Ordination of a Bishop
  • Hi all,

    We are approaching, most likely sometime this year, the ordination of our new bishop in Sioux Falls. We will get the announcement about 2 months before the liturgy, and will only know at that moment whether it is an ordination or an installation liturgy. That said, I do have time to learn things with the cathedral choirs, to have them ready to go for the event. Any suggestions based on the above? For such an important liturgy it is interesting to me that we just have a list of options in the Graduale for the processional propers. None of which texts are antiphons with well-known polyphonic settings, to my knowledge. The two great hymns that are listed (for an ordination) are the Veni Creator and the Te Deum, so of course we will sing those. A couple of particular questions for the hive mind:

    Does anyone have a notated version of the Te Deum with English translation line by line? Or even a version with each line of score separate, so I could cut/paste and add my own translation in a liturgy guide? We will sing it in Latin, but I feel like I've seen versions with the translation interspersed with the Latin chant. OR for the sake of argument, is there a worthy English chant translation? While it is sung, the new bishop is circulating through the congregation blessing them, so it seems like a moment for the choir to sing and the congregation not to have their nose in a book or liturgy guide.

    Does anyone know the particular usage of the "Ecce Sacerdos Magnus" text? I've seen it listed as the antiphon for the reception of a bishop, and I've also heard it used at priestly ordinations. Would this be a good text to sing during the liturgy? I was actually looking at the Elgar setting, as being less bombastic than, say, the Bruckner.

    Right now I have a long list of options from the Graduale, and a good deal of flexibility about the liturgy in general, so I'm interested in any ideas/repertoire you all have seen in action that worked particularly well.

    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,075
    Every time the bishop comes to our place, we sing the Elgar setting. Its really nice, very easy and time wise works for us. And he loves it.

    Just saying....
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,324
    And he loves it.

    Which, sad to say, sums up what so much of liturgical music is about these days.
    John 11:35
  • You mention Te Deum in English. This brings immediately to mind a cappella settings by Gibbons or Byrd, etc. These are superb works with a liturgical ethos. Probably, though, you couldn't use the Old Church English text? Also, settings with organ by Howells or Britten, etc., come to mind, but again, the Anglican English may be a problem? The best Catholic Te Deum (English) I know of is Paul Ford's, in his By Flowing Waters. He beautifully has crafted the Catholic translation and the historic Te Deum chant together as one.
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 120
    If you have a good organ, you could do something like this: https://youtu.be/ohDqL6pjpjY
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • ...something like this.
    This just goes to show that alternatim (though it was supposedly suppressed in the early XXth century) is not dead. It lives on in the great churches of France, where one can hear Gloria sung this way at mass on great feasts. The people are quite accustomed to it and sing their part heartily. Pity, though, that the organ doesn't offer any improvisation of genuine music - just full organ blasting away for the entire Te Deum.
  • Caleferink
    Posts: 292
    If your new bishop is one being merely installed, you might find out if there is a piece out there that was commissioned for his episcopal ordination and see if it is worthy of continued use, or if you have the chops you can write one yourself for the occasion.

    As far as other music recommendations, I'd strongly consider a setting of "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me." Philip Stopford has an outstanding piece on this text, and there is the Elgar standard as well. For the installation of our current bishop about 1.5 years ago we also did Parry's "I Was Glad" and Doyle's "Non nobis Domine" (Bp. Parkes' episcopal motto is "Nomini tuo da gloriam" from Ps. 115 - "Not to us, Lord, but to your name give glory"). We even did the "Hallelujah Chorus" as part of the recessional - maybe because some of us were happy the retiring bishop was now fully retired!
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,075
    Excuse me Fr. Krisman, but that is not the reason he loves it. He loves it because we read the ritual and do what it asks. He knows this and furthermore, we are the only parish in our diocese according to him who actually does it. That is the antiphon for the procession of the Bishop and we follow the rite. I imagine if we sang another setting he would be happy also. Its about the rite, not my or his personal taste. I like the Elgar for many reasons, not least of which that for our procession, it is the good length. I have done the Bruckner, the Singenberger and two other settings. Elgar works well for us.

