A significant event in the field of sacred music occurred this June, when the Church Music Association of America (CMAA) released a new book that is sure to become an essential part of every parish musician’s working library: Communio: Communion Antiphons with Psalms, edited by Richard Rice.
Adoremus interviewed CMAA’s Jeffrey Tucker, who believes that this book “could change the way a parish experiences the Communion rite”.
“Following the rubrics as the Church has given us”, he says, “could cause our liturgical experience to be much more beautiful, and much more … Catholic”.
Adoremus: Tell us about the Communio Project and why it is important.
Tucker: The idea is to put the Mass Propers back into liturgical circulation in Catholic liturgy, starting with the Communion chant. Let me explain what I mean.
Every Catholic knows the problem, but not everyone knows its source or solution. During Communion, the most contemplative and introspective time of the Mass, we are often confronted with the demand that we sing a hymn, usually a contemporary standard like “One Bread, One Body”. Music directors have some sense that they are supposed to do this. Seminars leaders have told them this for decades. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) seems to provide support in referring to a Communion song.
Now, in the usual experience, no one sings. Certainly no one wants to slog a hymnal up to Communion. Mostly, the demand that we sing during Communion violates our sense of the moment that calls for internal rather than external participation. As a result, some music directors despair and just have the choir sing alone or play some mood music. They really don’t know what else to do.