Making time for prayer before Mass

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BobHayes
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Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by BobHayes » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:51 pm

Owing to the plethora of roles many of we lay faithful undertake - musicians; readers; servers; distributors of prayer cards / hymn books / newsletters; helpers of the infirm; greeters of the faithful and newcomers, preparing the parish hall etc. - we can all become very busy, even overwhelmed, with practical concerns to the exclusion of prayerful preparation for the Mass.

I wonder what others, with such responsibilities or functions, do to prepare for Mass in a prayerful and dignified manner. I must admit that I find myself praying as I walk to church - just in case it all gets 'too busy' to pray in the time before Mass begins. I does not seem ideal and I wonder if people have other ways of preparing for the celebration of Mass. All suggestions and comments would be welcome.
Bob

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keitha
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by keitha » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:17 pm

I must say that this has bothered me for a long time. One thing that really upset me over the years has been that we have a music group in the parish that has insisted on having a 'run-through' for the Good Friday passion liturgy when I have wanted 5 minutes of prayerful silence in the church. I have recently been appointed to another parish and I think we have cracked it - largely by having a well-organised parish priest. Our main sung mass is at 11.15am. The choir is in place at 10.45 to remind itself and the cantors of the Entrance and Communion Antiphons, Responsorial Psalm & Gospel Acclamation and anything that is new. We always finish at 11.05 for ten minutes of calm prayerfulness. The MC and servers follow the same routine - and it works!
Keith Ainsworth

John Ainslie
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by John Ainslie » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:36 pm

Hear, hear!

A lot depends on the acoustics of the church, the floor surfaces, the noisiness of the narthex/porch and the soundproofness of the doors into the church, the social habits of the folk and a thousand other local circumstances. Some people might aver that reverently silent churches are unfriendly ones!

I have often speculated about how a relative silence before Mass might be achieved. A church near me begins its 6 pm Mass by ringing the church bell for the Angelus. That is quite an effective quietener. What about ringing the sacring bell distinctively three minutes before Mass begins, as well as when the priest and servers enter? Time for a quiet organ prelude to the opening hymn?

JW
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by JW » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:17 pm

It is difficult to strike a good balance between our celebration of God's presence at Mass and our celebration of God's presence in community. In the 50's we tended to ignore the community at Mass, people were never made welcome. Now perhaps the tendency is too far the other way?

At our main Mass, we have recently started to rehearse music with the cantor and congregation 10 minutes before Mass - today it was the psalm response and Eucharistic acclamations. Then, a few minutes before Mass starts, the cantor asks the congregation to prepare for Mass quietly - similar to Bob's church? For all other Masses (Sunday and weekday), the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for an hour previously.

I do sometimes play an organ prelude - but not in Lent!
JW

promusica
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by promusica » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:41 pm

I'm amazed at the above comments about rehearsing at least ten minutes before mass begins. My experience in working as a music minister in Ireland is that there are only a handful of people in church at this stage. The church starts to fill up around three minutes beforehand. There is a noticeable difference between attendance at the Entrance Hymn and at the Gospel Acclamation - sometimes up to a third fuller! So to rehearse any more than three minutes before mass begins means that you'd be rehearsing with maybe fifteen to twenty people. It also means that there is very limited time to go through music - a brief welcome, point out hymn numbers on boards, here's the psalm response of the day, open your hymnbooks at the Entrance Hymn and away we go!

IncenseTom
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by IncenseTom » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:33 pm

I usually arrive at church at 9:00. By the time I have had a quick chat with the Priest, put the hymn boards out, etc I play the organ quietly from around 9:10 and I always make sure I stop at 9:25.
This leaves time for a quick run-through of the psalm and a couple of minutes of silence before the 9:30 start.
Here in the Leeds Diocese we have been asked to pray the Angelus before every Mass during the Year of Faith so that normally starts at 9:28/9 which means that the bell is rung when the Angelus finishes. This can seem slightly rushed at times, especially if our cantor is a tiny bit late in coming to rehearse the psalm.
I do know of parishes where the bell is rung a couple of minutes before Mass to signal silence and then rung a second time for the procession and from what i've heard this also works well.

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gascoynep
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by gascoynep » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:17 pm

I've found that one way to get a prayerful quiet before mass starts is to play something very softly - almost too quiet to hear (on mandolin or guitar in this case) . This seems to discourage the causal chatting that we get otherwise. As regards a practise with the people before mass - I find as a previous poster mentioned, most of the congregation gets to their seats after the gloria! (Outside lent of course!)

Hare
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by Hare » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:16 pm

Is it really necessary to rehearse the psalm before every mass? Don't think we've ever done that. If people are used to a sung psalm, they will get used to listening to the play-over, then the cantor, and then join in surely?

organist
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by organist » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:38 pm

Hare is right in some circumstances. The idea of the Angelus before Mass does not appeal at all. Surely exposing the Blessed Sacrament is more eucharistic? I always try to play a suitable organ prelude to match the season so In Eastertide it can be loud and joyful. I have a nice prelude especially for Christmas Day which catches that feeling of excitement which children always have at that time. :D

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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by nazard » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:11 am

gascoynep wrote:I've found that one way to get a prayerful quiet before mass starts is to play something very softly - almost too quiet to hear (on mandolin or guitar in this case) . This seems to discourage the causal chatting that we get otherwise. As regards a practise with the people before mass - I find as a previous poster mentioned, most of the congregation gets to their seats after the gloria! (Outside lent of course!)


I try to do much the same thing, but not always successfully. Last week I was playing a quiet organ prelude (by G A Merkel) when two basses wondered over to the electronic keyboard which is permanently installed and connected to the PA, switched it on and started practising one of their parts. This was with less than two minutes to go. The keyboard was far louder than the organ, and being one fingered in the jerkiest staccato imaginable. Any sense of prayerful quiet was well and truely lost.

nazard
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by nazard » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:16 am

organist wrote:Hare is right in some circumstances. The idea of the Angelus before Mass does not appeal at all. Surely exposing the Blessed Sacrament is more eucharistic? I always try to play a suitable organ prelude to match the season so In Eastertide it can be loud and joyful. I have a nice prelude especially for Christmas Day which catches that feeling of excitement which children always have at that time. :D


Why the angelus? Surely Lauds or Terce before a morning mass and Nonnes or Vespers before an evening mass would be more appropriate?

John Ainslie
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by John Ainslie » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:36 am

Eucharistic adoration, being a type of reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, is a prolongation of the eucharistic presence established at Mass. It is therefore preferable to hold it after Mass than before, and even better with a host consecrated at that Mass. This also preserves the gradual revelation of God's presence in the liturgy: first through his gathered people, then in the person of the priest, then in his Word, then in his Sacrament.

organist
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by organist » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:30 am

Quite so John. Interesting point for organists - should one play a postlude if Eucharistic adoration follows straight after Mass? I would have said No but there might be circumstances when it would be suitable?

BobHayes
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by BobHayes » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:30 pm

Many thanks for the comments and suggestions. :)
Bob

alan29
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Re: Making time for prayer before Mass

Post by alan29 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:20 pm

At ours the PP has called for a couple of minutes silence just before Mass. It worked at first, but has lapsed a bit of late.
Postludes etc - we have our coffee etc at the back of church after the main Sunday Mass. I wonder at what stage the "Ite" would be appropriate ...... though we continue to have a recessional hymn. Does that count as a double fault?

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