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Musical Musings: Miscellaneous

Music for the Year for Priests

by Gary D. Penkala

On March 16, 2009, in an address to the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI announced a "Year for Priests."

The apostolic mandate "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole of creation" [Mk 16: 15] is constitutive of the ministerial priesthood. Precisely to encourage priests in this striving for spiritual perfection on which, above all, the effectiveness of their ministry depends, I have decided to establish a special "Year for Priests" that will begin on 19 June and last until 19 June 2010. In fact, it is the 150th anniversary of the death of the Holy Curé d'Ars, John Mary Vianney, a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ's flock. It will be the task of your Congregation, in agreement with the diocesan Ordinaries and with the superiors of religious institutes to promote and to coordinate the various spiritual and pastoral initiatives that seem useful for making the importance of the priest's role and mission in the Church and in contemporary society ever more clearly perceived.

It is the Holy Father's wish that during this year, "all priests may be increasingly strengthened in fidelity to Christ with devout meditation, spiritual exercises and other appropriate actions." This holy period begins with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a day of priestly sanctification on which the Supreme Pontiff celebrates Vespers in the presence of the holy relics of Saint John Mary Vianney, brought to Rome by the Bishop of Belley-Ars, France. The Holy Father will likewise preside at the conclusion of the Year for Priests in Saint Peter's Square, in the presence of priests from across the world who will renew their fidelity to Christ and the bond of brotherhood. Plenary and partial indulgences may be obtained.

Many CNP resources may be useful during this Year for Priests:

Choral music relating to the priesthood

  • Behold My Servant An ordination anthem in distinctly British "cathedral" style, written for SATB choir and organ, with a part for Treble choir that can be taken variously by sopranos and tenors if no trebles are singing. The text is from Isaiah 42.
  • Bone Pastor, Panis Vere The last two stanzas of the Corpus Christ sequence, Lauda Sion set for SATB choir, a cappella. The music is mostly homophonic in texture and well within the grasp of any good church choir.
  • Complete Thy Work A beautiful 19th century text by the great English Catholic theologian John Henry Cardinal Newman, set in Edwardian style. This unaccompanied anthem for SATB voices, show superb voice-leading in a style reminiscent of Edward Elgar or Charles Villiers Stanford.
  • How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings Fair Psalm 84 ["How lovely are thy dwellings fair! O Lord of Hosts, how dear Thy pleasant tabernacles are, Where thou dost dwell so near."] is used in the Lectionary for the Dedication of a Church or Altar, for Holy Orders, for the Profession of Religious, and for the Mass for Vocations. Any of these occasions would be a perfect opportunity for this setting, as would any Mass or service with a vocations theme.
  • Pastoral Processional An effective opening for any celebration of priestly service (ordinations, anniversaries). It has traditional elements (Latin verses, eloquent English verses, themes from Gregorian chant) but is crafted in a responsorial idiom so as to be useful in modern liturgies.
  • Simon, Son of John An interesting setting of the dialogue between Christ and Saint Peter found in John's Gospel. Particularly appropriate on the Third Sunday of Easter (C) where this passage of John's Gospel is read, Simon, Son of John may also be used for ordinations, on any feasts celebrating Peter or the apostles, Masses for the pope or the bishop, or liturgies with the theme of service and dedication.
  • Serve God in Love A processional inspired by one of the Roman Pilgrimage Churches, with appropriate texts in English, Italian and Latin. Serve God in Love was inspired by the Basilica of Saint-Lawrence-outside-the-Walls.

Audio material for priests

  • 2 CD set: And With Your Spirit A guide and tutorial for priests, deacons and seminarians in how to sing the Mass in English according to the Ordinary Form (2010 Missal).
  • CD: Orate fratres A guide and tutorial for priests, deacons and seminarians in how to sing the Mass in Latin according to the Ordinary Form (Missale romanum editio typica tertia 2002).
  • 2 CD set: Sancta Missa: Missa in cantu & Missa lecta A guide and tutorial for priests and seminarians in how to sing and say the Mass in Latin according to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Missale Romanum 1962). It is also useful to altar boys who are learning their Latin responses. Choir members just beginning to sing Gregorian Chant Masses will appreciate the inclusion of the popular Missa VIII (de Angelis) and Credo III. An accompanying workbook is also available [see below].
  • CD-related: Sancta Missa: Workbook This workbook accompanies the CD-set above, and is a great gift to a priest or seminarian learning the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. It is also a useful aid to altar boys who are studying their parts. Choir members just beginning to sing Gregorian Chant Masses will appreciate the inclusion of the popular Missa de Angelis (Kyriale VIII) and Credo III.

Video material for priests

  • DVD: Sancta Missa (Low Mass) Shows the Low Mass for Trinity Sunday in Latin according to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Missale Romanum 1962) in two formats: one from the perspective of the priest, the other from the perspective of the altar boy. The video also shows the sacristan setting up the vestments in the traditional manner, as well as the vesting of the priest with prayers from the 1962 Missale Romanum.
  • DVD: Sancta Missa (High Mass) Shows the High Mass for Christmas in Latin according to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Missale Romanum 1962), to aid those involved in these liturgies (priest, MC, servers, choir, organist).

