Fewer Congregational Hymns During Lent?


I recently moved and now attend St. Rita’s in Alexandria, VA. I love it. The Masses are very orthodox and reverent, which is a nice change from my hometown’s parish. Anyway, I’ve noticed that so far during Lent, only the responsorials, Agnus Dei, Sanctus, mystery of faith, and a recessional hymn are sung by the congregation. At the other usual times, just the cantor sings, and it’s briefer than usual (ie, only a short introit as the priest processes in, instead of an entire hymn). I don’t mind; it’s actually a good Lenten sacrifice for me, because I love to sing.

Does anyone else’s parish do this?


Our parish really has not changed anything, except they are omitting the recessional hymn.
I wish things were a bit more subdued…this is the way I used to lead when I was a Choir Director.
Every parish tends to do their own thing, depending on the taste of the Directors.


I know in the Extraordinary Form the Gloria is removed during Lent… not sure about the Ordinary Form.


They do that in the OF, as well.

Just to clarify, in addition, during Lent we apparently no longer sing the Processional/Opening hymn or the Communion hymn along with the cantor. We’ve never sung the Offertory hymn at this parish.


The only thing my parish does differently is removing the Gospel Acclimation. It’s just silent.


We just remove the Gloria. However, we actually add the Kyrie being sung instead of a different spoken Act. The Mass parts I drop the instruments and go to chant. Both of these are nice changes.


OF, yes, the Gloria is removed during Lent.

Besides the obvious, though, my parish chants the Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, and Agnus Dei in Latin during Lent.


At my parish during Lent, the cantor sings a version of Psalm 51 during the procession. The congregation also kneels instead of stands like any other time of year.

I know of many parishes that subdue the use of hymns during Lent as a way of keeping the solemn nature of the season. I think it’s a great idea because when Easter comes, it’s exciting to sing all the jovial hymns again.


I like that. I just looked that one up. The first mention of standing occurs after the arrival at the altar. I may mention this and see about stealing it. The only downside is that it would make Good Friday a little less unique in this regard.


That’s true, but it makes Easter even more special since the congregation hasn’t stood up and sung a hymn since the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.

We also do not use bells during Lent. The bells that ring outside at the start of Mass are shut off, and the bells at the consecration are replaced with a wooden clapper. At the start of Mass, a clapper is used in the back of church as well by Father to signal everyone to kneel. Again, at Easter it is exciting to hear the bells again.


In one of my previous parishes, they omitted the opening hymn during Lent and they just rang a large bell to signal that the procession was entering and everyone should stand. I attended Mass in a different parish today and they chanted all the Mass parts and with the exception of the memorial acclaimation, they were all in Latin. I thought it was really a nice way to make the music more simple for Lent.


More Matt Maher and other OCP music might be enough Lenten penance for me :wink:


That’s what my college’s Newman Center did last year. Because far fewer people know the Memorial Acclamation in Latin. But this year, it’s all in Latin, since they thought to print it out (we already have handouts for music on Sundays, since they’re building a new church)


That’s a lovely idea. My parish already sings the Kyrie in Greek and the Agnus Dei and Sanctus in Latin, and it’s wonderful. It’s interesting to see all the different ways our parishes make Lent a sombre time.

I just thank God that my parish doesn’t make the Holy Water fonts into sandboxes like my old parish did…:eek:


For Lent, my church is not doing an opening hymn, just the procession in silence. We are doing low key songs for the offertory, Communion and recessional. I was impressed that our priest had us say the Confiteor instead of the Lord Have Mercy responses but we did sing the Kyrie after that.


In a few of the parishes where I’ve worked, we tended to have only an organ instrumental piece for the offertory during Lent. The mass parts are more subdued and the music, in general, more simplified. At one parish, we do Latin chant for the acclamations during Lent. While I am all about music and singing, I do like this change. It encourages a somber mood and feeling before a joyous and exuberant Easter.


Instrumentals are not permitted in the Mass during Lent. The musical instruments must only be used to support the singing.


Good to know. I can suggest that to all of my music directors.

That said, how do I tell that to my bishop? That’s what they do at the cathedral where the bishop says the mass. Should I just go to the music director? The music director does as the bishop requests.


You can probably start with the music director. You can show him the GIRM, chapter 5 for reference:

[quote=“General Instruction of the Roman Missal”]313. The organ and other lawfully approved musical instruments should be placed in a suitable place so that they can sustain the singing of both the choir and the people and be heard with ease by everybody if they are played alone. It is appropriate that before being put into liturgical use, the organ be blessed according to the rite described in the Roman Ritual.[123]

In Advent the use of the organ and other musical instruments should be marked by a moderation suited to the character of this time of year, without expressing in anticipation the full joy of the Nativity of the Lord.

In Lent the playing of the organ and musical instruments is allowed only in order to support the singing. Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.


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