HETHER YOU CELEBRATE Corpus Christi on Thursday (EF), Sunday (Novus Ordo), or Sunday (External Solemnity), you might enjoy this recording of the “Lauda Sion,” which I created this morning 1 to help choirs rehearse:
Here’s a special PDF with translation by Fr. Robert Southwell, who suffered bravely in prison for three years before gaining the crown of martyrdom:
Many of the big publishing companies skip the Corpus Christi Sequence—they literally just leave it blank. 2 When they don’t skip it, they print it like this:
Such formatting strikes me as rather utilitarian.
In the JOGUES PEW MISSAL, our team did something no other publisher has done. In addition to providing St. Robert Southwell’s translation—set to a simple Psalm Tone—we also formatted a literal translation like this:
The text of the beautiful “Lauda Sion” was written by St. Thomas Aquinas (†1274). But what about the melody? First, we must understand whence sequences come. Fr. Joseph Connelly explains:
Sequentia was the name given to the jubilus or musical prolongation of the last vowel of the word alleluia. The jubilus is divided into small sections, and to these parts separately as well as to the whole melody the name sequentia could be applied. The custom gradually came into being of adding words or a Prosa to the music of the jubilus. At first, perhaps in the eighth century, a text was added to some of the sections—the last vowel of such texts being, in some places, always the vowel a—to which the next wordless section could be sung. Later on a text was added to the whole melody and so began what is now generally called a Sequence or, less generally, a Prose. Its full name would properly be Sequentia cum prosa.
The “Lauda Sion” melody is identical to Laudes Crucis Attollamus, whose text & melody are attributed to Adam of St Victor (†1146). That Sequence was originally used for 14 September, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Therefore, the melody of the “Lauda Sion” comes from the ALLELUIA JUBILUS of 14 September. Can you see the similarity?
This melody was often used. For instance, the Sunday before Corpus Christi is Trinity Sunday, which had a Sequence called Profitentes Unitatem Veneremur Trinitatem. Do you see that it uses the “Lauda Sion” melody?
Here’s part of the “Lauda Syon” as found in a manuscript circa 1395AD:
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
2 My high school students never left anything blank. Sometime they would write “IDK” but they’d never leave anything blank.