Friday, June 15, 2007

An experiment with a sung Mass with more Latin

On the Vigil of Ss. Peter and Paul, we will try something, and see how it goes, and who comes.

We'll have a sung Mass, with more Latin: most likely, we'll sing the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. The music director is welcome to prepare anything else, but that should be enough of a challenge for the choir, who he says is eager to try this. I will probably pray the propers and the Eucharistic Prayer in English; the readings and homily, of course, in English too! I'm undecided about the Pater Noster, as that may be harder, insofar as the English chant differs, and I wouldn't want to mix them up; plus, people would want to sing that themselves.

Anyway, there might be folks who want to experience this, so Mass will be at St. Mary Parish, 528 Broadway, Piqua, Ohio, Thursday June 28, 7 pm.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious -- What kind of help will you give the parishioners with the responses? I have only been to one Tridentine Mass and as I recall, they had all the responses in English with the Latin beside it -- been a while though. There are many times when I go to a Mass in Spanish that I would like to join in the singing of the Gloria, etc. but instead of using the exact wording in the Spanish part of the missalette the choir sings a similar song, but NOT the exact words/phrases as those in the missalette. So, any printed help for the people?

Father Martin Fox said...


Well, what I described would involve only using music that is already in our hymnals; so I was planning on simply giving everyone the numbers for where they are located.

Many people are surprised to learn that the Latin texts of the ordinary parts of Mass are already in most common hymnals!

Yes, that's right: they are in Worship,, RitualSong, and even Gather Comprehensive!

Rich Leonardi said...

They ordinaries from Jubilate Deo are in WLP's paperback missalettes as well; St. Rose in Cincinnati uses them.

Anonymous said...

We have Gather at our parish, but I don't know if it is Gather Comprehensive. I'll take a look later this afternoon though. Very interesting!

A note -- a seminarian who was recently ordained as a transitional deacon served at a weekday Mass in our parish. He used some Latin and it seemed to be well received by those present. I look forward to hearing how things go. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

And I'll be driving across Ohio two days later. I would have loved to come but have dental appointment on the East Coast that day (can't be moved either).


Diane said...

Father, I must say, it is wonderful to watch a priest and his parish growing slowly into what the Church has always wanted.

In time, the real Mass of Vatican II will stand up!

Dr. Malcolm C. Harris, Sr. said...

Fr. Fox,

Go for it!

I do not think the chant for the Pater Noster/Our Father is different for the Latin and the English. I have heard congregations sing it without accompaniment in both languages. Ironically when the Missal of Paul VI was first used in English, the one thing the congregations sang well was the Our Father in English to the usual chant melody.

You will find that Worship has the congregation's parts (the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Gloria, Sanctus, and the Angus Dei) of the mass in Latin. I believe the mass is Jubilate Deo. Thus the people in the pews will have the words and music in their hymnals.

You can find the complete collection at:

You spoke of the challenge to the choir. Hopefully you will gradually encourage the congregation to sing the mass in Latin.

The whole thrust of the liturgical movement and the reforms was to restore to the congregation the parts of the mass that belong to it (in Latin, of course.) In the 1970s, the Vatican's instruction (Musica Sacra) made that clear. The American bishops and their "experts" ignored that and went in a very different direction. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor will full congregational singing of its part of the Ordinary be done in a day. But you can build up to it step by step.

The chant settings are actually easier to sing than most English settings I have heard. The goal of Gregory the Great's reform was to provide music the ordinary people could sing. The chant is certainly easier than the "popular" hymns like those of Marty Haugen. It is also much more forgiving.

beez said...

Fr. Fox:

I hope this experiment goes well enough that a "Latin" mass can become a regular part of your parish.

Are you going with "Dominus vobiscum?"

Fr John Boyle said...


As one who has moved his parish in the same direction as you are trying, go gently but courageously. For some, Latin is a culture shock. You'll hopefully find others, older parishioners, who will thank you for bringing back something familiar. The Pater Noster, in my experience, is something to reserve for a Mass in which you are going predominantly Latin in the singing. So, start with Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei. Once these are familiar to them perhaps add the Pater Noster.

If you are not already doing it, I'd suggest you sing those parts of the Mass in English that can be sung by the priest. This will get them used to hearing chant, and so they'll see the Latin as another form.

By the way, if you're interested to see about a Music Workshop held at our diocesan seminary, take a look here.

Hope this helps. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Just FYI - at near the bottom of the page, there are links to mp3's and jpg images of the music of all of ordinary parts of the Jubilate Deo mass, along with links to the same for several important Latin hymns "Adoro te Devote" "Ave, Maris Stella", "Veni Creator Spiritus" and "Ubi Caritas" among them. They might be helpful...