Congregational Singing in St. Joseph’s Church
A feature of the liturgy in the parish is the level of participation by the congregation in singing hymns.
On Sundays at 10.30am mass and sometimes at 9.00am mass, it is led by a cantor. There is usually a leader of singing, either from the congregation or from the ambo at the daily 10.00am mass.
It is not unusual to find members of the congregation at funeral/wedding masses joining in with soloists or choirs.
Congregational singing was introduced on Conformation Sunday, 16 April 1970 on the occasion of the return of our previous parish priest, Patrick Mulligan as Bishop.
Pat Drury had a choir in the Vocational School/Inver College at the time and had entered it for a Plain Chant Festival in the Diocese. As a result, he was asked by Monsignor Laurence Marron and by Sr. Mac Dara to lead the parents and pupils involved in the forthcoming confirmation, in singing, as a congregation. There were rehearsals on each of the two preceding Sundays at 3.00pm. Cissie Fennell was the organist and Pat led the singing from the pulpit.
Machaire Rois was the first parish to embrace this post Vatican 2 initiative in the diocese and it was so successful that Pat was requested to continue this role at the 11 o’ clock Sunday mass. He has continued to do so un-interrupted ever since except the mass time has changed to 10.30am.
Cissie’s sister, Jean Fennell took over as organist as Cissie was resident organist at the 12.30 mass. Catharine Kelly (nee Swinburne), Anne Mc Keever(nee O’Brien) and Mary Woods were among the organists who accompanied the singing. Gerry Hand is the organist for the past 27 years.
Bro. Bonaventure and then Bro. Edmund trained, Pat Drury and other boy sopranos while in the national school. These joined St. Joseph’s choir under Kieran Fahey at Christmas to substitute for the absence of female singers in an all male choir.
Pat sang with St. Joseph’s choir from time to time during his second and third level education.
When he was appointed teacher in the Vocational/Inver College in 1964, he became a permanent choir member and remained so until he took up his post of cantor at 11 o’ clock mass.
Pat had a number of reliable substitute cantors who helped out from time to time: Kevin O’ Farrell and Peadar Mc Mahon in earlier years and in recent times, Noeleen Keenan. Kevin Marron with Sean ó Raghallaigh as organist, was the cantor at 9.30am mass on Sundays for a number of years in the 1970’s.