The Saint John’s Gradual

A new collection of plainchant in English is now available, in the Saint John’s Gradual edited by Rev. Steven Lewis of the Diocese of Rochester.  The collection is named for St. John’s Seminary in Boston, where he studied, and it is available for download from the Seminary’s website, complete with ecclesiastical approbation by Cardinal O’Malley.

This collection provides simple, singable English versions of the graduals, tracts, and alleluias, so it serves as a complement to works such as Simple English Propers by Adam Bartlett or Fr. Samuel Weber’s The Proper of the Mass, which provide settings of entrance, offertory, and communion chants.  The texts come from various liturgical books and chant editions.

Congratulations to Fr. Lewis on this accomplishment!


More on the early days of the Eucharistic Pilgrimage

Seton Route

National Eucharistic Pilgrimage: Eastern Seton Route Travels on Boat with the Eucharist (

Juan Diego Route

National Eucharistic Pilgrimage: Pilgrims on Southern Juan Diego Route Process in Texas Heat (

Marian Route

(34) National Eucharistic Pilgrimage: Northern Marian Route Gathers Thousands to Encounter Christ – YouTube

Serra Route

National Eucharistic Pilgrimage: Western Serra Route Brings Eucharist across Golden Gate Bridge (


Eucharistic Revival Processions, Kickoff Edition

The 4 Eucharistic Revival Processions are in full swing, fulfilling the Year of Parish Revival.
(31) 2024 National Eucharistic Pilgrimage Kicks Off | EWTN News Nightly – YouTube

Here are highlights from each of the routes.

Serra Route: Opening Mass from the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco


Marian Route: Opening Mass in the Diocese of  Crookston

(31) Star of the North Eucharistic Congress 2024 – YouTube

Seton Route: The Procession begins

National Eucharistic Pilgrimage – Seton Route Kickoff in New Haven (

Juan Diego Route: Mass from Brownsville, live at this writing



Hypermetric scruples

Occasionally in classic Latin hymns we find texts that don’t fit the poetic meter perfectly but have an extra syllable, and these are often notated so as to draw attention to the discrepancy, as here (“digitus”) in the Veni Creator Spiritus:

Some choir directors adjust these “hypermetric syllables” to fit the meter: that is, they may “elide” syllables by omitting the vowel of one syllable and combining the rest of that syllable with the next (or the previous one!). For example, in the doxology at the end of a long-meter hymn, the phrase “cum Patre et almo Spiritu” can be sung in eight syllables as “cum Patr-et almo Spiritu”. On the other hand, some choir directors sing these lines exactly as notated, out of a sense of duty to sing the hymn as directed in the church-approved book.

Today I stumbled on this document in the old (1949/1960) Antiphonale Romanum (page 64*), which addresses the concern about what is permitted.

The question addressed to the Congregation of Rites (back in 1915) was whether these lines should be pronounced distinctly and the added notes sung rigorously as indicated in the Antiphonale, or whether it was permitted to elide those syllables; and the answer from the Congregation came back, “Negative to the first part; affirmative to the second”; that is: it is not required to interpret those lines rigorously, and it is permitted to elide the affected syllables.

So when a text occasionally doesn’t conform to the meter of its tune, it’s fine to make it fit: I hope this helps ease any scruples of worried singers.

Press Release and Special Offer!

Watts & Co. is proud to have supplied choir wear for cathedrals worldwide, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York (above).

Watts and Co. Special Offer!

Watts and Co., founded in 1874 has offered a special savings to readers on that we want to pass along. They have been long-time advertisers on the website, supporting our work for many years.

Use discount code CCWATTS to receive an 8% discount on all their choir products. Just visit their website at

A little about Watts and Co.:

Traditional hand embroidery remains a key part of Watts & Co.’s offering.

Founded in 1874, Watts & Co. has grown from a small firm of Gothic Revival architects to the purveyor of the finest vestments, choir wear, fabrics, and furnishings to churches worldwide.

Heir to his fifth-generation family business, Robert Hoare, took on the prestigious mantle and continues to guide its growth into the 21st century.

Robert’s ancestor, Sir Gilbert Scott Jr, one of the founders of Watts, converted to Catholicism through his encounter with St John Henry Newman. Since then, Watts has seen its relationship with the Church blossom, supplying priests, parishes, choirs and religious communities worldwide with unique vestments, choir wear and liturgical fabrics of timeless beauty.

‘People who come to us discover a craftmanship here which has been carefully preserved from generation to generation,’ explains Robert. At the heart of Watts’ practice is the message of Pope Benedict XVI: beauty is not mere decoration rather an essential element of the liturgical action.

The Watts showroom in Westminster, London, England.

Celebrating its 150 years anniversary this year, Robert Hoare is passionate to maintain and develop the company’s mission of contributing to the beauty of the liturgy far into the future.

A hymn for the saint of the day

The martyr Stephen met his death–
Forgiveness in his final breath–
He interceded for them all
Whose cloaks lay at the feet of Saul.
The Father, hearing Stephen’s prayer,
Gave gifts for all the Church to share
When grace and mercy overflowed
In light upon Damascus Road.
Then bless the Lord of heart and mind
Who gives new vision to the blind,
Whose reign throughout the world extends,
Whose loving-kindness never ends.
© 2008 Kathleen Pluth. Permission is given for parish use December 26, 2023, January 24-25, 2024. All other rights reserved.