What Settings Will We Sing?

From the moderator: Pray Tell reader Michael Silhavy sends in this great idea: Let’s start talking about what revised Mass settings we’ll be using. Here is how he helpfully frames the question:

By now, many parish musicians have visited the publishers’ web sites, attended showcases and reading sessions, and listened to the discs featuring new and revised musical settings of the Order of Mass. Let’s not feel discouraged if we haven’t found that new setting that totally and completely interests us, and let’s not be overly critical of composers and publishers for their efforts to this point. We need to consider that thousands of settings of the 1970 Order of Mass were written by composers of various skill levels. Perhaps a thousand were published in hymnals or octavos – don’t forget other denominations that use the ICEL/ICET texts. A few hundred have been worthy of multiple printings after the initial print run. Maybe a few dozen settings represent 90% of the Mass parts used nationwide, a hymnal may have a dozen or more settings, and a parish may choose to sing 8-10 of them. Quite the winnowing process.

We can’t kid ourselves that all 80 or so of the new settings floating around right now will meet our needs and are worthy of standing the test of time. Many will fade away in months. More settings will surface; eventually we will have plenty to choose from. May I suggest we begin discussion among ourselves, offering ideas to one another, as to what are the settings you plan to introduce?

Over the next few months, I hope Pray Tell can be a place we surface new topics related to the new and revised settings. (I’ve already got a list of old settings I’d like to see revised.)

But to start the conversation: What Mass settings will you be using?

Michael Silhavy

From the moderator: Please: only positive comments about what you like and what you intend to use! No trashing allowed. – awr


  1. For most church musicians, I think it’s a bit early to have formed an opinion so maybe your question is premature. By the end of the month, when most choirs take their break and the pressures of music programs and teaching responsibilities ease up, people will have the leisure time to peruse and evaluate.

    Most folks I know want to try the missal chants first (as the director of our diocesan Office of Divine Worship is recommending). They are perhaps the best vehicle for introducing the new wordings – particularly those of the memorial acclamations.

    I’m waiting for my copy of James MacMillan’s Mass of John Henry Newman to arrive. Can’t wait to start the winnowing process.

  2. well, obviously…we will be singing Walker’s Belmont Mass and the Missa Simplex, according to the “mandate”.

  3. I would hope everyone would start with the setting in the Missal itself. This is based on the Gregorian, and because of its universal nature would be recognized by Catholics around the world. There would be a common bond, a global community, and most important a communion of heaven and earth we singing with the angels and the Saints in heaven. Using only provincial settings goes against the the idea of a catholic Church

  4. Our music director recently invited a couple of members from the choir, cantors, and instrumentalists for an evening of running through about 12 different settings, revised and new. We evaluated each, had some great discussions about the changes, how we thought the music felt to us personally, but more so, how we thought the music would be for the parish. It was a spirit filled evening that was quite helpful to the individuals and our music director as she narrows down what will will be most appropriate for our parish.

  5. Premature? Not in our parish; we’ve been rotating in the new texts for over a year now (we figure there’s no need to treat this like an old-fashioned wedding night). We have three composers in the parish; two of us have settings done but the third finds the whole thing too depressing to have written anything yet; we’re working on him, because he’ll write something brilliant. Our basic goal is not to spend any money.

  6. OK, I’m game. Before the USCCB announcement today, my plan was minimize the impact of new Ordinary settings, allowing initial focus to be on the ritual dialogues (hopefully chanted):

    ADVENT 2011
    Kyrie: Mass XVI (already known)
    Sanctus: Proulx Missa Emmanuel, adapted (already known; assembly hears new text before singing it)
    Mysterium: Missal chant (new)
    Amen: Missal chant (new)
    Agnus: Mass XVII (already known)

    CHRISTMAS 2011
    Kyrie: Missal chant (new, but easy)
    Gloria: Mass VIII (not known, but temporarily using an interpolated “Gloria in excelsis Deo” refrain; Latin text sung by choir with printed new translation)
    Sanctus: Vermulst, People’s Mass, WLP adaptation with my own harmonization more closely resembling Vermulst’s original (known, people now singing new text)
    Mysterium/Amen: Missal Chants
    Agnus Dei: Isele, Holy Cross Mass (known and loved)

    Kyrie – continue with Missal chant
    Gloria – introduce Proulx Gloria Simplex (WLP) as first new through-composed setting
    Sanctus – continue with Vermulst People’s Mass, adapted
    Mysterium/Amen – Missal chants
    Agnus – probably continue with Isele

    Kyrie – back to Mass XVI
    Sanctus – Proulx, Corpus Christi Mass, adapted
    Mysterium, Amen – Missal Chants
    Agnus – Mass XVIII (well-known)

    Kyrie – Missal chant
    Gloria – Return of Proulx, Missa Simplex
    Sanctus – Reprise of Vermulst, People’s Mass
    Mysterium/Amen – Missal Chants
    Agnus – Isele, Holy Cross Mass

    and so on…perhaps in summer or fall Ordinary Time begin to expand Mass setting repertoire, but retaining well-known selection of hymns and songs (alongside choral chant propers), but focusing primarily on the gradual introduction of chanted elements involving priest and people.

