When I would think of daily mass, I tended to think of a quiet experience that is quick. The ones who attend are those who would surely rush off to work afterward. Speed and efficiency would be the way to go, right? A recent experience has me thinking otherwise; why not invest some time singing at daily mass?
On July 25, the feast of St. James the Greater, I decided to attend daily mass. After all, St. James is the parish patron saint, and there was going to be donuts and coffee afterward. It seemed like a nice opportunity to get to know some people of the parish. Since I only recently returned to the parish to lead music ministry it would be a nice thing to do.
I went from attending mass, to suggesting we sing one hymn: a hymn to the parish patron saint written for the parish centennial.
Then, how about four hymns? Well, the feast calls for a Glory to God, so we might as well sing that, too. Ultimately we ended up singing as if we were celebrating a weekend mass. And you know what? It ended up being very nice.
Simply Liturgical Music is a rare resource that has daily Psalms available, including the order of saints, so that was easy.
I did not find that people attending mass were in any hurry. Yes, that meant that many of the attendees were retirees. I learned that many of them attend daily and spend as much as an hour chatting after mass. And due to their devotion to the faith, the singing was robust!
Many afterwards expressed their gratitude to be able to sing.
So what’s the lesson to be learned? Well, for one, I think I was too dismissive of the idea. As someone who works full-time outside of music ministry, and with a child that needs to get to school by 7:30 a.m., it is not often that I am able to attend personally. But there are indeed many who are devoted to daily mass, and not in a hurry.
I am by no means advocating singing every day. But on a parish patronal feast? Why not? A special mass for a special cause? Why not? The Octave of Christmas and Easter? These could represent an opportunity to sing.
And those who sing on the weekdays will only be better on the weekend when more people are around.