Mishap at the Saturday evening Mass


#1

I had to go to the Saturday evening anticipated Mass tonight to read, and after Mass there was a little bit of a coniption that Father had with the cantor. We have music sheets that have the music for the Mass parts, and whenever we sing them, the cantor holds the sheet up to cue the congregation to take them out if they wish to follow along and what not because we haven't used those Mass parts in a while. Well, during the preface the cantor raised it twice, once a little before the Sanctus and then right at the start of it. After Mass Father was saying how it was improper to raise anything during the preface like that. Others seemed to agree. Is there any specific rule on this or is it just personal preferences? I didn't see the problem with it, so I don't understand what the big deal was.


#2

[quote="CatholicZ09, post:1, topic:307755"]
I had to go to the Saturday evening anticipated Mass tonight to read, and after Mass there was a little bit of a coniption that Father had with the cantor. We have music sheets that have the music for the Mass parts, and whenever we sing them, the cantor holds the sheet up to cue the congregation to take them out if they wish to follow along and what not because we haven't used those Mass parts in a while. Well, during the preface the cantor raised it twice, once a little before the Sanctus and then right at the start of it. After Mass Father was saying how it was improper to raise anything during the preface like that. Others seemed to agree. Is there any specific rule on this or is it just personal preferences? I didn't see the problem with it, so I don't understand what the big deal was.

[/quote]

Like it or not, when it comes to a priest vs. a lay person about the ritual of the Mass, the Priest always wins. There is no right or wrong about it because where the Mass is concerned, the Priest is right. In the rare cases there is an aberation in the ritual, then it is up to the Pastor or the local Bishop to discern right or wrong. Never, Ever, a member of the congregation or the laity.
If the cantor can't accept this, perhaps he/she should not be a cantor. There is such a thing as obedience to the clergy.


#3

[quote="George_Stegmeir, post:2, topic:307755"]
In the rare cases there is an aberation in the ritual, then it is up to the Pastor or the local Bishop to discern right or wrong. Never, Ever, a member of the congregation or the laity.

[/quote]

That's not entirely true. I have read more than one member here describe how he or another layman went up and pointed out to the priest that he had skipped part of the Eucharistic Prayer and failed to consecrate one of the species.

As for the OP, I looked through the GIRM at all the references to the Sanctus, but didn't see anything that looked relevant to your question.


#4

[quote="George_Stegmeir, post:2, topic:307755"]
Like it or not, when it comes to a priest vs. a lay person about the ritual of the Mass, the Priest always wins. There is no right or wrong about it because where the Mass is concerned, the Priest is right. In the rare cases there is an aberation in the ritual, then it is up to the Pastor or the local Bishop to discern right or wrong. Never, Ever, a member of the congregation or the laity.
If the cantor can't accept this, perhaps he/she should not be a cantor. There is such a thing as obedience to the clergy.

[/quote]

you are correct! The cantor is suppose to be obedient to the priest. Just because the OP doesn't see what is wrong doesn't mean anything. The priest is the expert on such matters here.


#5

Chiming in.

The priest is right.

There are only three (four, if you count the extraordinary form) ministers that minister to that altar directly: the Bishop, the priest, the deacon and the subdeacon. Ie. there are only four types of sacred ministers.

All other 'ministers' minister to the sacred ministers. Altar servers do not directly serve the altar, they serve the priest; likewise cantors, lectors, etc. are serving the priest, by assisting/fulfilling some of his functions. He, the priest has the say how this is done, but must be in accord with the rules of the rite he is using.


#6

I agree that the priest is the one with the authority to make these kinds of decisions.

Frankly, I think that "holding up the music sheets" seems a very awkward and "sneaky" way to inform the congregation. Not everyone can see that well, and it's possible that some people might miss that visual cue; e.g., if a parent was dealing with a small child and not looking up towards the front of the nave. And visitors would have no clue about what was going on.

Why not just have the lector make a general announcment BEFORE the Mass starts? That's what we do, and it works well.

I realize that such mundane "business" might seem to distract from the ethereal nature of the Mass and make the Mass feel like a "show" or a "business meeting" instead of a sacrifice, but the fact is, we are not mere spirits, but human beings, and we need to know what's going on in order to fully participate; i.e., sing along. There is nothing improper about a quiet verbal announcement "We will be using the music sheets in your pews for the Mass this evening" before Mass starts.

Or get one of those old-fashioned magnet boards, and post the songs on it, and when the song sheet is used, post that on the magnet board.


#7

[quote="CatholicZ09, post:1, topic:307755"]
I had to go to the Saturday evening anticipated Mass tonight to read, and after Mass there was a little bit of a coniption that Father had with the cantor. We have music sheets that have the music for the Mass parts, and whenever we sing them, the cantor holds the sheet up to cue the congregation to take them out if they wish to follow along and what not because we haven't used those Mass parts in a while. Well, during the preface the cantor raised it twice, once a little before the Sanctus and then right at the start of it. After Mass Father was saying how it was improper to raise anything during the preface like that. Others seemed to agree. Is there any specific rule on this or is it just personal preferences? I didn't see the problem with it, so I don't understand what the big deal was.

[/quote]

I think the priest was right. What I think the cantor probably could have done was point out before mass that the music can be found on these sheets. That is what we have done at a few of the parishes where I've cantored a Sunday mass. Something like, "Good morning and welcome to St. X parish. Today is the 2nd Sunday of Advent. The Lectionary can be found on p. xxx. The music for the parts of the mass (or however you'd like to refer to them as) can be found the music sheets located in your pews...."


#8

The priest is right. Unless he's asking you to sin, he's right, he's in charge, and anyone else "ministering" at Mass needs to understand that. As long as he's not doing anything illicit, his personal preferences rule.

Rather than arguing, couldn't the cantor approach Father and say "how would you like me to indicate to the people which music to use for any congregational singing during the Mass?" Let the priest decide when and where and how this is to be done.

Our rector has asked the cantors to review this with the congregation before Mass. "We are using Mass VII, which can be found on pages xxx in the hymnal, and the offertory hymn can be found in the bulletin." Also, we print all the songs, or the hymnal page numbers, in the bulletin.


#9

Besides the question of obedience, it’s also a major question of decorum. Sure, the director can do something like that at choir practice, or even to the choir in the loft (ie, out of view), but for a cantor to do so to the congregation is just distracting during Mass.

Keep in mind the congregation is not even required to sing.


#10

These comments were very helpful. I forgot to add in the factor that what the priest says goes. I guess since it didn't seem like a big deal to me, it made me wonder if there actually WAS something really wrong with it, and I was in error. I could see how it's distracting the congregation from the preface when we should be preparing ourselves for the consecration.


#11

Was it 'wrong'? No. It can be appropriate to give very short directions to the congregation during the liturgy whether verbally or through gesture. A choral or orchestral director makes lots of gestures cueing the choir and orchestra at Masses. And the congregation is the main choir of the Mass and it's appropriate that a director of music gives them appropriate cues.

Was it the appropriate gesture? That's a matter of opinion, and in this case, the priest's opinion trumps the cantor's. As others have pointed out above, there are other ways to remind the congregation of what's coming up.

Was having a conniption over it appropriate? Nope. The priest should have simply told the cantor, that in the future, please don't do that and then discuss a better way to direct the congregation in song.


#12

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