Marian Repertoire During Mass
  • annapacekannapacek
    Posts: 3
    One of the priests at our parish recently brought up the point that Marian hymns/repertoire should not be sung during Mass. It is my understanding, that as long as you are not substituting the Marian piece example "Ave Maria" for one of the propers of the day, it may be sung as a second Offertory, Communion Meditation or even as the recessional if it were a hymn such as, "Hail Holy Queen". I am familiar with the GIRM text guidelines on selecting sacred music that is directly related to the Liturgy and of how Gregorian Chant has pride of place. I also know that the most appropriate place for Marian pieces is reserved for feasts and solemnities such as the Assumption or the Immaculate Conception. But, as long as the designated propers for the particular Liturgy are not skipped or replaced, is it permissible to add the "Ave Maria" or "Hail Holy Queen" to a Liturgy that does not fall on a specific Marian feast? The second part to my question concerns funerals. What is the correct method for incorporating the "Ave Maria" or even the much requested "Hail Mary, Gentle Woman"? Is it permissible to insert either of these as a second Offertory or Communion Meditation, so long as the funeral propers for that part of the Liturgy are still sung?
  • the much requested "Hail Mary, Gentle Woman"


    politely decline

    insert either of these....so long as the funeral propers for that part of the Liturgy are still sung?


    Remember that the Requiem is (at least in the Gregorian chant) a restrained collection of chants. The Pater noster is sung recto tono. The Sursum Corda is similarly shorn. Adding music to a Requiem seems, at least consonant with these observations, ill-advised.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • annapacekannapacek
    Posts: 3
    What about if the Liturgy is in the vernacular? This certainly adds more room for requests and makes the job of declining requests for funerals more tricky.
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 726
    As for adding Marian hymns to the Mass:

    Keep in mind that the chants sung at Entrance, Offertory and Communion have a specific liturgical function. They are not just a musical accompaniment of the sacred actions, exterior to what is ritually performed, but also in themselves – by text and melody – constitute the rite. That's why the GIRM directs that, whenever the chants are chosen from an approved repertoire other than the proper chants, it should be "suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year" (#48). Adding a second chant at the Offertory or Communion entails i.m.o. the danger of adding devotional 'background' music, where the rubrics don't provide for such a choice.

    But there are other possibilities. After Communion, it is allowed to sing "a Psalm or other canticle of praise or a hymn". This could be a Marian hymn if it is selected carefully (note the reference to a 'canticle of praise'), and would be especially suitable during the months of May and October. With regard to a recessional, the GIRM says nothing about it – Mass ends with "Ite misa est – Deo gratias" – so there is a lot of leeway in selecting a Marian hymn there. But personally, I would only opt for that if the liturgy of the day or the time of the year would justify such a choice.

    With regards to a funeral:

    During the Rite of Committal With Final Commendation, at the incensation of the body, it is permitted to pray a Hail Mary. I think it's also possible to sing an Ave Maria at that time.
    Thanked by 1annapacek
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 230
    Interesting. Every Mass in Brazil I can recall has a Marian hymn afterwards. Always. Anything else would be strange. And every funeral includes the gentle song supposedly by Saint Francis 'O Master, make me an instrument of your Peace.'. If it's not appropriate (yet) surely we'll get special dispensation one of these days. You can't contain the zeal of the people for their beloved traditions. ;)
  • Paul F. Ford
    Posts: 799
    In part three, "Communion Chants," of the appendix to the Graduale Simplex (1967, 1988) (the Simple Gradual), the following is printed:

    III. AT COMMUNION

    Psalm 34 (33V) may substituted at any Mass in place of the communion antiphon and its psalm, as either a responsorial psalm with a threefold alleluia as its antiphon (see Tone I below) or as a responsorial psalm with its own antiphon (see Tone 2 below). Other suitable communion chants are listed after Tone 2.


    The "other suitable communion chants" are:

    Psalm 23 (22V), with the antiphon "I am the living bread."
    The Canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the antiphon "My soul glorifies his holy name."
    Ubi Caritas/"Where We Live as Friends in Loving Kindness," with its proper antiphon.
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 470
    On Marian feasts, the text "Ave Maria" is used as Offertory. It cannot therefore be suggested, that a text addressed to Our Lady, is wholly repugnant to the tradition of the Western Eucharistic liturgy.

