"Closing Hymn"
  • athome
    Posts: 31
    Dear colleagues,
    For those ministering primarily in OF, I would be interested to see others' thought processes regarding choosing a 'closing hymn' (called by other names of course). Some, and certainly not on this forum, seem to believe that joy and increasing tempos are directly proportional. Just curious for your thoughts.
    much peace.
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    I'm curious about this too. (Thanks for asking, athome.) Of course, this is the one musical item on which the GIRM is silent.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,034
    My pastor says to choose two traditional hymns for entrance and recessional. If one is more familiar, use it for the entrance hymn. He also says to read the words first so we don't end up with a situation where we are singing, "early in the morning our songs will rise to thee," from "Holy, Holy, Holy" at an evening mass.
  • GIRM is silent because it is totally inappropriate to sing a hymn (prayer) after the liturgy is finished.

    The final words are not, have never been and never will be, "The Mass is ended. Oh, let's say one more prayer."

    GIRM is firm about this. If there is need for any singing after communion it is after all have received....and are meditating.

    noel at sjnmusic.com...or otherwise known as the president of ban the final hymn society, a one person crusade to restore the directions of the GIRM to the Mass in the US.
  • From another astute list back in 2003:



    We had a visiting priest a few weeks ago at our parish who made it perfectly clear that people were not to leave before the final blessing and dismissal(there are always a few who try to sneak out right after communion). I think he really upset the musicians, because quite a few people then realized that they didn’t have to stay for the closing song.

    Most of the churches I’ve been to in Europe had an instrumental recessional, including the Notre Dame of Paris. If you ever get a chance to hear the organist there, you’ll remember it for the rest of your life.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,034
    Actually, if the mass is over by then, the recessional hymn is not really a closing hymn, but "a little traveling music." There does seem to be a tradition in many places of singing or playing music at the end of the mass. However, if the person who signs my check wants a song, he will get it. I will just make sure it's a decent song.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    So, no hymn after the "Ite, Missa est" in the OF, but by all means let's have an additional blessing, then the reading of the "Last Gospel" . . . Oh, then everyone down on their knees for the series of prayers (Hail, Holy Queen, prayer to St. Michael, etc.) in the EF.

    You'll forgive the sarcasm, but let's be intellectually honest. The Mass of 1962 has at least 10 minutes worth of prayers and readings that were done by the whole of the congregation, and led by the priest before leaving the sanctuary, after the liturgical dismissal.

    How many hairs do we have to continually split? How many angels can dance on the end of a pin? How many people want to fight the "closing hymn" battle instead of fighting to get reverent music restored to the liturgy at all, in place of the non-stop parade of self-indulgent love songs that most suburban congregations have crooned at them weekly?

    If putting "There's A Wideness" at the end of Mass after the dismissal means that at least the people are being exposed to a solid melody and some decent theology, I'm all for it.
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    "Some, and certainly not on this forum, seem to believe that joy and increasing tempos are directly proportional. "

    You've been spying on our litcom meetings! (Incidentally, decibels and devotion are also in proportion to each other....)

    Save the Liturgy, Save the World
  • david,

    The low mass prior to 1962 had prayers after mass too, but they never lasted that long.

    We are not splitting hairs, we have already fought this battle:

    How many people want to fight the "closing hymn" battle instead of fighting to get reverent music restored to the liturgy at all, in place of the non-stop parade of self-indulgent love songs that most suburban congregations have crooned at them weekly?

    AND WON.

    We already have and have succeeded. Why should we not want to further improve upon what we are doing, in other words, what's your problem? With a smile, but it is still a question.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Remember this short little rhyme: "Le chant d'en-voi n'ex-ist-e pas!" The idea of a closing hymn is a vestige from before Vatican II, when the only things a congregation sang in the vernacular were hymns before and after Mass. That need no longer exists. The tradition may have been continued in the interest of giving the congregation something to do while waiting for translations or responsorial versions of the propers. Again, we now have those resources available to us. If the congregation is not singing the ordinary of the Mass, and the choir (or congregation) is not singing the propers to chant or polyphony, why expend energy on adding an unnecessary element to the liturgy? What's worse is that if people leave during the closing hymn (or if verses are cut from the complete poetic text) you set a precedent for non-participation in all other sung parts of the Mass. I think music directors perpetuate this tradition when they are unable to do anything else. (For instance, when I haven't practiced a recessional, I say "Oh, let's just do a hymn instead." Guitarists, except those capable of playing a Bach fugue, probably have little options other than singing a song at the end of Mass). Only if all the required parts of the Mass have been sung well, and there is good reason to include another really excellent hymn, should one add a hymn at the end of Mass, IMHO.

