Monday, January 01, 2007

Te Deum on Dec. 31?

Did you hear a Te Deum yesterday?

There is a tradition of singing the Te Deum on the last day of the year; I don't know why. The Church even provides a plenary indulgence for praying it publicly on December 31.

Here's what we did: I discussed with the music director how best to do it; it's a hymn, so ideally it should be sung. He could not, however, find a sung version of the English prayer. The best he could find was a lengthy version of "Holy God We Praise Thy Name," which is a free rendering of the Te Deum. I consulted with the archbishop, and he agreed it was not a proper translation of the prayer.

The music director recommended he sing the Latin chant; we ran off copies of the prayer, in English, and placed them in the pews. He sang it at the beginning of communion, then followed with "Angels we have heard on high."

So I explained during the homily the indulgence, and that our music director would sing it, but that we could follow along with the text. I didn't mention that he'd do it in Latin, and that might have been helpful to say.

After Mass, a fellow said to me, "you know, when we use Latin, could you have something in English to follow along?" So, sometimes people don't listen very well...

We could have simply recited it (and we did at 7 am with no musical accompaniment). What do you think?

Also, does this apply to a vigil Mass for Sunday, on December 30?

Any opinions? Did anyone else hear a Te Deum or even, "Holy God, we praise thy name?"

17 comments:

Jackie said...

Dear Fr. Fox,

Yes, the kids don't always listen the first time through. (Hence, the number of times mothers say - pick it up, wipe it off, take them off (outside), put it away...)

I did not have the Te Deum at Mass nor have I had this done before - and if I did - no one said why.

Also - FWIW - Today (Jan 1) there is an indulgence for reciting the Veni Creator. I have not heard that done at Mass or publically either.

But - thank you for doing it and teaching and reminding. While Truth is important, perserverance is required for people to hear it, get it, and put it all together. You won't know about all the seeds you planted here - but you will in the next life.

God Bless you Fr. and Happy New Year and Feast Day.

Adoro Te Devote said...

Father Fox,

Funny you should mention this. I have a CD which has the Te Deum Laudamus in English, although I haven't listened to this in a few weeks. Just before I got up this morning, I was having a dream, apparently about going to Mass or something because we were all singing "Te Deum", the version on my CD. I woke up STILL SINGING and I have not been able to get this music out of my head! And I'm not complaining.

I didn't know about the tradition of singing Te Deum at the end of the year, but apparently my year started out with it.

If I can find the cover for this Cd I'll give you the info for it- the music HAS to be available somewhere!

Adoro Te Devote said...

* sigh * I found it, typed up the info, and then my dialup disconnected. Wiping out the entire post. Practicing patience already.

The CD I have is "Benedictus A Eucharistic Healing Album", Vinny Flynn & Still Waters. It's got Latin songs with English translations, or some stuff that is just in English, like their very shortened version of the "Te Deum Laudamus".

This was the song being sung in my dream and which I've been singing all morning:


"You are God, we praise you
You are the Lord we aclaim you
You are the eternal Father
Holy, holy, holy Lord
God of power and might
Heaven and earth are filled with your glory
Holy, holy, holy Lord"


I'm thinking this is too short to be useful to you as the Te Deum is much longer. But maybe there is a longer adaptation of this out there somewhere.

Pontificator said...

Fr Fox, have you checked out the versions of the Te Deum in the 1940 and 1979 Episcopal hymnals? You will find both plainsong and Anglican chant versions.

Gavin said...

BAH! Why didn't anyone tell me about this??! I would have done it if I would have known to!

Actually, my choir showed up even though I put them on "break" until Ordinary 2. While I couldn't have taught them a Stanford setting, I could have pulled out a chant setting or something. Shoot! Oh well, next time Dec. 31 is a Sunday I'll be ready...

Rich Leonardi said...

Nope. No Te Deum. Tasteful hymns regardless though.

Sharon said...

No Te Deum in my parish and no Holy God... (one of my favourite hymns) either.

HOLY God, we praise Thy Name
Lord of all we bow before Thee;
all on earth Thy sceptre claim,
all in heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
everlasting is Thy reign.


HARK, the loud celestial hymn
angel choirs above are raising;
Cherubim and Seraphim
in unceasing chorus praising,
fill the heavens with sweet accord;
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord!

