Catholic Weddings


We haven't done this in awhile...feel free to add. 

1.  Girls serving the altar: are you for it or against it?  Does your parish have them? 

2.  When visiting another parish (on vacation, etc), what is the weirdest or most upsetting thing you've seen done at Mass?

3.  You can pick one song that can never be played/sung at Mass again...what is it?


Re: Questions!

  • 1.  Officially I am against it. Our bishop decided about 8 years ago that each parish (pastor) could decide whether to allow girls or not.  (I think we were the second to last diocese in the US to have a boys-only position prior to that).  There are still parishes that don't allow them, but mine does.  My preference is for girls not to serve, since stats show higher instances of priestly vocations from areas with boys only.  I also prefer the classic altar boy vestments, which aren't worn at parishes with girls serving.  While I'm not a fan, I'm not someone who looks down on girls for serving, or on their parents for letting them.  H says if our daughters wanted to serve the altar, he would let them because he wouldn't ever presume that he knows better than our pastor/bishop, and wouldn't want our kids to think that, either.  I respect that stance, so I'll go along with him on that.

    2.  At the beach my family goes to, there's this cantor (she's at every Mass there, I swear) who wears a flippin' headset mic and plays guitar and just legit PERFORMS at Mass.  She's not leading the congregation, she's performing.  She stands by the door after Mass and signs autographs.  I can't stand it.  And she doesn't sing the music as it's written, which is a HUGE peeve of mine (you know...she'll change a note here or there, or slightly change the rhythm by not observing a rest or not holding out a note, etc). 

    3.  I would have to say...America the Beautiful.  Does anyone else's parish like to whip that one out for Memorial Day/Fourth of July/anytime something happens that brings out people's patriotic side?  Or is it just my parish?  Every single time I'm lilke "dude, we are SO protestant right now."   That and Amazing Grace.  I'm the type who loves a good Latin chant or old-school hymn, but also enjoys a good Lifeteen Mass or gospel choir...but those two songs just aren't Mass songs IMO


  • 1.  Girls serving the altar: are you for it or against it?  Does your parish have them? 

    I am against it.  Women definitely can play a role in mass. I really like having women readers.  It really "feminizes" the voices of the men writing, if that makes sense? I like it a lot.  I don't think women should be servers or communion servers.

    2.  When visiting another parish (on vacation, etc), what is the weirdest or most upsetting thing you've seen done at Mass?

    The church we go to up north by H's family's hunting land, they clap at an offbeat in part of the Holy Holy. DRIVES ME NUTS.

    3.  You can pick one song that can never be played/sung at Mass again...what is it?

    Nothing really. I like them all usually

  • 1.  Girls serving the altar: are you for it or against it?  Does your parish have them? 

    It doesn't bother me either way, my parish has girls that serve the altar.

    2.  When visiting another parish (on vacation, etc), what is the weirdest or most upsetting thing you've seen done at Mass?

    Honestly if  am on vacation I don't go out of my way to attend church, but that's one may be two weekends a year. I've visited other churches for wedding and nothing upsetting comes to mind.

    3.  You can pick one song that can never be played/sung at Mass again...what is it?

    none really, I enjoy singing along at mass.


  • Tami87Tami87 member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper

    1.  I do not have a problem with girls serving. As long as I can remember there have been girl altar servers at the parishes I have attended (in fact some of my friends served) and I didn't even realize it was a more recent allowance until I started talking to all of you. In my experience it is hard enough to get enough altar servers while allowing girls and I can imagine that there wouldn't be enough for all the masses without them.

    2. Weirdest was probably a baptism during mass at the church close to my parents in North Carolina where the priest after baptizing the baby (who was actually probably close to a year old if not older) walked around the church holding him up lion king style. My mom tells me that priest got moved since then though because there were money management issues. Overall that church does some interesting things which I consider more southern protestant (which makes sense based on where it is geographically). They are also like to "pray for diversity" during the prayers of the faithful which I am never quite sure what that means (the church is predominately white in an affluent area).