    And also, as for the priest that said it's inappropriate to sing "Holy, Holy, Holy" at a vigil Mass, I've heard that specious argument before. I hope he doesn't sing "Jesus Christ is ris'n today" on Easter Sunday, unless it happens to be AD 29. Same thing for "Good Christian men rejoice" which incorrectly states that "Christ is born today" (absurd!). "Holy, Holy, Holy" does not say "Early this morning our song is rising to Thee," but "Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee," as in this day and every day. The phrase "early in the morning" also suggests (warning, I'm about to get abstract all up in here) waking from the sleep of death, when we will join the angels in singing their perpetual adoration. What is it they sing again...? Oh, yes -- "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus." Really people, I'm not making this stuff up...

    At least in modern art museums the ignorant have sense enough to proclaim "I don't get it." People seem to forget that music is art, too. No one looks at our stained glass windows and says "But I don't understand the hagiographic symbolism!" They just appreciate the beauty. But the same people will criticize a piece of polyphony because they don't speak Latin and therefore couldn't possible understand the music. I wish that priest and others like him would just admit "I don't get it" and allow the people with an appreciation for poetry and musical art to enjoy it.

    Civil, yet possibly low on calories,
    incantu
  • I do like a nice rousing organ postlude to accompany the procession, but I too could do without the closing hymn. I could especially do without jangly tunes like City of God. With an organ recessional, people can leave as soon as the priest has finished the procession if they want. There's nothing less unifying than 1/2 of a church singing for the other half that is leaving. Good riddance.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Don't you understand?!?!?!??

    The people should be leaving "joyful", singing to reinforce the message on the way out ... or so I've been told. Then, after all this IMPORTANCE, he (my pastor) leaves after the second measure of it.

    :)
  • Hymns are sung at the Entrance, the Offering and Communion to replace the Sacred text of the Mass.

    Congregational Hymns after Mass....may be one reason people leave directly after receiving the Sacrament. They are an anti-climax. Don't belong and might be eliminated to encourage those who leave to stay....
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,034
    "Civil, yet possibly low on calories,
    incantu"

    My goodness! Have some chocolate and calm down before you hurt yourself.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    Frogman,

    You said, "We already have and have succeeded. Why should we not want to further improve upon what we are doing, in other words, what's your problem? With a smile, but it is still a question."


    What's MY problem?!?!?!? Oh well, so much for posting a civil comment!

    I give up. Perhaps YOU'VE won. . . I HAVEN'T!!!!

    SOME of us still live in the world of idiot "American Idol" wannabe suburbanites who don't understand what some of us, unlike you and many on this blog apparently have already, achieved.

    Congratulations. Enjoy being where you are. BUT . . .

    Realize that some of us out here ARE still fighting to get a modicum of decent music back into the liturgy, and THE BATTLE ISN'T YET WON!!!

    I give up. My health and sanity can't take any more of this.
  • Sorry, I had not intention of upsetting you, but your comments about the angels disco-ing on the pinheads put us down for trying to fix something that also needs fixed....since some here have succeeded at the Masses they have influence over [I am continually reminded by the leader of the guitar group that since we now have only 4 weekend masses, he is now responsible for 1/4 of the music program at church...and that the ushers do not count right....there were not 230 there are few weeks ago it was more than 500] there are many here who have not yet been able to purge the music the way that it should be purged.

    And there are many lurking on the list who despair of every getting the crap music out of one mass a month...

    Yet, in those cases, cutting the hymn after mass does serve a purpose, exposing them to 1/4 fewer songs of poor theology and meter. So that alone helps.

    There are steps that we all are taking:

    1. Ridding the mass of bad music and/or bad theology....or both
    2. Getting the mass ordinary sung in Latin
    3. Getting the propers sung...in anything, but sung...
    4. Eliminating bad practices....such as the liturgical act of singing a hymn after the mass.

    All of these things can be worked on all at once, in any order on a priority that coincides with the STTL recommendation of doing so with a pastoral consideration.

    In my case I am working with the NO form...I have no idea what I would do if faced with EF....

    Then there's the priest who was told recently that at the high school on a holy day the creed must be cut because mass has to be 20 minutes.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    David - With sympathy, I suggest taking a deep breath. It took us 40 years to get here; it's going to take a while to get back. (Unless God decides to show us the promised land, but I have a feeling I won't be entering in!) The battle isn't won? The battle is barely joined.

    We really have come a long way. Surely you remember "Here we are, all together as we sing our songs, joyfully..." or perhaps "Jesus was a Carpenter..." For the most part, I figure our closing hymn is a safety valve controlling the flow of parishioners into the parking lot. If we suddenly went all chant, most would flee.

    I did a quick count and learned that there are 223 Masses celebrated each week in our diocese. If we introduce better music in 5 of those Masses each year for the next 40 years we'll be pretty close to fixing the problem. But every time we go mental on folks 50 and under who sincerely believe that we ARE singing Catholic traditional hymns, we set that healing back a long way.

