Christmas Vigil and Midnight Mass (2009)

IntroitO Emmanuel (chant)
Opening HymnO Come, O Come Emmanuel
ReadingIsaiah 11:1-10 (A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse)
ChoirO Magnum Mysterium (Morten Lauridsen)
HymnWhile shepherds watched their flocks
ReadingLuke 1:26-38 (The Annunciation)
ChoirIn the bleak midwinter (Harold Darke)
HymnOnce in Royal David’s City
ReadingJohn 1: 1-18 (In the Beginning was the Word)
Bishop’s entrance and procession to the cribAdeste Fideles
GloriaGloria de Noël (Thomas Niel)
ReadingIsaiah 9:2-7 (The people that walked in darkness)
PsalmChristmas Psalm (Farrell)
ReadingTitus 2:11-14 (God’s grace has been revealed)
Gospel AcclamationCeltic Alleluia (Fintan O’Carroll)
ReadingLuke 2:1-14 (The Nativity)
Preparation of the giftsA maiden most gentle (trad. arr. Andrew Carter) – choir
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Missa Ubi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Agnus DeiMissa Ubi Caritas
CommunionVerbum caro factum est (mcb) & Gloria III (Jacques Berthier)
Silent night
PostcommunionO little town of Bethlehem
RecessionalHark the herald angels sing

Our celebration was structured along the lines of para. 110 of the Directory on Popular Piety, with a vigil forming an extended Liturgy of the Word, as at Easter, but with the principal celebrant joining us after the first three readings. (Fr Tony presided up to this point.) Celebration Brass were with us, and a very full congregation joined in heartily with familiar music.

Thomas Niel’s setting of the Gloria takes the traditional Christmas carol refrain and adds choral sections in between setting the Latin text of the prayer. There seem to be a few settings like this to choose from.

Verbum caro factum is a canon written to go with the well-known Taizé setting of the song of the angels. We began with mine and gradually morphed - via an 8-part canon combining the two settings - into a unison proclamation of the words Gloria in excelsis Deo. It was probably too complicated to expect the assembly to join in, but hopefully the lilting 6/8 meant it was a suitably serene accompaniment to the Communion procession.

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