Chants for a healing service?
  • MarkB
    Posts: 59
    I have the task of leading music for a healing Mass and providing soft, meditative music for the lengthy period of healing prayers that will follow Mass.

    During the healing service that will follow Mass, I would like to sing some appropriate Latin chants. I will be by myself, chanting a cappella. If I don't find good chants to sing, I will have to fall back on David Haas' "Jesus, Heal Us" and similar songs in our GIA hymnal. Not entirely against doing some of that, but if there are any appropriate Gregorian chants I can sing, I would like to begin with those and maybe do those exclusively.

    But I would like help selecting chants to use. So far I have selected two:
    Veni Creator Spiritus
    Ubi Caritas

    and maybe also Veni Sancte Spiritus if it wouldn't be improper or redundant to chant that in addition to Veni Creator Spiritus.

    I wonder whether it would be appropriate to chant the Credo III, the Orbis Factor Kyrie, and Asperges Me during such a time. Are those only for Mass? I had also wondered too about Adoro Te Devote since the healing service won't be Eucharistic Adoration. Would chanting those be improper because they are foreign to the context of the healing service?

    Basically, it will be a congregation of about 300 parishioners and some strangers who attend. They are not sophisticated in their knowledge of liturgical music, they don't know Latin or chant, they won't sing along with the "background music" I provide anyway, and it's an opportunity to expose people to chant in a way that is not currently possible during Mass or in general at the parish.

    In general, I will provide background music to establish a prayerful setting while prayers of healing are taking place with and for people for a lengthy period of time after Mass. So would singing almost any chant do in such a circumstance? Should I consider this an opportunity to sing a selection of chant's greatest hits? Are there any you can recommend that would be especially suitable for the occasion of a healing service or any that you would say I should avoid? (Like avoid Tantum Ergo, obviously. Also not the Easter sequence.)

    Thank you for your advice. This is an unusual request.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,080
    I think that everything that has crossed your mind that you have listed above would be very good, including both Veni Creator and Veni Sancte. Don't forget Jesu dulcis memoria and Adoro te. There is a beautiful chant-like hymn in the 1940 (no. 307) that you might want to consider. It is called Most High Omipotent Good Lord and is a verse arrangement of Francis of Assisi's Creation Hymn. I think that it would be most apt. Also, no 485ii would be good - Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts, set to a chant melody. Your choices thus far are very good. Whatever you do don't sing Haas or any of the other GIA stuff that you mention - because you did say that this was for a healing service.
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen MarkB Carol
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,419
    I would not use chant that lacks a good connection here as aural wallpaper (using the Credo strikes me as that in this context; ditto the Asperges; Kyries by contrast can work).

    This especially lends itself to chants based on the Psalms and scriptural Canticles.
    Thanked by 2MarkB Carol
  • MarkB
    Posts: 59
    Thanks for the advice, how does this look as a working list so far?

    Veni Creator
    Ubi caritas
    Conditor alme
    Salve Regina
    Adoro te
    Kyrie
    Jesu dulcis
    Veni Sancte
    Ave verum
    Ave Maria

    Still open to critiques and suggestions. The service isn't until next week.
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 758
    I would pick the half dozen best Kyries (quick, name a Kyrie!) and lard 'em through your (fine) list. All those lovely melismas, and simple words everyone knows.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 926
    Chants from the Missa pro infirmis (GR p.655)? The Offertory Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam with verses, as printed by Karl Ott in his Offertoriale no.20 on page 36 looks quite a challenge.
  • Mark,

    I disagree that Asperges me hyssopo is inappropriate for a healing Mass. First, there's more than one chant melody for the Asperges me. Second, if you're mindful that physical healings often correlate (in the Gospels) with much deeper spiritual healing, this text seems quite appropriate.

    The psalm used for the stripping of the altar on Good Friday, Deus meus would work, too, especially if chanted using the psalm tones in an unhurried manner.

    There's also the Lauds hymn for the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, Summi Parentis Unice -- 3 vv -- or the Matins hymn Maria castis osculis -- 2 vv.

    Various litanies come to mind.



  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,875
    Are you an organist?

    Do you play instrumentals?

    If so... here are some suggestions:

    Adagio for Strings - S. Barber (pm me for the score - not publishable as under copyright protection)
    Nimrod - Elgar (attached)
    Albinoni - Adagio (attached)
    Elevazione - Martin (attached)
    Arioso - Bach (attached)



  • Gamba
    Posts: 78
    Out of sloth, and also a belief in the beauty and universal power of the psalms, I would be inclined to chant a number of psalms, in English for comprehension, for example (modern numbering) Psalms 4, 90 23, 121, 130 – sort of Greatest Hits, I know, but those which come most quickly to mind, when thinking of texts that ask for help and give thanks for comfort.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,532
    Multitudo Languentium
    Thanked by 1Gamba
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,080
    .