.I remember preaching at the church of my childhood in Brooklyn NY and serving as deacon for the Mass. It is an exquisitely appointed church built in basilica style and where I as a boy sung Gregorian chant in the choir. At the time for the consecration, Father, (with "Sister" leading the pack) i invited the young people to approach the altar (I guess to get a closer look at what transubstantiation looks like). One young lad even had his arms resting on the altar and I was tempted to tell him, "Get your elbows off the table." Let's resolve to stop the dumbing down of our Church and liturgy. If we resist the cultural push to dumb everything down, we'll truly be countercultural!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02677700018308197978 truthfinder2

    This is exactly what I've wished I could say to our "liturgy committee". THANK YOU for this post! I hope the appropriate parties in many parishes will read and at least consider it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09147884706080768351 Deacon Ed

    Oh, and I hope, Father, that in the building of your new church you make provision for an altar railing which demarcates the sanctuary from the rest of the church. It allows people to know that something teriibly sacred happens there and one should enter the sanctuary only with fear and trepidation.It's funny how there was a temporal correlation between the removal of altar railings from churches and markedly reduced belief in the Real Presence!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    There will be an altar rail in the new Our Lady of the Rosary Church

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09479406473813028616 Arnold Conrad

    As one who loves to sing at Mass, I am sometimes frustrated and puzzled by the silence of so many in the congregation, although it may often have much to do with the poor music choices presented. I have noticed in my parish that the congregation does sing the ordinary parts of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei)that it knows well. The same goes for some of the better and better known hymns. The archdiocese of Portland, OR is introducing in September a new Mass setting with the revised texts, which it wants all parishes to learn first before adopting any other new settings. The level of music in this setting is good and it is comparatively easy to sing. Our new music director (a traditionalist when it comes to music) is enthusiastic about it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06780819473061582998 Father Gregory

    Father, what can I say? You've hit the nail on the head. It took me a long time to come to the same conclusion.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16142633311407145793 Wine in the Water

    Like in many things, we have a problem of translation. What should have been rendered "actual participation" is often rendered "active participation." So we have people thinking that you must be active in order to do what Vatican II called for. But what you must be is .. well, actual. Your participation must engage your whole self, and not be just going through the motions. You don't have to be involved in some liturgical ministry to do this, you don't have to be moving around. You just need to worship with your whole self.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07932665331766567610 jedesto

    In my parish the noisiest, "full-participating", tacky-hymn time at Sunday Mass is during the distribution of Holy Communion! Not only that; the celebrant returns to his seat and sits (suffers?) while the music ministers typically continue until they have completed ALL verses of whatever they are doing. It is so distracting! Forget any quiet time. I offer it up.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09816036539243214384 Father Shelton

    I hope you post a picture of that altar rail when it's done. I'm having a portable one made for the traditional Mass.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17437769524164651907 JACK

    Several years ago, I had an interesting discussion with my, then, 18 y/o son. As we were leaving Mass, he said, "Dad, do you know what I don't like about Mass?" Expecting him to say the length (65 min) do to his ADHD,he surprised me by saying "the music." Asking why, he said that the music was "kinda like Disney music." I've always told my kids if they have a complaint, don't just yak about it, propose a solution. Posing this to him, he thought about what would be a better idea and said,"Gregorian Chant. That sounds like real Catholic music!" I was floored. I didn't know he even new what GC was, as I haven't heard it at Mass for about 45 years.All these years we've been told that modern music will cause kids to attend Mass, and we know that is working out. Now it seems that my son may speak for many kids when he is longing to participate spiritually, not just with words and actions.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04307536355089603351 Suzanne

    I think lack of participation for bible studies, etc. is due to apathy more than anything. While people go to Mass (which in itself is a good thing and expected), they don't seem to feel the need or energy to get involved in anything else, and I am not quite sure why.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09816036539243214384 Father Shelton

    Jack makes a great point. Modern music is catchy and engaging, which is why it out-sells other forms of music and is used in commercial advertising. But it is catchy for the wrong reasons. It's strange children pick up on this and we don't. Perhaps liturgy committees should include several children! The Ignatius Press book Dionysos Rising: The Birth of Cultural Revolution Out of the Spirit of Music helped me see the truth.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17691145638703824456 kkollwitz

    "While people go to Mass..they don't seem to feel the need or energy to get involved in anything else"They paid their dues.

