While at Mass today I was thinking about how many people learned to sing at church. Now, I am not talking about singing well, but at least where you can somewhat read the music for the Hymns and follow along, knowing about how long to hold a note or whether you need to sing higher or lower.

Okay, show of hands, how many of you actually sing along? Hmm. Well I do, and I actually remember some of the words without looking at the book. I’ve been reading a lot lately about Vatican II and the changes which came to the Mass. One of these changes I remember was the addition of guitar players and other assorted musicians on the alter playing songs like “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore” and other non-traditional music.

My parish in Sturbridge, MA

Looking back now, and especially with the understanding I now have of the Mass, I realize that this really detracted from the solemnity of the Mass. While Mass is a celebration, it isn’t party. We don’t need things which detract from the reason we are there.

In my parish, we usually have a pianist, which is okay, but I have to admit there have been times when I have been tempted to slip her a twenty to do the responsorial psalm with a honky tonk beat.