Ideas for School Mass?
  • rogue63
    Posts: 404
    Starting my 2nd year as a parish music teacher----no major fistfights or bloody noses about the "new" music I've introduced at the school Mass (that being traditional hymnody, some Latin ordinaries, and a sung Communion Proper) mostly just grumbles. Pastor and teachers would like to see more "student participation"---they mostly understand that to mean decibels, despite my explanations otherwise. Pastor is on board with reform of the reform, and has very good liturgical sensibilities. However, the hymns are not going away, so I must choose the best ones.

    Is it better to cycle through 60-70 hymns in a year that are all unfamiliar, or use a smaller set----say 30 or so----with more repetition? School Mass is weekly; perhaps using more or less that same set of hymns for a month?


    I have also taken steps towards eliminating the Offertory hymn and making it strictly music from the school choir.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,282
    Are you teaching Mass music as part of your classroom curriculum?
  • rogue63
    Posts: 404
    Absolutely! I would even spend two three or classes on rehearsing the Mass parts with all my students-----they still won't sing. I never had time to rehearse hymns, but the Ordinaries always got at least a couple classroom runthroughs with all the kids.
  • G
    Posts: 1,384
    Just me, I would go with smaller numbers of hymns in common meters, (though not necessarily CM,) repeated with greater frequency. Think of it as a Graduale Simplex of hymns- for instance, For All the Saints, SINE NOMINE, for every Mass in November, Creator of the Stars... in one of the "slots" at every Advent Mass.
    And since this is a newish endeavor for you concentrate on teaching the little ones - the medium sized ones are beginning to grow loath to sing out even on things they know and love.
    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • At the risk of irritating some friends on this forum:

    I wish you could get rid of hymns at Mass.

    I'd teach them Gloria XV and the Missa Primitiva, in Latin or English (By Flowing Waters). Dress the Gloria with organum, ison, or handbells.

    I'd prepare them for Sunday Mass by teaching the Psallite Communion antiphon.

    I'd do mystagogy with them on Monday mornings on the Sunday Mass they attended.
  • rogue63
    Posts: 404
    Dr. Ford, thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately, this is only a weekday Mass for the students, so we only sing the Gloria once or twice throughout the year (Immaculate Conception, etc.). They can already sing the Sanctus and Agnus Dei from the Missa Primitiva----in Advent and Lent. I am moving towards using other Latin Ordinaries for the rest of the year, but it's a work in progress. After all, parish music teachers can't upset too many carts----our jobs are not valued very highly! If I were in charge of the music for the weekend Masses, your suggestions would be excellent, but I attend a different parish from where I work.

    Concerning hymns replacing propers at Mass, was in place before I got here, and the steps necessary to reintroduce the propers have to go slowly. I'm currently using Richard Rice's excellent Simple Choral Gradual for the Communion Proper, and by Lent 2011, I'll include the Offertory as well. Processional and recessional hymns can be thrilling experiences, but I would agree that vernacular hymns have no place during Mass. On the other hand I can't say that too loudly or people protest that I'm "...taking away my favorite song!"

    Thanks again for all the responses. I've decided on using the same set of hymns for a month at a time, to help the learning process. I simply can't spend my classroom time teaching hymns---I've got to spend that on the Latin Ordinaries!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    How about teaching them Marian Hymns for recessional? My kids were keep asking to teach Salve Regina. And you can always repeat it. (I'll have them memorize the prayer in English first.)
    I also make crossword puzzle for Latin words. (Fun homework)

    Also, is there any chance and time space (like during recess or after school) you can do 'Honor Choir?' (means you select and invite students to join the choir if they are good in the regular class. I did this, and they were very proud to be in the choir.)
  • Paul brings up a very good point.

    The Gloria is the Great Hymn of the church.

    It is not sung on weekdays. But is it specifically BANNED on weekdays?

    It would be better to sing the Gloria than any hymn by anybody else. It is very clear that no hymn may replace the Gloria.

    Hymns were not sung at Mass, they were part of the Office. There is and was no reason to adapt hymns to the Mass merely because the Office and Devotions have been suppressed.


    53. The Gloria is a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church, gathered together in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb. The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other text. The Gloria is intoned by the priest or, if appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir; but it is sung either by everyone together, or by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone. If not sung, it is to be recited either by all together or by two parts of the congregation responding one to the other.

    It is sung or said on Sundays outside the Seasons of Advent and Lent, on solemnities and feasts, and at special celebrations of a more solemn character.

    I would propose that at any school mass at which tambourines, guitars and struck coke bottles are not percussed, such a rare thing, immediately becomes a solemn occasion and as such deserves the Gloria. Otherwise they are never going to learn it and understand it.

    No one is going to hell because they sing the Gloria on a weekday. Maybe some will not because you do.
  • Each summer, at Saint Edward, Newark, CA, Father Keyes and I sit down together to plan our goals for the school year.
    Our children over the last five years have learned Gregorian masses VIII, XVI, XVII, XVIII & the Requiem Introit, Comm.
    and In Paradisum. They have learned Proulx's Community Mass, Mass for the City, Missa Emmanuel & the Schubert
    "Deutsche Messe." We use one setting as a rule for a season. We sing the proper Responsorial Psalm, which Fr. Keyes
    has now completed for both Years I & II. Usually, we will concentrate on one psalm tone for a season, with some flexibility.
    We usually sing a psalm setting at Communion, especially the Proulx & Guimont settings from GIA. We are gently moving
    away from the '4-hymn sandwich,' however, we do use a hymn (or psalm) for the entrance and at the offertory. After the
    blessing, if there is a retiring procession, we might sing a hymn or psalm, otherwise I play a Sortie after the Dismissal.