  • http://jenniferfitz.wordpress.com/ jenniferfitz

    I'm going to ditto on the value of singing. Well-chosen, singable songs are worth the effort. And please, don't give me incomprehensible-but-abstractly-beautiful. Sometimes I think there ought to be a ban on soprano cantors. I don't want my interior participation to consist of "Lord, I'm sure they're saying something good, whatever it is, and I guess you wanted me just to chat with You privately right now??"

  • http://jenniferfitz.wordpress.com/ jenniferfitz

    re: classes: It's hard to sell classes to adults, because they have to be perfect:-A teacher the students like -A subject they want to study-A time they are available to attend-Manageable materials cost-Accommodations for the specific make-or-break needs (childcare, disabled access, etc.)-A reasonable length for the class sessionMy (Catholic!!) parish once offered a study so good it was worth persuading the spouse to watch the kids so I could attend. Parish hall was packed. And that was with a mandatory book purchase and required reading before starting the class.[However, because there was no childcare, I was the only parent of young children there. But it got all the old people out, so that was something.]Ask yourself whether your parish has really offered good classes, before being so sure that no one wants to attend. No one's gonna bend over for a sorry class.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08151527128474986234 I_Fixed_It_44

    Ah, well, I can't take arm waving and fake enthusiasm. Had enough of that in the Pentecostal churches I attended in my youth. Didn't much like it in my youth, either. *shudder*But just singing, that I enjoy and sometimes am moved to tears. There are some times I don't sing, though, I prefer to meditate on the moment instead.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00858195676825602917 Bill Meyer

    For my part, Father, I am disinclined to sign up for classes, knowing the heterodox teachings I will find there. Our DRE continues to espouse a belief in the inevitability of women's ordination! There are limits to what a man can tolerate….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00639369749327986414 Shaughn

    Hey now!As much as I might pick on some of the contemporary hymns, On Eagle's Wings is one of the better ones. It pretty neatly paraphrases Ps. 91. A Marine soloist did a fine job with the verses at President Ford's funeral, and the Air Force Academy's choir's treatment of it is excellent. It seems to me folks need proper catechesis. There's deep meaning, tradition, and theology to be found behind most of the old sacramentals that people never do anymore. But holding hands during the Lord's Prayer and reflecting the oremus gesture back at the priest? Strange things. (You'll find them at Episcopal churches on occasion, too, especially the latter.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11218974916477894298 Sue

    The “participatio actuosa” is free, conscious and fruitful, but it does not mean to always participate and intervene, and even silence (which is a sign of adoration and respect) is 'active' participation. The source of participation is prayer which is the conversation between us and even more with God, it means to act cum Ecclesia: participation, then does not mean movement; silence is not empty. Connected to participation is devotion, which cannot and must never be banal, superficial, mundane, something which obliges. No, indeed, it is free from those defects.-Antonio Cardinal Canizarez Llovera,Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00401320931083843046 K

    I would be eternally grateful to encounter a male cantor on occasion. So sick of listening to women who sound just like me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00085197204868089329 aimee

    I teach in my classes that "active participation" does not mean clapping and loud singing, but attentiveness and interiority. It means contemplative prayer, seeking union with God in the Eucharist, for which everything in the mass should prepare.We here in Denver have been blessed for years with Abp. Chaput's beautiful "youth mass," a mass that uses mostly contemporary praise style music, but performed in an extremely gentle, prayerful, quiet, and reverent way. His masses are always packed and the atmosphere of prayerfulness and depth is palpable. Now that he's leaving for Philadelphia, we don't know what we will do, as so many of the regular masses around here are so loud and fast, make our ears ache and render real prayer impossible!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10697706672495544901 Catholic Bibliophagist

    The problem with most modern hymns, leaving aside the stupid, inane or even heretical lyrics, is that they are too hard to sing. Often they seem like performance music — not the sort of stuff an average person can actually sing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12979831428268753359 Natasa

    Father,have you already started celebrating Mass in EF form, or are these posts a part of your preparation for that step? ;-)Excellent post, thank you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05886802551729745956 jeff

