Sunday, January 11, 2009

Catholics and their hymn habits

I just remembered this as I woke up this morning.

I'll be posting my music list later on. Last night, I played the Saturday Vigil Mass. The scheduled closing hymn was "Lord of the Dance". The choir had a mix of adults and kids (the instrumentalists were all kids ranging in age from 8 to about 12 or 13, I think). I know - the docs state that the closing hymn isn't *technically* a part of the Mass; after all, the priest *did* say, "The Mass is ended; go in peace".

However, one of my pet peeves is this Roman Catholic habit of cutting off a hymn when there is no longer any action, whether it be the procession processing or recessing, or any action going on at the altar. So when I noticed the Closing Hymn had five verses, I said, well if Fr. A was celebrating the Mass, he'll wait until the penultimate verse before he starts recessing down the aisle, whereas if Fr. B was celebrating, he'd be out faster than you can say "Closing Hymn".

At that point, one of the young choristers piped up, saying, "Yeah, and I don't like it when Fr. A waits until the hymn is done."

I was taken aback, and thought, goodness, is this representative of how today's young generation of Catholics think about hymns and music in general during Mass? I internally shuddered, and then added that it's a pet peeve of mine that hymns are cut off like that, and that if hymns are to be sung at all in Roman Catholic churches, that either the entire hymn should be sung, or it shouldn't be sung at all.

Interestingly enough, the two adults in the choir wholeheartedly agreed with me, and insisted that no matter who is celebrating the Mass, we ought to sing all the verses. The instrumentalists, who like that particular closing hymn enthusiastically agreed and clamoured for us to play the whole thing "because it's fun to play".

The one person who raised her objections looked chastened enough, and reluctantly agreed.

So we sung the entire hymn. I didn't pay attention as to which verse the celebrant du jour recessed down the aisle, but if trends were correct, he probably started walking down the aisle as the first verse was being sung.

Oh well!


Evann said...

Lyn, I left a little something for you on my site. Have fun!

Brian Michael Page said...

I like your idea of "sing the whole hymn". I've been for that idea for eons. However, I have to make an exception with something like "Lord of the Dance" - I couldn't wait to get the dang thing over with!

Lyn F. said...

@Evann, ooooh! Thanks! :)

/runs over and has a look

@Brian, well, you can't win 'em all. The Shaker Tune isn't a bad one, IMHO, but paired with Lord of the Dance ... *shrugs* ... it really isn't my cup of tea either.