Short Sunday Mass


#1

I am curious to know the view of the "people in the pews", about this question. I often hear that a priest who has a "short Mass" on Sunday (maybe only 45 minutes long!) gets higher attendance. These Masses cut out singing to get the length down. So, are Catholics more interested in a "short" Mass rather than a Mass with a considerable amount of singing? That seems to be the "vote" of the marketplace, since the "short" Masses get quite popular. Why are short ( Sunday) Masses so popular? Would you personally rather have a short Mass, or a sung Mass, please also say why!


#2

Honestly, I would rather have a sung Holy Mass. But, I would rather have it without music if the music that was to be used is not reverent. I am fine with music as long as it is in accord with Sacrosanctum Concilium which sadly, most music at Holy Mass isn't. But, I find Low Masses or their equivalent in the Novus Ordo to be more reflective. All in all, you are going to draw more people to attend Holy Mass at the shorter version for those who think they don't ever have enough time to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass but, you will also attract people to a sung Holy Mass or a Holy Mass with music for those who merely go to Holy Mass to be entertained and those who need constant entertainment ( as if the Sacrifice of Holy Mass isn't entertaining enough ). Maybe sacrifice both Holy Masses on Sunday? Just my two cents. :thumbsup:


#3

Even though I'm not a musician, I know that music has been part of God's worship since King David's time. I would rather have music on Sunday/Saturday and have a longer Mass.


#4

[quote="holyfamily1, post:2, topic:329858"]
Honestly, I would rather have a sung Holy Mass. But, I would rather have it without music if the music that was to be used is not reverent. I am fine with music as long as it is in accord with Sacrosanctum Concilium which sadly, most music at Holy Mass isn't. But, I find Low Masses or their equivalent in the Novus Ordo to be more reflective. All in all, you are going to draw more people to attend Holy Mass at the shorter version for those who think they don't ever have enough time to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass but, you will also attract people to a sung Holy Mass or a Holy Mass with music for those who merely go to Holy Mass to be entertained and those who need constant entertainment ( as if the Sacrifice of Holy Mass isn't entertaining enough ). Maybe sacrifice both Holy Masses on Sunday? Just my two cents. :thumbsup:

[/quote]

I've noticed what you have: that a "low" Mass seems more reflective. So are people coming because it is shorter, or because it is more prayerful?


#5

I prefer a Mass with music, but it really depends on the music, and how it's presented. When the musicians take over and Mass is more like a performance, I find myself longing for just the propers chanted or even just recited, in English.

What I don't like is a "short Mass" for the sake of a short Mass. At a few parishes in my area, it's almost become a joke at how short the Saturday evening vigil Mass becomes in the summer. All the "bare minimum" options are used, homilies usually under 5 minutes, and way too many EMHC, just to make distribution go faster. :shrug:

In my experience, the people I know who prefer "short Masses", are the ones who see Mass as an obligation to be done with so they can start their day, rather than seeing it as an integral part of their day.


#6

[quote="FrStevenJones, post:1, topic:329858"]
I am curious to know the view of the "people in the pews", about this question. I often hear that a priest who has a "short Mass" on Sunday (maybe only 45 minutes long!) gets higher attendance. These Masses cut out singing to get the length down. So, are Catholics more interested in a "short" Mass rather than a Mass with a considerable amount of singing? That seems to be the "vote" of the marketplace, since the "short" Masses get quite popular. Why are short ( Sunday) Masses so popular? Would you personally rather have a short Mass, or a sung Mass, please also say why!

[/quote]

In my location, the only complaints I hear about mass "running long" are when we add in a guest speaker (such as a missionary or someone from CRHP, etc.) or have multiple extras like recognition of new parishioners, plus cub scout religious medals to pass out, and a second collection for tornado victims. (Any individual one of these takes less than 5 minutes so no one seems to mind that - it's adding them together that creates a big enough time difference to notice.)

We do sung responses, sing the Gloria, and usually do 3 verses of each hymn - and get done in about 50 minutes - so I guess I don't understand exactly what you mean by cutting out singing to get the length down?


#7

[quote="CradleJourney, post:6, topic:329858"]
In my location, the only complaints I hear about mass "running long" are when we add in a guest speaker (such as a missionary or someone from CRHP, etc.) or have multiple extras like recognition of new parishioners, plus cub scout religious medals to pass out, and a second collection for tornado victims. (Any individual one of these takes less than 5 minutes so no one seems to mind that - it's adding them together that creates a big enough time difference to notice.)

