Requiem in OF questions
  • I am planning on organizing the music for a Requiem Mass in the OF on 9/2 for the repose of the soul of J.R.R. Tolkien. The music is going to be all-chant. I had some questions:

    1. What is the rule for doing the Dies Irae? May we sing it? It's not in the Graduale, but I've seen people use it during the OF before (I remember at the CMAA Colloquium last year they did). If anyone can confirm to me that this is allowed (and even, if possible, direct me to the pertinent legislation/justification), I'd appreciate it.

    2. I know I'm not offering this requiem during Lent, but could I still use the Tract (Absolve, Domine) instead of the Alleluia verse? My traditionalist sense tells me that doing an Alleluia while wearing black vestments is...well...one of the various less-than-enlightened reforms of the 1969 Missal, and I'd prefer to sing the more traditional Tract.
  • Pancho
    Posts: 27
    You can't use the Dies Irae, as a sequence, just before the Gospel, just before or after* the Gospel Acclamation, for a Requiem Mass in the Ordinary Form. I think you could use it at some other point in the Mass in addition to the music you're using, like as an extended meditation after communion, or after the offertory chant if there's time, or before Mass as a prelude, etc.

    It will add a bit of extra length to the Mass, but I have a feeling people who are willing to attend a Mass for the repose of the soul of J.R.R. Tolkien are willing (and even happy to ) stay an extra few minutes so the Dies Irae can be sung.

    If the Mass is following the Ordinary Form I don't believe the Tract is an option outside of Lent, unless you use it as an additional chant somewhere else during the Mass as with the Dies Irae.

    If singing an Alleluia while wearing black vestments is causing you cognitive dissonance, perhaps choosing to go with violet vestments will resolve that problem.

    *not that I believe the sequence comes after the alleluia in the OF, according to the GIRM, but I know that was classic practice and some people go by that and the Gradual ( though I maintain the current GIRM supersedes the Gradual on points where they differ, for good and for bad).

    Edited to add:
    You can also go with the alternative, and have the Mass offered in the Extraordinary Form. In that case you would be free to use the Dies Irae in the classic position , and the Tract with black vestments, with no worries.

    If you go down that route, I encourage you to print out an Mass leaflet with the text of the readings, prayers, and chants in English.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    I'm pondering the same question as we'll be singing an OF Requiem on All Souls' Day. None of the optional ways of incorporating the Dies Irae into an OF Mass seem very good, but dropping it seems worse.

    Incidentally, does the GIRM forbid singing something between the reading of the Epistle and the Alleluia (or between the Alleluia and reading of the Gospel) expressly ("Thou shalt not ..." or implicitly ("The Epistle is followed by the Alleluia is followed by the Gospel.").
  • Pancho
    Posts: 27
    I don't think GIRM allows singing something, explicitly or implicitly, between (a) the Epistle and Alleluia or (b) the Alleluia and the Gospel.

    In the case of (a) with the exception of the sequences on their days.
  • Incidentally, does the GIRM forbid singing something between the reading of the Epistle and the Alleluia (or between the Alleluia and reading of the Gospel) expressly ("Thou shalt not ..." or implicitly ("The Epistle is followed by the Alleluia is followed by the Gospel.").


    Yes indeed. In paragraph 24, the GIRM states:

    [T]he priest must remember that he is the servant of the Sacred Liturgy and that he himself is not permitted, on his own initiative, to add, to remove, or to change anything in the celebration of Mass. [FN: Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 22.]
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,068
    I would opt for the EF ... and would like to think that J.R.R. would, too. I'm sure that, no matter what you do, Tolkien's world of Galadriel, Elrond, Aragorn, Arwen, Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo, and Samwise would all smile ... from across the seas.