The Nativity of St John the Baptist (2012)

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Entrance On Jordan’s bank
Kyrie Kyrie for three voices, adapted from Byrd (mcb)
Gloria Psallite
Psalm O God, You Search Me (Bernadette Farrell)
Gospel Acclamation Alleluia Mode 2 (Plainchant)
Preparation of the Gifts Blest be the Lord, the God of Israel (Owen Alstott/Bernadette Farrell)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Agnus Dei Holy Family Mass (John Schiavone)
Communion Behold the Lamb of God (Psallite)
Postcommunion Et tu puer (from the Benedictus by T.L. de Victoria, 1548-1611)
Recessional Forth in the peace of Christ

The Canticle of Zechariah, or Benedictus, (from Luke 1:68-79) provided two of the key texts for singing today, in the form of the Gospel Acclamation:

As for you, little child, you shall be called a prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before him.

and the Communion antiphon:

Through the tender mercy of our God,
The Dawn from on high will visit us.

We sang Bernadette Farrell’s setting of Owen Alstott’s versification, and then the final six verses – including those key verses – of Victoria’s setting, alternating chant and polyphony. We used the same chant tone for the Gospel Acclamation verse, which meant we sang the same words to the same tune, in both English and Latin.

For the Responsorial Psalm, we took another very fine Bernadette Farrell song, adapting it to work in responsorial fashion. The final two lines of the last verse:

For the wonder of who I am I praise you.
Safe in your hands all creation is made new.

are a good fit for the response prescribed in the Lectionary, and added to the rather “choral” arrangement of the verses in the collection Christ be our Light, it made for an appropriate distribution of labour between the assembly and the choir.


  1. I quite like the setting of the Psallite Gloria used over the past few Sundays, is this new and which setting is it? My own parish is currently using an 'out of date' Gloria and needs one which uses the new translation. This seems to be a good one to get started on as, without a choir at our disposal, Peter Jones' magnificent new Coventry setting probably wouldn't be suitable.

  2. Hi pjd, and thanks for your comment. The Gloria comes from The Psallite Mass: At the Table of the Lord, written by the Collegeville Composers Group (Carol Browning, Catherine Christmas, Cyprian Consiglio, Paul Ford, Paul Inwood), and published by the Liturgical Press. You can download a preview copy here: page 1, page 2, page 3. The Gloria is the bit of this Mass setting I like the best, and as you say, I think it will work fine without a choir, or even without an organ. There are guitar chords too.

    Peter Jones's revised version of the Coventry Gloria improves on the original, I think. I imagine it could work with a solitary cantor in place of the choir?

  3. Thanks Martin, that's great. Also has Michael Joncas revised his Mass for John Carroll Gloria? I felt this always provided a big sing for the congregation in past Chrism Masses.

  4. It looks like it - here's an excerpt from the score. At first glance it looks as though you would have to take it slowly (quite a bit slower than we took the old version), for the quavers on and on earth peace to people of good will to be convincing. I'll reserve judgement!

  5. Psallite works well in our Parish but we also use the Gloria from Christopher Walker's Belmont Mass, though we do neither justice compared to the wonderful Cathedral choir!

  6. You're too kind! I like the Psallite Gloria rather better than the Belmont one, which is why we often combine the two mass settings - the Kyrie/Sanctus/Agnus from the Belmont Mass, plus the Psallite Gloria.