How Long?

Discussion here at PrayTell about the length of an entrance song. I’m more interested in the exit phenomenon. One commenter mentioned the 90-minute spacing between Mass starts, and abbreviated songs allow musicians to have mercy on people stuck in two-way parking lots. I think an hour-and-a-half is cray-cray. I deal with 105 minutes and it’s not good. Two hours is a good minimum, but that’s fodder for another post.

A deacon commenter there noted that he and his pastor wait until the last verse of the hymn before exiting. In my parish, the clergy seem stuck on two, but I usually keeping it going anyway. I can’t remember the song, but recently, we stopped after two, and I got the impression the people wanted more.

We did this song this past weekend. And at that tempo, not the artist’s recorded one. Still, the clergy exit at verse 2. We did three verses minimum, and four at two other Masses. The spirit and congregational singing were high at the mid-morning liturgy, so we went with all five there.

Curious thing I’ve noted: applause at the end of Mass is common but not routine. When I choose to extend the final song, people applaud less, and far less frequently. I don’t have a hang-up on clapping like Pope Benedict and my reform2 colleagues. I don’t welcome it or acknowledge it, or even chide people when they do it. It’s just there. Like the available verses of a hymn or song.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to How Long?

  1. Liam says:

    In the urban and suburban parts of the northeastern US, for parishes that can still schedule 3+ Sunday morning Masses, 90 minutes is the most typical spacing (7:30-9-10:30 – perhaps a 12 noon in addition; 8-9:30-11; 9-10:30-noon) – Mass times on the quarter hour tend to be at places packing in more Masses…. (Music for the first Mass of Sunday morning may, however, be limited to none – something that can be a welcome to find when one is trying to dodge worse.)

    (Different logistical considerations obtain in pastoral collaboratives where the pastor has to go from bee to bee to bee, as it were.)

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