Friday, 11 September 2009

Songs in Word of Life's "Top 100" Not approved by NLCMB review of "As One Voice"

How much difference would the National Liturgical Commission Music Board's evaluaton of songs make to the standard of music sung in our parish liturgies if all parishes scrupulously followed their recommendations (something which, by the way, will only happen in your dreams)?

One indication would be to compare the list songs in "As One Voice" that did not get the NLCMB's approval with Word of Life's "Top 100" hymns. (Word of Life would know - they are the main licencing body used by Australian Catholic parishes and have all the stats).

Thirteen of the WOL "Top 100" did not get the NLCMB's "tick". They are as follows (the number indicates the song's ranking on the list of the Top 100):

3 Come to the water (Andersen, F)
6 Come as you are (Brown, D)
15 Companions on the Journey (Landry, C)
19 Our supper invitation (Bates, K)
20 Galilee song (Andersen, F)
28 Song of the body of Christ (Haas, D)
32 Blest be the Lord (Schutte, D)
61 Celebrate (Brown, M)
64 Yahweh is the God (Norbet, G)
86 To be your bread (Haas, D)
90 We are many parts (Haugen, M)

Hymn titles from "As One Voice" rated "NO" by the National Liturgical Commission Music Board

Title Author Number
A circle of love (Sandier) II:114
A journey remembered (Bates, Kevin) II:047
A shepherd I'll be to you (Bates, Kevin) I:001
A Voice in the wilderness (Robinson, Chris) I:062
Act Justly (Watts, Trisha) I:050
Advent Chant (Porter) II:123
All Creation sings (Reid) II:045
All I ask of you (Norbert, Gregory) I:150
All the ends of the earth (Hurd, Bob) I:004
Always there (Coleman) II:036
And the Father will dance (Landry, Carey) I:113
As grains of wheat (Rosania) II:153
As the deer longs (Hurd, Bob) I:120
Be it done unto me (Hurd, Bob) I:119
Be with me Lord (Joncas, Michael) I:116
Because the Lord is my Shepherd (Walker, Christopher) I:066
Behold the Cross (Hurd, Bob) I:105
Bless the Lord (Smith) II:083
Blessing on the King (Lynch, Michael B.) I:104
Blest be the Lord (Schutte, Dan) I:179
Bread broken, wine shared (Horner, Robyn) II:155
Break open the word and renew the face of the earth (Paxton, Ray) I:038
Bridegroom and bride (Bell/Maule) II:042
Bring many names (Wren/Young) II:010
Called to create (Spence/Lewis) II:121
Celebrate (Brown, Monica) I:044
Christmas in the scrub (Newton) II:168
Come as you Are (Browne, Deirdre) I:031
Come now, Holy Spirit (Kearney, Peter) II:087
Come to the water (Andersen, Frank) I:074
Comfort, comfort all my people (Mann, Robin) II:012
Communion Song (Grant, Peter) I:187
Companions on the Journey (Landry, Carey) I:188
Create in us (Hannah) II:021
Creator and poet (Sears, Sandra) II:084
Different gifts (Russell) II:013
Do not be afraid (Farrell, Bernadette) I:079
Do not worry (Reid) II:122
Don't be afraid (Bell/Maule) II:070
Dreams and visions (tanner) II:061
Easter People (Light) II:147
Enemy of apathy (Bell/Maule) II:075
Enviatu Espiritu (Hurd, Bob) I:095
Everlasting your love (Hurd, Bob) I:128
Father Welcomes (Mann, Robin) I:024
Feed us now, bread of life (Mann, Robin) II:093
First Sunday Advent (Smith, Colin) I:108
Flow river flow (Hurd, Bob) I:163
For you are my God (Foley, John) I:178
Freedom is coming (Fjedur) I:061
From heaven you came (Kendrick) II:077
Galilee Song (Andersen, Frank) I:005
Give thanks (Smith) II:017
Glorify the Lord with me (Doheny) II:026
God beyond all names (Farrell, Bernadette) II:023
God has made us a family (Landry, Carey) II:111
God is good (Chan) II:120
God is rich in mercy (Landry, Carey) II:027
God of all the earth (Winter/Maker) II:134
God's Circle of love (McRae) II:038
Going home (Halloran/Millward) II:082
Great is thy faithfulness (Chisholm/Runyan) II:127
Halle, halle, halle (Carribean) II:046
Heal me O God (Norbert, Gregory) II:052
Heaven and earth (Bell, John) II:053
Here in the busy city (Murray/Hopson) II:166
Holy, holy, holy Lord (Ham, Liat Chung) I:173
How lovely is your dwelling place (Joncas, Michael) I:041
How shall I call you (Mann, Robin) I:047
I am the Light of the world (Hayakawa, Greg) I:176
I found the treasure (Schutte, Dan) II:022
I have seen the Lord (Hurd, Bob) I:098
I know that my Redeemer lives (Soper) II:034
I rejoiced (Walker, Christopher) I:069
I say yes, my Lord (Pena, Donna) I:155
