Three Entrance Antiphons for the Celebration of Marriage

EDDINGS ARE a vital part of the sacramental life of the Church. Likewise, the music must reflect the joy of a life with Christ at the center.

The catalyst for this collection of simple Entrance Propers in English was Msgr. Rick Hilgartner. In 2016, I was assisting with music for an FDLC workshop on the Revised Order of Matrimony. During a lengthy discussion on processions, Msgr. Hilgartner suggested singing one of the three antiphons for Marriage in the Roman Missal, all of which he read aloud for emphasis. Another priest turned to me and made a gesture that I should get busy writing. Inspired by my wife, I got to work.

These texts are beautiful, inspiring, and should be sung in their own right. Singing the Entrance Antiphon at a wedding is not simply a liturgically conservative gesture. It is a progressive act—an invocation inviting God to permeate the center of their love. As the couple confers the sacrament upon each other, these texts are a beautiful way to being the Mass. They are a beautiful way to begin life together.

PDF Download:
      * * Three Entrance Antiphons for the Celebration of Marriage • for Assembly, Cantor, SATB, Organ, Trumpet
      * * Congregation inserts are included at the end.

ABOUT THESE SETTINGS
       Designed to work for a Liturgical Procession
       OR sung as a Gathering Song after the more typical procession
       All are in the key of D to transition easily from any number of common processional pieces.
       Antiphons are METERED in 4/4
       The Verses are identical for all three: Psalm 128 — very appropriate for a wedding–and found as the verse for Deus Israel conjugat vos, the Introit from the Graduale Romanum for the Nuptial Mass.
       While choirs are not the norm for weddings, the option is available.
       Given the potential for varied instrumentation at weddings, guitar chords are provided. Although composed for organ and trumpet, these can be adapted for piano and other instruments.

Here are more free scores for weddings compiled and arranged by Jeff Ostrowski.

Finally, here are practice videos for the Nuptial Blessing: Nuptial Blessings • Practice Videos • Order of Celebrating Matrimony

Soli Deo gloria

“That’s not Eucharistic” • Why We Sing the Communion Antiphons

NE SUDAY I received (through a third party, of course) a complaint about what the choir had been singing during communion. We frequently included the proper communion antiphon. The criticism was terse: “That’s not Eucharistic.” Correct. It was not. Well, not directly or in an obvious manner.

But it was.

During the 1990s, my choir had been singing the Communion antiphons from the Graduale Romanum nearly every week, often in addition to another sacred liturgical work. I not only became addicted to singing chant, I was also deeply drawn to the texts. Always from scripture, these texts have been sung during communion for well over a millennium. I always provided translations and the scripture references in a worship aid so that all could meditate on the Word.

The edition we were reading from was Solesmes’ Gregorian Missal for Sundays. Published in 1990, this book provided the propers from the Graduale Romanum, the translations in English, and were adjusted to the Novus Ordo three-year cycle of readings. This publication absolutely transformed my life.

S CHRISTIANS, WE BELIEVE in something rather unusual and perhaps very strange. We believe in the Incarnation—that God “lowered” Himself to dwell among us. (Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; Phil 2:7) The Word of God took human form—the Word made Flesh. We take these words for granted. Do not.

What does this have to do with the Communion Procession? A great deal. The Communion Antiphons, whether from the Gradual Romanum or The Roman Missal (there is a great deal of overlap and some variation) most always point back to the Gospel reading of the Day or Feast.

The Body and Blood of Jesus is made present not only from the bread and wine, but also in the Word. By receiving the Word, we receive Jesus. The Gospel, which is the Good News proclaimed by Jesus who is the Word made Flesh—is in itself an encounter with Jesus.

Saint Cecilia and Why the Word is Preeminent

To sing or meditate on the Gospel and the Word of God while receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus is precisely what the Church intends today, tomorrow, and has intended for over a thousand years. If Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, so too do we embrace the Gospel—the Word while in His presence.

T IS WORTH REMEMBERING that during the early Church, Gregorian Chant and the Roman Rite grew up side by side. Chant is simply elevated text (if highly evolved over a millennium). Just as the Hebrew People sang the Torah for thousands of years (and not simply their favorite songs), so too is the Mass ideally sung.

As a Church, we have become accustomed to singing our favorite songs that comfort us. We have become accustomed to singing exclusively about bread and wine during the Communion Procession—a very good thing! But I would propose that we occasionally dig deeper into the Word of God as sung and prayed by our ancestors in faith. Receive the Word made Flesh. Receive Jesus.

UCH OF THIS was inspired by conversation with Alan Hommerding, Senior Liturgy Publications Editor at World Library Publications. During his visit to Boston for WLP’s “Sing the Seasons” we had time to trade stories, chat about music, life, liturgy, theology, etc. During the choral reading of beautiful and varied new works from WLP, he kindly highlighted the liturgical and theological connection between scripture and Eucharist, and the Church’s need to revisit these Antiphons.

To this end, World Library Publications has published, to date, the following collection of Communion Antiphons with texts from the English translation of The Roman Missal, Third Edition:

  • Communion Antiphons for Advent • SATB, Organ, Assembly
  • Communion Antiphons for the Christmas Season • SATB, Organ, Trumpet, Assembly
  • Communion Antiphons for Lent • SATB, Organ, Assembly
  • Communion Antiphons for Easter • SATB, Organ, Assembly
  • In addition, I have composed antiphons for all of Ordinary Time including Feasts and Solemnities that replace a Sunday. WLP is currently looking at these.

    HAVE COMPOSED THESE AS A BRIDGE in two directions. First, I hope these settings in English can be an introduction to many who have not encountered the propers at Mass. While maintaining the traditional form, these sometimes modal, chant-based works are set with contemporary sensibilities in mind. Furthermore, I hope these settings can be a bridge to inspire more composition in various liturgical styles.

    Secondly, my most sincere hope is that some may put my settings down and consider singing the antiphons from the Graduale Romanum and in doing so, rediscover the transcendent beauty of our traditions. (See Richard Rice’s book Communio.) This music is truly the music of the Roman Catholic Church. It has lived on for centuries upon centuries, gave birth to nearly all of Western Music (although its roots are shared with the East!), and reflects the wisdom of the ages.

    As musicians of the Church, may we all live to serve.

    Soli Deo gloria

    Pastorally Imperative: They are all we have.

    ARDINAL SEÁN P. O’Malley, OFM, Cap. recently ordained eight men to the Priesthood on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at Immaculate Conception Church in Lowell, Massachusetts. (The Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston is currently under renovation.)

    Please pray for these new priests! Fr. Jason Rinaldo Giombetti, Fr. Pablo Gomis, Fr. Kevin Paul Leaver, Fr. Godfrey Musabe, Fr. Wellington Oliveira, Fr. Joel Americo Santos, Fr. William Paro Joseph Sexton, and Fr. Michael Louis Zimmerman

    FFORDED THE OPPORTUNITY to direct the music for this ordination, I hoped to emphasize to the choir the following:

    What we do is not simply “important” music for an “important” Mass. This is a day that these eight men will carry in their hearts for the rest of their lives. Not only what we sing, but how we sing will have spiritual impact beyond a nice memory. It will help shape their formation.

    Music itself won’t solve any problems or persuade any newly ordained priest to adjust their liturgical inclinations. That’s not the point.

    But music sung in prayer and with joy hopefully permeates their hearts and minds. It can reach the hearts of their family and friends who will support and accompany them throughout their lives. To sing in prayer and with joy is pastorally imperative for they are all we have.

    ERHAPS OF INTEREST, you can watch a video of the Ordination in the Archdiocese of Boston here. We are deeply grateful to Evan Landry for this recording.

    Recording for broadcast is always tricky, especially capturing the true blend of a choir in the room. Mr. Landry did an exceptional job (with omnidirectional microphones) capturing a fairly representative blend of the choir while contending with specific restrictions in space.