    Geez....you assume.
    Thanked by 1mattebery
  • Kevin,

    I don't think (but I shall stand corrected if necessary) that Fr. Krisman assumed the personal taste of the bishop. What I think he meant is that far too much of the music in our liturgies is driven by personal taste rather than what the rite requires.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Marc Cerisier
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,075
    My clarification stands.
  • Kevin,

    Your clarification is valid. Only your
    Geez....you assume.
    overshot the mark.

  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,324
    I've seen it listed as the antiphon for the reception of a bishop

    Where is it listed? Is it in some postconciliar liturgical book? Is there even a "rite of reception of a bishop" in any postconciliar liturgical book? It's certainly not in the rites of ordination; there's none in the Book of Blessings; and there's none in The Dedication of a Church and an Altar. So where is this "reception of a bishop" found? What "ritual" is Kevin referring to in his comment above?

    It is certainly understandable that the Church uses "ecce sacerdos magnus" in the postconciliar Roman Missal's Common of Pastors. But in this day and age, with its myriad instances of unbridled clericalism, it appears to be the height of unseemliness that a bishop would want to be called a "great priest" while he is still alive. He should have the humility to wait for that judgment - one way or the other - after his death. That's why the great majority of bishops today - thank God! - would not want to have an "Ecce sacerdos magnus" sung when entering a church, even if it were to be found in a postconciliar liturgical book (which I don't think it is).
  • Fr. Krisman,

    While it's true that clericalism exists across large swaths of the Church, "ecce sacerdos magnus" is hardly an example of clericalism. Now, on the other hand, if you want to cite Fr. Soso, or Fr. Martin, or Cardinal Tim (Dolan) or something...
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,324
    CGZ, you have not addressed my point. Where is this text found in postconciliar liturgical books (other than the Common of Pastors in the Roman Gradual and Roman Missal)?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,016
    Fr. Krisman, what are your own guiding principles for the inclusion or exclusion of texts at Mass?
  • Fr Krisman,

    I didn't address that point, and I'm still looking to find the answer. Since you raised clericalism in passing, and since I could (semi-)intelligently comment on that, I did so.

    On the subject of the reception of a bishop, I'm inquiring of my expert source, a human being to whom I am related, who had the task of finding servers for every Mass said by a visiting bishop for 3 years.

  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,764
    Fr. Krisman raises the question:
    Is there even a "rite of reception of a bishop" in any postconciliar liturgical book?

    The Ceremonial of Bishops has some norms for Pastoral Visitation, including this one:
    1179. The bishop, in the vestments indicated in no. 63, should be received in a manner suited to the circumstances of the place and the situation. If this seems appropriate, the bishop may be solemnly received and greeted by the clergy at the door of the church. But the bishop may even be escorted to the church with festive song, when this is feasible and appropriate. A dignified solemnity in receiving the bishop is a sign of the love and devotion of the faithful toward their good shepherd.


    Paragraph 63 describes choir dress, and paragraph 64 says that a cappa magna may be used within the diocese.
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • Chonak, Fr. Krisman,

    My source confirms the substance of what Chonak posted.
    Then he added this:

    As much as it pains me to say this, in the Novus Ordo in this ceremony one "Goes with the flow", which often means that there is no official greeting of the Bishop. The "no greeting" approach has two causes in my opinion, one of which is poor indeed. 1st, Many bishops don't want the fuss and ceremony. 2nd, many bishops are so busy, especially in the US, that they do not have time for a prolonged greeting and vesting ceremony in addition to the liturgy they are celebrating.
  • (Deleted.)
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Jackson,

    The person writing that to me isn't a bishop.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Back to the topic at hand, if you don't mind using a BCP translation of the Te Deum, there is always Stanford's wonderful setting in B flat, which also has parts for brass if you have the resource for that. There is also the beautiful Howells setting.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,002
    Holy yikes, can we just all realize once and for all that "Ecce sacerdos" and other such liturgical texts are praising God raising up the OFFICE OF BISHOP and not praising an individual?

