Are processional chants required?
  • Interested in any perspective here - I have been thinking about this question, especially as it affects my advice to priests with very limited music resources.

    To what extent would you say that Entrance, Offertory, and Communion chants (of some kind, according to the options in the GIRM) are REQUIRED during Mass. It seems to me that since none of the options themselves are technically required, but only optional, the presence of any singing at those times could also be optional. As opposed to, say, the Gloria or Sanctus which may not be omitted (even if spoken). At communion, there is even a direction for when the communion antiphon is not sung (the priest may recite it).

    I follow the Mass broadcasts from Paris regularly (which by the way are almost more interesting now, post-Notre Dame fire, since they rotate to different churches around the city). I've noticed that often, even on high solemnities, the organist will just play during offertory; and often will play after just one sing-through of the communion chant. If I had a trained schola like they do, that would not be my ideal, but it is probably a local nod to the French organ mass improvisation tradition.

    At any rate, when advising priests I increasingly find myself telling them to do less, not more, at Mass so they can focus on building praxis similar to the hierarchy in Musicam Sacram. It seems to me that silence or organ music would very often be a better option than either stuffing too many hymns into Mass, or trying to get a schola to sing too many things. Thoughts?
  • I can give no assured answer as to whether the processional chants are required, but there have been numerous instances in my career when I sincerely wished they weren't. So often in those parishes where I labored as organist and choir director, there seemed to be an understanding that entrance, offertory, communion processions were moments when the congregation (not just the choir) had to sing no matter how ably the organist alone could enhance the liturgical action.

    Sadly, that I thought such rigidity was nonsense never seemed to carry much weight.
  • Jared,

    Several thoughts:

    1) In the OF, the appearance of a large number of options gives exactly the impression you suggest, which is why some around here are rightly upset. "Liturgy" has a fixed form, but the fact that there are thousands of ways of praying Mass without violating a single rubric is a counter witness to the unchanging nature of Church teaching.

    2) Traditionally, the sung Mass with the bishop is the yardstick by which liturgy is measured. Everything should be sung, for example, except that which is spoken sotto voce. When MS rebuilds the notion of singing from the "bottom", up, as it were, it's not insisting on some new-fangled priority.

    3) Choirs can (and should) sing those parts which are necessary and proper to the Mass but beyond the usual capacity of congregations. In some places, congregations sing the Propers.
    Thanked by 1Gustavo Zayas
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 794
    I think a good start would be to paint a larger picture than just the "legal" requirements - to move beyond minimalism, if you will. From a "technical" or "legal" standpoint, you're correct - none of the propers has to be sung (or any part of the mass, for that matter). But if the question moves from "what is required" (too often reduced to "what is the least I can do?") to "What does the nature of the mass (as it has been traditionally understood) ask for?" or, "What is the ideal?" then things start opening up. There has to be a fundamental shift from legal to liturgical.

    Of course the other side of this question is "Are the resources I have up to the challenge?" Simply singing-the-antiphons-no-matter-what (as Randolph Nichols describes) is ultimately self-defeating, as is singing (hymns) for the sake of singing. One of the best decisions I made at a modestly-endowed parish where I worked was to eliminate the hymns at offertory and communion and play organ music at these times. I did not replace them with antiphons, though I planned to do so eventually (and in fact the music director there is doing now). I figured that the congregation was not ready for a full-on chant mass, even with simple chants at all the usual spots.

    It's largely a matter of educating the pastor. If you can open their eyes to the fullness of the liturgy and what it really demands, there can be a concerted effort in this direction. If the attitude is how little can we do or let's not do too much, it's very, very difficult to strive, let alone reach, anything approaching the ideal. Only an ideal can inspire; fulfilling a legal framework is death.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    "What is the ideal?"


    Is the question to ask.

    What CAN (or must) be done is a very different question than What SHOULD be done.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,046
    In the OF (which I assume is the intended context here, but I note it in case my assumption is wrong), the Offertory is a further odd case: the rubrics provide that the Prayers Over The Gifts are only offered aloud and with congregational dialogue IF there is no music (a rubrical point often ignored in practice). While that doesn't mean that, if those prayers are offered aloud and in dialogue, there ought to be no offertory music, in practice one can see that the ritual dimensions of that moment can feel different depending on the choices made and the rules observed (or not).
  • I should probably clarify: I'm not talking here about the ideal. The ideal is to sing the Mass. However, for priests/musicians dealing with very limited musical resources, it seems to me that it could often be beneficial to focus on the upper hierarchy of Musciam Sacram's list (dialogues, Ordinary) before moving on to the less important parts (Processional propers or "other chants").