    We have an overhead system and I never put up the words for our communion hymn. I often sing it in Latin. It is a sacred time, a holy time. I wish they would try to join in the entrance and recessional hymns tho!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04264774791030984339 Anneg

    Just a thought, but from my experience, the more progressive the parish, the more people sing and the less they believe of real Catholic doctrine, except the social justice stuff. I appreciate any mass celebrated reverently, focused on Jesus.BTW very jealous of the communion rail

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05477541734518550697 Judy

    There are so many good comments. It made my heart "sing", Alleluia! For years ( I am almost 64) I have tried to explain things to the choir director, at many different churches (we moved around a lot), and the latest comment I recieved was, "we try to have something for everyone". (had told her we appreciated hearing some traditional hymns sung that day) Thank you, Father, for putting my thoughts into words. If only more priests would see this and follow through, and for that matter bishops, a REAL participation would begin to occur, and a REAL implementation of Vatican II would begin.We left our parish, as we just could not find any time for silent prayer, no matter what Mass we went to. The youth do not NEED a youth Mass, with drums and all the other loud instruments and noise. They NEED to undestand that He is there, body, blood, soul and divinity, so they can really "grow up" in their faith. They get noise all day long; Mass should be a time for heartfelt quite, in their hearts.One of the men that heads the 10:30 Mass at our old parish raises his very long arms up in the air, tryhing to pull the music out of us. Yes, when we sing, we pray twice, but these "songs" are not prayer, they are entertainment, perhaps a prelud to a bingo game or something, so if we sing them, we really miss what we are truly their for: Our Lord, to receive Him, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.The altar rail is a great key. I agree with the comment that when it was "removed", in the "spirit of Vatican II", the gates were open for all kinds of "protestant" actions. It has been a very hard forty some years for me, with so much garbage going on. Sorry for that word, but my heart has ached for years….Chris's peace to you all!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05477541734518550697 Judy

    Oh, and a special thanks to Deacon Edward ( sorry Deacon; nick names for priests I do not agree with. It would be like calling St. Peter "Pete" to me. Same with priests…just seems so disrespectful. Also do not like saying our churches names in nick name form, for same reason. "oh, I go to St. Petes :(

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07215093180074844386 the Egyptian

    Amen, he cried, praise the Lord and say hallelujah flock.Man oh man do I agree, I so hope the new translations finally end some of the happy clappy crap

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10942346114754815803 Mr. Aitchison

    You said, "Maybe what they want is a quiet, dignified Mass with a simple, skilled choir or schola. Maybe what they want–even if they don't know it–is a Mass where they simply watch and pray and listen and wonder at the mystery of what is going on at the altar."Father, you just said in words what I have not been able to express for the life of me. I find myself feeling guilty for not joining in songs (after communion, for instance) because I just want some silent time to spend with God. I also get annoyed when there are no moments of silence before Mass begins and in-between things (the offertory, etc.) during Mass. I think I feel this way because of how frantic, noisy, and crazy busy American life always is. Moments of silence and solemnity, especially at Mass, are what I absolutely crave. You seemed to hit the nail right on the head with this post. Thanks for helping me articulate my own thoughts and feelings!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13945662015612932618 Faith

    You people have just never experienced a Mass at Cursillo, or an Hispanic Mass or a charismatic one. If you were silent there, you'd be the odd man out.

  • http://catholic4areason.wordpress.com/ catholic4areason

    Jeff–having an overhead is one of the most distracting things I've ever seen in any church. We used them when we were evangelicals and it didn't help there either. Personally, I think there are a few reasons:1. It's too high to crank your head back and sing;2. The older folks or ones at the wrong angle can't see it;3. A screen should not be the focal point of any church. I LONG for our church to put the crucifix there instead of on a stand to the side where it blends in with the wooden gridwork (it's a wood-tone crucifix).4. Most music today is written by professional musicians who think we all know how to dip and soar our voices on cue like professionals. The timing is often odd. So, putting such music on an overhead so you don't even have the help of watching the direction of the notes is really difficult.I would note, as well, that as much as I love hearing GC and many of the old hymns, I'd just as soon not try to sing them. Many of them are just as odd to follow as the new ones. What is written for a choir should be sung by a choir. Congregational music should be simple and logical to the common person.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13945662015612932618 Faith

    and another thing…cantors are usually sopranos. As an alto, I know I can't sing along, so I imagine most of the men can't either.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12746127431922685446 JD Curtis

    music director forcing me to sing Eagles' Wings for the umpteenth timeTHANK you! Nice song, but WAY played-out.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12653728298410256701 MTMajor

