UR CURRENT AGE has a difficult time grasping realities of the past. For example, as a parent of two small children, I cannot understand how people survived before modern conveniences like running water, plumbing, electricity, modern medicine, and disposable diapers. Can you imagine raising children in the year 1817? How about 1746? 1455? 1106? It’s totally unthinkable … yet billions of humans have done it.
Broad statements are sometimes made, such as: “Catholic music was terrible prior to the Second Vatican Council … and priests rushed through Low Mass in a sloppy way.” Others imagine that every single church before Vatican II had a men’s Schola chanting the full Gregorian Propers.
While neither scenario is accurate, one thing is certain: our ancestors often sang the Propers, despite many obstacles. Considering what they did, our feeble efforts to sing the Propers are inexcusable.
Therein lies the primary value of being aware of this book:
It’s remarkable that priests in Kansas — Kansas! — were willing to exert the effort necessary to help small churches sing the Propers. Many other collections existed, too: Tozer, Labouré, Rossini, and so forth.
Although the melodies and organ accompaniments in this book are nothing spectacular, they did include some handy items like a Latin Pronunciation Guide, Sequence Accompaniments, and these accompaniments to the Vidi Aquam and Asperges Me:
IT IS A FACT that not all churches “back in the day” sang the Propers. Some churches omitted them, although this was contrary to liturgical law. Much evidence could be produced, for example:
For reference purposes, here’s the title page information:
THE COMPLETE PROPER OF THE MASS
Set to Gregorian Themes and Psalm Tones for Sundays and Feasts of the Liturgical Year
by Andrew Green, O.S.B. and Rev. Herman J. Koch, Ph.D.
1956 Revised Edition
Edward J. Hunkeler (27 September 1956)
Archiepiscopus Kansanopolitanus in Kansas
Copyright 1946 Diocese of Leavenworth