Should we applaud after the closing hymn?

By October 31, 2014 29 Comments

Full Question

One of my friends suggests that we should not applaud the choir after the closing hymn. He says that the song should direct souls to the Lord. I find it unnatural if we don’t applaud.


The church is not a concert hall and the liturgy is not a performance. We are there to direct our attention to God—not to each other. There is a time and place for everything. The church is for prayer—not performances. If you want to convey your appreciation for the music, compliment the director after Mass.


    • Edward J Deppert says:

      What about the extraordinary ministers of holy communion, the altar servers, the ushers…should you applaud for them ??? Why not have a parishioner yell out “Let’s have a big hand for all the “Performers”..The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass .Is not about the music, etc..

  • Greg Madera says:

    i beg to disagree, when we sing to the Lord, WE ARE PERFORMING TO THE LORD. if the choir sang greatly to the Lord, I would applaud not for whatever reason, but an appreciation of a group of people who exerted great effort to praise God in a very inspiring ways. Remember, St. Augustine, he who sings well, prays twice. people should be glad that some people have praise God with extra effort, and that should inspire people to sing well during masses and other sacred celebration. after all, WHO ARE WE to judge whether our actions or singing at that is pleasing to GOD. only GOD knows.

    • John Ward says:

      Our Priest lovingly provided this same guidance recently. I am a member of one of our choirs. We are part of the liturgical actions to the lifting of minds and hearts to God. The Holy Mass is our call to celebrate the summit and source of our faith . When we as a choir use our gifts in humility we serve and offer it to God with the Church . Our voices with the Church an offering of love. Applause detaches us from what was given with others in celebration of Thanks Giving. John

  • Julius says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with clapping as long as we clap for The Lord God.

  • Antipolo Delilah R. says:

    I think it is ok to applaud the choir after the mass. It’s just one way of thanking them for their beautiful service to the Lord.

  • I Like to kneel and pray after mass and I find it very disruptive to have people clapping which usually leads to loud conversations in church. Whatever happened to that beautiful calming quiet after the music is over and you can reflect on the Mass and your day ahead? Sorry, but I don’t think it is the time for concert atmosphere.

  • I totally agree with applauding!! I think God would smile!

  • Charles Spevak says:

    I am a former Catholic, now a evangelical Christian. We applaud and raise our hands for the glory of our redemption after worship songs, in grateful appreciation for Jesus’s redeeming work on the cross that took our sin debt away. All Glory to HIS Holy Name!!!

  • Mai says:

    i don’t see anything wrong, too.

  • mary Teresa otuka says:

    Sometimes I think we are ignorant of where we are try thanking the choir and you will see their appreciation after all you must have participated in the singing do clap for your self

  • Andrew says:

    I agree it is fine to applaud after Mass. It is a sign of our affirmation to God. Some of the answers given seem to come from the “dark ages”

  • Ivy says:

    Giving applause to the Lord simply tells Lord you are Great!! We do the applause every closing and it gives a good feeling knowing you attend the mass because of our Lord. Our Lord is a performer of great things to our lives and applause is just one good way of showing our happiness..I understand the conservatism of many priest but usually the celebrant of the mass in the closing will tell the
    Parishioners to give a big applause to the Lord!

  • Eric says:

    Guess I’m different then..knowing the mass is a holy celebration…key word…the music ministry uses the gifts given them and that music calls out the holy spirit in them and you. An applaud of thanks at the end after the final blessing to go forth is well in order!

  • christel says:

    I think that we should always applaud the Lord, always give a big big clap to the God Almighty.

  • If you want to applaud go to a concert, not a Church. If you want to socialize, go outside. Some people actually might (gasp) want to PRAY before they leave the building. If you are so moved by a some by all means, stop and thank the organist or choir director, but be prepared – they might faint from shock.

