Can a Confirmation Sponsor also be the Cantor for the Confirmation Mass?


#1

I am the (new) Music Director of a large parish. Our Confirmation Mass celebration is coming up at the end of September. The person who traditionally cantors for this Mass is also a sponsor this time, and I remember somewhere reading that it is not liturgically correct to be a sponsor AND have any other duties during the Mass taking one away from the candidate... does anyone have an idea of where I can find anything on this? I'm afraid I have offended the person who is the sponsor by asking someone else to cantor, and I'd like to show her something that proves my point.

Personally, I think the sponsor should just BE the sponsor... and give all attention to the confirmandee but she seems to think otherwise. Any assistance would be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks!


#2

Our cantor came down from the choir loft at the Easter Vigil to do so. What does the pastor say?


#3

To the best of my knowledge there is no absolute law on multiple roles for the laity. It's more one of those liturgical guidelines designed to keep a single lay person from seeming to be a member of the clergy.

I think the pastor gets to make the final decision for his parish.

That said, isn't the cantor going to be busy leading the singing at times when a sponsor would be signing the senses of the candidate or laying her hand on the shoulder of the candidate? Or does your parish not have music for those times?


#4

I don’t know that there’s any hard-and-fast rubric about this. I’ve found it’s generally discouraged for an individual to take on more than one function in the same liturgy (e.g. altar server and EMHC, reader and gift bearer, etc.). But I don’t know of an outright prohibition.

Talking to the pastor would be a good place to start. Personally, if it were me, I wouldn’t want to do both. :shrug:


#5

I did find an answer... a friend sent this to me from the General Instructions for the Roman Missal:

Quote:
43. For the good of the community and of the whole Church of God, some of the lay faithful according to tradition have rightly and laudably exercised ministries in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. It is appropriate that a number of persons distribute among themselves and exercise various ministries or different parts of the same ministry.
The last sentence has a footnote to the GIRM n. 109:
Quote:
109. If there are several persons present who are able to exercise the same ministry, nothing forbids their distributing among themselves and performing different parts of the same ministry or duty. For example, one deacon may be assigned to take the sung parts, another to serve at the altar; if there are several readings, it is well to distribute them among a number of lectors. The same applies for the other ministries. But it is not at all appropriate that several persons divide a single element of the celebration among themselves, e.g., that the same reading be proclaimed by two lectors, one after the other, except as far as the Passion of the Lord is concerned.
Coupled with tee_eff_em's citation of the GIRM n. 110, it is clear that it is better to have one person per ministry, but that if this ideal/goal is not achievable, then it is allowed to double up

We have plenty of cantors available to sing, so there would be nothing to necessitate the same person being cantor and sponsor. I will bring this up with the pastor, and then re-address it with the sponsor. Thanks very much for your replies! They all are along the same line, and people's preference is to not have the sponsor do more than one thing... Thanks!


#6

Will the cantor/choir be singing during the anointing? We usually just have “marching” music.


#7

Yes, there is music scheduled for the anointing...


#8

[quote="smyerks, post:1, topic:296863"]
I am the (new) Music Director of a large parish. Our Confirmation Mass celebration is coming up at the end of September. The person who traditionally cantors for this Mass is also a sponsor this time, and I remember somewhere reading that it is not liturgically correct to be a sponsor AND have any other duties during the Mass taking one away from the candidate... does anyone have an idea of where I can find anything on this? I'm afraid I have offended the person who is the sponsor by asking someone else to cantor, and I'd like to show her something that proves my point.

Personally, I think the sponsor should just BE the sponsor... and give all attention to the confirmandee but she seems to think otherwise. Any assistance would be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks!

[/quote]

I think that you should simply apologize to the person for asking someone else without talking to them first. Whether you are right or not it does not make a difference in term of how you should have behaved. I think that if you are trying to show a document that proves your point then you are could just make things worse.

I also have to add that because you are the music director you have the authority to make such a call without any explanation if in other situations you picked a different cantor without giving explanations for your decision.


#9

[quote="Joe_5859, post:4, topic:296863"]
I don't know that there's any hard-and-fast rubric about this. I've found it's generally discouraged for an individual to take on more than one function in the same liturgy (e.g. altar server and EMHC, reader and gift bearer, etc.). But I don't know of an outright prohibition.

Talking to the pastor would be a good place to start. Personally, if it were me, I wouldn't want to do both. :shrug:

[/quote]

Not trying to be glib, but "generally discouraged" by who or what?


#10

People that serve during the liturgy are not supposed to attract attention to themselves, attention should be devoted to the liturgy. A person that does more than one thing is probably going to attract more attention than necessary. In my parish that is the norm set by the pastor and it is good enough to me, I do not know if comes from higher above.


#11

[quote="Don_Jackson, post:9, topic:296863"]
Not trying to be glib, but "generally discouraged" by who or what?

[/quote]

That's a fair question. :o By "generally discouraged" I mean I've heard more than one priest say it shouldn't be done (as a general rule). But I don't know of any "magic bullet" citation in the liturgical documents that makes that explicit pronouncement. It's possible it's there and I just haven't seen it. But I'd expect it o be somwhere in the GIRM 100-111.


