Trinity Sunday (Year C, 2016)

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Entrance Father, Lord of all creation
Kyrie Mass for John Carroll (Michael Joncas)
Gloria Mass for John Carroll
Psalm Ps 8 (Sebastian Wolff)
Gospel Acclamation Mass for John Carroll
Preparation of the Gifts St Patrick’s Breastplate (C.V. Stanford, 1852-1924)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Simple Sanctus (mcb)
Agnus Dei Mass for John Carroll
Communion God beyond all names (John Bell) & Benedicta sit sancta Trinitas (chant)
Postcommunion O Lux Beata Trinitas (T.L. de Victoria, 1548-1611)
Recessional Holy God, we praise thy name

Michael Joncas’s Mass for John Carroll was a staple of our repertoire in the years before the new Missal translation was issued, and the Gloria in particular, I think, was a congregational favourite. We’ve come back to it now to try out the revised version of the Gloria, updated for the new Missal text, together with other items from the Mass where the text didn’t change. I’m not, in all honesty, bowled over by the new version of the Gloria. As with quite a few of the old well-loved settings, the revision seems to have had as its aim to keep the music from the old version as intact as possible, rather than rewriting the music to fit the new words. The result in places feels uncomfortably like wearing ill-fitting shoes, especially in the opening choral ‘verse’, where the new words …and on earth peace to people of good will occupy the same space as once filled by …and peace to his people on earth. But the enthusiastic singing of the refrain showed that people liked it and hadn’t forgotten it. We’ll persevere, and maybe it will grow on me.


  1. I used to really like this Gloria and it was nice to go back to an old favourite but it almost felt like going back in time 7 or 8 years when singing the refrain, perhaps because it's so long since it was last sung. That line on the opening verse did seem like a mouthful!

    I noticed we also hadn't sung the Missa Ubi Caritas Gloria for a while before using it over Easter, is this a year for 'retro' settings? The 'new' Gloria settings have really grown on me, especially your Mass of the Redeemer and the one from the Psallite Mass, but I guess they've seen quite heavy usage over the last 2-3 years and it's always nice to vary it a bit!

  2. Thanks, Anon, very good to hear your thoughts. I'm always on the look out for good new Mass settings, but they don't seem to come along all that often; so sometimes reaching for an old favourite seems like the best option. I'm still searching for that most elusive beast - a Mass setting people will sing willingly in the absence of the choir. 'Simple Sanctus' is an attempt at that, so let's see if it takes root.

    1. I have to say I'm a bit surprised the people don't sing some of the existing settings a bit more heartily. The Gloria from Jacob Bancks is perhaps a bit challenging but I find the others easy enough to follow and and keep up with, in fact some of them are quite a fun sing. Such as your 'Mass of the Redeemer' Gloria, the Wright 'Advent Gospel Acclamation' and 'Spring Sanctus'.

      Is there a revised version of John Bell's Gloria?

    2. Singing the ritual texts of the Mass, rather than singing favourite devotional hymns outside of Mass, is a huge change of culture that we Catholics don't seem to have fully absorbed yet; it's no help that plenty of Catholic parishes haven't really ever moved on from the 'hymn sandwich' - the mid-20th century confection in which those favourite hymns were transplanted into the Mass, as the first seeds of the idea of active participation that the Council fathers enshrined in Sacrosanctum Concilium. I think we probably have several generations of patient catechesis before the change really takes root. I'd like to think we do pretty well at the Cathedral, though - people know that when they come to Mass the ritual music is oriented towards their participation, and by and large the response is good.

    3. As for the Bell Gloria, I don't think there's an updated version, in fact I'd be surprised - John Bell is a Presbyterian writing for the Iona Community, and his Gloria is a setting of the ecumenically agreed ICET text. One of the regrettable consequences of Liturgiam Authenticam is the way it trampled on ecumenical progress in shared liturgical texts.

      All the more a pity, since John Bell's setting was definitely my favourite of all the ones we sang before the new translation came into force.

  3. Do you have a favourite of the Gloria settings we've been singing since 2011?

  4. Not sure I'd single one out as a favourite. The Psallite Gloria has surprised me by the people singing it so well. I do quite like the Bancks Gloria from the Mass of the Most Sacred Heart, which seems to have disappeared from the internet where it used to be freely available. (I wonder if the composer has withdrawn it?) I think Peter Jones did a great job of updating his old warhorse, the Coventry Gloria. I miss two that I don't expect will ever be updated - the Bell setting we've talked about, and the one from Mass of the Creator Spirit by Ed Nowak. It's fair to say I'm still looking! The conspicuous, glaring, outrageous gap in the repertoire of Catholic liturgical music is pieces that both respect the role of the singing assembly and challenge the musicians. Composers, cathedrals and publishers have not – with the occasional honourable exception – risen to that aspect of the challenge of the liturgical renewal.