Browsing Worship Blog


Dear Partners in Ministry,

As we enter our sixth month together, I wanted to share an observation with you. I've been talking quite a bit lately about the shape of music— the phrasing, dynamics, and rhythmic nuances we layer onto the "ink" (the notes, rhythms, and words) of any piece we sing, from a Lamb of God to a choral anthem. It occurred to me a week ago or so that, while our primary musical sources— our JourneySongs books and the OCP accompaniment books— are quality resources, they aren't helping very much.

What I mean by that is this: these materials are created to provide the most selection to the most parishes in the most economical way, giving you the "ink" and leaving it there. But what we're missing is that next layer of complexity and craft that truly lets these songs live up to their potential. With a few exceptions, you're not seeing dynamic markings; you're not given any indication of tempo changes beyond a metronome mark at the top; you certainly aren't experiencing most of the harmonic beauty that some of these songs provide. While we can certainly write in these markings, we lose valuable rehearsal time doing so, and anyone who missed these notes when given has to catch up later.

I also find the inconsistency of these materials frustrating; the pianist doesn't see the choral parts in the keyboard accompaniment, and sometimes the guitarist is left with chords that are flat-out incompatible with the piano or choir, a side effect of a long-held misbelief in the publishing world that guitarists are somehow not helpful in the singing of hymnody.

What I'm not saying is that we're ditching JourneySongs any time soon. However, this has set me on a new path for us in the long run. Over the next five years, I intend to add the octavos for the majority of the songs our parish sings to the Choral Library, and transition to these octavos as our primary resource for all of you. As you've experienced before, octavos often give you a much more comprehensive picture of the music as the composer intended it; you have dynamics, you have phrasing, and you have harmony layered in or evolving throughout the piece. For singers and instrumentalists alike, this is crucial information that leads all of us to really make music out of these pieces. You'll often have the composer's remarks included, giving story and context to the work. They're also easily contained in a binder or choir folder, and much lighter than a hymnal will ever be.

As you might imagine, this is an expensive goal, with some octavos priced over $3.00 per copy these days. This will be a thoroughly considered and cautious process, truly mindful of our liturgical needs and with certainty that a given octavo is a clear advantage over its hymnal counterpart. That said:


I've identified 15 pieces I'd like to focus on adding this year first, either because of the advantages stated above or because the song isn't in JourneySongs and we should have a legal and reliable way to sing it. Also, there are a few that are already selected for use this Fall, and some new pieces that I'd love to introduce to the parish in the next year.

Would you be interested in "adopting" one of these pieces by donating to the parish for its purchase? Our ministry has a long history of music purchased as a memorial or tribute to a loved one, or on a special occasion, etc; and, just like before, your name and dedication will be added to each copy of the piece.

Prices for these octavos are all over the place, so I've decided to set the "adoption rate" at $200 per piece, which would mostly or entirely cover the 60 copies of each piece we'd need. If the amount for your song is less than $200, the remainder would go to help purchase additional music down the road. If you are interested in adopting a song from the list below, or if there's another of our often-sung pieces you'd like to adopt instead, please contact me.

  1. Be Not Afraid, Bob Dufford, SJ
  2. Bread for the World, Bernadette Farrell
  3. Emmanuel, Steve Angrisano
  4. Gather Us In, Marty Haugen*
  5. Hear Our Prayer, Tony Ward*
  6. Here at This Table, Janèt Sullvan Whitaker
  7. I Am the Bread of Life, Suzanne Toolan, RSM
  8. It Would Have Been Enough, Tony Ward
  9. Mass of St. Mary Magdelene,Sarah Hart*
  10. May We Praise You, John Foley, SJ
  11. O Beauty Ever Ancient, Roc O'Connor, SJ
  12. O God, You Search Me, Bernadette Farrell
  13. Psalm 23: Shepherd Me, O God, Marty Haugen
  14. Psalm 146: Praise the Lord, My Soul!, Christian Cosas*
  15. Take and Eat, Michael Joncas

* Pieces marked with asterisks are coming up in the very near future!

Reminders: August 4 Potluck

Carolyn and Steve Kuerbitz have graciously offered their backyard for our start-of-season potluck on August 4.

If you would, can you email me if you are planning to join us so we can get a rough head count? 

For the rest of us, I'd ask that we all pitch in on food if you're able. Me being me, I've organized it by last name.

Am-Ge: entrees (that's 12 of you)

Gr-Si: sides and salads (that's 24 of you)

Sm-Wo: desserts (that's 10 of you)

I'll supply non-alcoholic beverages (tea, lemonade, etc). If any of you would like to bring beer or wine, that's fine by me.

Food allergy? If you have a food allergy serious enough that said food should not be present, please let me know ASAP. Thanks!



Glory to God: MI 884 · [score] · Mass of Creation (Haugen)

Children’s Dismissal (Sundays): WA · [score] · The Word of God (Ward)

Gospel Acclamation: MI 946 · JS 264 · Celtic Alleluia (O’Carroll/C. Walker)

Prayer of the Faithful: spoken response

Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Glory (Canedo/Hurd

    • Holy: MI 901 · JS 248
    • Mystery of Faith: MI 902 · JS 249
    • Amen: MI 905 · JS 252

Lamb of God: MI 952 · JS 789 · Lamb of God (Kendzia)

JULY 24 · Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gathering Song: MI 305 · JS 771 · Our God Is Here (Muglia)

Responsorial Psalm: MI 817 · JS 110 · Ps 138: On the Day I Called (Cooney)

Preparation of the Gifts: MI 342 · JS 780 · Bread for the World (Farrell)

Communion: MI 489 · JS 718 · Love One Another (Dufford), v. 3–6, sung by cantors or soloists

Sending Forth: MI 598 · JS 824 · Christ, Be Our Light (Farrell), v. 1, 3, 5

JULY 31 · Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gathering Song: MI 310 · JS 761 · Table of Plenty (Schutte)

Responsorial Psalm: WA · [score] · Ps 90: If Today (Ward)

Preparation of the Gifts: MI 470 · JS 696 · In Every Age (Whitaker)

Communion: MI 617 · JS 626 · Come to the Water (Foley)

Sending Forth: MI 388 · JS 813 · City of God (Schutte)


Ordinary Time II (June 12–Aug 28, 2022)

Ordinary Time III (Sep 4–Nov 24, 2022)

Peace be with you,



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