Music For The Sprinkling Rite

The full name as given in the appendix of the Roman Missal is RITE FOR THE BLESSING AND SPRINKLING OF WATER. But if I write “Sprinkling Rite,” you’ll know what I mean.

What I’d like to do with this short series is to look at each of the eight given antiphons in turn. With each I’ll suggest psalms or biblical canticles that might serve as a fitting accompaniment to the antiphon. I recommend this blending when the priest takes the option of moving through the assembly to sprinkle. Some flexibility is advantageous, especially as added verses can be chanted to various tones and the music extended as needed.

The Missal also provides for “another approriate chant,” and we’ll look at some in the mainstream repertoire of American Catholicism. I may link to YouTube if I find particularly good settings of these or of the given antiphons.

I promise I won’t include the Gloria. I know this is done in some places–singing the Gloria to the Sprinkling Rite. I confess I have done it. While I dislike the practice, I don’t find it to be a hill on which I choose to die (or an ocean in which I want to drown). Pragmatism: we can’t always escape it.

My liturgy geek friends know I don’t always have “loyal” things to say about the proper antiphons. But I do think that any liturgist or music director worth her or his salt should go to the texts of the liturgy first. Study them. Ponder them. If they are found inadequate, have a sturdy reason for it. Then move to something else that is scriptural.

The new Missal gives eight choices for antiphons, and we’ll start looking at them soon. Maybe tomorrow. The Easter Season seems an appropriate time to do this, and hopefully there are a few music directors and liturgists out there who might find the subsequent discussion helpful.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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