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Service of Lessons for Christmas Eve

- Dr. Harry McMurray

Use: Christmas
Required Resources: 2-pt choir, organ
Optional Resource: Congregation
Language: English

The General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours encourages:

On Christmas [Eve] it is fitting that a solemn vigil, using the Office of Readings, should be celebrated before Mass. [GILH #215]

This is what Dr. Harry McMurray has arranged in his Service of Lessons for Christmas Eve. It generally follows the outline for the Office of Readings, with the addition of a Gospel reading as in a vigil:

  • Opening Verse
  • Invitatory: Antiphon & Psalm 95
  • Hymn Suggestion
  • First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-8
  • Responsory: On this day for us the King of heaven...
  • Second Reading: from the First Sermon of Pope St. Leo on the Nativity [text given in this edition]
  • Responsory: O great mystery, O wonderful sign...
  • Third Reading: John 1:1-14
  • Responsory: When all things were in quiet silence...

A method of linking this vigil service to Midnight Mass is explained; a way of concluding the service is also offered if it is not to precede Mass.

The Invitatory can be sung by congregation and cantor (or unison choir) with organ. All the Responsories are written for 2-part choir with organ accompaniment.

Dr. McMurray serves as adjunct faculty at Saint Joseph's Abbey Seminary College in Saint Benedict, Louisiana, where he teaches liturgical music, organ, and Gregorian chant. He is also assistant organist for the Abbey Church. His choral compositions have been performed by college choirs in Louisiana and by the Schola Cantorum of Saint Joseph's Abbey, for which many of the works were written.


Order #: 3160
Price: 2.10


- Liturgical Settings
- Christmas
- 2-pt Choir
- Congregation

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