29 December 2011

Propers of National and Diocesan Feasts in the 1962 Missal

I have spent some time recently researching feasts proper to England and Wales in the 1962 Missal. There are feasts proper to the whole of England and Wales: nine, to be exact, including St George (April 23rd) and the Martyrs of England and Wales (May 4th). There are also, listed conveniently in the Baronius Press hand missal, pages and pages of feasts not in the Unversal Calendar of the Latin West, and not celebrated in the whole of England and Wales, but still celebrated in certain dioceses in England and Wales.

These feasts become problematic when they have special texts composed for them. The texts themselves are not difficult to find - diocesan supplements for the altar missals exist, and they are all there in the Baronius Press missal - but when the text need to be sung, one needs to have the chant setting. And these do not seem to be widely available, if at all.
Of the feasts of the whole of England and Wales, a full 'missa propria' was composed for 'BB Joannis Fischer et Thomae Morus': that is, Bishop John Fisher and Thomas More, when they were beatified in 1886; the feast was originally celebrated on 4th May. This Mass, 'Deus venerunt gentes', stayed on 4th May when SS Fisher & More were canonised and moved to July 9th (getting a new Mass formulary), and 4th May became the feast of the Blessed Martyrs of England and Wales. I have found it in the English Benedictine supplement included in a 1908 Schwann Graduale and a later Solesmes Graduale, both of which I have been able to scan. It is a 3rd Class feast.

Here is the Introit being sung by the Schola Abelis of Oxford; there are more videos of the propers of this Mass here.

As a service to readers I have uploaded a booklet of these propers to the Latin Mass Society website, and you can download them here:


Bishop Fisher and Thomas More were canonised in 1935, and I have found their new Mass pasted into the back of an old Liber Usualis I own, with an Imprimatur dated 1936. Even more conveniently, it is to be found in the Graduale Romanum's appendix 'Masses for Certain Places', including the Gradual scanned by the Church Music Association of America. Here is this Mass:


All sorts of things can be found pasted into the back of old Libers, or loose within its pages: St Joan of Arc, St Joseph the Workman, and other things obviously added to the calendar since the date of the printing of that particular Liber. Clearly these little booklets were made available when the Mass texts and melodies were published. What I have never seen, however, in an official supplement or pasted in somewhere, are the proper chants for diocesan feasts, in cases where these are not simply borrowed from other feasts and commons. I shall be posting about some of these later.

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