Appropriate Advent Kyrie Question

My parish choir that I recently joined is singing the Advent Kyrie by John Parker and David Lantz III. I want to know if it is an appropriate/correct response to the Kyrie for Mass. If it is not what are the supporting church documents and what would be a good way to approach the choir director or pastor to suggest something different? If it is an appropriate response what makes it so? Since I am new to the choir it is my understanding this is something they have done the past few years. Thanks.

The words are:

Ceiling of cedar, lamp stands of gold
bronze covered pillars, beauty untold;
Yet in the splendor of all we behold,
Our hearts llie barren and cold

Kyrie, we pray for mercy.
Kyrie, show us the way.
Kyrie, send us a Savior.
Kyrie, Kyrie, Kyrie

Sign of deliverance, glimmer of peace,
dreams of Messiah, visions increase
Father in heaven, give us a sign
Send your redeemer divine.

Kyrie, we pray for mercy.
Kyrie, show us the way.
Kyrie, send us a Savior.
Kyrie, Kyrie, Kyrie

If you are singing this as a hymn or anthem, there’s no problem. If, as I think you’re saying, you’re singing it during the Penitential Rite, then the problem is that you cannot sing tropes or other lyrics, you must sing the words that are in the Missal, which are Kyrie eleison / Christe eleison / Kyrie eleison, or Lord have mercy / Christ have mercy / Lord have mercy. If you need quotes from documents that state that you cannot add words to the Mass nor sing hymns out of turn, I can find them.

Out of curiosity, is there any place in this for participation by the congregation? Under ordinary circumstances, the Kyrie should not be reserved to the choir alone. That would probably be the best tack to take in suggesting that this experiment be dropped.

I’ll back Mark up, not that he needs it. The words of the Missal cannot be changed. You have to sing the six-fold Kyrie in English or Greek. I believe if the music you use was composed for the nine-fold Kyrie (as still found in the EF Mass) you can sing a nine-fold Kyrie.

Obviously, if it’s being sung at some point when a hymn or other sacred song can be freely sung there’s no problem.

As an anecdote worth sharing on this First Sunday of Advent, many years ago we had an organist who was bless him was beginning to lose some of his faculties launched straight into the Gloria after the Kyrie, on the First Sunday of Advent. The look on the priest’s face is unforgettable. We all dutifully sang it!

No, this piece is not an acceptable for use during the penitential rite, as it does not stick to the text of the missal. The text of the missal is always to be followed. The only time variation is allowed is when the missal says something like: “The Priest, or a Deacon, or another minister, may very briefly introduce the faithful to the Mass of the day” or “The Priest says these or similar words”. But there are only a few times in the Mass when this is allowed.

Thanks everyone for your help. This is to be sung during the Penitential Rite and we would have done it today had it not been for the RCIA people who were being introduced. There is no provision for the congregation to participate.

If you need quotes from documents that state that you cannot add words to the Mass nor sing hymns out of turn, I can find them.

If you could point me to those quotes I would be very thankful. We have practice on Tuesdays and I will do my best to politely say we can not do this.:slight_smile:

And one of the Penitential Rites options is one of those cases. However even that follows a pattern that this song does not.

Somewhere there has to be the Lord Have Mercy/Christ Have Mercy/Lord Have Mercy (each repeated) in either English or Greek.

Nine-fold Kyries are still found in the OF Mass; you can find them in the Graduale Romanum for the OF Mass. Among them: Kyrie Ia (Te Christe res supplices) for Sundays in Eastertide, Kyrie Ib (Conditor Kyrie ominium) for feasts and memorials in Eastertide, Kyrie III (Kyrie Deus sempiterne), and IIIa (Rector cosmi pie), Kyrie VI (Kyrie rex genitor), Kyrie IX (Cum iubilo) for solemnities and feasts of the BVM, Kyrie X (Alme Pater) for feasts and memorials of the BVM, Kyrie XII (Pater cuncta), Kyrie XV (Dominator Deus).

Also some ad libitum Kyries (Clemens rector, Summe Deus, Kyrie altissime).

All are in the current approved Graduale Romanum for the OF Mass and can legitimately be used.

