Canada: psalm and propers translation
  • I am hoping that among all the wise people on this forum, someone will be able to answer my questions!

    1) I have started playing organ and singing at a Catholic parish. I really like the Chabanel psalms as they are simple to play and sing at the same time -- I also greatly appreciate the chant style. However, the answer that I have been searching for to no avail is this: because I live in Canada, am I allowed to use a translation of the psalm that is different from the one contained in the lectionary? I've searched the forums here, but I could not seem to find a concrete answer. Yes, I've read the GIRM...but I'm not sure how much it applies to this situation.

    2) The resources available for reverent communion hymns is very limited. At this point, I am considering singing the communion propers (SEP) instead. Again, being in Canada, am I allowed to use this translation of the propers? The GIRM only seems to make allowances for the true Latin propers.

    This is all frustrating. I obviously don't want to get in trouble for using music that is not approved. Yet it seems silly that there are so many translations.

    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,131
    At the entrance procession, the Canadian edition of the GIRM allows for "another chant that is suited to the sacred action" (para. 48), so SEP certainly qualifies for that.

    For communion (para. 87), the specifications are less flexible: the third choice is "some other suitable liturgical chant approved by the [CCCB]". So if you want to use the SEP at Communion, you might ask your pastor how to proceed. In some dioceses, the bishop might authorize priests to grant reasonable exceptions, or maybe he'd have to get permission from some diocesan official. Since there isn't an approved ICEL English translation of the Graduale Romanum, at least you'd be presenting it in a translation by the monks of Solesmes, published in 1990, with an imprimatur on the book ("Gregorian Missal", first edition).

    On this forum there has been previous discussion of psalm settings for Canada here and here.

    One of our users, Andrew Malton, has prepared psalm settings for the three-year cycle, and provided a link to his web site.

  • You must use a approved translation of the psalms. I have the same problem here (Ireland) in that the Parish book of psalms uses the US lectionary not the version of the Grail psalms we use. However, Grail were happy to give me permission to use their text, and so I am setting the psalms we use to an adapted version of the PBP. Not sure if that will be of use to you, or you might do something similar. ( See thread of adapted psalms for UK Ireland ),.here

    the Propers are meant to be just that - the Latin Propers. SEP can be used as an option for another song see girm48 depending on what your version of the GIRM says, they differ widely on this point, but generally the text has to be an approved text by the Conference of Bishops. I don't know if the SEP is approved in Canada, if not it should be an urgent priority.
    I am hoping to get it approved in Ireland, but as yet have had no response from Illuminare about permission to move on this.

    However, given that there is no list of approved songs from our bishops in publication, and the SEP is what it is, I use it without qualms, as we are trying to move away from singing 'Somewhere over the rainbow' for Corpus Christi.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • In practice, "approved by the CCCB" means "in the Catholic Book of Worship" (Canada's approved liturgical music and hymn book). For example all the officially proposed proper songs are taken from there. (But note that even that official list clearly envisages choosing still other songs by "those who use other hymnals ... from their own repertoire.") So really, those "approved" choices are left up to the musicians.

    Most parishes I know sing a song from a hymn book during the communion. At my parish we use Rice's Simple Choral Gradual at communion, usually followed by a choir anthem. Another (novus ordo) parish I know sings the (Latin) communion antiphon with psalm verses in English, followed by a communal hymn from the CBW -- which is pretty much exactly what the GIRM says to do (para. 88).
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,493
    Hi Adrienne,
    Another Canuck here. We use the psalms from the CBW III for the responsorial psalm as these are "approved". I'm struggling with this more and more because I don't love most of the settings. I'm also toying with writing my own, and there are Andrew's settings that you can use with his permission. Stephen Sommerville also wrote the three year cycle, but I'm not sure about copyright. Our pastor strongly encourages us not to use text which are not the proper translation here.

    Yes, communion hymns are a huge struggle. We use the Simple English Propers for the beginning of communion, then a hymn from the CBW III, and the choir may sing something or a combination of these. Communion is very long at our church which makes it all the more problematic.

    Finally we use the Introit and Offertory propers from the SEP as well. Our pastor has approved them and is quite happy with this choice.

    Hope this helps!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Wow, thank you for all the feedback! I don't feel so alone now. :-)

    I definitely understand the preference for the proper psalm translation (Lectionary). Of course, it makes it easier for parishioners to follow along with the missal. We also have the CBWIII, but I am sorry to say that I don't enjoy using it (my worst discovery so far has been the reference to God as "motherlike"). I would like to have simple psalms that the congregation can respond to by memory.
    I will contact Andrew to ask for a look at his psalms.
    I read in a post from a few years back that GIA has Guimont psalms arranged for the Canadian lectionary. Can anyone confirm this?

