Why Don't We Sing During Mass

For those of you who have come back to our public Masses on the weekend, you have realized by now that we are not singing. Our communal song is certainly a key element of our Liturgy as Catholics, and it has now become possibly the riskiest part of public worship. Not only is it something we are so used to doing when we gather together, but sung texts are an intentional and vital part of the Mass. For now though, we must make adjustments for the safety of all who come together at Mass. There seem to be articles coming out weekly that tackle this topic. Studies have shown that when singing, our “droplets” can travel double or even triple the distance than from speaking – even with a mask on. Similar issues are found from playing instruments that require breath to create a sound (brass, winds, etc.).

The Diocese of Cleveland has made recommendations based on what is safe, and we are following these suggestions prudently. So, we go back to the drawing board to come up with plans for music that, although cannot be a substitute for our congregational singing, can still enhance our prayer. We will be reciting prayers that we customarily sing (Holy, Holy, Lamb of God, etc.) to maintain the participatory role of the assembly. At Mass, you will hear well known hymns. Perhaps you know some of the words in your head, and you can pray those words without actually singing. New melodies may invoke a spirit within you, and old melodies may begin to tell a new story to you. As we “do” music at Mass a bit differently, I invite you to be open to new ways that music might be a part of your prayer life. I know many of you join me in looking forward to the time when we can sing together as a community, our choir can safely return to the loft, and we can once again be touched by all of the ways music is an integral piece of our communal worship.

Mark Ehrbar
Director of Music

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