November 1, 2016

The Lenten Gospel Acclamation from Wondrous Love Mass

Choral Review Service artwork

Kevin and I are so happy to say a few words about the Lenten Gospel Acclamation from Wondrous Love Mass based on the beloved hymn tune “Wondrous Love.” During the Lenten season we fast from using the “A” word (Alleluia) so that we can sing it with a fuller voice when we celebrate Easter. Instead the church has given us a number of alternate texts that may be sung before the proclamation of the Gospel.

It seems that many of the published Mass settings use the acclamation Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ! I decided to do some research to see if there were other texts available. All I found in the Sunday Lectionary were Verses before the Gospel, but no actual acclamations. So I went to the weekly Lectionary and at number 223 I found not one, not two, but eight Gospel Acclamations for Lent. These texts are so infrequently used that many people questioned whether they were actually approved texts. It was very satisfying to be able to show them where they were located and that they were indeed approved! It almost looked like Rome forgot to include it in the Sunday Lectionary so they had to add it to the weekly one.

The first acclamation that we set was Marvelous and great are your works, O Lord! We then decided to include three other texts to make our setting more versatile. They are: Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God!, Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory! and Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ, Wisdom of God the Father!

When Kevin and I started arranging this setting, we decided to set all the Lenten Sunday verses for the entire three years of readings, as well as all the liturgies of Holy Week. This was quite a challenge, but we felt an obligation to help out our fellow music ministers. This way all the work has been done for you!

Since all the refrains are included before the different verses of years A, B and C, it’s very easy to use the octavo each week of Lent. No page turning needed!

There is one more aspect of this acclamation, which we are very proud and excited to share with you; the verses have three different options for how they can be sung.

They can be sung in a traditional chanted style, very similar to the Respond and Acclaim style, where the organist plays the downbeat of each measure and the cantor uses a chant style to sing the verses. No attempt at a metered rhythm is made.

They can also be sung in a “target-note” style, which is well suited for use with a piano accompaniment. The cantor then improvises a rhythm and melody that allows the phrase to fit naturally within the allotted number of beats (six). The cantor then continues with the music as written.

The third style is a “combination style”, where the accompanist would play the first chord and the cantor would freely sing the first phrase on the given pitch until the next chord change where the written part would be followed.

We feel these different options make our Lenten Gospel Acclamation suitable for whatever musical style your parish prefers.

We hope that you and your congregation will enjoy singing the Lenten Gospel Acclamation from the Wondrous Love Mass this Lent and that it will enhance your parish’s prayer for years to come.

Choral Review Service

The Lenten Gospel Acclamation from Wondrous Love Mass is included in the Fall 2016 edition of the OCP Choral Review Service. Every year, subscribers receive sheet music and recordings of more than 70 specially selected choral pieces. Whether it’s new music for your traditional or contemporary choir, settings fit for children’s voices or to inspire intercultural ensembles, OCP has the right choral series to help you unite your community in worship.

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Paul Hillebrand
Paul Hillebrand


Paul Hillebrand calls upon his classical training and his years in contemporary music ministry to create reverent arrangements that take listeners along a path of praise toward the heart of God.

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Kevin Keil
Kevin Keil


Kevin Keil brings more than 40 years of experience to his sacred music ministry. A talented organist, pianist, guitarist, cantor and music director, he is also a prolific composer of instrumental and vocal pieces.

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