patriotic hymns : here comes the 'request line'
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,262
    Do you program America the Beautiful or the Battle Hymn? I don't if I can avoid it. But parishoners seem to think that I am a "request line" for music at Mass!

    What are your answers to the typical requests?

    Clarification: This is for Sunday's Mass (AFTER the 4th.)
  • Maureen
    Posts: 652
    Considering how patriotic the Psalms are... I think you could consider AB and BHR as fairly restrained. :)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,262
    The Psalms are patriotic!!!!????
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,038
    I do AB, as a recessional. It's petitionary, it's grateful--and Mass is over at that point.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,056
    I am doing "God of Our Fathers," (National Hymn) for entrance, "This Is My Song," (Finlandia) for communion, and "America the Beautiful" for recessional. These are not bad at all. I once worked in a Protestant church that wanted me to play "Stars and Stripes Forever" as the choir processed in. The hymns are a great improvement over Sousa.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,262
    Sousa... Now that IS a stretch.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    What does Stars and Stripes forever have to do with God?
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I can buy "God of Our Fathers", "My Country 'Tis of Thee", or "Battle Hymn". The rest I think crosses the line, and even those I would ONLY put as closing hymns, since that's not properly part of Mass. At my last job, I never did these anyway, and at my current job the pastor has said no patriotic hymns whatsoever!

    I do give prejudice to American (in origin, not in subject matter) music on patriotic days, but that's as far as I go.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    My predecessor favored My Country Tis Of Thee/AMERICA
    after Mass, because, born in England, he knew a different text. :-)

    I do not have a "catechetical" answer, I just offer the following solution.
    I do not schedule patriotic hymns, except for after the holiday morning Mass.
    On the holiday morning (usually a Monday at 8 am),
    I attend Mass to pray for all military personnel living and deceased
    and in a goodwill gesture I also play organ ...
    Communion (a liturgical piece)
    Final Hymn (America The Beautiful/MATERNA)
    Postlude (patriotic tune-based or march or trumpet tune)
    In the last 12+ months those holiday morning postludes have come from
    http://books.google.com/books?id=2ZJTpHRZJusC

    However, yesterday afternoon I sent out the music email to the choir and cantors
    and this morning found a reply indicating that I must have forgotten about
    the holiday (for the Saturday Vigil 5 pm Mass).
    This is difficult because the secular calendar says it is Sat Jul 4 (final hymn America The Beautiful),
    but the liturgical calendar says it is Sun OT-14-B (final hymn Praise To You O Christ Our Savior).
    This is going to be one of those Saint Paul thorn moments for me I guess;
    the petitioner lost her brother during the Vietnam years, and I acquiesce.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I agree with eft about Mass on the day. I'm much more inclined to use patriotic music on July 4th than on "July 4th weekend" when the 4th is on a Wednesday.
  • It is a lame and thoroughly thoughtless logic that can conceive a connection between Independence Day and the Mass. One might include a petition beseeching God's blessings upon our country in the offertory prayers - but singing patriotic hymns at mass??? This is a pretentious and insinuating absurdity!
    (If one had absolutely no way out, then one could countenance (because it is a prayer) God Bless Our Native Land - and pretend it's God Save the Queen.)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,803
    Alas, the US bishops have associated the Mass with worldly observances from time to time: e.g., by publishing propers for a "Mass for the blessing of human labor" to be offered on the first Monday in September.

    If the need arises, I'd tolerate "America the Beautiful", which contains a prayer in each verse; though there are probably better choices.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,262
    Ughhhhhhh.... This is what I feared I suspected. We all teeter on the line between absurdity and nationalism forcing their way into the liturgy where neither have a place. The ORDO Takes precedence. 14th sun OT. Who will emerge Monday untainted?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,056
    It's only once a year, so I can tolerate it better than the recurring events - like the liturgy committee. God Save the Queen? My ancestors fought a war to get away from that idiocy.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I don't have a problem with America the Beautiful or My Country 'Tis of Thee as recessionals on holiday weekends (and besides, right now, I'm not making the selections). What I do have a problem with is the desire of many Liturgy Committees (and publishers of "guides" to liturgy) to program a raft of "peace and social justice" hymns on these weekends - just to remind us (in a 60's sort of way) that we're the bad guys.

