Singing The Last Song

A parishioner approached me Saturday night, upset. Some preaching was needed from the pulpit, I was told. The message? People should stay to sing all of the last song.

My friend said the departure of people should coincide with the end of the song, not the departure of the priest.

Rubric hounds will doubtless quote me: the Mass ends with the dismissal words of the clergy. And by the book, they are right. They would also have to concede that Mass doesn’t begin with their quiet time (or their hope for more quiet) as people gather before the entrance music.

One of my choir singers did mention the “official” end of Mass. From there, I tried to acknowledge the upset, but I also said I don’t share it. Perhaps I did many years ago when I moved from a parish where all the verses of organ hymns and contemporary songs were sung by people and priest at the end of Mass. The expectation in my first parish of employment was the Catholic Two. Which I began to buck from day one.

In my present parish, two verses at the end are an exception to the rule. Many people stay and sing. And some leave even before the Communion procession is over. I think one can get bothered by it. It’s just not my choice.

I hope my friend heard I was not bothered by “rudeness.” I hope there’s a realization that no Christian, not even the ones who come early and leave late, is perfected yet. We all have room to grow and allow God to complete the work begun in us. If we’re praying before and leaving after the final song, there’s doubtless some other foible to work on.

As for me, I do feel gratified that a parishioner took time to affirm a longer song at the end of Mass. I’ll keep it up. Hopefully you readers can do it too.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Liturgy, Music. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Singing The Last Song

  1. We sing all the verses of the hymn that I’ve put in the worship aid (usually all that are included in standard hymnals or the few more that are included in the Lumen Christi Hymnal). If it’s something familiar a good amount of people will stay, something less familiar then only the ones who really want to stay do. It doesn’t bother me either way. One coworker told me she sings as she walks out of church and thinks of it as being her recessional hymn too. I’m fine with all of it.

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