We’re about ready to begin Mass. The people have assembled with their priest, with bread and wine, and the Holy Scriptures and other necessary texts. What more could be needed?
Well, the Church’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy says that “Sacred music . . . forms a necessary and integral part of solemn liturgy” (no. 112). So it makes sense that musicians are among the first of the ministers you would want. They will choose, direct, and even perform music at Mass.
But right here I want to make an important point. Well, actually I’m plagiarizing the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 1157) when I do it! While music is also meant to enhance prayerfulness and solemnity, one of its chief purposes is to enable “the unanimous participation of the assembly at the designated moments” in the liturgy. Choral pieces or solo performances can bring about Aunanimous listening,” of course, but the main way that musicians enhance a ceremony is to help everyone sing! This is why they make such an effort to enlist our voices in sacred song.
Mass is better when we all sing. Mass is holier when we all sing. Let me be blunt: Mass “gives more grace” and pleases God more when we all sing.