Over the past years there has been a lot of focus on the song we sing after communion or as we sometimes call it the “communion meditation.” The time after communion is sacred and so it is appropriate that we sing a reflective song celebrating and focusing on the Eucharist we have just received. The communion meditation is often a song to be listened to by the entire assembly and is usually sung by just one cantor alone or the entire choir. It is often a song that the assembly would just actively listen to and not participate in. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) however, speaks of a few different options for this sacred time after communion. The GIRM states: “After communion, the priest and people may spend some time in silent prayer. If desired, a hymn, psalm, or other song of praise may be sung by the entire congregation.” If you notice the first option is silence. It is noble to celebrate a time of silent reflection after the communion song is ended to let the Lord speak to the hearts of the faithful. Don’t be afraid to let your teens experience some silence in the Liturgy. It’s something that I would bet they don’t get very much of. We need to be silent sometimes to let the Lord speak to the depths of our hearts.
It is also at times permitted to sing what the GIRM refers to as a “song of praise.” This can be very effective with young people at a teen Mass. There are a lot of great songs that can be sung reverently after communion that focus on praising God who is Creator and Master of all. The LIFE TEEN Liturgy guide offers many suggestions of simple songs that can be sung in this part of the Mass that as the GIRM states: “may be sung by the entire congregation.” This song is more than just a meditative piece to be listened to but a song that involves the sung praise of all after receiving the Eucharist when we are truly in communion with each other. It’s good to change up what you will do after communion so that one week you may have a silent reflective time and other weeks you may have a meditative piece and some other weeks a song of praise. Let the spirit flow and follow its promptings. This is part of being a good pastoral musician: knowing what to sing, when to sing and when not to sing.