    So let's all relax, keep our sanities, set ourselves up for the long haul, and reflect on the similarities between the tones of Adoro Te and Kumbaya.
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    So, Noel, for the Mass(es) which you have influence over… do you just do an instrumental (organ) recessional (à la what you heard in Europe), with no singing? And during penitential seasons, is it simply a silent exit?
    GIRM is silent because it is totally inappropriate to sing a hymn (prayer) after the liturgy is finished.

    An honest question here: Why "totally inappropriate"? I just took a look at the GIRM, and am having a tough time understanding your reasoning vis-à-vis what I see (or don't see) there. At my parish, for the "campus" Mass (attended by mostly college students), they have a tradition of singing Salve Regina after the dismissal. Is that still inappropriate?

    And pardon me for seeming stubborn here (or maybe simply dense), but if it is inappropriate, is there really any other time during Mass when that, or any other chant hymn, could be sung? It's not a Proper. Maybe post-Communion? Or is this where "alius cantus aptus" really ought to come in?
  • athome
    Posts: 31
    Trying to be sensitive to the the pace at which I work toward liturgical renewal at my parish, I can say that the congregation is catechatically, liturgically, or spiritually unprepared to have its closing hymn taken away. So the fact is that I still am doing one. And the questions of what the liturgical functionality of this should be still are self posed each week. Congregations (or course not all) unfortunately have allowed for the expectation of 'big endings', an influence of any medium of pop culture, to find its way into their collective liturgical subconsciousness.
  • Venerable tradition allows for hymns or motets after the antiphon has been sung. You may add verses to the antiphon to extend it, but I believe the GIRM allows for something to be sung after the proper text has been sung. So, after the Offertory chant and after the Communion chant are great times for a hymn (time allowing). I don't care for the closing hymn but if one must be done, follow the example of the EF. The priest will usually stick around until the Salve Regina is finished. That's key. People won't flock out the doors as long as the priest is still at the altar. In some parishes you could kill the closing hymn and the priest would never know unless someone told him.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Mark M,

    You raise a good point. Lent is the one time when I do a "closing hymn" for just the reason you imply. Organ music is prohibited (although one could argue that the Mass has ended at that point), and my pastor thinks people aren't "ready" to leave in silence. I'm not sure what he thinks might happen. Will they get confused and hide under the pews until suitable walking music can help them find their way out of the building? No, they will either leave or maybe stay and pray. Hopefully this Lent we can try departing in silence, now that we've gone a full year with an instrumental recessional. And if, heaven forbid, it causes someone to ask a question, well there's a great opportunity to explain that instruments aren't played during Lent except to support the singing. (Oh, but the flute part during "Jesus Remember Me" is OK, right?).

    And my guess is that if you're in a place where people are actually singing the Salve Regina, chances are you have your ducks more or less in a row for the other parts of the Mass already. Am I correct? And the other concerns I mentioned wouldn't apply since 1) there are no verses to cut and 2) it would be hard to leave in the middle of it since it's so short.
  • Totally inappropriate...because if it were necessary to complete the liturgy, it would have been documented....

    The Entrance Song is not as old as the Mass is because Mass was celebrated at the conclusion of one of the Hours so they were already there...when Mass was first celebrated at a time other than at the completion of the hour, they needed something liturgical to take place for the beginning of the Mass. Not for a procession, otherwise they would have added something for the procession at the end of Mass when the Celebrant leaves.

    It is easy to invent new things, harder sometimes to go back and discover what and why the practice exists....

    Now my situation. We are moving into a new sanctuary which has a vesting room on the second floor at the entrance of the church. Yes, our sacristy is up 18' in the air, accessible by staircase or elevator. Once vested the priest must go downstairs and walk the entire length of the building to reach the altar. I'd love to cut the "final hymn" and have tried, but enough complaints brought about me being instructed to reinstate it. And we have the problem: when we move into the new church if there is not a final hymn to attempt to hold the people in the pews while the priest returns to the entrance of the church down that long aisle, he would get stuck in the crowds leaving.

    So we are stuck with it. Mary Weaver mentioned the singing of the Salve Regina after Mass and we did sing that when Harmonia visited for a Mass....that would be a great solution...they could memorize it, not need a book and anyone who would complain about singing a hymn to Mary...just isn't Catholic.

    Once again this list comes through with great ideas and help. Thank you.
  • "Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority." (SC 22.3)
    "The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved." (SC 50)

    How are the recession and the accompanying recessional hymn NOT additions to the liturgy? How do they do anything other than obscure the significance of the directive "Ite, missa est,"? The directive is not, "Cantate, missa est," or, "Manete donec celebrans exierit," (Wait until the celebrant has exited.)

