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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

June 21, 2019

Bridal chit-chat (29):  the unexpected Gloria

evelyn @ 10:18 am

Priest (catching me on my way to the gallery):   You should start the Gloria right after my introduction.

Me (totally taken aback): Gloria?  Are we singing the Gloria?

Priest:  Yes, the bride processes up to the front, then there’s the introduction, then the Gloria.

Me:  But I’ve no music … (priest’s expression changes) … but it’s all right.  I’ll cope.  Really, I will.

I scurry up to the gallery.

Gosh, I hadn’t expected an emergency quite so soon.  It’s a while since we had a Nuptial Mass, so maybe I’ve just forgotten.  Or have I?

But first, must organise this Gloria.  It will be our ‘standard’ version – has to be, it’s the only one the people really know.  It’s a Catholic-Catholic marriage and both families are local, so they should respond to it. Now, do I know it well enough to play from memory?  Probably, but let’s have a hunt around in the music cupboard.  Here’s a vocal copy.  Fine, that will do.  Now, find entrance music and get pre-nuptial tootling ready.  No need to start yet, guests are still chatting outside in the sunshine.

So why didn’t I expect the Gloria?  Well, there was that Saturday archdiocesan event with the Archbishop last year.  I had asked our priest about the Gloria and was told ‘There is no Gloria’.  This was because it wasn’t a Sunday.  But … but …    Puzzled, I had then pointed out to him that in a previous year we had had the same archdiocesan event, also on a Saturday, complete with Gloria.  ‘Yes’ had been the priestly response, ‘that’s because it just happened to be the Feast of St Margaret of Scotland, which does have a Gloria’.  Oh.  Right.  Ever had the feeling you can’t win?  Guests are starting to drift in.  Better shut down stream of consciousness and do some playing.

That was on the Saturday.  The sung Gloria in fact worked reasonably well. But on the Sunday I was thinking more clearly and I asked our priest straight out, ‘Does Nuptial Mass always have a Gloria?’  ‘Yes’, was the answer.  ‘But it needn’t always be sung, surely?’  I persisted.  ‘No, of course not.  It can be said.’

The next day I received a very useful email in which our priest spelled out conditions for the Gloria.  I reproduce them here as it could help other readers who were puzzled like me:

  • The Gloria is said or sung on all Sundays of the year (except Advent and Lent), all Solemnities and Feasts (including those in Advent and Lent), ritual Masses (weddings, ordinations, &c.), and other celebrations “of a more solemn character”.

I still think he was taking a chance having it sung at that wedding.

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