Category Archives: Church Music

What I picked last weekend: 3rd Sunday of Advent

I’m cheered with how well these hymns appear to be going.

Entrance: O Come, Divine Messiah

Psalm: To You, O Lord (Haugen)

Offertory:   A Voice Cries Out

Mass Parts: Heritage Mass

Communion: Advent Litany (Prendergast)

Recessional: O Come O Come Emmanuel (a cappella)

“Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom”: Meh

Here it is, the new hymn for the World Meeting of Families.

I will say this at the outset:

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Grin and bear it

I am not perfect at this music biz. I do mess up from time to time, and so do the choirs and cantors I work with.

But the other day, things fell apart with one of my choirs to such an extent during a hymn that I couldn’t help but grin and bear it.

To wit:
• I had forgotten to remove a transposition on the Clavinova, so the guitarist and I started a note apart. I fixed it, and we had to restart, which is a very bad thing.
• The guitarist, also the music director, repeated the refrain a third time at the outset. Alas, no one else did.
• One cantor started singing verse 3. Except we were on verse 2, which the other cantor was singing.

Now, before you ask, yes, we had practiced beforehand. But sometimes it just happens. A couple verses in, I looked at the music director and smiled. Somehow, we recovered from the cascade of goofs and got through it. And sometimes, you have to dust yourself off, smile, and remember that there’s always next week.

What I picked last weekend: 2nd Sunday of Advent

Went well, and that’s that.

Entrance: On Jordan’s Bank

Psalm: To You, O Lord (Haugen)

Offertory: Advent Litany (Prendergast)

Mass Parts: Heritage Mass

Communion: A Voice Cries Out

Recessional: O Come O Come Emmanuel (a cappella)

Sorry in advance, every priest that I know

Look what I bought!


Just in case you don’t know (and if you’re not a musician or liturgist, you might not), this lays out the guidelines for celebrating Mass.

This is the sort of liturgy thing I need to have on hand, period, especially if I’m never able to get a grad school liturgy degree. (It’s a consideration for the future, just not now because I can’t afford it.) So when I stopped by My Local Catholic Bookstore™ and found this, I was a happy camper. Of course, this also means I’ll know if a priest is making a liturgy suggestion that is Definitely Against the Rules and Probably a Bad Idea Regardless™. And in that regard, a little knowledge might be a dangerous thing.


What I picked last weekend: 1st Sunday of Advent

Now that I’m scheduling hymns at my main parish, I’m restarting the old What I Played Last Weekend but renaming the category. Here’s today’s first installment.

Notes: Got a lot of singing with the entrance. The psalm was a request from the priest; I prefer the psalm of the day but this isn’t a hill to die on. Everyone loves “Christ, Be Our Light,” and that went well. The litany went OK, but it was completely new and our version has an intro that’s not in the books, causing some confusion.

Entrance: O Come, Divine Messiah

Psalm: To You, O Lord (Haugen)

Offertory: Christ, Be Our Light

Mass Parts: Heritage Mass

Communion: Advent Litany (Prendergast)

Recessional: O Come O Come Emmanuel (a cappella)

It’s new hymnal season!

At my main parish, our hymnals are designed to be used in three-year cycles. The new cycle starts soon, so as soon as it was in, I picked up the new version and started perusing.

My main parish uses United in Christ, the bilingual three-year hymnal. So there is plenty in Spanish and English and at least a few changes. I quickly perused every page to see what I liked; fortunately, there is plenty. For example:

• New “old” hymns include “Adoro Te Devote” and “O God, Beyond All Praising,” which is one of my favorites.

• Other additions include an incredibly strong Advent litany and Tom Booth and Jenny Pixler’s “Sacred Silence.”

• There are now solid bilingual translations of “Christ, Be Our Light” and “Praise to You, O Christ Our Savior.”

But I do see some shortcomings:

• So many English translations of Spanish songs simply stink. I wish OCP would fix them; “Pescador de Hombres” is one of the notoriously awful versions. I know translating to fit a meter isn’t easy, but turning “Alabare” (literally “I will praise”) into “O Come and Sing” was just weird.

• The basic Latin Mass setting chants are there, but not the English versions.

Still, my parish has used this hymnal for a while, and it serves our needs fairly well. I’m cheered by the efforts OCP has put in to keep improving this, and I’m looking forward to another solid three years with the books.