As you’ve probably noticed, the worship aid you were handed was smaller than what you’re used to, and you an see the new blue hymnals in the pews. The hymnal is called Gather Third Edition, published by GIA in Chicago, and we’ll begin using them this weekend. I would like to take you on a brief tour before we begin Mass.
But first, I must acknowledge a dozen or so Knights of Columbus, who, under the leadership of our sacristan, John McCravey, spent many hours in the church this week underneath the pews reinstalling over 250 hymnal racks so that the books are now in front of you instead of hidden underneath the pew. Thank you to all who helped with this important project.
We have about 520 hymnals out in the pews right now, which will be enough for most Masses. However, we have another 200 on the carts by the sacristy door in the gathering space, and you are welcome to pick one up there if you like. Please be sure to return it to the cart. Needless to say, the hymnals should not leave the building without the permission of a staff member.
Whereas our old hymnals were thrown out each year, these hymnals should serve us for at least the next 10 years, hopefully longer. There are many advantages to this, two that stand out. First, financially, if we only keep these hymnals for 10 years, we save at least $50,000, considering the cost of purchasing and shipping the disposable hymnals for ten years. Second, musical stability. Whereas the disposable hymnal is continually changing, with the permanent hymnal we now have an established repertoire of music, much of it familiar to us, which we can augment by using a small worship aid.
So, let’s explore the book.
First, please open of the front cover and take a look at the first page. Here we find many of those tricky parts of the new translation, especially the Nicene Creed and the Invitation to Holy Communion. Please use this page for easy reference for these parts of the Mass. The full Order of Mass is found at #166 for those who wish to follow along with all the prayers and responses.
The second part of the hymnal to look at is the lectionary, near the back. This contains the readings and responsorial psalms for all Sundays and major feasts. Each day is assigned a hymnal number. If you look on the back of your worship aid, right under the Liturgy of the Word heading, you’ll see where it says that the readings and responsorial psalm can be found at #1132. We will always include this information for you on the worship aid. So, if you would, please turn to #1132, the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, in Year B. Notice not only the three readings, but the music and words for the responsorial psalm antiphon, “Our eyes are fixed on the Lord,” with the words of the verses below.
Of course the heart of any hymnal is the music, and here we have about 900 pieces of music, both Mass parts and hymns. Take a look at #207, the Gloria from the Mass of Joy and Peace, which we learned last weekend. Notice now you not only have the words and music for the refrain, but also the words to the three verses. This summer we will begin using all the parts of this Mass setting, which are all in this section of the hymnal.
Please let’s take a look at the worship aid. Any music that isn’t in the hymnal, such as our entrance hymn today, Beautiful Savior, will be printed on the sheet. See also the Penitential Act that we are using during Ordinary Time. It is included in the Order of Mass in the hymnal, but it seemed easier for everyone to just put it on the worship aid. Also, as space allows, we will continue to print the Collect prayer. And as you might expect, all the numbers for hymns and Mass parts are there for you. A logistical hint... the worship aids makes a nice bookmark for the upcoming song.
Two things to keep in mind...
First, books have an important place in our liturgical tradition. The priest has the Missal to exercise his ministry, the deacon the Book of the Gospels. These hymnals are the book of you, the assembly. They are books of prayer containing some of our most sacred texts, from scripture to the words of the liturgy. I invite you to treat them as such, recognizing they are intended to be shared by many here at Blessed Sacrament for perhaps the next two decades.
Second, these books are intended to be opened and used. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the Vatican 2 document upon which the reform of the liturgy rests, states this: “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people.....is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.” Powerful words. As baptized members of the church, we have not just the right, but the duty to participate in the liturgy, including singing. It doesn’t matter how good or bad you or your neighbor judges your voice. If God gave you a voice, I guarantee God wants you to give it back. Our combined voice as a one community is not complete without your voice. These hymnals are for you to exercise your right and duty to participate in the liturgy.