    Back to teetering on the fence.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Charles,

    I'm afraid you mis-quoted the name / first line of my national anthem. It runs "God save our gracious Queen", and it is known simply as "The Queen". I must profess some surprise that the descendent of succesful insurrectionists feels it necessary, after all this time, to get grumpy about another country's national anthem, no matter how innacurately :-).
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,038
    America the Beautiful is a decent choice for a recessional, I think. It asks specifically for renewal in virtue, and if I'm reading verse 4 correctly, it says that the goal of human freedom is heavenly glory.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,056
    There's no context in which we could sing the national anthem of another country. Our hymnal (RitualSong) doesn't contain the U.S. national anthem or "My Country 'tis of Thee." That always seemed a bit odd, given the the latter's popularity.

    I have numerous English and Scottish ancestors on one side of my family. But I must confess I find it odd that the British pay taxes for the upkeep of a family of quite ordinary people, who seemingly do little but perform ceremonial functions. However, its their money and they can fund a monarchy if they like. But It's certainly true that English composers have produced some truly wonderful choral music, which I often use.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,056
    "Kathy CommentTime9 minutes ago
    America the Beautiful is a decent choice for a recessional, I think. It asks specifically for renewal in virtue, and if I'm reading verse 4 correctly, it says that the goal of human freedom is heavenly glory."

    It beats "Glory and Praise to our Dog," any day. Oh wait, that's the dyslexic version. ;-)
  • JDE
    Posts: 584
    And it's better than "Our Dog is an Awesome Dog," too, and has a better tune.

    This has been discussed in another thread, but those of us whose great-great-great-grandmothers had to bury the family silver and sleep with a pistol at the ready don't always find "Battle Hymn of the Republic" very patriotic -- it's more like a college fight song, except with bloodier consequences. As long as I have the least authority in such matters, I will never allow it to be programmed under any circumstances, nor for any reason other than a direct pastoral order. Can anyone examine the text and find anything but an attempt to call down the Divine to approve and fulfill the poet's thirst for vengeance?

    We'll do America the Beautiful this weekend, but only as a recessional. I agree that patriotic songs don't belong at Mass, and the loophole that the "recessional hymn" is not really part of Mass at all, well, that lets me slip "AtB" in from time to time.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Charles,

    You wrote that you find it odd that the British pay taxes for the upkeep of a family of quite ordinary people, who seemingly do little but perform ceremonial functions. You wouldn't if you were familiar with our elected politicians. I'm quite happy to keep this totemic role and the money that goes with it out of their grasping, partisan fingers.

    And as a traditionally-minded Catholic, you may like to consider the value of ceremonial, which transcends the personality of the individuals who perform it.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,056
    Actually, I am a traditionally minded Byzantine who works for the Latins. I could see the value of cermonial, but the culture of England is, or at least has been, a Protestant culture. It has been said that England emerged from its reformation fully Catholic in appearance, and fully Protestant in doctrine. I think many good Catholics suffered greatly there until recent times. What I am hearing, sad to say, is that the culture there is more secular than religious these days. However, ours is too, and for what it's worth, our politicians aren't any better than yours.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    What I do have a problem with is the desire of many Liturgy Committees (and publishers of "guides" to liturgy) to program a raft of "peace and social justice" hymns on these weekends - just to remind us (in a 60's sort of way) that we're the bad guys.

    Agreed with MJ! I can list SO many churches which use "Let there be Peace on Earth" on ANY patriotic day! What sense does that make??
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Francis asks: Who will emerge Monday untainted?

    Certainly not I! Last Sunday we draped the organ and church in American flags, everyone wore red white and blue (myself a white shirt, blue jacket, red bow tie), we all sang the national anthem, America the Beautiful, the choir sang "Hail Columbia", and I played music by American composers and at the end played Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever! Just look at this program!

    Crown Him with Many Crowns - Jeffrey Blersch (b. 1967)

    Requiescat in Pace - Leo Sowerby (1895-1968)

    O Beautiful for Spacious Skies - Charles Callahan (b. 1951)
    following the organ setting, please sing #719 in The Hymnal 1982

    "III. Scherzo" fr. First Sonata in G Minor, Op. 40 - René L. Becker (1882-1956)

    Hail Columbia - Joseph Hopkinson (1770-1842)

    Prelude, Op. 19 No. 1 - John K. Paine (1839-1906)

    Concert Variations on "The Star-Spangled Banner" - Dudley Buck (1839-1909)
    At the appropriate time, please rise with the choir and join in the National Anthem.

