Wednesday, June 19, 2013


...and some more lessons on liturgical nomenclature

As I present the music for this coming weekend, I'm going to notate on some "terms" used when compiling a music list for Holy Mass.
Sung Ordinary of the Mass: Messa Populare "Laus Tibi Christe", music by Federico Caudana (the setting we've been using throughout the month of June)
- The sung Mass has two different categories of chants.  The aforementioned "Ordinary" is the collective name given to the fixed texts of the Mass - they are the same throughout.  The Ordinary would consist of such pieces as the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.
- The other category of Mass chants is the "Proper".  These chants vary from day to day.  The Proper includes the Responsorial Psalm and Alleluia, and more traditionally, the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, and Communion chants that are appointed by the Church.  (Yes, the Alleluia is a Proper.  Although the response of the people is the same, Alleluia, except during Lent, the verse still varies from day to day.)
Entrance hymn: Maroon 343 Praise to the holiest in the height (First tune) (Listen)
- A good number of parishes will announce a "gathering song" instead.  As I mentioned a few months ago in a post, there is no such thing as a "gathering song".  If you're singing and gathering at the same time, you're probably late for Mass.  "Entrance hymn", or even more accurate, "Entrance chant" comes from the Latin "Introitus", from where we get our "Introit" in the traditional Mass.  It focuses on the procession of the priest "in persona Christi" (in the person of Christ), as to where "gathering song" simply focuses on the people gathered.
Responsorial Psalm: My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord, my God, music by Fr. Samuel Weber
Alleluia: Mode VI chant (same as last few weeks)
- Again, the Alleluia is the Proper, not the Ordinary, as the verse text (sung by the cantor(s)) varies from day to day.
- "Mode VI" is one of eight Gregorian modes used in chant melodies.  Other modes that "sound" major are Modes V, VII, and VIII.  Modes I and II "sound" blatantly minor.  Modes III and IV seem like they could go either way, but the tonic of those two modes are ultimately minor (that is, should you use actually put the melody over its tonic chord, which is minor).
Offertory hymn: Worship 634 Take up your cross
- Sorry, I don't have a listen link available.  We have done this one before.  Nice Italian tune: O Jesu, mi dulcissime
- Mainstream parishes will refer to the Offertory as the "Preparation Song", or "Song at the Preparation of the Gifts", or the grammatically insipid "Preparation of the Gifts Song".  No matter which way you slice it, the "Preparation of the Altar and Gifts" is the action taking place by Father.  The hymn or chant being sung is still, even to this day, the "Offertory", as we offer our gifts (the money, to a minor extent, as that helps a parish operate, but to a far greater extent, the Bread and Wine which become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ).  Consider the words spoken by the celebrant (aloud when there is no singing, silently when there is singing): Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread/wine we OFFER you..."
Communion anthem:
- (5:00 Saturday): TBA
- (7:30 Sunday): organ improvisation
- (9:00 and 11:15): O Sacrum Convivium, music by Roberto Remondi
- In many "mainstream parishes", at this time you may hear some pop ditty that focuses on "we are gathered as one" (there we go with that word "gather" again), instead of giving reverence to our Eucharistic Lord.  Here at Sacred Heart, we are firm believers that the spoken word and music must agree.  As the spoken word reverences our Eucharistic Lord, so must our music.  "Come and sit at my table and be one in this banquet hall on holy ground" just does not satisfy that reverence.  It's more focused on the people receiving the Lord.  Our music here should focus on the Lord we receive.
Meditation hymn: Worship 728 Shepherd of souls (Listen)
- A meditation hymn is completely optional, but certainly good to have.  Some parishes sing a "hymn of praise" in this spot (both nomenclatures here are fine, according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal).  Some parishes use a Marian Antiphon (as we do throughout Easter Season with the Regina Caeli), also perfectly fine.
Recessional hymn: on the sheet in the pew, To Jesus' Heart, all-burning
- Often mis-named in many churches as a "Sending Forth Song" (more insipid grammar) or "Song of Sending Forth", or some just say, a "Sending Song".  Again, we need to re-shift our focus off the people and back onto Christ.  Thus the "Recessional Hymn", which focuses on, once again, the priest celebrant "in persona Christi" as he leaves the sanctuary.
Some fellow bloggers, along with myself, started use of a really good saying about eight years ago:
The goal is to bring us closer to heaven, not to bring heaven to us.  The former is my goal as a parish organist.  It is (obviously) the goal of Fr. Bucci, our pastor.  I think I can safely say it is our goal as a parish.  It should be the goal of all parishes.