    3.  You can pick one song that can never be played/sung at Mass again...what is it?

    Don't have a particular song, but I prefer to be able to participate and sing along. At the church we used to attend when H lived in the city the head choir lady at the beginning of the mass would "ask everyone to join in with full voice" but then pick the most complicated response music with lots of runs etc which I found technically difficult to sing. I always felt like she was just trying to show off how talented the choir was (and they were) instead of encouraging member participation in the mass. I agree with finding it really annoying when it becomes too much of a performance.

    Related question: How does everyone feel about clapping in church for the choir, after people make special announcements etc?

    I know it drives my mom crazy when people clap for the choir at the end of mass because she strongly feels they should be giving their talent to praise God not to get recognition in the form of applause. It doesn't bother me as much as it does her but I see her point.

    I do think clapping during announcements can be positive especially when it is to welcome new members, celebrate weddings, anniversaries, baptisms etc. I have been to several parishes where they ask people who are visiting to stand and be welcomed and everyone claps and I like that, although it can be kind of embarrassing for those visiting.

  • Questions from @Resa77?!? Woot!

    1. I am very against it, for reasons PPs have stated. My parish has them, but I would actually not let my daughter(s) serve if it were an option when we get to that point. I really do think it blurs the lines about gender roles in the Church.

    2. I went to one parish that had so many weird abuses that I don't even know where to begin. I think I told H about them for an hour after the fact. There was an infant baptism that was so weird that they had to get "special mops" to clean up when they were done and there was a song during the mopping and, oh my!

    3. I hate most of what was written in the 70s and early 80s. I'm good with old stuff. I'm good with new stuff, but I think a lot of stuff in the middle is terrible. With the caveat that that you should be able to sing to it. There is a parish in town that plays 70s stuff to a plodding organ and it is a double whammy.

    Resa, I can't stand when the psalm setting doesn't use the correct wording. Drives me bonkers.

    I don't mind clapping at the end of Mass, but then, I don't think of it as clapping for the performances so much as clapping for God in thanksgiving for the gift of the Mass. It might not be what other people do, but H and I were involved in a clap-happy service ministry, and it got us in the habit of clapping in thanksgiving after prayer. Weird? Yes. But we really do it as a God thing, not a human thing, if that makes sense.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • 1.) I have always associated boys with being altar servers. Our church does have them, now with our current priest and with our old priest who was very strict. I don't think I have ever attended a church where both boys and girls weren't servers. On the other hand, I have never really given it much thought.

    2.) We haven't really been on vacation recently so I can't answer this one.

    3.) I really like most of the songs sung at mass. I enjoy singing along even though our choir isn't all that great.
  • Resa77 said:

    We haven't done this in awhile...feel free to add. 

    1.  Girls serving the altar: are you for it or against it?  Does your parish have them? 

    Funny, I wasn't aware that there was anyplace that didn't allow females to serve on the altar.  My church certainly does, St. Patrick's does.  umm, perhaps I should go around NYC to visit more churches and check it out.

    2.  When visiting another parish (on vacation, etc), what is the weirdest or most upsetting thing you've seen done at Mass?

    3.  You can pick one song that can never be played/sung at Mass again...what is it?

  • manjermjmanjermj member
    Seventh Anniversary 500 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited June 2013

    1.  Girls serving the altar: are you for it or against it?  Does your parish have them? 

    I have never heard of a church NOT allowing girls to be altar servers. I was an altar server from 4th grade until I went away to college and felt that it was such a great honor to be involved in the Mass.  

    When I was in college, we had a discussion in my Religious Texts class about women in the Mass, in general - not specifically as altar servers - and the teacher, a Franciscan Friar, made the point was that when Jesus resurrected, he first appeared to a woman (women) and asked her to spread His good word to the apostles - so why shouldn't we allow women to do just as Jesus asked those women? 

    2.  When visiting another parish (on vacation, etc), what is the weirdest or most upsetting thing you've seen done at Mass?

    On Memorial Day two years ago, this couple sang a duet of a pop culture song about a Soldier dying and writing letters or something like that. It was so heart wrenching with the fact that my husband was leaving for Afghanistan the next month and totally was not religious at all. It made me so uncomfortable. 

    3.  You can pick one song that can never be played/sung at Mass again...what is it?

    I honestly like most songs sung at Mass. 

