communion hymns-need help
  • Our choir director has scheduled Hail Mary, Gentle Woman as a communion hymn (NOT hymn of praise) for the fourth sunday of Advent. I am concerned we are singing about Mary and not Jesus at this most sacred time of the mass. Any suggestions. Will probably ask our pastor what he thinks but any suggestions would be helpfull.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    Do ask your pastor. Mine has said that Marian settings are not appropriate for communion.
  • Here is the pastoral note that was released by the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops regarding Marian hymns and Sunday liturgy:

    "Many Roman Catholics observe May and October as a “Marian month,” with special devotions in honour of Mary, the mother of God. However, Sunday is the Day of the Lord, a special day of the resurrection focused first of all on the paschal mystery, and that focus always takes priority in any celebration of a Sunday liturgy (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, no. 106). Therefore, those who prepare the music for Sundays in their parish must keep in mind that no element of the Lord’s day celebration may be replaced by any devotional practices, such as Marian hymns during the month of May or October. Hymns to Mary do not have a place in the Sunday liturgy (unless a Marian feast replaces a Sunday in Ordinary Time as happens on Aug. 15). One or two such hymns may be used at a Eucharist during the week when a feast of Mary is celebrated, but even then it is inappropriate to sing Marian songs at communion time. These hymns do have a place in Marian devotions that are scheduled at a special time separate from any celebration of the Eucharist, such as the public recitation of the rosary including singing and scripture readings."
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    Maybe your choir director actually knows that the *proper* communion antiphon for the 4th Sunday of Advent is, "Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel." So... halfway about Mary? Not a battle I would die fighting...

    I wonder if the Canadian Bishops would object to an "Ave Maria" being sung for the Offertory of the 4th Sunday of Advent? ;-)

    (ETA: and if your diocese mandates, like mine, that whatever is sung at communion have a "refrain," then I don't think "Gentle Woman" is all that bad of a choice for 4 Advent...)
  • Why not download from this site either the Richard Rice setting of the Communio with English verses or the setting from the Simple English Propers by Adam Bartlett? If you don't use the Graduale propers, either of these settings is a beautiful alternative, and, if you will pardon the pun, very proper.
  • As the esteemed Fr. John Orr, now at CharlesW's parish, once said to a pastor in response to complaints about my scheduling Marian hymns for Mass, "Is she not the Mother of God?"
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    I will use a Marian recessional hymn if the Sunday is near a Marian feast. I also have people willing to pay for "Ave Maria" sung at offertory for special anniversaries and such. One lady does so every year on the anniversary of her husband's death. However, the pastor did say not to use Marian hymns or songs at communion, so I don't.
  • Being a Canadian, I would not put much in comments from the CCCB.

    Ok, we have in the Church devotion to the Eucharistic Heart of Mary. We have religious orders named after the Eucharistic Heart of Mary. Our Lady is the Mother of God, the Gate of Heaven and Star of the Sea. She is no mere Saint, but took an active role in Salvation history.
    At my Parish (dedicated to Our Lady) it is not uncommon for us to use a Marian chant at communion time after we have sung the proper antiphon (SEP) with psalm.
  • Also,

    We have a feast and liturgy for the Eucharistic Heart of Mary in the Usus Antiquior.
    Our Lady is intimately linked and inseparable from Our Lord.
    That said, it would be odd to replace the proper (not of Marian theme) with a Marian hymn.
    The CCCB would never presuppose that the proper was being sung. They would regard such practice as existing only in monastic communities and even then...
    Further to a point against the CCCB quote would be the very recent communion antiphon and canticle for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception: Gloriosa with the Magnificat
  • donr
    Posts: 971
    Wasn't it common place to sing a meditation Marian hymn after communion in the past?

    Also as stated above the propers for the 4th Sunday in Advent as well as the propers for the immaculate conception are Marian Centric.
  • Thank you all so much. and yes I did see the communion proper is: "Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son; and his name will be called Emmanuel.":
    Yes Mary is the Virgin but is it not about Emmanuel-God with us.
    I have no problem with it being a hymn of praise. Yes Mary is our mother.
    and yes it was common place to sing a marion hymn after communion.
    Thanked by 1E_A_Fulhorst
  • A more appropriate hymn would be "The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came" - a traditional Basque Carol.