    The Stars and Stripes Forever - J.P. Sousa (1854 - 1932)

    Except... this was an evening concert and not worship! Perhaps an idea for those charged with patriotic music at Mass?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,262
    Hmmmm. Searched and didn't find the other thread on this subject. I searched patriotic and nothing came up.
  • JDE
    Posts: 584
    Okay, maybe the whole thread wasn't about it, but it has been discussed:

    http://musicasacra.com/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=1674
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,262
    Thanks, Yurodivi. That was more of a small tangent on the BHOTR. I think this is a good 'new' thread that addresses the subject of patriotic hymns in particular and their appropriateness to the liturgy.
  • Materna, the tune used for "America the Beautiful," was composed by Samuel Augustus Ward, who was serving as music director of my parish when he composed it for the text of "O Mother Dear, Jerusalem." We sing "O Mother Dear, Jerusalem" once a year. Only once within my memory did we sing "America the Beautiful." I detest the use of patriotic songs in the liturgy. But then, I look with a jaundiced eye upon patriotism in general.

    If I were choosing a final hymn for this Sunday, I would be tempted to choose:

    O God of earth and altar, bow down and hear our cry.
    Our earthly rulers falter. Our people drift and die.
    The walls of gold entomb us. The swords of scorn divide.
    Take not thy thunder from us, but take away our pride.

    (Tune: King's Lynn)
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,003
    Bruce, you beat me to it! That text/tune combination is in The Hymnal 1940, and I often used it for just these sorts of occasions at Our Lady of Walsingham. I think it's a beautiful metaphor on our country, at least as it was founded and by whom it was founded, and its place as a "new earthly Jerusalem". I think it's a good reminder of what we should be striving to make of our country still.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,262
    Bruce:

    Thank you. I agree with your sentiments 100%. That text even fits the the tune of America the Beautiful. However, I think I could count on crucifixion if I attempted that text/tune rendition.
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    I schedule 'America the beautiful' AFTER the recessional Hymn. The entire congregation stays and sings lustily! I always cry. I know one is supposed to scorn these hymns and look down one's nose at them, but my husband was an AF Officer for 28 years, and remembering his service and all that goes with seving in the military, I sing them gladly and with pride and thanksgiving for those who are willing to forfeit their lives so we can argue about where these patriotic hymns belong.

    Donna
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,038
    Do you think O God of Earth and Altar sounds like a prayer? To me it sounds more like an anti-colonialist homily.
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    I don't know about anti-colonialist, but I sure do love the writings of GK Chesterton! :)
    Read the final verse-
    "Tie in a living tether the prince and priest and thrall
    Bind all our lives together, Smite us and save us all.
    In ire and exultation Aflame with faith, and free,
    Lift up a living nation, A single sword to thee.
    It sounds like GK is asking us all to become one in Christ, and to 'go and preach the Gospel to all nations'
    Remember when this hymn was written - the end of the British Empire

    Donna
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,056
    Donna I agree about America the Beautiful . After growing up in the 60s, I find a little patriotism to be a good thing.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,262
    Patriotism is good if it is for a free democracy that is UNDER GOD... but not for what the US and much of the world is becoming now. I think GK's text is more fitting at this point for us all. It appears that DC may self-implode, and hopefully get rebuilt with God-designed columns.

    We also must remember that God judges nations! Let us never forget to always be on our knees lest we think we are too good for God! The Church and it's King, is the one and only benevolent theocracy, not a democracy.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,056
    The U.S. is far from perfect. But there are many places that are much worse.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,038
    The New Testament exhorts prayer for civil authority. Since the civil authority in the US is not only the representative government but the entire electorate, i.e. "America," it seems like a good idea to ask God to bless the country.

    What is the alternative? Not to pray for the country? Is that a good idea?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,803
    The Byzantine liturgy even sings its prayer on feasts of the Holy Cross:



    TROPARION OF THE HOLY CROSS (TONE 1)

    O Lord, save your people and bless your inheritance. Strengthen our public authorities in every good deed, and protect your nation by the power of your Cross.

    (Greek:) Soson, Kyrie, ton Laon Sou, Ke evloghison tin klironomia-an sou, nekas tees vasilevsi kata varvaron doroumenos, ke to son philatton dia tou Stavrou sou politevma.

  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,262
    We need to definitely pray for our country. But we need to pray the correct prayers!

    For instance, I do not pray for God to bless the war. Or as it was well said, above, that 'we can be arms of vengeance'. That is simply immoral. It is a prayer that God will not hear.

    I don't measure what is good in the sight of God by how well we compare to other nations that are "much worse". After all, that was the prayer of the Pharisee.

    "Thank you God that I am not like them."

    As Chonak mentions in the Byzantine liturgy which is so clearly laid out,

    "Strengthen our public authorities IN EVERY GOOD DEED (which means we do not pray that God strengthen them in the BAD ONES), and protect YOUR nation..., (not the nations who are against you.)"

    After all, isn't it the bad ways of our nation(s peoples) that have put us into the bad predicament we are now in?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,803
    I should have checked that translation. The original has much stronger language than the sanitized English!

