Hymnal Recommendations
  • Hello! I've been a frequent reader of this forum for a few years, but this is my first post :-)

    I am the Sacred Music Director at a small rural parish in Wisconsin. They had Worship III and OCP's Music Issue/Today's Missal in the pews when I came in 2016, and I've been doing my best to work with those resources. Worship III wouldn't have been my first choice, but it's usable. I've been gradually shifting them away from the OCP garbage (which was the primary stuff they did before I came) towards the traditional hymns in W3, with the eventual goal of stopping our OCP subscription. However, I'll need to replace the OCP missals with a resource that contains the readings (I know it's not technically necessary, but the parish wants it and I also like having it available for the congregation). I absolutely hate the wastefulness of the subscription model and want a permanent hymnal/missal. I wouldn't get rid of the W3 though (they are still in great condition and have the parish name stamped on the cover).

    Here's a bit more about our music program and what I'm looking for:
    1) This hymnal/missal would need Mass settings, since W3 is the old translation.
    2) I don't want to put a permanent book in the pews with bad music, but choosing something too "traditional" wouldn't go over well at this parish. I also don't want to just duplicate what we already have in W3.
    3) We have piano (no organ) and often 2 guitarists play. I know this is not ideal for sacred music, but I don't want to exclude the guitarists by selecting something without chords for them. They are dedicated volunteers, long-time parishioners, and decent musicians, and I want to respect that. We also have an oboe & flute.

    I'm currently stuck between two options:
    1) Journeysongs w/readings would feel very familiar and comfortable to the parish and is piano/guitar/instrument friendly. It solves the problem of subscription wastefulness, but I do not like the idea of putting a permanent book in the pews with "bad" music and I don't want to support OCP as a company.
    2) Lumen Christi Missal would be SO PERFECT in my ideal world, but I don't think this parish would be accepting of it. We currently don't sing any chant (I chant sequences, Ave Maria, Salve Regina, etc when appropriate, but the choir/congregation doesn't), and the parish would be very sad to see the "favorites" I still allow from Music Issue/Today's Missal eliminated.

    Any advice is welcome! Thank you!
  • Sydney,

    Welcome to the posters' side of the Forum.

    What you've got is an untenable situation. You want to improve the resources the parish uses, but you want to use only resources which won't upset the parish, too much, to improve the music which is used.

    I'm loathed to counsel patience, because you've already been in your post for three years.

    What needs to happen is a kind of conversion. A mouse dressed in a lion costume is still a mouse, and no amount of special effects work can make the mouse anything other than it is. At the same time, a lion is a lion, and it can't become a mouse. A heretic can't be a Catholic, nor a Catholic a heretic. I don't think that the resource exists in the OF universe to solve the problem you have. Sure, there's the SEP, and CCW, and the St. Michael Hymnal and...and... . there's no shortage of stuff available musically, but all of them will not, by themselves, move the parish in the direction you hint that you want to move.

    4-sided triangles don't exist.

    1) This hymnal/missal would need Mass settings, since W3 is the old translation.
    2) I don't want to put a permanent book in the pews with bad music, but choosing something too "traditional" wouldn't go over well at this parish. I also don't want to just duplicate what we already have in W3.
    3) We have piano (no organ) and often 2 guitarists play. I know this is not ideal for sacred music, but I don't want to exclude the guitarists by selecting something without chords for them. They are dedicated volunteers, long-time parishioners, and decent musicians, and I want to respect that. We also have an oboe & flute.

    You want to use a permanent book which has no bad music, but which also has guitar chords for everything. Not everything written for guitar is execrable, but the guitar repertoire of Music for Mass contains at least some bad music.

    Serious advice:

    Pray a novena.
    Meet with your pastor.
    Shoot for the moon: it's the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!
    Thanked by 1sydney416
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Maybe keep the Worship III (guitar accompaniment books exist for that) and get the readings from the Ignatius Pew Missal; the IPM has four chant-style Masses (two Latin, two English) and one setting by Healey Willan. You might have to create guitar accompaniments yourself based on the organ accompaniments. It would take a while, but on a week-by-week basis the job wouldn't be huge.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,241
    I like chonak's idea. That seems like your best chance for success.
    Thanked by 2rich_enough tomjaw
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 460
    IPM has guitar chords for most hymns in the accompaniment books, and the psalms/gospel acclamations can be easily done without accompaniment.
    Thanked by 2chonak sydney416
  • doneill
    Posts: 204
    Has anybody had success using older copies of WIII by replacing the Mass settings? Now that, for instance, David Hurd's New Plainsong has been revised for the 2010 translation, I'm wondering if one could print just the Gloria and Sanctus on some sticky-backed paper and place them over the old settings.
    Thanked by 1sydney416
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,241
    @doneill -- I have! I (legally!) pasted some updated Mass settings into my former parish's copies of WIII and used them for multiple years after the implementation of RMIII.
    Thanked by 1sydney416
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,678
    Print a handout with the readings every week, any unfamiliar parts of the Ordinary, and the numbers of the hymns you’ll be doing from Worship III.
  • Thanks for the great suggestions!

