Singing the sign of peace

I have an unusual situation here. Due to the H1N1 flu, physical contact expressing the sign of peace has been temporarily suspended until this pandemic passes. This came from the bishop, so we are to bow, wave, show some sort of sign of peace. The question I have is with the priest, who sings a song for this. Granted, he has a nice voice, but is this proper? I feel it isn’t. Comments?

We were taught in a course on liturgy that a song at this moment is improper since it gives too much importance to what is a relatively minor rite, one which may properly be omitted.

How can I, or should I, bring it up to the priest?

Gently. I would pose it in the form of a question, like, “I always thought the sign of peace was just a small gesture, but we seem to be making more of it than that. What is the proper way according to the rubrics?” You’d take a little more time and put a lot more thought into what you actually say, but if you express it as you trying to understand better, and not at all like a criticism, you may get an opportunity to “dialogue” with him about what is and isn’t appropriate.

Most of the people in our parish just shake hands around. The choir (I’m in the choir and cringe at this) make a very big deal out of it and everybody runs around hugging each other. I just stand in my spot and nod, but if someone comes up to hug me, I don’t flinch or repel him or her in any way. I’ve mentioned that I think we’re carried away but nobody else thinks so.

Just curious: What does he sing?

Don’t get me started on our choir.
But anyway, he sings “May the peace of the Lord be with you. And your friends and your family too. Something something something something something something something something, May the peace of the Lord be with you. I give you my peace now etc. etc.” Then there’s more lyrics and it sounds to me like two verses of this. If it has a name, I don’t know what it is. :nope: Many of our parishioners love it. I find it weird and inappropriate.

[quote="Barry_Gabriel, post:5, topic:179084"]
Don't get me started on our choir.
But anyway, he sings "May the peace of the Lord be with you. And your friends and your family too. Something something something something something something something something, May the peace of the Lord be with you. I give you my peace now etc. etc." Then there's more lyrics and it sounds to me like two verses of this. If it has a name, I don't know what it is. :nope: Many of our parishioners love it. I find it weird and inappropriate.

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Not only is this inappropriate, it should not be done.

According to Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[11.] The Mystery of the Eucharist "is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured".27 On the contrary, anyone who acts thus by giving free rein to his own inclinations, even if he is a Priest, injures the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, which ought to be vigorously preserved,28 and becomes responsible for actions that are in no way consistent with the hunger and thirst for the living God that is experienced by the people today. Nor do such actions serve authentic pastoral care or proper liturgical renewal; instead, they deprive Christ's faithful of their patrimony and their heritage. For arbitrary actions are not conducive to true renewal,29 but are detrimental to the right of Christ's faithful to a liturgical celebration that is an expression of the Church's life in accordance with her tradition and discipline. In the end, they introduce elements of distortion and disharmony into the very celebration of the Eucharist, which is oriented in its own lofty way and by its very nature to signifying and wondrously bringing about the communion of divine life and the unity of the People of God.30 The result is uncertainty in matters of doctrine, perplexity and scandal on the part of the People of God, and, almost as a necessary consequence, vigorous opposition, all of which greatly confuse and sadden many of Christ's faithful in this age of ours when Christian life is often particularly difficult on account of the inroads of "secularization" as well.31

Here is what RS specifically states about the Sign of Peace:

[72.] It is appropriate "that each one give the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner". "The Priest may give the sign of peace to the ministers but always remains within the sanctuary, so as not to disturb the celebration. He does likewise if for a just reason he wishes to extend the sign of peace to some few of the faithful". "As regards the sign to be exchanged, the manner is to be established by the Conference of Bishops in accordance with the dispositions and customs of the people", and their acts are subject to the recognitio of the Apostolic See.152

I hope this helps you.

It sounds rather strange and funny. For a little while our priest told us not to shake hands because of the flu, just nod and say “peace be with you”. Then he said go ahead if you want to shake hands. Some still just nod. I don’t care one way or the other. I think it’s a very insignificant custom, but kind of nice to acknowledge who is standing around you. Personally, I’m always glad when we start singing “Lamb of God…”

It may be that major rites always have the option (or sometimes requirement) to be sung, and minor rites never do. I’m a little doubtful, but you know more about liturgy than I do, so maybe you or another person can flesh out that theory. Your explanation may be a good rule of thumb to understand why it isn’t done, but it doesn’t ring true to me as a binding matter of liturgical law. It seems to me that there is either the flexibility to sing a rite, or there is not, and it’s not dependent on how minor or major a rite it may be. I trust benedictgal is correct that this rite doesn’t have that flexibility.