  • 1. Strongly dislike girls serving at the altar, for all the above-mentioned reasons. Did y'all know that the only reason JPII gave the allowance for it is because people were already doing it?! (Yeah, that sounds like a great reason to allow something...)
    My current church allows them, but there aren't any girls who actually do it. :happydance:
    My previous church didn't allow it, and the church where I grew up didn't either, but I think the couple of churches I went to in between do, but yes, I'm sure that the *vast* majority of churches in the US do.

    2. This one time a visiting missionary priest was there, and for the entire Mass everytime he was supposed to say "The Lord be with you," he said "The Lord IS with you." I was furious. (First of all, how arrogant of you to think that you know better how to translate the texts of the Mass and the theology of what we are saying than those who actually wrote/translated! And second of all, I REALLY wanted to shout from the choir loft something like "But how can I know He is actually with YOU?!" as the response. {This was during the old response, when we would have said, "And also with you."}) I mean like, just so arrogant by it's very grammar... you can't possibly ever KNOW that the Lord 'is' with someone. That's why the current text is the way it is! And for a priest who is so self-centered as to change the text like that and force the change for what the congregation's response means, well, I'm inclined to think that the Lord actually ISN'T with him!

    Oh and that reminds me of another one... This other visiting missionary priest (what is it with these guys... they made me think REALLY poorly of anyone who is a missionary priest!) before Mass he came up to me and was like, "I'm going to do a song at the end of the homily on the piano, so I need you to hold the music." I was a little like "um... ok..." even before I found out it was "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis, warning bells were going off in my head. In hindsight I *should* have simply been firm (knowing full well that our pastor who was away for the weekend would have 100% supported me) and told him that was simply a completely inappropriate secular song for church, and he would NOT be singing it. But you know, it's not exactly easy to say no to a priest. So he did it, and I was just dying of embarrassment b/c everyone was looking at me and probably thinking I *supported* him in doing this, since I was standing right there! 

    3. This is easy. "Gather Us In." Read the words before you say you love that song... Any song that mentions God/Jesus/Lord ZERO times, and ambiguous "You" (possibly referring to "God," but we actually can't assume that, especially given the rest of the "New-Agey" feel/lyrics of the song) a couple times, and We/Us about EIGHTY times ought never to have been sung in Catholic Churches to begin with.
  • edited June 2013

    1.  Girls serving the altar: are you for it or against it?  Does your parish have them? 

    I don't really have an opinion on this, much less a problem with girls serving.  I can understand why people don't like it, though.  What I DO have a problem with is crazy flippin' parents who sit in the front row, WAVE LIKE CRAZY at their kid (male or female) and then TAKE A ZILLION PICTURES.  This one woman at our parish in Dallas used to do this ALL THE TIME, like, no matter how often her kid(s) served.  It was so distracting.  I even caught Monsignor giving her the stink eye at one point.  We don't live there anymore, so I don't know if anyone ever told her to knock it off, but I hope they did.

    2.  When visiting another parish (on vacation, etc), what is the weirdest or most upsetting thing you've seen done at Mass?

    I have a few:

    At my ILs parish, there is a cantor who (God bless her) is very, very passionate, but also not as great as she thinks she is.  And she is (like someone else mentioned) straight-up PERFORMING during mass.  My FIL calls her "The Country Singer" and it is so right.  She is just twangy, swaying, down-home COUNTRY.  The worst thing is she'll jump into these high harmonies, but her voice is really nasally, and sometimes she can't quite hit the notes she's reaching for, and it just grates on me every time.

    At a parish here in OKC, the priest did the entire "opening" from the back of the church.  He was apparently retired or at least visiting and had once been the pastor of that church, but he announced who he was before we started, introduced the three (!) families that were having their babies baptized that day, and then said something else, and I assumed we'd start the opening song and he'd come down.  But no, he stood back there for a ridiculously long time, through the introduction, and then through the statement of intentions for all those families, and then we sang and THEN they all walked down in silence.  It was just bizarre.

