• In the day and age where 'On Eagle's Wings' is a 'traditional' hymn, how do other DMs bear to play this and others requested at funerals?
    The higher ups at my church allow many things at funerals, and as one who needs to keep the job, I tend to do the requests outside of the Mass. Today was a recording of 'Wind Beneath My Wings' and a live version of 'You Raise Me Up' by Josh Groban. On the organ. Oh, and the good old favorites such as, 'I have loved you', 'You are Mine', and yes even, 'Here I am Lord!'
    Off to have a nice glass of wine.
  • fromCA
    Posts: 5
    There are some funeral resources you might explore at http://chabanelpsalms.org in the FUNERALS section.
  • I actually used a psalm from there today. It's not that I do not know what to use, it's the fact that I am usually obligated to play the selections that families request.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,859
    I don't do weddings or funerals. That's how I solve it. I have contracted those out to several other organists in town who want to do them, or need the money.
  • henry
    Posts: 206
    I share the same problem. Recently, it has gotten better. I kept asking the funeral home (who would forward these requests to me) to allow me to speak with the family directly (in the hopes that I could avoid some of this music). It took a long time, but they finally stopped forwarding requests. My suspicion is that the funeral home was actually "suggesting" these songs and saying the family wanted them. I find now that I get few requests. I don't call the family, and if they don't call me I just do what the Church suggests for funeral Masses. No complaints so far (unless they are murmuring behind my back!) I have lost some money, though, because neighboring parishes don't call me to substitute because, I suspect, of my position on funeral music. My only consolation is that I am suffering less from doing that music which you described.
  • Church Law forbids the use of recorded music at Mass.....that should help. Get a friend to write to the Catholic Diocesan Paper, if they have run through the spate of burying St. Joseph upside down letters to sell your house (half against it, half in favor) talking about this issue...and then cut it out and mail to your pastor anonymously....but present it in person to the funeral directors involved who will insist on this policy because they WANT your business and will do whatever it takes to keep you, as an influential person in the parish, satisfied.
  • What document specifically on the recorded music?
    Great idea on the newspaper, although I am not sure our diocese would even publish a letter. Our church recently had a sacred music workshop with a hometown organist who is now pursuing great endeavors, and the local representative for the diocesan paper spoke to me once on the phone. He asked me to send him an email, did not return the email, nor attended or published the event.
    I've recently made a list for wedding music selections, and people have generally chosen the ones on the list. I'm thinking of now doing the same for the funerals. Our church has a volunteer funeral representative that meets with the families. There may be some 'suggesting' in this area. I would love to contract out the gigs, but I need them financially at this point!
  • Here's one source...

    "Music is very important in televising liturgical celebrations. The televised Mass, especially on Sunday, should normally include the sung acclamations; i.e., Alleluia, Holy, Holy, Memorial Acclamation, Great Amen. Ideally, the responsorial psalm should also be sung. Other appropriate songs may be sung as time permits. Additional musical selections should correspond to their placement in the liturgy and not simply be used as occasions for performance. The use of pre-recorded music, even to accompany the congregation's singing, is not appropriate for the liturgy" (Music in Catholic Worship, #54 and Liturgical Music Today, #60).
  • paul
    Posts: 60
    I think this problem boils down to trying to streamline too much. People go to protestant funeral services and don't understand why they can't have the same thing at a funeral mass. That's, at my church, we urge the family to have the vigil, or visitation the evening before the funeral mass, but at the mortuary. THAT's the proper place for CDs and other recordings, for eulogies and remembering the deceased. We're pretty militant about keeping out liturgies free of that kind of thing, although I have to admit to playing On Eagle's Wings when requested at the funeral mass.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I played a funeral yesterday with the usual Eagle's Wings and Amazing Grace. One of the issues is that people ask for what they've heard at other funerals and this perpetuates the choices. Here it's I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say, On Eagle's Wings, Shepherd Me, O God, and Amazing Grace leading the pack - oh, I forgot Be Not Afraid which often sneaks in at Communion.