I shall dwell in the Lord's house (Ramondo) II:069
I will lift my eyes (Conry, Tom) I:084
I will sing and make music for the Lord (Smith) II:028
I will sing for ever of your love (Horner, Robyn) II:161
Icon of grace (Watts, Trisha) II:057
If today you hear his voice (Crocker) II:072
If we all could live in peace (Trad. Austrian) II:115
I'll be always loving you (Watts, Trisha) I:082
I'll sing your song (Marshall, Erica) I:034
In love we choose to live (Cotter) II:063
In the beginning was love (Rowe/Wolf) II:110
In the brightness (Horner, Robyn) I:070
In the radiance of your gaze (Honer) II:009
Jesu Tawa Pano (Matsikenyiri) II:015
Jesus Christ is waiting (Bell/Maule) II:008
Joyful in hope (Herry, Michael) I:020
Lady Mary (Sears, Sandra) I:117
Lead us break bread together (USA Folk Hymn) II:098
Let all creation dance (Darwall/Wren) II:130
Let all the earth (Haugen, Marty) II:152
Let God's dream be born (Bates, Kevin) II:030
Let there be peace on earth (Miller/Jackson) I:190
Lift this child (Anna's Song) (Mann/Habel) II:125
Light of Christ (Zaragoza, Rufino) I:143
Lord of the Dance (Carter, Sydney) I:018
Love calls me back (Bates, Kevin) II:025
Love is the greatest gift of all (Marshall, Erica) II:086
Love will bring them home (Marshall, Erica) I:121
Loving Spirit (Murray/Trad) II:133
Masithi Amen (Molefe/Trad.) II:090
May we come to know the Lord (Gagnon) II:019
Mother Earth (Brown, Monica) I:157
My heart is a stable (Sears, Sandra) I:147
Nearer my God to thee (Adams/Mason) II:154
New People, New life (Beha, Helen) I:011
O God Nothing can take us from your love (Walker, Christopher) I:139
O God, hear us (Hurd, Bob) I:022
O Lord, your tenderness (Kendrick) II:107
On holy ground (Pena/Kodner) II:103
One Body (Watts/O'Brien) II:146
Open the heavens (Boniwell) II:163
Our blessing cup (Hurd, Bob) I:007
Our supper invitation (Bates, Kevin) I:185
Passionate God (Fulmer) II:068
Praise and glory (Zaragoza, Rufino) I:051
Pulsing spirit (Dufner/Trad.) II:058
Returning our gifts (Porter) II:065
Sanctus and Benedictus (Bell/Maule) II:081
Santo (Trad. Argentinian) II:092
See his hands (Sears, Sandra) II:048
See I make all things new (Watts/O'Brien) II:007
Send forth your spirit O Lord (Walker, Christopher) I:107
Sing to God (Kirkland) II:105
Sing to the Lord (Alstott, Owen) I:046
Song at the Centre (Haugen, Marty) II:106
Song for the Journey (Marshall, Erica) II:108
Song of gathering (Wise, Joe) I:023
Song of the Body of Christ (Haas, David) I:027
Speak from your heart (Brown) II:051
Spirit blowing through creation (Haugen, Marty) II:157
Spirit come transform us (Norbert, Gregory) I:096
Spirit of life (Mangan) II:043
Star-child (Murray/Young) II:018
Summoned by love (Watts/O'Brien) II:020
Table of plenty (Schutte, Dan) II:162
Taste and see (Hurd, Bob) I:067
Taste and see (Robinson, Stephen) I:088
Taste and see that the Lord is good (Barr) II:151
The Bridge Song (Bolton) II:006
The deeper River (Hannah) II:062
The fullness of God (Andersen, Frank) II:159
The great Southland (Bullock) II:141
The Light of Christ (Fishel, Donald) I:186
The Spirit of the Lord (Horner, Robyn) I:101
The story we share (Kearney, Peter) I:093
The whole world is waiting for love (Misetich) II:148
They'll know we are Christians (Scholtes) I:130
This day was made by the Lord (Walker, Christopher) I:183
This is all our joy (Horner, Robyn) II:100
This is the day (Joncas, Michael) I:193
Three round table rounds (Bates, Kevin) II:160
To be your bread (Haas, David) I:065
To you O my God, I lift up my soul (Hurd, Bob) II:014
Travel on (Carter, Sydney) II:033
Wake up (Watts/O'Brien) I:008
We are many parts (Haugen, Marty) I:086
We are marching (Trad. African) II:074
We believe (Walker, Christopher) I:149
We shall draw water (Inwood, Paul) I:072
We shall overcome (Adap. Horton et al.) II:149
We welcome this child (Kearney, Peter) II:144
We welcome you little baby (Holmes) II:112
Welcome home (Andersen, Frank) II:145
When I needed a neighbour (Carter, Sydney) II:136
When the night (Toolan) II:091
When we eat this bread (Joncas, Michael) I:099
Where is your song, my Lord (Kearney, Peter) I:122
Where there is love (Haas, David) I:087
Who will speak if you don't (Haugen, Marty) II:102
Yahweh (Norbert, Gregory) I:068
You are mine (Haas, David) II:002
You are the voice (Haas, David) II:080

