QUAERITUR: Drafted into directing a TLM choir! HELP!

From a reader:

I wondered if you might be able to help me, I know you’re busy so please don’t bother yourself if you don’t have a quick answer or resource.  I got elected, recruited, uh more like drafted into being choir director twice a month.  I can sing very well and read music, but I have no idea what is supposed to be sung.  I did some searching, but either I am seriously lacking in the correct search terms or something because I can’t find anything about the rules for choosing appropriate music for Latin Masses.  These are low masses, so we generally just have entrance, offertory, communion and exit hymns.  Sometimes we sing the Salve Regina after the end of mass prayers.  If you know of anywhere I can get this information, I would be so grateful.  I just don’t want to mess it up, but I don’t have anyone to ask.  I can’t find any "Big Book Of Music Rules" for Latin Mass, so I am somewhat of a loss. I don’t want to just sing songs in Latin, I mostly want to make the experience more beautiful for the congregation.  This is very important to me, because the music is what converted me to becoming Catholic, so I feel that it is very important to make sure it is as good as possible.  I know a lot of traditional music, but I’m feeling overwhelmed right now.  My first Mass to sing, is next Sunday, what a mess.  I just found out today.


There is an old phrase: "He who sings, prays twice".  This is falsely attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo.  I like to amend this to say "He who sings well prays twice."

Liturgical music in Mass is prayer.  So, it is good to stick to music for the texts the Church gives us for each day.

Obviously this is going to be a "bring by brick" situation for you, so be patient with yourself and everyone.  You can make it all happen, but it will take time.

Perhaps some of you readers can help with your concrete experience.

Perhaps suggestions for this Sunday are in order.

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  1. Jim says:

    My advice, as a former choir director/organist, is to take things one step at a time. For example, you could focus on the gregorian introit for the day. Or just do the ordinary of the mass with four hymns for starters. Be patient. It will take time for you and the choir to get up to speed.

  2. JD, Esq. says:

    How about the Parish Book of Chant produced by the Church Music Association of America? The book is available from Aquinas and More Books. Also the CMAA has tons of great resources on its site. You should also be reading the newliturgicalmovement.org site.

  3. How about for this coming Sunday… which is the urgent point.

  4. Joseph Shaw says:

    There shouldn’t be a problem here. Everything you need for Sunday Masses is in the Liber Usualis which can be downloaded, free, here (warning: big pdf file). It gives all the proper prayers which should be sung by the schola in a sung Mass for each Sunday, votive Masses and feast days (when feast days fall on Sundays you will need an ordo to help you: the Latin Mass Society’s one for England and Wales is here; google ‘1962 liturgical calender’ for a myriad of others.
    At the beginning of the Liber you will find the ‘Asperges’ sung before Sunday Mass starts (and the Easter variations), the ‘Kyriale’ (the ordinary parts of the Mass, in numerous versions: it gives guidance on which are appropirate when), and several versions of the Credo (Credo III is most commonly sung). It also contains numerous ‘extra’ things you can sing at communion and the offertory if you have the inclination, such as the vespers hymns of the day, Gregorian motets etc..
    If you do sung Masses on the ferial days of Lent, you will need the Graduale Romanum instead. Don’t panic, you can download that here. (Say a prayer of thanksgiveing to Musica Sacra of the USA!)

  5. John says:

    Speaking of being drafted, I was also drafted to sing in the choir for Christmas morning Mass. I apologize if this seems silly, but sitting up in the choir loft and having to shuffle pages of music, I did not really feel as though I was participating in the Mass. I couldn’t follow along in my Missal, couldn’t kneel most of the time, couldn’t see the priest…not to mention the 4 or 5 toddlers running around amongst us being, well, toddlers…anyone else have this difficulty?

  6. Franzjosf says:

    Get Psallite Sapienter from the musicasacra.com:

    http://stores.lulu.com/cmaa (scroll down a bit)

    Print: $12.97

    Psallite Sapienter: A Musician’s Guide to the 1962 Missal, by B. Andrew Mills, addresses a critical need in today’s Catholic Church. In one volume, the author provides a comprehensive, authoritative, and easy-to-understand guide to providing music for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

    It covers the types of sung Masses and and what is required of the organist and choir, and the expectations and needs of the full liturgical year, plus weddings, funerals, and Benediction.

    It combines an explanation of the rubrics with the author’s own extensive experience with the 1962 Missal, which is particularly useful since the author understands the ordinary form as well and the differences. This one book does the work of a full library on the topic of the extraordinary form, telling musicians just what they need to know.

    The author is the organist and choirmaster at the Church of St. Agnes in New York, New York.

  7. TomB says:

    May I suggest The Traditional Roman Hymnal, published by The Society of St. Pius X, Inc., 480 McKenzie St., Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2W B59, Canada. It has an introduction that will answer many of your questions. It’s probably as close to a “Big Book of Music Rules” as you will find. Contents are: The Ordinary Chants, Hymns for the Liturgical Year, Hymns for Feasts and General Use, and a Service chapter (Confirmation, Burial, Requiem, & Litanies). We used it last night for Benediction too. Very handy. In our parish, we sold them to everyone who wanted them, rather than try to distribute them for each Mass. Above all, it’s a great resource for our choir. You’ll really have all you need except the propers. For those, I suggest that you begin with the simplified propers rather than try to learn all the propers from the Liber Usualis for each Mass.

    I know this doesn’t help for next Sunday. I’ll e-mail to our director to see if he can help for the more immediate need.

  8. Joshua says:

    Hymns may be in Latin or vernacular at a low Mass. None of the propers or ordinary may be Sung (all of them must be Sung at a High Mass). Nor can translations of them be sung, though texts related to them are preferable. De Musica Sacra gives you the norms. http://www.unavoce.org/DeMusicaSacra-1958.html

    14. a) In sung Masses only Latin is to be used. This applies not only to the celebrant, and his ministers, but also to the choir or congregation.

    “However, popular vernacular hymns may be sung at the solemn Eucharistic Sacrifice (sung Masses), after the liturgical texts have been sung in Latin, in those places where such a centenary or immemorial custom has obtained. Local ordinaries may permit the continuation of this custom ‘if they judge that it cannot prudently be discontinued because of the circumstances of the locality or the people’ (cf. canon 5)” (Musicæ sacræ disciplina: AAS 48 [1956] 16-17).

    b) At low Mass the faithful who participate directly in the liturgical ceremonies with the celebrant by reciting aloud the parts of the Mass which belong to them must, along with the priest and his server, use Latin exclusively.

