Sep 15, 2011

The Adoremus Hymnal – Second Edition

Online Edition:
September 2011
Vol. XVII, No. 6

Introducing — The Adoremus Hymnal – Second Edition

by Helen Hull Hitchcock

The Adoremus Hymnal, first published in 1997, has been revised to incorporate the new English translation of the Mass and will include new musical settings of the Mass, as well as additional hymns and chants.

Like the original edition, the hymnal is intended for use both in small parishes with few musical resources and in large parishes with full choirs, and will be published in three versions: standard, melody, and organ.

Following the general plan in Musicam Sacram, the Holy See’s Instruction on sacred music, The Adoremus Hymnal consists of three major sections:

1. The Order of the Mass: The unchanging parts of the Mass and the Eucharistic Prayers, in Latin and English, appear on facing pages. The basic Mass chants in English provided by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) are imbedded within the texts.

2. Musical settings for the Ordinary of the Mass: The new edition will add two new Latin chant settings, and new Mass settings in English by four distinguished composers: Dr. Horst Buchholz, director of music at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica; Father Scott Haynes, SJC, of St. John Cantius in Chicago; Richard Rice, Washington, DC; and Father Samuel Weber, OSB, Ft. Worth. There will also be settings for the new memorial acclamations.

3. A careful selection of hymns and chants for every season of the liturgical year (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, etc.), for other liturgical feasts and holidays, and for devotions.

Another change reflects new technology: instead of CD recordings of the contents of the hymnal, MP3 files — including the new Mass settings and other added music — will be made available.

The new edition is being published by Ignatius Press (, and is expected to be available in October.

A new section on The Adoremus Hymnal has been added to our web site:

Musical indexes of the new second edition of the hymnal are accessible on our web site: an index of hymns by liturgical season or occasion (; and an index of Mass ordinaries: (

The introduction to the second edition follows.

Introduction to the Second Edition

“The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy”. — Sacrosanctum Concilium §112

“Music uncovers the buried way to the heart, to the core of our being, where it touches the being of the Creator and the Redeemer. Wherever this is achieved, music becomes the road that leads to Jesus, the way by which God shows His salvation”. — Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, “‘Sing Artistically for God’: Biblical Directives for Church Music” (1990), in A New Song for the Lord (1996)

Heavenly music can lead us to heaven. Through sacred music Christians both express and communicate — by their human voices, their human artistry offered in worship — their faith in God and in the glory of the risen Savior Jesus Christ. The Church’s hymn of praise is joined to the heavenly harmony of the angels and saints in worship of God.  “Such music must obey a stricter law than the commonplace music of everyday life: such music is beholden to the Word and must lead to the Spirit”, as Pope Benedict (then Cardinal Ratzinger) observed in a 1977 lecture in Germany.

The original edition of The Adoremus Hymnal was our response to the call for revitalization of reverence and beauty in Catholic worship, recognizing that “the musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art”, and that sacred music has the sublime power to unite beauty and truth in a profound way that resonates deep within our hearts, and can lead us to God.

In his Chirograph on Sacred Music (2003), Blessed Pope John Paul II reaffirmed, in continuity with the teachings of Saint Pius X and the Second Vatican Council, three fundamental principles to ensure that “liturgical music corresponds ever more closely to its specific function”: holiness, artistry (sound form of musical expression), and universality (Chirograph §4,5,6). These were our guiding principles in producing the original version of The Adoremus Hymnal — and our commitment continues in the new edition.

In the eventful years since the original edition of The Adoremus Hymnal was first published in 1997, the Church has seen many changes — among them many promising signs of revitalization of the sacred liturgy. With the strong encouragement of Pope John Paul II, and his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, we have witnessed a renewed commitment to the recovery of the sacred dimension of Catholic worship. The restoration of sacredness and beauty to the Church’s liturgy can be seen in art and architecture in churches, in revived devotional practices such as adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and in a surprising recovery of sacredness in liturgical music evidenced in a revival of chant and choral hymns in the liturgy.

