Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
Ever since we purchased our new Lumen Christi Missal and Hymnal system, we’ve known that we would have to throw away the old Heritage Missalettes that are still in our pews. Believe it or not, although we were paying close to $6,000 per year to replace those missalettes each year, the contract language included in that missalette subscription forbade us from keeping those missalettes beyond their expiration date; i.e., we still didn’t own those books.
Because of pastoral need, we kept them in the pews, because we did not want immediately to lose access to those songs with which we are so familiar from these missalettes over the last number of decades. Although I talked with a couple pastors around the country who implemented the Lumen Christi Missal and Hymnal by immediately getting rid of any of the other music, my meetings with our music leaders in this parish convinced me that we ought to take a different approach and retain some songs. So we left the Heritage Missalettes in the pews, knowing we would eventually produce a Hymnal Supplement for our parish, containing music our music leaders thought was necessary to maintain. That Hymnal Supplement is now complete.
With a lot of input from our music leaders, we compared all the hymns available in our new Lumen Christi hymnal with those in our old Heritage Missalette. Some of the songs were contained in both. Then our music leaders weighed in on which remaining hymns we should still provide in a supplement. We also polled the music leaders for whether to have melody notes (printed music) included for the songs, rather than just having lyrics. (We had seen another parish that just printed the lyrics.) We ended up deciding to include the melody line along with the lyrics. Next, we found a company called OneLicense that allows us to pay a copyright fee for any songs for which OneLicense holds rights. (There were only a handful of songs for which OneLicense had no copyright; and this fact in itself indicates that those are songs that are barely used in liturgy today. Otherwise OneLicense would find it beneficial enough financially to have those copyrights. If a choir were to want them still, sheet music could be obtained.) As we use songs from this supplement throughout the year, we will pay a small fee to OneLicense, but – as I have stated many times before – the financial savings for this approach is enormous. Given the diocesan grant received, and generous donations from parishioners, and the fact that this fall we did not pay our normal Heritage Subscription, the Lumen Christi Missal and Hymnal are already paid for, and we are starting to save that subscription money each year. And we now have in our possession what I believe to be the best resource for liturgical music in English. The new Divine Mercy Hymnal Supplement will help us maintain in our repertoire those songs music leaders thought were important enough from the Heritage Missalette.
The Hymnal Supplement contains 81 songs, including some for special seasons such as Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter; but also plenty of songs that would be used during Ordinary Time. So, we’re ready to pitch the old missalettes. This will clean up our pews significantly. It has never been the plan to have missalettes laying in the pews permanently. The new Hymnal Supplement should fit quite nicely at our Antwerp and Paulding campuses. At our Payne campus, however, we are looking at the possibility of another, smaller book rack that would fit in between the two large ones now in each pew. That rack would hold several of these supplements, or perhaps it would end up holding the dark blue Lumen Christi Hymnal in each pew, while the Supplement gets added to the larger book rack with the red Lumen Christi missals. We’re still working on that. We have ordered some sample racks to try them out.
Overall, the supplement is the last step in our transition to the Lumen Christi Missal and Hymnal system. The plan now is simply to continue to use the system, especially getting used to antiphons and responsorial psalms done in Gregorian chant modes (rather than modern keys and melodies). In all of this, there has been the priority of emphasis on the actual words, especially words of Scripture, which have melodies subordinated to the meaning of the words. This is pretty rich, spiritual stuff! We can all keep growing and benefiting from this music, which – as I pointed out before many times – is recommended to us by the Church in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and in other music instructions given since Vatican II.
I am grateful to our music leaders who gave so much input, and then to Dianne Jones and the other team members who handled all of the practical matters to create this Divine Mercy Hymnal Supplement. May the Lord be ever increasingly glorified by our worship of Him in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,