True Body, Gathered Body

Here’s a nice choice for you musical voters. The first of three Marty Haugen offerings, the much-maligned “Gather Us In” against yet another Latin text with any number of musical settings, a top-twenty NPM choice, “Ave Verum Corpus.”

Let’s look at the more popular choice first. Latin text:

Ave verum corpus, natum
de Maria Virgine
vere passum, immolatum
in cruce pro homine,
cuius latus perforatum
fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine
O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie, O Iesu, fili Mariae.
Miserere mei. Amen.

English translation:

Hail, true Body,
born of the Virgin Mary,
who having truly suffered,
was sacrificed on the cross for humankind,
whose pierced sideflowed with water and blood:
May it be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet]
in the trial of death.
Oh sweet Jesus, Oh pious Jesus, Oh Jesus, son of Mary,
have mercy on me. Amen.

This poetic text dates to about the 14th century.  Mozart has the most popular of all the settings, I’d say. But there are others just as worthy.

On the other hand, “Gather Us In” has just a generation’s pedigree. Marty Haugen had two music collections released by Pastoral Arts Associates in 1978 and 1980, plus a collaboration with David Haas in 1981 with Cooperative Ministries. In 1982, the Gather Us In collection was his first GIA effort. My priest friend, the late Fr Bill Bauman, considered Marty Haugen’s hymn text a “perfect theology of celebration.” That’s likely the most optimistic assessment of a text and tune that began a significant sub-movement within contemporary Catholic music toward hymnody and away from Scripture-based responsorial music.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2012 Dance, Liturgical Music. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to True Body, Gathered Body

  1. Karl says:

    For all the sublime loveliness of Mozart’s setting (which does not include the the troped ending), this is one of those occasions where even his setting must bow to a supernal superior – Byrd’s:

    Byrd’s setting gains from the poignancy of understanding that, if he heard it, it was probably only sung in small, secret house gatherings of recusant Catholics in Jacobean England in the period after the Gunpowder Plot.

  2. KLS and Todd,
    No small wonder this devotional text is, in Seinfeld terms, “Gold, Jerry, pure gold.”
    I really believe no one should ever attempt to set this unless they have a true Jones.
    My own, humble, attempt…

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