    This is a Protestant one, but I'll share anyway: Before I converted I was looking for a church home, and at one, just before the minister's sermon, they had a whole show of singing "Jesus Loves the Little Children," gathering all the kids from about ages 3-9, having a little conversation with them, and then leading them all away for (I assume) a more child-friendly experience.  It was weird.  Growing up, we were ALWAYS in the pew with our parents.  Even if we weren't 100% engaged, I don't think my parents would have dreamed of sending us away. 

    3.  You can pick one song that can never be played/sung at Mass again...what is it?

    I'm sure I could come up with a list, but I got nothin' right now.

    Re: Clapping.  I don't mind clapping for one accomplishment or another.  We said goodbye to our seminarian the other day, and everyone clapped for him, and that was fine.  Our priest gave a REALLY moving speech one day about his journey into the priesthood and everyone gave him a standing ovation.  And again when he announced he's leaving.  I find standing ovations a little extreme, but I'm also a little old school on ovations and believe they should only be given for, you know, stellar artistic performances when you want an encore...

    But yeah, clapping for the choir (or other non-clapping things) makes me feel like this, every time:





  • oh yeah, clapping-
    Pope Benedict has a quote from Spirit of the Liturgy-
    "Whenever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment." - Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, 198.

    Personally, I don't think clapping is always terrible, but I think 95% of the time it's not appropriate. Like, I think I remember there being clapping at one point when a letter from the bishop was read regarding some recent controversial political thing, and I thought that was cool.
  • re: clapping -- At my parish, announcements are made just before the final blessing and recessional.  During the announcements, sometimes there is something applause worthy (such as acknowledging a new altar server, welcoming a visiting priest/deacon, etc).  I don't mind that because it's not in the middle Mass, and so it seems appropriate.  I always hate when people clap for the choir...doesn't matter if it's after the recessional hymn, it just bothers me.  They're not performers, and we shouldn't act like they are. 

    Regarding the shortgage of servers: in areas that don't have girls serving, there is no shortage.  The parish near where I live doesn't allow girls (I attend a parish the next town over, but will sometimes go to Mass at the closer parish if my schedule requires it), and they always have plenty of servers.  Sometimes there will literally be 20-30 altar servers at Mass.  They don't even do a schedule because there are always more than enough at each of their multiple Sunday Masses and daily Masses.  The pastor was really annoyed when the Bishop gave parishes the option, and the bishop claimed it was because of a "shortage" of servers.  Soon after the bishop visited this parish to say Mass and explain the new stance on altar girls.  There were about 50 boys serving at the Mass.  The pastor said "well, your excellency, as you can see, we have no shortage of boys to serve the altar.  We will not be allowing girls."  I thought that was pretty sassy, but I liked it.


  • Lalaith -- I'm not a big fan of Gather Us In.  However, I also disagree with the idea that Mass-appropriate music has to directly mention God/Lord/Jesus.  For instance, Hail Holy Queen doesn't mention God at all, and yet is universally accepted as appropriate for Mass (Latin or English version). 

    Also, I disagree that lyrics that use "us/we/our" language (second person pronouns, basically) aren't suited for church.  Many of our prayers use this language, and hymns are basically prayers set to music.  (Off the top of my head, I can think of "give US this day OUR daily bread"...).  In fact, Hail Holy Queen uses "us/we" many times throughoud ("to thee do WE thee do WE sigh).

    I think the real problem with some hymn lyrics, including Gather Us In, is when you can make it completely secular by changing only 10% of the words.  The following verse from Gather Us In is only vaguely religious. I mean, sure you can draw some religious themes if you try, but without knowing it's a hymn I don't think most people would automatically think it was religious:

    Here in this place new light is streaming, Now is the darkness vanished away, See in this space our fears and our dreamings Brought here to you in the light of this day.


  • Good points, Resa, but I think even with that being said, the language flaws in Gather Us In are very different from the language in what you've mentioned; Hail Holy Queen mentions God ("Mother of Christ") in the very first phrase, and then again at the end; and the entire thing is about praise/petition to Mary - it's not adoration ("latria") to God, but rather the special veneration due to Mary ("hyperdulia.") There's no ambiguity about who/what it's directed to. You're right there is nothing wrong with simply using the words we/us, as in both the Our Father, and the Hail Holy Queen you gave examples of them, but I think that a glance at the amount of 1st person pronouns can give a huge hint as to what the song is *about.* For example, a quick count tells me there is 8 "we/us" in the Our Father, and 5 or 6 "Father/thy/thine", but there is no question as to whom the entire prayer is addressed. (As even that is a far different percentage compared to Gather Us In!) The same thing that I picked up on by counting pronouns, you demonstrated by just showing the words of a verse - you're right, who it's about is completely ambiguous.

