Priest singing / chanting the Mass


#1

Hello all,
Sometimes I read that the priest is "supposed" to be singing or chanting certain parts of the Mass, but I've never really known exactly which parts he is supposed to sing (rather than speak).
Also, I was surprised to discover when I attended a school Mass that our priest (who is new to our parish) added all kinds of sung phrases "Jesus died for us", etc. in a responsorial way (call and response) during the consecration. Is this usual? He has been a priest for about 40 years, so maybe this was more popular at some point in the last few decades and I have not run across it before.
Thanks for any thoughts!


#2

That sounds great, especially for a school Mass.

(How long now before another forum member cries “Liturgical abuse!” :stuck_out_tongue: )


#3

I think there's nothing wrong with singing or chanting, provided it's still comprehensible and the order and language don't deviate. The priest at our former parish (we moved) was charismatic by personality and given to impassioned homilies, so it was fitting that at times when he felt very moved he'd chant lovingly a prayer that's normally spoken in plain voice, rocking with his eyes closed. He was simply someone who felt things very deeply and it came across in all his ministry.


#4

I don’t believe it’s normative to “add phrases” to the text, but I have heard a number of priests chant the Eucharistic prayers, although not the consecration off-hand. I don’t know what is the “official” position.


#5

I have heard both and I think both spoken and chanted/sung is correct. I have been at Masses where two different priests sang the Concecration and it was beautiful and moving. A sung portion really draws me in because it speaks to something within me that draws me into the moment. On the other hand, I know priests who do not chant or sing because they have difficulty carrying a tune. There have been some I know who do not restrain themselves and it is pretty bad. :) no criticism really, just reality. Those who do spoken Concecration also touch that deep place within me when they do so so reverently.


#6

[quote="MarcoPolo, post:4, topic:343828"]
I don't believe it's normative to "add phrases" to the text, but I have heard a number of priests chant the Eucharistic prayers, although not the consecration off-hand. I don't know what is the "official" position.

[/quote]

General Instruction of Roman Missal, Chapter 1:

in order that such a celebration may correspond more fully to the prescriptions and spirit of the Sacred Liturgy, and also in order that its pastoral effectiveness be enhanced, certain accommodations and adaptations are set out in this General Instruction and in the Order of Mass.

  1. These adaptations consist, for the most part, in the choice of certain rites or texts, that is, of the chants, readings, prayers, explanatory interventions, and gestures capable of responding better to the needs, the preparation, and the culture of the participants and which are entrusted to the Priest Celebrant. However, the Priest will remember that he is the servant of the Sacred Liturgy and that he himself is not permitted, on his own initiative, to add, to remove, or to change anything in the celebration of Mass. [34]

[34] Cf. Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 22.


#7

Every single word of the Mass may be chanted.

The Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children contain acclamations, so not unusual to hear them at a school Mass.


#8

[quote="Phemie, post:7, topic:343828"]
Every single word of the Mass may be chanted.

The Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children contain acclamations, so not unusual to hear them at a school Mass.

[/quote]

I thought that the EPs for Children were phased out of the revised English Missal?


#9

[quote="twf, post:8, topic:343828"]
I thought that the EPs for Children were phased out of the revised English Missal?

[/quote]

No. They weren't included in the revised Missal because the Latin ones were removed but they can still be used.
ewtn.com/library/liturgy/zlitur409.htm


#10

It is now and always has been normative to sing the Mass. To reject singing it out of some ideological principle is totally and utterly wrong, each and every time. But this does not mean that the Mass must be sung always. Weekday Masses seem to be good times to have read/said/recited Masses. More important Masses should, in my prudential opinion, be sung. Like Sunday Masses and Solemnities and whatnot.

At my own parish the priest never sings anything. It is very sad. However, I think it is because he thinks his voice is bad.


#11

first It is incorrect to think that a priest must sing or chant the mass. I don’t believe there is anything that says you must do that.

Second there are more than 4 eucharistic prayers and it is possible that because he was doing a school mass he was saying a EP that wasn’t one of the 4 typical EPs. What I would do is talk to the priest and said I’m not use to hearing “x” why did you say this. Than after his response go on from there.


#12

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:10, topic:343828"]
It is now and always has been normative to sing the Mass. To reject singing it out of some ideological principle is totally and utterly wrong, each and every time. But this does not mean that the Mass must be sung always. Weekday Masses seem to be good times to have read/said/recited Masses. More important Masses should, in my prudential opinion, be sung. Like Sunday Masses and Solemnities and whatnot.

At my own parish the priest never sings anything. It is very sad. However, I think it is because he thinks his voice is bad.

[/quote]

does the rubrics say that singing is normative?

I love chanted masses and if I become a priest I want to chant parts of the mass if no all of it one day but does it say anywhere in the rubrics that it is normative that it be sung or chanted.