    @Jared Ostermann let me look at our Te Deums. We do one yearly-ish here, and it's been different every time. You can always do K. 141! :)
    Thanked by 2Incardination JL
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,385
    BruceL - Yes but currently at least, the Church only uses it in Masses celebrating particular exemplary canonised bishops.
  • Yes but currently at least, the Church only uses it in Masses celebrating particular exemplary canonized bishops.

    Ummm... no. Not in the EF, which uses the rubrics of 1962. The EF is current usage, too.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,324
    Holy yikes, can we just all realize once and for all that "Ecce sacerdos" and other such liturgical texts are praising God raising up the OFFICE OF BISHOP and not praising an individual?

    BruceL - Yes but currently at least, the Church only uses it in Masses celebrating particular exemplary canonised bishops.

    Both of you are overstating the case. The text, as used in the Common of Pastors, is for both canonized priests as well as bishops. And the text does not "praise God for raising up the office of bishop."

  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,385
    At CPDL-
    One setting by Hugill of the Introit Protector noster
    One setting by Hugill of the Introit Dominus fortitudo plebis suae
    Two of the Offertory Sicut in holocaust¿is/o?, Mozart & Palestrina
  • Paul F. Ford
    Posts: 797
    Here is my template for making choices for episcopal ordinations.
  • Thanks everyone! I broke my rule about posting before the weekend, which sometimes leads to a firestorm (I mean, civil discussion) that I don't see or participate in.

    My source for the liturgical use of Ecce Sacerdos is CPDL - I won't pretend otherwise. I see that there are two versions listed there - 1 as the "antiphon at second vespers for the common of a confessor bishop" (Elgar) and 2 as the "responsory used at the reception of a bishop" (Bruckner and others). To be honest, I'm not sure what the "reception of a bishop is" liturgically. I find interesting that the one for the reception of a (living) bishop does not include the line "et inventus est justus" ("and was found righteous"). That, to me, goes to the heart of the whole discussion above. The living bishop has been chosen for a great responsibility and office, but the sainted confessor bishop has been "found righteous" in an ultimate sense. So I wouldn't judge anyone who uses the Elgar (and it's a lovely setting), but that would be my doctrinal quibble with using that text rather than the antiphon text for a living bishop.

    And I can understand (and share somewhat) the general discomfort with a triumphal "behold a great priest" being sung as a living bishop enters the church or takes on his office. I think it's fine for the Church to hold up that shining ideal, but it does make me a bit uncomfortable. Similarly, the entrance antiphon in the Roman Missal for the ordination of priests says: "I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently." It's the expression of an ideal and a hope, even though we have all seen cases where the free will of a particular priest thwarts the intent of the antiphon (and the grace of ordination as a whole). In both cases, we have to understand the implicit "and it is hoped that you will live up to this great calling." On the flipside, sometimes priests and bishops today need to be reminded that they have a great and dignified office to fulfill - they have to be shocked out of their own banality. Sometimes outward humility is a cover for a person's unwillingness to step up to the plate and do the hard work necessary to fill an important role.

    OK enough rambling.

    I am looking through various other suggestions above. Thank you all! The Stopford "The Spirit of the Lord" is definitely a contender, either as the entrance antiphon (as it is in the Missal) or as an Offertory Anthem. It's right on the edge of too much schmaltz, but in a way only the British can get away with. The Elgar is glorious (and the Stopford bears more than a passing resemblance to it), but I think does not translate as well to organ accompaniment.

    I'm leaning toward just singing the Latin Te Deum itself, with organ accompaniment, rather than a choral setting of it.

    Keep the ideas coming if you have more. I will be sure to share what I come up with.

  • Elmar
    Posts: 134
    On the flipside, sometimes priests and bishops today need to be reminded that they have a great and dignified office to fulfill - they have to be shocked out of their own banality. Sometimes outward humility is a cover for a person's unwillingness to step up to the plate and do the hard work necessary to fill an important role.
    So true ... but let us not forget that we have the (too often neglected) duty to pray for them; which is in no way opposit to what you wrote. I think that "Ecce sacerdos magnus" is splendid in this respect.