The Chanting Presider

According to Musicam sacram, the first, most important, degree of solemnity is the chanting of the priest – in dialogue with the congregation and in the various prayers of the presider alone (the Collects, the Preface, etc.).

While more and more priests are taking up the singing of the dialogues such as “The Lord be with you” (and hearing back a typically hearty “And with your spirit”), many still find the singing of the proper weekly prayers a bit difficult.

Part of the difficulty is that the texts of these in the English translation of the Roman Missal are not provided with musical notation. A priest who wants to sing these has to be comfortable with the melody (the Simple Tone or the Solemn Tone) and then know how to apply it, more-or-less on the fly, to the text of the prayer.

While it is certainly admirable for a priest to have this skill, it is not something everyone is able to do. But that’s okay.

Thanks to the wonderful work of Anthony DiCello, director of music at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Ohio, priests now have a resource of fully-notated chants for the opening collect, the prayer over the gifts, and the prayer after communion. These are available in both the Simple and the Solemn Tone.

These resources are notated in modern stemless round notes and are easy to read and work with. They can be found in the Liturgical Resources section of the Mount St. Mary’s website.

3 Replies to “The Chanting Presider”

  1. Adam, this will be most truth-filled comment I've ever written.
    The "guys" choose not to chant because they're under some spell cast long ago and far away that chanting orations extends the "clock" of Mass.
    Of course, nothing could be more opposite of the truth of that presumption.

  2. I think there is another reason that priests are reluctant to sing their proper parts in the Mass. The singing of these texts gives them an unambiguously sacred character. They may be afraid that this might alienate the congregation, since the people might not pick up on that sacred character. But the principal reason that they might not pick up on such a character is that they never hear it.

  3. I have been searching for a resource such as this for sometime. This is what our priests need to chant the orations in the new missal which do not appear in these books. With this resource, the notation is there and should with a little practice give them the confidence to sing the Mass. Maybe in time the remainder of the the orations will also be set to notation such as for Funerals and Weddings but until then this is an outstanding start. I hope that some of the other music/liturgical websites pick up on this resource and get the word out. Well done!

Comments are closed.