#13

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:10, topic:343828"]
It is now and always has been normative to sing the Mass. To reject singing it out of some ideological principle is totally and utterly wrong, each and every time. But this does not mean that the Mass must be sung always. Weekday Masses seem to be good times to have read/said/recited Masses. More important Masses should, in my prudential opinion, be sung. Like Sunday Masses and Solemnities and whatnot.

At my own parish the priest never sings anything. It is very sad. However, I think it is because he thinks his voice is bad.

[/quote]

We lost a priest, reassigned to another city, who would sing/chant the preface through the Sanctus (in Latin) at weekday noon Mass in the chapel. I thought about you once or twice during his Masses, how much you would have liked this guy.

-Tim-


#14

When I attend Mass (as opposed to Divine Liturgy), it is almost always a weekday Mass. “Through him and with him and in him…” is always chanted. Occasionally, other parts will be chanted, particularly if it is a feast day.


#15

[quote="babochka, post:14, topic:343828"]
When I attend Mass (as opposed to Divine Liturgy), it is almost always a weekday Mass. "Through him and with him and in him..." is always chanted.

[/quote]

FWIW, Ipsum (as in "Per ipsum" as opposed to "Per eum") in Latin is an intensive form of the pronoun and difficult to translate into English. However, according to Collins, A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin: "Note the translation of ipsum: "him himself " is avoided in English in favor of the simple pronoun said with greater stress (or italicized in print.)" I suppose a chant has a somewhat greater stress but others may disagree.


#16

[quote="catholictiger, post:12, topic:343828"]
does the rubrics say that singing is normative?

I love chanted masses and if I become a priest I want to chant parts of the mass if no all of it one day but does it say anywhere in the rubrics that it is normative that it be sung or chanted.

[/quote]

I don't think so, but it is immemorial tradition that the Catholic Eucharistic liturgies be sung. Never singing is an objective impoverishment of the liturgy with relation to the unchanged tradition in that department, imo, although some priests just can't sing, which is sad but reasonable.

[quote="TimothyH, post:13, topic:343828"]
We lost a priest, reassigned to another city, who would sing/chant the preface through the Sanctus (in Latin) at weekday noon Mass in the chapel. I thought about you once or twice during his Masses, how much you would have liked this guy.

-Tim-

[/quote]

Excellent! :) Preface tones are very repetitive but Prefaces are difficult to sing because of their length.


#17

Thank you all for your very insighful answers. As I looked at the EP for children link, that does sound along the lines of what he was using. I just knew it was from the 1970s! : )

Also, that was what I suspected about the priest singing the Mass, that it is normative, but I generally don't hear it that way. I always comment to the celebrating priest if I hear one chant a lot, but I think they often just think I'm complimenting their voice. Which I'm not, really. More their good liturgical style.
Thanks!


#18

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:10, topic:343828"]
It is now and always has been normative to sing the Mass. To reject singing it out of some ideological principle is totally and utterly wrong, each and every time. But this does not mean that the Mass must be sung always. Weekday Masses seem to be good times to have read/said/recited Masses. More important Masses should, in my prudential opinion, be sung. Like Sunday Masses and Solemnities and whatnot.

At my own parish the priest never sings anything. It is very sad. However, I think it is because he thinks his voice is bad.

[/quote]

Awwww.....I've heard a few priests who couldn't sing anything in tune, but would still chant. They'd just sing every word on the same note. It was a lot better when the priest could sing.

One of the most incredible sung masses I attended was in Paris a few years back. It must have been a special mass because there was a huge group priests concelebrating. When they were chanting the words of the consecration, they actually did it in organum. It was wild and we couldn't believe our ears hearing so many priests knowing what they were doing when it came to chanting. That was a very special mass and day for us, as it wasn't unusual for us to attend a number of masses on a Sunday to see how various parishes around the city and world celebrate mass.


#19

We attended Sunday Mass at San Marco and at Notre Dame this summer. Both were entirely chanted, in Italian & French, respectively, and in both cases the Ordinary was in Latin Gregorian. I heard a Kyrie and a Gloria that I hadn’t heard since my early teens. Thought I’d died and gone to Heaven!


#20

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:16, topic:343828"]
I don't think so, but it is immemorial tradition that the Catholic Eucharistic liturgies be sung. Never singing is an objective impoverishment of the liturgy with relation to the unchanged tradition in that department, imo, although some priests just can't sing, which is sad but reasonable.

Excellent! :) Preface tones are very repetitive but Prefaces are difficult to sing because of their length.

[/quote]

I think liturgies should have as much singing as possible in reason, but the fact that it is in the rubrics I think you should be careful how much you demand it from the priests. I think you are spot on in what you say but I'm thinking with the mind of the Church and the rubrics she gives us doesn't make it normative. Again I want there to be singing as much as possible but I don't think it should be normative, but still we should do it as much as possible.

one other thing speaking from experience there are many guys in seminary who can't sing well. I think we should train them as much as possible but that isn't always a key aspect of formation.


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