Back in the day, before FB/Twitter/Snapchat reduced everything to a couple of angry sentences, online conversations were had on blogs: A long well-considered post, and a worthy response. In that sense this post is something of a throwback. It’s a response I posted over at Gottesblog. Pr. Jason Braaten has a great post on Rethinking Homebound Visits. My comment follows:
Oh my yes! The Divine Liturgy just aches to be sung! And the memory is fully engaged – even for those with dementia – when music is added. (As an aside, I have had some catechumens chant the words of consecration when reciting memory work for the first part of Holy Communion.) Everything just works better with music.
As for my practice with shut-ins, it was formed in my first parish, where the homebound members were often confused, unable to read, and unfamiliar with their own responses. I paired down the service to just the ordinaries (no responses except the confession/absolution.) I had a member who was blind; she told me the best font for the vision impaired is called Verdana. It is ugly, but it is clear.
Generally the member will sing along.
I print small booklets with the liturgy as well as about 20 hymns. Shut in Large Print Liturgy You’ll want to select your own hymns based on what people know in your parish. I pick hymns that match general themes for the season, are direct and clear in their confession, or focus on comfort and hope. I have two different books – one with hymns for the festival seasons, one with hymns for regular time. I also have a little book for myself with the liturgy, a few prayers, the hymns, and the Introit/Collect/2 Readings for each week. Saves my flipping about between many books. Rarely if ever (Occasional hospital visits) do I use the readings for the sick in the Pastoral Care Companion. The weekly lectionary readings work beautifully in most cases.
But yes, sing with your shut-ins! The hymns are a great comfort to them. I usually figure I’m singing loudly enough at the hospital/nursing home if the nurse comes by to close the door (heh-heh).
I recently moved to the new setting – “you” not “thee”. It only took 11 years for my shut-ins to be more familiar to with the new setting than the old, due to attrition. I looked at the PCC, but too many options, and too much that is unique. Homebound member is the wrong time to be teaching. It’s why we teach and use the same liturgy for the first 85 years.