Collection Basket and Choir

I have a problem with a few members of our choir having the collection basket put to the choir area before our offertory hymn so they can drop their envelopes in. I feel it is disruptive and I don't know of any other choir that does this. It looks as if the whole choir doesn't give when this happens, which is not the case. Some people in choir mail in their donation once a month, others put an envelope in the rectory mail slot or donate at the vigil Mass.
Since they probably will keep it up, except for when it's not possible (i.e., a different collector or special Masses) what I need is a way I can tolerate this. (Maybe I just shouldn't look?)

I'm a cantor and choir member. Most of the time, there is someone in the first few pews I know, so I hand that person my envelope to put in the collection for me. When I don't "know" anyone, I look for a familiar face, but I will ask a total stranger to put it in too. I figure if you can't trust the people at Mass to put in the envelope for you, who on earth can you trust?

If the issue is distraction, concentrate on the first verse of the offertory song in your hymnal. By the time that's done, it should be all over by then. Depending on where the choir is located, you might be able to sit somewhere else where you wouldn't notice.

Nobody should assume that because he didn't see someone put in an envelope that they didn't make a contribution. A spouse might have attended a different Mass, or he contribute electronically. He might have attend the Mass on Saturday too. Some people get paid bi-weekly or twice a month and contribute on a non-weekly basis. And then there are the times when you left your envelope on the coffee table.

It seems perfectly normal for there to be a collection basket in the loft for people to use.

Why worry about who puts what in the basket?

Our choirs are right up front, and no basket is ever passed among them. Rather, choir members either leave their envelopes with family members, or they put their envelope in the basket (at the back of the church) or in the children's collection basket (on the altar) before mass. Not that we set the standard, but that's how we do things. :shrug:

Gertie

It's a little unclear to me exactly what the problem is. Is it that the choir doesn't contribute when the basket is passed while the hymn is supposed to be happening? I should hope not since they choir members should be watching the choir director and no basket ought to be passed to them during that time. Or is the problem that the choir can't contribute because no one gives them a basket?

For our choir, usually one of the ushers hands us a basket to pass around before Mass starts or else during the homily. So we contribute then. We are in the back (but note in a loft since we don't have one) so we aren't on display. Most people either contribute electronically or have a family member handle the contribution so only a few need the basket.

If the parish uses those kind of baskets with the long handles then the parish really needs to get a special basket for the choir that they can pass between them.

[quote="RosalieM, post:1, topic:177703"]
I have a problem with a few members of our choir having the collection basket put to the choir area before our offertory hymn so they can drop their envelopes in. I feel it is disruptive and I don't know of any other choir that does this. It looks as if the whole choir doesn't give when this happens, which is not the case. Some people in choir mail in their donation once a month, others put an envelope in the rectory mail slot or donate at the vigil Mass.
Since they probably will keep it up, except for when it's not possible (i.e., a different collector or special Masses) what I need is a way I can tolerate this. (Maybe I just shouldn't look?)

[/quote]

Well, I'm in the choir in my church, and the whole collection thing is a pain in the neck. It was at my last parish, too. I don't have any family members in the congregation, and since you're supposed to write the amount of the contribution on the outside of the envelope, I don't particularly want to give it to someone else. I would like to be able to contribute like everyone else, with the same privacy, and the same ability to give according to my pay schedule (which is not monthly) and not have to make special arrangements. So generally I have to go around after Mass and find an usher. It doesn't seem that big a deal to anticipate the collection by a couple of minutes, but if it's against the rubrics (which I don't know either way) it should stop. If it isn't against the rubrics, what's wrong with it?

But to answer your question, why would you be looking at the choir during (I guess) the General Intercessions? Or at most any other time, either? It's not a concert. The choir is simply there to help the congregation worship God more deeply and participate in the sung parts of the Mass more confidently. We stand when we sing because it is better for breath control and it helps us project over the church, not so people will look at us. (The exception would be if the choir (rather than a cantor) is doing the responsorial psalm, which we aren't in my parish. Then it would make sense to be looking at the choir.)

Anyway, I suppose there really are people in the congregation who are watching the basket go around and thinking about who is putting in an envelope and who isn't, and why it might be that so-and-so did, and such-and such didn't. If so then they're probably doing it to the rest of the congregation (the parts they can see) not just the choir. I'm not sure that they should dictate what happens to the choir's envelopes.

And do the other members of the choir care whether nosy people are speculating on their giving habits? If so, it would seem to be their job to raise an objection. I understand that you are trying to be kind to the choir members that give other ways, but I'm not sure it's necessary to worry about it.

SMHW, that's a good idea about having someone pass around a basket before Mass. I'll probably suggest it at my parish as an alternative to "The Hunt of the Elusive Usher." :D During the Homily, though, I would imagine that the OP would have the same problem as with them doing it immediately before the offertory.

--Jen

\It's a little unclear to me exactly what the problem is. Is it that the choir doesn't contribute when the basket is passed while the hymn is supposed to be happening? I should hope not since they choir members should be watching the choir director and no basket ought to be passed to them during that time. Or is the problem that the choir can't contribute because no one gives them a basket?\

Usually the Choir is singing the Offertory Anthem at this point, so it would be impractical to pass the alms basis to the choir.

[quote="RosalieM, post:1, topic:177703"]
I have a problem with a few members of our choir having the collection basket put to the choir area before our offertory hymn so they can drop their envelopes in. I feel it is disruptive and I don't know of any other choir that does this. It looks as if the whole choir doesn't give when this happens, which is not the case. Some people in choir mail in their donation once a month, others put an envelope in the rectory mail slot or donate at the vigil Mass.
Since they probably will keep it up, except for when it's not possible (i.e., a different collector or special Masses) what I need is a way I can tolerate this. (Maybe I just shouldn't look?)