    Would it be entirely terrible to change the words of the Chabanel psalms to match our lectionary? It would be for my own use.

    In regards to communion, the biggest trouble for me is trying to find hymns from CBWIII that are appropriate. I really do prefer Communion hymns that are about the Eucharist! Unfortunately, this hymnal does not include any of my favourites (eg Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All; O Lord, I Am Not Worthy; Sweet Sacrament cetera). I believe I can count on one hand the number of songs that I (perhaps in error) believe to be appropriate for the time during Mass which our Lord comes to us!
    And so I am pondering singing the propers. I will talk to our parish priest and ask his opinion - whether or not I can sing a text that is not approved in Canada.

    This whole conundrum with translations, copyrights, and approval seems to be way more trouble than it should be...

  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,691
    The propers actually rarely speak about the Eucharist during Holy Communion. Try using Psalms and settings of the Ubi Caritas during Communion.

    Psalm 34:
    #170 - Somerville
    #173 - Willcock
    #221 - Hughes
    #610 - Moore
    #612 - Hughes

    Psalm 23:
    #606 - Gelineau
    #607 - Somerville

    Ubi Caritas:
    #67 - Taize
    #376 - Mode VI
  • dhalkjdhalkj
    Posts: 61
    Ubi caritas is not a communion hymn. It is to be sung at the preparation of the gifts on Holy Thursday because it refers to collecting and sharing gifts (of food and charity) with people of all faiths and backgrounds. In the CBW version (Proulx (c) GIA) "Let our love enfold each race, creed, ev'ry person." So, these are gifts of food for the poor that are presented along with the gifts of bread and wine that will be offered in sacrifice to God and are referred to in the closing line of some eucharistic prayers immediately before the doxology - e.g. EP I "You continue to make all these good things, O Lord; you sanctify them, fill them with life, bless them and bestow them upon us."

    As for the Canadian translation, the NRSV derived text printed in the lectionary is there to be read if there is no singing of the CBW (Grail) version. It is not in itself a version designed for singing. There would be no objection to using melodies for the response from any source that appeals to you, but they should be matched with verses from the singing version.

    As to the reference to God as motherlike I think you will find this is scriptural and indeed part of passages included in the lectionary.

  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,691
    Ubi caritas is not a communion hymn.

    The Graduale Simplex disagrees with you.
  • dhalkjdhalkj
    Posts: 61
    I assume you're referring to the fact Ubi caritas is listed in Appendix III as a possible communion song. When you turn to page 133 (this is Graduale Simplex 1975) you find the hymn printed in the material for Holy Thursday and specifies that it is "loco antiphonae ad offertorium". It is followed by the Antiphona ad communionem Calicem salutaris. The Graduale Romanum 1974 also very clearly specifies the same position. By Everflowing streams does the same but provides an English text that gives "congregate together to break the bread" in place of "cum in unum congregamur". It also seems there is no direct Latin original for Proulx's phrase about different creeds, merely "mente dividamur". So maybe it can work at communion.

    Liber Usualis specifies this as a song to accompany the Mandatum.

    And there's one other little musical point that I can't resist adding: the song ends on the finalis of the tone with the final line of the verse. The antiphon does not end on the finalis and should not be used to end the song.
  • Ubi caritas is not a communion hymn.

    On Holy Thursday, Ubi caritas takes the place of the Offertory chant (loco antiphonae ad offertorium). On other occasions, Ubi caritas may be used as communion chant, as indicated in the Graduale Simplex.
  • Hi @adrienne. Another Canadian here :)

    Would it be entirely terrible to change the words of the Chabanel psalms to match our lectionary?

    Since many of the Chabanel psalms are based on psalm tones, they can usually be adapted to the Canadian Lectionary text without too much difficulty. I have done this on numerous occasions with the Chabanel psalms as well as settings from the Lumen Christi Missal.

    If you prefer an "out of the box" option, check out Psalms for the Liturgical Year from Novalis ( The majority of the settings are decent and singable, though in a more contemporary style. They also match the melodies printed in the Novalis Living with Christ missalettes.

    I obviously don't want to get in trouble for using music that is not approved.

    If this is your biggest worry, you're in a better situation than many of us. Praise God if you get in trouble with your priest over which translation of the Propers you are allowed to sing!
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,131
    Would it be entirely terrible to change the words of the Chabanel psalms to match our lectionary?

    It would not be terrible at all: most of them are published with a Creative Commons license which allows you to adapt them as you please. If you were to publish them (for example, putting the antiphon melody in a music program), you have to correctly attribute the material to the composer, but other than that, the conditions are generally generous.

  • You are also welcome to use By Flowing Waters: Chant for the Liturgy (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1999), which uses the NRSV translation.