    My Greek is spotty, but I think the text has, more or less, "Save, Lord, your people and bless your inheritance. (Grant) victory to the king against the raging barbarians, and to the government of your beloved (people) by Your Cross."

    Now, what do we pray for when the state is run by barbarians? Oh, well. Time for a little interpretation.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,038
    Francis, why isn't AB a suitable prayer, in just the way you mention? I've gone over this text pretty carefully. It seems like a prayer that we may be made better.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,056
    I am going to pray for our imperfect country, and for our leaders. Without prayer, there is no hope for improvement in either. In the meantime, I will use AB as a recessional hymn near July 4th, Labor Day, and perhaps Memorial Day if it falls near a Sunday. Now if I could just reduce "Amazing Grace" to that frequency.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Well, patriotic hymn for recession is the topic here, but how about special Mass for July 4th? Our parish always have special Mass on national holidays; Memorial day, July 4th ... usually at 9 Am on weekend, where we sing mostly patriotic hymns, with a homily related to the events, and usually recognizes veterants and special bessings on them.... Do you have those Masses in your parish?
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,003
    Not yet mentioned - our default for national weekends is "Eternal Father, Strong to Save" (hymn-tune "Melita") aka the Navy hymn. I use the alternate text which covers travel on land, sea, and air, while keeping to the wonderful 4-verse Trinitarian form of Father/Son/Spirit/Trinity. Everyone stays and sings all 4 verses with gusto.
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    Steve- I forgot about 'Melita'- we use that too in the version you mention. Being the wife of retired military, that one always hits home. But never in the Mass itself.
    Donna
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,056
    I have used Melita for a choir piece and a postlude. It's not in our hymnal so I can't use it for the congregation. It's a great hymn, however, and all the ex-Navy people love it.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    "The Byzantine liturgy even sings its prayer on feasts of the Holy Cross:"

    Also, in a lot of the litanies, is this prayer:

    For the President of our country, for all civil authorities, and for the armed forces, let us pray to the Lord.

    Lord, have mercy.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 652
    Re: the psalms being patriotic

    Well, yeah, if you're a citizen of the kingdom of Israel. You pray for the king, for the people, for victory in battle, and there's a good deal of celebration of the niftiness and blessedness of Israel and its major landmarks. Oh, and the founding Patriarchs, too.

    Of course, there's a lot of other stuff in the Psalms also, seeing as mere patriotism isn't what they're for. Also, a lot of patriotism by way of asking God to punish and correct Israel. But yeah, they're patriotic.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    maureen: "how patriotic the Psalms are"

    Yes, in two senses: (1) the earthly kingdom of the Hebrews; (2) the heavenly kingdom.
    The Psalms do acknowledge God as king and seek His protection and victory over enemies.
    We understand this in a Christological sense.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    Due to the proximity of this discussion start (Jun 30) and USA Independence Day (July 4)
    we were focusing on this particular national holiday with secular celebration tied to the date
    (the holiday moves, each year occurring on a different day of the week, this year 2009 on Saturday).

    However, there are quite a few USA secular national holidays (and additional bank holidays),
    with celebrations that have been detached from their original date in order to create
    three day holidays (Sat-Sun-Mon) with secular celebration scheduled on the Monday:
    Jan (Martin Luther King Jr Day), Feb (Presidents Day for Washington and Lincoln),
    May (Memorial Day for fallen soldiers), Sep (Labor Day for workers),
    Nov (Veterans Day for veterans but originally World War One soldiers).

    But for Liturgy, we must keep in our minds the Liturgical calendar.

    1969-mar-21
    General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar
    Table of Liturgical Days according to their Order of Precedence
    (cannot locate the Vatican webpage)
    http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=5932

    There is the possibility of Votive Masses, but their use is limited by the above Order of Precedence.

    Also there are these items to consider:
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html
    32. The liturgy makes distinctions between persons according to their liturgical function and sacred Orders, and there are liturgical laws providing for due honors to be given to civil authorities. Apart from these instances, no special honors are to be paid in the liturgy to any private persons or classes of persons, whether in the ceremonies or by external display.

    53. Especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation there is to be restored, after the Gospel and the homily, "the common prayer" or "the prayer of the faithful." By this prayer, in which the people are to take part, intercession will be made for holy Church, for the civil authorities, for those oppressed by various needs, for all mankind, and for the salvation of the entire world.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I'd like to ask one more question here, a bit away from the topic. We have a "Blue' Mass, honoring policemen and firefighters. We did it on Saturday morning. Is it litrugical?
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