Psalms - Liturgy of the Mass

I recently purchased a subscription for the monthly Magnificat booklet.

At Saturday’s Mass, I noticed that the psalm used in the booklet did not match what the choir was singing.

Is that normal, that the psalm reading can be switched out and another psalm used in its place?

I also use Magnificat, I’ve never had that happen with the Psalm. Sometimes the response is different. When it happens, I’ve checked with the USCCB website, and the alternate response has been listed there.
Could the choir have made a mistake? It happened to our choir, they were on the wrong page. God bless them!

Yes, the General Instruction for the Roman Missal (GIRM) allows for substitutions to be made for the Responsorial Psalm, so long as the replacement still corresponds appropriately to the reading. (That is, the Responsorial Psalm should respond to the Reading it follows!)
61. After the first reading comes the responsorial Psalm, which is an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word and holds great liturgical and pastoral importance, because it fosters meditation on the word of God. The responsorial Psalm should correspond to each reading and should, as a rule, be taken from the Lectionary.

It is preferable that the responsorial Psalm be sung, at least as far as the people’s response is concerned. Hence, the psalmist, or the cantor of the Psalm, sings the verses of the Psalm from the ambo or another suitable place. The entire congregation remains seated and listens but, as a rule, takes part by singing the response, except when the Psalm is sung straight through without a response. In order, however, that the people may be able to sing the Psalm response more readily, texts of some responses and Psalms have been chosen for the various seasons of the year or for the various categories of Saints. These may be used in place of the text corresponding to the reading whenever the Psalm is sung. If the Psalm cannot be sung, then it should be recited in such a way that it is particularly suited to fostering meditation on the word of God.

In the dioceses of the United States of America, the following may also be sung in place of the Psalm assigned in the Lectionary for Mass: either the proper or seasonal antiphon and Psalm from the Lectionary, as found either in the Roman Gradual or Simple Gradual or in another musical setting; or an antiphon and Psalm from another collection of the psalms and antiphons, including psalms arranged in metrical form, providing that they have been approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop. Songs or hymns may not be used in place of the responsorial Psalm.
So a “seasonal” Psalm can be used in place of one which the people might not be as familiar with.

Frankly, I think the use of simple melodies for the response is a better approach than substituting one well-known Psalm for another less-known Psalm.

yes there are seasonal psalms that can be used instead, there are also alternative psalms, optional verses of the chosen psalm, or sometimes different responses that can be used for the same psalm.

it might be allowed but I don’t believe in doing that, changing the psalm tone is not an issue but never the words. I think it makes it difficult for those parishioners who are trying to follow along in missals or missalettes. (IMHO)

I think the seasonal psalm is often used so that the choir does not have to learn a new one every week.

Any good choir can learn a new psalm in one practice. If choir members have trouble staying together then one person should sing the verses and the rest of the choir sing the response. As a cantor and choir member, I would often go over the psalms just before mass and not have any problems. The psalm tones are not that difficult to learn, at least those found in the Psalms and Ritual Music (WLP) Year A, B or C.

This can be true. --particularly if the choir/cantor is unfamiliar with chanting in general and/or are not reasonably trained. (And this is very common.)

But it’s been my experience that seasonal psalms are commonly used for one of four reasons: (1) The psalm of the day is not available from whatever collection of psalm arrangements the parish typically uses, (2) the music director does not believe the parish is capable of singing/chanting a new psalm every week, (3) the psalmist for the day does not know (for whatever reason) the arrangement of the psalm of the day, or (4) the parish is trying to promote some seasonal “theme” which is expressed by a seasonal psalm.

Whatever we think of seasonal psalms, given the preference that psalms be treated as what they are (songs rather than mere poetry), I think we have to give the benefit of the doubt to the cantor/choir. If the cantor and choir do not consider themselves to be capable of leading the daily psalm (as opposed to a more familiar seasonal psalm) then they are likely to be correct.

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