Music For The Sprinkling Rite: I Saw Water

The Roman Missal gives five options for antiphons for the Easter season Sprinkling Rite. First choice is the one traditionally known as “Vidi Aquam.” (Plainchant here.)

The Scripture reference is from the forty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel, part of the prophet’s vision of a new Israel and a new Temple. This renewal is appropriated by Christians as a foretelling of the life of grace afforded us by the resurrection of Christ.

I saw water flowing from the Temple,
from its right-hand side, alleluia:
and all to whom this water came were saved
and shall say: Alleluia, alleluia.

The traditional chant gives a verse from Psalm 118:1, (Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his mercy endures forever), then a Trinitarian doxology. The chant, as performed with the link, runs a bit over three minutes, which is likely enough time to complete the ritual. You readers will know I would advocate strongly for assembly participation in either the antiphon or the psalm verses.

I think Bob Hurd’s setting (which relies on the first half of the given text) is a serviceable one. The refrain is a bit long. Unless a parish committed itself to this version, referral in a hymnal or worship aid would be necessary.

From the same publisher, Randall DeBruyn’s setting may be a bit easier to pick up without reference in hand. I’m not wedded to the notion of a “flowing” piano accompaniment, but I’m not as impressed with the accompaniment here as I am with Mr Hurd’s.

Michael Card’s setting (which begins here at 1:49) is call and response straight through. All one needs is a good cantor or two.

I wasn’t familiar with Curtis Stephan’s setting in more of a rock idiom. He uses a lot of words–other antiphons and a suggestion of the Pentecost sequence.

Along with the first contemporary setting, I’d hold up this composition from the Corpus Christi Watershed. The link gives a well-paced plainchant and demonstrates verses, though I’m not sure which Biblical translation is in effect here. I might be more picky about the verses I’d use from Psalm 118. Rather than duplicate the psalm of the day, I’d go with verses 1, 5-9, 13-16, and 19-21 as needed. Verses from Psalm 66 aren’t a bad choice either.

 

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About catholicsensibility

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