We do sung responses, sing the Gloria, and usually do 3 verses of each hymn - and get done in about 50 minutes - so I guess I don't understand exactly what you mean by cutting out singing to get the length down?

[/quote]

Prayer for prayer, singing adds time. So if your Gloria was said rather than sung, and the 3 hymns replaced by a said antiphon, Mass would be maybe 5 minutes shorter. Of course I want the maximum number of people to come to Mass. I also want it -- more importantly-- to be as prayerful as possible. So I'm intrigued when cutting singing seems to make the Mass shorter, more prayerful, and attract more parishioners. So I'm trying to understand this -- that's why I'm asking.


#8

[quote="FrStevenJones, post:1, topic:329858"]
I am curious to know the view of the "people in the pews", about this question. I often hear that a priest who has a "short Mass" on Sunday (maybe only 45 minutes long!) gets higher attendance. These Masses cut out singing to get the length down. So, are Catholics more interested in a "short" Mass rather than a Mass with a considerable amount of singing? That seems to be the "vote" of the marketplace, since the "short" Masses get quite popular. Why are short ( Sunday) Masses so popular? Would you personally rather have a short Mass, or a sung Mass, please also say why!

[/quote]

I personally like singing. (But I'm in the choir so I'm not particularly objective.)

I can tell you that the people at my parish who prefer a shorter/simpler Mass are those who attend the 7:30am Sunday Mass. They still get music but not so much as the later Masses where the choirs sing.

Those who come to the later Masses either like the music or simply don't like getting up early.


#9

Well, I’m Byzantine, so obviously no fan of a “short Mass” myself, but I can share the perspective of some that I’ve talked to. In many parishes, the early morning Mass is the short one. Some like to just get to Mass right away, to get it “over with”. Others are just trying to escape bad music. My experience is Latin-rite parishes is actually the opposite of yours. The best attended Mass is the mid-morning (between 9:30 and 10:30), which often has the parish choir.


#10

[quote="babochka, post:9, topic:329858"]
Well, I'm Byzantine, so obviously no fan of a "short Mass" myself, but I can share the perspective of some that I've talked to. In many parishes, the early morning Mass is the short one. Some like to just get to Mass right away, to get it "over with". Others are just trying to escape bad music. My experience is Latin-rite parishes is actually the opposite of yours. The best attended Mass is the mid-morning (between 9:30 and 10:30), which often has the parish choir.

[/quote]

Agreed: the best attended Mass is mid-morning. But is that due to the music or the time of day? My hunch is that the time of day is key -- most people do not want to be at an early morning Mass on Sunday, whether there is singing, or not...


#11

When my son with autism was very young (infant through preschool age), I preferred a shorter Mass with little singing. He used to cry when the congregation sang (he was very sensitive to changes in noise level) and shorter Masses were less of a challenge for him all around.

My son is 9 now and over the past couple of years he has started to enjoy the singing at Mass, so now we go to the longer Mass with more singing.


#12

I don't know if a sung Mass and a short Mass are mutually exclusive. Now a Mass can omit hymns and extended singing and therefore cut its time, but the Mass is intrinsically meant to be chanted in all its parts. The priest and the people should know how to chant well the Order and Ordinary of the Mass, as well as the Propers. When chant is performed properly, it has a rhythm and tempo exactly like well-spoken phrases, so choosing to chant should not unduly elongate the Mass. The antiphons can be sung just long enough to cover the liturgical actions to which they correspond.

Unfortunately, 95% of the world considers a "sung Mass" to mean that you slap a four-hymn sandwich on an OF Low Mass and consider it done. I think this is highly annoying and not in accord with the mind of the Church. I would much rather go to a Byzantine liturgy where chanting is obligatory. I consider Low Masses to be a long-standing mistake of the Roman Rite.


#13

[quote="FrStevenJones, post:4, topic:329858"]
I've noticed what you have: that a "low" Mass seems more reflective. So are people coming because it is shorter, or because it is more prayerful?

