7 May 2017, 4th Sunday of Easter (Year A) + May Crowning

7 May 2017, 4th Sunday of Easter (Year A) + May Crowning

Introit: Misericordia Domini

Offertory: O Thou the heavens eternal King, p. 357

Communion: Ego sum pastor,

May Crowning (see Order & prayers below):
            Hail, Holy Queen Enthroned Above, V2H, p. 261
            Bring flowers of the fairest, (cf. pdf below)

Recessional: Regina Caeli, PBC, p. 121

Dismissal from Mass I, as in Paschaltide apart from the Octave and Pentecost, PBC, p. 48.

Mass I (Lux et origo) PBC, p. 46ff. Credo III, PBC, p. 77ff.

The Introit antiphon has two phrases:

  1. Misericordia Domini plena est terra, alleluia:
  2. verbo Dei caeli firmati sunt, alleluia, alleluia.

The chant begins with tender and mellow tones—the half-tone interval recurs three times in the opening words—which sing of God's mercy. For today is the Sunday of the Good Shepherd. Everything reflects His goodness His love, His understanding pity. He knows His own. He acknowledges every indication of good will; He recognizes our weakness and knows how to have compassion on us. All the earth must in very deed praise His merciful love, for He has given His life for everyone. Than this there is no greater love, as He Himself has declared. The melody develops very gradually. The notes d-f at the beginning become e-f-g over Do-(mini) and f-a on the third syllable of alleluia, yet so that the first phrase rests on f.

            A more energetic spirit is evidenced in the fourths of the second phrase and the accent on g. We are speaking here of God's almighty fiat. This one word sufficed to stabilize the heavens. But to unlock for us the heaven of divine mercy, the Word of God went to a most cruel death. At this thought a heartfelt alleluia—the apex of the melody—must ascend from our hearts. We summon all the just to join in our song. The only other time we hear this bright, jubilant melody is at the end of the Introit of the Rogation Mass (EF) and in the more recent Introit for the feast of St. Paul of the Cross (April 28). As usual in Mode 4, the psalm-verse has a as its dominant. Thus we have the gradation: the first phrase f ; the second g; the psalm-verse a.

The Communion antiphon has two phrases:

  1. Ego sum pastor bonus, alleluia
  2. et cognosco oves meas, et cognoscunt me meae, alleluia, alleluia

Each Holy Communion is a pledge that the Good Shepherd continuously leads us to the springs of eternal life, for He alone is the Good Shepherd. Hence Ego occupies a very emphatic position at the beginning of the piece. If other voices entice us and seek to influence our judgment, then we must turn to Him alone and listen only to His voice.

            The Communion has the same text as the second Alleluia-verse, but a different development. The two phrases et cognosco and et cognoscunt begin with the same motif. But in place of the parallelism in the Alleluia, the melody in the Communion over et cognosco oves meas shows a lively upward swing with the range of a sixth. It portrays the great love of the Good Shepherd for His sheep. But et cognoscunt has only seconds and its range is but a third. The melody tells us that compared to His knowledge of us, our knowledge of Him will always be limited. Usually, the alleluia in Eastertide is sung with a strong cry (cf. the alleluia in today's Introit). But the one inserted between the words of our Lord here and the two at the end are much more the simple melody of a shepherd in the fields.

Order for the May Crowning (Done at the end of Mass on the first Sunday of May)

All sing the first verse of Hail, Holy Queen Enthroned Above, V2H, p. 261, as the ministers leave the altar and process to Our Lady's statue. After that, the celebrant will say:

Celebrant: As we begin the month of May this year while celebrating the glorious Season of Easter, we wish to add to our joy in praising the Risen Christ by carrying out a special act in honor of his Holy Mother, crowning this image of Saint Mary of Victories, Patroness of our church. This image reminds us of the close ties of Mary to Christ and his Church. First of all, she is Christ’s Mother, the Mother of the visible image of the invisible god. But she is also the image and the model of the Church, and she is its exemplar. In Mary the Church joyously contemplates the image of all that the Church itself desire and hopes wholly to be. The Church recognizes in Mary the model of the path and the practice it must follow to reach complete union with Christ. As the Spouse of Christ, the Church raises its eyes to Mary, the exemplar it must look to in carrying out the work of the apostolate. We should strive to take part in this service with the greatest intensity and reverent devotion.

The statue is crowned while all sing the crowning hymn, Bring flowers of the fairest.

When the hymn ends, the celebrant says:

Celebrant: Let us ask Mary to pray for us saying:

(All then pray together:)

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope!

To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;

to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us,

and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

Celebrant: Almighty God and Father, you have given us the mother of your Son to be our queen and mother.

With the support of her prayers, may we come to share the glory of your children in the kingdom of heaven.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

As a recessional hymn, all sing the Regina Caeli as indicated above, with its conclusion led by the celebrant:

V. Gaude et laetare Virgo Maria, alleluia.

R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus. Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: : praesta, quaesumus, ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam*, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.