    I passed over the Ignatius Pew Missal in my searching because I really want a permanent book. I simply don't understand the logic of seasonal/annual throw-aways - so wasteful!!! Otherwise I would definitely go with these. If the IPM had just left the dates off, the books could be boxed up and saved for reuse in 3 years - Unless you have a particularly destructive congregation, they would hold up for at least a few cycles.

    @doneill what a great idea to utilize the outdated pages in W3! I am totally going to paste in some new Mass settings! @irishtenor - any tips for pasting? Did you print on sticky-backed paper or just glue pages in? This is one of those things that when done right is genius, but when done wrong will look terrible and "ruin" hymnals that are otherwise in excellent condition.

    As for a permanent book with readings to replace our OCP missalette subscription, another option I'm considering is the ILP Credo Hymnal with lectionary. From what I can tell online, it seems like a good compromise that would get us away from the worst of the contemporary stuff while still feeling familiar and comfortable to the parish. One hesitancy though would be too much duplication of what's already in W3 - I'll have to compare indexes more closely and order a sample copy. Thoughts or opinions on the Credo Hymnal?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    "Credo" was discussed along with other hymnals in a thread on this forum last fall. Some forum members love it.

    If you want to consider it a candidate, check out some sample copies in detail. A friend who was using the company's earlier "St. Augustine Hymnal" tells me that there were a lot of notation errors in that book's scores, so I hope Credo is better in that regard.
    Thanked by 1sydney416
  • davido
    Posts: 632
    The Lumen Christi Missal is the resource you want. It only comes with square notes, so unfortunately it probably won’t be an option for you. There is no other permanent pew missal that I am aware of that would utilize modern notation
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Please consider Sacred Songhttps://litpress.org/Products/4695.
  • Carol
    Posts: 760
    If you choose a hymnal where you plan to supply guitar chords based on the organ accompaniment, make sure they are in a sensible key for guitarists. For example, if something is in B flat, that is not a key the average guitarist will play in. That is why lots of guitarists use a capo. Not every hymn works well for the average guitarist either, especially if the chords change on nearly every syllable. Nothing sounds choppier than strum-strum-strum, chord chord chord!
    Thanked by 1sydney416
  • My parish will be making the jump this Advent from OCP Breaking Bread to Ignatius Pew Missal. Since you're looking for a permanent hymnal and lectionary, be sure to review a copy of the Jogues missal and Brebeuf hymnal. Even if your parish isn't ready to switch, they're a great resource to have.
    Thanked by 1sydney416
  • @chonak thank you for the link! Not much was actually said about it there though unfortunately - since it's so new, I'm guessing very few people have practical experience using it yet.

    It looks like Sacred Song does not contain the readings? That would rule it out for us unfortunately.

    Thankfully, our guitarists are fairly skilled and sensitive in their playing (and very patient with my total lack of guitar knowledge!) Another point to note is that they are a "support/supplement" and never the primary accompaniment - I always lead on the piano and control the tempo and style. I'm mostly concerned about selecting a resource that essentially "writes them out of the ensemble" with 100% chord-less music. They have both been playing at this church since before I was born, showing up week after week to give of their time and talent. It is very important that I work with them to create sacred music, and not send the message that the music would be better without them.

    Right now, going from Today's Missal/Music Issue to Lumen Christi Missal (or perhaps the Jogues) is just too huge of a leap. I think I need to decide if the better upgrade is to Credo (better financially/environmentally but pushes another upgrade way far in the future) or to the Ignatius Pew Missal (still stuck in the wasteful subscription model, but leaves the door open wider to continued growth).
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • @Gerald_Klaas thanks for sharing! Would you mind telling me a little about how your parish plans to smoothly transition?
  • @sydney416 We are in much the same position as you describe. We have four "groups" that have a long history of using OCP Breaking Bread (and support materials) within our parish. There is an organist that usually leads on Vigil masses and then two guitarists that have been leading on Sunday masses, and then we have a Spanish group.

    I will admit there is a definite "barrier of entry" when switching from OCP products since the parish has historically used the Today's Liturgy magazine for planning. But for me the biggest challenge is matching printed choral music with lyrics printed in the pew missal and then with accompaniments. There is some resistance both within the parish council and among the musicians to the Ignatius Pew Missal because (1) 4 line notation of antiphons and chants, (2) favorite ("new") OCP hymns not in the IPM, (3) support resources not as "polished" as OCP, (4) musicians unfamiliar with the IPM hymns, lyrics or accompaniment.