    And that doesn't even include the major theological issues in the 4th verse:
    Not in the dark of buildings confining,
    not in some heaven, light years away—
    here in this place the new light is shining,
    now is the kingdom, and now is the day.

    This verse is so problematic that even the publishers recognized that (shocker...somehow they missed this for the past 30 years...) and I know at least in the most recent version of the Worship hymnal they've omitted this fourth verse (I don't know about the most recent versions of GIA's other hymnals.)
  • I totally agree with you, Lalaith.  I'm glad to hear your clarifications -- it's not simply whether you use the word "God" enough times, or whether "we/us" is used a's a matter of whether the song is actually aimed at praising God. 


  • 1. Girls serving the altar: are you for it or against it? Does your parish have them?

    My parish growing up allowed it, and I served occasionally.  I've never given it a lot of thought one way or another as to being "for" or "against" it.  My current parish is much more traditional and only has male altar servers.

    2. When visiting another parish (on vacation, etc), what is the weirdest or most upsetting thing you've seen done at Mass?

    The church in my parents' town(not where I grew up, they moved when I was in college) is far too "modern" for my taste - my mom really doesn't like it either, but it's the only Catholic church in town.  The most uncomfortable thing is the children's homily, which I believe the priest only does now at an earlier Mass time, and we usually go at a later time, so we avoid it - the priest calls all the kids up to sit on the altar steps, does a homily of some kind and asks the kids questions... but then at the end they all do some weird sayings, e.g. "God is great, all the time, and Jesus rocks, sweet" with hand motions.  It's just SO awkward and made me cringe every time.

    3. You can pick one song that can never be played/sung at Mass again...what is it?

    Can't think of any off the top of my head - I know there are songs that I just don't care for, but none that I can name right now.  Any that I don't like are probably just due to personal preference, not any other specific reason why they should be excluded.

  • I remember when I was a kid our parish had a Children's Mass where the priest invited the kids to sit up front during the homily and would direct the homily toward children.  My brother LOVED that Mass, so my parents made us all go.  I refused to leave the pew during the homily, and was quite annoyed that we had to go to such an early Mass.  Me, I was always begging my parents to go to Sat 5:30 Mass...I've never been a morning person haha. 


  • add on:

    I agree with the posters who mentioned "individual performances" by the music leaders at mass.  I left my previous church for that very reason.  No one could follow her because she sang in such a high soprano. 

  • 1. Against. I did it for many years but given the chance again and knowing more, I no longer would. Partly because I have seen the tremendous fruits that come from having all-male servers (such as, among other things, a plethora of boys and young men stepping up.) Partly because I'm a TLM devotee and a)it was originally a minor order and therefore reserved to men by default...that is, lay servers period are taking the place of priests in a way and b) I think many more traditional practices should be more widely adopted in the NO (like they were *supposed* to be in the first place ;-) ) And partly because of the reason it was allowed in the first place.

    2. oh it seems like there's always something weird. Most recently my mom went to a Mass at one of our old parishes when we were back visiting where I grew up. They were still using the old translation and using homebaked honey oat something or other bread. (Just like they were in the 90s...) She felt the need to go to Mass again for fear of invalidity. (DH and I went to the local FSSP parish, which was beautiful, reverent, perfectly lovely, awesome sermon, full of families with young kids & babies....etc. So, no nasty surprises for us!)

    3. Not big on clapping. See lalaith's post above with quote from Papa Emeritus Ben. I mind it less for baptisms than anything else because being cleansed from original and/or personal sin seems clap-worthy.
    Warning No formatter is installed for the format bbhtml
  • 1. For.  The parish I grew up in (and will be married in) has always had very involved females in all the ministries, but this never took away from the call for vocations and it was never a "women need to be priests!" issue.  Perhaps my parish was unique, but the level of devotion and participation there seems higher than in most other places I've visited, for a small, country parish.  I love seeing women involved in serving Christ as part of the Mass.  And because our parish is so small, there absolutely would not be enough servers if we didn't have girls. 

