The Ave Maria in the TLM

At the (well-known and very highly-regarded) parish where I occasionally go for the TLM, I noticed something I don’t think I’ve experienced before. This was High Mass, and after the schola finished the Offertory chant, an operatic-type female soloist performed an Ave Maria (a setting I didn’t recognize), which wrapped up in time for the priest to get into the Canon. Is this common? Was today some Marian feast on the 1962 calendar that I wasn’t aware of? I generally have a problem with Marian devotions sneaking their way into the Mass where they don’t belong, but I feel like I’ve read once that there was some allowance given at some point for an Ave Maria to be inserted somewhere, or at least that by the 1950s or so it had become a very widespread and accepted abuse of the Mass.

I’ve checked and couldn’t find a rubric that would permit singing a non-liturgical devotional song at any given point during a High Mass, but maybe I’m missing it. Those of you with more experience must have seen this practice elsewhere, right?

At the Extraordinary Form parish I attend, we did the mass of Immaculate Heart of Mary (August 22) yesterday for the first Saturday of this month (August 7, 2010); that is probably why.

Its the custom where I live.

This wasn’t a Saturday votive Mass, though, it was Sunday High Mass.

Its the custom where I live to pray the Hail Mary at the offertory even in the NO, has been for all the decades I have lived here.

Like I say, I’ve heard of this being done, but I’m curious whether it has any basis in church rubrics, or if it just began as a pious innovation to give people something to do during the offertory. In your church, does everyone pray it together, or is it sung as a solo? Does the priest lead it, or does he just go on with his own prayers? Personally, I found it pretty distracting from the Mass to have it sung in an operatic style, but I know some people are very keen on having this sort of thing in the Mass.

At the NO it is prayed by all I’m not sure what happens at the EF as I very rarely get to attend one where I live.

Anthems and motets are allowed in the EF at the offertory and communion, so long as they are in Latin. This is not considered an abuse.

Yeah, they do the exact same thing at my church. Of course, the tune changes every week, but I mean singing during that time is not uncommon at all. What they did was perfectly fine. And it may have been due to Saint Dominic being today, since he is affiliated with the Holy Rosary. Just a guess. Sometimes they sing the Ave Maria for no particular reason, which is fine too.

Interesting. I know that in pre-Conciliar practice at Low Masses it was quite common for the congregation to sing hymns of their own choosing, but these would normally be vernacular hymns (often traditional ethnic songs, etc.), so I tend to doubt that there is any restriction on the language that can be used.

But can it really be true that, even at a High Mass, which ought to have all its own proper music, you can just strike up whatever song you like whenever you feel like it, even if important parts of the Mass are going on? I find that pretty tough to believe – talk about lax rubrics in the liturgy! And, anyway, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with what Milesius mentioned, which was a prayer, not a motet or anthem. Surely you can’t just make up prayers and start inserting them into the TLM wherever they seem to fit, right?

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m approaching this from the standpoint that what they did at this Mass was right. I’m just curious why, and “Because you can sing a song whenever you want to” doesn’t strike me as intuitively accurate.

At the offertory and communion is not any time you want they are two very specific times.

And is there some rubric that says you can sing a sing during the offertory and Communion but not, say, during the prayers at the foot of the altar, the Confiteors, or anywhere else? Is this just left to people’s good judgment with the hope that nobody will come along with different ideas and abuse the laxity?

What is the name of the parish?
What is the name of the priest?
What did he have to say for himself?

I think in keeping with forum guidelines it would be better not to name the parish or priest specifically. Nevertheless, it is, as I said, a parish very well-known and highly esteemed for its longstanding service to the traditional form of the liturgy. That’s why I’m sure what they did was permissible, I just can’t figure out how or why. If it’s that you can just sing songs when nothings else is going on, I guess that would be the answer, but does anyone have a reference that says this is the case?

I did not ask the priest because it wasn’t until later yesterday evening that I became curious about this topic. I had assumed there would be an obvious answer with a definitive reference to the rubrics of the Mass about what music and which prayers you could insert into which parts of the liturgy, but it’s looking like that’s maybe not the case.

To appease your troubled mind:
From the:
Instruction on Sacred Music in the Liturgy (Prot. 0)
Musicam Sacram
March 5, 1967
Sacred Congregation of Rites

"28. The distinction between solemn, the high, and the low Mass, sanctioned by the 1958 Instruction (no. 3) remains in force, according to tradition and current law. But for pastoral reasons degrees of solemnity for the sung Mass are proposed here in order that it will become easier, in accord with each congregation’s capability, to make the celebration of Mass more solemn through the use of singing.

These degrees must be so employed, however, that the first may always be used without the others, but the second and third never without the first. Thus in all cases the faithful are to be brought to take part fully in the singing.

  1. To the first degree belong:

    a. in the entrance rites

    -the priest's greeting and the congregation's response;
    -the opening prayer.

    b. in the liturgy of the word

    -the gospel acclamations.

    c. in the liturgy of the eucharist

    -the prayer over the gifts;
    -the preface, with the opening dialogue and the Sanctus;
    -the Lord's Prayer, with the invitation and embolism;
    -the greeting May the peace of the Lord;
    -the prayer after communion;
    -the final dismissal.
  2. To the second degree belong:

    a. Kyrie, Gloria, Agnus Dei;

    b. profession of faith;

    c. general intercessions.

  3. To the third degree belong:

    a. songs for the entrance procession and for communion;

    b. chants after a lesson or epistle;

    c. Alleluia before the gospel;

    d. songs for the presentation of the gifts;

    e. the Scripture readings, except when it seems better not to have them sung.

take notice on number 31 d.

and also:
“9. The choice of the style of music for a choir or congregation should be guided by the abilities of those who must do the singing. The Church does not exclude any type of sacred music from liturgical services as long as the music matches the spirit of the service itself and the character of the individual parts and is not a hindrance to the required active participation of the people.”

Hope it helps!

Take care,

That doesn’t help since the OP is referring to an Extraordinary Form Mass and that document applies only to the Ordinary Form.

I think it is easier to just give you the link to the instructions and you can find out:

What day was it

Aha, so that’s it! I’ll give my own translation of the instruction, since the one on Adoremus is fairly loose:
Nevertheless, the Offertory antiphon having finished, indeed any little Latin song can be sung, which nevertheless is to be congruent to this part of the Mass, and not dragged out beyond the Secret.
Likewise at Communion we have:
The Communion antiphon being finished, however, chiefly if the Communion of the faithful is long dragged out, it is permitted to sing another little Latin song, congruent to the sacred action.
So there you go. Could 1958 have been the first time these instructions were put into writing, though? Tra le solecitudini doesn’t seem to contemplate sticking Latin songs or hymns into the Mass based on the whim of the day.

This past Sunday, the 11th after Pentecost.

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