Praise and worship music for Mass?

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I just wanted to know what your opinions were on guitar masses and praise and worship music? Personally, I like more traditional hymns and the organ. I’ve never been to a mass with gregorian chant, but I’m sure it would be beautiful 🙂

So what are your opinions?
“So what are your opinions [of them]?”


I have yet to hear guitar music that was as appropriate, reverent, and uplifting as music from an organ or “music” from plainchant.

I had that opinion when I was under 20, and now I have it when I am over 50.
Karl Keating said:
“So what are your opinions [of them]?”


Agree. My brother-in-law has a descriptive term that I thought of after I attended my first “guitar” mass:

Pizza and beer, Jesus is here!

I realize that people want to draw young people in, but I just didn’t feel the reverence in the music. On the other hand, there wasn’t much danger in getting lost in the music and missing something either :rolleyes:
Personally, I like more traditional hymns and the organ. I’ve never been to a mass with gregorian chant, but I’m sure it would be beautiful 🙂
I would love to find a parish by me that had gregorian chant also! (Although I wouldn’t be able to sing along!)

I was received into the church last Easter, and without a doubt that was the most beautiful music I have heard of all the masses I attended during RCIA and since. The cantor (is that the right term?) sang a litany which I remember well. Also, we have a number of sisters staying at our parish for (I think) about 2 years, and they participate in the music of the mass. They sing beautiful acapella (sp?) hymns. They even use a guitar (gasp!) but it is not like the “guitar” mass I attended. The sisters used a single acoustic guitar in the context of some hymns in Spanish (I believe they are visiting from Mexico or New Mexico).

God bless,

I don’t see the problem with guitars in Mass. The music can be beautiful & prayerfull. It does become a problem however; when the music from any source becomes showmanship.

I attend Masses with Polka music from time to time also and find it to be as performed where I attend to be very prayerfull & respectfull.

Why does the music at Mass need to be limited to organ music?
I know there are some good intentions that go into a guitar mass, like wanting to include the younger crowd, and how some people just think its a preference- you either like praise and worship or you don’t. I’m 21, I’m consider myself pretty young… and it has never appealed to me. Guitar/Praise and worship masses just don’t seem reverent enough. It’s more of a performance. Mass doesn’t even seem like mass… it feels and sounds more like a show.

The worst I have ever seen was when I went to see a Jason Evert chastity talk in Houston. This wasn’t mass; mass just finished. There was a full on rock band playing inside the church - drums, electric guitars, background singers, the works… I could not believe my eyes as I watched what was allowed to go on inside the church! People weren’t genuflecting or showing any reverence to the tabernacle behind the altar… it was like one huge rock concert! There was all this commotion going on as a lady was trying to seat all of the younger kids filling into the church… so there were background singers, a woman talking over a microphone trying to seat kids, and drums and guitars throughout the entire church. So much sound inside a church was maddening.

I enjoyed the conference, however. Jason gave a great talk on chastity and I enjoyed it a lot. The church, however, needed to change a lot of things that were allowed to happen inside what is supposed to be the house of God.

Faithfully teaching the Catholic faith to younger kids is a much more better way to include them more in the Mass… not through rock shows or guitar masses.
Our church has no organ, so that isn’t an option. We almost always have at least one guitar and the piano, and when it is done tastefully there is no issue of “rock concerts”. We also have a congregation that is very vocal, which I find much more appealing than a beautiful organ and one singer with the congregation silent or barely joining in.

My old parish had guitar, but it was not electric & the music was traditional hymns, not praise & worship music or folky. The music minister is classically trained & I thought it was absolutely reverent & lovely.