    The feeling that we MUST have at least Entrance, Offertory and Communion chants seems, in my experience to lead to a dichotomy between super-simple options such as psalm tone propers, or the same tired diet of hymns constantly because they are known. Or, I see musicians and priests starting by trying to teach the congregation new and/or better hymns for those moments.

    The problem also appears even in places with decent resources, when considering the many different Masses for a particular day. At a small, less-attended Mass I think often silence, or organ music would be better than trying to cajole the congregation into singing hymns.
  • I've frequently heard expressed that the music shouldn't be too long at the Offertory, exactly so that the priest can say those words out loud. Some people cherish them and want to hear them. This is the exact converse of the rubric, of course.

    Technically in the novus ordo the entrance and communion antiphons in the Missal must be read if there is no singing. At the offertory, the offertory prayers may be read out loud if there is no singing. Singing is therefore optional at all these places.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,046
    Correctomundo.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,507
    We sing an entrance hymn, psalm, communion proper, communion hymn and recessional in addition to the mass ordinary. I cut out the offertory hymn years ago and use that time to either play or give the choir time to sing an anthem. A little silence at communion is a good thing, I think. I cut out the offertory hymn after a lady said, "you are singing us to death!" Four hymns seems at least one too many.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,972
    "Are processional chants required?" good topic for a 5000 word Masters dissertation, perhaps.
    Just to consider the sociology (aka the pastoral judgement) of the Entrance :
    [the Entrance Chant]'s purpose is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical time or festivity, and accompany the procession of the Priest and ministers.
    This morning the 12/15 of us declaimed the text, led by our priest, after he had arrived at the chair. I think that works very well, when there are no servers, and given that from sacristy door to sanctuary steps is only fifteen feet. On Sundays we sing one verse of a hymn, which is ample even with a straggle of ill trained boy servers, (having first said the antiphon before the entrance). That works, not well but it works unless it's not the first verse of the hymn and we can't hear the announcement, or we don't recognise the tune, or ... . It would run more smoothly with a cantor singing the antiphon and some chant simple enough for him/her, but - would that have a unifying effect? would we PIPs be able to hear the words? and would hearing them "introduce our thoughts to ..."?
    [aside] I would like to try Kathy Pluth's Hymn Tune Introits, if only I could persuade our organist emerita.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    I used Ms Pluth’s Hymn Tune Introits for about 6 months in a parish just discovering that the propers were a thing. They were well appreciated by all, and they’d be right at home in your church @a_f_hawkins. Best hopes that you can persuade the local authorities toward their use!
    Thanked by 2roy2 CHGiffen
  • I understood that the principal Sunday Mass was to have music as it is considered a solemn liturgy. If we take seriously that the propers are integral to the Mass, I would say they should be sung. If sacred music truly adds to the nobility of the Mass, then it should be included. Does that mean every Sunday has to be Easter Sunday? No, or the special music you do at Easter might be seen as common. It's up to the pastor and how he chooses to implement progressive solemnity in his parish.

    Are any of us required to say anything at Mass except Amen when receiving communion? I tend to think instead of asking Why, ask Why Not.

    I'm curious about the very limited resources. One would have to ask each priest what exactly is his goal is. Is he at an older parish with established traditions or habits that he wants to change? Is he trying to add to an existing tradition? Is he trying to build something out of nothing? In my experience, many things are possible even with limited resources. But you have to really assess your resources (you mean people?), as well as liabilities (you mean people.), and make a reasonable and flexible plan to get from point A to point B over time. People may come and go, but the priest is still responsible for cultivating the "ars celebrandi" in his parish.
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • doneill
    Posts: 191
    Jared,

    I am inclined to agree with you, and I believe that a more strict adherence to the principles of Musicam sacram would especially benefit small parishes with limited resources. Say there's no choir or musician at all: the priest could still sing the Mass with the dialogues and Ordinary unaccompanied. He would recite the Entrance and Communion antiphons according to the rubrics. The parish wouldn't even need to purchase any pew resources outside a simple Order of Mass. Such a Mass would be beautiful in its simplicity.

    Thanked by 2WGS toddevoss
  • Doug - yes, increasingly as I go on in this job, the question I find myself asking is "Is this better than silence?". I wonder if the answer is no, more often than we would like to admit as musicians. I would rather see some things done well and regularly (so that they become habitual - e.g. levels 1 and maybe 2 of the MS hierarchy), rather than a busy liturgy with many things done not well.

