Music in transition: Lumen Christi missal

So it is official now. We have received our shipment of the Lumen Christi Missal. This is by fiat of our pastor without consultation of our music director. I feel conflicted about this.

Our music director is a really good guy, who has a good knowledge of the liturgy and a reverence for our faith. Although he is a Lutheran, he does well as an organist, pianist, director, cantor, all those roles rolled up in one person. Up until now, we have exclusively used the Gather Comprehensive hymnal as a source for English Masses. In Spanish we use the Flor y Canto hymnal, but that is another fight and another thread.

Our bishop has recently written a series for the diocesan newspaper about sacred music, explaining what the Church documents say about the use of Gregorian chant, the propers, singing the Mass ordinary, etc. Recently he hired an expert on chant, Adam Bartlett, who has published the hymnal, Simple English Propers, to be Director of Sacred Music for the cathedral. It seems that our pastor is taking these cues well. But he has not discussed this in depth with the director! He has just dropped tiny hints and now he has ordered this Lumen Christi and apparently intends to impose chant of the Ordinary of Mass, and antiphons to replace organ and piano-driven hymns from Gather.

I am extremely pleased that our pastor is going in this direction. It is what the Church wants and what our bishop wants. I believe that many parishes in the future will go to chant as the “reform of the reform” of Vatican II takes hold. I am glad to be in the vanguard of this. But yet I am scared. I am reluctant to give up the beautiful polyphony and organ accompaniment that characterize traditional hymnody. I have become an expert at singing bass harmonies and I will sorely miss that. I also fear for the congregation. This will be a great shock to them. What will they think when we suddenly begin to chant everything? How many parishioners will we lose? Will we gain an equal number who are drawn to the magic of chant? Our English-speaking community is elderly and set in their ways. I predict a large amount of dissatisfaction with any change such as this.

I am also confused by what the missal provides. Antiphon text is provided. Psalm refrains in chant notation are provided, with the verse text. No music is given for antiphons or psalm verses. There is no “Director’s copy” or “Accompaniment addition” provided (yet?) that has music for these. There appears to be no way to chant the propers without adding another book, like Simple English Propers, or a standard hymnal. I am very confused about what our pastor expects out of this book, aside from the provided readings for the whole Lectionary cycle. Currently, we have major expense and labor invested in producing worship aids, in English and Spanish, to reproduce all the readings and all the hymns for each Sunday Mass.

If anyone has parish experience with this book I would love to hear your opinions and suggestions. Please pray for our whole community as we go through this transition. I will be praying especially for our music director not to lose heart, because he is not trained in chant and this could easily cost him his job. Thank you.

Just a minor point: the accompaniment edition will be coming. I’m not sure when, but it will be. I will be praying as well for this situation.

It’s good news to hear that the maker of the Simple English Propers has been appointed where he has. But, you shouls explain your fears to the music director! I would imagine, that, the polyphony would not be put away. It is so beautiful, and pairs perfectly with chant!

I have discussed this at length with the director. We are great friends, he gives me rides home and we spend hours in conversation in the parking lot. He confides to me all his pet peeves about our pastor. Our pastor is also a great man and a good friend and supporter to me. However, he is very hard to talk to. He is a micro-manager who likes to do things his way, by fiat. It is not very often that you can impress your own opinion on his way of doing things. I do not often try. Luckily, in the vast majority of things he chooses to do, I approve and support his decisions. I am just concerned in this case that his lack of communication with the music director and the choir means he is trying to impose something that we are not prepared for. He gave us two months of homilies to prepare for the New Translation of the Roman Missal. I am hoping that we will get the same kind of consideration and transition period for chant as well.

Would you please direct me to where I could hear an example of each? I am trying to learn more about this subject. Thank you.

Theoretically, I believe that Adam’s Missal is the closest vernacular worship volume to the GR that, according to the heirarchical interpretations of the proper processionals, the graduals, sequences, alleluia and tract propers and the ordinaries the English conferences, that reflect a truer Roman Catholic cultural tradition than does, say, JMOstrowski’s Vatican II Hymnal, a great compilation, but more diffused and conciliatory towards accreted practices and options.
That said, it is still a huge paradigm shift for any parish to supplant the Lumen Christi as “THE” pew book, period. Pushback isn’t just to be expected, it will likely, as you’ve realized, Elizium, build to greater tidal proportions than expected.
Were I the DM, I would make haste to systematically infuse with catechetical instructions via a “hymn sing” becoming a “proper sing” gathering evening for interested parishioners, widely publicized, and the possibility of augmenting the Missal with a weekly ordo of other options, especially the option fours, that the DM would endorse as valid and worthy to be sung at worship.
I say bravo to your pastor and to your DM. But those on board with this will need stomachs of iron.

Sure! Here you go.

Hello All, Dear Elizium23–

I’m very excited to hear that your parish received the Lumen Christi Missal! I know that many people will have mixed reactions when they open this book for the first time. It is really different than any other book for the pew that is available, so it’s understandable that people might be uneasy as they consider exactly what it is that they are looking at. There’s not need to fear, though. Let me try to respond to a few of your questions/concerns:

Firstly, I seriously doubt that your pastor is going to want to go “cold turkey” from the music that you’ve been doing to the LCM exclusively. If you havent’ yet, be sure to read the Introduction to the book, and the Foreward from Bp. Olmsted –*both of these speak of the need for the utmost sensitivity in pastorally implementing this book in parishes. I’m sure that your pastor understands this need also!

Secondly, as you can see, this is a book for the pew. There are accompaniment editions and cantor editions that are currently in preparation, and digital editions of these will be available here (illuminarepublications.com/scores/) shortly for free download until print editions become available.