    A list of recommended titles would be good. When I've had church jobs, I often thought it would be a good idea to have most of the funeral music set and leave one slot open for family selection - perferably the Offertory because that's a fairly short time slot. I was accused of being insensitive.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    #1, first and foremost you NEED your pastor to back you up on things. If he doesn't have your back, you can either just put up with bad music or quit doing funerals. At my last job my boss explicitly told me "I will back you on ANY decision you make for weddings and funerals, within reason." That said, the "within reason" part is the toughie - how do we ballance the need to provide sensitivity to people in their grief with following the liturgical law of the Church? These are some of my rules I had, take em or leave em:

    - No recorded music, as that is explicitly forbidden by the Church
    - Soloists must sing from the loft only (had a problem with that before)
    - Congregational hymns MUST be in the hymnal (actually this was just a "censoring" tactic, if someone came to me with music they wanted sung by all, I could then review it and either say "sorry, hymnal only" or give it my ok)
    - Of those hymns in the hymnal, I ONLY forbade those which explicity contradict, in spirit or word, Catholic teaching. That meant for me NO "Let there be Peace on Earth" and later on I decided to ban "Gentle Woman" due to suspecting it to be somewhat feminist and 100% musically inadequate.
    - "On Eagle's Wings", "Be Not Afraid", etc. are annoying. But I don't think it's remotely civil to forbid them from a funeral. If you are really such a heartless person to say "i don't give a d*** what your mother loved", at least stop ant think of the bereaved's state of mind, and TRUST ME: you don't want a grieving family mad at you. There ARE things worth fighting over, and I'd say "Let there be Peace" is one of them. But things that are annoyances are just something to live with.
    - That said, I DON'T demand anything from families. I call them (or if I'm busy, the priest asks) and say "Do you have any specific requests for the music at the funeral; any songs particularly important to the deceased or your family?" They may have one or two, they may have five. If the one or two are non-objectionable, I use them and fill in the rest of the slots with something good. If they give more than three, I say "There are only three parts available for hymns at Mass, perhaps we can use (three least objectionable hymns)?"
    - Real psalms only for the psalm.
    - For Communion I ALWAYS used (unless specifically requested not used) "Lux aeterna", since it can easily be sung by a cantor or myself. Additionally, as a default, I always used the Gregorian requiem ordinary, since it's appropriate and everyone knows it. That pays off personally since then you AT LEAST have the Sanctus and Agnus Dei!

    Finally, I have to question whether pushing hymn selection on them is even necessary. Many people DO want to hear a certain song, but maybe we can just trust they'll make their wishes known? No matter what you're doing, funerals require a HUGE shift in understanding to make any progress, so again you NEED YOUR PRIEST'S SUPPORT!!
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Oh, and I should add (because it's a good policy) that for psalms, I had a setting selected from Gelineau or something for each possible funeral psalm, and then I only needed to call the next cantor in rotation and say "psalm 23" or whatnot.
  • Paul F. Ford
    Posts: 783
    I have just posted separately, for our edification and for the saving of our sanity, Funerals in "Sing to the Lord" and Recorded Music in "Sing to the Lord." Let the catechesis begin.

    Blessings,
    Paul
  • Why not start with reserving the final slot for "In paradisum" or its translation? Do this enough and folks will forget about How Great Thou Art..
  • I have a pending project, making a CD of what we suggest for funerals. The hook here is that I have talked with the main funeral director that serves our congregation and asked if they would be interested in funding the duplication of the CD's.

    We would then give them credit for their support and interest.

    This would then become part of a pre-need planning for this who plan ahead....as well as made available to anyone in the parish to have.

    We do intend to zero in on a full singing of the Requiem in Latin as the recommended music and all music will be Catholic in text and style. Guitar music, and music that relies upon rhythm support due to its lack of poetic metre in the creation of the text will be omitted. I am the Bread of Life squeaks by, but barely.

    Are we flexible? Sure...the Dies Irae will be optional.
  • Enter this post at your wit's caution-

    Sometimes I wonder that as we inch our way towards whatever "reform of the reform" and "progressive solemnity" mean in real time, if our voices have become just as strident, didactic, autocratic and inflexible as those we've jokingly dubbed "liturgical terrorists" over the years. Occasionally our rhetoric seems to mirror the same ethos that "WE are the true keepers of the flame....WE know what is in Holy Mother Church's best interest....WE know what is good music versus bad music for worship....WE don't care what your sensibilities, motivations or spiritual needs inform you...and WE are telling you this funeral, wedding, quinceannera, parochial Mass belongs to the Whole Parish and THE CHURCH UNIVERSAL!" Doesn't that sound familiar?
    I gathered the gist of Gavin's longer post above to suggest that whatever musical choices the deceased or bereaved stipulate, if they do not violate their licit use (such as subbing "Shepherd Me, O God" for a responsorial), or contain errant texts theologically or liturgically, and come from a legitimate Catholic or tenable Christian source, then try as best one can to accomodate those "needs" despite one's personal biases or feelings of annoyance. I hope I got the spin as positive, Gavin.
    Back when a certain celebrated comrade of ours served faithfully in a Louisiana parish, he published on his parish website a manifesto about what it truly means to be a "Pastoral Musician." (Thanks, JP, will never forget it.) It may be still available in the Christus Vincit blog archives; ought to be required reading. My take on JP's thrust was basically "garbage in, garbage out," and that's never healthy; so, if we're truly "pastoral" we will steadily increase the nutritional value of our repertoire choices. Who can argue with that?
    But as regards funerals I have a saying: "Funerals are where our existential chickens come home to roost." In whose best interest is it to stand on principle and refuse to employ IATBOF, OEW, BNA etc., simply from the WE know what's best for you bias? Funerals are, if anything, about celebrating hope, grace and salvation, as well as the resurrection of our Lord. Let me be clear: recorded music, Josh Groban secular paeans, "Bury me not on the lone prarie..." are prima facie VERBOTEN. But I don't see the point of discarding the hopes of the bereaved to hear something otherwise "licit" for use out of contending its worthiness as "sacred music." Going back to JP's mandate, by all means clearly and charitably guide the bereaved through the process of selection towards all that we recognize to be universally beautiful. But if a concession to a less worthy selection seems to assist the bereaved towards entering the sacramental realm that is a funeral Mass, who are we to play "Master of the House?"
  • Charles,

    Point taken, but I think you misread us. It is my belief that people request OEW, etc, because a) someone asked them to choose something and b) they remember hearing these at other funerals. How many of these requests come from familes because they think they are supposed to ask for them? In my two jobs, I've never had the opportunity to meet with families directly, but if I did, I would introduce myself as the music director and ask them if there was A special hymn that the deceased or the grieving would really take comfort from. Usually folks have just one they want, anyway, and this can be programmed at Offertory or Communion with no damage done to the Ordinary Form. If someone has a bunch of hymns they want, I would agree and place them as a prelude to the Mass, inviting everyone to sing of course. The funeral Mass has some wonderful music built in that people probably don't even know about and it is our duty (I believe) to present the funeral Mass liturgy intact for the benefit of the soul. I really think that a gentle reminder that the vigil is an important event and that devotional songs are appropriate there (use a positive statement) but the funeral Mass is meant to be the Church's "send off" whereas the vigil is "the family's". That's the way I see it, at least.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Charles: you read me right. I have been consistently taught that the music for Sunday MUST be of the highest caliber and we have to TEACH people about good music. And yet, funerals are not the time to teach. I often say my biggest failure in church music is that I approach people expecting them to be rational adults... and then they don't act as such. Even so, after a family member dies one is NEVER in a rational state of mind (I speak out of personal as well as professional experience). Certainly, give offense over Josh Groban or O Danny Boy... but not over something that's a matter of your own comfort! I do get VERY annoyed over "On Eagle's Wings". But I also get annoyed over busy traffic and small grammatical errors. Then again, there is a medium way between forcing what's "right" down someone's throat and giving in to someone's whims. That's why I say to have a PLAN: always do Lux Aeterna or the Introit or whatever. And if you even have to flex on that, it's only one funeral.

    And that point about the "chickens coming home to roost" is dead on. Apologies to my struggling colleagues, and this applies to me just as well, but if families are still requesting OEW every funeral, YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF WORK TO DO!! I've always seen funerals as a "pop quiz". I'd done masses without ANY "contemporary" music for 2 years and still got requests for it. Changing the mindset with which people approach the Mass isn't just sitting high in your loft and getting the episemas right. You have to catechize people as well, and THEN you'll see the payoff in your funerals.
  • marymezzomarymezzo
    Posts: 173
    just a few personal comments, while we're on the topic of funerals. I have sung many, and I'm often horrified by what the family has chosen. One low point--several months ago--was a solo called "I'll Walk With God." Broadway all the way. An egregious song--but the family (friends of mine) were adamant, and I'm a cantor with no decision-making authority, not a music director.

    I always try to insert "In paradisum" at the final commendation. Usually I say something like, "I'm sure you'll want the 'In paradisum' chant at the final commendation." Invariably people want to know what the text means. When they hear the translation, they almost always want the chant sung.

    My mother died unexpectedly less than two weeks ago, and I planned the music for her funeral as I had done for my father four years before. My dad died of cancer, and we had plenty of time to plan. I asked my friends in Harmonia Vocal Quartet to sing, and I recruited an alto friend to take my place. So they were able to sing some excellent polyphony, including setting 1 of John Sheppard's "In manus tuas."

    The Mass for my mom relied heavily on chant. I couldn't sing, and there was no time for a ringer to rehearse with the rest of the quartet. As my mother's ashes were brought into the church, HVQ sang the introit--"Requiem aeternam"--and I've never heard anything so beautiful and fitting in my life. HVQ sang a lovely psalm and Alleluia + verse from the Chabanel psalm project. My friend Noel Jones (frogmusic) played an organ prelude and postlude and two dignified hymns. At Communion the singers chanted "Lux aeterna," followed by the seasonal Marian antiphon. And at the final commendation they sang "In paradisum."

    A number of people commented on the beauty of the music--including my younger brother, whose tastes run to rock and country. I'd never have thought he would appreciate Gregorian chant, but he did.

    The experience brought home to me how dignified and fitting the church's own music is. Certainly there are plenty of options, and when I'm a cantor and asked to sing things I hate (e.g., "How Great Thou Art," "Amazing Grace"), I try to sing them as though they're the best music going.

    But I know what I want sung at my funeral and those of others I love, and the list begins with "Requiem aeternam."
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Thank you so much for that very lovely, genuine, and humble story.
  • There is obviously something unworldly about chant. It gives the reassurance and hope that there is an eternal life. 'You Raise Me Up', et all, evokes tears.
    The difficult part for my job is that our Pastor and Deacon tend to be 100% Pastoral. They are very comforting to the families, but allow the families whatever they want for comfort. Without any doctrine, are we not a Protestant church? (Side note: From one who has played more for Protestant churches, I totally prefer 'Amazing Grace', et. all, to 'You are Mine', 'I Have Loved You', etc) And before this current job, yes, I had maybe one hymn request per funeral. More than 2 were families of musicians. Perhaps it is time to revise the current situation, or for myself to contact the family. I do agree that the 'Lux' and 'In Paradisum' are essential.
    Thank you all for your help- my intention was not to upset you all. MD do need to be comforting to the families, but we also need to educate. There is a fine line here. It was rough for me because I haven't programmed any of that music for a year! Yikes!
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Write up a list that looks something like this:

    Entrance: Grant them eternal rest (Requiem aeternam)*
    ( ) chant in Latin (sung by the choir/soloist)
    ( ) chant in English (sung by the choir/soloist)
    ( ) congregational refrain (in Latin)
    ( ) congregational refrain (in English)

