About this blogger:
Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Connect on Facebook:
Connect on Twitter:
“Sacred music, being a complementary part of the solemn liturgy, participates in the general scope of the liturgy, which is the glory of God and the sanctification and edification of the faithful. It contributes to the decorum and the splendor of the ecclesiastical ceremonies, and since its principal office is to clothe with suitable melody the liturgical text proposed for the understanding of the faithful, its proper aim is to add greater efficacy to the text, in order that through it the faithful may be the more easily moved to devotion and better disposed for the reception of the fruits of grace belonging to the celebration of the most holy mysteries.”
— Pope Saint Pius X

"Father, Not Everyone Can Sing"
published 26 May 2013 by Fr. David Friel

EOPLE SAY ALL KINDS OF THINGS to priests, especially after Mass. We get brought up to date on hospital stays & illnesses, graduations & upcoming travels. We hear confessions & complaints, compliments & concerns. We meet newcomers & visitors, and folks tell us about the broken kneeler in the eighth pew (Blessed Mother side). We hear if the homily was on target, and we hear if the homily was horrible. Several weeks ago, though, a woman said something I had never been told before. She said to me, “Father, not everyone can sing, you know.”

What she meant didn’t register with me at first. I probably gave her a quizzical look, which prompted her to explain further. When I celebrate Mass, she said, we sing so much stuff that the other priests don’t usually sing. Now I understood that she wanted me to stop singing the Collect, Preface, Prayer over the Offerings, Our Father, and Post-Communion, which I chant on every Sunday & solemnity.

I was tempted to say many things. For instance, running through my mind went these thoughts:

1. Yes, actually, everyone who can speak can sing.
2. The liturgy, by its very nature, is meant to be sung.
3. Our personal preferences (both mine & yours) must be subordinate to the preferences of Holy Mother Church.
4. Chanting the orations really doesn’t add any time to the Mass.
5. Singing “On Eagle’s Wings” is much more difficult than responding to the Preface dialogue, and yet I’ve never had anyone complain about the mammoth range & odd intervals of the OCP favorite.

By the time I had interpreted her remark, the lady was already passed me and headed towards the door. I only had about 10 seconds to respond. What would you have said?