#12

[quote="Cristiano, post:8, topic:296863"]
I think that you should simply apologize to the person for asking someone else without talking to them first. Whether you are right or not it does not make a difference in term of how you should have behaved. I think that if you are trying to show a document that proves your point then you are could just make things worse.

I also have to add that because you are the music director you have the authority to make such a call without any explanation if in other situations you picked a different cantor without giving explanations for your decision.

[/quote]

How I should have behaved??? :confused: You can be a harsh bunch! :( I did talk to her and I explained the situation. I spoke with the DRE first, and she left the choice of cantors up to me, so I chose one that was not already involved in the Confirmation Liturgy based on what I knew from the GIRM. We do not have a shortage of cantors. I am going to offer to the cantor/sponsor that she sing a meditation hymn after Communion since nothing is scheduled for that time. I knew that I had read this in there, and indeed I did, and so I was looking for the specific reference, which I found and quoted above.


#13

[quote="smyerks, post:12, topic:296863"]
How I should have behaved??? :confused: You can be a harsh bunch! :( I did talk to her and I explained the situation. I spoke with the DRE first, and she left the choice of cantors up to me, so I chose one that was not already involved in the Confirmation Liturgy based on what I knew from the GIRM. We do not have a shortage of cantors. I am going to offer to the cantor/sponsor that she sing a meditation hymn after Communion since nothing is scheduled for that time. I knew that I had read this in there, and indeed I did, and so I was looking for the specific reference, which I found and quoted above.

[/quote]

I apologize if I confused you with my post, as it seems that I did. The last sentence in my post was written to say that you did not do anything wrong and you did not owe an apology** if **you changed cantors in the past without any explanation and just because you are the music director. This last post of yours seems consistent with the conditional statement that I was trying to make and so it appears that you did not do anything wrong.


#14

Thanks!

But, again, who or what lays down the “not supposed to” claim? I guess you mean your pastor, but I’m just wondering if someone who speaks on authority of the whole Church makes these contentions, or if they are just “feelings” that some share.


#15

[quote="Don_Jackson, post:14, topic:296863"]
Thanks!

But, again, who or what lays down the "not supposed to" claim? I guess you mean your pastor, but I'm just wondering if someone who speaks on authority of the whole Church makes these contentions, or if they are just "feelings" that some share.

[/quote]

I do not have the answer, a feeling could be implemented as a discipline/law. Just remember that sometimes local laws are allowed and they are still laws. We could be facing the scenario of a local law that is common to many parishes across the USA, I really do not know.


#16

[quote="Don_Jackson, post:14, topic:296863"]
Thanks!

But, again, who or what lays down the "not supposed to" claim? I guess you mean your pastor, but I'm just wondering if someone who speaks on authority of the whole Church makes these contentions, or if they are just "feelings" that some share.

[/quote]

Well Smyerks quoted the GIRM.

The interpretation of those GIRM sections that suggests a lay person should not hold more than one liturgical role per Mass has been a teaching I have heard from clergy and at liturgy conferences and workshops for quite a few years. I don't know whether there is some statement to this effect in some liturgy document (whether "official" or otherwise), whether it was a directive from some bishop that got picked up and spread around, whether it's a philosophy that gets taught in seminaries, or what.

It seems to be one of those "truisms" that's been passed around so much that it's taken for granted. And it has been a directive that pastors at my parish have put out.


#17

Interestingly, it seems that children making their First Communion are always made to do something else during that Mass. Also, on Sept. 23 I'm going to be a sponsor for my friends' baby daughter. It's because of that that the Liturgy coordinator scheduled me to be a reader at that Mass.


#18

The idea that a lay person should only have one liturgical function at any given Mass may have sprung from the idea that one person doing multiple roles would not only call excess attention to himself, but it would also be logistically somewhat cumbersome.


#19

In our parish, while we avoid having a reader also be an EMHC at the same Mass, we can’t be that picky about having someone be in the choir and having another role at the same Mass. It’s not unusual to see both readers and one EMHC coming from the choir at Sunday. That’s just the way it is in a small parish where there are only a few people available for any given ministry.


#20

[quote="Phemie, post:19, topic:296863"]
In our parish, while we avoid having a reader also be an EMHC at the same Mass, we can't be that picky about having someone be in the choir and having another role at the same Mass. It's not unusual to see both readers and one EMHC coming from the choir at Sunday. That's just the way it is in a small parish where there are only a few people available for any given ministry.

[/quote]

I don't see that a choir member having another liturgical role is a very big deal so long as it logistically feasible. While the choir does have a liturgical function, the choir members are still essentially part of the assembly.

My parish has numerous adult choir members who act as readers and EMHCs. We have a large enough choir that single voices here and there are not missed, even if we are singing in parts. It would be a problem if we had a small choir. I can't imagine having a cantor hold another liturgical role, at least in my parish. Our cantors are also song leaders for the assembly so they are almost always (except for the psalm) at the cantor stand which is in a physical space away from both choir and ambo.


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