Mass at the Lichtentaler Pfarrkirche, Vienna : 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A, 2011)


With choir numbers dwindling as the summer holidays approach, and yours truly in Vienna for a (day-job) conference, we allowed ourselves a Sunday off. We’re back for one more Sunday Mass next weekend, before we break for August. At the Cathedral, the plan was to try a congregation-only setting of the new Missal text, in the form of Paul Inwood’s Gathering Mass. I wonder how they got on?

In Vienna, I went to Franz Schubert’s parish church, where they were celebrating the 300th anniversary of the chapel of St. Anne, the oldest part of the church building, and so the 300th anniversary of the parish itself. The music, accompanied by organ and a splendid brass ensemble, was Michael Haydn’s Deutsche Messe - the prototype German or Austrian Singmesse, in which the people sing hymns loosely based on the Mass Ordinary, in place of the Missal texts themselves.

In the days long before the liturgical renewal was dreamt of, these songs would have been sung while the priest got on with the real business of the Mass. I suppose they represented a more “full, conscious and active” mode of participation than was otherwise available to participants in the Low Mass. But now, might they be an obstacle to participation rather than an aid to it? Wikipedia has this to say:

The Betsingmesse became obsolete with the liturgical reform introduced after the Second Vatican Council and with the introduction of vernacular liturgy in the celebration of the Missa cum populo. The tradition of carrying out parts of the liturgy in the form of German songs that are not necessarily a German rendering of those parts of the liturgy: e.g., by a “Song at the Gloria” or a “Song at the Sanctus”, however, has been retained in many parishes, even if it is regarded critically by liturgists and is not supported by the official documents as part of the modern Roman rite.

The singing, it has to be said, was strong and reverent.

Mass with Archbishop Charles Dufour

Wednesday of Week 16 in Ordinary Time (Year I, 2011)
20 July 2011

Entrance Thou whose almighty Word
Kyrie Kyrie Eleison from Missa Ubi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Psalm Ps 144: How good is the Lord (mcb)
Gospel Acclamation Easter Alleluia
Preparation of the Gifts Oculi Omnium (Charles Wood, 1866-1926)
Sanctus, Acclamation 1, Amen Gathering Mass (Paul Inwood)
Agnus Dei Take and Eat (Michael Joncas/Gary Daigle)
Communion Take and Eat (Michael Joncas)
Postcommunion Panis Angelicus (César Franck, 1822-1890)
Recessional Guide me, O thou great redeemer

We joined with Archbishop Charles Dufour – an old seminary friend of Fr Tony’s, en route home from receiving his pallium in Rome – to celebrate his appointment to the see of Kingston, Jamaica.

To accompany the first reading from Exodus 16, telling the story of manna in the desert, we had two settings of the words The eyes of all creatures look to you, and you give them food in due time, in the responsorial psalm, and in Charles Wood’s serene and simple choir piece. Panis Angelicus and the our final hymn were on the same theme too.

The Gospel was the parable of the sower again. We sang about it obliquely, in our opening hymn:

Hear us, we humbly pray,
and where the Gospel day
sheds not its glorious ray,
let there be light.

Fr Tony drew the threads together in his homily: the spread of the Gospel is at the core of the mission of any bishop.

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A, 2011)

Entrance O God, thy people gather
Kyrie Kyrie for 3 voices adapted from Byrd (mcb)
Gloria Mass of the Most Sacred Heart (Jacob Bancks)
Psalm O Lord, you are good (mcb)
Gospel Acclamation Alleluia Mode 2 (Plainchant)
Preparation of the Gifts All that is hidden (Bernadette Farrell)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Agnus Dei Holy Family Mass (John Schiavone)
Communion There is a longing in our hearts (Anne Quigley)
Postcommunion For the beauty of the earth (John Rutter)
Recessional Thanks be to God (Stephen Dean)

In today’s second reading we heard:

when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means

which led us to Anne Quigley’s There is a longing in our hearts. The Gospel reading had these words:

I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world

and this gave us Bernadette Farrell’s All that is hidden.

The Communion antiphon, finally, was

The Lord keeps in our minds the wonderful things he has done. He is compassion and love; he always provides for his faithful.

John Rutter’s irresistible For the beauty of the earth is a joyful hymn in praise of this providence.

