Mass Ordinary for Christmas Vigil Mass
  • SWM
    Posts: 38
    What Gregorian chant Mass ordinary is appropriate when celebrating the Christmas Vigil Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 (the usus antiquior or Traditional Latin Mass)? The 1961 Graduale Romanum and 1961 Liber Usualis recommend Missa XVIII for Vigil Masses in addition to Ferias of Advent and Lent, Ember Days, and Rogation Days. In the past I found documentation--or examples, or recommendations--that this does not extend to the Ascension Vigil Mass because it takes place during Paschaltide, white vestments are worn, and a Gloria is sung. None of these apply to the Christmas Vigil Mass. This suggests to me that the recommendation to chant Missa XVIII stands for the Christmas Vigil Mass, but I have found examples online wherein when the Christmas Vigil Mass falls on a Sunday, Missa XVII for Sundays of Advent and Lent seems to be selected with some regularity. Is it common to chant Missa XVIII when the Christmas Vigil Mass is celebrated on any day that is not Sunday and Missa XVII when it displaces the Fourth Sunday of Advent?

    Also, does anyone know of where I can find documentation or evidence that Missa XVIII is not intended for use during the Ascension Vigil Mass? I am almost positive that I found this in one of the hundreds of books that I have, but I did not note the reference when I created my music documents for the Ascension Vigil Mass this year. We chanted Missa I (Lux et Origo) during that Mass.
  • SWM,

    It's important to make a distinction which will solve your puzzle.

    The Vigil of Christmas is different from the Mass at Midnight.

    Mass in the morning of December 24th is either the 4th Sunday of Advent or the Vigil of the Nativity. Christmas Vigil (if you mean Midnight Mass) is a Mass of Christmas, not a "Vigil" in the older sense of the word.
  • SWM
    Posts: 38
    Chris,

    My question is definitely not about any Masses at or after Midnight on December 25. The Mass ordinary used then would be neither Missa XVII nor Missa XVIII. This question solely pertains to a Vigil Mass celebrated on December 24. The question is which of Missa XVII and Missa XVIII is appropriate when trying to follow the recommendations of the 1961 Graduale Romanum, and on what days of the week are they appropriate if it makes a difference?

    SWM
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,126
    Noting that if Christmas Eve is a Sunday then Mass is celebrated after Terce instead of the usual Vigil Mass placement after Nones, I suggest that Mass XVII is the more appropriate.
    Thanked by 1SWM
  • SWM
    Posts: 38
    a_f_hawkins,

    I didn't realize that some Vigil Masses other than the Easter Vigil take place later in the day than morning, or that there is a distinction of placing a Vigil Mass after Terce versus after Nones. Can you explain further or point me to something online I can read?

    And what suggests that Mass XVII is more appropriate--that the Mass is on a Sunday or that the Mass is after Terce (or is this one and the same)? I would think that Mass XVIII could be chanted in the morning as well. It certainly is during Ferial Masses.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,424
    What Gregorian chant Mass ordinary is appropriate when celebrating the Christmas Vigil Mass
    Any of them, or a mixture of some of the ad lib. chants, you are free to choose as did the authors of the original Kyriale as found in the books c. 1903, and the major modification to this found in the present editions of the L.U.

    EDIT SWM thanks for the correction to my poor phasing below.
    Now if you wish to follow the suggestions in the Graduale c.1924
    When Christmas eve is a Sunday it will be Also be 4th Sunday of Advent so Mass XVII
    When Christmas eve is a weekday / Saturday Mass XVIII
    Thanked by 2SWM WGS
  • SWM
    Posts: 38
    tomjaw,

    Did you mean to say "When Christmas eve is a Sunday it will be Mass of the 4th Sunday of Advent"? When using the Roman Missal of 1962, which is part of the context of my question, it will actually be the Christmas Vigil Mass taking place on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, which will not be celebrated as such. Does that change your suggestion?
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,424
    Thanks for the correction but as it is a Sunday, I still think Mass XVII, but it is not clear what the suggestions would be for this occurrence.
    Thanked by 1SWM
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,126
    SWM - You really don't want to get bogged down in the arguments over what I (but not others here) would describe as the aberrations which had crept into the liturgical timings over the centuries. Stick to 1962, even though that still has problems.
    tomjaw is right to say that there are few strict rules about which Ordinary should be sung, the Liber Usualis 1961* says on p78 -
    The Ordinary is not meant to be a matter of hard and fast rule : Chants from one Mass may be used together with those from others, the Ferial Masses excepted. In the same way, in order to add greater solemnity, one or more of the following "Chants ad libitum" may be employed.

    I would say that precludes Mass XVIII on a Sunday, even though the Mass is not of the Sunday, the Vigil outranks the Sunday.
    * LU1961 uses the 1960 published rubrics, as does RM1962.
    Thanked by 3tomjaw CHGiffen SWM
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,897
    You could sing a composed Ordinary and avoid the question entirely.
    Thanked by 1SWM
  • SWM
    Posts: 38
    a_f_hawkins,

    I would say that precludes Mass XVIII on a Sunday, even though the Mass is not of the Sunday, the Vigil outranks the Sunday.