Thirdly, I would strongly suggest (and suspect) that you begin easing the musical repertoire of the LCM into your parish slowly, and gradually. There actually is almost no need to “replace” any music, at least at first. You can begin by singing the antiphons of the Simple Gradual either before or after a hymn, even if only once at first, and begin doing catechesis on what the antiphons of the Mass are. This volume was crafted carefully with our current pastoral situation in mind. Don’t worry! The sky isn’t falling!

In closing, I’m very excited to hear that this book has arrived at your parish, and I’m sure that you will enjoy using it. The aim of the book is nothing less than the aim of the liturgy itself: The glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful. I hope and pray that it will assist parishes in achieving just this.

There’s one thing that puzzled both me and the director, and that’s the “free content” downloadable from the web site, which appears to be restricted to the upcoming week only, no past editions available, and the current PDF has: entrance antiphon, psalm, and alleluia. There is no offertory or communion antiphon offered. How are we supposed to sing those?

Work on digital editions has just begun, and will be posted weekly until the project can get ahead. This week’s antiphons will be available by the end of the day.

And for the Offertory and Communion, the LCM only provides seasonal antiphons for these during Ordinary Time, simply because this is put forth as a congregational repertoire, and the expectation for a congregation to sing the entire proper of Ordinary Time is quite high. In the meantime, look for scores in “Seasonal Offertories” and “Seasonal Communions” at the top of the page for these antiphons of Ordinary Time.

This is a work in progress, which will result in the completion of the Lumen Christi Gradual, the companion book for cantor and/or choir. Thank you for your patience while this begins to move forward!

Now how’s that for a dedicated writer! Comes on to CAF to answer our questions!

God Bless :signofcross::byzsoc:

We received our shipment of these books, and they are very beautiful. We are already implementing it week by week. We have started with the Alleluia and the Psalm. Our music director has downloaded the seasonal antiphons from the website, and we will be learning those next. We are probably going to keep hymns at the Entrance and Recessional. But, the music director said that it is too jarring to hear chant and then music from the 70s or 80s, so we are going to stop using Gather Comprehensive altogether, and instead draw from the Adoremus Hymnal for traditional, four-part harmony hymns. This is all great news to me. I am super excited about it, and just hoping that our pastor will have a little catechesis for the people. Speaking of the people, we haven’t heard any feedback about the changes yet. I am glad that there were no negative comments, at least. We will see what happens when we replace some hymns too.

St. Cecilia, St. Gregory the Great, pray for us!

Sorry to interrupt this thread but that line made me laugh. Your music director would probably have a heart attack at my parish. (My parish is known for incorporating multiple styles of music, including chant and contemporary music, in a given Mass.)

So far, so good. We are clearly still amateurs at chant, things sound a little rough around the edges. But I was encouraged to hear some compliments about the music, and in our adult faith formation, I stood up and explained to everyone about the changes they were hearing and why this is what the Church wants. Yesterday at Mass I did hear the assembly making an effort to sing, which is a great sign. The largest obstacle to corporate singing is familiarity. If people don’t know the song, there is nothing you can do to get them to sing. You just have to gently introduce new material and repeat, repeat, repeat. I figure it will take two or three years now until the assembly sings everything with confidence. As beautiful as the chants are, we are starting from zero with that repertoire.

Now I have a question for the lazyweb. Our music director is not a chant expert, he is a good musician and a respectable director who can coordinate the music selections and put us on the right note, but I feel as a beginner to chant that I will not grow in proficiency if I just keep slogging at it every week. I would like to chant with confidence, to sight-read enough to find my notes without listening to someone else. Are there seminars or classes I can take to improve my chant skills? What kind of resources are out there, other than just a couple of web pages that I can read? Can I pay a voice coach to teach me chant?

Interesting thread. The Abbey that I go to once and a while uses the Lumen Christi Missal, which l like.

In our own parish, our pastor is currently planning to rearrange the Sunday Mass schedule. I had a meeting with him last week where I asked if we could have one of the Masses done in a more traditional style, with the entrance and communion antiphons, sung prayers and responses, and traditional hymns with organ only as accompaniment. He was very receptive to idea, particularly when I explained that with our other two weekend Masses still being more contemporary, I was not looking to take anything away from those who prefer that sort of Mass, merely to give those with a more traditional preference an option.

Please pray if you have the time, that this comes to fruition.

I will pray for the situation that the OP expressed in the hopes that the implementation of the new Missal comes to good fruition.

If at all possible, see if you can go to the CMAA Colloquium next year. It’s an amazing week long intensive for Catholic musicians trying to sing and play as the church wants. Ask anyone who has attended, it’s amazing.

*If at all possible, see if you can go to the CMAA Colloquium next year. It’s an amazing week long intensive for Catholic musicians trying to sing and play as the church wants. Ask anyone who has attended, it’s amazing.*Actually, attending a CMAA Colloquium is a LIFE-CHANGING experience. Cannot recommend it too highly.Was at Salt Lake last summer, you’ll love the cathedral, directors, liturgies, and most of all, your fellow attendees.

I can not wait to go some day…

We have been using the Missal chants for the Gloria, Lamb of God and other acclamations since Advent and to tell the truth, no one is singing. They just listen to the cantor. A few do try but I often find myself the only one singing in the area where I sit.

that’s not a problem with the chants, that’s just a problem with the people. Not to be harsh, but it’s the truth. Either they are purposefully being silent, or simply not trying. Either way, that should change what we do because people are “protesting” sacred music.

If they wanted to learn them, they could. It’s not hard. the parish over from mine sings them heartily.

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