    But if, in addition to this direct participation in the liturgy, the faithful wish to add some prayers or popular hymns, according to local custom, these may be recited or sung in the vernacular.

    c) It is strictly forbidden for the faithful in unison or for a commentator to recite aloud with the priest the parts of the Proper, Ordinary, and canon of the Mass. This prohibition extends to both Latin, and a vernacular word-for-word translation. Exceptions will be enumerated in paragraph 31.

    However, it is desirable that a lector read the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular for the benefit of the faithful at low Masses on Sundays and feast days.

    Between the Consecration, and the Pater noster a holy silence is fitting.

    Therefore, in such Masses, there should be no instrumental music at the following times:

    a) After the priest reaches the altar until the Offertory.

    b) From the first versicles before the Preface until the Sanctus inclusive.

    c) From the Consecration until the Pater Noster, where the custom obtains.

    d) From the Pater Noster to the Agnus Dei inclusive; at the Confiteor before the Communion of the faithful; while the Postcommunion prayer is being said, and during the Blessing at the end of the Mass.

    33. The faithful may sing hymns during low Mass, if they are appropriate to the various parts of the mass.

    I second Psallite Sapienter,which can be read online

    Next Sunday is the Holy Name of Jesus in the old calendar. That should give you an idea for a theme

  9. Joshua says:

    Joseph Shaw and TomB,

    The request concerns a low Mass, not a high Mass. Suggestions for the propers are not helpful then

    To the original question, Psallite Sapienter can be read here


    Rome itself recommends it

  10. trp says:

    For the propers of the Mass you can use one of the editions with simple psalm-tone settings:


    There’s also the book of simplified propers for kids:

  11. a says:

    The poster has specified that this is a LOW MASS. Posts regarding the propers and ordinary are not helpful as singing these would constitute a serious liturgical abuse. Let’s face it, the bottom line is that any singing at a low Mass is abusive but Rome tolerates it because it is an abuse that has occurred for a very long time. One might say it is an organic change but this is stretching a point. The correct thing to sing at a low Mass is nothing at all, but if one cannot avoid abuse, hymns as the poster suggests are the norm.

  12. Martin says:

    Since it is a low Mass, hymns can be sung in the vernacular. In the early 1960’s when I played the organ for low Mass this time of the year the hymns we sung were: “Holy God We Praise Thy Name”, “Now Thank We All Our God”, “O Lord I Am Not Worthy” and “Praise To The Lord”. In the order that I just wrote them.

  13. Sam Dawson says:

    Suggestions for this coming Sunday (feast of the Holy Name) –

    My choir will be singing “Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All” for a processional, the chant “Cor Arca Legem” for offertory, and “Jesu Dulcis Memoria” for Communion (and we always finish with Salve Regina). If you can sing chant, these hymns are fairly easy. If not, finding a standard notation version (polyphonic or unison) of either of the two chants still shouldn’t be that hard…

    I pull most of my chants from the Liber Usualis (available in .pdf from Musica Sacra’s website) – Cor Arca is pg. 967, Jesu Dulcis pg. 452. One is specifically from the feast of the Holy Name, and the other is from the feast of the Sacred Heart. The Liber is really handy because it gives you chants for all the various feasts.

    When it comes to the English hymns, I don’t think it’s very strict… you can use generic hymns a lot (Jesus, My Lord… Holy God We Praise Thy Name… Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise… etc.), and if you find a good feast-specific hymn, great. But it’s not something to stress over.

    As far as basic advice goes, you need Latin during the Mass itself (offertory and communion), but you can use the vernacular for the recessional or processional. Chant is ideal, but typical hymn-style voicing or polyphony is fine, too.

    I hope this helps you! If you’d like to ask me anything else, I’d be happy to help… I can be reached at slcdawson at yahoo dot com.

  14. trp says:

    My apologies, I just realized that you’re looking for music for the Low Mass; this does make things easier, since you don’t have to learn any new music. Here is a helpful “cheat sheet” on music for the Low Mass:


  15. Mike Morrow says:

    A Liber Usualis in MODERN musical notation (download-able in 100 page segments rather than one large 2000 page file) may be found at:


    The music for next Sunday, Festum Sanctissimi Nominis Jesu (Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus) is found in the page 300 to 399 section, beginning on page 358.

    I greatly prefer the traditional Gregorian musical notation (as is used in the file for the complete Liber Usualis posted earlier), but sometimes the modern notation (as found at the web site I cite above) is more helpful for initial introduction.

    A “real” copy of the Liber Usualis, preferably the edition of 1962, is a very valuable document to own. Liber Usualis copies are available, as has been pointed out, in recent reprints, and also on auction sites like ebay. My original 1938 and 1962 editions came from such sources.

    Other than this, I have no advice to offer. I haven’t been part of a regular parish Gregorian choir since 1965. That’s when Annibale Bugnini and his gang used Vatican II to start a storm-trooper-like extermination of living Gregorian musical tradition in the Church. Gregorian music vanished quite literally overnight in mine and other parishes. It still shows no sign of revival in my old parish. Last week’s Christmas Midnight Novus Ordo Mass (and music) was horrible. Neither the priest/pastor nor the congregation have any interest in restoration of the liturgy and music of the Church. But it sounds like there’s hope in your parish.

  16. trp says:

    My “concrete experience” is that a Low Mass should be a Low Mass and not have any singing. My experience is that the singing as praying twice principle applies only to the sung ordinary and proper; only these are prayers of the Mass. Any hymn, Latin or English will fall short of singing what is actually the prayer of the Mass. Singing at the low mass just confuses things. But I’m no expert…

  17. Argent says:

    Since there’s no time for this book to be shipped to you, peruse it online. Parish Book of Chants from Musica Sacra. Go to the Musica Sacra website and on the left sidebar, you’ll see “Chant Resources” for other books in pdf form that will help you.

    Knowing that you are pressed for time here are my suggestions to you:

    Processional: All Hail the Pow’r of Jesus’ Name (tune: Coronation)
    Offertory hymn: Jesu Dulcis Memoria (chant…it’s in the Parish Book of Chants), sung by you or the schola or Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence as congregational singing
    Communion: Adoro te devote
    Recessional: At the Name of Jesus (tune: King’s Weston)

    Read the Propers from Una Voce Orange County, get a sense of the readings for the day, get your parish’s hymnal and choose hymns appropriately.

  18. Maureen says:

    Re: new choir member

    Especially as a beginner, it’s normal to feel a bit dissociated from the Mass while serving as part of a choir. The more you get used to being in the choir, the less trouble you’ll have with paying attention.

    Now, some people are able to participate in choir and to simultaneously feel the same kind of participation they did back in the pews. Some people can’t. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t worry much about it either way. Feelings are not a reliable judge of spiritual achievement.