    "The Angel Gabriel from Heaven came,
    his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
    'all hail,' said he, 'thou lowly maiden Mary,'
    Most highly favoured lady, Gloria!

    The SEP Chant isn't hard at all. You might even be able to get away with chanting this with a Psalm verse, glory-be and repeating the antiphone before going into the Hymn.
  • "Hail Mary, Gentle Woman" would be more appropriate at the offertory, assuming that you are not singing a motet or anything else.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "Hail Mary, Gentle Woman" is just not appropriate for Mass on any day, since it's bad music.
  • Gavin - Agreed on that it is poor quality music, but the text is a better match for the chant antiphon and it is the text which takes primary importance for singing the mass.

    You can sing everything to simple Psalm tones at a pinch (recto tono gets monotonous)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    Gentul womun, qui-et lite...Gentul mother, peeceful duv...Blessed are you amung wimmin...

    You have to live in, or be from the South, to appreciate.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    What rhymes with love, what rhymes with love?
    above... of... glove.... shove... dove
    Dove! That's good!


    Writers of religious texts should trade their rhyming dictionaries in for a used copy of The English Hymnal.


    Thanked by 2CHGiffen CharlesW
  • I would shy away from a Marian hymn during the Communion procession, as well. I cannot think of a specific norm banning this, but it seems like good liturgical sense to me. The focus during reception of Holy Communion should not be on Mary, but on Christ. Yes, our theology is "To Jesus through Mary," but at Communion it's just Jesus; Marian intercession is unnecessary.

    I see no reason why the Marian hymn cannot wait until after reception is completed, using it as a reflection or *shudder* "Communion meditation."
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    You will not find a harsher critic of Carey Landry on this board than I. But I don't think it serves us and our sponsor guild any benefit to pile on and ridicule this or any of his material in public. And lest we forget, in the meanwhile over this song's life, it has become, for better or worse, much beloved by the people, who aren't in our Lord's eyes the hoy polloy.
    Thanked by 2elaine60 ParleyDee
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    I will never understand the popularity of this song. It isn't even a good translation. It is an earworm. Perhaps that explains some of it.
  • Jani
    Posts: 441
    The intro to HM:GW is really quite nice and played as an arpeggio on guitar it sounds good. They coulda stopped there and skipped the verses and I'd have been good with it.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • oldhymnsoldhymns
    Posts: 226
    You might try the hymn for the Feast of Our Lady's Expectation (December 18), "Like the Dawning of the Morning," which is #158 in the St. Pius X Hymnal (words are by Father Faber). The hymn, with different melodies, appears in several pre-Vatican II hymnals.

    Like the dawning of the morning, on the mountain's golden heights,
    Like the breaking of the moonbeams, on the gloom of cloudy nights,
    Like a secret told by angels, getting known upon the earth,
    Is the Mother's expectation of Messiah's speedy birth.

    Thou wert happy, blessed Mother, with the very bliss of Heaven,
    Since the angels salutation, in thy raptured ear was given;
    Since the Ave of that midnight, when thou wert annointed Queen,
    Like a river overflowing, hath the grace within thee been.

    Thou hast waited, child of David, Any thy waiting now is o'er,
    Thou hast seen Him, blessed Mother, And wilt see Him ever more,
    Oh, His human face and features, They were passing sweet to see!
    Thou beholds them at this moment, Mother show then now to me.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • Look for a Hymn based on the Ad Libitum communion chants. "O Taste and See" has many settings.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,164
    Hi oldhymns, and welcome! "Like the dawning of the morning" has several more stanzas (8 total). The Pius X Hymnal provides the 1st, 2nd, and last. Here's the full text (87. 87. D):

    Like the dawning of the morning
      On the mountains’ golden heights,
    Like the breaking of the moon-beams
      On the gloom of cloudy nights;
    Like a secret told by Angels,
      Getting known upon the earth,
    Is the Mother’s Expectation
      Of Messiah’s speedy birth.

    Thou wert happy, Blessed Mother,
      With the very bliss of Heaven,
    Since the Angel’s salutation
      In thy raptured ear was given;
    Since the Ave of that midnight,
      When thou wert anointed Queen,
    Like a river over-flowing
      Hath the grace within thee been.