May be my post wasn’t clear. Re-reading it is not that clear. If it’s been mis-read I was trying to say that nine-fold Kyrie can be used in OF Mass.

Anyway, thanks for the information.

What does the Gradual actually contain? What is it for? I know of its existence but I’ve never even seen one.

Could you tell me how many liturgical books there are for Mass. From what I know so far I would say there are the following:

Sacramentary - this is what I’d probably call the Altar Book containing the Ordinary of the Mass and the variable parts such as the Prefaces as well as the priest’s prayers, e.g. Opening Prayer, Prayer over the Gifts, etc.
Lectionary - contains all the readings for the Mass and the chants between the readings
Book of Gospels - used as an alternative to the Lectionary for the Gospel Reading
Gradual - not sure what this contains although I think it contains many of the parts of Mass that can be sung; I used to think it contained things like the Introit, Gradual, Communion Antiphon but if it contains the Kyrie it must contain some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass

The Graduale Romanum contains:
* Proper of the Seasons

      Advent, Christmastide
      Lent, Holy Week & Triduum, Eastertide
      Ordinary Time & Solemnities of the Lord

  Each Mass Proper has these chants:
     1. Introit (Entrance)
     2. Gradual (Psalm)
     3. Alleluia or Tract (Gospel Acclamation)
     4. Offertory
     5. Communion
* Commons (e.g. Dedication of a Church, BVM, Martyrs)
* Proper of the Saints
    with Mass Propers arranged by calendar date (e.g. November 1 - All Saints)
* Ritual Masses (e.g. Confirmation, Marriage)
* Various Masses (e.g. For the Sick, For the Spread of the Gospel)
* Votive Masses (e.g. BVM, Holy Angels)
* Services and Mass for the Dead
* Kyriale

      Music for Sprinkling
      16 Mass settings (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei)
      6 Credos
      Various Mass parts
      Music for chanting the full Mass texts
      Chanted prayer formulas
      Appendix (with Litany of the Saints, Te Deum, etc.)

The Graduale Simplex contains:
* from the Kyriale
o Music for chanting all the Mass texts
o 5 Mass settings (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei)
o 3 Credos
* Proper of the Seasons

      2 Advent Masses, All Masses of Christmastide
      All Masses of Lent, Holy Week & Triduum
      2 Eastertide Masses plus Ascension & Pentecost
      8 Masses for Ordinary Time & Solemnities of the Lord

  Each Mass Proper has these chants:
     1. Antiphona ad introitum (Entrance Antiphon)
          1a. Psalmus (use to extend the Entrance Antiphon)
     2. Psalmus responsorius (including refrain & several verses)
     3. Alleluia or Tractus (refrain with 2 verses)
     4. Psalmus alleluiaticus (refrain with many verses)
     5. Antiphona ad offertorium (Offertory Antiphon)
          5a. Psalmus (use to extend the Offertory Antiphon)
     6. Antiphona ad communionem (Communion Antiphon)
          6a. Psalmus (use to extend the Communion Antiphon)
* Proper of the Saints
    with Mass Propers arranged by calendar date (e.g. November 1 - All Saints)
* Commons (e.g. Dedication of a Church, BVM, Martyrs)
* Ritual Masses (e.g. Marriage, Religious Profession)
* Various Masses (e.g. For Vocations, For Christian Unity)
* Votive Masses (e.g. Sacred Heart, Holy Eucharist)
* Services and Mass for the Dead
* Tones for the Gloria Patri
* Tones for the Responsorial Psalm
* Appendix (with Sprinkling Rite, Te Deum, various hymns, Litany of the Saints)
* Indices

It depends on the Mass, really. A ritual Mass would require the ritual text (such as those in the Roman Ritual and Roman Pontifical).

