Long Antiphons

IMG_1741_8x12One piece of editing I might like to see in the next edition of the Roman Missal is a shortening of some of the longer antiphons. I’m not advocating omissions–just thoughtful placement into verses or descants or somewhere where the memory doesn’t need to hold on.

Two possible options for the Communion procession this past weekend were:

Communion Antiphon Cf. Ps 16:11
You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, O Lord.
Psalm 16: 1-3, 5-10: GR, p. 363

I do like Scott Soper’s setting of this text–one of my favorites of the 16th Psalm. But when people are in the sacramental procession and mostly not bringing their books, I’d rather give them something they can more readily sing. So I used this setting by Barbara Bridge. I’m not sure the tempo of the antiphon of this recording does the piece justice. I think it needs a bit more life and pulse. That said, the pacing of the verses is close to what we did. Many of my cantors-to-be “enjoyed” an opportunity to offer a verse or two in this setting.

Option number two:

Or: Jn 6:58
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me shall have life because of me, says the Lord.
Psalm 34: GR, Praenotanda, p. 12

The 34th is a go-to text for Communion in the Roman Rite. But I think we could do better with both antiphon and verses here. Something like …

We feed on you, O Lord; we draw our life from you.

And verses drawn, if from a New Testament text, utilizing the Magnificat or Ephesians 1:3-10.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to Long Antiphons

  1. Liam says:

    I adore some of the long antiphons: would absolutely hate for this communion antiphon to be shortened – it’s a more complete thought with the second sentence, and Richard Clark crafted a convincing setting that his congregation sings well, between choral verses:

    The sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for her young: by your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, for ever singing your praise. (Cf. Ps 84 (83): 4

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