Friday, February 02, 2007

Presentation Problems

Today is the feast of the Presentation, I have been trying to find something in English that is singable for the Procession, there is nothing in the hymnbook we use. We are going to use the antiphon "Lumen ad revelationem" with the Nunc Dimitis for the introit, partly because we are going to process around the Church a couple of times and I want people to join and they won't do it if they are carrying candles and have to remember a Latin text or read something from a piece of paper, and besides it is a bit short for a procession. So I had to resort to writing something myself so we will be singing, "My eyes have the Light of the Nations: now let your servant go in peace" with a Litany, or Trope, which I am in the process of writing.

"I have seen the King of seraphim in the Virgin's arms"
"I have seen the salvation of the nations" etc

Unfortunately we haven't anyone who can cant so I am going to have be the cantor as well - pity my poor people. It was that or singing, "This little light of mine" or something equally grotesque. It has been my experience in the past that a procession normally ends up by being a mad rush for seats after it has begun, or people just refuse to move so I am afraid after the procession, before the Mass proper begins I am going to get people to come and venerate the icon of Our Lady of Kazan which will be carried in procession- a bit Eastern for my tastes but it worked last year.

I just wish that there was a "hymn" book that had material that was suitable for the liturgy, for processions when they needed, music that fitted the liturgical Sequences, we ended up by singing the Pentecost Sequence to Stabat Mater, better than just reading it, but not much.
We have such a transient community, so many none English speakers, so that what was used last year is forgotten this year, and we really don't have great liturgical resources.
I wish that our bishops would do what the Vatican Council instructed them to do and draw up a hymn of suitable liturgical texts.

What do other priests or parishes do? I would be grateful to know.


Anonymous said...

Last night was lovely, thank you Father. Was making the vegie curry afterwards impromptu?
I really enjoyed the the Liturgy, it was incredibly other worldly. I was wondering if it would work on a Sunday. I normally look forward to you preaching and was a little shocked that you didn't but really it was so good to just allow the liturgy itself to speak. I think maybe we do have too many words, maybe we come to Mass to be taught or educated but last night I learnt that Mass is worship.
Again thankyou for that experience.

Anonymous said...

The Pope says that Mass celebrated ad orientem brings out the processional nature of the "Pilgrim People" that was beautifully illustrated last night.

Anonymous said...

Our Candlemas procession in Manchester went as follows:

Entrance Hymn:

The Angel-lights of Christmas morn (by Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman)

1. The Angel-lights of Christmas morn,
Which shot across the sky,
Away they pass at Candlemas,
They sparkle and they die.

2. Comfort of earth is brief at best,
Although it be divine;
Like funeral lights for Christmas gone,
Old Simeon's tapers shine.

3. We wait along the penance-tide
Of solemn fast and prayer;
While song is hush'd, and lights grow dim
In the sin-laden air.

4. And still, though Candlemas be spent
And Alleluia's o'er,
Mary is music in our need,
And Jesus light in store.

Introduction & Blessing of candles followed by procession, during which the Canticle of Simeon was sung (in Latin) with the congregation invited to join with the Choir in singing the antiphon: “Lumen ad revelationem gentium: et gloriam plebis tuae Israel” and then as the procession continued, the following hymn was sung:

Hail to the Lord who comes

1. Hail to the Lord who comes,
Comes to his temple gate,
Not with his angel hosts,
Not in his kingly state;

2. But borne upon the throne
Of Mary's gentle breast;
Thus to his Father's house
He comes a humble guest.

3. The world's true light draws near
All darkness to dispel,
The flame of faith is lit
And dies the power of hell.

4. Our bodies and our souls
Are temples now for him,
For we are born of grace-
God lights our souls within.

5. O Light of all the earth!
We light our lives with thee;
The chains of darkness gone
All sons of God are free.

Followed by the traditional Introit, sung in Latin.

The Communion motet was “O Nata Lux” – Tallis

O Light of light, by love inclined,
Jesus, redeemer of mankind.
With loving-kindness deign to hear
From suppliant voices praise and prayer

Thou who to raise our souls from hell
Dids’t deign in fleshly form to dwell
Vouchsafe us, when our race is run,
In they fair Body to be one.

Ttony said...

Dear Father

we use the "Laudate" Hymnal published by Decani Music which has some good modern music (as well as some dire modern music), old favourites, though, in one or two cases PC'd: "when wicked men blaspheme Thee, I'll love and bless They Name" turns into "O may I imitate thee and magnify God's name"; which is suprisingly sound doctrinally for a desecration of something traditional. It also has plainsong settings of the Mass above and beyond the Missa de Angelis.

Anyway, it has four entries for the Presentation: a processional antiphon, in Latin and English, two modern settings of the Nunc Dimittis, and a 19th Century Hymn: "In his temple we behold Him".

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