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Musical Musings: Solemnities

Ideas from The Liturgy of the Hours:

The Solemnity of Our Lord
Jesus Christ the King

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 feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 to be celebrated on the last Sunday in October by the Western Church. [Note: now celebrated on the last Sunday of the Church Year] Its object is to reassert the authority of our Lord to rule all nations and of his Church to teach the human race, to bring men back to him, and so to establish " the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ." Other feasts, e.g. the Epiphany, celebrate his kingly dignity, but this feast alone presents him in this aspect as our material object of worship. It is observed also by the Catholic Armenians and Malabarese [as well as by a number of Protestant denominations].
Taken from: A Catholic Dictionary, © Copyright 1941, edited by Donald Attwater.

+ Evening Prayer I +

Latin Hymn Te sæculorum principem


  • Psalm 113
    • Antiphon We will call him the peacemaker, and his throne shall stand firm for ever.
  • Psalm 117
    • Antiphon His kingdom will endure for ever, and all the kings of the earth will serve and obey him.
  • Revelation 4:11; 5:9,10,12
    • Antiphon The authority and honor of a king has been given to Christ; all peoples, tribes and nations will serve him for ever.

Reading Ephesians 1:20-23

[excerpt] Yours is the splendor and the power, yours is the kingdom, O Lord; you will rule over all.

Magnificat Antiphon
The Lord will give him the throne of David, his ancestor; he will rule in the house of Jacob for ever and his kingdom will have no end, alleluia.

[response] May your kingdom come, O Lord.

+ Invitatory Antiphon +

Come, let us worship Jesus Christ, the King of kings.

+ Office of Readings +

Latin Hymn Jesu, rex admirabilis


  • Psalm 2
    • Antiphon I have been made king upon Zion, his holy mountain, to proclaim his teaching.
  • Psalm 72 (I)
    • Antiphon All the kings of the earth will worship him; all nations will serve him.
  • Psalm 72 (II)
    • Antiphon All the tribes of the earth will be blessed in him; all nations will glorify him.

See I have made you a light to all the nations; you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.

First Reading Revelation 1:4b-6,10,12-18; 2:26,28; 3:5b,12,20-21 [A vision of the Son of Man in his majesty]

[excerpt] They will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and majesty; and he will send out the angels, and he will gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the farthest bounds of heaven.
He will judge the world with justice and the peoples with truth.

Second Reading From a notebook On Prayer by Origen, priest [Your kingdom come]

[excerpt] The kingdom of this world belongs to our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.
All the families of nations shall bow down before him, for the Lord is our king.

+ Morning Prayer +

Latin Hymn Æterna imago Altissimi


  • Psalm 63:2-9
    • Antiphon A man will come whose name is the Dayspring; from his throne he will rule over all; he will speak of peace to the nations.
  • Daniel 3:57-88,56
    • Antiphon They will sing his praises to the ends of the earth, and he will be their peace.
  • Psalm 149
    • Antiphon The Lord will give him power and honor and kingship; all peoples, tribes and nations will serve him.

Reading Ephesians 4:15-16

[excerpt] Your saints, O Lord, will tell the glory of your kingdom; they wil proclaim your power.

Benedictus Antiphon
He fashioned us into a kingdom for the glory of his God and Father; he is the firstborn of the dead and the leader of the kings of the earth, alleluia.

[response] May your kingdom come, O Lord.

+ Daytime Prayer +


  • Antiphon: The Lord is our judge, our lawmaker and our king; he will save us.
  • Reading: Colossians 1:12-13
  • Response: The Lord will reign as king for ever; The Lord will bless his people with peace.


  • Antiphon: Living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, and the Lord shall be king over all the earth.
  • Reading: Colossians 1:16b-18
  • Response: Sing praise to our God, sing praise; for he is king over all the earth.


  • Antiphon: His power is infinite, and there is no end to his peace.
  • Reading: Colossians 1:19-20
  • Response: Rejoice in the presence of the Lord, our king; for he has come to rule the earth.

+ Evening Prayer II +

Latin Hymn Te sæculorum principem


  • Psalm 110:1-5,7
    • Antiphon He shall sit upon the throne of David and rule over his kingdom for ever, alleluia.
  • Psalm 145:1-13
    • Antiphon Your kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and you shall rule from generation to generation.
  • Revelation 19:1-7
    • Antiphon On his cloak and on his thigh a name was written: King of kings and Lord of lords. To him be glory and power for ever.

Reading I Corinthians 15:25-28

[excerpt] Your throne, O God, shall stand for ever; the scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of justice.

Magnificat Antiphon
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, says the Lord.

[response] May your kingdom come, O Lord.

The English translation of the Antiphons, Responsories, and Intercession Responses are from: The Divine Office: The Liturgy of the Hours, © Copyright 1970, 1973, 1975 International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

Excerpts from the Readings are taken from the New American Standard Bible ® © Copyright 1973 The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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