    Music of note:

    • 4:15 • INTROIT • Sacerdotes Dei, benedicite, Mode VI • (Marc Demille intones verses) I chose to have men and women sing in unison for a brighter sound, to create a more energetic pronouncement. This was followed by the hymn This Is the Feast of Victory by Hillert.

    • 20:45 • Kyrie and Gloria from the Mass of the Angels (Allesandra Cionco-Dahlberg, soprano)

    • 28:30 • Psalm 23 • Jeffrey Ostrowski (Jaime Korkos, psalmist)

    • 34:15 • Gospel Procession, Alleluia, Theodore Marier

    • 36:24 • The Gospel is beautifully chanted by Rev. Mr. Joseph J. Sanderson

    • 1:07:56 • Litany of the Saints (Marc DeMille Cantor)

    • 1:16:30 • Holy Spirit, Come and Shine Chant, arr. Leo Abbott (Tom Manguem, cantor) and improvisation • repeated at 1:27:25

    • 1:44:00 • Christ the Lord, a Priest Forever, RJC, Ps. 100

    • 1:52:00 • You are My Friends, RJC • Jn. 15:14, Ps. 100

    • 2:27: 40 • Agnus Dei XVI, Byrd/Agnus Dei XVIII

    • 2:30:13 • Sicut Cervus Palestrina

    • 2:33:28 • Adordo Te devote

    • 2:53:45 • THAXTED, O God Beyond All Praising, arr. Richard Proulx

    • 2:59:45 • Processional, Mathias • Dr. Janet Hunt, FAGO, organ

    Photos by George Martell • Archdiocese of Boston

    Communion Antiphons for Lent & Easter • NEW • World Library Publications

    I AM PLEASED to announce the release of my Communion Antiphons for Easter with World Library Publications. These thirteen antiphons are set from the English translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition. All the verses set are those prescribed by Graduale Romanum. On a personal note, this is perhaps my favorite collection to date.

    You may also view and listen to the Communion Antiphons for Lent here or below.

    SCORES FOR EASTER are available in hard copies or digital format:

    Order • View sample pages:
    Octavo • “Communion Antiphons for Easter” (for SATB Choir; Cantor; Assembly)

    “Click & Print” • PDF Download:
    PDF • “Communion Antiphons for Easter” (for SATB Choir; Cantor; Assembly)

    All are chant based.
    Can be sung with cantor or unison schola
    Ample opportunity for optional SATB

    HERE IS A SMALL SAMPLE of recordings—four of the thirteen communion propers are directed by Paul French. French and his singers beautifully captured the joy, movement, and energy of these chant inspired works.

    Order • View sample pages:
    Octavo • “Communion Antiphons for Lent” (for SATB Choir; Cantor; Assembly)

    “Click & Print” • PDF Download:
    PDF • “Communion Antiphons for Lent” (for SATB Choir; Cantor; Assembly)

    HERE YOU CAN LISTEN to recordings of seven of the thirteen communion propers:

     

    Nuptial Blessings • Practice Videos • Order of Celebrating Matrimony

    R. JONATHAN GASPAR of the Archdiocese of Boston has kindly recorded the Nuptial Blessings of The Order of Celebrating Matrimony. The new English translation is according to the Second Latin Typical Edition, 1991.

    This revised rite has been mandatory for use as of December 30, 2016, the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph—a most fitting beginning!

    Each Nuptial Blessing is comprised of a short invitation and a prayer. Whether sung or spoken, the rubric calls for silent prayer in between. (For the purposes of these practice recordings, there is simply a quick pause.) After the silent prayer, the chant elevates into a Preface-like reciting tone, marking a distinct transition in the blessing.

    The rubrics also indicate the following:

    205. In the invitation, if one or both of the spouses will not be receiving Communion, the words in parenthesis are omitted. In the prayer, the words in parenthesis may be omitted if it seems that circumstances suggest it, for example, if the bride and bridegroom are advanced in years.

    FR. GASPAR ELOQUENTLY emphasis key words and phrases, underscoring the beauty of the sacrament. Note especially how he sings in Nuptial Blessing A, “May her husband entrust his heart to her, so that, acknowledging her as his equal and his joint heir to the life of grace, he may show her due honor and cherish her always with the love that Christ has for his Church.” I found this to be deeply moving.

