Friday, 16 March 2007

Singing at Mass on 4th Sunday in Lent Year C

I'm on the roster again this week in my local parish. All inspired by Sacramentum Caritatis, imagining Gregorian Chant and music fitting for the great mystery of the Mass, I now have to come down a notch or two to the real world.

So, here's what I've chosen for Mass on Sunday and why:

1) Opening Song: Hosea (Gather Australia 213, by Gregory Norbet).

Yep, I know that chosing this one breaks just about all my own personal rules for chosing a parish repertoire--especially the rule about not using songs that have Us pretending to be God singing to Us. So why have I chosen it? It's well known, it was used by the group on the roster last week, it fits with the readings.

2) Psalm: Psalm 34 (33) "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord" (setting by Fr Chris Willcock SJ).

This one is an Australian classic. It is a very dignified, simple and noble settiing.

3) Gospel acclamation: Bernadette Farrell's "Praise to you, O Christ our Saviour", chorus and verse.

4) Offertory song: "Lord, to whom shall we go?" by Michael Herry (As One Voice Vol 1, no. 6)

I like Herry's stuff. It is as good as Taize. Again, simple and dignified. This one is Eucharistic and picks up the themes in both the Old Testament reading and the Gospel.

5) Eucharistic Setting: Christopher Walker's Glastonbury Mass (Published in Music for the Mass, vol. 1 by Geoffrey Chapman)

This is a simple responsive setting, which works well given that I have no accompaniment. By the way, our new priest has decided that we should really have only three parish mass settings at the most. I tend to agree. Just which three will he chose and on whose advice though? It would be a good exercise to see what three readers of this blog would choose. If I had my own way? I would see to it that the parish knew at least one simple Gregorian setting (similar to that which is printed in our missals). Then probably the Jubilee Mass or Mass Shalom, since these are just about universal in Australia. And then it would be by popular vote which came next.

6) Communion Hymn: "Taste and See God's Love for us" (Deidre Browne and Kevin Lenehan, Gather Australia 203)

This is a Eucharistic repeating refrain with verses sung over the top. I agree with those who believe that the communion hymn should be simple for folk to be able to sing as they are processing to receive communion.

7) Amazing Grace.

Yes, go ahead, groan. Its not my favourite hymn either, but it is a favourite of lots of folk, and (get this) we NEVER sing classical style hymns at my local parish. So I am sneeking this one in at the end just for the sake of singing something that's more than 40 years old. I am sure that Pope Benedict did not have this hymn in mind when he was talking about the 2000 year old patrimony of the Church's music, but it's there anyway. And it fits with the story of the prodigal son. By the way, we change the second line from "a wretch like me" to "and set me free".