From a priest:
Last Sunday at the end of Mass the musicians chose a song that just wasn’t striking a chord with me. I couldn’t muster the energy required to pretend to be gleeful and sing along. As I looked at the congregation I noticed only a handful were joining in the song. Most looked irritated and bored. I know the GIRM does not require a recessional hymn (90), but and I’m wondering if it’s time for my parish to change our thinking about the “closing” hymn. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
It seems to me that a lot depends on the hymn. Holy God We Praise Thy Name always gets people going. On the other hand, perhaps ACDC’s Highway To Hell isn’t such a good idea. It is nice to have a Marian antiphon appropriate to the season, followed by an organ piece.
What do you think?
I do wonder what would be the ideal recessional hymn for most parishes?
Judging by what I have seen the ideal recessional hymn would:
- Be rather short, perhaps only one stanza, and just long enough for the priest to leave the Sanctuary and get close enough to the Narthex.
- The hymn should not require much breathing to sing properly so that parishioners are not out-of-breath when making the mad-dash to the parking lot.
- Be rather vague about the Catholic faith. You don’t want anybody to be interrupted with the idea of love of God and neighbor as they cut you off in the parking lot.
“Ite, missa est”, now gentleman start your race cars.
Plus isn’t it nice of so many people to leave before the end of Mass to free up congestion? Maybe we should start giving out ribbons for first, second, and third place in the Nave to Narthex sprint.
I remember being “shocked” in one parish where we got to the end of the second stanza of the recessional hymn and everybody was still there. I was even more surprised at the end of four stanzas people were still there.