Communion hymn for Easter?
  • What would you suggest be an appropriate hymn for Easter Sunday?. I am an organist at a Catholic parish that uses Breaking Bread from OCP.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 285
    At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing
    Thanked by 2Anna_Bendiksen Carol
  • What about Ye Sons and Daughters? The only reason why I was thinking of doing that is because it's the longest of the Easter hymns
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • I would save O filii et filiae until Low Sunday.

  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,946
    "That Easter day with with joy was bright" - Long Metre, 5 stanzas, usual tune PUER NOBIS NASCITUR. It's in Worship IV. And usually many people know it.

    1 That Easter day with joy was bright;
    The sun shone out with fairer light
    When, to their longing eyes restored,
    The apostles saw their risen Lord!

    2 His risen flesh with radiance glowed;
    His wounded hands and feet he showed.
    Those scars their solemn witness gave
    That Christ was risen from the grave.

    3 O Jesus, King of gentleness,
    With constant love our hearts possess
    That we may give you all our days
    The tribute of our grateful praise.

    4 O Lord of all, with us abide
    In this our joyful Easter-tide;
    From ev'ry weapon death can wield
    Your own redeemed forever shield.

    5 All praise to you, O risen Lord,
    Now both by heav'n and earth adored;
    To God the Father equal praise,
    And God the Spirit, now we raise!
  • GerardH
    Posts: 285
    I would save O filii et filiae until Low Sunday.

    Why?
  • It, like Puer natus in Bethlehem, covers larger periods than just one Sunday. Ihe case of O filii et filiae, the text makes sense when sung intergrally, and makes LESS sense when we leave out the Thomas verse.
    Thanked by 1Schönbergian
  • My parish has always done This Joyful Eastertide (VRUECHTEN) at communion.
  • My home parish has done K. Lee Scott’s “God’s Right Hand and Holy Arm” for Communion on the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. It has a nice refrain for the congregation to sing and then verses for cantor or choir:

    https://www.morningstarmusic.com/god-s-right-hand-and-holy-arm.html

    I’ve also seen R. Hillert’s “Festival Canticle: Worthy is Christ” as a Communion hymn for Easter.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,606
    Organists seem to love Festival Canticle. While the text is worthy, musically it's a slog from a congregational singing perspective, and the text is shoehorned over the music in a way that doesn't do it justice.
  • My home parish has done K. Lee Scott’s “God’s Right Hand and Holy Arm” for Communion on the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. It has a nice refrain for the congregation to sing and then verses for cantor or choir:

    https://www.morningstarmusic.com/god-s-right-hand-and-holy-arm.html

    I’ve also seen R. Hillert’s “Festival Canticle: Worthy is Christ” as a Communion hymn for Easter.


    Hi CatholicZ09

    I love Festival Canticle! It has always been a favorite at my parish. However, I usually do it at the offertory when there is incense. To me, it sounds a little upbeat for communion. I was thinking of something more slower since communion might be long. What do you think would work?
  • I second at the Lamb's High Feast. I also like to do The Strife is Over throughout the Easter season.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Would you use I Am the Bread of Life?
  • No offense is meant by this Connor, but I do not think many, if any, on this forum would encourage the use of I Am the Bread of Life. There are so many hymns out there which are far, far better choices!
    Thanked by 1GerardH
  • GerardH
    Posts: 285
    I was thinking of something more slower since communion might be long.

    It's Easter Sunday we're talking about. If there is any day in the calendar to subvert the trope that music at Communion must be soft and meditative, it's this.

    However, for a less bombastic suggestion, Now the green blade riseth is excellent. For something choral and much more subdued, When Mary through the garden went by Stanford.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Looking ahead at the schedule, I have "Lift High The Cross" and "Crown Him With Many Crowns" as the entrance and recessional hymns for the day.

    Here's a general tip for congregational hymns: when families come to Mass, if the dad sings, everybody sings; if he doesn't, then the kids will sense that singing the hymn is not cool, and then they will be losing interest. So the choice of hymns becomes a part of the parish's evangelization to families. If a hymn is full of cozy sentimentality (I have wuvved you with an everlasting wuv), or has difficult rhythms (you shall cross the barren desert, but you won't sing sixteenth-notes), and therefore won't be sung by the dads, then those are points against it.
  • Liam, I agree with your sentiments regarding Hillert’s “Festival Canticle.” I’ve noticed that the congregation will belt the refrain but then drop out with the verses; I was thinking maybe this could be an instance where the refrain is posted in the worship aid, and the cantor sings the verses (which is how I’ve seen it down in many, many places). It’s definitely not my favorite, but it eats up time during Communion.

