Canadian Lectionary Responsorial Psalms
  • Can anyone direct me to some good musical settings for the Responsorial Psalms in the Canadian Lectionary? We've been using OCP's Respond and Acclaim for years but since our pastor has recently canceled our subscription (hooray) and is insisting we use only the psalms from the Canadian Lectionary (NRSV), I realize the responses are totally different than those in the American Lectionary. Are there any Canadians on this forum who can help?
  • You might already be familiar with these, but you can use the Responsorial Psalm settings in the Canadian Bishops' "Catholic Book of Worship III" or those published by Novalis in the "Living with Christ" Sunday missal. As well the Canadian version of the St. Joseph Sunday missal includes simple chants for the Responsorial Psalms but no verse settings.
  • Thanks Pilgrim. I haven't seen the CBW III, but we do have the Saint Joseph Missal. Since mine is a children's choir, I was hoping for psalm settings which include music for the verses. Having just discovered the Corpus Christi Watershed Project (specifically their psalm project) I was hoping there would be something similar out there for the Canadian lectionary.....*sigh*
    Once again, as much as I am happy about the OCP program being pulled from our parish, I think we are all suffering from withdrawal after being spoon fed everything for so long. OCP makes it easy, thus the popularity of their products, I think.
  • Canada has an official psalter: Psalms for the Liturgical Year (Toronto: Novalis, 2009).
  • conbrio, I edited the first part of 'The New Cathedral Gradual: Psalms for Sundays' for use in St Michael's Cathedral in Toronto last summer. This three year project seeks to provide music for the new lectionary texts. Music for the refrains is in plainsong-style, and the verses make use of the traditional 8 psalm tones and Peregrinus.

    The publication is being administered by St Michael's Choir School in Toronto. Please contact the school and ask for the music department if you are interested.

    St Michael's Choir School
    66 Bond Street
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    M5B 1X2

    1.416.393.5518 (phone)
    1.416.393.5880 (fax)
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • Thank you. I will look into that right away. I hope the music is manageable.
  • Why is the entire English-speaking Catholic world not using the same readings?
  • Sorry Frater, I was replying to Mr. Ford. I will definitely contact St. Michael's. Do you have an email address for them?
  • My question exactly, frogman. I asked a priest this at mass this morning and he replied that not all English is equal (??). I asked about the importance of universality in all aspect of the Church, but he insisted that each conference of Bishops has the right to decide on their own lectionary. I don't get it.
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    It's true. The translation of the Mass is universal, but different bishops conferences may choose different biblical translations for their Lectionary. In the US, it's the New American Bible (with a title like that, perhaps some of the reason it wasn't picked up by the rest of the English-speaking world).

    If I'm correct, I think I remember reading that once upon a time in the 70s and 80s, the USA had both NRSV and NAB lectionaries available and the priest could choose, and then eventually, the NAB was settled upon for the USA. I think there are other conferences that still allow a choice among a list of options, but I'm not sure.
  • Yes, I think you are correct about the "American Bible" problem. Our Vietnamese priest said as much. Personally, I've never found anything distinctly American about the NAB, but maybe I'm just missing something. We've suffered through an inclusive language translation which was encouraged by many Canadian bishops, but we can't use the American Lectionary. Crazy.
    It bothers me that I seem to be limited to another Novalis publication unless I can get my hands on the St. Michael's Choir school project. Any ideas about what I can use for the next several weeks until I can get a hard copy of a psalter? Something downloadable perhaps?
  • Website:

    If you don't receive a reply in a few days, you probably should phone them.
  • However, why should the readings be different? What is different between the people in Canada and the US that requires them to need different readings?