    Do the same for the Psalm, Offertory, Communion. Maybe even the ordinary. At the end, note "* the assigned music may be replaced by an appropriate sacred hymn or song at the request of the family." Do not, however, include a list of suggestions or, since they are fixed texts, the song of farewell and the final commendation. This way people feel like they have a choice, and will only ask for something different if the really want it. At that point, there's really no arguing anyway.
  • I like the idea, but I wonder if this would not seem overwhelming to the family member who chooses. Perhaps offer a choice of language first (You may get "No, I don't like Latin" or "You mean, we can have Latin?") and then say, "OK, the chant that is assigned for the entrance is Requiem aeternam. It's really beautiful." It would be nice if you could bring a snippet to play for them. If they want English, then you say "Here is the English form of the chant. It's really beautiful." Since you have already found out about their language choice for the first chant, you can maybe ask one more time if they want everything in that language. I kind of prefer the Lord's Prayer in English for funerals so that guests can join in.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    "Also I would recommend the Sequence."
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Again, it seems to me that a large part of the problem with funeral Mass music is the variety of understandings as to exactly what the purpose of this Mass is. I hear repeatedly from pastors and music directors that the purpose of this liturgy is to comfort the family. And this is certainly the understanding in religious traditions that see no point in praying for the dead. If that in fact is the approach, then the family should have whatever music comforts them within the wide boundaries of the GIRM and local practice. Or is it the intention that the Mass is offered for the repose of the soul of the deceased or a combination of these? I'm not offering my own take on this here, simply the observation that this discussion would be clearer if this "purpose" were established. Right now, each position of who selects and what kind of music may be perfect justified depending on the defined purpose.

    In other words, a large number of our musical dilemmas have the roots in very fuzzy theology that musicians have no control over.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,859
    mjballou said, "In other words, a large number of our musical dilemmas have the roots in very fuzzy theology that musicians have no control over."

    You got that right! And not just our musical dilemmas, but many of our moral ones as well.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I strongly object to the assertion that the "pastoral"/"comforting" thing to do is to let families pick their own music, which has been the inherent assumption of many posts in this thread. All other arguments of right and wrong aside, consider this :

    - We pick music as part of our jobs.
    - We are paid to do our jobs. Ergo,
    - We are paid to pick music.

    - This implies that somehow picking music is a negative thing on our part. The implication is that it takes our time, our resources, our effort, or has some other negative impact.
    - If it doesn't have a negative impact on us, the pay could imply that we have special skills necessary to pick music aptly. But for the sake of argument, let's leave this out (even though this is enough to PROVE that families must never pick music).

    So WHY again is it the "pastoral" thing to do to phone someone up and demand four hymns and a pseudo-psalm from them?

    Mary is right, however, that our understanding of the Requiem Mass informs how we handle this. I believe e) all of the above, both/and. We ought to pray for the dead, but also for the grieving, and we ought to give comfort to them. Part of comfort is music which is important to them, or has a special meaning. I deny the idea that the CMAA had the Gregorian propers for their Mass for the deceased members ONLY because it is the true music of the Requiem Mass. At some level, that music is IMPORTANT to members and, even though it is the music of the rite, gave them comfort in what may have been a grievous liturgy.

    So I never call someone up and tell them their mother's funeral depends on THEM listing off four hymns. Nor would I put on a show that merely titillates me with its Gregorianness (the Dies Irae is too cool for me to use at a funeral without a specific request). I say, show compassion, but part of compassion is not to place some ridiculous burden on people out of a well-intended sense of making the Mass comforting to them.
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    This is very timely....... tomorrow (Monday) morning we are singing for the first EF funeral since the EF was reestablished in our Diocese. We are singing straight through according to the Gradual (including the Dies Irae). This was the express desire of the deceased, and his family is more than happy to have us do this.