    The choir currently uses OCP Choral Praise 3 for harmony parts but will need to switch to the IPM "Ordinaries and Hymns" book in order to have lyrics match the pew missal, but that means the choir will often be singing the OCP harmonies from memory or learning new harmony parts.

    My pastor is very supportive of "singing the mass", so he knows that we will have challenges for a while as we make the transition.

    For now, we are scheduling hymns that are in both OCP BB and IPM. We are now chanting ordinaries in Latin. We have also started chanting the communion antiphons that are in the IPM. These antiphons are from Samuel Weber's "Propers of the Mass" (option 3).

    I am lucky to be working with some very self motivated musicians who often learn hymns, chants and choral parts on their own from YouTube videos that I link on a blog page.

  • Carol
    Posts: 760
    Sydney416, it is wonderful that you are treating your guitarists with respect and sensitivity! My husband/accompanist was not treated with respect and we were unceremoniously "bumped" as musicians from our weekly Mass once too often by the pastor, causing my husband to give up playing guitar. I still sing as a cantor at our OF Mass each week, but it is a very unfortunate and awkward situation. My husband was definitely the bigger man in dealing with it! Pastors and organists may come and go, but parishioners stay till they move or die.
    Thanked by 1RPBurke
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 377
    In my experience hymnals are like cookbooks; even the best contain things you would never bother with and don't have things you would like.
    Someone has just donated some money to our place of worship with the stipulation that it be used to provide screens rather than replace our (out-of-date) hymnbook. I have reservations about this; what do others think? does anyone have experience of using them?
  • Use the money to build a rood screen. That's obviously what the benefactor had in mind, since those never go out of date.
  • You surprise me, Viola - heed your reservations.
    Absolutely do not get screens.
    They will make your church seem like a cinema.
    They detract all attention away from the altar, the central focus of any church.
    Their mere presence will attract constant attention or notice - even when they are not being used.
    They are tacky and shabby and in incredibly poor taste.
    They are ugly.
    It is bizarre supposedly to be praising God whilst staring at and singing to a screen.
    An 'out of date' hymnal is superior to a trendy screen.

    The only kind of screens that churches should know of are, as Stimson says, rood screens - get one of these!
  • @Gerald_Klaas yes, it sounds like your parish is indeed in a very similar situation! Thanks for the information, it seems like you guys are on track for an excellent transition. Are you chanting the Mass parts & communion antiphons unaccompanied?

    @Carol I'm so sorry that happened to your husband! Priest changes and poor leadership at both this church and the other one I work at resulted in many volunteer musicians leaving the parish and the music programs were a mess. These past 3 years have been quite the challenge for me as a Music Director - rebuilding programs, healing past wrongs I had nothing to do with, working towards higher musical standards with very limited resources - not to mention I was fresh out of college and most of the musicians I am leading are old enough to be my parents/grandparents!!

    I've got some more thinking and praying to do regarding Ignatius Pew Missal vs Credo Hymnal. All I know is that after 3 years of patiently dealing with/weaning everyone off OCP, it is time for it to go!
    Thanked by 2Carol tomjaw
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,241
    Oh, my goodness! NO SCREENS! They're wildly tacky and undignified, not to mention distracting. In addition, you will need a competent volunteer to run them, and the technology never works properly. I can't tell you how often I've seen them work very poorly indeed. They are a (non)solution in search of a problem.
    Thanked by 1Viola
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,241
    Also, are you entirely sure that Ignatius Pew Missal or Credo would be an improvement over Worship III? I'm not. I'm not saying they're objective a step down (like Gather III would be, for example), but are they really an improvement?

    Surely there could be some sort of supplement for the Mass ordinaries, perhaps pasted tastefully into your existing Worship hymnals. And there must be a hard-bound book for the readings out there, even if the Lumen Christi Missal isn't an option. In my former parish, our Worship III hymnals had the readings and Gelineau's lectionary psalmody in the back, but I'm assuming yours don't.
    Thanked by 1sydney416
  • No screens at Mass, never ever!!! Besides the tacky distraction and danger of technology issues, you have to remember that copyright applies to projection as well as physical copies. Unless you use 100% public domain materials at your parish, you'll likely end up spending more in reprint/reproduction licenses than if you had just purchased hymnals.

    @irishtenor - we would still be keeping and using the Worship III. Unfortunately ours are not the edition with readings. Do you know of any other hardbound pew lectionaries? I haven't been successful in finding anything.

