Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lumen Christi Missal: An Ordinary Form Book for the Pew

Guest Piece by Adam Bartlett

I am grateful to Shawn Tribe and Jeffrey Tucker for posting weekly here practice videos of the Simple English Propers, a book of English chant for the Ordinary Form that I composed and edited, and that was published by the Church Music Association of America in the summer of 2011. And I am especially thankful to the readership of the New Liturgical Movement for welcoming this offering which is aimed at enacting a shift in the musical orientation of liturgical celebrations in common parish life.

The SEP, as it now commonly called, is a book for the average, volunteer, parish choir or schola. Its aim is to offer an achievable repertoire of proper chants for the Introit, Offertory and Communion, in English, to those who may have never sung propers before, and may be largely unfamiliar with the idiom of liturgical chant.

I can confirm, through my own work on the ground in an OF parish in transition, that the methods employed in the SEP work. Hundreds of other parishes around the US and throughout the English-speaking world have also reported similar success. It is all so exciting to see. For many, this is a first step toward giving Gregorian chant "first place" in the liturgy. It is an achievable first step for those who are willing to take up the task, toward the Gregorian ideal that is enshrined in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

What many parishes are beginning to discover, though, is that while the SEP offers the choir and schola what they need for success, the people in the pews are often left in the dark. The common hymnals and missalettes are not adequate, and really have little to no place any more. What is needed is an Ordinary Form book for the pew that gives parish congregations what they need to fruitfully participate in the liturgy according ideals of the new liturgical movement.

Introducing the Lumen Christi Missal. (Pre-orders are now being taken here.)

The Lumen Christi Missal answers this need. It is a complete resource that can replace common parish disposable "missalette" programs, and is permanent, hard bound, beautiful and dignified, bespeaking the permanence, beauty and dignity of the sacred liturgy. All musical settings are in square note chant notation, and the layout is clear and in continuity with the tradition of beautiful Catholic liturgical books.

The Lumen Christi Missal is not a hymnal; it contains no hymns. It is a book for the Mass, though it is not necessarily a hand missal either.

It contains Lectionary Readings, Antiphons of the Graduale Romanum and Roman Missal for the Entrance, Offertory and Communion (Latin and English in two columns for Graduale texts), simple chant style Responsorial Psalms and Alleluias, in addition to the various chants and texts that are found in the Roman Missal throughout the year (such as the sequences, various chants for Holy Week, Presentation of the Lord, etc.).

In addition to the Proper of Time, the propers and antiphons of the Proper of Saints, antiphons for all Daily Masses (including chant settings of daily Responsorial Psalms), various Ritual Masses, Votive Masses, and Commons are also included. View Sample Contents.

The Lumen Christi Missal also contains the Order of Mass according to the new English translation of the Roman Missal, set to be sung, and contains 4 new simple English chant Ordinaries, the 5 Ordinaries of the Kyriale Simplex, and 8 of the most commonly sung Ordinaries of the Kyriale Romanum. View Sample Contents.

Every Latin chant setting in the Lumen Christi Missal has an English translation directly below the Latin text for the better comprehension of those with little to no familiarity with Latin.

The Lumen Christi Missal also contains over 300 simple chant antiphon settings that may be sung by parish congregations in a proper or seasonal manner. These are contained in a separate section, toward the back of the book, and are numbered and "disguised" as congregational hymns. The reality in most Ordinary Form parishes today is that replacing congregational hymns at the Entrance, Offertory and Communion with propers sung by the choir alone is too drastic a leap. The antiphons in this section are offered as an achievable repertoire of congregational liturgical chant that can begin to slowly replace the problematic hymn repertoires of parishes. These may be sung in conjunction with the schola's singing of the fully proper chant, whether in the vernacular, or in its full Gregorian setting, or in various other polyphonic possibilities. The aim here is to wean parishes off of hymns. The reality in most parishes today is that even when propers are introduced, the hymns never really go away, but are sung in conjunction with congregational hymns. The Lumen Christi Missal offers an alternative that can be slowly introduced into any existing parish repertoire. View Sample Contents.

And finally, the Lumen Christi Missal contains a section of devotions including prayers before and after Mass (taken from the Roman Missal), an examination of conscience, formulas of Catholic doctrine, prayers before and after confession including the Seven Penitential Psalms, and the Rite of Reconciliation, various common prayers (from the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church), common litanies, the Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, and more. View Sample Contents.

The Lumen Christi Missal is currently in the final stages of preparation and will be available in the Spring to Summer of 2012. You can now pre-order a copy at a discounted price here.

While it is a book that is intended for the pew in parishes, it will also be very amenable to personal use.

A "new era of liturgical renewal" is now upon us, and the fruits are beginning to bud forth every where we look. The future of the Church's sacred liturgy is indeed very bright, and much grace awaits us as we press on in the work of renewal and reform. It is my hope that the Lumen Christi Missal will assist parishes and dioceses in this movement of the Holy Spirit that will continue to bring an abundance of graces into the life of the Church.

If you have any questions or if you would like to consider bringing the Lumen Christi Missal to your parish, please don't hesitate to contact me.