    I was just saying today how the ability to sing for the EF is so incredibly liberating.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Providing a CD of your choir singing only the chants of the Mass can be very persuasive, provided they are beautifully rendered. Why would anyone request anything else once they hear how beautiful the actual music is? Maybe the upcoming All Souls will provide the opportunity for your choir to learn this repertoire if it hasn't already.
  • paul
    Posts: 60
    Okay, Jeffrey, I really would like to use the Dies Irae, but I've never been exactly sure where to place it in an OF Funeral. Sing it in its regular place, before the Gospel Acclamation, or maybe at the Offeratory?
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    The Colloquium has done the Dies Irae in the ordinary form for many years. We sing it in the usual spot, before the Gospel Acclam, as an optional Sequence. When we sing funerals at our parish, we just say that we assume that they want the Sequence and people say yes and the celebrant says fine. It is always the song that people later mention as the most musically affecting time of the Mass.
  • Thinking back on the Requiem liturgy, I'm so struck by the powerful Catholic beliefs manifest in it. The OF really seems to dodge some of this, especially when the propers are missing. You don't get the wonderful Tract for one thing! So many nice polyphonic settings -- the Requiem is one of the few Masses where the Propers were regularly set. There is, btw, a wonderful polyphonic Requiem by the Portuguese composer Duarte Lobo that rivals Victoria at moments. There is a Versa est in luctum by Alonso Lobo that is spectacularly beautiful (added to Victoria Requiem on the Tallis Scholars CD Gimell, CDGIM 012). Of course I like to promote Juan de Esquivel's 6vv In paradisum setting that I transcribed for my master's thesis. It's available on cpdl.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    My understanding is that the sequence is optional except on Easter and Pentecost. Since the Dies Irae is a text that is preserved in the modern liturgy (most sequences are not), why not sing it in its normal place?
  • Lawrence
    Posts: 123
    Forgive the mild digression....

    I believe it's the introduction to the Lectionary which says that the Sequences for Easter and Pentecost are required and that "the other sequences" are optional. What are the other sequences? Those other sequences which are in the liturgy, i.e. the Stabat Mater and Lauda Sion. These remain in the liturgical books in their proper places as sequences for their respective feast days.

    But the Dies Irae does not. It has been broken up into little bits and inserted into the Liturgy of the Minutes. It is not in any modern rite liturgical book for Mass--not the Missal, not the Lectionary, not even the Gradual--as a Sequence.

    What this means is that the compilers of the modern liturgy intended to suppress it, and a fair reading of the rubrics indicates that present positive liturgical law would have it not sung as a sequence at a Mass for the Dead.

    Now, if someone wants to do it, I'm not going to call the liturgy police, but you certainly can't justify it using the rubrics. This is in fact a good teachable moment to discuss the difference between the firm ground of tradition and the sometimes voluntarist-like characteristics of positive law.
  • mlabelle
    Posts: 46
    Has anyone heard Steve Schaubel's "Celtic Song of Farewell"? It's a paraphrase of "In Paradisum" set to "Londonderry Air". I'm not sure how I feel about it, but at my home parish, it's the surest way you'll hear the words "May choirs of angels lead you into paradise...".
  • Lawrence
    Posts: 123
    Well, before we even get to the issue of whether fake Irish folk songs are permissible at the liturgy, we have to consider the enormous range of this ditty. What is it? I think it's at least a twelfth!
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Lawrence,

    Here is the reference: "The Sequence, which is optional except on Easter Sunday and on Pentecost Day, is sung before the Alleluia" (GIRM, 64). I don't have a copy in front of me, but I believe the Dies Irae is in the 1962 Missal, which is a modern liturgical book in current usage. It is also in the Liber Usualis (1810) under Masses for the Dead.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I presumed GIRM 64 to have allowed all sequences. But I guess that's the problem when we have a rite (OF) which pits legislation against Tradition...
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    the compilers of the modern liturgy intended to suppress it


    Ok, so it is a big leap to go from not mentioned to suppressed. This really is an empirical question. I once wrote the biggest and best V2/OF expert I know--Laszlo Dobszay--and asked about the Dies Irae and the Sequences generally. He had just finished a full book on the topic of Sequences (the intro I think ran in SM). I asked concerning Sequences what was discussed, what happened, what were the debates, what were the considerations and the ideas either at V2 or before the promulgation of the Novus Ordo. His answer was clear and unequivocal: it wasn't a consideration. It just didn't come up. So, you see, there can't be any "intention" when there wasn't any thought.
  • Given that Dies Iræ is still the best-known of the sequences culturally, we can conclude that there was definitely some “thought” about it.