    Gerard, I like your statement about how Easter Sunday can subvert the common trope that Communion music must be soft and meditative. It almost always isn’t in my parish on Easter Sunday.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,606
    And, in my observations over decades, the way the refrain for Festival Canticle is laid over the music encourages folks to sing things like "Fee-ye-ye-yeast" and to nearly elide the I in the descending march on "victory" (tip: make sure the choristers hold that I as long as possible before the consonant), and a punchy "YAH" at the end of at least the first two Alleluias. If you want something to eat up time for the Communion rite, one could readily deploy all 26 verses of Psalm 136 (or 24 verses if vv 19 & 20 are too obscure for your taste).
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Sorry folks
  • Would you use I Am the Bread of Life?


    Yes, I would.

    I've "thrown down" about this on this Forum before, and I neither desire nor intend to recapitulate old battles here and now. If you want to know my reasoning, feel free to PM.

    I asked my Diocesan Youth Choir to sing it at their last holy hour, as an olive branch to the repertoire of 90% of parishes in the Diocese, amidst a set of largely Latin repertoire. It was and can be very moving, when sung with attention and beauty. I asked the singers to focus in a particular way on the phrasing ("don't sing it like you've heard it sung at funerals your whole life"), and on adding energy and life to the lines. We sang the refrain in four parts.

    Sorry folks


    Nothing to apologize for. Also, FWIW, I've never programmed Festival Canticle, but have had choir members / congregants request it in recent years. I don't think affection for it is just an "organist thing."
  • Connnor,

    Explain, please, "Sorry folks".

    It could mean,

    "You people are pathetic" -- you are sorry folks.

    "I'm apologetic that I've transgressed some rule": --I'm sorry, folks

    "I realize I've transgressed a rule, but I don't care" -- sorry, folks, but

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,676
    Sorry folks


    Don't apologize. Make a decision based on your parish, it's needs and practices, and what works for you.
  • Connnor,

    Explain, please, "Sorry folks".

    It could mean,

    "You people are pathetic" -- you are sorry folks.

    "I'm apologetic that I've transgressed some rule": --I'm sorry, folks

    "I realize I've transgressed a rule, but I don't care" -- sorry, folks, but


    I should've clarified. I meant it in the form of an apology since I felt like I was doing something wrong by choosing a communion hymn that people may not agree to.
  • I should've clarified. I meant it in the form of an apology since I felt like I was doing something wrong by choosing a communion hymn that people may not agree to.


    Not at all! Lots of opinions here.

    If you can, read all of them and take them seriously --- you'll learn many things and hear many perspectives. But don't be afraid, as CharlesW indicated, also to exercise your own good judgment!
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Doing something that forum members disagree with isn't, necessarily, evil, ... and it won't get you banned from this forum (as it might from other fora, which tend toward navel-gazing. You might get spirited argument against using the song.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • I've used I am the Bread of Life for the Communion Hymn on Easter Sunday for years. I also added in the Gouin antiphon before since it was published a few years ago.
    Let's be truthful for a moment, while there are better options for a hymn; nothing gets the Christmas/Easter people singing like I am the Bread of Life. For my parishioners, it would be like removing Silent Night after Communion at Christmas. Let the complaint emails begin!
    Thanked by 1connor_whelan25
  • Organist,

    I agree with you that these songs are super-popular, and I will accept that they're especially popular among the C-and-E crowd, but are these truths those on which we should base our musical choices?
    Thanked by 1Anna_Bendiksen
  • (Duh duh duh)
    (Duh duh duh)

    This is "The Bread of Liiiiiiiiife,"
    It's a popular song indeed
    With no meeeeeeeter to speak of,
    Nor does it haaaaaave
    A disceeeeernible rhyme scheme---

    But it lives on and ON,
    But it lives on and ON,
    Yes, it lives ONNNNNNN and ON
    IN THE R.C.C.!!