    Being mad at the choir director is a dangerous spiritual distraction. Finding your page and doing your best is performing service and being obedient.

    That said, it is good to be as organized as possible, so that you can do a better job and not mess up other people. Warm up before you get there, even if all you do is talk. Make sure you’re hydrated adequately. (If you’re fasting from midnight, I’d guess this means drinking plenty of water the night before.) Get plenty of sleep. Don’t be late to practice or Mass if there’s any way to avoid it; people depend on you being there. Bring tissues, just in case.

    If you have loose music pages, consider a folder or binder to keep them in, or perhaps some kind of clip. Mark your hymnal pages with Post-It tabs; you can even use the same colors for the same kind of stuff every week. If you’re worried about forgetting stuff, keep all your church/choir stuff in a bag and hang it on the door the night before. Basically, devise yourself some kind of system that you can keep to, so that you can find everything and not forget stuff. That way, you can relax and just sing like you’re supposed to, which will let your poor brain pay more attention to Mass.

    Don’t panic and don’t be afraid to ask questions; everyone has been new and has felt lost. Watch the director; do what he says. Listen to the other choirmembers; blend your voice with theirs and do what they do. You’ll pick up the rest along the way.

  19. Maureen says:

    I said that badly. What I meant was something more like, “Personal feelings are not a good judge of what God is doing in you, or how well you are responding to God.” Heck, if God can make me honestly sound good to other people when my voice is sounding utterly horrible in my own ears, I have no business trying to say whether I’m in good spiritual shape or not on my own diagnosis. That’s why there are priests and people you can talk to about this stuff.

  20. “New Choir Director”–I found a few comments in your question confusing.

    If this is an already existing TLM choir what do they normally do? (I’m sure they would be willing to help) Are there other choir directors (since you said you are only directing twice/month) that you could ask for suggestions?

    A low Mass may have hymns in the vernacular, however, they should correspond to the action during the applicable part. IMHO, you will be challenged finding vernacular hymns that will “fit the bill”. I recommend sticking with the tried and true Latin hymns. They are not that hard for the congregation to follow along with and they are often easier to sing: no sudden high octaves ascensions or low octave drops or trills or Christina Aquilera-like hystrionics that accompany what passes for modern liturgical music and singing these days. Furthermore, they are often more theologically solid than vernacular hymns.

  21. LJM says:

    It seems that at a low mass in Gregorian chant all that is truly needed by the choir is to direct the sung parts of the mass- the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. There could be added hymns at the beginning and end for a Sunday but they need not be there and the low mass can stand alone without them and may be preferable with more time for prayer and silence.

  22. Mark M says:

    My advice, simple and unpolished as it may be, is get a hold of a Liber Usualis and simply sing what is in it! Nothing else need be done! There are copies available online as PDFs, if you can’t get a physical copy.

    Oh scratch that: do what Joseph said (= same thing).

  23. Dennis says:

    I’m not in the choir nor can I sing but from what i observed at our low mass a hymn is sung as the priest enters — at communion time a peice is played on the organ and then a hymn as the priest resesses. since this is the Christmas season you can use a traditional Christmas hymn such as Joy to the World or Hark, the herald Angels sing or something like that

  24. As the schola director at my parish’s EF Mass, I programmed hymns out of the Gregorian chant tradition whenever we had a Low Mass, almost without exception, until the priests were ready to move to a regular Missa Cantata.

    Here’s what I would do if next Sunday was a Low Mass at my parish. Using The Parish Book of Chant:

    Opening: 42: Corde natus ex parentis. (p. 135)
    Offertory: 43: Ecce nomen Domini (p. 136)
    Communion: 45: Puer natus in Bethlehem (pp. 137-138)
    Recessional: 24: Alma Redemptoris Mater, simple tone (p. 119)

    On the Scribd site you may download the Parish Book in PDF and print the pages out as needed.

  25. Allena says:

    Fr Z,
    Thanks for posting about my question, and thanks readers for responding. I’m sorry to be a bother.

    The situation is odd, we live an hour and 20 minutes from church and drive there to go to Latin Mass. Soooo, that is point one. There is no Choir director, just me an another guy. He does the other Sundays, and has an organist/High mass. So that changes things. Plus this person has been going to traditional mass for much longer, so has a better grasp of the Latin songs. So it would be hard to get with him, he’s busy and I don’t know a lot of the music he uses. I am learning it, but it takes some time.

    So, I would like to know, for those of you who claim that singing is liturgical abuse, where is that written? Because I certainly wouldn’t do it if I thought it was an abuse, so a source would be nice.

    On the other things, thanks so much for all the help.

    I am on to something now.

    More later –

  26. Patricia says:

    I am the member of a choir. We have low Masses during the week and high Mass on Sunday. At a low Mass, you do not have to sing the propers.

    You simply need a hymn for entrance, offertory, communion and then perhaps a recessional.

    At low Masses, we sing hymns either in vernacular or in Latin. Since this is the Christmas season, we are singing well-known Christmas hymns/carols.

    For instance, we might sing “O Come All Ye Faithful” for Entrance, “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming” for Offertory, “Away in a Manger” for Communion” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” for recessional. Other hymns we have been singing include “Joy to the World” “Angels We Have Heard On High”, “Silent Night” “O Holy Night”

    As we get closer to Epiphany, we will probably sing “We Three Kings.”

    Outside of the Christmas season, we often sing “Veni Creator Spiritus” as the entrance, offertory might be “Ave Verum” or “Jesu Dulcis Memoria”. For low Masses in particular, we also do sing vernacular hymns though I seem to gravitate more toward the Latin because I think they are beautiful. Sometimes we will sing an offertory hymn to the Blessed Mother, sometimes “O Sanctissima.” Or “O God of Loveliness” or “The Magnificat.”

    For Communion: “O Lord I am Not Worthy, or “O Esca Viatorum” or “Panis Angelicus.” or “Jesus Jesus Come to Me”

    The recessional hymn might be a hymn to the Blessed Mother if we did not do one for the offertory. “Immaculate Mary” “O Queen of Heaven” “Hail Holy Queen” etc.

    I hope this helps. I’m no expert, but we have been singing for the last year and the choir director has had a long devotion to the Latin Mass.

  27. Rev. Paul L. Vasquez says:

    Fr. Z, regarding the false attribution of the quote, I must say I’m relieved to hear you say that it is falsely attributed to him, since you are a Patristics scholar.

    To whom does the quote rightly belong? What was the context from which the quote arose?

  28. TJB says:

    Yes I too am very surprised to hear that the quote is not from St Augustine, since that is what I have heard all my life! Please, who says it? Or is it just one of those phrases developed over time not by one particular person?

