Wednesday, May 25, 2016


What if you couldn’t understand the Reader at Mass?  What if today’s readings sounded a bit like this:


Realize tha you wah ransah frugh yo fuelile conuc, hannen on by yo ancess(gravely sound.)”

Someone is sitting at the back of the church, the room is echoey, and bodies with clothes on them are eating up the sound.  Already too softly pronounced consonants are now being put on the missing letters list on the back of milk cartons.  I would fully expect that the Reader be counseled to start enunciating and pronunciation more articulately even if it feels and sounds odd to him, because the important thing is that the words are both heard and understood or else stop reading or having Scripture at Mass.  Ministries are not charitable activities we give to people to be nice.  You must have the ability to do them and do them well for the benefit of the people in attendance because if it doesn’t matter, why do it in the first place?  The stakes are just too profound.

So why do we allow it with music?  Music is Scripture, Scripturally based, and deals with important matters of faith.  It is vital that its message is clear and understood (even if it is in Latin!) or why do it?  Then it just becomes very beautiful (hopefully) background noise.  And sometimes beautiful background noise is called for.  But unless you intend that, why not make sure every work you sing is enunciated with distinction?  It may be that a particular phrase moves a heart and soul toward the Lord in a way that the homily didn’t or can’t.  


Stephen said...

Yes Father, in regard to readers at Mas, I agree with you.
Then when I say something about a person not being able to enunciate
words, speaking down to the ambo so no one can hear or understand them,
My pastor tells me to be kind. Now I can say that an authority, no less than Father Valencheck, agrees with ME! Thank You father,

Anonymous said...

Stephen - "Beloveh," (teeeheeee, ROFL) you need to spell Mass correctly. A really important spelling, that one is, yo :D :O. Adam's Ale Father, you cracked me up with the beginning of this post. I needed that laugh. Then I went all California dude with my lingo. Okay, no mas !

Jennifer Fitz said...


Though I've grudgingly accepted our classical choir's alternative of printing the lyrics for their anthems in the program (which is doubly helpful since they are prone to picking music in languages I don't speak). Then you can reflect on the words while the ethereal sounds bounce around, it does okay.