    A conservative approach, I know…but one that I hope will help people to keep praying during the transition and avoid creating a worship environment that is overly-didactic.

    But since the USCCB announcement this…

  7. But now, with a little lead time, I might be more adventureous. I have always been reluctant to use my own music in parish liturgies for fear of being, as Victor Wowczuk put it, “provincial.” However, I composed what I think is a respectable setting in honor of my parish’s patron, St. Michael, deriving thematic material from the peal in our bell tower. [http://www.theromanmissal.org/LUYH.htm] I am now inclined to use it right away as a means of generating parochial enthusiasm for the new translation. Since it is being published by Liturgical Press in a collection of several other very attractive and well-crafted settings, I’m inclined to take a risk that it might amount to something more than provincial. Since it will take some time for the “universal” to be distilled, there is no time like the present to try some things parochial, local, provincial. If it doesn’t fly at home, it certainly won’t fly anywhere else!

    That said, I like the pastoral wisdom inherent in my initial plan. I suspect I will take some sort of hybrid approach.

  8. Anyone else want to join me out on the limb Michael Silhavy has extended to us? I commend him on his attempt to generate a positive and contructive dialogue around a topic that could easily degenerate into pot-shots or skeet-shooting!

  9. Sorry to dominate the discussion so far, but I want to second Randolph Nichols’ enthusiasm for MacMillan’s Mass, which I’ve ordered as well. I wish some publisher of worship resources would be able to swing some cost- effective deal with Boosey & Hawkes.

  10. I am so excited that we will (hopefully in our Diocese) be allowed to begin introducing the sung texts. Our parish is in a Chicago suburb with an unbelievable music program in the public schools (especially strings).

    I shared scores and CD’s of my top picks with three conservatory trained musicians who are part of our music ministry. They analyzed everything thinking of how it will fit in this particular parish which at Christmas had a 24 piece orchestra with excellent strings (all volunteer).

    I was already planning some setting of Christmas Gloria with the Angels We Have Heard refrain and learned last week that GIA is publishing Dan Laginya’s new setting so that is my choice. After learning the good news today, I have worked the ICEL Gloria into ordinary time so that the text will be very familiar and we can sing the chant on December 7/8.

    Schubert/Proulx’s German Mass was the first choice of all three consultors. We like every part of it. We’ll use the Holy, Memorial and Amen this year from fall through Christmas. When it seems time to learn another new piece, we’ll learn the Gloria. The orchestration is of course incredible. It will be neat to be doing one of the first vernacular settings at this historic moment.

    Surprisingly, this committee did not choose the most familiar settings I had in mind (2 Proulx and his revision of Peoples Mass). I also like Michel Guimont’s Mass for a Servant Church very much, especially the Gloria. Their second choice was Mass of the Angels and Saints by Janco. We all agree the instrumental parts are too thick and busy, but for ordinary time we like the Eucharistic Acclamations. We will also retain Liam Lawton’s Mass of the Celtic Saints (Eucharistic Acclamations and Lamb of God) which the parish has known for years and sings beautifully.

    My new plan written up tonight in the excitement of a more pastoral implementation is online at http://stpatrickparish.org/index.php?m=82&s=320. I look forward…

  11. By the way, I want to say that I think GIA has done an amazing job of making the new and revised settings they are publishing available at affordable costs for review ($5 for CD’s!) I hope they can have Worship ready by August or September. It is an amazing hymnal with so much good music and many nice settings of the ordinary.

    World Library has also made it very easy to study their new and revised pieces and presented a wonderful, varied mix at NPM last year. They’ve also made the music samples available free.

    I wish our publishers could afford to send out samples and CDs for free. So many parishes cannot afford to buy all these pieces in order to learn what is best for their situation. I fear that many are not even aware of what is coming either. Morningstar, Beckenhorst, Hope and Kjos are some publishers that send wonderful recordings and mini scores or octavos for free…and you can also access the full recordings and on their website for free. I’m praying that the big three Catholic publishers can do that one day also.

  12. Just a note about the James McMillan Mass of Blessed John Henry Newman –
    of which I have some experience, having directed its first “performance” in England. If you watch/listen to it on the Papal Visit videos:

    1. I understand the repeats have now gone – they were only included for the Papal Visit to the UK so that the assembly could join in some of what otherwise would have been unknown music.

    2. I will be very interested to hear how American parishes take to the setting.

    Thank you.

  13. Greetings. You may also be interested to know that I have revised my St Anne Mass to suit the new text, adding Memorial Acclamations, a Great Amen, and most crucially, a Gloria. Since the latter section is the only music written recently, and after a lot of ‘debate’ about what ordinary people could or should be singing, I would be interested in feedback from the ‘cognoscenti’ – well, some of them anyway…

    ( I wrote the St Anne Mass in the early 1980s when I was practically a boy in these matters – and it was for a local school in Ayrshire.)

    The new Gloria is shaped by the contours of chant, and much more in accordance with Pope Benedict’s comments on the Sacred Treasury. Boosey and Hawkes will publish the revised edition soon. I’m awating proofs any day.