  29. Thomas says:

    May I suggest a tambourine and relocating the choir to the sanctuary?

  30. Joshua says:

    It seems that at a low mass in Gregorian chant all that is truly needed by the choir is to direct the sung parts of the mass- the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. There could be added hymns at the beginning and end for a Sunday but they need not be there and the low mass can stand alone without them and may be preferable with more time for prayer and silence.
    Comment by LJM

    In a low Mass none of the Mass is Sung. Hymns are allowed. At a Sung Mass all of the Mass, ordinary and proper, must be Sung, both choir and priest´s parts (with this exception, at a Missa Cantata a priest, if no cleric is available for the Epistle, can choose to read or chant it)

    If you sing the Credo, you must Sing the whole ordinary, and the propers and the priest must sing his part.

  31. Sacristy_rat says:


    This is a good post.

    It is my opinion that once a music program is underway in a parish there should be an impetus to move AWAY from “Low Mass” on Sunday. I think it is clear, after sound research, that the Church would have the principal Sunday Mass SUNG. “Low Mass” should not be a goal or a place to settle.
    If the propers in the Liber Usualis are too difficult, then use Rossini Propers and sing Mass XVIII.
    Don’t settle for “Low Mass”. This should only be done if there is nothing else you can do. If you can sing a hymn, you can sing a Rossini Intoit, etc….

  32. Sacristy_rat says:

    Sorry, I meant Mass VIII (de angelis).

    Another thing too, a “sung” Mass does not mean a Solemn Mass. At our Parish we sing our parts in the Ordinary, the Choir sings the propers, there is no insence or asperges except for major feast days. A simple sung mass.
    Low Mass was a late abridgment in the Roman Rite, and I think it is connected to how quickly the liturgy fell apart after the council.
    Sing the Mass!

  33. pdt says:

    We too are preparing for an upcoming celebration of the Extraordinary Form Low Mass. Having read through the great multitude of opinions and suggestions here and elsewhere in the web world, we have decided to keep it simple, as is suggested in several documents. We will use primarily The Parish Book of Chant for our music (except one SATB piece at communion). We will also sing mostly Latin except our recessional \”Humbly We Adore Thee\” which we selected because it forms the vernacular version of our processional \”Adoro Te Devote\”.

    You\’ll note the prelude which seems most appropriate in lieu of the Summorum Pontificum which has made all of this possible.

    Here is the lineup we will use:

    Prelude: Oremus pro Pontifice
    Procession: Adoro Te Devote
    Offertory: Veni Creator Spiritus
    Eucharistic: Ave Verum Corpus
    Communion: Ecce Panis Angelorum [SATB]
    O Panis Dulcissime
    Prayers: Ave Maria
    Recession: Anima Christi / [Humbly We Adore Thee]

    One excellent resource for continued support is the Church Music Association of America and its related CMAA Discussion Forum.

    Our prayers are with you as you prepare for your Mass!

  34. Mitchell says:

    From reading the post it sounds like there are a myriad of options. I don’t know why some people complain that the EF does not have flexability and is too rigid. Sounds like numerous settings, options, music choices and Masses (VIII for example). Low, High, Cantata, and even somewhere in between. Makes the arguement that the NO needed options as an improvement over the EF null. Good Luck to the Director in your new found position, and please stick with it…There will be many people who may not express their love of Latin or Chant directly to you, but you will touch their hearts….Although I attend an EF half hour away, I wish you were coming to the NO across the street from me…I am still looking for some signs of change in my home parish as it is a beautiful Gothic style Church……God Will Guide You..

  35. Allena says:

    Sacristy Rat

    We aren’t “settling” for low mass. Our Priest, God bless him is NEW at this, so he can’t help me, and he isn’t ready to do high mass. He refuses (rightly) to do it until he can do it WELL. I applaud him. We have a retired Priest and he offers High Mass, but he is not available every Sunday.

    Frankly speaking, with 5 children in tow, four of which are under six, I prefer the low mass, because the high mass is just too much for us. I don’t believe low mass is any less important or second rate in any way. A high mass is nice, but in most parishes I have gone to TLM , both are offered.

    With time, yes I could sing the high mass, but I sure won’t be until I can do it in such a way that does glory to God. IMHO if you can’t do it fantastic, then stick to what you can do fantastic.

  36. VickiW says:

    This is a link to a document which explains the rules for music at a Low Mass of the EF:

    http://www.musicasacra.com, the official site of The Catholic Church Music Association, is a wonderful site. There is also a forum where you can ask these kinds of questions and be sure you are being given a reliable answer. The people who post there are very welcoming and knowledgeable.

  37. Jeannette says:

    I have used http://www.canticanova.com as a resource for traditional liturgical music. There is a liturgy & music planning page for each Sunday that should help you out.

    If you are celebrating the feast of the Epiphany this Sunday, here is the direct link to the liturgy: http://www.canticanova.com/planning/year-b/plnec_m.htm

    Another idea might be to check with the priest for the particular mass and see if he has preferences for what should be sung at that mass. Our pastor and priests like to offer their suggestions for music at our masses.

  38. j says:

    “Low”-ering the solemnity of the Mass does indeed allow for more flexibility in what is sung. Chant Propers are allowed, but not REQUIRED, as they are in the more solemn forms. Low also allows doing SOME of the Propers, instead of trying ALL for every Mass.
    Introit for Feast of the Holy Name is pretty easy, as is the Communion verse (and doing verses as in the “Communio”, or choosing them by referencing the older Psalters is very nice). Jesu Dulcis Memoria is easy, and is the Vesper hymn for the day – it is in the Liber right after the pages for Mass. If you want to dispense with the Gradual and Alleluia verse, by all means do so, but you could at a Low (but not at a High) just “announce” the Gospel with the “alleluia” part (no verse).

    for Hymns, which are more liberally allowed at a Low, “Jesus, the very thought of Thee”, “O Holy Name”, “At the Name of Jesus”, “Holy God we praise Thy Name”, are all pretty easy and well known.

  39. Peg says:

    Wow! What a great bunch of helpful folk tune into Fr. Z’s blog. I’m blown away! If I ever need advice this is the place to go. My advice…keep it simple.

  40. Joshua says:

    Chant Propers are allowed, but not REQUIRED, as they are in the more solemn forms. Low also allows doing SOME of the Propers, instead of trying ALL for every Mass.


    This is false. De Musica sacra and the rubrics themselves make it clear, just three forms (excluding pontifical). Low, Missa Cantata, and Solemn. No mixing or matching.