    I can understand if an organist wishes to play music conducive to meditation by those who wish to pray after mass, since I do not think that such music could be misinterpreted as a continuation of mass.

    If some in the congregation wish to sing the Salve Regina, it could be sung by those who wish to remain after the priest has exited the church or removed his vestments or at least chasuble.

    When I've led chant masses, I've simply put a note in the program saying that there would be no recessional sung.

    The idea that the recessional could be used as a stalling technique so the priest can get to the back of the church first is troublesome.
  • Ioannes Andreades, welcome to the group and the discussion. You have some very good points there that merit thought.

    And it does offer the thought that the celebrant and all may leave in dignity without being "sung out".

    Thank you.
  • frogman noel,
    Thank you for the gracious welcome!
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Noel, I'll drop by Low Mass tonight and when Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament starts immediately after Mass, I'll scream out "YOU FOOLS!!! THE GIRM DOESN'T ALLOW THIS! IT IS INAPPROPRIATE!! INAPPROPRIATE!!!" while men in white drag me out of the church. Or maybe I'll just follow the venerable tradition of communal devotion following Mass.

    I'm all for variety - you don't have to do what I do. But don't dare tell me that it was inappropriate for my former congregation to sing "Attende Domine" during Lent for the SOLE reason that it occurred immediately after Mass. For your logic, I may as well forbid driving a car home, as the GIRM doesn't permit it. What part of "Ite, Missa est" don't you get? Once the response "Deo Gracias" is given, what happens next is up to the participants. I think it is good to exercise communal singing of a great hymn. You may think (and I agree that it's great) to have an organ recessional. Other churches may have another devotion, at High Mass last week we had veneration of a relic. But again, once I sing "Deo Gracias", you lose your right to criticize the existence of a practice taken up in my church.

    On the topic, I think my comments to Noel inform my thoughts on this - the closing hymn can be whatever one wishes. We are not even bound by the qualifier "aptus" from the GIRM "fourth option". With that in mind, the evaluation I make is such:

    - #1, since this is a communal act of the congregation occurring in a sacred space, I do not use music or texts unbefitting the solemn worship of God.
    - The text should, if possible, summarize the sensibility of the day's propers. That is, for a Mass where the proper chants, prayers, and readings speak of God's mercy, I may use (as David mentions) "There's a Wideness"
    - Generally I prefer the music be of a "joyous" nature. That isn't to say "WHOOPEEEEE!!!" but rather a tune amenable to a swifter tempo or well-written in a duple meter. Major or minor, although minor will often end on a picardy third. This can mean anything from "Alleluia, Sing to Jesus" to "Savior of the Nations, Come". Chant is welcome always - what would Christ the King be without a singing of "Christus Vincit"??
    - If no suitable text can be found, a general hymn of praise or thanksgiving is used.
    - If there is a custom suitable to the time, the closing hymn can be a place to express that. Such as Marian hymns during May or October, or if you wish to "teach" a hymn perhaps you may use the same closing hymn for a month.
    - Hymns are poetry and praise, so I NEVER would cut a closing hymn. So hymns should not be so long as to seriously inconvenience the congregation - so 9 verses or less ;) And "Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past" is not too long at 6 verses as it's a short tune!
    - All of this is my own pastoral opinion and by no means binding on anyone else - although I think it's all good ideas!

    Do as you please, but also make sure your pastor is on board with it. And hey, if you have an organ piece you want to make SURE people will hear, play it as the recessional!
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    I'm at work now, so I'll keep this brief, even as I'm tempted to follow and continue this discussion all day long.

    As I drove in, I thought of some further responses to Noel, but Gavin splashed in with all sorts of thought-provoking stuff, so I'm not sure where to begin! (Noel, I bet you're crafting a response right now!)

    ...because if it were necessary to complete the liturgy, it would have been documented...

    But even the priest's exiting the church isn't documented in the GIRM. As I recall, the GIRM says that after "ite, missa est," the priest kisses the altar and makes a profound bow -- but that's it. I suppose he could return to his chair and just watch the people exit if he wanted.

    That said, I do see how a closing hymn "retrospectively" affects the character of the Mass. The presence or absence of music, and the character of any music used, reflects (or not) the mysteries just celebrated. This would seem to take into account the congregation's understanding of those mysteries, which is why I appreciate athome's comment that his congregation is "unprepared to have their closing hymn taken away."

    Splitting hairs here, but if indeed the Mass is ended, would the prohibition of instrumental music during Lent not apply for a recessional?
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    Stepping back from the immediate topic here: I must say that between this thread and the "as darkness descends" thread (about choice of hymnals), and indeed many other discussions here, I'm coming to realize more fully that really, we ought not need hymnals at all. If needed, a Kyriale, or something similar (like the PBC) would provide the congregation with all the parts to the Ordinary. Propers are sung by the schola… no need for hymns there. And a recessional? Well, that too is superfluous. And if they want to follow the readings, they can have personal missals.