    Of course, the ultimate ideal is to do everything well. But even in places with good resources, that is probably not achievable all the time.
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • doneill
    Posts: 191
    "Is this better than silence?" is an excellent question we should all ask ourselves. Of course, this is all in a perfect world where we could institute these principles from the ground up. Too often the political reality is that we are in a situation where the Mass has little of Tier 1, some of Tier 2 and all of Tier 3 sung by the congregation. In that case, we are faced with improving Tier 3, and adding Tier 1, which is really backwards. I'd love for a bishop to one day announce that from hereafter, all clergy are to abide by those principles in Musicam sacram - provided that pay for the musician is guaranteed when it becomes a no-music-at -all Mass once the celebrant starts reciting the Greeting!
    Thanked by 1WGS
  • We should follow the degrees of MS! and Sing the Creed in the vernacular. skip the hymns.
    Thanked by 1dad29
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    Partial-agree with you, Ralph. Some on this Forum have dismissed MS as "irrelevant" because "previous to current IG." So.....toss that damn baby WITH the bathwater!!

    Give the demi-Protestants a hymn to keep them happy. The recessional. If they don't sing the Creed, then they have to stay and sing the (12-verse) recessional hymn. Please open your books...........

    Heh.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,972
    I don't think I have ever dismissed MS as irrelevant, if I have then I misspoke, but I have pointed out that the directives of GIRM supersede MS. For example this is no longer a requirement --
    MS 28 ...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. ...
    but it is still highly desireable that the hierarchy, as modified, be observed.
    [ADDED]
    MS (5 March 1967) and GIRM (1st edition 6 April 1969) were written by the same Consilium, so any differences are those between EF and OF. The current GIRM references MS six times.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,507
    I have pointed out that the directives of GIRM supersede MS.


    Sure enough! Now convince the flat earthers.
  • doneill
    Posts: 191
    Is that 1st edition GIRM available anywhere? I've found the 2nd edition online. One difference between that and the current GIRM I note is that the 2nd edition says that the Alleluia before the Gospel may be sung by the choir, clearly with the Gregorian Alleluia in mind; the current GIRM says that the Alleluia is "sung by all," even though it says that the verse may be taken from the Graduale. So does that current GIRM instruction supersede MS? That would mean that even in a fully Latin OF Mass, one should do a Graduale Simplex Alleluia with all, rather than the Gregorian one, thus rendering parts of the Graduale Romanum irrelevant.

    I agree those MS guidelines must be modified, in light of the OF Mass and subsequent instruction. It would be extremely helpful if we could have an official update of MS; then maybe more people would pay attention to it.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW CHGiffen
  • I don't see why the congregation couldn't join in the GR melodies, if they're presented properly.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen JL
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,972
    1/ The first edition never came into effect, because the second editio typica of IGMR was published with the first editio typica of the Roman Missal. This 2nd edition is described in the accompanying note http://www.cultodivino.va/content/cultodivino/it/rivista-notitiae/indici-annate/1970/54.html p.177 as mostly minor emendations. However that is to gloss over the fact that it was a response to the so-called Ottaviani Intervention, which complained inter alia that they had forgotten to mention that Mass is primarily a sacrifice -The Sacrifice-.
    2/ We are told of some congregations which can and do sing Gregorian Alleluias, eg Our Lady of Walsingham Cathedral, Houston.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    the directives of GIRM supersede MS


    Minor point: if the above is true, then MS, in fact, IS irrelevant.

    We note that Progressives declare their virtue in all forums *coughCharles* and risk being wrong in all of them too.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,507
    And the disobedient adhere to what they like and ignore anything subsequent the church does or mandates.
    Thanked by 1JL
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,972
    dad29 - MS has 69 paragraphs, only four, §28-§31, are superseded by GIRM, and they are mostly incorporated into GIRM. The principles set out in the other parts are still relevant.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,507
    I suspect some of them don't apply to the Novus Ordo but only the so-called Tridentine Rite. MS did not anticipate, nor could it have, that the responsibility for the liturgy would be turned over to the conferences of bishops.

    What I would like to see - it will never happen - is parse the old documents, old missals, new documents, and new missals and come up with one missal and one set of regulations that incorporates the best of all of them. Then develop a uniform calendar and decree all will follow both.
    Thanked by 2toddevoss JL
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,972
    The first editio typica IGMR seems to be here courtesy of Rorate Coeli.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 275
    What I would like to see - it will never happen - is parse the old documents, old missals, new documents, and new missals and come up with one missal and one set of regulations that incorporates the best of all of them. Then develop a uniform calendar and decree all will follow both.



    If I’m not mistaken, a process exactly like that happened in Rome 50-60 years ago; can’t remember just what it was called or how it worked out.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,507
    Of course you remember. You can't be old enough for memory loss - says the person who couldn't find his cell phone last week. LOL. It didn't work out because parts of the liturgy (propers, anyone?) were not translated until 9 years later. Other materials were rushed into publication too soon. The process was half-done, slipshod and not tested beforehand. Had it been done with more care and had more thought been put into it, then it would have had a better chance of not being mediocre.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen a_f_hawkins
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    The 1965 Novus was the result of that 50-ish-year-old process.