  • Here are a couple of quotes to chew over: “It is not fitting to applaud the servant in the house of his Master.” (Pope Pius X); “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” (Pope Benedict XVI)

  • Ellen S. says:

    Applause is a joyful noise, so why not? God approves of gratitude. I sing in the choir and while it’s not necessary to hear applause, it’s appreciated after special programs like Christmas and Easter.

  • Helen Jauregui says:

    As a music director, choir director and organist…..it depends on the culture. Generally, in our parish (predominantly white, city/suburban) people tend not to applaud after the closing hymn as they are GONE. When the choir does an anthem after communion, a few people will begin applause and it spreads, but it feels VERY uncomfortable to us (even though the choir members feel flattered, of course). The point of the song is to lead people into prayer, and it really drives me crazy when people clap during what should be a moment of awe. I know they mean well, to be appreciative, but I would be happier if they just let the music hang in the air in silence.

  • Marilyn says:

    As a cantor I think it’s odd to have applause at the end of every mass, in most masses the choir isn’t present. I can understand if the Halleluia Chorus or such ends a mass, but this happens at my parish after every mass where there is music. Not sure when this started, but it was not always the case.

  • neleh says:

    Praising the Lord, and showing appreciation to the choir in the form of clapping is perfectly appropriate.
    Who said giving praise should be stiff and unnatural. If one goes to church and is not allowed to feel free to move ones body to what is felt during praise, then one is spiritually dead.

  • Andrew says:

    In a Catholic Church, applause is not appropriate! I say this as an organist and director, when we play/sing at Mass, we are not performers. We are worshippers just as the congregation, priest, and other ministers of the Mass. We are simply and humbly doing our job. You wouldn’t applaud the priest or deacon at the end of every homily, you wouldn’t applaud the altar server because they carried that cross oh-so-proudly, or the lector because they pronounced those words so clearly. We are all doing our part and applauding actually diminishes what we do. A simple thank you will do.

  • Rick Duffy says:

    As a choir member, I’m always appreciative of those who applaud for our ministry. More often than not, our priest will ask the congregation to acknowledge the choir, but it does happen spontaneously too! I usually joke that the parishioners are delighted we’ve stopped singing! 🙂 HA!

  • Estrella Boquiren-Masi says:

    Choir is a Ministry. They sing to the lord which uplift your heart. I don’t see anything wrong in clapping after th final sing. It’s like saying “thank you Lord.”

  • Thomas Loy Bumgarner says:

    Sorry, I am Lutheran and am totally against applauding after worship. Catholics, Episcopalians/Anglicans, and Lutherans are not Pentecostal

  • kuchat says:

    Why applaud? Do u applaud in an occult meeting or a native juju mans house? The church is a house of prayer and God is always in a quiet silent place. Not riotous concert halls and market places. Soon, you will like comedians to come and perform in church to add a colourful ceremony to it all.

  • Tom Flynn says:

    If we consider the choir a ministry then applauding is not appropriate. Would we applaud the priest after the consecration? Surely we should be far more grateful for the Real Presence of Christ than for any music. Why not applaud a good reader, a good alter server, a good Eucharistic minister? The only reason there is applause is because we are used to do that after a performance – not what the mass is about

  • Rose Ramirez says:

    Applause after depend of what occasion is. But applause shoudent go for the choir but applause should be to praise God. Honestly, I find it very annoying listening to a soft and out of tune performance of choir. It make me more sleepy than giving me more excitement to celebrate. The holy mass. Sorry for this but it’s true. I saw a lot of mass goers doing the same thing.

  • The mass is not a performance… all too often I’ve visited churches where the musical performances seem more to showcase talent than to offer praise. We come not to be entertained but to receive spiritual nourishment. Nothing should distract from that purpose. Front and center at every mass is Jesus and he’s not there to share the spotlight. We have 6 days and 23 hours each week for which we can pursue narcissistic interests and American Idol fantasies… can we not offer up just one solemn hour to focus on the Savior of the World and be bathed in His Divine Mercy?

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