    At low Mass, on the other hand, hymns may be sung at times, whether vernacular or in Latin, but the rubrics do not envision a schola. In fact, to say a low Mass while the schola chants as if in a High Mass creates a hybrid form of which Fr. O’Connell (a rubrical scholar of repute) says “The singing of Latin texts from the Ordinary or Proper at low Mass is undesirable; it gives the impression of a hybrid form of the Mass rite and creates confusion between high and low Mass rites.” (pg 603, The Celebration of the Mass). Fr. Haynes, a priest of the Society of St. John Cantius and a consultant to the Catholic Music Association of America says that it is actually unlawful. Indeed, either the priest says quietly what he should say aloud at a low Mass, or he waits unduly for the chant to end which is against musical directives dating to Pius X.

    Further,you will see that Psallite Sapienter says the same thing, paragraphes 188 and 189

  41. Jenny says:

    I am out of town for the holidays and so sought out a TLM to attend. It was a low mass, and I wish it had stayed with no singing. The propers were sung, but where they got their music composition, I had no idea. What I would have given to hear a simple Credo III or the Sanctus from Missa Angelis…no these folks (youngest age had to be 70)sang every song like it was a John Philip Sousa March…and the intonation was…well, let’s just say they were searching. The only chant that was familiar was chanting the Pater Noster loudly with the Priest – and let’s not go down that rabbit hole. I hate to gripe because clearly they were enjoying their singing, but all I could think throughout this was that I was stuck in some Novus Ordo where it’s all about the choir (and gosh, they were bad) and that “just because it’s in Latin, doesn’t make it more about God than the people.” I’m sure these people meant well, but I would have much preferred a silent, reverent TLM low Mass. Oh, and the Priest wore white flip flops. Did I mention that yes, I was at a TLM?

    So, I guess what I’m suggesting is keep it simple and stick with known chants from the missal…that is until you’re more familiar with it.

  42. I. X. Nika says:

    Hey Joshua, De Musica Sacra says nothing about choral or congregational singing of Propers or Ordinary being forbidden at Low Mass. It does say that Gregorian chant, found in the approved books of the Holy See, can be used at all liturgical functions. Whatever hermeneutic you’re using (read: prejudice), it isn’t obvious by reading the 1958 document.

    Fr. O’Connell’s opinion is just that, not a clear rule. Fr. O’Connell cites no decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites to back up his statement. Regardless of his academic authority, where does Fr. O’Connell fit into the Divine Constitution of the Church in relation to you and me and the choir director in question?

    Psallite Sapienter and Fr. Haynes both paraphrase Fr. O’Connell’s work, so here we have the opinion of one expert priest, not confirmed by Rome, cited by two other authorities. This is not the same as a rule or a ban. Let’s be honest about the unresolved state of the debate in 1962 and quit the combox papacies.

    In divine worship, solemnity is always preferable when possible. It is preferable that there be a Pontifical Mass when practicable, and a Solemn Mass when the bishop is unavailable. If a deacon and subdeacon cannot be found, the priest should sing the Mass (Missa Cantata) at least at one Mass on principal feasts and Sundays in every parish. But if the most solemn celebration a place is able to muster on Christmas is a Low Mass, then effort should be made to make that Mass as solemn as possible. The best that could be done in Ireland and England during the persecutions was a silent Low Mass whenever the priest was able to visit, which must have been a wonderful, silently joyous occasion for the participants, and this custom had great influence in the United States. There are also plenty of anecdotes of places where the Ordinary and Propers were sung regularly at Low Masses before 1962. It’s a big Church.

    Here is what Lawrence Yates wrote for the Latin Mass Society in 2000:

    We cannot pick and choose which parts of the Mass we will sing. This is permitted during a low Mass where the celebrant is in no way involved, and such singing does not disturb the rite of Low Mass. If, however, the celebrant is to sing at all, we are immediately governed by the rubrics pertaining to a solemn Mass. Everything which is sung in a solemn Mass MUST also be sung in a Missa Cantata, including the Proper.

    It’s his opinion.

    Anyway, we’ve already fought this battle over here.

  43. Megan says:

    An excellent resource is the Parish Book of Chant, pub. CMAA. For Low Mass, no propers are sung, just keep that in mind.

    On a more specific note, Mass VIII (Missa de Angelis) is over-sung! Very beautiful, yes, but try mixing it up ;-)

    For this coming Sunday (I’m sorry you’re working in such a time-crunch!), sing a very simple setting (Mass XVI, if I recall correctly, is a very simple setting of the Mass). Credo III and Credo I are both pretty simple – not too much prep time, especially if you read music well. Sing some Marian antiphons and sing a recessional hymn and you should be good to go. Best of luck to you and your new endeavor! Remember – no proper texts should be sung at Low Mass. God bless! ad majorem Dei gloriam!

  44. Dove says:

    No Megan, the ordinaries cannot be sung in a Low Mass. Look at Psalliter Sapienter, page 9: “no part of the Mass is sung” in a Low Mass. No propers, no ordinaries. That’s the way it is.

  45. John Hudson says:

    My recommendation for a LOW MASS would be to limit the music to a communion hymn or, preferably and if you can manage it, a motet, and then the appropriate Marian antiphon of the season at the end of the prayers after Mass. I don’t think a processional hymn works well at the beginning of a low Mass, as it is contrary to the quiet spirit of that form of Mass. There is something very powerful about the silent entrance of the priest at the beginning of low Mass: it contributes to a wonderful sense of anticipation, that is held and builds during the quiet prayers and response. A hymn in this context is destabilising.

    During communion, you want something slow and meditative. You don’t want to distract the faithful during communion, only to provide a suitable auditory background. As a guiding principle, I would say select texts and sing them in such a way that what the choir sings joins with the prayers of the faithful at this part of the Mass. In other words, hymns or motets that are either specifically eucharistic or linked to the particular feast day.

    Singing the appropriate Marian antiphon at the end of low Mass is a great way to teach these little treasures to the faithful. You can start with the simple tones, and then introduce the solemn tones and alternate them for variety according to the solemnity of the occasion. Over the course of a year, most of the congregation will learn these tunes.

  46. John Hudson says:

    PS. If your choir complains that they don’t have enough to do during the low Mass, there’s a great reason to petition your priest to celebrate a missa cantata instead!