Among the most significant developments during this fruitful if challenging time is the new Missale Romanum, released by Blessed Pope John Paul in 2002. It is now translated accurately according to the principles of Liturgiam authenticam, issued in 2001 as the fifth Instruction implementing Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

For nearly a decade, the Holy See and the bishops’ conferences and many translators, scholars, and experts have labored to produce an accurate, dignified and worthy English translation of the new Roman Missal. This work is now complete. And this is the proximal reason for this new edition of The Adoremus Hymnal.

The Adoremus Hymnal consists of three major sections: the Order of Mass, musical settings for the Ordinaries, and hymns. A final section is the form of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

The first section is the text of the Mass in both Latin and English, incorporating the liturgical music integral to the Mass, the acclamations and responses.

The second section contains musical settings for the Ordinaries of Mass. In addition to a sacred text, Sacrosanctum Concilium stated that Gregorian chant is “proper to the Roman Rite” and urged that “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (SC §54).  Thus The Adoremus Hymnal includes several of the most familiar Gregorian chant settings in Latin.  There are also newly composed musical settings for the Mass in English.

The hymn section consists of a careful selection of some of the finest English and Latin hymnody ever composed, appropriate for every liturgical season and celebration. The collection also includes hymns — in Latin and English — for various devotions, such as adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Marian devotions. The hymns were chosen on the basis of holiness, theological orthodoxy, beauty, Catholic tradition, and, insofar as possible, familiarity.

In this new edition, we have included all the Sequences in Latin and English versions, as well as the contents of Jubilate Deo, the booklet of traditional Latin chants that Pope Paul VI sent to all the bishops in the world in 1974, in an effort to restore the regular use of these chants in all Catholic parishes.

Many Latin hymns are given in both Latin and English versions set to ancient tunes, such as Veni, Veni, Emmanuel (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel). The hymnal includes very ancient hymns that were re-discovered, translated into English and set to music in the 19th and 20th centuries, for example, Salve Festa Dies (Hail Thee Festival Day). Among the composers of hymn texts are Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Ambrose, and Saint Francis.

The English-language hymns come from a variety of traditional sources. The collection includes music by J. S. Bach, German hymns such as Now Thank We All Our God (Nun Danket Alle Gott), beloved English Catholic hymns (e.g., Faith of Our Fathers), and some less known in America (e.g., Blessed John Henry Newman’s Praise to the Holiest in the Height), as well as other beautiful hymns composed more recently. Adoremus has not tampered with the original English lyrics in this treasury of hymns. The texts have not been modified or usages updated to conform to any contemporary sensibility or ideology (see Liturgiam authenticam §27-31). Words such as “thee”, “thine”, “hast”, etc., in the original are also unchanged, as are words like “righteousness”, “beseech”, and “blessed”, which belong to the traditional Christian sacral vocabulary.

From its inception, Adoremus has been dedicated to authentic implementation of the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council in continuity with the Church’s entire history, and to the recovery of sacredness and beauty in Catholic worship. We take to heart the words of the Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, “In the earthly Liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that Heavenly Liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a Minister of the Holies and of the true Tabernacle; we sing a hymn to the Lord’s glory with all the warriors of the heavenly army; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part in fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our Life, shall appear and we too will appear with Him in glory” (Sacrosanctum Concilium §8).

With this edition of The Adoremus Hymnal we hope to assist fellow-pilgrims on our earthly journey toward heaven by providing an essential treasury of sacred music for worship — texts, chant, and hymns drawn from the historic patrimony of the Church — for the greater glory of God.  Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.

Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!

Helen Hull Hitchcock
General editor of the revised Adoremus Hymnal

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary,  August 15, 2011

Helen Hull Hitchcock

Helen Hull Hitchcock (1939-2014) was editor of the <em>Adoremus Bulletin</em>, which she co-founded. She was also the founding director of Women for Faith & Family and editor of its quarterly journal, Voices. She published many articles and essays in a wide range of Catholic journals, and authored and edited <em>The Politics of Prayer: Feminist Language and the Worship of God</em> (Ignatius Press 1992), a collection of essays on issues involved in translation. She contributed essays to several books, including <em>Spiritual Journeys</em>, a book of “conversion stories” (Daughters of St. Paul). Helen lectured in the US and abroad, and appeared frequently on radio and television, representing Catholic teaching on issues affecting Catholic women, families, and Catholic faith and worship.