Archive | 2:41 am

Why Football Fans Can Sing . . . And Catholics Still Can’t

28 Dec

liturgical musicI need to begin this post on liturgical music with the disclaimer that I’m neither a liturgist nor a musician. My perspective is that of someone who loves the Mass and who can usually carry a tune.

In addition, I want to focus on a very narrow aspect of liturgical music–namely, the selection of hymns for Sunday and Holy Day Masses. To understand my concern, bear with me as I draw a comparison with the music at a professional sports event.

Has anyone ever been to a game where to get the fans fired up they continually play songs that nobody knows (or likes)? Or where they played loud music or otherwise elicited noise while the home team had the ball? (For those of you who might not know, the idea is to be quiet when your team has the ball, so the other offensive players can hear the quarterback better.) Or has anyone been to a baseball game in which they substituted a new song for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for the seventh inning stretch?

The answer to these and other such questions is “definitely not.” In other words, professional sports teams recognize the importance of playing the right music at the right time to help create the appropriate environment for cheering on the home team. It’s not rocket science, and any team organist not on board with that concept will soon be looking for other work.

For some reason, though, this concept is lost on many parishes that I’ve visited over the years. So many times I’ve gone to Mass absolutely ready to worship–and sing!–only to experience music selections that are so foreign to me (if not banal or repulsive) that it’s more of an annoyance or distraction than an aid to prayer. Does it have to be that way? Continue reading