No More Psalmist Work For Now

After much work done on my additional self-training towards becoming a psalmist, and having performed the psalmist role for five times already during Holy Masses, I'm taking a brief reprieve.

Why? Well, honestly, nobody seems to care. Except from the choir leaders who I worked with, I've not received feedback at all.

What makes the situation worse is that the promoter for psalmists, Fr. Joe, will be leaving soon. With that happening, I don't see anybody else supporting the need for psalmists for all Sunday masses in church.

Sadly, even my co-psalmists, Bro. John and Sis. Heather have already lost interest in taking on the psalmist role.

Psalmist Role in the Lector Handbook

An opportunity came up in drafting operational procedures for updating the Lector and Commentators Handbook. Again, there was little interest in including the psalmist role there. There was even no mention for a psalmist role in special masses.

I suppose this means that until the psalmist role is established as a regular function in Sunday masses, it won't be considered as a regular role in the handbook.

Strategies to Regularize the Psalmist Role

How can the church start to regularize the psalmist's function for Sunday masses? Based on what I've observed in the previous formation seminar, other parishes have done this already.

Here are a few ideas for action items that I can think of:

  1. Parish priest should meet with the heads of the Lector and the Music ministries. What does the church want to happen? What style of singing or chanting do we want? Should all Sunday masses have psalmists? Only a few selected masses? Maybe long-term and short-term goals here can be discussed.

  2. Brainstorm and formulate strategies based on the long and short-term goals. How can the non-singer lectors be technically trained for them to become competent psalmists? What can the music ministry do to help in this training?

  3. Benchmark the best practices in other parishes. What do they do? What challenges did they face? How did they overcome the challenges? What available tools are there? What resources are available: mp3's, videos? Can we avail of them?

  4. Get commitment from both the Lector and the Music ministry on what to do. This is important. Music choir leaders have different "styles" when practicing - practice time, duration, place, musicianship. There has to be some standard on what to follow. That way, there is consistency when psalmists perform their roles.

Future Basic Formation Seminars for Psalmists

The Formation Seminar for Psalmists that I attended last year is good for two years. That means eligibility is two years and I don't have to attend the one for this year, if there is one. Will the parish be sending new representatives this year?

I'm still interested in attending and renewing my role as a psalmist if there is a need for it. Unless there is really a strong push to have psalmists in the regular Sunday masses, I don't see much point in having to prepare for it every time I have a service.

It takes extra time, practice and coordination with the choir leaders. Maybe other psalmists, not presently commissioned, are able to sing without much practice. There is one or two who are exceptionally good. And they're the ones requested to chant/sing for the special (high?) masses.

If the parish is okay with that present setup and just make use of these good psalmists, then that's okay for me too. That's one less task for me to prepare for. And then I don't even have to renew on the psalmist basic formation seminars anymore.