[/quote]

Well, I guess people (the majority of Catholics now ) would go to a Low Holy Mass or its' equivalent in the Novus Ordo for the sake of time --- because it is shorter. But, its' prayerful sense might also enlighten their faith. Heres what I would do: I would have a Missa Lecta or Holy Mass with no music but then, (you, being the priest) could sing things; maybe you sing or in better terms chant the first and second reading, the psalm, the gospel, the collect, Eucharistic Prayer (maybe even Eucharistic Prayer #1 :rolleyes: ), post-communion prayer, etc. That is what would really would help me become prayerful. It doesn't add that much time and is still beautiful. Maybe even add in an organ accompaniment. You might even consider adding a great homily about receiving Holy Communion in a state of grace and well disposed, etc., or about confession, or the reality of Hell, or something else to catechize the average uninformed Catholic sitting in your Church pew. I really think that is the best of both worlds: you get singing while you maintain a beautiful, reverent liturgy. Thanks Father for dedicating your life to Christ and His Church!

P.S. You might even add in some ad orientem * Holy Masses so that the congregation isn't watching your every move. :D :D :D <---- The top part was serious! But really, you should consider *ad orientem! Thanks!


#14

[quote="Elizium23, post:12, topic:329858"]

Unfortunately, 95% of the world considers a "sung Mass" to mean that you slap a four-hymn sandwich on an OF Low Mass and consider it done.

[/quote]

YES! :thumbsup: or maybe we should be :banghead: .


#15

I don't really notice singing that goes on too long or short. I usually just notice good or bad singing (the bad singing being mostly my own), but I'm not much of a "music fan." I tend to go to the Mass that has friendly people in the pews.


#16

I attended a church where the priest seemed to be going for the "let's get these folks in an out as quick as possible" Mass. I called it the drive-through Mass and did not like it one little bit!

I attend a parish now with a full choir and thought-provoking homilies. I believe that feeding the spirit requires us to step out of the ordinary world at least once a week and participate in sacred, timeless, space.


#17

[quote="FrStevenJones, post:1, topic:329858"]
I am curious to know the view of the "people in the pews", about this question. I often hear that a priest who has a "short Mass" on Sunday (maybe only 45 minutes long!) gets higher attendance. These Masses cut out singing to get the length down. So, are Catholics more interested in a "short" Mass rather than a Mass with a considerable amount of singing? That seems to be the "vote" of the marketplace, since the "short" Masses get quite popular. Why are short ( Sunday) Masses so popular? Would you personally rather have a short Mass, or a sung Mass, please also say why!

[/quote]

we don't have a 'short' Mass. The early morning Mass is a 'low' Mass, no choir singing. But it doesn't have as many people attend as the late morning Mass which has a choir. Personally I like the music but then, I don't have a time issue with Mass. I love every minute I am there. Our priest is great and gives the best sermons I've ever heard. He doesn't talk long but it is very inspiring and profound.


#18

[quote="FrStevenJones, post:7, topic:329858"]
Prayer for prayer, singing adds time. So if your Gloria was said rather than sung, and the 3 hymns replaced by a said antiphon, Mass would be maybe 5 minutes shorter. Of course I want the maximum number of people to come to Mass. I also want it -- more importantly-- to be as prayerful as possible. So I'm intrigued when cutting singing seems to make the Mass shorter, more prayerful, and attract more parishioners. So I'm trying to understand this -- that's why I'm asking.

[/quote]

Gotcha! :) So for me, and in my experiences, the lengthening of mass by singing does not effect mass attendance. That the presence of a visiting missionary or the inclusion of an event - if known in advance - will reduce the number of people attending that mass is however, a given in our area. :)


#19

[quote="marimagi, post:16, topic:329858"]
I attend a parish now with a full choir and thought-provoking homilies. I believe that feeding the spirit requires us to step out of the ordinary world at least once a week and participate in sacred, timeless, space.

[/quote]

I absolutely agree. Especially in today's world.


#20

Personally I prefer Masses with a minimal amount of singing.

Sometimes it seems that there is never a 'gap' where you can quietly reflect, and at some Masses it's as if silence is seen as something that needs to be filled with music. I prefer to have just 3 hymns at Mass (not 4) and the only other thing to be sung ought to be the Psalms. I don't like when prayers are put to music, I find it harder to concentrate when they are.

And if a non-sung mass is shorter, I can't see the harm in that. A longer Mass does not mean that it's a better Mass. And if a by-product of this is that people get home a bit earlier, then why not?


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