Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Nativity of St John the Baptist


EntranceO the word of my Lord
Penitential RiteAt the Table of the Lord (Collegeville Composers Group)
GloriaAt the Table of the Lord (Collegeville Composers Group)
Psalm 138I thank you, Lord (mtgf/TamiƩ)
Gospel Acclamation (Murray)
Preparation of GiftsYou know me, Lord (James Walsh)
Eucharistic AcclamationsMissal (ICEL)
Lamb of GodAt the Table of the Lord (Collegeville Composers Group)
CommunionThe love of the Lord (Michael Joncas)
FinalBlest be the Lord (Bernadette Farrell)

Celebrating a Saint on a Sunday may seem a little random to some - particularly if not a holiday of obligation. I can remember a friend, someone the media would call devout - they went to Mass on Sundays - expressing shock as they had never realised in the ordinary course of the year Saint's days were subsumed by Sundays. Those which may replace Sundays have importance as central to our faith. Today is one of the marking points in the cycle of the incarnation.

The first hymn was taken from the first reading for Isaiah, what was true of Isaiah, and was true of Jeremiah was also true of the last of the prophets - God had called them in the womb. The final hymn filled out the missing part of the Gospel - the Canticle of Zechariah, the Benedictus. The other choices were in part dictated by resources. You know me, Lord is probably less familiar than O God, you search me by Bernadette Farrell. The Walsh setting is a simple dialogue between verses in the minor and major.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

17 June 2012

EntranceUnless a grain of wheat (Bernadette Farrell)
Penitential RiteAt the Table of the Lord (Collegeville Composers Group)
GloriaAt the Table of the Lord (Collegeville Composers Group)
Psalm 91It is good to give thanks to the Lord (mtgf)
Gospel Acclamation (Murray)
Preparation of GiftsParable (M D Ridge)
Eucharistic AcclamationsMissal (ICEL)
Lamb of GodAt the Table of the Lord (Collegeville Composers Group)
CommunionAve Verum (Elgar)
FinalAll creatures of our God and king

Today something unusual happened. The preacher mentioned the psalm in the homily. This was to link cedars of the first reading and the psalm with the trees in the gospel. I have probably mentioned before that one reason that the psalm is infrequently mentioned in the homily is possibly due to the practice of replacing it with a relative text - near or distant. This visiting priest would have recognised that we (nearly) always sing the psalm in the Lectionary. A recent book on the Lectionary Making the most of the Lectionary devotes 2 pages to the psalm which effectively says because the psalm may be sung in a number of ways or even be replaced it should be counted as music rather than as worth commenting on. In a similar way commentaries on the readings by scripture scholars often omit the psalm and just comment on the individual readings and so ignore the dynamic of the Liturgy of the Word — i.e. I am not sure you can comment on the psalm with reference to the other readings and therefore the relationship of one to the other.

Talking about relationships a couple of choices were at a tangent to the readings. At a tangent or giving a new angle. Unless a grain was true to the Gospel and brought out the paschal mystery (as perhaps the foundational theme of the Ordinary Time Lectionary). We ended with the 3rd verse and the hope we would 'bear much fruit'. As a passing thought when listening to the gospels and the tantalising ending about explaining everything whether the Gospel of John was in someways the explanation. A different angle was provided by Parable where the verses retell the parable of the sower. The refrain is based on Ecclesiastes: to everything there is a season — another way of looking at Ordinary Time perhaps?

I was struck the last few weeks by the Missal chants, particularly when we did them unaccompanied, how they 'slot into' the prayer and do not break up the flow of it. I wonder if one of the effects of many parishes using these settings first might give people a renewed appreciation of the place of the acclamations within the prayer — as an integral part rather than some added music.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord

10 June 2012

EntranceThe heavenly word
GloriaAt the Table of the Lord (Collegeville Composers Group)
Psalm 115The cup of salvation (mtgf)
Gospel Acclamation (Murray)
Preparation of GiftsWhoever eats my flesh (mtgf)
Eucharistic AcclamationsMissal (ICEL)
Lamb of GodAt the Table of the Lord (Collegeville Composers Group)
CommunionTake and Eat (Michael Joncas)
FinalAlleluia, sing to Jesus

I have been told that every Catholic knows the hymns that St Thomas Aquinas wrote for Corpus Christi. I am not wholly convinced. What interests me in them is how the last couple of verses, or a short section, get extracted and did become popular—so from The heavenly word comes O salutaris. We sang the JM Neale translation to Rockingham which people did know.

We were unaccompanied but as the refrain of Take and eat was already in the Mass leaflet we used it. The cantors and choir managed well the modulation between verse and refrain. It is worth noting that the feast is now the Body and Blood of Christ and that the texts are balanced, if not weighted towards the Precious Blood — the scriptural images for the Blood of Christ are quite rich. I remember at a Conference on the Eucharist someone asking the speaker if Communion would still have been received under both kinds in the time of St Thomas Aquinas, given that he writes of both, and it was thought where Communion was received it would have been under both kinds - though the practice was dying out.

We had planned something else for the Preparation of Gifts but I had prepared a simple setting of the Communion Antiphon with verses from Psalm 23 which we were also going to sing at Communion but in the circumstances it fitted where it was placed.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Most Holy Trinity

3 June 2012

EntranceGod, whose almighty word
Penitential RiteAt the Table of the Lord (Collegeville Composers Group)
GloriaAt the Table of the Lord (Collegeville Composers Group)
Psalm 32Happy the people (mtgf)
Gospel Acclamation (Murray)
Preparation of GiftsHymn of the Cherubim (Russian?)
Eucharistic AcclamationsMissal (ICEL)
Lamb of GodAt the Table of the Lord (Collegeville Composers Group)
CommunionGod beyond all names (Bernadette Farrell)
FinalHoly God, we praise thy name

Easter time is past and this year we managed the total change of Mass settings. Simpler for the Summer. Indeed it is almost a year since we began singing the new translation - we delayed a couple of weeks due to Conferences last year. The Penitential Act and Lamb of God were new. It was a little odd that the Penitential Act is in F#m and is followed by the Gloria in C major. I may yet change the Lamb of God - I feel we need, for a contrast with preceding seasons, something a little more expansive.

We were unaccompanied but the congregation sang the opening hymn well - its strong melody working well.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pentecost Sunday

27 May 2012

EntranceCpme down, O Love divine
GloriaMass of Wisdom (Steven Janco)
Psalm 103Send forth your spirit, O Lord (mtgf)
SequenceCome Holy Spirit, Lord divine (arr. mtgf)
Preparation of GiftsSpirit of God (Bernadette Farrell)
Eucharistic AcclamationsMass of Wisdom (Steven Janco)
Lamb of GodMass of Wisdom (Steven Janco)
Communion Enemy of Apathy (John Bell)
The Spirit come to us in our weakness (mtgf)
FinalWe have a gospel to proclaim

Joining a choir can be a like an apprenticeship where you learn the ways and repertoire of the place. It also means when you are a small group that the repertoire may need to be simplified to allow all to take part.

I found it hard to choose a final hymn. Someone once suggested to me that it was odd on an Advent Sunday to sing 'Wait for the Lord' at Communion I have a similar sense of singing 'Come, Holy Spirit' at the end of Mass - it seems a bit late. As we had (5) baptisms the connection with mission seemed important but there were not many choices that brought out the role of the Spirit - or at least that I would have sung. In the end we sang We have a gospel which with its Easter verse encompassed the whole season which was coming to an end.

This will be our last use until next Easter, I think, if the Mass of Wisdom. I am aware that we have only used one of the Memorial Acclamations and we will need to introduce the others next year, lest we get stuck.