    Best wishes,


  14. James,

    Iam delighted to hear this! We have been singing the St. Anne setting successsfully for many years now at St. Dunstan’s (Birmingham, England) and I look forward to your revised setting of this.

    Okay – back to the question – Our music group has been asked by one of the priests to sing the new version of Haugen’s Creation Mass from Sep. until Christmas. We had a read thru’ in rehearsal a few weeks ago, and this was very well-received. Parts of the original have been sung at the parish over the years, so it should in some way be famliar.

    Next year, I hope to introduce Dan Schutte’s ‘Mass of Christ the Savio(u)r’ – In my view RC’s (not least myself) like a bit of bad taste – and I think that this really fits the bill.

    Chris Walker’s ‘Belmont Mass’ was one of the very-well received new settings when Fr. Peter Jones went over the new publications with parish muso’s at St. Chad’s Cathedral recently – so I think I would also like to introduce this one also.

  15. We decided not to wait for advent. We started in January using my Joyful Gloria (WLP). Then after Easter we started the Eucharist Acclamations from my Mass of St. Frances Cabrini (OCP), with Christ has died. In September we will use one of the approved Memorial Acclamations and also learn the Gloria from that mass. I plan on using the revised Christmas Gloria from GIA. Beyond that I am looking at a contemporary setting: either Curtis Stephan’s Mass of Renewal or the St. Ann Mass (WLP). Of course, as a composer, I wrote my mass for the tastes of my assembly, and of course I’m using my stuff first. (It’s good to be the King-LOL).

  16. My plan was to send audio samples of eight new settings to our music ministry this summer, and then hold an assembly sing session in September. This newest development pushes my timetable around a bit, but with us being a parish of a university, a large portion of our assembly isn’t around!

    Anyway, we’re looking at the Roman Missal chants and Mass in Honor of Saint Cecilia (at the request of the Archdiocese), Mass of Spirit and Grace (Manalo), Mass of Renewal (Stephan), Guitar Mass for Peace (Jim Nailon), and three settings of mine: The Dwellings Mass (recto-tonal with choral harmony), Mass of the Body of Christ (a bigger-scale setting), and a contemporary setting I don’t have a title for yet. (I don’t expect that we’ll use all three, or even any of them, but “I’m putting ’em out there.”) Our revised repertoire will consist of Mass of Creation, Mass of Glory and Mass of God’s Promise.

  17. As the DM of a four parish merged parish with 12K registered, this is a big deal.
    I’ve advised my musical leadership (ratified by pastor) that we’re going to seize this moment as an opportunity to start afresh with new and, by consensus, absolutely worthy settings.
    That said, I’m thinking of a maximum of five Mass settings with aspects that have the universal, sacred and beautiful criteria evident, but that provide a variance of style and voicing/orchestration possibilities.
    So far the contenders include
    another chant based setting, ie.
    MASS (forget assignation) by Michael Olbash)
    A “parish Mass” by yours truly and my “apprentice” (USC comp., w/Lauridsen)

    Others to be auditioned include
    the Jacob Banks setting
    The Chris Mueller setting (Bensanorium Press)
    A couple of WLP settings and one other GIA

    Also thinking of revising the Proulx Oecumenica

    That’s it.

  18. Small English parish, not much in the way of resources, training up a schola of four men to lead the congregation and do as much chant as possible.

    Kyrie (VIII and XI)
    Gloria (VIII)
    Credo III
    Sanctus and Agnus Dei (XVIII)

    Would want to sing as much as possible from the new translation. At the beginning of the year inherited the usual four hymn sandwich but we’re weaning the congregation off that.
    Don’t see the point in the Credo settings – those who sing it in Latin will continue to do so, likewise those who recite it in English. Intend to get the congregation singing Credo I by Advent.
    Schola now sings at the Offertory and Communion. Using the (Latin) office hymns quite a lot as they’re not yet up to the GR Propers. We did manage the Veni Sancte Spiritus last week though!
    Don’t want to do away with hymns altogether (we use the Oratory hymn book which combines the best of the old Westminster hymnal with some good Anglican favourites) but as we go into Ordinary Time we will always conclude with the Salve Regina, at the request of the parish priest.
    Understand some of the concerns on this blog about the quality of the new translations, but will not miss ICEL 1973 and see positive opportunities in delivering what Vat2 and the Liturgical Movement actually wanted.

  19. I’ve been spending a good deal of time listening to & studying both the revised and new musical settings over the past few months. While it is still early enough in the process for me to change my mind (perhaps several times), 1 new setting and 1 revised setting have been staying at the top of my list. The new setting is “Mass of Renewal” by Curtis Stephan (OCP) and the revised setting is “Celtic Mass” by Christopher Walker (also OCP). We currently have GIA hymnals in the pews at my parish so I didn’t gravitate to these settings simply because they will be in next year’s OCP Missal materials. The “Celtic Mass” (except for the Alleluia) has never been used in our parish and does not seem to be in wide use in our diocese which makes the use of a revised setting less problematic in my opinion.
    I like the “Mass of Renewal” because it has a strong rythmic drive to it that reminds me of “Mass of Light” and it also lends itself well to the muical resources I often have available in our large suburban parish music program. It can be done with cantor and piano alone on Sat afternoon or early on Sun, it can be done with several wind or string instruments, piano, guitars and SAB choir at Masses with a choir, and it can be done with keyboard, electric guitar, bass and trap set for a high school Mass. I feel this unifying factor is essential for our 1st new setting. That way the high school group can continue to use it even after I move on to another setting with the choir and cantors.
    While I am personally in favor of learning proper Missal chants, my discussions with the parish liturgy commission and several key choir members were not favorable. We are losing much of the familiar language in the liturgy come Advent and that is going to prove very difficult for many of my parishioners. To present a radical shift in musical style of the sung acclamations at the same time would, in my opinion, only increase the possibilty of frustration and alienation.

  20. Charles…

    Good setting choices…still waiting to see and hear your setting too! I also am leaning towards the Missal Chants first, and then the Psallite Mass. After that I can maybe get a sense for what is working and pick a setting for the Easter 2012 season. Maybe yours will be finished by then?

  21. Big huge oops…
    Add to list definite MASS OF ST. THERESE DE LISIEUX by local friend Royce Nickel (Diocese of Fresno)- a must check!
    Contact me via AWR.

  22. If our bishop allows early implementation, we will begin with “Mass for Christian Unity” – WLP. If we are to hold up until the November date, it will be “Mass of the Angels and Saints” – GIA

    Masses we will retain:
    Mass of Creation
    Mass of Remembrance
    Jubilation Mass

    We will introduce:
    Storrington Mass
    Mass of Redemption

    The following will be presented to the parish and they will decide on one:
    Mass for a New World
    Mass for the Life of the World
    Black Mountain Liturgy
    Missa Pacem
    Sing Praise and Thanksgiving
    Mass of Glory

  23. Hello everyone! I thoroughly enjoy reading this blog, especially with the recent discussion about all the new Mass settings being published. I didn’t know anything about PrayTell until earlier this year, and I’ve been a faithful reader ever since. I’m excited about some of the new music that is coming out. Like others, I believe the best is yet to come! I’m also excited about my own first published composition, Mass in Honor of Saint Dominic and I feel privileged to be included with Fr. Ruff and many other great composers in Lift Up Your Hearts from Liturgical Press. A very special thanks to Gary Feldhege for his expertise, guidance, and great patience!

    As an organist and choir director myself, I can’t say with confidence that I have made the final decision about what Mass settings I will be introducing this fall, aside from my own. Choosing a quality setting that is appropriate for either organ or piano/guitar ensemble has been the most challenging. As of now, Babin’s Missa Pacem is my first pick from the revised settings. Proulx’s Community Mass is hard to simply discard and never use again, even with the revisions. However, in my opinion, “re-learning” the Community Mass Gloria would indeed be a challenge for many congregations. Mass for the City has been a personal favorite of mine in the past couple of years, but the revised setting would be a mistake, especially for a congregation that has learned the original Gloria.

    In the archdiocese where I live, it seems that the Gloria from Mass in Honor of Pope Paul VI has been the “default” setting of the Gloria for most all parishes. It will be difficult for some congregations and musicians to do without this Gloria as they know it today. More often than not, it is combined with either Mass of Creation or Community Mass Eucharistic parts, and that is the standard practice, even for our Cathedral…

    1. I’ve been looking forward to seeing your Mass in Honor of Saint Dominic, Matthew, since it was slated for inclusion in Lift Up Your Hearts along with the other strong settings in that collection, led by the already-heralded Psallite Mass. Gary Feldhege and the folks at LitPress also have my admiration for their vision and leadership.

      I’m also very pleased with the addition to this booklet of David Hurd’s new Mass in Honor of Saint Cecilia commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha. I have been very fond of Hurd’s New Plainsong over the years, and thanks to the vision of Archbishop George Lucas and music director Marie Rubis Bauer we have a contribution by one of America’s finest church musicians very early in this process of implementing the Third Edition of the Missal.

  24. …As for other new Mass settings available today, appealing to my own personal preference, I’m afraid the list is short… my first pick would be Mass in honor of St. Ralph Sherwin by Jeff Ostrowski, for which I hope he will eventually add Memorial Acclamations B and C. My second favorite is… well, to be determined. I am eager to see and hear more new material from those who just haven’t surfaced yet. I’m not a big critic of other composer’s new settings, but I gladly welcome reviews of my new setting, once it is available from LP. I believe a review copy will be posted at some point on the website. Sorry for the lengthy post, but thanks for reading… And thanks to Michael Silhavy for a great topic! Peace, Matthew S. Still

  25. We will retain the re-worked settings of:
    Creation (Haugen)
    Sing Praise and Thanksgiving (Joncas)
    Mass for John Carroll (Joncas)

    because I think these have been re-worked very gracefully and the changes will be easily assimilated.. I want the assembly to be able to feel at home with some of the music even though the words will be different. I suspect that after the 1st few stumbling weeks, they will be able to sing the new texts easily.
    As for new settings,
    I am seriously considering Mass of St. Ann (Bolduc) (SAB is a big selling point for me due to shortage of men), Belmont Mass (Walker) and the Psallite Mass.

    1. Interesting! Two “big” Mass settings with the same name (Joncas’ and the LTP setting!) We will continue to use the Kyrie and Lamb of God as usual, and Joncas was nice enough to revise the Glory to God (in SATB) – hopefully it will be made available by GIA.

    2. I’m glad to see people mentioning “Sing Praise and Thanksgiving.” It has been, for many years, a personal favorite. It’s also the only revised setting that I personally haven’t had to struggle with singing the new words to re-worked music. While I think many of the revised settings are quite successful, this one is particularly so.

      1. The two main settings we’ve used are The Mass of Creation and Sing Praise and Thanksgiving. Listening to the revision of both seems to me to be very easy for our congregation to adapt and they indeed sing the roof off with these, so I’m disinclined to teach new settings from other sources. It’s the Gloria that I’m stewing over. Our parish sings and sings very very well the People’s Mass Gloria. We don’t do other settings except the Mass of the Bells at Christmas and Easter. Evidently that’s not being revised. We don’t do the Mass of Creation or Sing Praise and Thanksgiving Glorias and I don’t particular care for the refrain and verse style of these. I’m somewhat partial to the the Community Mass and its Gloria and we used these in my previous parish but not here, but we may learn that setting here too in addition to the chanted versions in the new missal.

      2. Mass of the Bells Glory to God has been revised. Check GIA’s website for more info.

  26. Our parish choir has commissioned Bob Moore (many pieces published by GIA) to compose a setting which will be the Mass of St Luke the Evangelist, so upon diocesan approval, that’s what we’ll use at first, along with the ICEL chants. I’m sure we’ll eventually incorporate settings that the diocese adopts, and I’m additionally considering Luke Mayernik’s Mass of St Gregory the Great from OCP.

    1. Commissioning is actually an older system than the current industrial model. It’s like commissioning liturgical art instead of buying liturgical art, with the exception that should have work-for-hire rights (well, at least in the USA; English law is different on that point) that can eventually avoid some of the ossification that is occurring because of the way the commercial copyright system (which only goes back 300 years, and, in its current very long term form, less than 40 years) interacts with the older flow of liturgical music. I wish more commissioning would be undertaken in the coming generation. Frankly, I’d love for the USCCB to commission a national setting by someone like, say, Lauridsen (I use his name only because more people are likely to have heard of him than some others who are more narrowly known in the very robust scene of American choral music).

    1. Looked at what publishers were offering, and wasn’t particularly excited by what I saw. We sing a lot of Bob’s music at our parish… his choral pieces are among the favorites of the choir, and his congregational pieces are well-liked and sung by the parish at large. The choir commissioned him to write a choral piece (As the Deer Longs, to be published by GIA very shortly) several years ago in memory of a member who passed away. So we have that history. I asked Bob about doing a setting, he was interested, so I approached the choir to see if the support was there, and they pledged enough to negotiate and come to an agreement with Bob. There is no financial advantage. There is the benefit of having say in the music (Kyrie in Greek, sung through Gloria, particular instrumentation and voicing). I’m sure that our parishioners and choir will be happy with what Bob comes up with. And hopefully it will be published, will catch on, and, who knows, we may contribute something worthwhile to the Church beyond the walls of our parish. I feel strongly about Bob’s music, his abilities as a composer (both in creating something beautiful and singable by a congregation), so we’re pretty excited.

  27. Quite right, Karl, on all scores. It’s probably unlikely that the USCCB would commission a setting to impose, but local (as with the Archdiocese of Omaha noted above) or parochial commissions could yield great gifts for the wider church.

    1. I should add that the commission by the Archdiocese of Omaha carries with it the permission for all the parishes in the Archdiocese to use and reproduce this Mass free of charge.

  28. I would wholeheartedly endorse commissions, except that with them–particularly on a diocesan/national level– sometimes comes an expectation of imposition which denigrates or denies the great and holy variety of ethnic, cultural, and aesthetic diversity found from one parish to the next. What holds us together as Church are the tenets of our faith and the words we pray; attempts to create an artificial unity by stripping away our character as communities and peoples only serve to polarize us where it matters most.

  29. It seems like you could extend that argument in favor of a recited liturgy, i.e. using music as an attempt to create “articifical unity” within a worshipping assembly. There are certainly other aspects of universality in the Church’s rites beside “tenets of faith” and “words.” I’m only looking at the Omaha example from outside now, Tony, but don’t you think it’s reasonable for a bishop to promote super-congregational unity by engaging local parishes in a multi-valent catechesis and liturgical formation using a common musical repertoire? To my knowledge, your bishop has not prohibited anything or suppressed ethnic, cultural or aesthetic diversity. There is unity in diversity, but there is also unity in unity. The Church is one AND catholic. Parochial diversity is not easily suppressed, but unity within local churches is sometimes difficult to express. There are lots of good reasons why folks identify more easily with the parish Church than with the diocese. Lots of reasons to distrust hierarchy and suspect clericalism, but sometimes I wonder of about an underlying brand of congregationalism that assumes the worst of diocesan efforts.

  30. KLS,
    Call Salamunovich, if he’d be okay with a national Mass by Skippy, then I’d be down widdit.
    Otherwise, I’d stay within RCC stables.

  31. Our Diocese is recommending every parish initially use the Mass of Light Gloria and the Mass of Remembrance Eucharistic acclamations and we’re tentatively following that recommendation – with trepidation.
    For our 250-family parish, it’ll be interesting because that’s been our Easter season setting for about 15 years and both are hapily belted out by the faithful with ease. I’m hoping and praying that they’ll accept the new words to familiar melodies.
    During the next two years, we’re eyeing a rollout of Mass for a New World (Haas-GIA), Mass of Renewal (Stephan-OCP) and Mass of Joy and Peace (Alonso-GIA).

  32. I’m a big fan of the Psallite Mass. If I was working in a Catholic Parish, this would be my first choice after the ICEL chants. I’ll likely be using portions of it at my Episcopal parish.

    For some other opinions about new Mass settings, you can read my reviews:
    OCP New Settings
    GIA New Settings

    If you poke around on my site, you’ll also run across a preview of a new setting I’m working on, and a review of a really gorgeous choral setting from an independent composer.

  33. Many of the parishes in the San Antonio Archdiocese are using the David Kauffman/William Gokleman “Mass of Renewal” setting. Our diocese is not mandating a particular Mass setting, however we have informed the parishes about the Mass which will be used predominantly by the Archdiocesan choir for Archdiocesan events and have requested that each parish choose ONE Mass setting for the year. Most have embraced this, but there are those…

  34. Our diocesen music/liturgy office (Metuchen, NJ) has recommended the Alstott Heritage Mass as the new “standard” along with the Mass of Renewal Gloria (NPM winner). At my parish I’m also leaning towards the Bolduc Mass of St. Ann, the Warner Mass of Charity and Love and the Janco Mass of Wisdom. I doubt we will do any revised settings until we get the feel for the new texts.

  35. Dear Adam Wood,

    Thanks for these Adam. At last some perspective! I love the way the word “Disney” crops up a lot in your reviews. It is interesting that it takes someone from outside the Catholic Church to see just how bad things are. I was speaking with a famous conductor recently – a Christian, but not a Catholic, who was taken to Mass by a friend in the US. “Pitiful,” he described the experience. “Was it the sub-Joan Baez pitiful, or the sub-Disney pitiful that was in evidence that day?” I asked. ” Oh sub- Disney. In fact, most of the stuff sounded like the ‘songs’ that got dropped from the Lion King”. That’s what outsiders think of the “American Catholic liturgical experience”.

    “I have a hard time, though, imagining this being used in any Roman Rite parish with even a semblance of solemnity.” I loved this Adam! The entire point of this 40 year project has been to banish any semblance of solemnity from the Roman Rite. Why? Christ only knows…

    1. I have mixed feelings about this compliment…

      First off, just to set the record straight- I’m not that far “outside the Catholic Church.” For personal and professional reasons, I work and worship in an Episcopal church, but I grew up Catholic, consider myself mostly orthodox, and continue to have a deep love and concern for Catholic liturgy.

      Also- I grew up with, and love, much “Contemporary Catholic” music.
      And- I’m pretty much onboard with the liturgical vision (both in letter and, I think, in spirit) of Vatican II. I have no problem (theoretically) with Contemporary, or even pop and folk styles, in liturgy.

      The thing I keep trying to communicate, though, is that the actions of the “liturgical progressives” (for lack of a better word) is so often contrary to their stated goals: Crappy music that changes every few years does not contribute to active participation or robust congregational singing. While I don’t wholeheartedly buy-in to the neo-trad praxis (or philosophy) at least those people think and act consistently.

      I also thought it was funny (in retrospect) how much “Disney” came up. I actually grew up 90min away from Disney World, and am remarkably familiar (and enamored) with their style (I’ve even appropriated some of their showy conducting tricks into my directing). But….

      It doesn’t matter whether you focus on the horizontal or the vertical. It doesn’t matter whether you think Mass is ESSENTIALLY a meal or ESSENTIALLY a sacrifice. It doesn’t matter if it’s Ordinary or Extraordinary… I don’t think a concert at EPCOT should be pretty much the same as a Roman Catholic Mass. (PS- That goes for puppets and dancers, too.)

      Anyway- thanks for reading. If you go comment on my site, then I will have had contributions from both Michael Joncas and James MacMillan on the same day. For an amateur composer of liturgical music, that would just about be one of the coolest days of my young career.


  36. Our deanery musicians have been meeting to discuss new settings, with a view towards perhaps finding a common setting. Front-runners on newly composed settings include Mass of Renewal by Curtis Stephan (OCP) and Mass of Christ the Savior by Dan Schutte (also OCP). Mass of Creation as a revised setting also has a strong following.

    We like Mass of Renewal because of it’s flexible instrumentation for the diversity of musical styles represented in our deanery, it’s singable range, and practical choral voicing for our limited membership. We also felt that it was still musically interesting, while not being too difficult to learn.

    Mass of Christ the Savior has many of those same qualities, and with a Gloria refrain (Mass of Renewal’s is through-composed), might be more accessible especially for Christmas. The Lamb of God does use the recently proscribed “Jesus, Lamb of God” text, and I don’t know how that will factor into our choices, or if Dan will re-write it to accommodate the new and unexpected regulations.

    I would like to use the new MIssal chants at some point, but as others have noted, my congergation would not take well to such a dramatic shift musically, all at once. I proposed to our pastor using the Missal chants only for the dialogs initially, as a help to learning the new texts, and sticking with Mass of Renewal for an initial Ordinary setting. We can then consider doing the Missal chants for the Ordinary during Summer Ordinary Time perhaps. I also quite like Christopher Walker’s Belmont Mass (OCP), almost more than I like the Missal chants!

    I’ve also set our evaluation CDs for parishioners to provide feedback on some 10 settings (only 5 per CD, didn’t want to overwhelm folks). I will use the informatino gained from those evaluations to consider other settings to add farther down the road.

    We’ll see!

  37. Much of what we do in the USA and why we do it is influenced by competition. I believe much of the musical evolution in our country has happened because of the belief we must compete with the fundamentalist evangelicals who have huge congregations, and an altar that has been replaced by a “Praise Band”.
    This is what I was told for the first three months of my tenure at a rural parish. I just continued to repeat… “But we’re Catholic.” It opened a whole world of discussion among the people and “how do we compete?” evolved into “who are we, really?”
    On a side note… I can immediately think of 3 songs (no, I won’t name them) that sound exactly like tunes from Beauty And The Beast. That’s not surprising but that kind of composition negates any chance of timelessness to our liturgical repertoire. I don’t want “pop” tunes that sound old and cliched after a few years. I want classic melodies that infiltrate the minds and hearts of people. I have high hopes for composers in our Church. Some of the new mass settings have renewed my faith.

  38. Recently got a group of 7 together from our choir and ensembles to listen, play and sing through several Gloria settings, new and revised.

    The Gokelman/Kauffman Mass of Renewal (NPM winner) came out tops in the discernment, as the group felt it would work well with the assembly and with all music groups. Bolduc’s Mass of St Ann also high on our list, but we felt the smoother rhythms of the G/K setting would help everyone learn the next text faster. We will teach it with the refrain first, and perhaps by next summer, be able to sing the through composed version. Perhaps if we are able to begin using this setting in September, we can move that timeframe up.

    Haas’ Mass of Light is well loved in our parish, but everyone felt the familiar melody would confuse people when we’re trying to learn the new text. Haas or Bolduc will be the second Gloria introduced, possibly next fall.

    For Eucharistic Acclamations, we will likely use the revised Mass of Creation; most felt the change in the first line of the Holy would be easy to teach. Since we have only sung “Christ has died..” with this setting, we thought using the “When we eat…” acclamation would be the only new part to teach. We have used MOC for Advent/Christmas already, so this fits into that pattern.

  39. Having just been refreshed at the sacred music colloquium for six days in Pittsburgh, I can attest to a great amount of deliberation among “conservationist-chant-polyphony” directors about the coherence, or possible lack thereof, of each bishop-diocesan plans regarding how many and which settings ought to be designated as mandatory at various levels.There seems to be among the liturgical blogging “communities” the same entrenched opinions that have characterized the music-liturgy wars for decades. Personally, I don’t understand a sentiment that prima facie dismisses the ICEL Missal chant simply because it’s chant! Look at how little attention was paid to the papal exhortations and the recommendations present in the V2 documents themselves providing chant principal, or first place among all forms of music used at prayer and liturgy. Are we going to forget that and make the same mistake again because of authoratative indifference or negligence? Personally,I’d be literally in heaven if the EF was the normative Mass and all priests exercized ars celebrandi to its highest level, whether a Missa Lecta or a Solemn High Mass. But as we are facing the other reality, we need to get this transition RIGHT! The USCCB should rightfully call for mandatory litugical re-catachesis for everyone who participates in the Divine Liturgy.

    1. Charles;

      By the time all priests even know what ars celebrandi means I expect you (and I) will both, literally, be in heaven … at least I pray that it be so.

      I’m glad to see that there are some good choices out there…the Psallite Mass and the Proulx Missa Simplex will be in our repertoire over the next few years along with the Missal Chants. This is an opportunity to make a real difference, both in the quality of music presented at our liturgies and in the participation of the faithful. Like Adam noted above, there is often a disconnect between the objectives of assembly participation and rejection out-of-hand of chant.

      In addition, there is also the issue of emphasizing the specific roles of the Priest, the Choir (or schola) and the Assembly, and the effect that such distinctions have on assembly participation. I have found that the assembly takes its part more readily when it is made clear that they are not expected to sing everything, and conversely that there are things that are sung that are not meant for them.

  40. “Authoratative indifference or negligence”.

    Or do you mean pig-headed insubordination and defiance?

  41. Good points, Mr Herbert.

    Looking on from the UK, and reading between the lines of blog chat here and elsewhere in the US, it is clear that we Brits have to find out more about Psallite and Richard Proulx. We never hear anything about them over here. We hear a helluva lot about other American stuff, though.