Maybe part of the reason for the real feeling of reverence is that the guitar was part of the Sunday evening Mass & the only one in the county, which generally attracted a more dedicated group of lay people. Many of whom drove a bit to get there, because they worked during the day. So there was a guitar, but noone chatting loudly or planning where to go for brunch afterward. We still attend occasionally because of our non-traditional schedules.
Two of our Sunday masses are with guitars and very “hip” music that encompasses songs like “Let it Be” by the Beatles. They are in front of the congregation like a concert.
But be careful what you ask for. The other two masses are an organ and one singer. The organist is elderly and plays off key and faster than the operatic type male singer wants to sing. The music he chooses are mostly unknown to anyone in the parish and since I am mid 50’s, I thought I’d heard it all. He has a very poor and irritating voice. The organist, during solos, plays music that I have only heard to accompany scary silent films. It is not Catholic or religious music. It is not gregorian, but dark and gothic.
I have no musical ability and I try to sing along. This “music” literally ruins mass and is so distracting that I feel bad when I leave church for feeling so irritated. If I had an ounce of talent, I would volunteer. As it is, I can only pray that these folks get better or someone who can sing/play steps forward. I would prefer simple songs and music that encourage those of us in the pews to join in and praise God. Any suggestions?
I just wanted to know what your opinions were on guitar masses and praise and worship music? Personally, I like more traditional hymns and the organ. I’ve never been to a mass with gregorian chant, but I’m sure it would be beautiful 🙂

So what are your opinions?
My family and I are new to our parish. We’ve moved around a lot and seen just about everything. This parish, St. Ann’s (Gulf Breeze, FL) is quite modern, and I would say quite well off financially. The don’t have an organ, but there’s a keyboardist at every mass, and a young and very professional music director who also plays the guitar. They also usually have a number of other instruments including violin and viola. While the guitar has become the lowest common denominator in seemingly every parish we’ve been a part of, I am personally not very fond of guitar music…maybe it’s the flashbacks of Sister Maureen up front singing the 60’s folk songs when I was a kid in parochial school. Our music director,and perhaps Monsignor and a really great young priest, seem to be giving it everything they’ve got, but what I like the best is that they’ve started to bring in a lot more traditional stuff (we sang Tantum Ergo in procession on Good Friday!), and some modern but tasteful songs where the english and traditional Latin words are blended (a very nice Agnus Dei!). My favorite church music is chant. I can still remember being about 5 years old and hearing a Gregorian Schola. Didn’t have a clue what they were saying, but it just blew me away. There is a local parish with an indult mass once a month that I try to get to when I can (St Stephen’s). They’ve got chant every Sunday at their high mass, and, naturally also at their Latin mass.
I have some mixed feelings about praise and worship music at Mass. For starters, I prefer it to the self-congratulatory “Gather Us In” or “One Bread, One Body.” If the proper songs are chosen, then Our Lord is being praised.

However, much of it also lacks depth. It appears to be emotional without much other substance behind it. Then again, if there is substance behind it, why be afraid of the emotion? The danger of turning the Mass into a rock concert where no one pays attention to the presence of the Lord exists. However, I’ve also seen a praise and worship service done in the context of a Holy Hour that was done fairly well. It began and ended in the traditional way found in many missalettes in the average pew.

When I went to the Defending the Faith conference in Steubenville, this was primarily what they played. It wasn’t so bad. They did mix in some traditional songs.

Ok, so I’m rambling, but thanks for bearing with me.
I have problems with several-

“I the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry…”

Pantheistic? Paranoid? (calling in the night?)Word association pretending to be poetry.

Very old one that is downright presumptuous:

O Bread of Heaven
Beneath This Veil…

Last verse:

For how can He deny me Heaven
Who here on Earth Himself hath given ?

I have grave difficulty with music that has clearly arisen from the charismatic context or this awful business which I hope never infects the Catholic mass although there are signs that it happens in young people’s festivals.It is slanting your mode when you sing to either Christ or His Mother so that you might be addressing a sexual partner.Of course it’s gravely disrespectful and indecent in Mary’s case, but some think they have the Song Of Solomon to guide them.

Top of the list here would be a horrifying lyric

My Jesus, my comfort (makes not the right sense, no matter how you sing it)

Old fashioned ideas?

That one about the heart of Rome only reminds me of “Three Coins in a Fountain” and the hymns sung around the Walsingham shrine in England are daft as a priest’s aspergum.

