Anglican Patrimony is neither lumpen nor static and, on Gaudete Sunday, we explored a Catholic rethink of an Anglican idea. ‘Hail to the Lord’s Anointed’, James Montgomery’s fine early 19th century hymn, a version of Psalm 72, is prescribed by the English Hymnal for use ‘From the Epiphany to Lent’. In the Catholic Hymnal, however, produced by the Oratorians, it is prescribed for Advent.
‘He shall come down like showers’ is an obvious link with Rorate cæli, the Advent Prose. Furthermore, the mention of kings falling down before the Lord’s Anointed and bringing gold and incense, though an obvious Epiphany theme, is in the future tense. Mind you, we didn’t get that far: after a short mediaeval motet based on the Alma Redemptoris we did not need five eight-line verses to undergird the censing. Gone for us are the days of long, exhausting Offertory hymns which nevertheless end well before the censing is complete.
J Crűger, after whom the hymn tuned is named, was German, as was his contemporary, Heinrich Schűtz whose stunning motet, Rorate cæli, was sung during the Communion. A perfect foil for this lovely music is Mass XVII, the plainsong setting for Sundays in Advent and Lent (for which we use Kyrie C which we judge to be the most suitable of the three settings for the congregation).
Mgr Andrew Burnham