    Moreover, DI’s presence in the LotH is proof that there definitely was “thought” about it.

    The fact that nothing in the rites for the Mass mentions this text does indeed “speak”, IMO. It was omitted purposely from the Graduale’s and Lectionary’s sequences in the OF.

    Moreover, given the prevalence of options in the OF, we can ask the question, which certainly would have occurred to the Consilium, of why DI wasn’t made an option like Lauda and Stabat are. The only sensible conclusion is that the omission was intended to delete this text from the Mass.

    Whether that’s a good thing or not is the real debate.
  • I presumed GIRM 64 to have allowed all sequences.

    It does allow all sequences.....that is, all sequences given in the modern rite.

    The other problem is this: if DI is permissible (and in which form, mind you?), what prevents other pre-Tridentine sequences from being used? What prevents new sequences from being written and used? For that matter, what defines a “sequence”?

    Of course, DI does have a special status now that Summorum Pontificum has made the 1962 rite sort of a less-privileged “variant” on the OF. (Pace, please, those of you who would quibble with the semantics of that sentence....you know the point I mean to make.)
  • Lawrence
    Posts: 123
    "I don't have a copy in front of me, but I believe the Dies Irae is in the 1962 Missal, which is a modern liturgical book in current usage."

    This does not apply to the 1970 Missal, which is the context of the discussion.

    Listen friends, I'm not saying that I think the Sequence shouldn't be done in the OF. I'm only saying that you can't justify it with the current liturgical books. To try to do this is like grabbing for a life raft that has no air in it. Instead, I advocate arguing from tradition as well as from the important question of idiom. As one priest exclaimed once, "*&^$%&*&^, it IS a sequence!!!"

    And I suppose that's all we have to say:-)
  • Lawrence
    Posts: 123
    Felipe Gasper,

    The problem you raise is an interesting one, but it might be answered that the Dies Irae disappeared apparently without a word being uttered about its suppression, but the sequences banned at Trent were tossed out not without much discussion. In other words, they were more clearly forbidden. That would seem to be a reasonable basis on which to draw the line at the decisions made by Trent.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    what prevents other pre-Tridentine sequences from being used?


    According to one interpretation, nothing. If the OF is interpreted to have liberated them all, that's one thing that the OF really has going for it.

    Oh, and that's a great point about Summorum. Maybe that alone settles this age-old debate -- which would make me sad because I can't imagine a whole liturgical season going by without rehashing this topic with my friends!

    Who needs a liturgy committee when you have this forum!
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I say let's dismiss not only Vatican II but Trent as well! I say Trent and crazy Pio Quinto had no business tossing the sequences! Perhaps not a popular opinion today, but nothing makes music more fun than random eccentricities!

    And I'm only halfway joking there; I almost did the Laetabundur for Christmas, complete with verses about the Jews, but wound up unable to at the last minute. Alas, I DO agree with Michael - Dies Irae is probably suppressed, but is it really the worst thing to do to sing it at a funeral? We may not be able to argue from legislation, but we CAN argue from Tradition or just plain ol' pastoral sensitivity towards those who desire it.
  • If the family requests it, maybe do DI as a prelude instead of before the Alleluia/etc.?
  • Dies irae as a prelude? Hmmm... It doesn't really seem to work there. I would rather leave it out than move it in the liturgy.
  • Andrew
    Posts: 22
    I was the organist at an Indult Traditional Latin Mass at the now defunct Saint Ann's in New York City and we did the entire Traditional Roman Rite Requiem Mass on many occasions.

    We did everything from the Subvenite, to the Requiem Propers, Dies Irae (Sequence at the Gospel) to the Libera Me at the blessing at the catafalque.