    Nuptial Blessing A is sung here in a higher key. B and C are in slightly lower keys. A is the longest (4:30). B is much shorter (3:40). C is by far the shortest (2:40):

    * *  YouTube • Nuptial Blessing A

    * *  Mp3 Download • Nuptial Blessing A

    * *  YouTube • Nuptial Blessing B

    * *  Mp3 Download • Nuptial Blessing B

    * *  YouTube • Nuptial Blessing C

    * *  Mp3 Download • Nuptial Blessing C


    PLAYLIST:

    Sacred Music for Christmas on “Sounds from the Spires”

    RECENTLY joined Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of Music for Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, on her program Sounds from the Spires. I am very fortunate to have been on the show several times. This will explain any drop in the ratings.

    Pascual’s weekly show can be heard on SIRIUSXM 129 Radio, The Catholic Channel, Saturday, 11pm-12am, Sunday, 6am-7am and 8pm-9pm (All Eastern times)

    You can listen to a PODCAST of this interview broadcast on 12.4.2016:



    MUSIC FEATURED ON THIS PROGRAM:

    Light Upon the World | Richard J. Clark, baritone; Produced by Paul Umbach | Available on iTunes and CD Baby.

    Communion Antiphons for Christmas | SATB, Organ, Trumpet, Assembly • World Library Publications • Recordings Directed by Paul French

    Madonna & Child | Organ • recorded on the Smith & Gilbert Organ (IV/52) at St. Cecilia Church, Boston

    Although this conversation with my children happened before a prior interview, the story bears repeating:

    My six-year-old son put me in my place before a radio interview. My daughter, who was eight, said, “Daddy is lucky because he is famous because he is being interviewed.” My son who was six responded: “No, he’s not famous. Never, ever! Only God is famous.” This, coming from a boy who loves getting into mischief, especially if it gets a laugh from his siblings and disapproval from his parents. But here he was dead serious and spot on!

    Soli Deo gloria!

    Communion Antiphons for Advent & Christmas • NEW • World Library Publications

    ORLD LIBRARY Publications, the music and liturgy division of J. S. Paluch Company, Inc. has recently released my collection of Communion Antiphons for Christmas. These nine antiphons are set to the English translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition, with verses according to the Graduale Romanum.

    You may also learn about and listen to my Communion Antiphons for Advent here.

    Scores are available in hard copies or for digital download:

    Order • View sample pages:
    Octavo • “Communion Antiphons for Christmas” (for SATB Choir, Cantor, Assembly, Organ, Trumpet)

    “Click & Print” • PDF Download:
    PDF • “Communion Antiphons for Christmas” (for SATB Choir, Cantor, Assembly, Organ, Trumpet)

    All are chant based including quotes of Puer natus est nobis and the Mode I Ave Maria.
    May be sung with cantor or unison schola or optional SATB
    Several include optional vocal and trumpet descants.

    BE SURE TO LISTEN to recordings directed by Paul French, Director of the William Ferris Chorale and Music Director of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Chicago. You can hear six of the nine antiphons here. (Each antiphon has several more verses than are recorded here.)

    *Note the two options for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God: Rejoice, O Daughter Zion (Exsulta fiIia Sion) is prescribed for the Mass at Dawn in the Roman Missal. It is also is prescribed also for the Solemnity of Mary in the Graduale Romanum.

    HY SING THE PROPERS AT ALL? Forget GIRM 87 that gives singing the antiphons from the Roman Missal or Grandulae Romanum the highest preference. Forget the tradition of the propers being integral to the Roman Rite for well over a millennium. Forget that Sing to the Lord: Music In Divine Worship (SttL) gives singing the antiphons and psalms very high priority.

    But remember the wisdom of the faithful who came before us. What matters most is that the antiphons and psalms we sing during communion most always point us back to the Gospel. Often they are from the Gospel itself or another reading. The psalms, which are just as important as the antiphons, shed deeper light upon the sacred mysteries and the Gospel. These scriptures amplify our prayer while receiving the Bread of Life.