They sing one to "Danny Boy " “I cannot tell why He whom angels worship…”

and right at the bottom the worst choice of all, when they rewrote John Denver’s “Annie’s Song”

LORD Jesus you love me
And give me your Spirit…
Mass Chants are very easy to learn. I am certain that this is one of the reasons that Gregorian Chant caught on and spread throughout the Church. My two year-old son can sing the Kyrie from the Missa de Angelis, as well as the Asperges Me and the Tantum Ergo. Sometimes he takes a stab at singing the Creed (Credo III), but that’s a lot for a little boy. 😉 So don’t feel like you can’t sing along if you have Chant at your parish. You will pick it up very quickly. I frankly think it’s easier to sing than some of the “mod” hymns that have replaced it.
Although this is yet another of the liturgical abuses so often discussed in this new and wonderful forum, I consider these “guitar” masses and their like to be somewhat more insidious. They’ve crept into acceptance slowly but surely. I recently went to a Sunday evening mass at a large, affluent, local parish. It was called the “Life-Teen” service. The band, as it were, was a complete rock group with back-up singers and electric instruments…it was irreverent at best. My wife and I were very dissappointed. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass cannot be lessened despite surroundings and distractions. However, I found this situation very odd and uncomfortable. It saddened me. Lest I be thought an old fogie…let me say that I’m 36 years old. I’ve grown up with the Church and I’ve witnessed this slow but steady creep of “progressive” music into otherwise orthodox parishes. I have to say, I don’t like it at all.
What are you calling Praise and Worship music? The Evangelical church my husband attends sings a lot of that kind of music, but it might not be the same thing for you.

**I love traditional Catholic music, plus the music of David Haas, Marty Haugen, Jim Cowan and others. Their music is often sung with an quitar/piano accompiment, but is not what I would call Praise and Worship music at all. **
Ah, yes. the Life Teen Mass. I avoid them like the plague. My wife and I refer to it as the “Hootenany Mass”.

As far as praise and worship music is concerned, the songs tend to be spiritual, but innapropriate to the Liturgy. The songs make you “feel good” while the best hymns actually teach you something about the Faith.
I have heard guitar masses that were beautiful and reverent and well done. I don’t think there is anything wrong with up tempo powerful songs at mass - they are best done as the gathering song or at the end. I have also been to some masses where the organ music was very badly done. I find that to be very distracting. Mr. Keating, I respectfully disagree that guitar masses cannot be done well. But the biggest problem lies in the vast shortage of competent organists. And too, not everyone in the world is going to have an appreciation or even knowledge of chant or organ music. I am thinking of remote villages in Mexico or Africa - are you saying their masses cannot be as reverent because they play guitars or drums or other native instruments? What is your thinking on mariachi bands which are a huge part of Hispanic masses in some places? To quote the GIRM - “Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with due consideration for the culture of the people and abilities of each liturgical assembly.”
Also, it says “All other things being equal, Gregorian chant holds pride of place because it is proper to the Roman Liturgy. * Other types of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful.”* Now I would think if the lyrics are appropriate that some praise and worship music would certainly “foster the participation of the faithful” especially if one was at a mass attended by a lot of teens.
What is your thinking on mariachi bands which are a huge part of Hispanic masses in some places? .
I think mariachi bands in Mass are an abomination. No place have they in the liturgy. Just because a certain culture insists on imposing its music in the mass doesn’t mean it is right.

I know Hispanic priests that view it the same way… they are actually embarrassed of it.
An abomination?!? Wow, awfully strong, don’t you think? Exactly why, because of the trumpets or guitars or what? I am sure there are some that are flashy and showy and not appropriate for mass but I have seen some beautiful Mariachi masses. My family is from San Antonio. I am sure that there are Hispanic priests who don’t like them but that is not necessarily an argument against them any more than you would think it was a good argument for them if I said I know Hispanic priests who love mariachi bands. Again, go back to my post before - I quoted GIRM which says “Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with* due consideration for the culture of the people * and abilities of each liturgical assembly.” That would contradict your statement “Just because a certain culture insists on imposing its music in the mass doesn’t mean it is right.” The GIRM says people’s culture should be given “due consideration” even if it is a culture that you do not have an appreciation for.
LOL, another hotbutton issue! LOL. Aren’t y’all glad that we have the leisure time to sit on our fat fannies and split hairs endlessly? This is so much fun. I’m sure glad I don’t live in Somalia or some other nasty place where people have REAl worries…
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