  47. LJM says:

    After doing further research it seems that there has been understood and can be understood to be a practice that there are sung parts of the Mass in a low mass in a missa cantata, while perhaps in some revised liturgical books low mass refers solely to a limited type of low mass were no parts of the mass are sung. There is what appears an insightful and substantiated article on the history of the Liturgy
    with some of the historical developments for differences in high and low mass or missa cantata: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tridentine_Mass#Different_levels_of_celebration that quotes the Catholic Encyclopedia. It follows an older article of the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, ‘the liturgy of the mass’,(in stating that there originated a missa cantata understood as a form of low mass which is a compromise on the high solemn mass and the low mass known as the missa privata. ( Missa Cantata as a sung low mass arose in the 1700s and is still regarded as a kind of low mass. The said low mass where there are no sung parts or dialogues between the priest and the congregation it seems was normally was not a Sunday mass or variant on a Sunday mass when there could not be a solemn mass or a missa cantata. According to the Catholic encyclopedia of 1913 backed by good sources the low missa cantanta is understood as low because the priest does not have a deacon and sub-deacon assisting him participating in the mass. Thus the deacon and subdeacon were assigned a very special place in the order of a solemn high mass that is often lost at the current time. The term low mass here does not have to do with what is sung or not sung. Before Vatican II there were variations on low sung masses that were not fully high solemn masses but not the low private masses where there it could be said that there would be forbidden that propers or ordinaries be sung on a Sunday. It seems that this is still the case. It seems that on Sunday it would be preferable to have a low mass where the ordinaries and propers would be sung with some additional hymns yet it seems that it would be best that the choir director consult the priest for this decision.

  48. Sacristy_rat says:


    I think you may have missed my point. I did not mean to fuffle anyone’s feather with my comments about Low Mass. If it’s all than can be done then fine. I’m just saying that the “pure”, “normative” or “historical” form of the ROman Rite is the Solemn Mass…
    The goal should at least be a simple sung Mass.

    As for time? The idea that a Sung Mass has to be a long Mass, over the top is not true. That idea is because lots of EF communites are doing the most solemn form of the sung Mass. One can have a simple sung Mass (no singing of the Epistle, Gospel, no incense or Asperges, simple Rossini propers) and still be out the door in an hour (trust me, we do it each week). Save the other stuff for feast days.

    What’s the point? Attendance at sung Mass highlights the importance of Sunday over the “ferial days”. It also facilitates the folks in the pew to truely learn their parts in latin and allow the liturgy to penetrate them more deeply (read Pius XII’s Mediator Dei)Putting preference aside, it IS the mind of the Church that the principal Sunday Mass is a sung Mass.

  49. Maureen says:

    I’m sure, Allena, that you will do fine. I salute you for doing anything in the music program for your parish, especially if you have to take an hour just to get there and you have kids too!

    If it doesn’t go fine, ask anyone who complains whether they would like to join the choir and whether they can play organ. Suddenly, they will stop complaining and find excuses to leave quickly. :)

  50. I. X. Nika says:

    still be out the door in an hour

    Forgive my lack of understanding, but why are some families willing to drive 4 hours to a Latin Mass on a Sunday (and stay for hours after at coffee hour) but find an extra 10-15 minutes at Mass excruciating? It boggles the mind.

  51. Not Getting Creaky Just Yet says:

    “still be out the door in an hour

    Forgive my lack of understanding, but why are some families willing to drive 4 hours to a Latin Mass on a Sunday (and stay for hours after at coffee hour) but find an extra 10-15 minutes at Mass excruciating? It boggles the mind.”

    I think you’re conflating different posters. (And in the car the little angels can speak their minds, not so during Mass. Children close in age entertain each other, so to speak, but their entertainment can be both highly distracting to everyone around and somewhat destructive to the local environment.) The people with the tiny children aren’t the ones who hang around for “hours” afterwards chitchatting. They have too much else that needs doing, like feeding and changing the smallest of the tribe.

    If Mom is going to be the choir, how can she help Dad ride herd on the children? This is a major practical issue–I actually stopped attending Ash Wednesday Mass when my middle children (close in age) were young because I had no help at all with them…since DH, who was reading, insisted on sitting in front and that we, being embarrassing because of the children’s squirming, were to sit in the back by ourselves. Where holding the infant meant being entirely unable to restrain the toddler. When there are a number of small ones to ride herd on, a shorter Mass is better than a long one. The *three hour bilingual Production* was entirely too much.

    just my personal experience talking.

  52. joshua says:

    The combox lost my Message. Urgh

    Low Mass

    187 To include instructions for Missa Privata (Low Mass) in a book written for musicians would seem, at first glance, to be a contradiction in terms, since Missa Privata is celebrated without any singing whatever. However music is permitted to be played or sung during such a Mass, and the custom of “Low Mass with music” persists to this day (in some rare cases, this may be the highest possible degree of solemnity). For this reason the following directions are included, although it must be remembered that this is an aberration of the Church’s liturgical intention, and any musical efforts expended on Missa Privata would be far better spent in singing the Mass itself.

    188 During Missa Privata, it is not allowed to sing any portion of the Mass itself. Thus, it would be wrong to sing the Ordinary alone, or the Ordinary and Proper, unless the priest’s parts and the responses were also sung; similarly, it would be wrong to sing these latter, unless the choir’s parts were also sung (which would result in the Mass’s becoming a Missa Cantata).

    189 It is allowed to sing hymns, motets, or chants (even in the vernacular, provided the texts be approved by ecclesiastical authority). However, it is not permitted to sing translations of the texts of the Mass itself. The texts to be sung should, as far as possible, reflect the day or season, or the part of Mass during which they are sung (an obvious example is to select hymns in honour of the Blessed Sacrament
    for Communion). The organ may be played, if its use be not prohibited by the day or season (¶ 21 et seq.). Such music as is allowed should be sung or played at the following times:

    a. Before Mass, and at the beginning of Mass, during the preparatory prayers. Such music should be brought
    to a conclusion when the celebrant ascends to venerate the altar, so that it has ceased entirely by the time he begins to read the Introit.

    b. After the celebrant has read the Offertory Antiphon. Such music should be brought to a conclusion when the
    celebrant turns round to say Orate, fratres, so that it has ceased entirely by the time he says Per omnia sæcula sæculorum at the end of the Secret.

    c. While the celebrant says the Canon silently. However, any such music must stop for the Elevations; it is
    far better to begin the music after the Elevations, bringing it to a conclusion when the celebrant says aloud
    Nobis quoque peccatoribus, so that it has ceased entirely by the time he says Per omnia sæcula sæculorum at the end of the Canon.

    d. While the celebrant distributes Communion to the server(s) and congregation. Any such music should be
    brought to a conclusion as soon as possible after the missal has been moved back to the Epistle side of the
    altar (the celebrant’s right), so that it has ceased entirely by the time he begins to read the Communion

    e. After the prayers which are to be said at the conclusion of Mass, as the celebrant and server(s) leave the

    Psallite Sapienter: A Musician’s Practical Guide to the 1962 Roman Missal

    Rome itself recommends this book, Psallite Sapienter.

