COVID-19 affects singing at Mass


Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

Outside of Church of Gesu where students can attend Mass.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect how Mass is structured on campus. Although some of the regulations from last year have been lifted, there are still restrictions in place.

Last year, there were restrictions on the number of people who could attend Mass.

The Chapel of the Holy Family, located in the Alumni Memorial Union, which typically sits 140 people was limited to 35 people who had to be socially distanced. The Mass was livestreamed in other rooms within the AMU to allow more attendees.

Prior to attending Mass, attendees were required to reserve a seat online and check-in upon arrival. Once the attendees checked in, disinfected their hands and put on a mask, they were allowed into the chapel. All attendees were required to wear masks throughout the entire service except when they partook in communion.

Father Grant Garinger, a professor in the College of Communication and liturgical coordinator for campus ministry, compares how Mass with COVID-19 was run last year in contrast to this year.

Garinger said that there are less COVID-19 restrictions this year compared to last year.

The only restriction this year is that people are required to wear a mask at all times during mass, regardless of vaccination statues. All the chairs within the Chapel of the Holy Family have been returned and people are no longer required to reserve a seat online nor will be checked in upon arrival.

Many of these restrictions were also enforced at the Church of the Gesu last year.  Due to its proximity to campus many members of the Marquette community attend mass at Gesu.

In an update for the Church of the Gesu, Father Jim Flaherty said that “MU Campus Ministry will begin the 6 pm Sunday Mass at Gesu on September 12th. This Mass is offered only when classes are in session, but it is open to the larger public.”

 An area of Mass that is restricted during COVID-19 is singing. Singing was not allowed in any capacity by the congregation. During the liturgy, a recording of singers was played. At Gesu, however, there was one singer who wore a mask and stood far back in the balcony.

“Last year, not only here at the university but across the world, singing was frowned upon because when you sing you expel a lot of droplets which the virus is carried on,” Garinger said.

Garinger is waiting on directives from Marquette University’s COVID-19 committee regarding if singing will be allowed this year. As of now, there will not be singing in person.

Garinger describes this restriction on singing as “terrible.”

Thomas Koester, assistant director for music and director of the liturgical choir at Marquette, discussed the changes for the choir this fall.  He said that he is waiting to hear more from the Marquette Medical Clinic and the College of Communication “to answer questions for the music ensembles regarding social distancing and capacity.”

However, they who are actively recruiting student liturgical ministers, including eucharistic ministers, altar servers, lectors, hospitality ministers, cantors and liturgical choir members. He encourages those who are interested in joining Campus Ministry webpage.

The Mass schedule at the Chapel of the Holy Family includes noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday and 9 p.m. on Sunday. There is also a 6 p.m. Mass on Sunday at the Church of the Gesu.

This story was written by Hannah Hernandez. She can be reached at