Singing hymns *and* propers?
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Our schola sings the ordinary in Latin and the Responsorial Psalm in English twice a month. A couple of months ago, we added Ubi Caritas as an offertory hymn, Panis Angelicus as a communion hymn, Ave Maria post-communion, and Salve Regina post-Mass. For Advent, we sang the introit in English from the Anglican Use Gradual (AUG). For Epiphany and the Feast of the Baptism, we'll sing the introit, offertory, and communio from AUG.

    Here's my question: does anyone have some suggestions for reasonable ways to sing the propers (in English or Latin) and still incorporate good English hymnody? The point would be a compromise to keep folks happy who would miss the absence of any English hymns.

  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    WJA, one option is to sing the proper chant and then follow it with a hymn. That can be particularly effective if you use incense during the entrance, or offertory, or for communion.
  • The option that Gavin states is the option I would exercise, specifically:

    - Hymn followed by Introit (especially if the hymn is forte)
    - Offertory antiphon followed by hymn
    - Communion antiphon followed by hymn
  • Yes! Gavin and Aristotle: exactly!
    We've followed precisely this model in my parish on feasts/solemnities when we have fuller ceremonial (incense, etc.).
    I would love to be able to do this every week, but our usual ritual action doesn't lend itself to this model.
    One can sing the introit immediately before the official Mass start time, but it feels silly to sing a processional chant while most people are rushing into their pews.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Thanks for these suggestions.

    We don't ever use incense, unfortunately, and one priest just comes in from the sacristy. So I'm thinking the processional generally won't have time for both hymn and proper. But we could do both for offertory and communion.

    As for processional, I guess we just have to decide whether we're pushing people too much to drop the hymn.

  • If it's a time-pressing issue, another idea would be to start the Introit about 3-5 minutes before Mass, then start the processional hymn (not a gathering hymn - too late!) at its "usual spot".
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    Brian… that's what I've been doing.
  • In most cases the preparation of the gifts takes longer than it takes to sing the offertory chant. A hymn may, therefore, appropriately be sung after it. (We, in fact, often add both a motet and a hymn. When no motet is sung, the censing is covered by an organ improvisation.)

    At the communion the choir can sing the antiphon with psalm verses during the communion of the priest and people and receive communion last. Then all may sing a hymn during the ablutions.

    Some oppose singing a hymn after the dismissal; but I think that their position is pedantic and silly. The congregation does not, after all, bolt out the door the moment "Thanks be to God" has been sung. If they are going to remain until the minister have left the church, they may just as well sing a hymn while they are waiting. A long hymn give the clergy time to unvest and get to the door to greet visitors and others as they are leaving.

    I would not add a hymn to the introit. The entrance rite on most Sundays already includes an opening hymn--Gloria in excelsis. In the reforemed Roman rite the "Initial rites" are already bloated. Adding another hymn would be a mistake.

    In summary, I recommend singing a hymn after the offertory, during the ablutions, and as the ministers leave the presbyterium.
  • Bruce, et al.

    Unfortunately, many Catholic parishioners bolt the minute the priest is no longer visible to them after saying the dismissal. Your account is what I remember from Episcopal churches but have rarely observed in US Catholic churches. When there's a hymn at that point, over half the congregation could quite possibly be gone by the end of the second verse. It's uncouth behavior but very widespread. If the text of a hymn is worthy of being included in the liturgy (and many aren't!), then it seems important not to have folks leave while a such a prayer text is sung. Now given the quality of much current Catholic hymnody, walking out is a reasonable response, but we need to work for a higher standard in every aspect of this situation.

    In my parish we sing a hymn of thanksgiving (per GIRM) after a short period of seated silence following the ablutions and before the final oration.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    I discussed these options with our organist, who is the de facto music director and the reason our schola has been able to sing the Mass. She thinks we should stick to an all-chant Mass for our two Sundays of the month, and let people have their hymns the other two months. That's a reasonable point of view, and I know many people would jump for joy to be told that they should stick to singing propers at the Mass. I just have this fear that the absence of any English hymnody will come back to haunt our project at some future date. We shall see.

    Thanks to all for their suggestions.

  • AlVotta
    Posts: 41
    I play for a church where the priest comes right from the sacristy to the altar, making the entrance quite fast.

    Even so, I play an Entrance hymn (first stanza and refrain). When it's finished, the priest is ready to start; but at this moment I sing the Introit antiphon (in Portuguese, I live in Brazil). I compose its music myself, and it's not long. This has been agreed upon with the pastor, and he enjoys it.
  • AOZ
    Posts: 369
    Start a congregational hymn before Mass begins, while people are filing in. Then they've had their hymn - the signal has been sent that they are in church and they quiet down, and that may be a help in some parishes. When Father is ready to process, then, and only then, being the Introit. Then you have the best of both worlds - a favorite hymn which draws the crowd together (the gathering song, as it is want to be called these days),and the Introit in its proper place. People will eventually recognize the different function of each of the genres. "Oh, that was a nice hymn," they will think, "but now the Mass itself is starting."

    We did this on Christmas morning this year. Everyone who comes to Mass expects Christmas hymns. So we fed that with O Come All 'Ye Faithful, and when most were seated and Father was ready, the Mass began...."Puer natus est nobis..."

    It worked beautifully.
  • CPT Tom
    Posts: 11
    Our schola sings mass once a month at the 7:30am mass. We sing a prelude (a chanted hymn such as Alma Redemtor Mater, etc) 5 minutes before mass, the propers (introit, offertory, communion), some of the ordinary (Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei), responsorial psalm (from the Chabanel Project) and a recessional hymn (usually a traditional English Hymn such as For all the Saints).

    We do this without accompaniment, and we have seen a gradual rise in numbers at this mass over the past 5 months, so it seems to be working attached is the planning doc for our latest mass.

    **The first link doesn't work but the second one does****
  • Tom: very inspiring!
  • CPT Tom
    Posts: 11
    The most interesting aspect of singing the way that we do is that the visible change in the entire "feel" of the mass for the congregation and the clergy celebrating the mass. The congregation comments we've gotten speak of the "calmness," "serenity," and "peacefulness." The priests and deacons comment on how solemn and focused the mass seems now.

    We originally had organ accompaniment for the hymns and an English Hymn at Communion, both were dropped as the Pastoral Administrator (a deacon) and the priests felt that both were "jarring" and the hymn didn't fit with the chant! The Deacon is now pushing use of incense for not only during the introit (Which he says the music "screams" incense) but also for the other appropriate parts of mass. So, trusting in the music of the Mass can work out. I'm saying this even though I'm in the Rochester Diocese, which is not known for traditional music these days. If this is working here, I think it can work just about anywhere!
  • Pes
    Posts: 623

    That makes all the sense in the world to me.