Printed material for priests

  • Workbook: Sancta Missa: Workbook This workbook accompanies the CD-set Sancta Missa: Missa in cantu & Missa lecta above, and is a great gift to a priest or seminarian learning the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. It is also a useful aid to altar boys who are studying their parts. Choir members just beginning to sing Gregorian Chant Masses will appreciate the inclusion of the popular Missa de Angelis (Kyriale VIII) and Credo III.
  • Book: Ceremonies of the Modern Roman RIte, 2nd Edition A complete ceremonial manual for the celebration of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours. Faithful to the renewal of worship authorized by the Second Vatican Council, the book combines precise guidance in these rites with a pastoral and spiritual approach. A high ideal of noble Catholic worship is consistently maintained, respecting the "continuity of our tradition."
  • Book: Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year Monsignor (now Bishop) Elliott has provided the present work as a guide to the most important moments of the Church year from Advent and Christmas to Holy Week, Corpus Christi and to the Solemnity of Christ the King. His book also has been a long-awaited guide to those who wish to celebrate the events of the Church year with dignity, devotion and deep faith. This book is widely welcomed throughout the English-speaking world
  • Book: Liturgical Question Box This book, technically accurate and based on experience and pastoral common sense, is a reliable guide for pastors, seminarians, liturgical committees, servers, etc. — and for perplexed laity who want to know what should be done in celebrating the Liturgy. Its strong spiritual tone and confident approach should appeal to a wide audience and make it a welcome resource for anyone who wants to promote the mystery, splendor and majesty of Catholic worship today.
  • Book: The Spirit of the Liturgy This concise (232 pages) yet profound book on a topic very dear to Pope Benedict's heart, was written during his tenure as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cardinal Ratzinger was always noted as a brilliant theologian, and his work on "the great prayer of the Church," was written in 1999 — a treatise on what many call "the reform of the reform."
  • Book: A New Song for the Lord A collection of essays written by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, published in 1995. Pope Benedict XVI understands liturgy, not only in a deep theological, ecclesiological and spiritual sense, but also as an amateur musician — he plays piano quite well, he has studied organ and he is a devotee of Mozart.
  • Liturgical book: Book of Sung Gospels The Third Edition of the BSG contains 42 Gospels from the revised Lectionary for Mass (1998-2002). Each text is carefully set to a simple, yet beautiful chant tone, like the ones used at liturgies in Saint Peter's Basilica. A book of chanted Gospel settings can assist those who wanted to add solemnity and grace to special liturgies through the ancient and beautiful tradition of chanting the Gospel during Mass.
  • Liturgical music: Universal Music for Morning Prayer All the music you need to prepare sung Morning Prayer on any day of the liturgical year! Included is music for the Introductory Verse, First Psalm, Old Testament Canticle, Second Psalm, Responsory, Benedictus, Lord's Prayer, and Blessing and Dismissal.
  • Liturgical music: Universal Music for Evening Prayer Music to prepare sung Evening Prayer for any day of the liturgical year. Included is music for: the Introductory Verse, First Psalm, Second Psalm, New Testament Canticle, Responsory, Magnificat, Lord's Prayer, and Blessing/Dismissal.
  • Liturgical music: Ecce lignum Crucis Composed for the Showing of the Cross during the liturgy of Good Friday. The liturgical setting heightens this powerful moment with even greater solemnity. The piece begins by introducing the text, "This is the wood of the Cross" in Latin (Ecce lignum Crucis in quo salus...). This introduction takes place as the celebrant and ministers enter from the rear of the church.

Icon

Christ the Great High Priest Iconographer Marek Czarnecki of Seraphic Restorations in Meriden, Connecticut, has graciously given the USCCB the rights to use the icon of Christ the Great High Priest during the Year for Priests. Any parish or diocese that would like to use the image in conjunction with this special year is also permitted to do so.

This icon (egg tempera and gold leaf on wood panel, 28" x 22") is "based on a fifteenth century Greek prototype; here Christ is shown in Latin Rite vestments with a gold pelican over His heart, the ancient symbol of self-sacrifice. The borders contain a winding grapevine and altar prepared for the celebration of the liturgy of the Mass; in the borders are smaller icons of Melchizedek and Saint Jean-Baptiste Vianney." Incidentally, it is Saint John Vianney whom Pope Benedict XVI, with the announcement of this special year, has declared the Universal Patron of Priests.

Czarnecki explains: "I wrote the icon about seven years ago [for seminarians and priests] to be able to see Christ in themselves, and themselves in Christ. We often hear that the icon is called a window; in this case, it's also meant to be a mirror." The Good Shepherd reminds the priest that he is to "lay down his life for his sheep."


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