LO, the Apostolic train
Join, Thy sacred name to hallow:
prophets swell the loud refrain,
and the white-robbed Martyrs follow;
and, from morn till set of sun,
through the Church the song goes on.


HOLY Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee,
While in essence only One,
undivided God we claim Thee:
and, adoring, bend the knee
while we own the mystery.


THOU art King of glory, Christ:
Son of God, yet born of Mary;
for us sinners sacrificed,
and to death a tributary:
first to break the bars of death,
Thou has opened heaven to faith.

FROM Thy high celestial home,
Judge of all, again returning,
we believe that Thou shalt come
in the dreaded Doomsday morning;
when Thy voice shall shake the earth,
and the startled dead come forth.

THEREFORE do we pray Thee, Lord:
help Thy servants whom, redeeming
by Thy Precious Blood out-poured,
Thou hast saved from Satan's scheming.
Give to them eternal rest
in the glory of the Blest.

SPARE Thy people, Lord, we pray,
by a thousand snares surrounded:
keep us without sin today,
never let us be confounded.
Lo, I put my trust in Thee;
never, Lord, abandon me.

Diane said...

Fr. Fox,

We had a vigil Mass at 11:00pm on December 31, 2006 for the Solemnity of the Mother of God, even though it as not obligatory (see photos here). It concluded with Exposition, the Te Deum was sung, as was the Veni Creator Spiritus, and we did a Midnight Rosary, followed by Benediction. It was a wonderful way to bring in the New Year to the sound of urban gunfire.


Please print this out for yourself and the choir director.

Latin Chant in Gregorian Notation for the Te Deum

New Advent (Catholic Encyclopedia) on Te Deum

Also, of interest, the January 1, 2003 Homily of Pope John Paul II on the Te Deum and First Vespers

Diane said...

Oh, and if your choir director is unfamiliar with Gregorian Notation, here is an online key:

Gregorian Chant Notation

God Bless and Happy New Year!

barbfromcincy said...

I have never heard of this indulgence before, and no, we didn't have either at Mass on Sunday. I'm going to try to remember for next year.
A blessed day and a blessed New Year to you, Father!

Augustinus said...

Here in our small rural Parish in the UK we didn't have the Te Deum, but after communion on 1 January, we did sing the Veni Creator (albeit in English).

Matt Kennel said...

You might try doing a search on ChoralWiki, which generally has online scores for public domain music, much of which is ecclesiastical.

Kurt said...

Another option would be to sing the English text from the breviary using a familiar psalm tone. Even if the congregation don't know the tone, they will pick it up after a couple of strophes.

Anonymous said...

At St. Andrew Russian Catholic Church, for Sunday, December 31st, we had (as is the practice for many Russian Orthodox) a Molieben of Thanksgiving for the coming civil New Year (the beginning of our liturgical New Year is September 1st). At the end of that Molieben, we sang, as is the Orthodox custom, the Hymn of St. Andrew of Milan. I believe that youze guyz call that the Te Deum Laudamus, for the first line of the Hymn in Latin.

moconnor said...

Another tradition in Old Europe was to sing the Te Deum at state weddings. We had this sung at our own wedding in Latin (a setting by Juan de Esquivel that I transcribed for the event) and it was marvelous.

I knew that the New Year's eve singing was part of the Tridentine liturgy, but did not know that it was still allowed or even promoted for the Vat II liturgy. Thanks for this. I'll program for this coming Dec 31.

moconnor

Father Martin Fox said...

By the way, if anyone is wondering how I knew about this -- it's all in the Handbook of Indulgences. I have little reminders through the year of these things, so I can provide them for my parishioners. Otherwise, what's the point?

RieslingRat@aol.com said...

A propos of nothing, I'd just like to say that I deeply appreciate St Boniface's Eucharistic Perpetual Adoration Chapel. This Episcopalian (ahem....Anglican) often has no place for quiet personal devotions in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, unless he stops off at St. B's.

And, if I'm not mistaken, was not Boniface an Englishman who was sent by the Pope to evangelize Germany in the eighth century, and who ended up the martyred Archbishop of Mainz? So there's a historical connection there between our Churches, and between the Christians of German extraction and those of English.

Again, thanks for your support of the wider Catholic community in and around Piqua and the Miami Valley.