For musical liturgical books, there’s the Offertoriale, which contains the Offertories according to seasons of the year with additional verses not given in the Graduale Romanum; Cantus Selecti, which contains over 200 chants and litanies for the various liturgical seasons grouped by theme and season; Liber Cantualis, ontains the complete Order of Mass, seven of the chant masses and the Requiem, four sequences, and 40 hymns, canticles, and psalms drawn from the most familiar repertoire; Ordo Missae in Cantu, which is the complete Roman Missal in chant notation to be used by the celebrant, containing the entire ordinary of the Mass in Latin, with Gregorian notation, and all the prefaces; Liber Concelebrantium, which includes the Sanctus and Preces Echuristicae in Cantu; Passio Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, which contains the sung Passion texts for Holy Week.

I’ve probably left out a few, but it’s early over here, and I’m still sleepy. Sorry.

Stephraim, thanks, you beat me to it. The Graduale in fact has all of the music to chant the entire mass, every day, every year (e.g. A, B, C) in Gregorian chant, except for the preface and EP.

The Graduale Triplex is even better, in addition to the square note notation, it includes two archaic notations, Laon and St. Gall, superposed above and below the staff, when those ancient manuscripts had the music for those parts. Otherwise it is identical to the Graduale Romanum.

Thanks everyone for your input. I heard back from my local Bishops office.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states the following about the Penitential Rite at Mass:

After the greeting of the people, the priest, the deacon, or a lay minister may very briefly introduce the faithful to the Mass of the day.

The Act of Penitence

  1. Then the priest invites those present to take part in the Act of Penitence, which, after a brief pause for silence, the entire community carries out through a formula of general confession. The rite concludes with the priest’s absolution, which, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance.

On Sundays, especially in the Season of Easter, in place of the customary Act of Penitence, from time to time the blessing and sprinkling of water to recall Baptism may take place.56

The Kyrie Eleison

  1. After the Act of Penitence, the Kyrie is always begun, unless it has already been included as part of the Act of Penitence. Since it is a chant by which the faithful acclaim the Lord and implore his mercy, it is ordinarily done by all, that is, by the people and with the choir or cantor having a part in it.

As a rule, each acclamation is sung or said twice, though it may be repeated several times, by reason of the character of the various languages, as well as of the artistry of the music or of other circumstances. When the Kyrie is sung as a part of the Act of Penitence, a trope may precede each acclamation.

The above can be found here:
The text you sent for the Kyrie does not fit the liturgical prescriptions of the Sacramentary IF* it is used for the Penitential Rite. If sung by the choir at the Preparation of the Altar and Presentation of the Gifts then it would be okay.

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Here are two pictures of the beginnings of this Kyrie Fons Bonitatis in both latin and english, they have many more words to them which I have cut off to make a small image size for sharing.

**When the Kyrie is sung as a part of the Act of Penitence, a trope may precede each acclamation. **

all I can tell you is that the Kyrie Fons Bonitatis is found in the book “Cantus Selecti” published by Solesmes in the 1930s or 40’s. This is an example of the same Kyries Fons Bonitatis melody found in the Gradual Romanum , except that within the Romanum, the trope has been removed from the Kyrie.

ALL Kyries in the Graduale Romanum the official book of Gregorian Chant for the Church have tropes that were originally part of them, which have due to the protestant reformation, been removed from their Kyries. A great mistake I feel. This was the result of the Council of Trent in the 1550s…the Vatican II of it’s day. (though not as radical)

Troped kyries are an important part of Church history, all of latin christianity grew up hearing them between the 9th and 16th centuries on nearly all Sundays and Feasts. (As they also heard Sequences/Proses, which were removed from the Graduales for similar reasons, partly that they reflected the local dioceses and nations.)

There was of course an art to it, the tropes were very rich in theology and done in a specific way each time, the creativity was limited to a certain context and specification.

What was posted above is a product of the post-1970 era and is not created or made within the established tradition or correct theology of ancient tropes.

Frankly we probably dont need many new tropes for the Kyrie …
There are other places that could use them created, but thats not one of them.

Unless someone is familiar with the established tradition in latin, they dare not venture into this area of liturgical music.

I am in the process of putting most of them into english to the same melodies, with texts by some ex-anglican western rite orthodox monks for the anglican ordinariates.


the correct troped Kyrie for Lent 'Kyrie ‘Salve semperque’ may be found on page 40 of the Gregorian Review 4.5 in this link.

I recall this may be used in advent as well, but am uncertain.

best wishes

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