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Musical Musings: Solemnities

Ideas from The Liturgy of the Hours:

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ [Corpus Christi]

The Liturgy of the Hours provides a rich, underused source of creative ideas for music during Mass. We have here the wisdom of the Church, offering new readings to amplify the familiar readings at Mass. We also have valuable new psalm selections and hymns, all a legitimate part of Sacred Liturgy, which can be a fertile new ground for selecting music that the Church relates to the themes of a particular feast. Practically speaking, for the music planner, these texts may lead one to a long-forgotten choral motet, or to a new possibility for an opening or communion processional based on one of the prescribed psalms or canticles.

CanticaNOVA Publications will offer these Ideas from the Liturgy of the Hours periodically, with the hope that musicians may find new sources of traditional music to enhance the Mass within the guidelines proposed by the Church.

+ Brief History of this Feast +

The Solemn Feast of Most Holy Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ celebrates the institution of the Blessed Sacrament in a joyful manner, the commemoration on Holy Thursday being overlaid with other considerations. It was established for the Thursday after Trinity Sunday by Pope Urban IV in 1264, and its Mass and Office composed by Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Taken from: A Catholic Dictionary, © Copyright 1941, edited by Donald Attwater.

Note: in some countries, like the United States, where it is not a holyday of obligation, the celebration is transfered to the Sunday after Trinity Sunday.

+ Evening Prayer I +

Latin Hymn Pange lingua gloriosi including Tantum ergo sacramentum


  • Psalm 111
    Antiphon The Lord is compassionate; he gives food to those who fear him as a remembrance of his great deeds.
  • Psalm 147:12-20
    Antiphon The Lord brings peace to his Church, and fills us with the finest wheat.
  • Revelation 11:17-18; 12:10b-12a
    Antiphon Truly I say to you: Moses did not give you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven, alleluia.
Reading I Corinthians 10:16-17

[excerpt] He gave them bread from heaven. Man has eaten the bread of angels, alleluia, alleluia.

Magnificat Antiphon
How kind and gentle you are, O Lord.
You showed your goodness to your sons by giving them bread from heaven.
You filled the hungry with good things, and the rich you sent away empty.

[response] Christ, the bread of heaven, grant us everlasting life.

+ Invitatory Antiphon +

Come, let us adore Christ the Lord, the bread of life.

+ Office of Readings +

Latin Hymn Sacris solemniis including Panis angelicus


  • Psalm 23
    Antiphon Tell those who are invited: Behold, the meal is ready; come to the marriage feast.
  • Psalm 42
    Antiphon If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink from the ever-flowing streams.
  • Psalm 81
    Antiphon The Lord fed us with the finest wheat and filled us with honey from the rock.
Wisdom built herself a house; she mixed her wine and set her table, alleluia.

First Reading Exodus 24:1-11 [They saw God, and they ate and drank.]

[excerpt] I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate manna in the desert, and they died.
This is the bread that comes down from heaven; anyone who eats this bread will never die.
I am the living bread come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.

Second Reading From a work by Saint Thomas Aquinas [O precious and wonderful banquet!]

[excerpt] Know that in this bread is the body of Christ which hung on the cross, and in this cup, the blood of Christ which flowed from his side. Take, therefore, and eat his body; take and drink his blood,
and you will become members of his body.
Eat this sacred food, so that your bond of unity with Christ may never be broken. Drink this sacred blood, the price he paid for you, so that you may never lose heart because of your sinfulness.

 Back to Solemnities Index

Part 2: Morning Prayer, etc.

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