    I am leaning towards agreeing with your above quote. Thank you for pointing out Page 74* of the 1961 Graduale Romanum and Page 78 of the 1961 Liber Usualis. I'm not sure I have ever noticed that rubric in the past. It makes a distinction between the Ferial Mass ordinaries--Masses XVI, XVII, and XVIII--and the first fifteen Masses. It is clear that when the Vigil of Christmas falls on Sunday it is not to be treated as a typical Vigil that would simply be commemorated on the Sunday, as it outranks the Fourth Sunday of Advent and the Alleluia and Credo are added. I suppose one could make the argument that as it is a I Class feast, Mass XVII might well always be appropriate for the Vigil of Christmas rather than Mass XVIII. Unlike with II Class and III Class Vigils outside of Paschaltide, the Solemn Tone is supposed to be used for the Orations and Preface instead of the Ferial Tone. It might not make sense to use a Ferial Mass ordinary when the Solemn Tone is used for other parts of the Mass. On the other hand, when December 24 does not fall on a Sunday, the Mass takes on all of the characteristics of the other Vigils that fall outside of Paschaltide, save for the I Class ranking.

    What the rubric says about the "Chants ad libitum"--that they may used to add greater solemnity--is very interesting. To date the only Chants ad libitum we chant during Masses are Kyrie X [Orbis factor] and Kyrie XI [Kyrie Salve]. I never thought of our use of them as adding greater solemnity, but perhaps that is the effect accomplished. Kyrie X [Orbis factor] is chanted on Sundays of Septuagesima and also on the Sundays after Pentecost during the month of November. This represent a usage during Sundays that precede more solemn times of the liturgical year--Advent and Lent, respectively. Kyrie XI [Kyrie Salve] is chanted during the First and Second Sundays of Passiontide, which is a very solemn time of the liturgical year indeed.


    Jeffrey,

    The congregation tends to chant the Mass ordinary very well, so we don't often use composed Mass ordinaries. Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has more to say on the topic of chant versus other styles of Mass ordinary and propers at https://onepeterfive.com/catholic-choir-choirmaster/.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • SWM
    Posts: 38
    I have another question on this topic of the appropriate Gregorian chant Mass ordinary for the Christmas Vigil Mass. In considering everything that has already been discussed in the context of Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 (the usus antiquior or Traditional Latin Mass), how would your responses change in the context of Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1970 (the usus recentior Mass)?

    Put aside for a moment that the characteristics of the usus recentior Christmas Vigil Mass are different from those of the usus antiquior Christmas Vigil Mass (the evening versus morning time of the celebration, the white versus purple vestments, the chanting of the Gloria, and the interchangeability of the Lectionary readings with those of the Night, Morning, and Day usus recentior Masses might be said by some to suggest a more joyful and less anticipatory nature). If one was trying to preserve some of the traditional feel of the early evening Mass on December 24 being a Vigil Mass by differentiating the music accordingly--including the Gregorian chant Mass ordinary--what Gregorian chant Mass ordinary might accomplish this? Assuming for the sake of the discussion that all eighteen Gregorian chant Mass ordinaries were equally well known and encouraged for use in your church, what Gregorian chant Mass ordinary would you select for the Vigil Mass (that takes place early in the evening on December 24)? The Night Mass (that takes place at midnight on December 25)? The Morning Mass? And the Day Mass? Again, the context is the the Roman Missal of 1970.
  • Serviam,

    Focusing on the specific question you ask, and avoiding the very tempting opportunities to rant, I think Mass II would serve the purpose well. It's assigned for 1st class feasts, it has the more mysterious feel to it, and it's not either Mass XVII or Mass VIII (which some people use, reflexively, for Christmas.
    Thanked by 3tomjaw SWM CHGiffen
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,126
    SWM - RM2008/2 shows some evolution in the treatment of Vigils, at least in terms of emphasis. A considered reply to your question would take a period of study of GIRM and the other front matter, of GR and OCM, and of Musicam Sacram. Possibly even of the tropes after which the Masses are named. And perhaps of the Ordinariates' Missal.
    Thanked by 1SWM
  • SWM
    Posts: 38
    a_f_hawkins,

    While it would be easy to get into the weeds on this, it is fairly simple when one considers that there is no wrong answer. The basic principle behind this would be to keep the Vigil as the Vigil and the Night Mass as the Night Mass. Both should obviously be joyful, but they should exhibit nuanced differences in the facets of Christmas that they celebrate. Speaking hypothetically, someone who goes to two or more of the four Christmas Masses would ideally perceive enough of a difference to make attending any number of them worthwhile from the standpoint of the orations, music, and readings (beyond the given that attending Mass is salutary and worthwhile in and of itself).
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,126
    All the variable (proper) texts of the four Masses are different, since all four Masses may be said by the same priest. The sociological composition of the congregations is likely to be different, I believe our Vigil is attended by a lot of excited children, though I have never attended myself. The difficulty in the NO is making sure the vernacular music, if any, matches both, but that also applies to the Mass setting, the topic of this thread.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,897
    The congregation tends to chant the Mass ordinary very well, so we don't often use composed Mass ordinaries. Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has more to say on the topic of chant versus other styles of Mass ordinary and propers at https://onepeterfive.com/catholic-choir-choirmaster/.


    By all means if they sing, have them sing. I've read Peter's piece, and with all due respect for his intelligence and devotion, I think he and I must agree to disagree on the emphasis.
  • SWM
    Posts: 38
    I cited Dr. Kwasniewski's article in consideration of what he says about the chanting of the Mass ordinary. Given my own particular experience with a usus antiquior community, I think it is optimistic at best to discuss congregational singing of the proper chants of the Mass. Congregational chanting of the ordinary is what is definitely attainable. We also have no problem with singing propers in styles that are not Gregorian chant as well as motets and hymns.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw