Gather IV Review Part 2: Liturgy of the Hours

Continuing a review of the newest edition of the Gather hymnal, let’s look at how it presents the Liturgy of the Hours.  Keeping with the tradition of the last three-plus decades of GIA hymnal editions, the chief celebrations are presented for Morning, Evening, and Night.

Referencing that “(i)n recent times, these prayers have been restored to some of their simplicity and are again being prayed in parish churches and Christian households,” a very definite style is presented here, different from the thousands of pages in “official” books. Some fuss about the use of the so-called cathedral office. But the fact is that a two-thousand page book with colored ribbons is not going to fly with children, families at home, or in a mainstream parish. A simple, adaptable form will get the movement started. That is what Gather IV presents.

The premise is that these liturgies are mainly sung, including the dialogues and responses. This would be in keeping with the post-conciliar drive for singing the liturgy, as opposed to singing at the liturgy. Text sources are fairly wide for the numbers 1 through 27: ICEL’s 1974 revision of the Hours, GIA’s seminal Praise God in Song, the Book of Common Prayer, and the 2010/18 edition of Abbey Psalms and Canticles. The music is mostly plainchant with suggestions for Psalms in an array of contemporary styles. The choice for the Gospel Canticles is responsorial, even the brief Nunc Dimittis.

I’d say that a competent liturgist or informed music director could start with these forms and take the next steps if the first seeds in a parish sprouted. The basics of simple and through-sung are a good start. 

The editors’ stated hope of memorization once these liturgies are internalized is a laudable goal. It would take persistence. 

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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