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A Resource That Could Supplant Breaking Bread

In a local diocesan survey, it was revealed that about 50% of parishes in my diocese use either the Breaking Bread Missal by OCP or another OCP missal. I will refrain from saying negative things about that, but suffice it to say that many of us interested in restoring Sacred Music to the liturgy find the ubiquitousness of Breaking Bread to be more of an entrenched hindrance than a help. One of the elements that makes any of the OCP Missals appealing is, of course, that the readings of the day have the correct date on them, making it easy for parishioners to follow along. The downside of this is lower quality paper, disposable scripture, and yearly fees. The new Source & Summit Missal, whose goal is to “Elevate the Liturgy,” is a similar yearly paperback resource that can beat OCP at their own game. It seems this disposability is a temporary feature due to the upcoming new translation of the lectionary in 2025, and that the future Source & Summit missal will be a permanent resource. Perhaps this is providential for now, as it makes it easier to break the strangle-hold OCP has on our Mass, starting now. Some of the key features of the Source & Summit Missal are:

1. All 5 antiphons: The introit, responsorial psalm, alleluia, offertory, and communion antiphons (from the Roman Missal), are fully notated with modern chant notation on the same page as the readings of the day. I’ve sung these propers by Adam Bartlett over the years using his Lumen Christi Simple Gradual and they are wonderful. The entrance, offertory, and communion are inspired by the original Graduale Romanum Chants, the responsorial psalms are original, and the Alleluias from the Graduale Simplex. Including these notated chants on the same page as the lectionary readings properly demonstrates (pun intended) that they are an essential part of the liturgy. Some of the longer antiphons are intelligently abbreviated, with the rest of the antiphon text in the verses. These are challenging enough to never be boring, but simple enough to invite congregational singing if introduced by the organ, then cantor. They are well contoured to the English language and don’t have awkward word accentuations.

2. The hymn section is awesome, traditional, and thoroughly Catholic, with a sizable Spanish hymn section.

3. The daily propers are pointed, which means they can be easily chanted to simple psalm tones, which are found inside the back cover. Or, Meinrad tones could be used. Years ago our seminarian intern made a resource for our daily Masses that does exactly this, and after a while, the priests and all the daily Mass-goers were chanting the entrance and communion antiphon at every Mass to a simple Meinrad tone. I know from first hand experience that this method can work beautifully.

4. Includes a free yearly subscription to their online platform that allows you to create worship aids from an endless interactive database. It is even possible to choose the number of verses for a hymn or transpose a hymn to a new key, other antiphons, etc.

If I could have one wish, it would be that some of the Roman Gradual Communion Antiphons be included in future editions whenever they don’t match the Roman Missal Antiphons. I know Bartlett has settings of these, as they appear in the Lumen Christi Simple Gradual. However, I recognize that this would probably make the book unwieldy. Your Objection: If you’re considering making the switch away from OCP missals, your biggest objection is probably not the inclusion of sung antiphons, but the omission of the modern songs that are a staple of your parish’s repertoire. However, you probably also have a OneLicense, so you should…….

Get Source & Summit and use your reprint license to put occasional OCP songs in your bulletin or worship aid! Why? Because it is far better to make the chanted propers and solid hymns the normative part of your missal, with contemporary hymns in a bulletin supplement, rather than having modern OCP songs as the permanent part of your missal with chanted propers in the bulletin supplement. Otherwise, you perpetuate the false impression that hymns and modern songs ARE the liturgy, instead of singing the appointed chanted propers. If you switch to S&S, you can explain to any priest or parishioner: “O don’t worry, I’m not eliminating our repertoire, because we can still reprint any song we need in the bulletin with our reprint license! No one resource contains everything we will need for Mass, but this Missal is so superb, it’s worth making the switch!”

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