    At the Offertory, after the "Domine Jesu Christi", Gounod's "Ave Verum" was sung.

    At the end we always sang an authentic Catholic hymn (usually "Mother of Christ" which was popular prior to Vatican II).

    It was myself and two professional singers on a voluntary basis.



    When my mother died in 2004, we had a Novus Ordo "Low" Mass and I played the organ and had the parish soprano sing the "Subvenite", Schubert's "Ave Maria" at the Offertory, Franck's "Panis Angelicus" at Communion and "Mother of Christ" when my mother's coffin was being carried out of the church.

    I improvised a variation on the Gregorian Chant, "Adoro Te Devote", on the organ before Communion.

    This, I found, worked well as all people who attended my mother's funeral Mass could relate to this music.

    Incidentally, I also insisted on purple vestments and having a decade of the rosary said by the priest at the wake instead of the usual Protesant-type bible service.

    I think with the large Hispanic immigration a lot of the parish churches are now used to accommodating things like purple vestments instead of white and other "traditional" things.

    The hymns of Father Faber, "Mother of Christ" and other "pre-Vatican II" hymns that were popular because they truly "struck a chord" with generations of Catholics -- and were nevertheless trashed in the 1960's -- are better than "On Eagles Wings" or "Amazing Grace" -- which to my mind reeks of Protestantism.

    At the time of the "liturgical renewal" after Vatican II, supposedly "better" Protestant hymns (which the congregation resisted singing) were introduced to replace Catholic hymns which the congregation knew.

    I made good use of the "old" Saint Basil Hymnal and McLaughlin and Reilly's "Old Gems" (pubished in 1942) to a packed church at Saint Ann's that enthusiastically sang "Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star", "O Mary Conceived Without Sin", "To Jesus' Heart All Burning", etc.

    And make no "apologies" for doing so. It is the people who are singing "Amazing Grace" who should be ashamed! I find that hymn particularly offensive.

    Needless to say, I avoid the "Novus Ordo" whenever I can.

    The recent document of Benedict XVI freeing up the Traditional Roman Rite Mass is probably a good beginning to its ultimate and rightful restoration as the "official" liturgy of the Roman Church.

    The "Novus Ordo" being the "extraordinary rite".

    Please God!
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    My understanding is that the sequence is optional except on Easter and Pentecost. Since the Dies Irae is a text that is preserved in the modern liturgy (most sequences are not), why not sing it in its normal place?


    I don't mean to beat a dead horse, and this is the last I'll say on the subject: I still stand by this. I'll accept that GIRM 64 was referring to the "Lauda Sion" and "Stabat mater" (its still seems silly to mention two explicitly if the presumed total is only four), but only because the "Dies Irae" was not in current usage at the time the GIRM was written. Now it is. While the EF might not admit innovations of the OF, the two are not separate rites. "Ubi caritas" cannot take the place of the Offertory of Holy Thursday in the EF. But can you say that "Dextera Domini" is "suppressed" on Holy Thursday in the OF, when we have the option of singing "another suitable song" at this time? I think in order to exclude the "Dies irae" as an option, GIRM would have to be reworded to say "The sequence is required on Easter and Pentecost and optional on the Body and Blody of Christ and Our Lady of Sorrows."

  • I think the number 4 is coming from the decrees of Trent. Stabat mater was added many years later. There are 5 licit sequences now, unless someone finds a source that abrogates any of these.

    I love sequences too, but Trent was right. They got way out of hand.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,859
    I am old enough to remember that after Vatican II, many local priests were saying the old requiem mass was morbid and depressing. They wanted to get rid of the black vestments and the Dies Irae. I remember one priest saying we needed to replace the crucifix with a lighted candle to symbolize the resurrection. So I think getting rid of the Dies Irae was deliberate from that standpoint. They just stopped using it. I guess you just had to be there. BTW, I have a 1965 missal containing the English/Latin mass of Vatican II for use in the United States. Vatican II did not produce the Novus Ordo of Paul VI, despite many folks now thinking the contrary.