    Why can we not hear the same readings that are proclaimed in Rome...why should bishops be allowed to personalize the readings?
  • Exactly. Please post the answer to this question if you are able to find an answer to it, Frogman. Until our pastor chucked the OCP books, I was totally unaware that our readings were different than yours. I wonder which lectionary is used in Britain, New Zealand, Australia, etc.
  • So you were using our lectionary because you were using OCP?
  • England and Wales - Jerusalem & Grail

    The text in the Lectionary used at Mass is the Jerusalem Bible, the psalm text is
    from the Grail Psalter.The texts can be found in the Lectionary or a Sunday Missal.
    To find the correct Sunday consult a diocesan ordo or yearbook or Liturgy Office
    website (
  • Ok, I am already confused just over the US Lectionary:

    see: Bibles Used by the Various Lectionaries
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    GIA offers a version of the psalms of Michael Guimont for the Canadian lectionary. The settings are not unlike R&A except they use more expanded harmony in the newly composed tones. Since GIA is administering the new Grail translation, I bet they're going to do their best to keep resources like this from becoming obsolete.
  • Just got back from evening mass.....had to write the psalm while trying to serve the kids dinner. Thank goodness my organist (my 14 year old son) has done his theory and harmony; he was able to clean it up 15 minute before mass and teach it to the choir while I put up the hymn numbers....sheesh...

    My life its nutty. Respond and Acclaim was so much easier. But alas, it's time to move on...

    Anyway, yes, we have been using the American lectionary (at least for the responsorial psalm) since we've been using OCPs music program. The senior here has been using the psalms out of the old Catholic Book of Worship II, which seem to match the American lectionary as well.
    My understanding of the Canadian Bishop's desire to use a revised NRSV lectionary is that they were aiming for inclusive language. They didn't get everything they wanted, but we did end up with a slightly "neutered" edition, I believe.
    It appears that the CCCB wants everyone to order the psalter from Novalis, their publishing house, leaving us few options. I can't help but think this is a bit of a cash grab. Maybe I should head over to GIA's site to see what they have to offer. (Thanks for the tip, Incantu.)
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    Forgive my density here, but
    Is Chabanel not an option?
  • Actually, I wrote to them and asked if anyone was writing for the Canadian Lectionary. The reply was sadly, no.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    I smell an opportunity....
  • Indeed! Any takers?
  • I believe that only in the US is the RNAB the required translation for the lectionary; its copyright is owned by the USCCB.

    Almost all the other English-speaking/using conferences of bishops use the NRSV, although a few have adopted its predecessor, the RSV. Both versions are owned by the National Council of Churches, a religious organization currently consisting of 35 Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, African-American and historic Christian denominations in the United States; the Catholic editions contain the Old Testament books in the order of the Vulgate.

    Lectionaries only print the official translations of the readings, especially the psalms/canticles. Musicians are free to set other translations of the psalms/canticles when these have the imprimatur or have been permitted to be sung by diocesan bishops or national conferences of bishops.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    Taking a cue from the Simple Propers project... what if (some) contributors to Chabanel used the DR translation? That is still valid for singing, Canada or otherwise, yes?
    I'd even leave in the archaisms, but that's just me.
  • Gordon Johnston has composed settings for all 3 Year of the Canadian Lectionary. The compositions are available on the Novalis website.

    A recording of the weekly Psalm is available on this website:
  • Thank you for that. I did have a listen and looked at the cost of the book. Although it does fit the bill, I'm wondering if there might be better options out there. (It's hard to settle for a choice of one after spending time on the Chabanel project).
    Thanks again for the link, though. It does give me something to start with.
  • Mark K
    Posts: 25
    Greetings – I am from a small rural parish in Saskatchewan, Canada and I thought that conbrio and others might be interested in hearing about the responsorial psalms we use.

    First some musical context about my parish FYI: we use two older hymnals – the Catholic Book of Worship II (1980) and the original Glory & Praise. We have Sunday mass every second week (pastor travels from larger centre) alternating with a lay service. Our church is 100 years old and has awesome acoustics and our parish enjoys singing. Full capacity is 150 and we generally have about 40 people attend. Our music program is voluntary; we always play the organ (older Yamaha) and sometimes are joined by a guitarist. Though we sing some favorites from Glory & Praise we do sing many traditional Catholic hymns from the CBWII. Our main pastor is very musical and he will always sing the Eucharistic prayer; our parish knows the sung responses. We generally use CBWII mass settings (e.g. Somerville, Togni) but have been using some of the Chabanel mass parts (english) in the past year. Our parish enjoys trying vernacular chant/plainsong but have not made the leap to latin. I play organ part time and generally choose and sing the psalm; I am an amateur organist with my Grade 9 in piano who can carry a tune.