    De Musica Sacra lists what music can be done at low Mass, nowhere allowing for a Mass in between low and Sung. In fact the rubrics of the Mass itself divide clearly Missa in lectu from Missa in cantu. The permission for any singing at all is under the same heading as reciting personal prayers in common. In other words, a devotional aid to the congregation, not the Mass itself. Fortescue, O´Connell, Jungmann are against a hybrid Mass (it would not, by definition, be a mere Missa in lectu, low Mass). In fact, O´?onnell does give SRC references, when he gives his suggested plan for a dialogue Mass. It was Musicam Sacram (1967) that introduced graduated solemnity.

    There would be rubrical issues because the rubrics have the priest say,in clara voce, aloud, several parts that would be quiet in a sung Mass, such as the Gloria. Is he to recite it and then have them chant it, oris he to compete with the chanting? Also, he must intone the Gloria and Creed. So he must sing. Fr. Haynes, and the other scholars, know what they are talking about. They can be trusted. Believe me over this very question I consulted every book I could from numerous scholars, and never, not one of them approved of it, if they mentioned it at all. The Latin Mass Society also has other odd suggestions too, and I am not sure why they are able to be pitted against every scholar of the Mass prior to the reforms.

  53. joshua says:

    Oh, and it seems that people ignored the rubric cited on the older thread.

    De Musica Sacra

    b) At low Mass the faithful who participate directly in the liturgical ceremonies with the celebrant by reciting aloud the parts of the Mass which belong to them must, along with the priest and his server, use Latin exclusively.

    But if, in addition to this direct participation in the liturgy, the faithful wish to add some prayers or popular hymns, according to local custom, these may be recited or sung in the vernacular.

    c) It is strictly forbidden for the faithful in unison or for a commentator to recite aloud with the priest the parts of the Proper, Ordinary, and canon of the Mass. This prohibition extends to both Latin, and a vernacular word-for-word translation. Exceptions will be enumerated in paragraph 31.

    Strictly forbidden

  54. j says:

    Your use of selective quotes is troubling.

    The paragraphs you cite refer to “General Norms”, that is, they apply to ALL MASSES.
    And section c) refers to the prohibition against COMMENTATORs usurping the role of the PRIEST by reading the Priests parts while in the Sanctuary. The section a) refers to High Masses, and only b) refers to Low. How you take this as a prohibition on singing at Low Masses is beyond me.

    And you leave out the “exceptions” cited which say participation by the faithful in prayer and song, including the Ordinary and Propers, is to be encouraged.

  55. j says:

    and speaking of disturbing misuse of quotes, Psallite Sapienter accurately cites bans on the PLAYING OF THE ORGAN OR INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC at times in the Low Mass, and somehow recreates them as bans on SUNG music, which De Musica Sacra EXPLICITLY takes pains NOT to do. In fact, it bans the Organ or instrumental music at Low Mass PRECISELY because it does NOT want them to INHIBIT the faithful from participating IN SONG. So how, for example, do the faithful participate in song between the ascension to the Altar to the Offertory? (Hint – they chant the Ordinary, or perhaps Propers)

    In this regard, it must be noted that if any local custom of playing the organ during low Mass might interfere with the participation of the faithful, either by common prayer or song, the custom is to be abolished. This applies not only to the organ, but also to the harmonium or any other musical instrument which is played without interruption. Therefore, in such Masses, there should be no instrumental music at the following times:

    a) After the priest reaches the altar until the Offertory.

    b) From the first versicles before the Preface until the Sanctus inclusive.

    c) From the Consecration until the Pater Noster, where the custom obtains.

    d) From the Pater Noster to the Agnus Dei inclusive; at the Confiteor before the Communion of the faithful; while the Postcommunion prayer is being said, and during the Blessing at the end of the Mass.

  56. Joshua says:

    Musica sacra makes no mention of a hybrid Mass, sing parts of the Mass at what would have been a low Mass. Common prayer and song obviously refers to the permission to recite prayers or sing hymns in common. And de Musica sacra does not give the reasoning behind the prohibition on instrumental music that you do. The Missal requires the priest to say the Introit, etc in clara voce, such music would interfere with that.

    I will rest my case in that actual scholars say it is wrong. Funny the complaint about combox popes, the best authorities we have in lack of very explicit statements are dismissed off hand

  57. Joshua says:

    For anyone wanting a solid guide, do not be dissuaded. Psallite Sapienter is strongly recommended by the PCED itself


  58. Dr. LMF says:

    It’s precisely battles like this that resulted in the sorry state of the liturgy we have suffered for so long.

  59. j says:

    “The singing of Latin texts from the Ordinary or Proper at low Mass is undesirable; it gives the impression of a hybrid form of the Mass rite and creates confusion between high and low Mass rites.”

    Fr. O’Connell’s opinion is just that, not a clear rule.
    I. X. Nika

    Dear Nika;
    The O’Connell editor that inserted his taste preference labeled it as such – he does not and cannot say singing the Propers and Ordinary at at Low is prohibited, just that he does not like it. It is important to understand why he discourages singing at Low. This is tied into the attitude that people should only want High Masses, and that if the Low is embellished enough, they will no longer desire that more rigid Solemn form. This may have been a valid but impractical reason, but in my experience it is also counterproductive, and in this era, unreasonable.

  60. I. X. Nika says:

    he must intone the Gloria and Creed. So he must sing.

    That’s up to him, and an assembled choir or congregation will usually follow the priest, even if he’s wrong. Typically, Low Mass with Chant does not have a sung Gloria and Creed for that precise reason. See the Messes Basses cited on the other thread.

    I will rest my case in that actual scholars say it is wrong.

    I think the exact word from Fr. O’Connell was “undesirable”. This has been translated by a number of people into “Rome has strictly forbidden”, which is false and (here’s where I come in) engenders vicious calumnies against the communities practicing the custom. This causes real disunity in the Church. We don’t need it.

    I understand that there is an opinion in favor of the O’Connell interpretation of what is desirable at Low Mass. And I think that the discussion about this has been quite fascinating, because of the different understandings behind the notion of “kinds” of Mass. And we now can agree that there is “a lack of very explicit statements” on the matter.

    Funny the complaint about combox popes, the best authorities we have in lack of very explicit statements are dismissed off hand

    Where do the “best authorities” fit in the Divine Constitution of the Church? Can I follow Fr. O’Connell’s opinion over my pastor’s order? No, but I must follow the Pope’s order over my pastor’s order. Do you understand the importance of making the distinction? In any event, Fr. O’Connell does not say it’s forbidden, so we are left to wonder why it is said to be forbidden now when the best 1962-era rubricians did not say it was.

    j: This is tied into the attitude that people should only want High Masses, and that if the Low is embellished enough, they will no longer desire that more rigid Solemn form.

