« To Defend The Liturgy | Main | I'm Home »

August 10, 2006

Option #4

From the GIRM, Paragraph 48:

In the dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for the cantus ad introitum: (1) the antiphon and Psalm from the Roman Missal as set to music by the Roman Gradual or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the USCCB or the diocesan bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms, (4) a suitable liturgical song chosen in accord with GIRM, no. 47.

It seems to me that option #4 is the universal option, the one that is used most often in the United States.

My question is: Is there a parish in the US that regularly uses Options 1, 2, or 3 and what has your experience of it been?

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at August 10, 2006 10:03 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Holy Rosary in Portland often if not always uses the proper. St. Dominic's in San Francisco at least at their last Mass of Sunday morning sings the proper prior to then singing a congregational hymn. It seems if you aren't going to go to the work of doing number one, the norm is number 4 because 2 and 3 require almost as much work as number 1. Actually, let me rephrase that. Number 1 doesn't require that much work honestly, and so, if the choir director doesn't want to bother with chant, he isn't going to bother with 2 or 3 either. WLP recently published the propers set to popular hymnody, but it requires the purchase of a stand alone book which is unlikely to happen. Sadly, Adoremus does not have a psalter as part of its hymnal. I'm not sure if St. Michael does or not, but it would be worth looking into.

Posted by: Tom at August 11, 2006 11:55 AM

Padre, you might want to check out RPInet, this very question was discussed and answered on the Lit Music discussion board there recently.

It seems a number of parishes (albeit a small number, at least one of them a cathedral) do exactly that, in some cases in tandem with a congregational hymn.

Your friendly neighborhood Gadfly

Posted by: Gadfly at August 11, 2006 1:29 PM

This is the link to the thread, assuming I've done this right :twisted:


Posted by: Gadfly at August 11, 2006 1:55 PM

Dear Fr. Keyes,

One parish in San Antonio chants the antiphon (1), then will sing a song by itself, and then a post-Communion hymn (4). Then the moment of silence before the closing prayers.

Now, this parish may be an exception as it is Our Lady of the Atonement, which celebrates the Anglican Use liturgy.

Posted by: Andy K. at August 12, 2006 6:05 AM

It seems to me that these options are written in order of preference and a "song" is the option least suited to the Roman Rite. We've been chanting the introit once a month at St. Mary's in Beverly, Mass., and it has been well received (RC usually sings in the schola.) I've suggested that a simple antiphon and psalm in English (option 3, perhaps?) might be the best way to start daily Mass, Mass on a hot summer Sunday, or other days when a long procession is not desirable. The latest issue of Pastoral Music (dare I say I read that rag?) has a nice account of a "hymn-free" liturgical experience, where option 1 is always used for the Introit, Offertory, and Communion (and the Recessional, not being part of the Roman Rite, is omitted). There are many reasons why Option 4 is the overwhelmingly dominant practice: the "four hymn" model from the old liturgical renewal days; a desire to use readily available Protestant hymnody; the dominance of liturgical music publishers who would have little profit to gain from a wide use of the Graduale Romanum or the Simple Gradual; lack of experienced musicians; fierce resistance to change (and who can blame people who have been liturgically "jostled around" so many times during their lives?); etc.

In any case... in answer to your question, I'm aware of parishes with fabulous music programs which use option 1 -- Toronto, Salt Lake City, London -- but I'd be curious to know if any small parishes with limited resources do so. Perhaps someone else will comment?

(BTW, sorry we didn't connect in Massachusetts. Hope you're feeling better?)

Posted by: Michael Olbash at August 12, 2006 7:42 PM

"WLP recently published the propers set to popular hymnody, but it requires the purchase of a stand alone book which is unlikely to happen."

But if I recall correctly, there is a pretty liberal reprint policy with that, so any parish that regularly prints up a worship aid would not find it a cumbersome addition.

Posted by: Gadfly at August 13, 2006 10:58 AM

I've been in parishes that did the (1) and (4) for the Entrance, using the Introit as a prelude of sorts. When I tried it myself in one parish, it went over like a lead balloon. But fool that I am, I think I shall try it again or perhaps see if we can use a brief setting of the Communion verse as a post-Communion meditation. It's breaking that four-hymn mentality that's the trick.

On Michael's recommendation, I shall rush to my copy of Pastoral Musician.

Posted by: Mary Jane at August 13, 2006 5:15 PM

It seems to me that having a duplication, using option 1 and option 4 together, contradicts the spirit of the Roman Rite, though I can't find an exact citation.

If it's meant as some sort of pastoral solution, or for greater participation on the part of the assembly, is it part of a process of transition that includes formation of the assembly?

Aren't most settings of option 1 long enough to cover a procession?

Posted by: Maureen Lahiff at August 19, 2006 7:46 PM

Michael, and anyone else -- "It seems to me that these options are written in order of preference"

This was something I had always understood to be the case, but the concept came under fire recently (also on the RPINet,) so can anyone answer?
Is there a cite for this?
Where is it written that in liturgical documents options are listed in order of preference?
Thanks for any info, or pointing-in-the-right-direction you can give me.

Posted by: Gadfly at August 20, 2006 7:16 PM