Responsorial Psalm

At my Parish we have the “Glory and Praise” songbook. I have a St. Joseph Missal that I use every Sunday in order to follow the readings and the Gospel. When we come to the Responsorial Psalm the music director rarely uses the Psalm as laid out for the Mass, but uses a generic one from the “Glory and Praise” songbook. Is this normal? Can someone point me towards the GIRM instruction on this? The Psalm is sung, and I do not understand why the actual Psalm for the Mass is not used, since it is usually more in line with the theme of the readings. Thank you.

There are two options, the Psalm of the Day and a Seasonal Psalm of which there are usually a few choices. Sometimes it’s a matter of what the choir knows. In my parish if the cantor knows one of the seasonal psalms she makes no effort to learn a new one for the day.

It is “normal” but not necessarily correct. Like the first poster said, it can be replaced by a seasonal psalm, but EVERY time? I don’t know. I’ve never encountered someting like this. Here is what the GIRM says…

The Responsorial Psalm

  1. 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.

and it says…

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.

I hope I’ve answered your question! God Bless!

Thanks for the answer.

Using a seasonal psalm is not a problem.

The potential problem I see with using something from Glory and Praise is that it might not actually be a psalm but rather a psalm paraphrase.

A lot of the songs in Glory and Praise are psalm paraphrases which were not intended to be used for the responsorial psalm

The problem I have with the OCP and even GIA psalms is if not some of them, most of them have extra words added to the psalm. I never thought this was licit, but I guess it is.

I have a concern about this being licit, since the psalm is a liturgical prayer. From what I understand, the psalm should be taken from an official translated source, such as the Grail Psalter. Furthermore, a lot of the OCP/GIA psalms (non-lectionary) use inclusive language and this is not allowed.

Many people have a problem with both OCP and GIA. What can you expect when we are just emerging from the “wasteland” of liturgical experimentation. Check out and see who are protestant on their staffs.

Where I attend Mass on Sundays, we NEVER recite the responsorial psalm.

(shock and awe).

But that’s because the Mass is in Gregorian chant and instead, the gradual and its psalm verse are sung from the Graduale Romanum. Except during Easter time when it’s an alleluia with a psalm verse. Also from the G.R.

Everything is done “by the book” as it were, although sometimes human error slips in and the wrong chant (or reading) is inadvertently used.

I remember asking my spiritual director once “why did Father L. take the reading from Year I instead of Year II at Vigils this morning?”, to which the reply was “because Father L. made a mistake!”. But I digress…

No, it’s not licit. The psalm must come from an approved Lectionary, and that means that the actual words of the psalm must be approved. Any translation of either the text of the Mass, or in this case, the text of Sacred Scripture used at Mass must be approved or it’s illicit.

It’s very challenging for priests to have to deal with the fact that the missallette publishers have been printing illicit texts for years. People think that because “it’s printed in the missallette” it’s permitted; after all, that’s a very natural assumption for people to make.

In the US at least, the missallette publishers have been using their position to circumvent the whole process of having texts approved first by the bishops conference and then by Rome.

LoyalViews already quoted the GIRM, so I won’t repeat it. Although the proper source here is the General Instruction for the Lectionary, not necessarily the GIRM, in this case, the GIRM does provide a brief answer.

The Church allows a considerable flexibility in choosing what psalm to use at Mass. That’s an important point: the Church allows it. The US bishops asked for, and received recognition from Rome for this adaptation. The psalm itself though, still has to come from an approved source. So, while it’s perfectly acceptable to substitute a different psalm (within the stated limits of course) that doesn’t mean that the psalm itself can be one composed by a publisher.

I have a question. Are the Psalms which have a repeated phrase acceptable. For exampe, instead of:

O God! Let all the nations praise you.

They have

O God! O God! let all the nations praise you.

I do not use these but they do appear in our missalette.

Here is my source for Psalms:

I was under the impression that all Psalms were picked out before hand. Like the readings… that these Psalms are ‘options’.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with repetition, as in most Mass settings, an extra “Hosanna” sometimes appears. Someone told me that repetition is fine, just changing the words is bad.

However, it seems like repetition is unnecessary. I think they could just get to the point.

By another psalm, do you mean the Common Psalm for the season? I thought you had two options: the Pslam picked for that day, and then the Common/Seasonal Psalm.

Our parish never uses the psalms. We instead typically sing a song that kind of fits the theme of the readings. When I asked our choir director why, she said they would never use the psalms and our pastor was fine with it. The psalms were boring and the music in the missallette for them was horrid.

This is absolutely forbidden. How can someone state that the responsorial psalm is boring? It is part of Sacred Scripture. It is part of the Liturgy of the Word. It is an integral part of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is not some musical interlude.

Furthermore, according to Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[62.] It is also illicit to omit or to substitute the prescribed biblical readings on one’s own initiative, and especially “to substitute other, non-biblical texts for the readings and responsorial Psalm, which contain the word of God”.138

With all due respect, I believe that what your parish is doing goes against the norms quoted in other posts and in Redemptionis Sacramentum. This should not be happening.

It depends upon whether or not the texts themselves have been approved. The Conference of Bishops has the authority to approve translations of Scripture to be used at Mass (within certain limits of course, but that gets us way off topic). It comes down to the relatively simple question of: was it approved? Although the answer itself is not always simple to determine. If it’s in the Lectionary, it’s a given that it has been approved. Otherwise, it’s sometimes hard to tell.

As you well know, what appears in the missallettes is not always an approved text, yet it’s not as if the publishers make that distinction.

The psalms “BORING”?

While I agree that the missallette music for them can be atrocious, the psalms themselves are far from boring and moreover, they are the universal prayer of the Church.

Clearly your choir director doesn’t pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

I find so many psalms so inspiring that it would be hard for me to tell you which one my favourite is.

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