    2.  One Mass I went to had 4 parish members give the homily- their reflections on the Gospel that week- instead of the priest.  That felt very strange and uncomfortable.  I agree with PP about cantors performing.  There's a woman locally that I call "The Cruise Ship Singer".  She very swoopy, in both her singing and body movements!

    3.  On Eagle's Wings, only because I think we sang it constantly as a kid and it's never over fast enough. 

    Clapping-  it's been very infrequent in the parishes I've attended, and I think the only time I've seen it regularly is a baptism or wedding, or at the end of Chirstmas Eve Vigil, when the choir and liturgy committee have put in a lot of work and Father acknowledged their hard work at the end of the announcements.

    What have you experienced at a parish on vacation or visiting that you really liked?  I went to Mass in New Orleans a few months ago and, at the sign of peace, the usher walked down the center aisle and side aisles and shook hands with everyone.  As a visitor, I felt very welcome. 

  • What have you experienced at a parish on vacation or visiting that you really liked?  I went to Mass in New Orleans a few months ago and, at the sign of peace, the usher walked down the center aisle and side aisles and shook hands with everyone.  As a visitor, I felt very welcome. 

    In the same vein, when we lived in Dallas, we'd sometimes go to the 5:00 evening mass at SMU, which was pretty much all students.  During the sign of peace, the priest would go to the choir and embrace each one of them.  It was always really nice to see and I loved that he had such a strong relationship with the students in his ministry.  SMU is not a Catholic school (and has even tried to distance itself from the Methodist church in recent years) so I really love how strong the Catholic Campus Ministry is there.



  • 1.) I can't believe some parishes actually exclude girls like this.  Mine has always allowed them, and same for every other parish in my area.  I understand why people are against them, but I completely disagree.  That thinking is very outdated and sexist, in my opinion.  Just because women can't be priests, doesn't mean that women/girls can't serve the Lord.

    2.) I also don't like when they ask people to raise their hand if they're visiting or new.  Another thing that bugs me in general are SUPER judgemental priests and deacons.  Sometimes I'll go visit another parish, and the homilies make me cringe because they're all "don't do this, don't do that".   I also hate when I attend a mass that has really, REALLY bad music.  I guess that's just the musician in me :)

    3.) I've sung in church choirs forever.  I love all the music.  Occasionally one will come around and I'll think "oh yeah, THIS song".  But since we pick the songs based on the readings, it reduces the chances that anyone is going to get sick of them.  I just love the music!

  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    1) I don't agree with girls as altar servers for many of the reasons mentioned above. Men and women are equal in the eyes of God, and each has different gifts which should be allowed to develop in their proper environment. It's important to encourage men into the priesthood, and we saw significant decreases in boys' interest in serving once girls started serving in the various parishes in our area. As being an altar boy is typically a major part of discerning for the priesthood, I think it's vital to encourage boys. Many church-related groups have significant women involvement, and men's involvement in church groups is far less. they need more encouragement. I think this is one important way to bring them in. I also think there are other ways for girls to serve the Lord. Our parish has specific groups for girls to assist as "Handmaids of the Altar" where they are part of the preparation of altar items (linens, flowers, sacristy) before mass. I find it awkward to introduce the altar server role to girls, and ask them to take pride in it, when they could never follow it to fruition in the priesthood.

    2) The local parish (which we don't attend) had everyone with February birthdays stand up in the middle of mass and then asked everyone to applaude them. I was pretty disgusted (one of the many reasons why we don't attend our local parish).

    3) There are too many to name - but I generally agree with lala - anything where the focus is on "me/us" I don't really appreciate during mass. I don't mind them in other settings, though. I also don't like many hymns due to their childish nursery-rhyme style medleys. Fine for certain settings, but not a reverent mass. Just my preference, though!
  • oh, Riss,.. at one of my previous parishes, not only did they applaud, but the pastor had everyone actually SING happy birthday to them! (yup! during his homily!)
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