Okay, let me say from the start that I know many of our priests are under pressure of time on Sunday mornings, and that there are a number of priests who have special indult to say more than the maximum 3 masses a Sunday in order to minister satisfactorily to their flocks. Especially if travel from one location to another is necessary between masses, this can put them under a lot of pressure.
Nevertheless… I recently had an experience where the celebrant expressed his desire that Sunday mass should take no longer than 45 minutes. In this circumstance the first casualty is singing the parts of the mass, which is often, though incorrectly, blamed for “making mass go too long”. The Gloria, Psalms and Gospel acclamation consequently must be said, not sung. The next is that entrance and recessional hymns get chopped down to one verse (or two at the most) of the hymn. I will say in his defence that the celebrant in question does not waffle in his sermons nor add unneccesary extraneous chat to the liturgy. Liturgical music and song is simply viewed as extraneous to what “must” happen, and is therefore seen as a hinderance in the achievement of the goal of a quick mass.
Blame it on my Lutheran background, but I don’t feel as if I have been to Church on Sunday and worshipped God if a) it takes less than an hour, b) we don’t get a chance to have a good sing.
Maybe I shouldn’t grumble. Afterall, at least we are getting Mass on Sunday. Lutherans had an even less satisfactory way of fitting in mutiple Sunday services – they left the Eucharist bit out and just had a service of the word.
Still, I was thinking of this when I came across these two pieces:
1) Fr McNamara at Zenit on “When the Liturgy of the Eucharist Is Fast”
2) Use more music. Singing all or part of the ordinary of the Mass such as the preface, the Sanctus, the consecration, the mystery of faith, the final doxology with its great Amen, the Our Father and its embolism, the Lamb of God, etc., adds to the sense of solemnity and underlines the importance of the Eucharistic rites.
2) Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture on The 11-minute Mass and the Book of Kells
During our vacation stay in Ireland, Leila and I took a short walk to the local parish church on a Saturday morning to attend Mass. The experience was a revelation.
The priest said all the prayers at such a breakneck speed that I could not make out the individual words. The congregation matched his pace with the responses. I could barely keep up the recitation of Lord’s Prayer. The readings were a blur. There was no homily. Mass was over in 11 minutes.
We tried the same parish again for Sunday Mass, but we had not read the bulletin carefully. We thought we were arriving 5 minutes before the designated time; actually we were 25 minutes late. Sunday Mass had already ended!