Chanting Responsorial Psalm at Feast Day Mass

Today's the day for my first crack as a chanting psalmist.

Earlier, a co-lector, John told me to seek and pray for blessings from the Holy Spirit so I wouldn't make mistakes during the psalm's chant. I guess I was partially listening to him, as I was concerned with my readiness.

I agree with him, but deep inside, the blessing and guidance I was seeking was the help to make me READY. That's because I felt I wasn't.

Was the psalm chant practice with the choir enough? Did I have the right strategy? That was the guidance I was seeking.

When I arrived at the church, I learned that the bishop officiated the prior Holy Mass. Naturally, the parish needed someone to take on a psalmist role. The lector that was requested is good. She's a veteran psalmist, though not yet commissioned, and a long-time member of the parish choir. I've heard her sing and I know she's quite proficient.

Nervousness Before the Singing the Psalm

I have to admit, I got the butterflies before the Holy Mass. It's similar to the feeling when it was my first time to read as lector.

It started when we lined up for the processional. Although I knew the tune at heart, I knew the possibility that I could still waver from it.

After the setting the Gospel Book on the altar en route to my place at the pew, I noticed the fan for the ambo was not switched on. Ordinarily, it would be the EMHC Lay Ministers (Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion) who would turn it on for the priest.

Now, realize that this was on a hot summer afternoon in May. Without hesitation, I veered towards the fan and figured out how to turn it on. I had to. I would be the first to use the ambo. I was sure, I'd be sweating buckets if the fan wasn't turned on.

Singing and Chanting the Responsorial Psalm

When my time came, I stood up and approached the ambo to read the First Reading. After the First Reading is the Responsorial Psalm. I realized that the reading had a calming effect in me. It warmed me up, especially my vocal chords.

The guitarist's (Sean) intro for the Responsorial Psalm was very clear and audible. I hummed the tune along with the guitarist's intro to myself.

It was simply to get the tune "running" in my mind so I could easily segue when I start the responsorial psalm's response. My humming may not have been as soft as I thought though because DH mentioned hearing a soft "singing".

At the start of the response, I raised my right arm to nudge the congregation to sing. I thought I held out my arm longer than necessary. After all, it was just to signal for the response. I also forgot to sing at the first few responses.

Doing Well in Chanting Psalm

I thought I did reasonably well. I didn't notice a discernible mistake. I got back to my place at the pew. But I didn't get a single feedback from the ministers. Hmm, well, not too surprising, I thought. There's plenty of indifference with some of the lay ministers.

The indifference It could be for several reasons.

One is they just won't bother or don't care to give feedback - apathy. Second, maybe many lay ministers are too self-absorbed to comment if their co-ministers, especially from other ministries do extraordinarily well in the performance of their duties.

Thirdly, maybe it wasn't that too good of a chant worthy of a feedback. Still, it's an attitude that I personally thought was plaguing church workers.

However, I needed to know how I did, especially right after I finished my chant. And so, I turned to my co-lector at the bench, Maya, and asked, "Did I do well?" She said, "You did VERY well. You were quite capable as a psalmist!"

Wow, that's a relief. My second slot as a psalmist will be next week. I'll try if I could adapt the tunes for next week's psalm response and verse.