33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B, 2009)

Entrance Lo, he comes with clouds descending
Kyrie Kyrie II from Paschal Mass (Alan Rees)
Gloria Mass of the Creator Spirit (Ed Nowak)
Psalm Keep me safe, O God (Paul Inwood)
Gospel Acclamation Alleluia Mode 2 (Plainchant)
Presentation of Confirmation Candidates Christ be our Light (Bernadette Farrell)
Preparation of the Gifts Let all mortal flesh keep silence
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Eucharistic Acclamations (Bernadette Farrell)
Agnus Dei Mass of the Creator Spirit
Communion My portion and my cup (Psallite)
Postcommunion Pater Noster (Igor Stravinsky, 1882-1971)
Recessional O Jesus Christ, remember

Today’s Gospel reading—they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory—foreshadows the early weeks of Advent, with their emphasis on the expectation of our Lord’s return. (Next week, for the feast of Christ the King, it’s the same, with two further mentions of our Lord coming on the clouds.)

There was a tough planning decision to make – whether to hold one or more musical items in reserve for future weeks, or to (so to speak) play the trump cards straight away, in opting for the clearest musical choices to chime with today’s readings.

I chose the latter course, reckoning that both Christ the King and the Sundays of Advent offer a sufficiently wide range of other musical selections to mean that we could safely use up our repertoire of “second coming” hymns today. Hence, Lo, he comes, Let all mortal flesh keep silence and O Jesus Christ, remember.

That of course leaves open the question whether it would be good to repeat one or more of these items in a week or two. I usually avoid that unless there’s a particular connection to be emphasised between different days in the calendar. Not sure that’s what we’re looking at here – rather, just several Sundays touching on the same theme. What would you do?

Today’s Communion antiphon –

I tell you solemnly, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours

linked neatly with that same theme of our Lord’s coming, in the text of the Lord’s prayer: allowing us to say both thy kingdom come and give us this day our daily bread. Stravinsky’s idiosyncratic take on Russian Orthodox chant (originally written in 1926 to the Slavonic text of the prayer, but revised to accommodate the Latin text in 1949) is austere, but charged with pent-up energy. I suggested to the choir imagining a nuclear reactor surrounded by a lead casing; or, an organ-playing member of the choir countered, like playing with the stops out but the swell box shut.


  1. Hmm. I took a look at all those other Cathedral Music Lists. Let's just say I prefer yours, which seems more like the sort of thing a parish could and should aspire to if it had the resources to do so.

    Don't they sing the responsorial psalm anywhere else?

  2. Thank you, anonymous. It's fair to say there's a spread of opinion as to whether a cathedral should serve as a role model for parishes, or should offer something completely different. It's obvious what view we take at Salford! But I don't think it's a bad thing that there are different approaches to that question in different places.

    Keep on looking in!