    (Duh duh duh)
    (Duh duh duh)

    Unleeeeesss you've sung
    This piece led by a cantor on guitar
    (The only one who knows the lyrics),
    You can't call yourself a Catholic,
    You can't call yourself a Catholic.

    Oh, it lives on and ON,
    Oh it lives on and ON,
    Yes, it lives ONNNNNNN and ON
    In the R.C.C.!

    (Duh duh duh)
    (Duh duh duh)

    In what we can term an increasingly
    Frequent lapse in judgment,
    The E-pis-co-pa-li-ans
    Also put this song
    Into the 1982 Hymnal---

    It's number 335,
    It's number 335,
    It's number 335,
    IT WILL NEVER DIE!

  • Pure brilliance Anna! The last verse is amazing.
    Thanked by 1Anna_Bendiksen
  • I wrote “I Am the Bread of Life” for a San Francisco archdiocesan event in 1964. I was teaching high school at the time and wrote the song during my free period. When the bell rang for the next class I decided I didn’t like the music, so I tore it up and threw it in the wastepaper basket.

    My classroom was next to the infirmary, where the girls who didn’t want to take tests or were otherwise unprepared for class went for a period or two until they were tracked down by an exasperated teacher. As I left my classroom, a freshman girl came out of the infirmary and said, “What was that? It was beautiful!” I went back into my classroom, took the manuscript out of the basket and taped it together. It has had a life of its own ever since.

    “I Am the Bread of Life” began to appear in archdiocesan liturgies. There were many purple ditto copies going around. Not everyone liked the hymn. One liturgist gave talks on why it shouldn’t work, saying: “It is not metric; its tessitura [vocal range] is too high. Its tessitura is too low.” Others objected to it because they felt by placing the words of Jesus into the mouths of the assembly, those words were being attributed to the assembly.

    [...]

    I could never figure out how the hymn became popular. I know in our Roman Catholic tradition it came at the beginning of our use of the vernacular, and we simply didn’t have much to sing in our own language. But I also think its popularity stems from its message of resurrection, which is so strong in these words of Jesus. We so need that message of hope. I am always touched when people tell me that at the funeral of a mother, father or friend, these sung words of Jesus gave them consolation. Then I know the hymn has done its work.

    Thank you, young freshman way back in 1964! I’m sorry if you were not feeling well that day and had to go to the infirmary—or, I’m glad that you decided to sit that class out. I hope your teacher didn’t scold you too much.


    -Sister Suzanne Toolan, RSM

    ====================================================

    I, too, don’t know why it works. It shouldn’t work, for very convincing reasons.

    And yet, it does.

    I remember, at a sacred music retreat for the TLM given in the late 2010s by Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, we had daily Low Mass on the days when we didn’t have a High Mass for which we had been preparing. The cantor for one of them, spontaneously, decided to intone “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” at the end. It was taken up by the body of retreatants, in four part harmony, without a score or line of text in front of them.

    We made some incredible music on that retreat, but that moment, that simple old hymn sung with such love, stuck out to Msgr. It was an intangible thing, he said, that happens sometimes in the most unexpected ways. “It was,” as he said, “worship.”

    And yet, I am struck by the parallel. I remember that this, too, shouldn’t work. I remember, in the 1933 Caecilia, a Q&A with Dom Gregory Hügle, OSB that reads all too familiarly:

    Q. "What qualities should a good hymn have?"

    A. It should have simplicity, freshness, and reality of feeling, a consistent elevation of tone, and a rhythm easy and harmonious.

    Q. "What, then, is wrong with the hymn Holy God we praise Thy name?"

    A. It lacks clearness and simplicity in its poetry. It also lacks dignity and elevation of melody.


    And yet, it works. And it is, in spite of this, both simple and dignified. In spades. And, from no less a voice than Martin Mosebach, works in a way unparalleled by any other vernacular hymn.

    Truly, we don’t understand these things. Not a bit.

    ==========================================

    Maybe, though, these flawed, imperfect vehicles of praise work so well because we are imperfect vehicles of praise.

    And, just as the Sacrifice acceptable to God could not be made by the Son in the context of the boundless perfection of Heaven’s bliss, but only when He was Incarnate, enfleshed, voluntarily sharing the lot, though not the fault, of limited and imperfect creatures, so too, perhaps, when we try to offer praise like Icarus, we wind up falling further by drawing nearer in the wrong ways.
  • Nihil,

    There's a difference between a skunk and a mouse in a skunk's costume.

    To put HGWPTN in the same box as IATBOL on the grounds that both were deemed hopelessly unfit, it seems, is to call into question the hasty judgment of a critique (or critic) rather than to beatify the unfit.
  • Both seem to have staying power. Both were hotly criticized in similar circles. Along similar lines.

    I exercise a healthy aporeia on this matter.
  • Would you use I Am the Bread of Life?


    Yes. I use it pretty frequently.

    No offense is meant by this Connor, but I do not think many, if any, on this forum would encourage the use of I Am the Bread of Life. There are so many hymns out there which are far, far better choices!


    I think it's great! Text is awesome, music fits the text really well. I don't understand why people don't like it. And for the pro-antiphons crowd, the verses rotate through several of the Roman Missal communion antiphons.
  • Would you use I Am the Bread of Life?


    Yes. I use it pretty frequently.


    Given your moniker, is this exactly a surprise?
  • Given your moniker, is this exactly a surprise?


    Considering the piece is now nearly 60 years old (58, to be exact), yes, it possibly is surprising.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Surely, anything after 1500 is modern...
    720 x 737 - 99K
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • Nihil,

    Point granted, but how often do we hear that the "youth" Masses are mostly populated by old people stuck in their youth (1965 - 1989)?
  • I am doing "Christ, the Lord, is Risen Today" followed by "All You On Earth". Both are a bit more upbeat than I generally program for Communion, but I agree with the point above, that of all days, Easter Sunday would seem to allow for this.

    BTW
    Opening - Hymn of Joy
    Preparation - The Day of Resurrection
    Recessional - Jesus Christ is Risen Today!
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 873
    The proper, "Pascha nostrum" would be nice and there are several English adaptations assuming the Latin wouldn't work in your situation.

    Also, a simple triple alleluia refrain (the ubiquitous tone VI one, which could follow the Pascha nostrum) or the one from O Filii et Filiae.

    Assuming you are looking for something that can be stretched out for a longer communion procession than usual, as well as something that is familiar or can easily be picked up the those who only attend occasionally.

    A short congregational response like the triple Alleluia can then be alternated with as many psalm verses as required and the verses can be sung in a variety of ways by a solo cantor, several or a choir. Or alternate with organ versets, etc.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw LauraKaz
  • oldhymnsoldhymns
    Posts: 192
    Attached is a wonderful Easter hymn that would certainly be very appropriate for Communion at any Easter Mass: Carol Ye His Praises. It is by Louis Berge and comes from his YOUNG PEOPLE'S CATHOLIC HYMN BOOK, 1924, McLaughlin & Reilly. It is a joyful, cheerful hymn; and its wonderful imagery tells the Easter story like no other.
    2454 x 3275 - 2M
    Thanked by 2Don9of11 CHGiffen
  • Would you use I Am the Bread of Life?


    Depends on what resources (musicians, instruments, singers) are available, and what the congregation is likely to know and expect.

    With volunteer musicians, Easter Sunday is one of the hardest days to recruit people for. C&E congregations typically don't sing much. Unless I have a strong musician and lead singer, I'm probably judge it too risky and go for something easier, eg Taize "Eat this Bread": not celebratory / Easter-ish, but Eucharistic and unlikely to cause a train wreck.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW mattebery
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,676
    Be glad you are not a Baptist. What if you had to sing this jewel for Easter?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpJfT4_COzY
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • I worked for a little Congregationalist / UCC-affiliated church at the time in my life when I would take any music job at all. Between them and my Presbyterian grandmother from NE Arkansas, I have a soft spot for these things...
    Thanked by 2CharlesW CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,676
    In my earlier days, I had to play them, too.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,676
    Yep, remember that one well, too. In the Protestant church where I played early on there was a millionaire steel magnate in the congregation. He subsidized the church so no one was going to tell him to quieten down. He had a volume that could have drowned the Mormon Tabernacle organ, and sang badly off key with screechy high notes. "He Lives" was one of his favorites. I used to dread it every time it was programmed.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen