20 March 2015, Friday of the 4th week in Lent 8.00 EF Missa Cantata

20 March 2015, Friday of the 4th week in Lent

08.00 Missa Cantata (EF)

The chant propers are taken from the Graduale Romanum 1961. Introit and Communion, p. 148f. Gradual, p. 358. Tract, p. 89. Offertory, p. 341.

Introit: Meditatio cordis mei, begin on A (as la)

Gradual: Bonum est confidere, begin on E (as fa). Women sing the verse.

Tract: Domine non secundum, begin on E (as re). Men sing the verse

Offertory: Populum humilem, begin on E (as fa)

Communion: Videns Dominum, begin on F (as fa)

Recessional: Ave Regina Caelorum, PBC, p. 110, begin on A

Ordinary from Mass XVIII. No Credo.

The Introit antiphon has two phrases:

  1. Meditatio cordis mei in conspectu tuo semper
  2. Domine adjutor meus et redemptor meus

The limited neumatic development in this short Introit is more akin to an Office antiphon than an Introit in the Graduale. The high points over (Medi)-ta-(tio) and me-(i) stress the importance of contemplative reflection in seeing the work of God as our helper and redeemer, and the matching cadences over (sem)-per and (me)-us remind us that our focus must be constance is we are to recognise the saving work of God unfolding before our eyes.

There are two phrases in the corpus and two in the verse.

  1. Bonum est confidere in Domino,
  2. quam confidere in homine.


  1. Bonum est sperare in Domino
  2. quam sperare in principibus

This gradual proclaims the antithesis that exists between God and the world, flesh and spirit, and God and Mammon. And were worldlings endowed with all power and wealth, they would yet remain mere humans, mortals, incapable of bestowing upon us lasting happiness. David, the composer of Psalm 117, knew this from his own experience as well as from the history of his nation. •God alone is the source of true happiness of heart: His fidelity is never wanting; His riches are boundless; His love is eternal. Hardly a single musical turn is found in the corpus which does not occur also in other Graduals of the fifth mode. Thus the beginning of the first phrase bears great resemblance to that of the fourth and sixth Sundays after Pentecost. The first phrase of the verse is also much like the second phrase of the Gradual for the second Sunday in Lent. Its second phrase echoes the second phrase on the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. The melodic development is not influenced by the meaning of the individual words; it is purely harmonic, or, better perhaps, it portrays but one sentiment: that of joyous confidence in God.

This is the standard Lenten weekday Tract. Verse 1 has two phrases and the other verses have three.

Verse 1

  1. Domine non secundum peccata nostra quae fecimus nos
  2. Neque secundum iniquitates nostras retribuas nobis.

Verse 2

  1. Domine ne memineris iniquitatum nostratum antiquarum
  2. Cito anticipant nos misericordiae tuae
  3. Quia pauperes facti sumus nimis

Verse 3

  1. Adjuva nos Deus salutaris noster
  2. Et propter gloriam nominis tui Domine libera nos
  3. Et propitius esto peccatis nostris propter nomen tuum

This tract is not found in the oldest manuscripts. It would seem thatit received its present form no earlier than the twelfth century. Thesimilar middle cadences are indicated above by the mark f, and thecaesura (). In the first verse the phrasing of the text and the melodicphrasing are not quite parallel. The second and third verses have muchin common. In the third verse, the introductory notes and the prolongedclinging to a reveal the underlying emotion of the soul; it is a suppliantcall, heartfelt and urgent. It presents one of the more dramatic momentsof the liturgy, the kneeling of all the faithful to the accompaniment ofthis chant. We cry to the Lord: Your Being and the glory of Your Namedemand that You enter the lists for us and grant us Thy lasting help.

The Offertory has three phrases:

  1. Populum humilem salvum facies, Domine,
  2. et oculos superborum humiliabis
  3. quoniam quis Deus praeter te, Domine!

The rite of oblation at Mass, with its washing of the hands, is well calculated to arouse and deepen true humility in us. Only ‘in the spirit of humility and with a contrite heart’ is it possible for us and our sacrifice to find acceptance with the Lord. Humility alone leads to prudence, to the prudence which is characteristic of the children of light. Thus endowed, however, we may confidently hope for deliverance.

From the very beginning of the first phrase the melody grows with each succeeding word, until it soars to jubilant heights with salvum facies. Thus we sang in the Introit Laetare at the words conventum facite (cf. p. 137) as well as in the Introit In virtute tua at the word laetabitur, in both of which joy is the predominant note. Here, too, we are filled with hope while awaiting salvation from the Lord. A similar cadence with a fifth over Domine occurs twice in the Offertory Gloriabuntur, which is sung several times in the course of the year. Superborum in the second phrase accords somewhat with humilem of the first. As salvum facies is brought into prominence there, so humiliabis is stressed here. A feeling of victory, confidently overcoming all obstacles, pervades the melody. This impression is strengthened by the rhythmic four-note groups.

The third phrase, imitating the first two, begins on f. The half tone over Deus tends to accentuate the question, "Who is God?" Praeter te, which follows, makes the phrase sound like the battle cry immortalized in the name of St. Michael. "Thou alone art the Lord:" that is the meaning of the passage over Ddmine. The motive over the first eight notes expands in the following group and again contracts in the two neums immediately preceding -mine. We find the same concluding cadence in the Mass for Rogation Days. In this phrase, the somewhat harsh ending of the first Domine of the Offertory is tempered by the intercalated a. Just as the Lord is terrible in His dealings with the proud, so is He gracious and affable to the humble of heart.

Humilem may, however, also be understood of an entire people that is lowly. Thus the Offertory points out the antithesis between the spiritual man and the earthly man; the children of light versus the children of this world. What is more elevating than the divine grace which is infused in those who participate in the sacrificial Mystery!


The Communion antiphon has three phrases:

  1. 1.Videns Dominus flentes sorores Lazari ad monumentum
  2. 2.Lacrimatus est coram Judaeis et clamabat: Lazarre veni foras:
  3. 3.(a) Et prodiit ligatis manibus et pedibus
    (b) qui fuerat quatriduanus mortuus.

A long-ish text for a Communtion but a very quick, sharp, and very descriptive melody vividly depicts the high emotion of Jesus’s encounter with Martha and Mary at the tomb of Lazarus. The melodic high point at Jesus’s command that brings Lazarus back to life points to His power over death, soon to be shown in His own resurrection. The last phrase paints a ‘melodic picture’of Lazarus slowly rising up to come forth still bound at his hands and feet. 

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