    I fear also the attitude that by placing an artificially high regulatory barrier against sacred music and ceremony at the TLM, people will therefore demand the flexibility of the Novus Ordo and push the “Reform of the ‘Reform'” forward at the expense of the TLM. I have not heard SSPX or FSSP priests condemn music at Low Mass.

  61. j says:

    It has an even more caustic effect, which is why O’Connell’s exhortation to impoverish the Low Mass in order to increase demand for High Masses is so counterproductive.

    Instructions on singing are less explicit than for High because they are supposed to be less explicit – Low Mass is a more flexible form. Elements can be added as abilities, resources, time and tastes (if people and Priest truly do want an entirely silent Mass, they should have one) allow. Chant is encouraged, Hymns allowed, vernacular tolerated, music that interferes with chant parts banned.

    The effect of attacking Chant and singing at Low Masses is the exact opposite of that O’Connell envisioned. It engenders the attitude that HIGH Mass must be flexible to accomodate the lack of time or resources or ability to to the Propers according to the Graduale. It is HIGH Mass that has more explicit and unbending instructions. Having a choir that cannot do all the full Gregorian Propers from the Liber is a excellent argument for doing a Low with SOME Chant, and preferably congregational Chant Ordinary.

  62. Allena says:

    Sacristy Rat –
    You didn’t ruffle my feathers :D I was just saying that between the two, I feel more moved toward God in the low mass than high. Because there is too much stimulation for little ones, and all the singing and chanting gets them worked up….it isn’t a time issue. Because most of the mass is singing time, they get it into their head to sing to!

    Another comment – I don’t ever get out the door in an hour, and that’s fine with me. BUT I will say that it is hard when you have a bunch of little ones, because an hour is so long to pinch, and prod and try to restrain so many. Try and be patient with families, after all they are the future and it is very hard for Moms and Dads. In fact I would go so far as to say, that parents such as I, sacrifice much of our own enjoyment to try and curtail distractions for others. Also, we sacrifice years of enjoyment of mass so that we can bring good solid Catholic children into the world to propagate this beautiful mass. Low or high, either one gets the job done, but low mass is easier for haggard parents. By the end, our backs are exhausted, from kneeling and holding an infant AND toddler. So often parents can’t even switch back and forth. Mass is something I love, but not something I enjoy much, because it’s exhausting and difficult. Half the time I am distracted enough to forget to make my mass intention, or offertory. It’s rough, and I am a family that everyone else thinks has such well mannered children in mass! It’s very hard for parents. Being in the choir loft is hard too, but my husband can take the baby, and I bring the pillaging viking (2 yr old boy)up with me. But it’s hard regardless.

    Anyway, sorry to go off the topic. I just wanted to explain that parents have a really tough time, but it isn’t apparent to the childless, because good parents don’t let kids distract…so you wouldn’t ever notice the battle.

    Music update:

    I am throwing myself at the mercy of St Thomas, and the Blessed Mother. I’m sure they will make sure I do everything perfect then-
    So Veni Creator Spiritus- entrance – Ave Maria (Schubert or Bach how can I decide?) for Offertory, Pange Lingua or O Salutaris Hostia or Panis Angelicus (maybe two if the line is longer) for communion, and one more for exit – Holy God We Praise Thy Name

    Would those be proper? I don’t remember, everything is jumbled up in my mind…I do know both versions of that Ave Maria – and I know all the others very well, so does the choir.

    Thanks everyone for all the help!

  63. Allena says:



    I got some nice copies printed from these sites, they do have some good traditional music- the second site you have to pay for the download, but it’s reasonable and very nice. You get the accomaniment and the solo voice version…

    Maybe I’ll take my webcam and record it for you all…
    Thanks again.

  64. mike conlon says:

    Sorry, I am getting my oar in the water rather late. Not that I am the final arbiter in these matters, but having been schooled by Dr. Chas Courboin, John Grady, et al., I think my opinion holds a bit more gravamen than most of you. The gentleman is concerned only with the low Mass, therefore, we can dispense with most of the above blather. I would recommend the Angelus Hymnal. Stay away from the Paluch publications and other official publications. You need only a processional, an Offertory hymn, a Communion hymn and a Recessional. The programme depends on the culture of your community. “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” is never suitable during the celebration of Mass. It is usually a recessional at Benediction. Salve Regina is another recessional, even conciliar priests know that one. I will not discuss any of the musical rubrics for sung Masses. There is a tome which contains most of the rules. It is out of print and is not cheap. You can always find a copy thru http://www.bookfinder.com Papal Legislation on Sacred Music: 97A.D.-1977A.D. by Msgr. Robt. Hayburn is the seminal text. there is always the battle between the liturgist and the performance artist. Even the texts compiled in this book are open to interpretation according to the artists, whose position is “if it sounds nice, do it.” (And now who has become the gas bag?)

  65. I. X. Nika says:

    Allena: “Low or high, either one gets the job done

    “Though indeed Mass is of infinite value, you must know, nevertheless, that Almighty God accepts it in a manner limited and finite, and in degrees conformable to the greater or lesser perfection in the dispositions of him who celebrates or who assists at the sacrifice…Now, then, consider the spiritual bewilderment of those who go in search of the quickest and least devoutly conducted Masses…It is true, according to St. Thomas, that all the sacrifices are, as sacraments, equal in rank; but they are not, therefore, equal in the effects resulting from them.” –St. Leonard of Port Maurice, Holy Mass (TAN edition, p. 35).

    Half the time I am distracted enough to forget to make my mass intention, or offertory.

    You know, the same is almost required of the choir when they obey the rubrics at High Mass. First we chant the verse (3 minutes), then we sing the motet (4 minutes), then the priest begins the Preface dialogue and we sing the Sanctus (3 minutes if polyphonic), which we usually don’t finish before the Hanc Igitur bell. We get about a minute for the consecration, and then it’s back to the Benedictus. It is, as you say, a sacrifice, and the sacrifice we make can be what we offer at the Offertory and place on the paten and join with the Sacrifice we are assisting at.

    I haven’t carried your cross, but it’s a wonder Christ was recollected enough to make His Intention as the nails were being driven in.

    Not Getting Creaky Just Yet: “I think you’re conflating different posters.

    I wasn’t referring to a specific poster, but making a general observation and asking a question, which was answered somewhat to my satisfaction. If people are arguing that Low Mass is a more perfect form for parents with young children, then that’s a new and fascinating argument to make. Ought parents then drive past a Solemn or Sung Mass in search of a Low?

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