    Maybe this is a "no, duh," sort of thing, but for me the "aha" moment comes as I wonder how the congregants would deal with not having a book to flip through during Mass. They're so used to reaching for that book, four-or-so times during Mass, and singing along (or not). Again, it changes one's understanding of what the Mass is all about: It's not sing here, sing there, sing again and we're through, but rather a single, sacred event, with appropriate music integrated throughout, some of which they will sing (Ordinary), and some of which they will hear while praying (Propers).

    At best, any sort of hymnal is ancillary or supplemental for that purpose; at worst, they're a distraction.

    Back to work. I promise to not read the forums again until I'm back home!
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Splitting hairs here, but if indeed the Mass is ended, would the prohibition of instrumental music during Lent not apply for a recessional?

    Since I favor this line of reasoning, I will respond to the point. No, I don't believe the prohibition of instrumental music in Lent applies to a recessional piece. BUT I would greatly question the wisdom of using one due to it upsetting the nature of the season. I'm reminded of St. Gregory's great hymn for Lent, often sung, where the command is "more sparing, therefore, let us make the words we speak, the food we take." It isn't "only during Mass, more sparing..." For the same reason I would avoid using instrumental music at other non-Mass services, such as the Stations or a Vespers service. Even for Lenten recitals I stick to music which is penitential in nature (Always O Mensch Bewein). This just goes hand in hand with my assertion above that the music after Mass be "relevant" to the day/season.
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    No, David! Please don't!
    Believe me, plenty of us are in parishes even further behind than you, and we're fighting fights that most here would think were won 20 years ago.
    I personally suspect i shall walk into our nave some day to discover orange shag carpeting has been installed.....
    Seriously, I attended a lovely workshop about chant once, where in the midst of discussing "Englishing" the propers and ordinaries, one participant very dismissively asked "why bother? just do it in Latin," and I much louder and more testily than necessary stood up and said, "not all of us are lucky enough to wear Roman collars!"
    It's easy for someone "in charge" of his own bailiwick to say, "just do this!" but those of us lower on the food chain, sometimes have to pick our battles, as you say, and sometimes have to use stealth weapons.
    I, after thinking it was long ago decided at my parish, was just informed that from now on being happy and uplifting and fun to sing is a greater priority in the choice of songs, (NOT hymns,) than being in any way related to the texts of the Mass.
    So it goes...
    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
    "I give up. Perhaps YOU'VE won. . . I HAVEN'T!!!!

    SOME of us still live in the world of idiot "American Idol" wannabe suburbanites who don't understand what some of us, unlike you and many on this blog apparently have already, achieved.

    Congratulations. Enjoy being where you are. BUT . . .

    Realize that some of us out here ARE still fighting to get a modicum of decent music back into the liturgy, and THE BATTLE ISN'T YET WON!!!

    I give up. My health and sanity can't take any more of this."
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    Thank you for your story, G.

    My frustration levels never seem to abate . . . they only seem to get worse.

    You can imagine my frustration coming back from a much-needed vacation to play the regular weekend Mass on Saturday, replete with a celebrant (guest) who absolutely BELLOWED the opening hymn into his wireless (at a volume that drowned out the organ) along with the cantor who also was singing at the top of her lungs and overly-amped (she's been told, repeatedly, not to, but noooo, she knows better), both at their own tempi (slower than the intro I played) to the point where I was quite ready to simply stand up from the organ and walk out of the church then and there. . . for good.

    I should join in and rejoice in the excellent work being done by Noel and others like him, but when I look at the amount of time and money (for not just degrees, but books, subscriptions, music, equipment, etc.) I've invested in this vocation, only to have scenes like the one above replayed over and over, week after week, I just really get thoroughly exhausted. It's doubly-frustrating because this is my sole source of income. I sometimes wonder when what I do stops being the work of the Church and begins being a form of prostitution . . . do what you're told, collect your money.

    It's been suggested that I try to find a group of like-minded musicians in my geographical region who could gather as a kind of support group on a regular basis.

    Anyone out there from the Twin Cities area?
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    David - Be sure to publish your Twelve Steps when you work them out. The need might extend far beyond the Twin Cities.
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    "You can imagine my frustration coming back from a much-needed vacation to play the regular weekend Mass on Saturday, replete with a celebrant (guest) who absolutely BELLOWED the opening hymn into his wireless (at a volume that drowned out the organ) along with the cantor who also was singing at the top of her lungs and overly-amped (she's been told, repeatedly, not to, but noooo, she knows better), both at their own tempi (slower than the intro I played) to the point where I was quite ready to simply stand up from the organ and walk out of the church then and there. . . for good.

