Lumen Christi Missal and Hymnal - seeking advice
  • Ali
    Posts: 31
    I apologize if I have miscategorized my post. I wasn't exactly sure where this would fit.

    I'm seeking to connect with anyone who is currently using the Lumen Christi Missal and Hymnal at their parish and might be able to give me some advice on implementation of a few things - especially the Mass Ordinaries.

    My background is that I am a music director of a moderate sized parish in Southern Maryland. I'm a vocalist myself and I manage a handful of organists, cantors, a choir, and 1 guitarist. We had been using OCP everything until the end of this past liturgical season when I convinced my pastor to make a complete change over to the Lumen Christi beginning this Advent. So, it's still new and we are finding our way, but I could use someone to talk with about some practical things who also might have some tips and advice. I've emailed Adam Bartlett, who has been a wonderful help in every way, but I also wanted to post my query here hoping for a variety of input. If there's anyone willing and able, we can begin the discussion in the comments.

    TIA for your time!
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    When I introduce new Ordinaries, I do it one piece at a time. For example, when I started at this job, the Ordinary was a strange mashup of contemporary settings. So, I changed the Agnus Dei and let that sit for 3-4 weeks. Then change the Kyrie. Let it sit for 3 weeks. Change the Sanctus... etc. In a neighborhood parish setting, my opinion is that it is best to do things gradually like this, so there's not a dismal culture shock.

    We used Adam's Mode VIII Gloria for Easter last year, and taught it to the congregation before Mass, in 5 different sections, during Lent. When Easter arrived, they had heard it for long enough to be comfortable with singing the new setting (except for those who hate chant and just stand there scowling, but that's another issue...).

    Then we did the RM3 Gloria for a couple of months during summer. I prepared them for that by improvising preludes based on the melody for 6 weeks prior to its implementation. I'll also sometimes play through melodies of upcoming music if the Offertory or Communion processions take longer than anticipated and there's some "filler" needed. When new hymns or Ordinaries come up, there's some familiarity, since they've heard the tune a few times already. Important in a congregation where it would be generous to estimate that 2% of them read music at all!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    Thanked by 1ryand
  • Ali
    Posts: 31
    Thanks for your response, Ryand and Kathy.

    I got a very helpful and fantastic response to my initial and more specific question from Adam Bartlett earlier today.

    Ryand, I like the suggestion to change one component of the Ordinaries at a time. Adam suggested to me that I keep singing our current known Mass setting for awhile longer while the congregation gets used to the Responsorial Psalm and Alleluias of the LCM and get acclimated to the Missal itself (which is vastly different from OCP!). It has been suggested to me to teach the new Mass parts prior to Mass. Can you tell me more about how you did this? How much time did you spend? Did you go to the ambo or stay in the loft/by the organ? I'm interested. My pastor had me give spoken tutorials before Mass the first two weekends of Advent when we first introduced the Missals to the people. It was well received, but even just 5 minutes prior to the beginning of Mass, people are still scrambling in the door.

    Kathy - that blog post is very helpful. I'd actually already laid out a similar plan, but I really appreciate the lengthening of the timeline. I think purchasing the Lumen Christi hymnal has already accomplished #1 on this list for us. We've completely replaced the communion hymn with the communion antiphons in the Lumen Christi Missal and did that back in mid-October. The congregation hasn't noticed one bit. Prior to that change, 2 years ago I asked my cantors to stop announcing the communion hymn anyway (no longer announcing hymns is on my agenda as well, but we do not currently have a hymn board), so the people in the pews weren't singing at that point anyway. We do a hymn after the antiphon during which we invite the congregation to sing along. I had figured we'd replace the offertory next. My pastor has asked that I help him learn how to chant the doxology correctly and so I think he'd be open to chanting other parts of the Mass.

  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    The first thing we changed here was the psalm and alleluia.

    The psalm is an easy transition. Cantor sings, people repeat. The alleluias changing each week can be challenging for a congregation unfamiliar with modal music, so I've been choosing one mode for each season (or for a series of weeks during OT). We've done all but Mode III, and once that is introduced and familiar, then we will alternate according to what is prescribed for each week. This has been a year-long process to introduce all 8 alleluias from the Simplex

    RE: Teaching new ordinaries
    Our parish has announcements before Mass instead of after communion / before dismissal. So prior to the regular parish announcements, I would announce from the cantor mic that we'd be rehearsing a section of an upcoming Gloria setting. Play a phrase (instrumental), sing the phrase (solo), then invite all to join on the 3rd repeat of that same phrase.

    This was in our old temporary church so there was no loft. The choir/piano was in a little alcove next to the sanctuary. Now we have a big church with a loft, and when we do such things in the future, my bosses have requested that I send a cantor down to the ambo to lead, following the same pattern: Explain that we're rehearsing new music, organ plays once through, cantor sings once through, congregation joins on the 3rd repeat.

    RE: Stragglers
    Some complaints were levied when the new Gloria was introduced, but the clergy pointed out to the whiners that we had been rehearsing it for 5 weeks before Mass and that maybe they shouldn't be showing up at the last minute (or late).
    Thanked by 1Ali
  • Ali
    Posts: 31
    Thanks so much for your reply! This is very helpful.

    The congregation has done well with the Responsorial Psalm change, which isn't that much different from the OCP Respond and Acclaim. In fact, I think the psalms are now easier for them since there aren't ridiculous rhythms and drawn out end notes. I will keep the Alleluia the same for awhile. If I had to guess, I think only 1/3 of the congregation is attempting to sing the simplest one I've tried so far. People sure are stubborn!

    The DRE and I are thinking about a chant workshop of sorts during Lent for teaching the Mass Ordinaries and the Propers. I believe I've read on this forum about others doing something similar. We are going to put our heads together about how to pull that off so that we've given ample opportunity to the parish to learn the new stuff. Then as you've said about stragglers, they can't really complain if they don't make the effort to learn!

    The positives in all of this are that I know I've done the right thing in convincing my parish to switch, planning music is much easier on me, and that the new missals really have been well received by most. My musicians are all on board with implementing the antiphons and a new chanted Mass setting. I have an organist who has been volunteering as an accompanist for 55 years (55 YEARS! As a volunteer!) who said, "Gosh, you really could just fall in love with these communion pieces". So, however difficult this has been on me, I know in the long run it'll be worth it.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    In fact, I think the psalms are now easier for them since there aren't ridiculous rhythms and drawn out end notes.

    Yes most of the Lumen Christi psalms are very easy for non-musicians to follow, even after one listen. The antiphons are much more natural, as they're formed around the text (instead of forcing the text into a metrical sing-along tune). The verse tones are much better too. Some of those R&A verses are just... odd.

    If you think that people would attend the workshop, go for it. I wouldn't attempt anything like that here just because families are so busy with sports, theater, and other extracurriculars, it would be impossible to get much participation, and instead of complaining that they weren't taught anything they'd just complain that we picked the wrong evening!

    And yes, planning music is so much easier once the propers are implemented. All that it takes is choosing an Ordinary, plugging in the Propers, choosing a few hymns and then any special choral pieces. Done!