No applause

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Last night was our annual Christmas Concert. The choir and the assembly did a marvelous job. It was a evening of readings and carols. It was a delightful and prayerful evening. My favorite moment was when the choir sang the Victoria "Ave Maria." The Bethlehem reading from Micah was read by a first grader. It was a wonderful Advent evening and after the closing hymn there was a restful silence in the church. It clearly had not been entertainment and applause would have broken the effect. Outside the people were animated, delighted and complimented the choir.

This was a parish that ended every mass with applause. The movement from Nashville to Rome is not complete. There are still some who long for the flesh pots of Egypt. There is still a smattering of applause after Mass on Sunday, but we are doing our best to discourage it. It is difficult work, but I want this to be Sacred Space again.

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The Victoria Ave is my personal favorite of all the Ave Maria's I've heard and/or played and/or sung and/or conducted. It's an absolutely gorgeous motet.

Doesn't it seem weird that there's no applause at the concert, but you still get some at Mass? My predecessor used to love the applause at Mass. I prefer not to have it. We're here to pray, not be entertained, after all.

Best of luck Father.

BTW, our concert is on the 28th. I'll keep y'all posted via my blog.


We have applause after the Masses - and it drives me nuts. When the issue has been brought up by parishioners who don't like it, the clergy shrug and say that the people just want to express their appreciation. (The previous pastor actually encouraged it at the end of Mass by congratulating "the ushers, the choir, etc." before the final blessing.) Now it just happens at the end of the recessional.

I think it has a detrimental effect on the choir and the congregation, reinforcing some choir folks' idea that they're in a performance and excusing members of the assembly from even trying to sing. Since the clergy aren't concerned, maybe we need to think of some approach to this from the music ministry. And, of course, during the seasons where a postlude is appropriate, it squirrels up my segue into the postlude.

There is applause after all of the Masses here. I am the only one who complains. The only success that I have had is that my daughter, who has been here much longer than I, no longer applauds (at least not when she's with me)

Father Keyes, I support you one hundred per cent. Applause at Mass is not a particular problem in my parish - it's pretty rare - but still, the whole idea of Sacred Space seems to elude the people. My parishioners think I'm strict because I want them not to talk inside the Church. Imagine that.

Merry Christmas!

Bravo, Father, what a wonderful array of music. Keep up your good work!

I've only heard applause in Church when visiting the USA (LA). Here in the UK, thankfully I've only heard it on very rare occasions like a Golden Wedding anniversary, when it's been the celebrating couple who've been applauded.

As an organist, I find it very uncomfortable if people feel they want to show appreciation for my modest contribution to good liturgical praxis by applauding. Most singers and organists I know do the job for Almighty God, not as a performance. Well done, Father, on discouraging the practice. I pray you will be successful.

Thank you for trying to make Catholics more Catholic.
We have an amazing music program at my parish, and it wouldn't cross anyone's mind to applaud.
Last year, I attended a Bach lecture and concert. At the end of the lecture, Father said, "Now, I know we're all Catholic, and we don't applaud in Church, but just to let you know, it's okay tonight. The Blessed Sacrament has been removed from the Tabernacle for the concert, so feel free to express your appreciation to the musicians."
A brilliant move, I'd say. (I still genuflected before entering the pew. Force of habit. My mother was kind enough to give me the second lecture of the night, right then and there.) :)

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This page contains a single entry by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. published on December 17, 2005 10:49 AM.

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