    So back to the psalms: we typically (80% time) use the responsorial psalms in CBWII; I think many of the tones and responses are quite good (eg. G Murray OSB settings). The CBWII psalms use ICEL (1973) or Grail text. We occasionally use the Chabanel psalm settings (20% time) and I hope to use them more – it just takes more prep time as they are new to us. We rarely use a “psalm” (song) from Glory & Praise. We rarely use the new Gordon Johnston psalms printed in our Sunday Missal that is published by Novalis (CCCB) and corresponds to our new Lectionary (NRSV). Our pastor is fine with whatever setting we use - I think he is just happy that we sing them. We have not been told by our bishop or pastor to use the new Novalis (Johnston) settings so I don’t see us purchasing the Novalis psalter. To my ear, the Chabanel and CBWII psalms are more beautiful sounding and easier to sing. I am eager to learn more about the St Michael’s psalms mentioned in this thread as they sound like a good resource for my parish.

    I feel lucky to be part of a musical parish that is willing to try some new things including re-discovering traditional Catholic music. Having a musical priest is a big asset. Because we have such a priest who is willing to sing his parts, we are planning to do a fully sung mass this winter that will include a sung gospel and hopefully the first two readings. Finally, I want to say that I really appreciate the work of the CMAA and the Chabanel projects. I stumbled across your websites a year ago and your resources have been very helpful, educational and inspirational for me – a non-professional music volunteer. I hope this post was interesting/helpful. Conbrio – I look forward to an update on how things develop with your situation.
  • Paul Ford wrote:
    "Musicians are free to set other translations of the psalms/canticles when these have the imprimatur or have been permitted to be sung by diocesan bishops or national conferences of bishops."

    I would love to know why this is true. I cannot understand that it is true from reading the General Instruction. And of course throughout the last few centuries changes to the liturgical text have been imposed on the music.
  • If it were not true, we would never have had Ted Marier's wonderful psalm settings in "Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Canticles." The psalm translations in this classic hymnal were drawn from a variety of sources.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,466
    GIRM 61 (excerpt):
    In the Dioceses of the United States of America, instead of the Psalm assigned in the Lectionary, there may be sung either the Responsorial Gradual from the Graduale Romanum, or the Responsorial Psalm or the Alleluia Psalm from the Graduale Simplex, as described in these books, or an antiphon and Psalm from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, including Psalms arranged in metrical form, providing that they have been approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop. Songs or hymns may not be used in place of the Responsorial Psalm.
  • godfrey
    Posts: 19
    I had a nice and detailed reply that outlined the history of the Lectionary in Canada and the US but some how go logged out. So I will go with a point form version.

    -I appreciate different translations as it gives us a clearer picture of what the original languages are trying to say, unity is not uniformity.

    -The new Lectionary was published in 1969 and Canada and the US each chose different translations, Canada the Jersualem Bible and the US the NAB.

    -A second typical edition of the Lectonary was produced in 1981.

    -Both Canada and the US considered the NRSV which was produced in 1989. It was a revision of highly regarded RSV.

    -Canada produced a Sunday Lectionay in 1992 and Weekday Lectionary in 1994 based on the NRSV with the approval of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

    -1995, the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith notes certainly theological issues with the NRSV after considering it for the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    -The US proceeds with a Lectionary based on the RNAB, Canada recieves permission to continue to use the NRSV while working out translation issues with CDW.

    -Canada halts planned NRSV Ritual Lectionary and Book of the Gospels (which is why you see so many binder "lectionaries" for weddings and funerals).

    -Canada published a revised NRSV Sunday Lectionary in 2009. Plans for a Ritual Lectionary and Book of the Gospels are underway.

    -For the Responsorial Psalm in Canada there are 2 options, settings based on the NRSV in the Lectionary or settings based on the Grail, like in the CBWIII.
  • For the Canadian Lectionary there is a complete set of psalm music, freely based on Gregorian originals, designed for cantor-and-congregational responsorial singing. Anyone who would like to examine them, please drop me a line here at the MusicaSacra forum.
  • Andrew,
    I am interested in your set of responsorial Psalms. I have undertaken a similar project for my parish of the past year and a half, but I would love to see what someone else has done.
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