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Communion Song: Prayer or Distraction?

downloadQuestion 262

Dear Father, I normally attend a Tridentine parish with priests from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. I recently was out of state and attended a non-Tridentine Mass. As the Communion procession was taking place and some of the communicants were back in their pews with others still waiting to receive; the choir asked everyone to sing the Communion hymn. I found it so very distracting. I treasure the quietness to contemplate upon having received Our Lord. Am I wrong to feel that way?  I prefer silence while waiting to receive Holy Communion and thereafter to contemplate on our Lord whom we have received.  Should there not be some time for prayer and reflection?

Response

There is much to be said about an aura of silence and solemnity.  Scola Choirs sometimes sing for the older rite. There might be a recitation or chanted elaboration upon the Communion verse. Similarly, the reformed liturgy on weekdays includes the recitation of the Communion antiphon although on Sundays this is usually replaced with a full hymn. Neither version of the Roman rite allows much time or silence for any post-communion contemplation. It is for that reason the Church has long encouraged people to remain in church after Mass to ponder the great mystery they have received.

As for singing, we must remember that it is ideally a form of prayer that is supposed to both dispose/orientate us to the mystery we receive and to celebrate the gift that God has given us. By contrast, you are interpreting it as only a distraction to the mystery received.

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