    I should join in and rejoice in the excellent work being done by Noel and others like him, but when I look at the amount of time and money (for not just degrees, but books, subscriptions, music, equipment, etc.) I've invested in this vocation, only to have scenes like the one above replayed over and over, week after week, I just really get thoroughly exhausted. It's doubly-frustrating because this is my sole source of income. I sometimes wonder when what I do stops being the work of the Church and begins being a form of prostitution . . . do what you're told, collect your money."
    To quote Dave Letterman, "My God, ladies and gentlemen, it's like I have a TWIN."
    I can add to the celebrant who sings into his mike at top volume -- mine not only start out two beats behind, at a slower tempo than I (yes, musicianship sin, I sometimes play intros WAAAAY faster than I intend to play the song, hoping it will goose the celebrants,) and get slower as they go along -- they scold me regularly that my tempi are too slow! Other at meetings have backed me up that they are BEHIND me, but apparently, they don't believe me.
    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    Looking at my previous post which makes it look as if David's words are mine reminds me, can someone tell me the codes on this forum for block quotes or italics or bold, or strike-through?

    (Save the Liturgy, save the World)
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    < i > italics < / i >
    < b > bold < / b >
    < strike > strikethrough < / strike >

    Remove the spaces, and there you have it.
  • athome
    Posts: 31
    Appropriateness/Inappropriateness of a closing hymn aside, and dealing specifically with the being in a position to choose one, I find it a daunting task at best to choose a hymn. I frankly feel unworthy to choose a song that represents the collective response of a congregation to having just received our Lord in the Eucharist. One might enter into a contemplative silence, one might want to break forth into metaphorical or literal song, the continuum of emotion in response to communion is so vast and overwhelming that I am not even sure there exists a hymn that is reflective of ones inner disposition, much less the mean inner spiritual disposition of the collective.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    athome, this is why psalms are so important in Christian worship. What is appropriate to give thanks to God? Surely a psalm - the words He gave us! Indeed, one could take that argument to a not-so-crazy conclusion and say "who is the priest to speak the Postcommunion collect on our behalf! I want to give thanks with silence!" Tradition further tells us (in the Didache) that the hymn "Father, we thank thee" is appropriate for after the liturgy. Hence I would say that one should favor those texts which are scriptural or based on quite ancient tradition - at ANY point in the liturgy!

    Someone mentioned, I believe, the problem of hymns being cut short. What my former boss would do (God bless him) is to stick around for a verse or two, then 2-3 verses from the end, he would stand "in formation" with the procession outside the sanctuary, and then right before the penultimate verse, bow and process out of the church. Not many priests will do this, but blessed are those who have one who will!

    On the other hand, if you're not in an ideal place, I say program the least appropriate music for the exit procession so you don't have to do the whole thing! Many are the funerals I played that ended with a single verse of "Eagle's Wings"!
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    The sad thing is, in some places "Eagles' Wings" is vastly more appropriate than some of the garbage they want to use. At least it is scriptural!
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    I don't think it's wholly wrong to be mindful of what the congregation wants to sing. Even if it's "Eagle's Wings". As much as the DMs, choir directors, cantors, etc., grouse about the limitations we face about musical selections, pity the PIPs. They're musical options consist of "Please turn to page XX and let us sing together..." Even if we have reservations about the songs, the rule applies about singing once is praying twice.

    This past Saturday evening I noticed that when we sang our closing hymn, "We Are Called", nearly two thirds of the people stayed to sing both verses. Typically we have the 10% diehards stick around. And who knows - perhaps a few of the youngsters will feel themselves called to service which would be nice.
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    G asked:
    …can someone tell me the codes on this forum for block quotes…

    To quote Pes:
    < blockquote >text you want to quote< /blockquote >
    Remove the spaces [that is, the spaces on either side of the word "blockquote" or "/blockquote"], and there you have it.
  • Though a recession (liturgical, not economic) and recessional hymn are not appropriate in the current O.F., I don't mean to propose that assuming such a stance is worth losing one's job over. If a director of music feels coerced into doing something of dubious legality, surely culpability is mitigated, and reducing the degree of inappopriateness is laudable. I've wondered if there are any settings of the beginning of the John's gospel (In principio erat verbum), either in English or Latin, that could be used at the end of mass. The use of such a piece could serve to highlight continuity and tradition, it's Biblical, and could be used after every Sunday mass, eventually removing the need for a hymnal.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "How are the recession and the accompanying recessional hymn NOT additions to the liturgy?"

    Because they are done AFTER the Mass. Does everyone have to go home and then come back to the church for it to be OK for the community to do an act of praise? This strikes me as in line with fundamentalist protestant thought. And again, I went to one church where there was a litany to the Sacred Heart after an OF Mass - shall we ban this too?

