The Armchair Liturgist: Announcing Psalmody

I recently fielded a request from one of the parish pianists:

(One) parishioner (as others have in the past) wondered why we don’t announce the (hymnal) page number for the Psalm of the day. She feels that people would be better able to participate with this liturgy detail, especially if they are unfamiliar with the Psalm response, and especially if they have hearing problems. I know this question has been asked before, and there is probably a liturgical reason for not doing it, but thought it was definitely worth reintroducing the idea.

We also utilize psalmody for Communion fairly regularly. One of the music directors prefers to do it “like a psalm,” with no announcement, especially if it is the first piece of music programmed for the Communion procession.

When I field requests like this, it is a good opportunity to reflect on our practice and remind ourselves about good liturgical principles. In this instance, how does one balance the movement from reading to psalm to reading to acclamation to reading? I’ll tell you my present parish does not have a hymn board, but it seems to be always up for discussion–but never with any action taken.

But that’s beside the point. Sit in the purple chair and render judgment. How would you handle communicating where to find the psalm refrain, be it for after the first reading, during Communion, or as a Mass proper?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to The Armchair Liturgist: Announcing Psalmody

  1. Liam says:

    Hymn board or program is basic hospitality IMO, FWIW. Verbal announcements are not necessary if the song leader can merely lift the hymnal/missalette or program where the resource is found and if the space is such that the song leader is readily visible to the congregation as a whole. Verbal announcements, to the extent needed, should be stripped of unnecessary decorative verbiage; just the necessary information, ma’am.

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