Monday, June 05, 2006

'Plunder the Treasures of the Church'

One of my long-term projects for my parishes here in Piqua is to cultivate as much depth and breadth in our music as I can. We use Gather Comprehensive at St. Boniface; St. Mary uses RitualSong. Gather Comprehensive, by it's own admission, is overwhelmingly "contemporary" -- which means, material published in the last 50 years -- making the title ironic. RitualSong is more like 50/50. (It floored me when I discovered "GIA" -- who publishes these, plus several other hymnals, and is a heavyweight in Catholic hymnals in the U.S. -- stands for . . . "Gregorian Institute of America"!!! I kid you not.) The Gathers are about 10-12 years old, the RitualSong books are 1-2 years old.

Even so, they do have some good resources in them (RS isn't bad, actually), and I am asking our Music Director and our cantors and choirs to go beyond what has been a rather limited repetoire. My advice to my Music Director (who is excellent, and shares my vision): "Plunder the treasures of the Church! It's all ours!"

Here's an example of something nice (I link it for the sound; I hope it works).


Anonymous said...

Fr., You should consider OCP (Oregon Catholic Press) they have several programs that offer a nice mix of traditional and contemporary music. They have both permanant hymnals or disposable missals. Check out

Anonymous said...

I wrote about these two companies a couple of months ago.

Anonymous said...

Is Piqua anywhere near Toledo, Father?

Fr Martin Fox said...


Downtown Piqua is reached from Exit 82 on I-75.

Praying Twice said...


I must disagree with the first post-er who gave a thumbs-up to OCP. They are the worst of the big three in my opinion. Some of the tunes they choose to publish are embarassingly bad.

Ritualsongs is not a bad resource actually . . . you could do a lot worse. It may be the most viable hymnal out there for those who have a commitment to traditional music but understand that Haugen and Haas aren't going away anytime soon. I posted briefly on Gather Comprehensive here:

Anonymous said...

I am the first poster. Iagree that OCP is not 'all that'. But, when you are in a diocese that is highly popualted by people who know On Eagles Wings, Be Not Afraid, Sing a New Song, Sing to the Mountains... it is a little hard to get a parish to use something other that an OCP product. GIA has some of their hymns, but a majority are unfamilar to my diocese. By the way, I am from the Diocese of Covington, KY, right across the river from the Archdiocese of Cincy!

Anonymous said...

Have you considered introducing the Adoremus Hymnal?

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't sing the Brady Bunch hymn.

Fr Martin Fox said...

(most recent) Anonymous:

I own a copy of the Adoremus hymnal. It's too thin in what it has.

Fr Martin Fox said...


I don't know what you mean.

Field Marshall Dodge said...

When I was a kid, I was jealous of the epsicopalians because their music was so much more fun. We'd have some really great music by now if we hadn't started focusing on vernacular masses so recently. It will get better.

Field Marshall Dodge said...

By the way, whatever you have, be happy that you have it. In rural Central America, they sing the same 10 songs over and over because a lot of people are illiterate and the parish usually can't afford hymnals anyway. It gets to you after a while.

Jimmy Dondero said...

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It is Catholic and Christian thought from over 100 years ago.

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Anonymous said...

Actually, Cincy archdiocese has lots of parishes using GIA resources.

Anonymous said...


Victoria, is it? I *know* I’ve heard it...can’t put my foot on which Mass setting it is.

Do you advocate for a choral Credo and/or Sanctus, btw (norms notwithstanding)?

You might encourage your music director to try writing some Communion antiphon settings, with a cantor singing the verses to psalm tones. I stole the idea from James Biery’s sets of Communion antiphons for Advent and Lent, and it’s working well.

Fr Martin Fox said...


I don't get your "Victoria" reference, sorry.

I don't recall the norms forbidding choral settings for the Credo and Sanctus, but I do prefer the people singing or reciting these.

Anonymous said...

Hum along, Father....

Verse 1:
Here's the story of a lovely lady,
Who was bringing up three very lovely girls.
All of them had hair of gold like their mother,
The youngest one in curls.

Verse 2:
Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

Tracy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tracy said...

To clarify my last post, I think many ppl are going toward more "traditional" Masses even as far as the TLM's. (I had too many thoughts going in too many directions-a cross for this too busy mom-LOL! )

God Bless,

Anonymous said...

I think it's not just that contemporary Catholic music is crappy. Most people today cannot read music or sightsing because they haven't been trained how to do so. If you don't learn how to sing and match pitch when you're young it can be quite difficult. Because of this people are not comfortable singing out at Mass. I played an instrument throughout high school and took ear training and sightsinging courses in college. I still have difficulty sometimes singing hymns a cappela at daily mass, particularly when we attempt to sing chant.

I attended an independent Baptist church once in a small farming community where the congregation practically blew the doors off singing hymns without accompaniment in 4 part harmony. I asked some of the members after the services how they came to sing so well and they told me that they spend half of Sunday School each week practicing hymns. Something like this is needed for Catholics, a comfortable and unitimidating environment where people can learn the music prior to attempting it on Sunday. Otherwise I don't think new missalettes or hymnals will help that much.

Ellyn said...

Since some of the most decent hymns in the OCP music issue are written by the Wesleys why not just buy Adoremus hymnals (I agree they are a bit 'thin', but they are solid - literally and figuratively) and supplement with Methodist hymnals.

Cantor said...


Re “Victoria”, I was inquiring as to the composer of the Mass setting we hear in the clip you have linked. I recognize the music, but I don’t know the composer or the name of the Mass.

Norms in the GIRM effectively proscribing choral settings of the Credo and Sanctus:

68. The Creed is to be sung or said by the priest together with the people on Sundays and Solemnities. It may be said also at particular celebrations of a more solemn character. If it is sung, it is begun by the priest or, if this is appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir. It is sung, however, either by all together or by the people alternating with the choir.

79b. Acclamation: In which the whole congregation, joining with the heavenly powers, sings the Sanctus. This acclamation, which is part of the Eucharistic Prayer itself, is sung or said by all the people with the priest.

This became an issue on a few other blogs recently because B16 celebrated a Mass for the Swiss Guard with a choral Sanctus - which is not how the GIRM says the Sanctus is supposed to be.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Adoremus Hymnal appears "slim", but there is less in it that is unusable than in any other one I know.