    I could go on for many pages, but I leave you with this simple story:

    The best note I ever received on this topic came from a woman who probably knows nothing about the antiphons, the GIRM, or the rubrics. But she knows prayer and she knows her heart. She said “Isn’t it wonderful to sing the Gospel while receiving the Eucharist!”

    This kind of intuitive understanding is born of the wisdom of the ages—from many faithful who came before us. This above all is why we sing the Mass.

    Consciously or not, the scriptures sung in the antiphons and psalms touch the heart. Live daily with the Word, and we will be transformed.

    Soli Deo gloria

    “Sounds from the Spires” with Jennifer Pascual • SiriusXM Radio

    RECENTLY joined Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of Music for Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and host of Sounds from the Spires, at the SiriusXM Studio in Midtown Manhattan. Her weekly program can be heard on SIRIUSXM 129 Radio, The Catholic Channel.

    My six-year-old son put me in my place before our interview. My daughter, who is eight, said, “Daddy is lucky because he is famous because he is being interviewed.” My son responded: “No, he’s not famous. Never, ever! Only God is famous.” This, coming from a boy who loves getting into mischief, especially if it gets a laugh from his siblings and disapproval from his parents. But here he was dead serious and spot on!

    PODCAST Broadcast on 2.28.2016:

    PLEASE READ MY MIND
    Don’t believe everything you hear on the radio. As my choirs well know, it is a requirement that they must read my mind during rehearsal; not everything that comes out of my mouth is reliable. As such, there are two corrections here: 1) “I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life” is from Psalm 27, not Psalm 122 as stated. 2) Our Lady of the Atonement R. C. Church is in San Antonio, Texas, not Houston. I knew that. I’ve always known that. But I said Houston. Please read my mind.

    MUSIC FEATURED ON THIS PROGRAM:

    Communion Antiphons for Lent | SATB, Organ, Assembly • World Library Publications • Recordings Directed by Paul French

    Variations on Misereris Omnium | Introit for Ash Wednesday • St Cecilia Schola • Variations played on the Smith & Gilbert Organ at St. Cecilia Church, Boston

    By the Rivers of Babylon | Allesandra Cionco, soprano; Michael Dahlberg, cello; R. Clark, piano

    Magna Opera Domini | Commissioned for the ordination of Bishop Steven Lopes. • Recording Directed by Edmund Murray

    Podcast • Communion Antiphons for Advent on “Sounds from the Spires”

    THE COLLECTION of Communion Antiphons for Advent was recently featured on “Sounds from the Spires” on SIRIUS XM 129 Radio, The Catholic Channel.

    I had the opportunity to speak with the program’s host, Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of Music for Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

    We discussed the antiphons/propers of the Mass as well as the composition process of this new collection of propers. Why is it important to sing the propers? What scriptures do we sing during Advent? This is the kind of thing I find exciting.

    • PODCAST • Listen here to the program broadcast on 12.13.2015:

    You can listen to the music on this program here:

    Communion Antiphons for Lent

    AM PLEASED to announce the release of my Communion Antiphons for Lent with World Library Publications.

    These thirteen antiphons are set from the English translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition. All the verses set are those prescribed by Graduale Romanum.

    Scores are available in hard copies or digital format:

    Order • View sample pages:
    Octavo • “Communion Antiphons for Lent” (for SATB Choir; Cantor; Assembly)

    “Click & Print” • PDF Download:
    PDF • “Communion Antiphons for Lent” (for SATB Choir; Cantor; Assembly)

    All are chant based.
    Can be sung with cantor or unison schola
    Ample opportunity for optional SATB

    HERE YOU CAN LISTEN to recordings of seven of the thirteen communion propers directed by Paul French. French and his singers beautifully captured the joy, movement, and energy of these chant based works.

    LSO AVAILABLE:

    Hard copies and downloadable digital scores of the Communion Antiphons for Advent, published with World Library Publications.

    You can listen to recordings directed by Paul French here.

    Soli Deo gloria