Singing During the Corpus Christi Procession
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    What gets sung during a Corpus Christi Processions? I know this is an elementary question, but my brain is refusing to locate the answer. We're talking about a parish procession here. And any tips on keeping the folks together? Thanks much.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    That should be "a Corpus Christi Procession." Careless of me.
  • john m
    Posts: 134
    We have used handbells (sorry, Jeffrey!) because they are audible over lengthy distances outdoors and serve to keep everyone on pitch and at least reasonably together rhythmically. Choose a few bells in a triad or a cluster and sing everything to that key, sounding the bells either all together at the cadences, or in a repeating rhythmic pattern. As to repertoire, I have had the best success with music that people know by heart: Taize refrains, familiar antiphons, and so on. Asking people to sing, walk, and read at the same time is asking a bit much. If they can simply sing and walk, they are more likely to participate. I also "plant" choir members and other strong singers amongst the group.
  • Darcy
    Posts: 73
    We just sing Eucharistic hymns, like Panis Angelicus/Jesus Our Living Bread, Jesus My Lord My God My All, O Lord I Am Not Worthy, etc. The choir members and anyone in the procession near us sings, but I don't think the majority of people can hear us well enough to sing along.
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 343
    There is a set of antiphons with psalm verses, hymns and gospel canticles in the Graduale Romanum (OF) and, I believe, in the Graduale Simplex:

    Antiphon: Obtulerunt w/ Psalm 23 (vulgate psalm numbering)

    Hymn: Pange Lingua

    Hymn: Sacris solemniis

    Antiphon: Alleluia (the simple triple Alleluia that starts fa-so-la-fa) + Ps. 104

    Hymn: Verbum supernum prodiens

    Hymn: Iesu nostra redemptio

    Hymn: Aeterne rex altissime



    Hymn: Tantum Ergo
  • WGS
    Posts: 244
    We have a parish "Brass Ensemble" of six or so members - adult and youth. This is especially effective for outdoor processions. With this group, the unity of congregational singing can easily be maintained for metric hymns but not as conveniently for chants. For chants, the instrumentalists need to understand the rhythm and know where the duple (quarter note) and single (eighth note) rests are, and I suggest that the instrumentalists closely follow the direction of the choir director.

    Mike, would it be in unison octaves for the horns for the chant? -- organum?
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,003
    "Salve festa dies" - the one we sing in many churches with the R.V.W. hymntune, actually has tons of verses. It was a very long poem that paralleled the seasons of the year with the Liturgical Year. It was composed as a Processional, and caught on throughout Europe. There are examples for all the Feasts of Our Lord and Our Lady, and many well known saints. There was one for Corpus Christi as well, I think about 24 verses. You can find the Latin texts for all of these in the 55 volume "Analecta Hymnica", and I think it's even available on-line. I don't think it has ever been translated into English. Any Latinists out there?
  • henry
    Posts: 216
    Last year I was criticized for constant singing during the procession and not allowing people time to say vocal prayers (we walk for several city blocks). Any format suggestions for the procession? I'd like to avoid songsheets because they're so hard to distribute since the procession takes place immediately after the Communite rite of the Mass. Thanks!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    Does the order of the procession follow the Holy Thursday practice? I.e., cross, servers, thurifer, priest w/ Blessed Sacrament, followed by people?
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 766
    The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite has the following (no. 703-705): (1) the cross bearer carrying the cross or banner, flanked by the candle bearers; (2) religious associations, sodalities, etc., perhaps carrying their own banners; (3) religious in their habits; (4) the clergy, in choir dress (and copes); (5) the concelebrants of the Mass; (6) the two thurifers in front of the canopy, customarily swinging the thuribles with their inside hand. Directly under the canopy walks the celebrant, carrying the Eucharist devoutly at eye-level, with the deacon(s) beside and slightly behind him, holding back his cope, if necessary. No one else walks beneath the canopy. The torch bearers with torches or lanterns walk along each side of the canopy. (...) Directed by the ushers in the church, the people who are to walk in the procession follow the canopy.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    Thank you!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,827
    Where does your choir and Mariachi band come in the lineup?
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 766
    The Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite again (no. 705): The singing is led by the choir and the cantor(s) - either walking in the midst of the people or singing from a fixed point, with appropriate amplification.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    After Communion our choir comes out in robes in front of the altar, kneeling, until the procession is underway. They follow the priest. We accompany the Pange Lingua as long as the procession is in the church.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 655
    Honestly, I think it might work better to string out the choir along the whole length of the procession, maybe two by two. Unless everybody knows the songs and everybody is prepared to sing, or unless the procession is really really short, it just doesn't work to have the whole choir in one place. (The brass band that Old St. Patrick's in Columbus uses is fully audible everywhere, but the open air is notorious for dispersing the sound of singing.)

    The other thing that occurs to me is that, if you have any doubts about people's breath control while walking, antiphonal singing of hymns might work better. The old guys never seem to run out of breath, but the younger people do! Giving people a line to recover would probably improve stamina. You can also get the men vs women sound thing going.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    We've tried spacing out, but the choir has trouble staying together because they can't hear each other.

    Hence the bugle was born.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 655
    You know, if you had a format where you sing a hymn, say a prayer, sing a hymn, say a prayer, that might work.

    Of course, the traditional format of stopping at "altars" along the way to pray would give people more time for vocal prayer, also, as well as letting people get their breath. :)
  • Mary Ann
    Posts: 49
    Our parish began this tradition six years ago, in response to the JPII-designated "Year of the Eucharist."