    1. Psallite is beginning to become known and appreciated in the UK. Much of the music in last year’s week-long Society of St Gregory Summer School was from it, and I personally know of three (!) English parishes where it is regularly used. However, the music in too many UK parishes is still little more than the proverbial ‘four hymn sandwich’, and anything which is not in the hymn book is usually only to found in those parishes where the musicians have been pro-active in seeking out other material (often via SSG or RSCM).

      On a brighter note: I am currently involved in giving a series of workshops for parish priests and musicians in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, focusing mainly on newly-composed music (all of it – except for one setting – from the UK) and chant (e.g. ICEL, Belmont Mass). It has been heartening to see (1) a very large number of parish musicians at each event; (2) a higher than expected number of priests; and (3) the real enthusiasm with which the offered formation and music is being received.

      Chris Walker’s Belmont Mass has been especially well received, and I can see many parishes (including my own) readily adopting it.

  42. A pleasure to make your acquaintance, maestro, from a wannabe Scots from both family trees back to c.1515. I left a hat in Braemer parish in 97 hoping to go back fer good,ach

    My confreres stateside know that I labor to remain polite and mannerly, if not genuinely charitable. So, dear sirrah, infer away!

    Bless you, James McM

    Charles Colbregh, scion of crofters

  43. Hi Charles.

    1515? It sounds as if your family got out just in time! It all went down hill after that…

    I’ll keep inferring then. There is a new initiative getting going here in the UK, which I think will be good news. The Blessed John Henry Newman Institute of Liturgical Music launches in September. It will be based jointly at the Oratory in Birmingham and Maryvale. They will need all your prayers.

    Best wishes,


  44. St. James Cathedral, Seattle. In addition to continuing to use the Latin ordinary included in “Jubilate Deo” (Gloria VIII, Credo III, Sanctus and Agnus Dei XVIII), we are looking at the MacMillan mass and the Missal chants.

    Gloria German Mass (Schubert/Proulx); Congregation Mass (Lee) “on one tone” (Marier, revised)

    Creed on one tone (Marier, adapted)
    Eucharistic Acclamations Compostela Mass (our pastor, Michael G. Ryan’s adaption of Holst’s Thaxted melody), St. James Mass for Peace (Herbolsheimer, adapted) Corpus Christi Mass (Proulx, if we can obtain the adaptations Richard made shortly before his death)

    James Savage

  45. Dear Mr Savage,
    Are you aware of who arbitrates the disposition of the majority of Mr Proulx’s copyrights?

    For any parishes who employ Richard Rice’s SIMPLE CHORAL PROPERS on any regular basis should take another look at Proulx’s OECUMENICA, save for the lack of the Gloria and Credo (which can be remedied.) The correspondence with the Orthodox homophony, overt. But key and tonality relationships also bring a welcomed coherence.
    I would also be interested to know I’d GIA has engaged a revision of the Gouzes settings, as they too would have that consistency.

    1. Charles,

      All of Richard Proulx’s unpublished manuscripts are at Saint John’s University in Collegeville. Richard left his manuscripts – and funding for an organ scholarship – to Saint John’s. I sense we’re a few weeks or months away from some announcements about a few of these manuscripts being made available. I wouldn’t even want to guess as to how many dozens or hundreds of full compositions or short refrains there are.

  46. I’ve changed my mind. In thinking about what printed resources to provide for the congregation in September and again in December, I think starting with the Missal Chants for the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith, and Agnus Dei will be best. Since these will not yet be integrated with the complete new Ordo Missae, I think integrating these into our usual printed Liturgy Guide will be best for September, October and November.

    I will encourage the priests and deacons to chant the things that we can before the full implementation (the current or continuing texts of the Greeting, Act of Penitence/Kyrie with current invocations, Gospel Announcement and Acclamations, General Intercessions, Blessing and Dismissal…probably using the Simple Tones for the sake of consistency among clergy).

    Then in December, I would like to see Liturgical Press’ “Lift Up Your Hearts” inserted into the front of our current hymnal. The weekly Liturgy Guide will be simplified, forcing reliance on the Order of Mass in “Lift Up Your Hearts” as the sole source of verbal and musical texts.

    Since our large church leaves something to be desired in terms of reverberant acoustical feedback, I will probably need to use light accompaniment for some of the Missal chants, such as that which Fr. Ruff will provide in “Lift Up Your Hearts.” As familiarity with the Missal chant “Ordinary” grows, I would like to add portions of my “Mass in Honor of Saint Michael” for high seasons and feasts, and eventually other good quality settings that become universal through the distillation of time.

    The choirs will continue to render Entrance and Communion antiphons, alongside popular hymns and songs upon which hangs the piety of our people. As clergy become comfortable with cantillated prayer, I will encourage them to add the remaining dialogues, the orations, prefaces and Eucharistic Prayer to their repertories. After a few years we should be able to discern an appropriate and…

  47. sustainable pattern of sung liturgy informed by the principle of progressive solemnity. I’ve learned my lesson several times over, however, about relying soley on “structural transformation” to provoke change. Beginning with an end in mind is very useful for long-range planning and ensuring that immediate decisions square with mission. A patient, measured approach may allow time for “relational transformation” in which trust among members and leaders can be nurtured in the process of learning and becoming comfortable with new words and modes of praying them.

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