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Hymn titles rated "Yes" by the National Liturgical Commission Music Board

This is the first in what I hope will be a series of investigations into a new document entitled "Hymn Titles from Australian Resource Books - Rated "Yes" by the NLC Music Board".

In paragraph 108, Liturgiam Authenticam made the following stipulation:
Within five years from the publication of this Instruction, the Conferences of Bishops, necessarily in collaboration with the national and diocesan Commissions and with other experts, shall provide for the publication of a directory or repertory of texts intended for liturgical singing. This document shall be transmitted for the necessary recognitio to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Well, that was in 2001, and since then, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has commissioned the National Liturgical Music Board to compile a list of “approved hymns” for use in the liturgy.

The task that faced this group was so immense that they simply had to put some limits on it. In the end, they decided to go through five readily available collections, “As One Voice”, “Gather Australia”, “Catholic Worship Book”, “New Living Parish Hymnal”, and “Together in Song”. Also, they excluded from this initial scan any liturgical or ritual music, since this will largely depend upon the new translations.

The criteria by which they judged the songs seems to me to be rather too broad, especially in relation to the texts:


1) The music should enable the fostering of participation
2) The Technical aspects of musical language – melody, rhythm, pitch etc. / instrumentation/ and
accompanimental styles must enable participation.
3) Musical style must promote a sense of the “sacred” and avoid profane;
4) Music must reflect the ideals of true art and beauty.
5) Music must properly support text being sung-proper relationship of verbal and music accents etc.
6) Maintenance and promotion of traditional sacred repertoire – including chant and melodies
especially where they remain in the collective consciousness of catholics


Several criteria were proposed to guide judgements about the suitability of texts, ie that they be:
· scriptural
· apt for the season
· theologically robust
· thematically and linguistically coherent
· in ‘modern/classical’ language (rather than in archaic or temporarily contemporary
· in common possession and with likely appeal
· with poetic power.

Those versions have been preferred which:
· use ‘you’ rather than ‘thou’
· do not include words or phrases with an obsolete or archaic ring
· use inclusive rather than exclusive language in reference to human beings
· do not conflate verses
· have more effective rhyme.


1. Liturgically related to Scripture: A= Strongly Scriptural… B = Based on Scripture i.e. used as a departure point for poetic reflection
2. General Seasonal Suitability
3. Not Liturgical
Refer: Not specifically for the specified season– but liturgically suitable for another
Pastoral Judgement:
1 widely used ; 2 sometimes used 3 rarely used
I am afraid that "Pastoral Judgement" in a number of cases led to approving songs that would have been much better left out. On the other hand, "robustness" seems an odd category to use to evaluate the theological appropriateness or otherwise of a text.

In any case, the result was quite a long list (about 750 titles) that got a “yes” vote. Although the resulting list has been sent to Rome for approval (as LA required), it is, I understand, now a public document. Unfortunately, it is not yet available on the ACBC website (I understand this is due to external factors beyond the control of the ACBC office). If you want a copy, I suggest you email Bernard at bfk at ozemail dot com dot au .

The practical usefulness of such a list is really as a basis for a future resource to be published. As of this moment in time, there are no more available copies of three of the hymnbooks surveyed: New Living Parish, Catholic Worship Book, and Gather Australia (I understand that the remaining copies of the latter two went up in smoke when the Feb 7 bushfires burnt down the publisher’s storehouse).

And, of course, the real upshot of this document in the mean time is that from it one can infer which hymns and songs in the current resources DID NOT get a tick. It is my intention to publish this lists for each resource - starting with "As One Voice".