    It was far too good, so it was re-re-revised into today's pastiche of options. That way, nobody has to "disobey" in the NO--there's always an option making it licit.

    Whether those "options" are for good or not........well, let's not go there!
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,972
    parts of the liturgy (propers, anyone?) were not translated until 9 years later
    ICEL produced a translation of GS only a year after it was published, but AFAIK there is still no official translation of the antiphons in GR, except were they are identical with RM, so no Offertories. ICEL had an antiphonal ready in 1997, but it has never been published.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,507
    I could have been fine with the 1965 and thought the later revisions were unnecessary and inferior.

    The calendar changes with the NO have created problems ever since.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,507
    a-f-hawkins, aren't you in England? If so, you realize the U.S. does things differently, at times.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,972
    Anomalously, I am in an English diocese, but not in England! I am aware that the U.S. is different, however I have not seen a Gradual which claims to be an official translation, for example Fr Webber uses his own translations, at least in part. If there is an official one, please give a link.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,507
    Not that I know of. I use Fr. Webber's at times and also R. Rice compositions.
  • Not sure how I missed this earlier, but on reading through Musicam Sacram today, this stuck out:

    "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."

    So I guess that answers my original question...
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,972
    GIRM is not so explicit, and thus MS still applies. The only mention is at the Offertory, GIRM§142 - "... If, however, there is no Offertory Chant and the organ is not played, ..."
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    one set of regulations that incorporates the best of all of them


    MS is just fine as the foundation for said document. But the Bishops have far larger concerns these days. Or at least, they SHOULD be concerned about other matters e.g., the EWTN poll released a couple of days ago.
  • Dad,

    Proper care of the liturgy is supremely important to the work of evangelizing the world, for it says "this is how seriously we take the worship of the God we preach."
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    Granted. But beginning about 1965-70, that horse took off at a gallop from the barn and hasn't been seen since. We see the results.

    But I'm easy!! TWO actions are required, one of which is making MS the foundation for any 'new' instruction (not suggestion) on praxis. The other is to actually preach the Word in its/His entirety--abortion, divorce, homosexual activity........
  • Dad,

    Preaching the Word in His entirety is, of course, an important aspect, but if that preaching is accompanied by the Hootenanny Mass..... the impact of the preaching is transformed into that of a boomerang. Likewise, if we preach the whole truth, but still allow (nay, encourage) communion in the hand, girl altar boys, much of the modern musical repertoire..... we saw off the branch on which we are sitting.
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    Odd that the Baptists are pretty successful in teaching/imparting right living while their services are not formal at all and the music is......uhmmnnhhh....Similarly, the Missou' Lut'rans.

    How do you s'pose they do that?
  • Dad,

    Last time I had contact with the Missouri Synod Lutherans, they treated the ELCA like strangers from another planet, and the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans treated the Missouri Synod like they were Unitarian Universalists. On the other hand, do you notice any of these branches of Lutheranism actually growing?



    Mind you, none of these ecclesial communities actually have a sacrificing priesthood or Christ Himself really present in their (non-existent) tabernacles. Actors sell movie tickets, but God and His Church offer us the Cross.
    Thanked by 1toddevoss
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    Yup. But you didn't answer my question.

    And Catholicism--in this country--is not exactly setting growth records, either, is it?

    We agree that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass--the Eucharist--is the source and summit of the Faith. But until and unless Right Living is part of every single homily, newsletter, and broadcast from the Bishops and priests, .........we have trouble.
    Thanked by 1toddevoss
  • Dad,

    If our administrator wishes us to take this off-line, I'm happy to continue this by PM, but let me see if I can address your point more directly:

    Since the non-Catholic "churches" aren't actually bringing people closer to God, but only selling a kind of identity, people who wish to be affirmed in their identity and entertained are drawn to this sort of place. They're not worshipping God, or even trying to, or imparting God's law, except in the theatrical sense. People who are drawn to "what makes me feel good" go there.
    Thanked by 1Schönbergian
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    I see.
  • JaredOstermann
    Posts: 442
    And, judging by KTOTV, if you are in Paris you may also continue to play full-bore organ pieces during Lent; during the Offertory and Communion processions (and for much of the Introit). I suppose that's another beating-a-dead-horse thread topic. Watching the Masses online, I have to say I really enjoy the organ processionals, even during Lent. But my more legal-minded side says that it would be more ideal liturgically if their professional schola chanted from the Graduale with verses during the major processions (at least during Lent).
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    That is not a surprise, Jared. Experience with ICK tells me that the Order observes the rules which were made in France--which occasionally but not excessively match those rules promulgated by Rome.
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 171
    The entrance chant (in some form) is part of the Introductory Rites and as such, is required, even if it’s just spoken.
  • Sponsa Christi,

    Do you mean the text is required, or the chant is required?