GOSPEL COMMUNION: Christmas Midnight, Dawn and Day

December 24/25, 2022 : Christmas Midnight, Dawn and Day

The Collegeville Composers provided one Song for the Table for all the Christmas Masses.

At first glance, the antiphon may seem long, but an amount of repetition helps to make it accessible and memorable. The text comes from the Prologue to John’s Gospel, the Christmas Day Mass pericope:

this life was the light of the human race (John 1:4)

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:9)

From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
(John 1:16-17)

We continue to receive the fullness of Christ under the signs of the bread and wine of the Eucharist.

Furthermore, the Collegeville Composers Group provides verses from 1 John and Isaiah 35. During the Communion procession we can identify especially with this couplet:

If we walk in the light as he himself is light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

The final two notes of the antiphon are Gs, not Fs, the half-close leaving the way open for prayer to continue. The psalm tone is the simplest imaginable: a single note (G) with one momentary dip to F near the end of every other line — forming an effective contrast with all the other glorious music that will have been sung during Christmastide.

A demo extract from the recording Walk in My Ways will be found here.

Thus we come to the end of this three-year series of reflections, which is now completed together with demo recordings. For future dates and recordings, consult the reflections for previous years. From time to time there will be occasions when shifts in the calendar mean that there was no reflection for a particular day in a previous year, and in such cases we hope to provide the “missing links” as they arise.

GOSPEL COMMUNION: 4th Sunday of Advent

December 18, 2022 : 4th Sunday of Advent

Today’s antiphon derives from the Gospel:

Matthew 1:21

he will save his people from their sins

and Matthew 1:23

“and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means “God is with us.”

In Communion we can recognize that God is truly among us and ask him to come and save us from our sins.

The Antiphonal, Antiphonary and Graduale Romanum all suggest Ps 19:2-7 for the psalm verses. We have provided the whole of Ps 19.

The melody of the antiphon reproduces the opening two phrases of the hymn tune DIVINUM MYSTERIUM (“Of the Father’s love begotten”) but in the original chant rhythm rather than the later triple time version, and omitting one note. The antiphon can be sung in unison, or as a 2-, 3- or 6-part round, or even as a multi-part round with from 7 to 12 parts! The swirling effect generated by 12 parts might suggest the Lord coming in power “with healing in his wings”.

A demo recording from the CD Where Two or Three Are Gathered will be found here.

GOSPEL COMMUNION: 3rd Sunday of Advent

December 11, 2022 : 3rd Sunday of Advent

The antiphon is taken directly from the 2nd Reading.

James 5:7

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.

and James 5:8

You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Psalm verses from Ps 85 and large extracts from Isaiah 35 complete the picture, with the verse tone superimposed on the antiphon.

A demo recording extract will be found here.

It would also be possible today to use the Psallite setting for the 3rd Sunday of Advent, Years B and C, which corresponds exactly with the Communion antiphon and canticle (from Isaiah 35, the same text appearing in today’s 1st Reading) in all the sources:

A demo recording will be found here.

GOSPEL COMMUNION: Immaculate Conception

December 8, 2022 : Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Collegeville Composers reused their setting of the Magnificat from August 15, since it is specified as the canticle for Communion in all sources.

It provides a multi-purpose complete setting of the canticle with a paraphrase of the opening sentence as the refrain. As we hear the cantor singing “The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy his name!” we can rejoice that God “fills the starving with good things” — indeed, the best things — that we receive in Communion.

The canticle verses include the Psallite trademark half-refrains at the end of each line, increasing the assembly’s engagement with the canticle.

A demo extract from the recording Walk in My Ways will be found here.

GOSPEL COMMUNION: 2nd Sunday of Advent

December 4, 2022 : 2nd Sunday of Advent


John the Baptizer is a major figure in today’s Gospel. Our antiphon, also used on the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, is taken from the Canticle of Zechariah, John’s father:

the tender mercy of our God
by which the daybreak from on high will visit us
to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow,
to guide our feet into the path of peace. (Luke 1:78-79)

with a little taste of Luke 1:74

freed from the hand of our enemies

Walking in the Communion procession, we pray that we will receive the tender mercy of God, and that he will guide our feet into the way of peace.

Psalm verses are from Ps 92, set to a tone that moves in step like a parabolic arc. The antiphon can work as a simple 4-part round.

A demo recording can be found here.