Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

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quaeritor
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Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

Post by quaeritor » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:31 pm

Should these responses be sung? - does anyone do that? - are there any standard settings? (I have on rare and "special" occasions heard the Taize chant "O Lord hear my prayer" used, but that seems to me to go on far too long!)

Any suggestions gratefully received.

Q

IncenseTom
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Re: Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

Post by IncenseTom » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:11 pm

There are a couple of settings in Laudate which are fairly short.

I've heard the choir sing 'Lord in your mercy' and the response 'Hear our prayer', but I've never heard a sung 'Lord hear us', 'Lord graciously hear us'.

I have also heard the choir sing 'Be pleased to hear us' and the people respond 'Lord we ask you hear our prayer' (taken from the litany of the saints)

Personally, I've never programmed the singing of these responses after each intercession as I think it seems a step too far down the road of 'let's just sing everything possible'. The only time I've used 'O Lord hear my prayer' is during the solemn intercessions on Good Friday when this seems perfectly appropriate.

PhloridaPhil
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Re: Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

Post by PhloridaPhil » Sat Dec 20, 2014 1:15 am

I think the more important consideration is where the prayer is happening. Of course it happens in the silence after the expressed intention and is collected by the response. In the same way when the priest says 'Let us pray' he has to allow time for that to happen before proceeding to the Collect.

alan29
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Re: Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

Post by alan29 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:22 am

I think it sounds a bit unnatural to burst into song at the end of a spoken petition (shades of dodgy musicals, maybe) ...... despite it happening at other places in the liturgy.

Southern Comfort
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Re: Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

Post by Southern Comfort » Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:28 pm

alan29 wrote:I think it sounds a bit unnatural to burst into song at the end of a spoken petition (shades of dodgy musicals, maybe) ...... despite it happening at other places in the liturgy.


I would disagree with this. One of the big problems with the intercessions is the lack of silence for prayer during them. We say "Let us pray for..." and then don't give people any time to pray. This is because most readers just gallop straight on instead of putting in a decent pause (10 seconds minimum) before "Lord, in your mercy" or whatever introduction to the response you are using. Sometimes they do this because of nerves, sometimes because they don't know to do any different, and sometimes because they can't read! (You can write PAUSE in huge capital letters in the "script" and they just ignore it and sail past.)

An easy way to deal with this is to remove from the reader altogether the responsibility of judging the length of the pause before inviting the congregation to respond and instead give it to the cantor. The cantor is less likely to be nervous and more likely to know how to "manage" the silence. So the reader stops at the end of the announcement of each intention for prayer, and the cantor sings "Lord, in your mercy" (or whatever) after a suitable pause, everyone responding in song.

In other words, I don't think using a sung invitation and response is unnatural at all — just as long as the singing is preceded by the silence.

John Ainslie
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Re: Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

Post by John Ainslie » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:06 pm

I fully agree with Southern Comfort. It is common practice at my church to sing the response at the main sung Masses, varying the text by season. The cantor thus determines the length of the pause. S/he sings the first half of a response, the people completing it. The effect of a pause plus sung response is very prayerful.

At other Masses, the parish standard is for the priest to say 'Lord, in your mercy' or 'Lord, hear us', not the reader. Thus he decides on the length of the pause. In my book, it is also technically more correct for the priest to pray thus on behalf of the community: note that the sample texts in the Missal (Appendix 5) all have the deacon/reader concluding each intention with 'let us pray to the Lord' - an invitation, not a direct prayer.

High Peak
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Re: Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

Post by High Peak » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:20 pm

It is certainly my experience that readers, etc., are often afraid of pauses and silence in several parts of the Mass. For example, when my group is playing we ALWAYS sing the Psalm and the Gospel Acclamation, but I don't want to rush in with either of these as soon as the congregation has said, "Thanks be to God." However, afraid of the pause for reflection (and it is NOT a long one) that I leave before piping up, the reader will often start reading the Psalm or the Goepel Acclamation. So I have recently taken it upon myself to give a letter to the parishioner who arranges the reader rota for her to pass on to anyone who may read at the Mass at which we play that (hopefully) reassures the readers that we will not have forgotten and that the pause is intentional.

As for the Prayer of the Faithful, ours is one parish where the celebrant says, "Lord, hear us" etc; but even then we have had the occasional nervous reader who got in before the priest!

I agree that some can find the transition from spoken petition to silence to sung response unnatural - I'm not saying that it is but for some it can feel as such. So what I have done sometimes (though not in my present parish) is to pluck my guitar while the reader speaks and then, say, 5-7 seconds after the reader has finished sing "Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer" which the congregation repeats but with the possibility of harmonies. (I think I got it from a Tom McGuinness SJ tape/book). It can be very powerful, especially in smaller congregations or on retreat.

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Nick Baty
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Re: Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

Post by Nick Baty » Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:50 am

We sing a refrain to the intercessions on those days when the Gospel is about asking something of the Lord. On Good Friday we sing "O, Lord hear us, Jesus Saviour of the world" – Chris Walker with one letter changed!

alan29
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Re: Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

Post by alan29 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:35 pm

We used to have "O Lord hear my prayer" running right through the Good Friday prayers, with everyone humming during the spoken bits and switching to the words at the end of each prayer.
The positive was that it avoided the "Oh what a beautiful morning" effect as everyone burst into song, the negative is that the focus on the words of the prayers was obscured ...... and they went on for EVER!

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Nick Baty
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Re: Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

Post by Nick Baty » Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:02 pm

We have groups of prayers (church, world, etc) with the refrain at the end of each group.

Keraulophon
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Re: Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

Post by Keraulophon » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:55 pm

Some (only some) diocesan Masses have followed the pauses with "Let us pray to the Lord" and then the sung response from the Iona Community, "Through our lives and by our prayers, your Kingdom come". This went down well at our parish centenary Masses a couple of years ago, but no-one has tried it since - perhaps because it requires significant liaison with the writer of the intentions and the readers for it to work well.

Southern Comfort
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Re: Responses to the Prayer of the Faithful

Post by Southern Comfort » Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:56 pm

Keraulophon wrote:Some (only some) diocesan Masses have followed the pauses with "Let us pray to the Lord" and then the sung response from the Iona Community, "Through our lives and by our prayers, your Kingdom come". This went down well at our parish centenary Masses a couple of years ago, but no-one has tried it since - perhaps because it requires significant liaison with the writer of the intentions and the readers for it to work well.


This Iona response is excellent because it reminds us that it isn't just through our prayers but through the quality of the lives that we lead that God's kingdom is brought about. Two practical points about it:

(a) Like a proportion of John Bell's output, it is pitched too high. Transpose it down a tone.

(b) When learning it, it can be useful for the cantor (or choir) to sing "Through our lives and by our prayers" and the people then respond "your kingdom come". In this case you already have a V/ and R/, so no need to preface that by "Let us pray to the Lord" or a similar introduction. Once the people have heard it over a period of weeks the assembly can be invited to sing the whole thing, and an introduction reintroduced. Of course in Keraulophon's parish, with liaison difficulties, it might prove daunting to go through this process...

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