Thanks to Dr. Buck Melton, Writer in Residence at Mercer University, who takes most of the Church pictures I post and some he makes look very artistic like Father Dawid Kwiatkowski incensing at what I always jokingly call the "True Mass" to get those who don't like it really going! Why am I like that? I need help! For those who notice a modern censer at the True Mass, please know we have a very beautiful traditional one with the three chains, but one of the chains keeps breaking, making the censer go katty wamp during the celebration of the Mass which is not a pretty picture.
Does your parish use incense? I use to buy into what was called "progressive solemnity" meaning you'd keep your principle Sunday Mass simple during Ordinary Time, dress it up for Easter and Christmas, make it even more stark during Advent and Lent and for Solemnities kick off your shoes and make it smoke.
I don't do that anymore. Our 9:30 AM and 12:10 PM Masses are Sung Masses and we sing everything, including the Sign of the Cross, greetings, etc. We use incense at the beginning, Gospel and Offering of the Gifts.
Our 4:30 PM Vigil, 7:45 AM and 5:00 PM Sunday Masses are sung, but no incense and normally what is sung would be the Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Post Communion along with the Preface dialogue, preface and Our Father (which is sung at all Masses including its embolism and doxology).
Of course the General Instruction of the Roman Missal suggests that singing the Mass (not necessarily hymns during the Mass) is the ideal even for weekday Masses.
Our cantors always sing the official introit (shorter version from the Roman Missal) offertory and Communion antiphons. Of course on Sunday we also sing a metrical hymn at the procession and at the Communion Procession and recession.
During the week, these propers are spoken, but we sing the Alleluia, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith, Great Amen and Lamb of God. We know these well in English and Latin. The Alleluia is easy to sing in English or Latin and we always do the Great Amen in Hebrew.
So how do we dress up or make more solemn our "incense" Masses at the 9:30 AM and 12:10 PM? Well for special occasions I will sing the Eucharistic prayer from the Calling of the Holy Spirit through the consecration and we'll use incense and torches during the Eucharistic Prayer and at the elevations. That's the extent of our progressive solemnity.
When I first got to St. Joseph, incense was used maybe three times a year at Sunday Mass and at funerals only. So it took some adjustment for the congregation to have it each Sunday and there were limited protests.
We finally settled on only having incense at the 9:30 and 12:10 Masses so that those who found it off-putting could have a Mass without it. We do have one or two people who have serious respiratory problems and really cannot be at a Mass with incense. I don't know what Greek Orthodox people do when they have these problems since the Divine Liturgy always has incense.
I have a reputation for using a lot of incense. I was the "cover boy" for an Augusta magazine called the "Metro Spirit" which had a full front page picture of me incensing away at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity.
Father Dawid Kwiatkowski's ethereal shot above is cooler though!