Singing the mass

At my parish, we used to “say” our responses in the morning masses, but “sing” them at the 5:15 pm mass. We recently switched back to 9 am for scheduling reasons and they are singing it there now too. We all know that Catholics aren’t the best singers and so participation is limited. We also just got a new Vietnamese priest who can’t sing worth a flip (not being rude, just calling it like I hear it!) It’s so bad that people around me were giggling and I kind of had to stifle a smirk of my own. All of this singing (or lack of from the congregation) seems to take away from the mass. Our Pastor has an amazing singing voice so I’m sure he prefers it this way. Should I mention it to him or just leave it alone? Is there anything we as a parish can do to get more people to participate in this singing version?

Thankfully, everyone’s singing is pleasing to God.
People are much more critical.

I would not bring it to your pastor. He has decided the parts should be sung, therefore they should be sung. What you can do as a parishioner is be an example. If others are allowing a poor singing voice distract them from the beauty of the Mass, then that is on them. Be better than that within yourself. Worship as fully as you know how, and others will follow suit.

It is said; He who sings, prays twice.

From someone who has a very inadequate singing voice, thank you!:smiley:

Just sing. Its not a big deal.

Ask a classroom full of preschoolers, “Who can sing?” and they will all raise their hands. Ask those same people 30 years later if they can sing and they will tell you they can’t. :shrug:

Everyone else thinks their voice stinks too. If all of us stunk up the joint at the same time then no one would know who is good and who is bad. Even the national anthem sounds good when 50,000 baseball fans or 100,000 soccer fans with horrible voices belt it out.

If it helps in Church then put your sunglasses on and pretend no one is watching you like when you sing in the car. Just sing.


Actually I’ve found that when soloists sing the national anthem, there is a tendency to keep quiet and just let him or her sing it. It was a little different when it was just the organ or band.

At Blackhawk hockey games, the crowd just shouts and yells during the singing of the anthem. I’m sure you wouldn’t want that in church.

SO true!!

Is there anything we as a parish can do to get more people to participate in this singing version?

Truth and beauty. Sing something beautiful with great Catholic words.

I’m the men’s schola director (not the overall choir director) at our parish (we’re an extraordinary form parish), and we sing a lot (Palestrina, Victoria, Chant, etc.) When we sing a chant Mass, the congregation sings with us, and of course, the congregation sings the processional and recessional hymns before and after Mass. Sometimes there seems to be a contention between musical purity and participation. I think the key is to look at music participation from a different perspective. There is the participation of when the congregation sings, and it has it’s purpose, but there is also another participation, and that involves lifting up the soul in prayer. Good sacred music should make it easier for the congregation to pray. If it does, then the congregation is also participating in the music…or rather, the choir is participating in the congregation’s prayers.

The Church has an enormous treasury of absolutely gorgeous music to pray by, and unfortunately, many today rarely come in contact with it, especially at Mass.

Alright…this Sunday I am going to sing my heart out! I might be the only one in the whole church singing, but at least God will hear me. I’ll tell them Catholic Answers made me do it. :thumbsup:


Hi Abundant,
Sometimes the acoustics of your church building inhibit or encourage people’s singing as well. Well the room is “dead” (lots of carpet, relatively low ceilings, amplification seems necssary), it feels like you can only hear your own voice. When the room is more “live” (a-hem, like churches used to be built - - hard-surface flooring, high ceilings), then it sounds like there is more sound being produced around you.
The Church actually want the Mass to be sung - - your priest is to be commended! He’s not supposed to sound like American Idol, either. It’s supposed to sound like chant. Just encourage him - - it sounds like he’s doing awesome!!! Mayne people would be a teensy bit envious of your parish experience!

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