    The Mass is sacred; so it's difficult to deal with anything that takes away a sense of the sacred. Like gospel tunes, performance minded music leaders, or disc jockeys proudly announcing at the start of communion, "Turn to hymn number 377, that's three . . . seven . . . seven."Too much distraction from Him.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18192182990544720574 Tim Wallace

    Indeed, Fr.! How did such neomodernist thinking after Vatican II impact the Mass, the renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross? Given the importance of subjective human experience in neomodernism, in the field of the Liturgy we see a de-emphasis on the Liturgy as the worship of Almighty God in favor of a community celebration of one’s own life experience. After a high of seventy-four percent of Catholics who attended Mass in the United States in the post-WWI era, by 1965, sixty-five percent attended, compared with twenty-five percent in 2000. What is more, the data reveal that only twenty percent of the generation of Catholics born after 1960 attends Mass once per week. One major reason for this decline was the collapse of the Liturgy after the misimplementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium, with the resulting harm to the faithful’s understanding of dogma and morals over time. As the Latin phrase goes, lex orendi, lex credendi!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11740482509910163332 Gail F

    Faith wrote: "You people have just never experienced a Mass at Cursillo, or an Hispanic Mass or a charismatic one. If you were silent there, you'd be the odd man out."Faith's comment is very apropos. If you go to a charismatic mass you expect some charismatic music. If you go to a Hispanic mass you expect some Hispanic music. That is "inculturation" as it's supposed to be — the kind of music that fits the people.But if you go to a "regular" (for want of a better word) mass and you get a charismatic-type song, but no charismatic people to sing it; a Spanish song when no one speaks Spanish; a hymn that sounds like a show tune but it's not a show; an arrangement of the kyrie that includes a bunch of VERSES as if the prayer isn't enough; a psalm led by a screechy cantor whose voice cannot manage the composition; and then a "traditional" song for the processional, what do you have? A BIG FAT MESS. Distracting, infuriating, and anything but reverent. And I haven't even mentioned awful or heretical lyrics!Some of the songs my parish sings at mass are showy songs that are great to belt out at home — but can only be droned in church. Music is wonderful but honestly, after this stuff year after year, I would rather have no music at all. Many times the only way I can participate is to tune out the music entirely. And we have a very talented young music director.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15505003808930621721 Daddy

    Father – in a world of great noise, I enjoy nothing more than a solemn mass with the sound of a beautiful choir with voices of angels. St. Mary's, as you know, does a wonderful job. I attended the Holy Thursday mass this year at OLR and the Vietnamese music caught me by surprise with its magnificent beauty. I also don't understand the attraction of making the mass more "worldly". As a convert, the solemnity of the mass was an enormous attraction to me – something I hadn't experienced in Protestant churches. Before I quite understood the doctrinal differences, the liturgy was a large reason for conversion.

  • http://openid.aol.com/jvdg jose

    I love a mass with no singing. The silence allows me to be aware of HIs presence.I love a mass with beautiful 17th century hymns and the majestic solemnity of a well-rehearsed choir that reminds me of God's sovereignty and majesty one moment and of his tender mercy in another moment.I love a mass with contemporary worship music that lifts my heart so I feel I am worshipping with the cloud of witness from Hebrews or the those worshipping the lamb around the throne in Revelation.Of course in each of those cases, I have had my share of "dry" masses where I spent more of my time planning my next soccer practice in my my head. We are all wired differently and respond to different stimuli. Let's be charitable and acknowledge that the "fake enthusiasm" of that contemporary music leader may instead reflect a man whose heart is overwhelmed by God and simply responds to that differently than you do. Most parishes have different worship styles at different mass times. Find the one that helps you lift your heart so you have the foretaste of heaven that the mass is supposed to be. Of course that feeling is empty if it does not make a difference in how you treat your neighbor the rest of the week – including blasting those who respond to different worship styles than you do.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11740482509910163332 Gail F

    Jose: I understand what you are saying. But you do realize, I hope, that in the long run it does no good to tell people who are struggling with something that is a real problem that it's all in their heads. It's all very well to say, "live with it," or "it's still the mass — and if you have a problem with it, then it is truly your problem." But if there is a real external problem, that won't help.Sometimes people "blast worship styles that aren't their own." And sometimes people explain what is a real problem that ought not to be ignored.

  • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/cc44db38-c510-11e0-a559-000bcdca4d7a jose

    Gail,Of course you are correct. There are real problems with many implementations of each liturgical style. I don't deny that. When there is true liturgical abuse and any sort of heretical lyrics, it cannot be tolerated. So, no I am not suggesting we cover our eyes to such things.But – it seems that many of the commenters are saying "I don't respond well to that style, and if you don't prefer my style you are a phony." That is not okay. Different people respond to different stimuli. The Church in her wisdom recognizes that. My daughter just returned from Ghana and her heart was ablaze after celebrating very vibrant masses that many of the commenters here would likely sneer at.So – let's stamp out liturgical abuse, but be wary of judging interior motives when we find the music distracting. Instead pray that the Holy Spirit might grant you the grace to be enriched by the music. He just might surprise you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12554399406952046626 Steven

    I think Catholics are so used to just going to Mass that anything more than an hour a week of deepening their spirituality is asking too much. If they knew why they are Catholic instead of some other denomination, and the validity of the absolute truth found in Catholicism, they would yearn to deepen their faith in activities in addition the Mass.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12554399406952046626 Steven

    The Liturgy Of The Word and The Liturgy Of The Eucharist. The Mass. All that matters. Any thing else is just icing on the cake. People like different flavors. Attend Mass. Go to Confession. Read your Bible. Deepen your understanding of The Catholic Faith. Deepen your own faith.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00403184829256955768 Victoria

    In my parish I think that the reason people don't sing is because all of the hymns/songs are pitched too high for the congregation.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04545510194367389333 Stefanie

    Steven, I completely agree with you. This week, I've been looking over the laminated "Mass at a Glance" written by Mike Aquilina for Our Sunday Visitor. We are putting them in the pews in October — as we ready for the 'new translation. Most of it it just explaining the Mass, which I found abit surprising. I'm the RCIA director and this is great for them, but for the Catholic who has been in the pew within the last 50 years??? Yet, I realize, that yes, indeed, they REALLY need to understand the Mass.I teach a great deal of reverence/respect within Mass to my students (which are 8 years old +). They crave the silences.Pope Benedict just spoke about this in his Angelus on Wednesday, recalling Elijah's encounter with the living God on Mt. Horeb (1Kings19:11-13).The 'youth Masses' at our parish are attended by the 40+ crowd; the teens won't attend them even though the music is 'contemporary/clappy' in nature. Our previous pastor actually bought an overhead screen — which has been used less than 40 times in four years…including funeral "this-is-your-life" shows. It never did get the teens 'engaged' — and was a technological nightmare to operate. But someone got $30k richer for that sale. (sorry for the cynicism — shortly after, finances were so bad that the staff had to take a 10% paycut which has lasted three years now. Our new pastor has nixed the overhead — but its still there)At first, I loved that type of music and Mass, but as I am older now, I feel the need for silence. Everyplace else is full of noise.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12554399406952046626 Steven

    Very limited singing in my parish too. We have a fantastic contemporary choir. More singing when they play, but still nothing to write home about. People are very rigid in their own personal traditions.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12239185608038738884 Kevin O’Brien
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01567728278490585110 La gallina

    WOW!! Well said. Now I think I understand me! I hate holding hands, shaking hands, lifting hands etc. during Mass. (I actually dread the Our Father and the SIgn of Peace.) I refuse to lift my hands, even when we say, "We lift them up to the Lord." I often think of and long for daily Mass at my sister-in-law's in Guadalajara. Silent. Not even a single little tune. I love it. Oh God, I long for silence and beauty!!!!!!!!!!