I was out of town and attended a large CC. The choir was seated behind the Alter and in front of the Tabernacle during the Mass. Also, they did not kneel once during the Mass. Instead they stood during the part that they should kneel. Also, a nun delivered the homely while the Priest remained seated. Didn’t seem right to me although I’m a new convert.
It is perfectly acceptable for the choir to stand during the consecration, because they are fulfilling a ministry that generally involves standing at a microphone with a music stand and it is impractical to kneel when you have to stand up every few minutes to sing a Mass part. In this case, they should make a profound bow whenever the priest celebrant makes a genuflection.
It is improper for nuns, or any member of the laity, to give homilies.
I know it’s not my judgment to make, but I would disagree that it’s impractical for the choir to kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer.
We’re kneeling, and we get up once, whereas they’re kneeling, and they get up twice. What’s so impractical about it? Kkneeling does not interrupt their ministry at the Mass, as if they were the hired musical performers for an event and they had to “take a knee” while the presenter at the event says a few words to the audience.
With the exception of certain musicians (like an organist), they don’t need to stand to sing – we don’t need to stand to sing the Memorial Acclamation or the Amen.
Of all the parts of the Mass which are sung, do these two – the Acclamation and the Amen – really require microphone amplification of the choir? And even if they do, is it impossible for the microphones to catch their voices from a kneeling position?
It would be wonderful if choirs which stood did all make a profound bow when the priest genuflects, but liturgical instruction is so poor that I doubt they know about it.
No, I meant the entire congregation stood. Never once did we kneel during the Mass.
I sing in a small men’s choir, and we do only Gregorian chant. We rotate around various churches. Sometimes we’re seated in pews in an area set aside for the choir, and that have kneelers, if so we kneel. If not we stand through the consecration. In our part of the world, it is customary to kneel at consecration, but stand at the memorial acclamation and amen. Some of our group are fairly elderly, and expecting them to go down all the way to a hard floor (and then get up again) is asking a bit much.
I know many older monks do so but they have their choir stall to help propel themselves back up
So for us bowing is a more appropriate gesture.
It is one of these things where the “spirit” matters more than the “letter”, and where as we get older we need to face our infirmities with humility and realize that we can’t always be perfect in our observances because of them.
Yes, in those circumstances it is understandable and certainly permissible.
Homily by a nun: VERY BAD.
Choir behind the altar: Let the ranting begin…
The choir should not be behind the altar. They should not be in the sanctuary. They should be in the loft, or at least to the side or in the back. Putting them in plain sight gives the impression that they are preforming. Well guess what: they aren’t.
I do not mean to sound uncharitable, but this is a real problem.
The original question answered:
In the choir at my parish, almost non of them kneel, but a) there isn’t really isn’t space to kneel (small loft), and b) most of the choir members are older. Please note that the only reason I know this is because I serve, so it is easy to see the choir. I would also like to add that my parish is very traditional, so I’m sure this is fine.
It isn’t really distracting for them to stand because they are in the loft, so no one can really see them. If they can kneel, they should. If not, I think that’s fine.
If the proper place for the choir is in a loft, then how do you explain a large majority of the churches and cathedrals in Europe where the choir is behind the altar. Granted they may not be behind the High altar but they have been placed in in the sanctuary for centuries.
Quite so. As is the case in a monastery, where the choir is where the stalls are and where all monks, ordained or not, sit, and sing, during the Mass and the Divine Office.
We forget that in the EF, the entire Mass was played out in the sanctuary, with the choir, the acolytes and the priest, all of whom were involved in chanting their part of the Mass: the Propers and Ordinary by the Choir with parts of the Ordinary intoned by the priest, and the responses by the acolytes.
The faithful in the nave generally got left out of it until the dialog Mass came along, and later, the OF.
The “choir” in the great cathedrals isn’t for the choir as a group of lay singers: it is for the Cathedral Chapter when they sing the Office in choro. For example, in S Peter’s, the Sistine Choir is, as I recall, placed off to the side, not in the “choir” nor in the chancel. Granted I haven’t been to every one, but in those cathedrals and oratories with choir stalls that I have visited, I’ve never seen it any other way.
Our choir sings in a fairly large parish church where there is a choir in the sanctuary, and it’s not a modern church, the tabernacle is still in the old high altar (though there’s a newer table altar nearer to the nave; the last parish curate had it moved from the nave back into the sanctuary. He is a younger priest and also did the OF with reverence, following the missal without fail, and was also the only priest I ever heard giving a biting homily on sexuality, but I digress… needless to say he is missed).
This is for the clerical choir. Not the lay choir.
Yes, I know. That was the point.
Thank you for this kind post. I am one of those who can’t kneel on a hard floor and I’m only 53. Most of my older friends would find it impossible and that would mean that they can’t be in the choir.
Part of being in a choir is doing things in unison. It would be unseemingly in my opinion for some members of the choir to do things differently than everyone else. Obviously if someone uses a traditional wheelchair, they will always sit while others stand. But most of the time, a good choir should stand, sit, kneel, open their music, close their music, etc. in unison. It’s just the way things are done.