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Nancy Murguia wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have been playing the keyboard for Mass for the last 10+ years (out of over 30 years of music ministry) but our new priest told me that the keyboard is not liturgically suitable for Mass.

The congregation loved our music, but out of respect for our new priest, I discontinued playing the keyboard. Many parishioners have asked me why. I really don't know how to answer them. I always thought that any form of praise would be acceptable, but now, I'm not sure.

We use the music from our song books, so it is not a matter of modern music. We also have several guitars including a bass guitar. The keyboard carried the melody and beat.

We are just curious as to why the keyboard would not be acceptable as a musical instrument for the Mass.


  { Why wouldn't the keyboard be acceptable as a musical instrument for the Mass? }

Eric replied:


I do not know why it would not be acceptable, especially if he allows guitars. The organ officially has pride of place so I'd understand if the pastor allowed only an organ but I see no canonical reason to forbid a keyboard and allow guitars.

I'd tell the truth to those who ask: Say the pastor forbids it, and you have to respect that.


Bob replied:


Your pastor has let the guitars stay in place, for now, but if he has already nixed the keyboard, I would expect the other instruments will soon follow.

I would have a meeting with the pastor with the other musical staff and see where he is going. I have seen this happen at some parishes where a pastor has a particular preference and completely dismantles the existing musical program, much to the dismay of the congregation.

If he is flexible, different Masses can have a different musical accompaniment: some more traditional and some more contemporary.

Our parish works this way:

  • the pipe organ is used at the 11:00 am Mass
  • the contemporary group is at the 9:00 am Mass
  • no instrument is used at the 7:30 am Mass, and
  • the Saturday vigil Mass uses the keyboard with a cantor.

That way, there is something for everybody, but still one community. Hopefully, your pastor will keep an open mind. Good luck.

Ultimately, if you do not want to go with the same vision, and he is intractable, you may want to look for a new parish.



Nancy replied:

Hi guys,

Thank you for your response.

Actually, our church used to have several different types of Masses:

  • traditional
  • cantor with a piano
  • youth group, and
  • ours was a more of a Hispanic beat on Saturday night.

We would do a mixture of Spanish and English, but mostly use English. I've already spoken to him privately and there is no changing his mind, so I will continue to respect his wishes. I do believe his ultimate goal is to have piano or organ only.

I think it is sad since different music allows for people to choose a Mass that is more in tune to their tastes.

I just wanted to know whether the Catholic Church was against the keyboard or it was just our Priest.

Thank you again.


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