    Those of you who object to this or that have NO RIGHT to tell the rest of us we're wrong with the documents don't support your assertions!
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    Apropos music after the dialogue "Ite missa est...Deo gratias" or "The Mass is ended...Thanks be to God", Musicam Sacram (March 1967) is the most recent reference (that I have thus far located) that says anything about after-Mass music (hymn, postlude). MS requires a careful read as some paragraphs provide the context for or meaning of words and phrases elsewhere in the document.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_instr_19670305_musicam-sacram_en.html

    28. The distinction between solemn, sung and read Mass, sanctioned by the Instruction of 1958 (n. 3), is retained, according to the traditional liturgical laws at present in force. However, for the sung Mass (Missa cantata), different degrees of participation are put forward here for reasons of pastoral usefulness, so that it may become easier to make the celebration of Mass more beautiful by singing, according to the capabilities of each congregation.

    These degrees are so arranged that the first may be used even by itself, but the second and third, wholly or partially, may never be used without the first. In this way the faithful will be continually led towards an ever greater participation in the singing.

    (29-30-31 details each degree)

    36. There is no reason why some of the Proper or Ordinary should not be sung in said Masses. Moreover, some other song can also, on occasions, be sung at the beginning, at the Offertory, at the Communion and at the end of Mass. It is not sufficient, however, that these songs be merely "Eucharistic"—they must be in keeping with the parts of the Mass, with the feast, or with the liturgical season.

    65. In sung or said Masses, the organ, or other instrument legitimately admitted, can be used to accompany the singing of the choir and the people; it can also be played solo at the beginning before the priest reaches the altar, at the Offertory, at the Communion, and at the end of Mass.
  • Gavin,
    I worry that we're talking past each other. I think we are in agreement that for the a recession and recessional to be licit, they cannot be as part of the mass. I think that is what I am hearing from you. I have to admit that I have never witnessed or participated in a recessional rite that was not clearly envisioned as part of mass. No time is allowed for congregants to depart, no priest has ever exchanged a chasuble for a cope, the same cross, thurible, and candles carried as part of the entrance procession are carried again, and in fact the congregation is usually asked to join in with the rite or told explicitly not to leave the church until the celebrant does. All this suggests to me that the recessional rite is being viewed by its designers as part of the mass and such is being communicated to the congregation.

    I do have to admit that I don't quite understand from a theological or liturgical perspective what a freestanding recessional rite would achieve; I am open to different perspectives. This being said, if members of the congregation wish to stay afterwards for benediction, praying the Salve Regina, prayer to St. Michael, hear 10 minutes of sacred organ music, etc., I would undoubtedly prefer to stay at my pew and have cold coffee and leftover donut crumbs. All I am saying is that there should be some way for the congregation to perceive clearly that these post-liturgy activities are not part of the mass. This could be an explicit announcement saying that immediately after mass there will be benediction, a short organ postlude, or such. Or it could be communicated implicitly through a pause of two or three minutes after the priest kisses the altar and maybe changes his vestments.

    I certainly do not have the right to tell anyone to stop what they're doing, but I feel I have a responsibility to explain how I understand the relevant documents, as I have done to priests and pastors in the past. I attempt to do so in all Christian charity and open myself up to those with superior expertise.
  • Re: Musicam Sacram, I've read two different canon lawyers give their conflicting opinions on whether the most recent GIRM's contents outweigh those of Musicam Sacram from a legal standpoint. I was won over by the canonist who argued that GIRM outweighs Musicam Sacram. I am not convinced that it outweighs Inter Oecumenici, but I'm so not a canonist.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    Ioannes,

    Let me put an even different spin on this: Can we argue that Musicam sacram is an instruction on the application of guiding principles for the implementation of the reforms spelled out in Sacrosanctum Conciliuim, whereas the GIRM is the general "road map" for how the liturgy is to be executed?

    In other words, I think that comparing the GIRM to Musicam sacram from a canonical point of view is like comparing the owner's manual of one's car to the laws governing the driving of one's car in one's own state. GIRM could be seen as the owner's manual. MS is the laws governing the implementation of the GIRM. Unless Rome tells us otherwise, MS has not been suppressed, abrogated or otherwise supplanted by the GIRM, nor do I think was it ever intended to be. I support my position by saying that the GIRM is more "here's what you do, and how you do it," whereas MS is "here's why we do what we do from an organically developed, theoretical and theological point of view." I admit I could be all wet on this, but that's the way I've been viewing it.

    These documents, unfortunately, must live side by side (even when they're vague or equivocal), and we must do our level best to understand the principles set forth in MS and apply them to the GIRM.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Iohannes, it indeed seems we were talking past eachother. In theory, I do not have a problem with what you say. I suppose the issue is in implementation. The misconception that the "closing hymn" is part of the Mass is plain - take it away and, as Noel can tell us, people will say that their participation in the Mass has been stolen! One can be shocked and scandalized and cry "what can we do to fight this error?!" Rather than that, I ask "what harm is done by this error?"

    I'm not saying it's ok for people to have ill views of the Mass or misconceptions about it. If this is a battle one wants, it needs to be fought through catechesis classes, listing the hymn as "the hymn after Mass" rather than "closing hymn", and even the occasional (or often) usage of other options. None of these are outlandish measures.

    Of course, that's if one sees this as a serious issue. I run into a LOT of misconceptions about the Mass, as do the rest of us. Things from "the people's Great Amen is what changes the bread to the Body" or "the Mass is about celebrating the community" to relatively mundane problems such as my mother who refers to ANY religious service, Mass, Vespers, Compline, random prayer service, and even protestant services as "Mass" or people who spell "altar" as "alter". Correcting the former things should be the foremost catechetical concern of ANY decent pastor, if they are widespread opinions in the parish (and we can do things musically about them too). Correcting the latter strikes me as similar to jerks like me who correct people's grammar in a belittling tone. Where does the "closing hymn as necessity" attitude fit in? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being denying Transubstantiation, I'd say it's a 3. You may disagree, and I grant you that right. And I'm not opposed to taking the steps above to correct it; the little things DO matter. But I wouldn't say it's imperative on us, should we have the ability, to suppress this misperception.

    You ask what purpose the "recessional rite", an apt name for the normal practice of procession, serves. I would argue from the Holy Scriptures, "do all things in good order". It's just good order to have a procession of the sanctuary company out of the sanctuary. I subbed at a church for the Assumption where the priest just turned and walked into the sacristy after the dismissal - it struck me as "I just celebrated the Most Sacred Mysteries - now I just want to get the heck outa here." Indeed, maybe a priest should just throw the chausible on the floor and walk to the rectory after the dismissal? I think not. I remember a quote on here from a seminary professor - "if you walk into a pillar, take 3 steps back and bow to the pillar." Surely that's not in the GIRM, but the attitude of wanting to do all things in good order, even if it has the APPEARANCE (not the reality) of adding to the Mass is laudable?

    Vest in a cope? It seems very suitable to me, given it is a non-Mass procession. But I don't know the ceremonial of the rite well. And I'd remind you and all in this thread that, as far as I know, none of us are priests. If we don't have the Roman collar, I don't see it as our place to criticize the ceremonial of a priest. At least I see it as "above my pay grade". I'm not saying we need to shut up about this, we can certainly discuss the pastoral ramifications of a priest's actions, but surely the fact that countless GOOD priests (I need not list names) do this should give us pause before demanding an end to it, shouldn't it?
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    italics
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    That's what I thought and had tried, but never seemed to work before...

    Ah, got it, need to click off the "text" option

    Much thanks!

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • I had a longer comment written, but my log-in must have gotten timed out, and I lost it.

    My understanding is that GIRM supercedes MS. For instance, MS determined that choirs with females should not be in the sanctuary. This restrictiton was tacitly removed in GIRM (I know of no other liturgical document that abrogated the MS directive previous to GIRM).

    I agree that the removing the recessional from its usual placement in the mass is probably about a 3 and that there are many more important priorities. I do have to admit, though, that a tidy exit from the sanctuary to the sacristy never really bothered me. I also like the idea of the last words that the assembled congregation say together are, "Deo gratias!" It is, after all, the Eucharist, a thanksgiving.

    In any case, if there is to be a recessional, some hymns, such as those that focus on the Trinity, really need to have their full text sung. This is true regardless of placement in the liturgy. Other hymns might have a more poignant meaning if all verses are sung, but a lot of songs like that have sturdy enough first verses that there really isn't a need to sing the whole thing if the priest has already exited (e.g. Love Divine, All Loves Excelling). I, myself, really like to sing, and all the same I feel like having to sing after the priest has left is kind of an imposition on the part of the music director. It's not clear what we're supposed to be doing. Sometimes it feels like the organist just keeps wanting to play or is oblivious to the fact that the priest has left the building. Although people may feel like they are having part of their role reduced if the recessional is removed, I see a lot of people at mass itching to leave as soon as the priest does.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Well,I spoke too soon. In today's meeting with my pastor, he made the "suggestion" that we include a recessional hymn "from time to time." We have been in the habit of singing a hymn in place of the entrance at 5 out of 6 Masses, so I offered the compromise that we do an Entrance antiphon at the beginning, and once in a while a hymn at the end. I actually think this could be a step forward, and maybe I can make the "time to time" less and less frequent over the next two years.