[/quote]

Ever watch the PBS comedy show "Keeping Up Appearances?" :rolleyes:

"...what I need is a way I can tolerate this...."

There are things which duty will not allow us to tolerate. This isn't one of them, though, is it?

One way to deal with things you can't change is to just accept that there will always be things you don't like, accept that if it were not this, it will still always be something, and occupy yourself with other thoughts.

[quote="revert_jen, post:7, topic:177703"]
Well, I'm in the choir in my church, and the whole collection thing is a pain in the neck. It was at my last parish, too. I don't have any family members in the congregation, and since you're supposed to write the amount of the contribution on the outside of the envelope, I don't particularly want to give it to someone else. I would like to be able to contribute like everyone else, with the same privacy, and the same ability to give according to my pay schedule (which is not monthly) and not have to make special arrangements. So generally I have to go around after Mass and find an usher. It doesn't seem that big a deal to anticipate the collection by a couple of minutes, but if it's against the rubrics (which I don't know either way) it should stop. If it isn't against the rubrics, what's wrong with it?

But to answer your question, why would you be looking at the choir during (I guess) the General Intercessions? Or at most any other time, either? It's not a concert. The choir is simply there to help the congregation worship God more deeply and participate in the sung parts of the Mass more confidently. We stand when we sing because it is better for breath control and it helps us project over the church, not so people will look at us. (The exception would be if the choir (rather than a cantor) is doing the responsorial psalm, which we aren't in my parish. Then it would make sense to be looking at the choir.)

Anyway, I suppose there really are people in the congregation who are watching the basket go around and thinking about who is putting in an envelope and who isn't, and why it might be that so-and-so did, and such-and such didn't. If so then they're probably doing it to the rest of the congregation (the parts they can see) not just the choir. I'm not sure that they should dictate what happens to the choir's envelopes.

And do the other members of the choir care whether nosy people are speculating on their giving habits? If so, it would seem to be their job to raise an objection. I understand that you are trying to be kind to the choir members that give other ways, but I'm not sure it's necessary to worry about it.

SMHW, that's a good idea about having someone pass around a basket before Mass. I'll probably suggest it at my parish as an alternative to "The Hunt of the Elusive Usher." :D During the Homily, though, I would imagine that the OP would have the same problem as with them doing it immediately before the offertory.

--Jen

[/quote]

Jen, don't write the amount on the outside of the envelope. Nobody will refuse your envelope if you omit the amount. Then just have someone else put it in for you.

The problem is (and I should have mentioned this in the first post) we are right in front of everyone to the side of the altar. We are not in the choir loft, which I would prefer; but the monsignor wants us up in front.
The basket is awkwardly pushed in front of us for the sake of a few in choir who find it convenient. I find it disruptive and, well, tacky -- lacking in decorum. It's like passing the basket to the altar servers. We are in the same area.
I'm going to apply the suggestion made in one post of reviewing the offertory hymn while the basket happens and just not look. Also I'm heeding another post and I don't want to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Thank you all. Your comments have helped.
Hey, it's Advent already.......why sweat the small stuff?

As far as writing the amount on the front of the envelope, just don't. For my whole life I have always ignored that. The envelope will be opened, the contents removed, the check cashed and my remittance recorded for tax and accounting purposes. All will be well. This way anyone may see the envelope from the outside, without knowing its contents.

Also, some people may make their pledge and then pay it all on the first Sunday of each month due to being paid only monthly, and would not put an envelope in the other Sundays, so it does not matter.

[quote="daeve, post:11, topic:177703"]
Jen, don't write the amount on the outside of the envelope. Nobody will refuse your envelope if you omit the amount. Then just have someone else put it in for you.

[/quote]

There are people in the office who open each and every envelope and write the amount on the outside - even on those where the parishioner wrote the amount. It makes no difference what is written on the outside to those who count and post the offering.

Exactly. I am involved in the Youth Choir and I know the ushers and I usualy give them money before the church. I dont want to disrupt the flow. Our Choir is located near the baptismal fountain. We have a great community. Other choir people I know decide personaly to give the money to the poor box in the back of the chuch instead. Its alittle different funding but its still tithing to god.

[quote="SimiSpeaks, post:15, topic:177703"]
Other choir people I know decide personaly to give the money to the poor box in the back of the chuch instead. Its alittle different funding but its still tithing to god.

[/quote]

As a member of the SSVDP, thank you for giving to the poor box. Your local society needs every penny!

[quote="RosalieM, post:1, topic:177703"]
I have a problem with a few members of our choir having the collection basket put to the choir area before our offertory hymn so they can drop their envelopes in. I feel it is disruptive and I don't know of any other choir that does this. It looks as if the whole choir doesn't give when this happens, which is not the case. Some people in choir mail in their donation once a month, others put an envelope in the rectory mail slot or donate at the vigil Mass.
Since they probably will keep it up, except for when it's not possible (i.e., a different collector or special Masses) what I need is a way I can tolerate this. (Maybe I just shouldn't look?)

[/quote]

Well its probably another good reason why choirs should not to be in front of or to the side in church. It's too much of a distraction for some. This is my opinion of course. I sing in the choir/cantor from the choir loft. I know where the collection baskets are kept which is in a cupboard next to the steps that lead up to the choir loft. So I drop my envelope off before heading up the choir steps before mass. I don't see the problem if the collection basket is passed to the choir first before the offertory hymn as long as the pastor or celebrating priest doesn't have a problem with it. They could always place a basket for choir members in the choir area and then they could drop off there envelope before mass starts it then could be picked up by the ushers at offertory. I think if it is really bothering you try sitting on the other side of the church or further back out of view of the choir. Better yet try a different mass time. :)

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