For a while in our parish the youth choir would also sing at this time. The ‘peace song’ would lead directly into the “Lamb of God”. Here’s one version on youtube. It’s not the version we sang – which was likely a Carey Landry setting from his “Young People’s Mass”, whose massacred Gloria we still sing today-- but just as annoying

youtube.com/watch?v=Ei8csgYSU3w

[quote="Digitonomy, post:8, topic:179084"]
It may be that major rites always have the option (or sometimes requirement) to be sung, and minor rites never do. I'm a little doubtful, but you know more about liturgy than I do, so maybe you or another person can flesh out that theory. Your explanation may be a good rule of thumb to understand why it isn't done, but it doesn't ring true to me as a binding matter of liturgical law. It seems to me that there is either the flexibility to sing a rite, or there is not, and it's not dependent on how minor or major a rite it may be. I trust benedictgal is correct that this rite doesn't have that flexibility.

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There is a difference between singing a rite and adding a song to accompany the action.

It would always be proper for the priest so sing "The Peace of the Lord be with you always" and for the assembly to sing "And also with you" in response. Adding a song/hymn to the ritual of shaking hands or bowing (which is supposed to be only with those closest to us and shouldn't really take more than 30 seconds), when the GIRM gives no option for this is not correct. The GIRM tells us hymns/chants are at the entrance, offertory & communion, with a communal hymn after communion if desired.

And no, it makes no mention of a recessional hymn since by that time the Mass is well and truly over and GIRM doesn't concern itself with what happens outside of Mass.

That one is part of my pet peeves: the choir starts the “Lamb of God” while Fr. is still sharing the sign of peace with the altar servers and he has to rush back to the altar to start the fractioning rite which the “Lamb of God” is supposed to accompany. They seem to see the “Lamb of God” as a way to fill in the silence during the sign of peace rather than accompanying a rite.

I’ve never heard the sign of peace being sung. That sounds interesting.

I have always had a problem with the Sign of Peace and the place where it is given in the Mass. Growing up Catholic and attending Catholic schools we were taught that the Consecration was a very holy moment in the Mass and we should all be on our knees adoring God through Holy Communion and until the chalices are placed back into the tabernacle. After Vat. II, I was appaled by the instruction that everyone stand for the Our Father and then give one another the sign of peace which usually winds up with everyone leaning over to reach people on the sides of them and in back of them. In a few Spanish and Portuguese masses I attended the people really get out of control, crossing the aisles and patting each other on the back (it takes at least 5 minutes and it gets very noisy).

I feel that this is not the moment when we should be turning our back on Our Lord, truly present on the altar, and giving our attention to others. I’m sure if Jesus appeared in the flesh people would fall on their knees in adoration which is where they should be and wouldn’t be turning to their neighbor.

I do not take part in the sign of peace, I continue to kneel through the Our Father and the sign of peace which also enables me to be on my knees for the prayer Lamb of God. Why don’t we just have the sign of peace at the beginning of the Mass and get it over with?

Some may think I’m unfriendly but I would rather offend them than offend Christ.

An adult faith does not follow the waves of fashion and the latest novelty.
Pope Benedict XVII like this.

[quote="trish2009, post:13, topic:179084"]
I have always had a problem with the Sign of Peace and the place where it is given in the Mass. Growing up Catholic and attending Catholic schools we were taught that the Consecration was a very holy moment in the Mass and we should all be on our knees adoring God through Holy Communion and until the chalices are placed back into the tabernacle. After Vat. II, I was appaled by the instruction that everyone stand for the Our Father and then give one another the sign of peace which usually winds up with everyone leaning over to reach people on the sides of them and in back of them. In a few Spanish and Portuguese masses I attended the people really get out of control, crossing the aisles and patting each other on the back (it takes at least 5 minutes and it gets very noisy).

I feel that this is not the moment when we should be turning our back on Our Lord, truly present on the altar, and giving our attention to others. I'm sure if Jesus appeared in the flesh people would fall on their knees in adoration which is where they should be and wouldn't be turning to their neighbor.

I do not take part in the sign of peace, I continue to kneel through the Our Father and the sign of peace which also enables me to be on my knees for the prayer Lamb of God. Why don't we just have the sign of peace at the beginning of the Mass and get it over with?

Some may think I'm unfriendly but I would rather offend them than offend Christ.

[/quote]

I don't like the sign of peace getting out of control either. However High Mass in the EF called for standing during the Our Father - at least the missals in the FSSP parish here call for standing at that time. The OF rubrics as they are now call for standing at that point so I think it is best to follow that. That doesn't mean go crazy on the sign of peace though.
I think it's interesting that a lot of places make a big deal of "don't shake hands at the sign of peace because of H1N1" when they could just legitimately omit that.
(Also "don't hold hands at the Our Father" but that's another topic...)

I’m not nearly as annoyed with our choir’s amount of hugging after seeing that.

Yes, so much for “each person offers the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner.”

GIRM 82. The Rite of Peace follows, by which the Church asks for peace and unity for herself and for the whole human family, and the faithful express to each other their ecclesial communion and mutual charity before communicating in the Sacrament.

As for the sign of peace to be given, the manner is to be established by Conferences of Bishops in accordance with the culture and customs of the peoples. It is, however, appropriate that each person offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner.

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