Ordination to the Priesthood of Paul Blackburn and Andrew Starkie

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Entrance Praise to the Holiest
Kyrie Kyrie Eleison from Missa Ubi Caritas
(Bob Hurd)
Gloria Missa Ubi Caritas
Psalm My soul rejoices (Owen Alstott)
Gospel Acclamation Easter Alleluia
Litany of the Saints Chant
Illustrative Rites Veni Creator Spiritus (chant, with vv 2 & 6 by T.L. de Victoria, 1548-1611)
Kiss of Peace If ye love me (Thomas Tallis, c.1505-1585)
Preparation of the Gifts Ave Maria (Edward Elgar, 1857-1934)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Gathering Mass (Paul Inwood)
Agnus Dei Missa Ubi Caritas
Communion The Almighty works marvels for me (Peter Jones)
Postcommunion Ave Verum Corpus (William Byrd, c.1540-1623)
Recessional Hail Queen of Heaven

For this special occasion we had a good mix of music, from plainchant to Peter Jones. Hail Queen of heaven and the Gathering Mass are both guaranteed to raise the roof, and didn’t disappoint. For the latter, with Paul Inwood’s kind permission, we used the as-yet unpublished version revised for the new Missal translation. I led the assembly through the changes to the Sanctus before the start of Mass, and perhaps it was a first moment of catechesis for those from parishes where the significance of the impending changes on what we sing at Mass hasn't yet featured on the radar.

My good work was undone by the massed ranks of the clergy, who weren’t present for the run-through, and belted out the old version without looking in their service booklets. If it was a teaching moment, the lesson was that we can expect chaos for a while yet.

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A, 2011)

Entrance Thou whose almighty word
Kyrie Taizé Kyrie I
Gloria Mass of the Most Sacred Heart (Jacob Bancks)
Psalm Ps 64 (Stuart Beer)
Gospel Acclamation Alleluia Mode 2 (Plainchant)
Preparation of the Gifts Eye has not seen (Marty Haugen)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Agnus Dei Holy Family Mass (John Schiavone)
Communion Seed scattered and sown (Dan Feiten)
Postcommunion How lovely are thy dwellings (Johannes Brahms, 1833-1897)
Recessional Love Divine

The seed in today’s readings is identified with the word falling on receptive ears. Our Communion processional song made a different connection, using the image from the Didache: as seed was scattered on the hill and then gathered to make one loaf of bread, so are we gathered into Christ’s body. The music, in different hands, could have a chirpy 60s folk quality to it, but we took it at a gentler pace, which lent a prayerful air, and gave time for the multiple scriptural sources of the text to resonate.

The Communion antiphon itself, from Ps 83(84), included the words

How happy they who dwell in your house! For ever they are praising you.

We sang the same text in the well-known chorus from Brahms’s German Requiem.

Another new Gloria today, namely that from Jacob Bancks’s Mass of the Most Sacred Heart. For a piece given away freely via the internet it has a good deal of musical merit, chiefly in the skilful use of connected melodic themes to mirror the structure of the text itself. On the other hand (as I read in a blog discussion of the piece) the part-writing seems curiously cavalier about musical grammaticality, with a proliferation of consecutive fifths and octaves, unresolved discords, gratuitous second inversions, and the like. The composer seemed unrepentant, and the least that can be said is that to the untrained ear the piece seems to work well.

11.30 Mass at St Nameless’s: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A, 2011)

Entrance Here I Am, Lord (Dan Schutte)
Preparation of the Gifts In bread we bring you, Lord (Kevin Nichols)
Memorial Acclamation He is Lord (2 verses)
Communion Bind us together
Recessional As I kneel before you (Maria Parkinson)

At the cathedral today they celebrated First Holy Communion for the children of the parish, and the choir were given the customary weekend off.

I went to the principal Sunday Mass in my home parish, where they were celebrating the Leavers’ Mass for the local primary school. The children acted as readers, and there was a School Assembly-style contribution from all the children before the final blessing, but otherwise it was a normal Sunday Mass.

There’s never any strong sign that liturgy and music here are shaped by familiarity with the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, or Celebrating the Mass, and the parish priest seems content not to do anything about it. My impression is that the only template for the way liturgy is conducted in the parish is local practice over the last few decades. I don’t think there’s any sense among the parishioners that it ought to be done differently.

The parish priest contributed some game-show host antics, in recruiting one of the children to take over from him in leading the penitential rite. (He put a microphone in front of the child, and said “Say I confess, and everyone will follow”, with predictable comedy consequences.) The PP also led the one piece of “ritual” music, namely the hymn that stood in for the Memorial Acclamation, calling out the words for verse two, Gospel-music style, over the last notes of verse one.

I was saddened by the spectacle, and mildly embarrassed that it’s the parish I live in.