    I also know that replacement is easier to accept than elimination. Replacing the OCP subscription with Credo or IPM sends the positive message that I found a resource for the parish that will save money and has even better music. No one is going to compare indexes - as long as I transition our hymn selections wisely (which I already have been doing for over a year now), the bad stuff will soon be forgotten and we can happily enjoy new, more sacred music in addition to the hymns we already use in W3. Smiles all around! However, getting rid of the OCP stuff with no replacement will feel harsh, abrupt, and negative. This parish has gone through quite a bit of change and sacrificing of traditions over the past 20 years, and I want to be sensitive to that.

    Something else I'm thinking about is the long-term future of the parish. I have no current plans of leaving, but if/when I do, I want to leave a solid foundation of sacred liturgical music in place. I have the musical and liturgical knowledge to piece together Mass settings, Psalms, etc from various online public domain/creative commons sources, but there's no guarantee my successor will. Based on the parish's past and the music ministries at nearby parishes, I highly doubt it - GIA and OCP seem to be the only thing anyone knows around here. The W3 hymnals are already 15-20 years old, and especially since they lack the new translation, they are susceptible to replacement. I don't want to leave the door open for the next music director or priest to call up OCP and reinstate a subscription.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Viola
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 377
    Thanks for comments re screens. I learned that there used to be a rood arch (is that the right term?) here, very impressive ornate Victorian Gothic with a depiction of the Crucifixion, but it was removed in the 60s for the usual reasons. Sigh. The possible new screens are not in my remit, but I will certainly make the points raised against them on this forum very strongly.
    sydney 416 said:Something else I'm thinking about is the long-term future of the parish. I have no current plans of leaving, but if/when I do, I want to leave a solid foundation of sacred liturgical music in place.
    This comment struck a chord. We do our best to promote proper liturgical music, but who knows what a successor might introduce? Can anything be set in stone?
    Thanked by 1sydney416
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,341
    Can anything be set in stone?
    Well no but 'by our Fruits we will be known'. So our example, our teaching, our building of a nucleus of people committed to quality Liturgy, can be a big step to ensure a future with / for Sacred Music.
    Thanked by 2Viola sydney416
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,058
    Viola - I am NOT advocating screens, I don't see how they fit any church, certainly not yours. However looking at pictures of OLW Houston, they now have a rood screen, seen at the top of the page, but formerly had a beam, seen in the next shot on the left. A beam like that with a display like a bus destination board (but much wider, and scrolling) is about the least damaging possibility. It would of course be no more visible from your side aisles than is the altar.
    I only suggest this if you want a counter suggestion to whatever nasty idea 'they' come up with.
    Thanked by 1Viola
  • @sydney416 Yes, our goal is to chant unaccompanied. We currently have a cantor chanting the communion antiphon unaccompanied.

    We have had a guitarist lightly picking the chant melody on the Gloria as the group is still learning and building confidence. I think we're about ready to go unaccompanied at this point.

    Thanked by 2sydney416 tomjaw
  • @Gerald_Klaas Nice work! I would have never guessed from these recordings that this is new music for your choir/parish. It's encouraging to see/hear your success!
    Thanked by 1Gerald_Klaas
  • @sydney416 We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new Credo Hymnals with Lectionary in mid-September. We looked at several options, but ultimately felt that Credo fit our situation best. It will be a vast improvement over OCP's Breaking Bread, and will continue to nudge us in a better direction.

    If you would like to see and hear Ignatius Pew Missal in use, I recently attended Mass at St. Cecilia in Wisconsin Dells. It is a beautiful church, and the hymnal worked well there.
    We also strongly considered the Ignatius Pew Missal, but could not get over the "disposable" idea of it.
  • I'm a fairly new Catholic, and in process of helping with birthing a schola choir (right now 2 singers and organist!) One of singers is the new "head" priest! Speaking of screens, I've attended a gorgeous church in AZ that puts words/music on wall. I love it since it gives me the words and music!
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,241
    I say again: projecting words on screens or the wall is terribly tacky and undignified, no matter how competently it is done. And there WILL be problems, which will distract from the liturgical action. Printed materials are an absolute must.
  • Personally, I think Worship III is a great gateway drug way to incorporate traditional music into a parish. I wish I still had it.

    You might want to look at something like The Saint Augustine Hymnal. There is music contained that isn't of the highest caliber, but you won't find bad theology. Readings can be included.

    You won't find everything in one hymnal. Keep in mind where your parish is at and plan how you can continue to incorporate good, sacred music. As you probably know, it is a marathon not a sprint. I believe collegeville has a hymnal that might fit what you are looking for.

    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Worship III is great. There was a time when it could have been the gateway drug to bombastic enormous timpani ordinaries with roof-raising sixfold amens, but thankfully those days are largely past.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,098
    bombastic enormous timpani ordinaries

    What edition do you have? The "Paukenmesse" isn't in my copy!