Sunday, June 7, 2009


A new series for Christus Vincit - the BLOG!

This is the blog version of a segment called Liturgy 101 from the School of Snark that I was doing on Christus Vincit ANYWHERE! I'm sorry I haven't gotten a new episode up since February. I just haven't had the time. I land up getting a couple of segments together, but then I'm busy the rest of the weekend with my family. After all, it's about the only time I really get to spend with them with my crazy hours. I'm determined to get a new episode up; I just don't know when. :(

Anyhoo, here's the blog version, titled If You Must Use Hymns.

Today's focus will be on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (aka "Body and Blood of Christ"). Corpus Christi is also the patronal feast at SteveO's diocese in the big state of Tejas! :)

Unlike most parishes, which utilize publications like Today's Liturgy or GIA Quarterly, which focus mainly on the readings, I look at the Propers first - the Introit, Psalm/Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion, according to the Gregorian Missal for Sundays, whose source is the Graduale Romanum (ok, I do use the Lectionary primarily for the Psalm, but offer the Gradual as well). I then look to the readings afterwards, if I've run out of ideas, or perhaps for the unnecessary yet still highly demanded recessional hymn, to "round out the Mass".

Corpus Christi - Year B

Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, alleluia, et de petra, melle saturavit eos, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
PS: Exsultate Deo adjutorio nostro : jubilate Deo Jacob.

He fed them with finest wheat, alleluia, and with honey from the rock, he satisfied them, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. PS: Rejoice in honor of God our helper; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.

Some may cringe with the thought of this, but with this antiphon, I tend to open the Corpus Christi Mass with Gift of finest wheat (You satisfy the hungry heart with gift of finest wheat...). Shepherd of souls, refresh and bless is a nice choice as well. With the verse, another thought might be the Grail Psalm 81, with the Gelineau antiphon Ring out your joy, which can be found in Worship II at #236.

Responsorial Psalm:
I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. (Psalm 116)

Any of the settings at Chabanel are highly recommended. The Grail/Gelineau setting in Worship II and Worship III is also very good.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live for ever.

Maybe I am the bread of life as an extra hymn somewhere if you're brave (hymn of praise after Communion, or recessional). Even better would be O living Bread from heaven, a "lost 45" which I haven't seen in a Catholic worship aid since the early We Celebrate volumes. If you don't have an early We Celebrate handy, the text is available at Net Hymnal (formerly "Cyber Hymnal"). The tune is Aurelia, which is most often used with The Church's one foundation.
Let's not rule out Panis Angelicus either. I'd go with the Lambillotte if you're leading a congregation. However, the Franck would go fine for a soloist, or even a choir (yes, we did an octavo at Holy Name - I forgot the arranger - of the Franck for SATB and treble solo, in A-flat).

Oculi omnium in te sperant, Domine : et tu das illis escam in tempore opportuno. Aperis tu manum tuam : et imples omne animal benedictione.
The eyes of all look to you in hope, O Lord, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand and fill every living thing with blessings. (taken from Psalm 145 (144)).

This could refer back to the previously mentioned Gift of finest wheat as an entrance (not "gathering") hymn.

Caro mea vere est cibus, et sanguis meus vere est potus : qui manducat meam carnem, et bibit meum sanguinem, in me manet, et ego in eo.
My flesh is true food, and my blood is real drink; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

Like the Alleluia from the Lectionary, this is taken from John 6. One would be quick to think I am the bread of life or Eat this bread.

Lauda Sion salvatorem (Laud, O Sion, thy salvation), or the shorter version Ecce panis angelorum (Behold, the bread of angels).
The chant setting is always best for either version. I've also done the Ecce panis angelorum by G.B. Pulleri from the St. Gregory Hymnal, #317, as an anthem.

Portas caeli aperuit Dominus : et pluit illis manna, ut ederent : panem caeli dedit illis : panem angelorum manducavit homo, alleluia.
The Lord opened the doors of heaven and rained down manna upon them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven; man ate the bread of angels, alleluia.

In addition to Gift of Finest Wheat, Panis Angelicus, and O living bread from heaven, let's add a setting of Psalm 78 to the mix - perhaps the Responsorial Psalm for the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (The Lord gave them bread from heaven).

Qui manducat carnem meam, et bibit sanguinem meum, in me manet, et ego in eo, dicit Dominus.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him, says the Lord.

More John 6. See my remarks for the intervening chants.

SO - What would my final hymn plan look like if I had my way? It would look like this:

Entrance hymn: Gift of finest wheat
Psalm setting: Sam Schmitt's setting at Chabanel.
Offertory: Psalm 78 setting for the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B, as found in Worship II or Worship III.
Communion: I am the bread of life
Extra Communion piece as time permits, or the optional "hymn of praise" after Communion: Panis Angelicus (use the Franck - go all out!)
Recessional (if we must): O living bread from heaven

As for the Ordinary of the Mass, this is just as good a time as any to go with chant settings in Latin. SteveO's already doing it!

For extra suggestions, check out CanticaNOVA's planning page. The selections given there are top quality!


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