    Our Schola is interspersed throughout the crowd, with one member using a portable PA to lead the singing/praying. All pilgrims carry booklets with a song/prayer/song/prayer format. Hymns include: Humbly, Lord, We Worship You, O Sacrament Most Holy, Shepherd of Souls, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, Panis Angelicus, Beautiful Savior, etc. Of course O Salutaris is sung as the priest incenses & venerates the Blessed Sacrament before the procession & Benediction hymns are sung when procession ends back in the church.

    The Corpus Christi procession was initiated by our Spiritual Growth and Liturgy Committee, with full backing of our pastors then and since.
  • Mary Ann
    Posts: 49
    A couple of points I missed (sorry)...

    Initially we worried about folks not singing together, however, they do their best and they do it reverently, so I do believe those efforts are blessed.

    By next year we hope to have three portable altars/shrines ready to use for the procession. The prospect of a short prayerful respite (even though the route is not lengthy) would greatly help those with walking or respiratory problems.
  • Don't forget about the plenary indulgence gained when singing the Tantum Ergo at Holy Thursday and again on Corpus Christi!
  • Tomorrow's probable lineup (1962 Missal Corpus Christi, observed on Thursday):
    O Salutaris
    Pange Lingua
    Ave Verum
    Sacris solemniis (at least the last two verses: Panis angelicus)
    Adoremus in aeternum.

    Our procession stays inside, and the choir stays in the loft. When we have the choir in procession, I try to insist they move in pairs and stay together. Otherwise, the music doesn't stay together, as we sing a cappella almost exclusively.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181

    Where/ when will this Mass take place?
  • Kathy, Old St Mary's in DC. 5th & H St NW. 7:30 pm this Thursday evening.
  • After the fact - - sorry. But perhaps this will be useful for some of you for Corpus Christi 2011. At St. John the Baptist Church in Front Royal, VA, we had our eleventh annual Corpus Christi procession yesterday. It attracts more people and becomes more beautiful each year. It begins with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the church, then the procession begins- - down Main Street to a temporary altar in the gazebo on the "town square" with three parish choirs following the altar boys, etc. and the priest with the monstrance; recent First Communicants in their special garments (little girls strewing rose petals), followed by parishioners; some parishioners line the street and join the procession as it reaches them. Benediction at the gazebo, procession back to the church where the ceremony is completed. The music (texts printed in a program):

    Exposition in the church: O Salutaris Hostia
    Procession from the church: Adoro Te Devote; O Jesus, We Adore Thee; Panis Angelicus, Ave Verum Corpus (chant).
    Benediction at the Gazebo: Tantum Ergo
    Procession back to the Church: Soul of My Savior; Godhead Here in Hiding (sung to melody of Adoro Te Devote); Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All
    Inside the Church: Pange Lingua (and repose of the Bl. Sacrament)

    Then- - a big ice cream social in the parish hall- - always a big hit with the youngsters. No singing!
  • Preparing for a Eucharistic procession (just for fun--not any particular liturgical feast; well part of 40-hour devotion). What are some other traditional chants for such processions? Hymns, litanies? etc. I was thinking of Adoro Te which has lots of verses, but many of the above mentioned hymns will be incorporated throughout the 40 hours. It was suggested to use some litanies such as to the Holy Name or the Sacred Heart, during the actual procession, but are there traditional melodies for these? I've only ever sung the Litany of Saints.
  • CGM
    Posts: 488
    We did a big "through the downtown and around several blocks" procession in 2012. We asked the professional singers (in their robes) to try to maintain a distance of 15-20 feet between each other, so that each could be an anchor to the people who happened to be near. Even so, trying to stay musically together while 1000 people are singing and walking outside is just shy of impossible. We ended up with several groups singing the same thing out of phase with each other (sometimes by one or two lines of lyric!). No one seemed to mind.

    Also, we had a brass quintet that set up in a nearby park and played Gabrieli. When the procession approached, the singing stopped, and all were serenaded by brass. When the procession had fully passed and the singing resumed, the brass players sprinted to another location along the route and set up. As the procession passed THAT spot, again the singing ceased to hear the brass, and then having passed them, began again. The procession concluded in the church with benediction and Eucharistic adoration (and brass on "Holy God" at the end). I've attached the music sheet that we had printed up and available for people. We only had two songs for the procession - "Adoro te" and the first four verses of "Pange lingua," both in English (per the pastor's instructions).

    We'll be reprising this procession this year. I think the only difference will be once we get into the church for Benediction at the end: the Sequence has been cut this year.
  • We ended up with several groups singing the same thing out of phase with each other

    ...Ah, Charles Ives...
    Thanked by 2CGM futurefatherz
  • CGM
    Posts: 488
    In 2010, I led a small choir which was near the front of an EF procession through midtown NYC on Corpus Christi Thursday. Our procession rep:

    Eucharistic procession (no final Amens or Alleluias!):
    - Pange lingua, chant (vv. 1-4) (if repeated in procession, just vv. 2-4)
    - Gustate et videte, Lassus SATTB
    - Lauda Sion, sequence + Mueller ending
    - Sacris solemniis, chant (from the Liber Usualis)
    - Magnificat Primi Toni, Palestrina SATB (from CPDL)

    Upon return to church, at Benediction: Tantum ergo, Palestrina SATBarB
    Recessional Hymn: Holy God, We Praise Thy Name