    On the mountains of Judea,
      Like the chariot of the Lord,
    Thou wert lifted in thy spirit
      By the uncreated Word;
    Gifts and graces flowed upon thee
      In a sweet celestial strife
    And the growing of thy Burden
      Was the lightening of thy life.

    And what wonders have been in thee
      All the day and all the night,
    While the angels fell before thee,
      To adore the Light of Light.
    While the glory of the Father
      Hath been in thee as a home,
    And the sceptre of creation
      Hath been wielded in thy womb.

    And the sweet strains of the Psalmist
      Were a joy beyond control,
    And the visions of the prophets
      Burnt like transports in thy soul;
    But the Burden that was growing,
      And was felt so tenderly,
    It was Heaven, it was Heaven,
      Come before its time to thee.

    Oh the feeling of thy Burden,
      It was touch and taste and sight;
    It was newer still and newer,
      All those nine months, day and night.
    Like a treasure unexhausted,
      Like a vision uconfess’d,
    Like a rapture unforgotten,
      It lay ever at they breast.

    Every moment did that Burden
      Press upon thee with new grace;
    Happy Mother! Thou art longing
      To behold the Saviour’s Face!
    Oh his Human face and features
      Must be passing sweet to see
    Thou hast seen them, happy Mother!
      Ah then, show them now to me.

    Thou hast waited, Child of David,
      And thy waiting now is o’er;
    Thou hast seen Him, Blessed Mother,
      And wilt see Him evermore!
    O His Human Face and Features,
      They were passing sweet to see;
    Thou beholdest them this moment,
      Mother, show them now to me.
    Thanked by 2oldhymns Don9of11
  • oldhymnsoldhymns
    Posts: 226
    Thanks, CHGiffen, for sharing all of those verses of "Like the Dawning" with us. Wouldn't it be wonderful to hear all of those verses sung to the Pius X melody sometime.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • Like the Dawning and other old Marian hymns are in the Catholic HYMNAL Anthology

    It includes Eucharistic Hymns and Benediction Hymns.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,164
    frogman ... your link to the Catholic HYMNAL Anthology is broken ... but the link just given is probably what you intended.

    However, here is the setting of the "Like the dawning" to CONSECRATION by Joseph Mohr from MusicaSacra's English Hymns in the Commons (a.k.a. PBEH).
  • Thank you so much.
    This has been helpful and great to see and hear what other music ministers are doing.
    :)
  • I wouldn't ever use Hail Mary, Gentle Woman -- but my parish celebrates only the Usus Antiquior, so even if I were tempted, I would resist the temptation toward self-immolation.

    Consider a different approach, though , to the piece in question.

    Cary Landry's piece, whatever its merits or demerits, is NOT written as a piece which he intends congregations to sing, any more than the St. Louis Jesuits' works were. (Congregations don't navigate double-dots; they change them).

    Since one of the much celebrated parts of the reform of the liturgy is ACTIVE participation, which is taken by its proponents to mean "Everyone must do everything", the piece doesn't belong at the revised Missal.
  • I always thought the double dots in Be Not Afraid meant strum the chord once and let the consonants fall where they may. ;)

    I've pretty much snuffed out Gentle Woman at our parish. Replaced it with Kantor's Ave Maria which can be preceded or followed by the Latin Chant Ave Maria (which can also be sung along with Kantor's melody. Not a bad contemporary setting of the Hail Mary and can still be accompanied on Guitar in placed where that is important! Fans of Night of Silence will be similarly pleased.

    Still I typically program it at offertory on Marian Feasts not during communion. Even on Marian Feasts I tend to do a Magnificat at communion--which while defiantly Marion, is directed to God rather than Mary. Likewise with any other Ave Maria (Schubert et al) post-communion, offertory or prelude but not during communion procession--unless of course the pastor specifically requests it--pastoral trump card always wins.
    Thanked by 1elaine60
  • Is there another hymn out there which has the words of the Hail Mary in it?

    On Marian feasts, I tend to use "Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star" a fair fit.

    If I have a schola we usually sing either the Arcadelt Ave Maria or a 3-voice "Sub Tuum" ascribed as "Slavonic".