    Whether it be partially repugnant I leave to you all to decide.

    *ducks out*
    Thanked by 2hilluminar CharlesW
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,819
    NoName

    You mean the offertory propers for the Annunciation, Immaculate Conception and Advent IV, and votives of the BVM outside Eastertide in the OF?
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • Anna,

    One of the great sadnesses caused by the vernacularization and indiginicization of the liturgy (which means "public worship of/by the Church") is the idea that anything may inserted at any point, for any cause whatsoever. People, of course, may request all sorts of things, but our duty as musicians doesn't include catering to every Tom, Dick or Harry. Some hereabouts have a list of pieces of music to play for weddings. Wagner and Mendelssohn are one some black lists, but the way we get around being "negative" is by providing the list of pieces from which the bride and groom may choose. If "Hail Mary, gentle woman" isn't on your list of pieces to sing/play at a funeral.... when someone requests it, politely decline.

    An illustration of the pitfalls of vernacularization can be seen in the simple Latin, "Dignum et justum est". The English translation (in the US, anyway) for decades read, "It is right to give him thanks and praise". While it is right to give God thanks and praise, that's not what the Latin says. Rather, it says "It is fitting and just".... where "fitting" is related to the word "dignity", and "just" is related to the word "justice". It is both fitting and legally required to give God thanks. It is our duty at two different levels. As soon as "thanks and praise" showed up, well meaning (and some malign) folks decided that Mass had to be a celebration, and thus required celebratory music -- hence "Praise and Worship" music, and other plagues.

    As others have already commented, Marian-related texts do show up in the proper texts of the Mass several times a year, and there is (therefore) nothing inherently wrong with using Marian texts, although one could argue (intelligently) that they are permitted when expressly included, and not otherwise. The problem isn't the use of the Scriptural text.

    About the end of a Requiem...... I think it is ill advised to put anything which insists on the Resurrection of all people to eternity in Heaven at the end of such a Mass. (Francis will chime in with a comment which makes mine seem positively generous to the idea).
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 290
    Remember that the Requiem is (at least in the Gregorian chant) a restrained collection of chants. The Pater noster is sung recto tono. The Sursum Corda is similarly shorn. Adding music to a Requiem seems, at least consonant with these observations, ill-advised.


    The original question was about funerals. As I understood, in OF land anyways, funeral <> Requiem.


    annapacek, you said that one of your priests recently raised the question. I would be asking the pastor's advice on this one. Bottom line is that he has the final say in practice. And if the believes of one of his team lead to beloved Marian pieces no longer being incorporated, that would be a lot of fallout for him to deal with.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,083
    Yes, I agree with @PaxMelodious on this. If your pastor wants to die on this hill, then on his head be it. If your pastor is more permissive on the use of Marian hymnody/anthems/motets/chants, etc. then feel free to run with his permission, within reason, of course. The authority is his, ultimately, and so is the responsibility.
  • Incardination
    Posts: 742
    Apart from the pastoral considerations of who is in charge or who ultimately makes the final decision, in terms of the questions themselves:
    as long as the designated propers for the particular Liturgy are not skipped or replaced, is it permissible to add the "Ave Maria" or "Hail Holy Queen" to a Liturgy that does not fall on a specific Marian feast?

    I'm not aware of any prohibition to the contrary. I frequently find it convenient - throughout the year - to honor our Lady by a motet or chant... not just in September, October, or May. The rubrics allow for anything that "is suitable" to be sung at Offertory or Communion once the Propers have been sung and without inhibiting the celebrant from continuing the Mass. There is no reason to think that singing music that reminds us of the influence of saints and angels, or which remind of a doctrine connected to the season or feast would be "unsuitable".

    What is the correct method for incorporating the "Ave Maria" or even the much requested "Hail Mary, Gentle Woman"? Is it permissible to insert either of these as a second Offertory or Communion Meditation, so long as the funeral propers for that part of the Liturgy are still sung?

    Many places where I have either attended or directed, Ave Maria is common during Communion at the Requiem. There is certainly an additional meaning in "pray for us at the hour of our death." Likewise, there are many beautiful motets specifically geared to the concepts of death and judgment - topics that are certainly cornerstones of our Faith. Again, I'm not aware of any prohibitions against additional music at a Requiem any more than for any other Mass.

    Of course, I'm "heretical" in that I don't believe in aligning every text specifically with a given Mass - I'm more interested in GENERAL connections rather than SPECIFIC connections. For that reason I'll use angelic hymns during October rather than only on the feast of the Guardian Angels (10/2), for example.
    Thanked by 3Annabel CHGiffen JDE
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,819
    CGZ

    "Dignum et justum est" has been "It is right and just" in the OF in the USA and rest of the English-missal world for almost 8 years....

  • .
  • Liam,

    I haven't regularly attended an OF Mass in longer than that.
    Your (accurate) correction, however, doesn't change my point about vernacularization and indiginicization.
  • annapacekannapacek
    Posts: 3
    The reason I started this conversation and the questions I asked was because, the parish that I am the Director of Sacred Music at is not a Latin Mass parish. When I came here about 5 years ago, they were doing guitar Masses, theologically incorrect hymns and repertoire and were contemplating adding a drum set. Over the years, my sister(Associate Music Director) and I have slowly moved the parish towards a more reverent liturgy and more sacred music. We now chant the Introit and Communion Antiphons, sing the Latin chant Mass parts during Advent & Lent, have 2 choirs that are strictly polyphonic and all of our choirs are building up quite a nice repertoire of sacred music. We also have eliminated the guitar Masses. I would love nothing better than to have the Latin Mass at our parish, but changes like that don't happen overnight. My main concern at the moment is making sure that as we slowly, move the parish more towards sacredness in the Liturgical music, that we are also not doing anything inherently wrong like my initial question.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,083
    Nah, you have nothing to worry about. Judicious use of solid Marian repertoire at Novus Ordo Masses is perfectly acceptable, not inherently wrong.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,747
    Remember that the Requiem is (at least in the Gregorian chant) a restrained collection of chants.


    GREAT point! The Advent/Lent Chant Mass is similarly restrained, but it seems that such fine points are lost on a lot of people, including those who claim to be 'musicians.'
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,747
    One of the priests at our parish recently brought up the point that Marian hymns/repertoire should not be sung during Mass.


    That's standard post-VatII 'utilitarian' theory. Bear that in mind.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,907
    To offer a conciliatory word for the priest with the overly restrictive thinking (which he probably was taught in the seminary, poor man), there are occasions when Marian hymns are not the best choice.

    The GIRM includes some fairly loose permissions about hymns to be sung at Mass, and vague phrases such as "another song suited to the season or the day, or the action of the Mass" (I'm summarizing from memory: that's not an exact quote). That phrase is the justification given for most of the lame repertoire foisted on Catholics these days, and you could probably use it to allow for any Marian hymn you wanted!

    But if we want to implement that phrase as well as possible, we can look for some basis on which to evaluate what hymns might be more suited: hymns related textually to the specific Gregorian propers they replace on a given Sunday; or related more broadly to the part of Mass in which they are sung (entrance, offertory, communion). Or hymns related to a Scripture reading for the day; or related thematically to the season (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, etc.)

    On some occasions, Marian hymns are perfect, but in some cases there are choices that match those criteria better, and it's only fitting to give them priority then. That shouldn't rule out the possibility of sometimes adding a Marian hymn, chant, or motet as a supplemental piece at communion or at the offertory, especially if it can be performed with particular skill and refinement, since the fullness of grace in Mary corresponds well to the "via pulchritudinis", the way of evangelization through beauty.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,549
    I remember hearing of some OF document (I think from a bishop) that had restrictions on Marian Hymns during Mass... I suspect this idea has travelled! Anyway as shown above no restriction is to be found in the GIRM, you could always ask the diocese music office.
    EDIT. Found it, from Canada Pastoral note no. 5 Although I am sure some other places have said similar things.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,105
    A former pastor asked that I not use Marian music at communion since it would be better to use Eucharistic themed music. I understand that. At offertory, I see no objection to it. Funerals - there is no Requiem any more and the current rites don't address the issue.

    You might try playing some of the Dupre Marian pieces. Hardly anyone will recognize the melodies anyway.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw