Introducing the Kyrie Orbis Factor at Incarnation Catholic Church

The following was printed in the music information handout for the 1:00 p.m. Mass on Sunday, August 9th, A.D. 2020 at Incarnation Catholic Church in Orlando, FL. The previous article mentioned in the first paragraph can also be found on this blog at

Introduction of the Kyrie Orbis Factor by Steven Rabanal

Last month, I wrote something like a “thesis statement” so to speak, a goal, for how I intend the music at this 1:00 p.m. Sunday Mass to proceed. Part of that is the introduction of more congregational settings of the Mass ordinary into the standard repertoire of this Mass time. Until Advent, this will just involve the introduction of new settings of the Kyrie eleison and the Gloria in excelsis. These will be dignified settings, yet not complex. Starting next Sunday will be the introduction of a new Kyrie setting and several weeks later will be a new Gloria setting.

The Kyrie eleison originally developed in the Eastern Catholic Churches as a response in litanies; Dom Suitbert Bäumer traces this to the first century AD. Although it is true that the liturgy in Rome was originally in Greek, there is no evidence that the Kyrie in the Roman liturgy is a remnant from the traditional Greek Mass, rather it seems to have been a later addition into the Latin Mass, borrowing from the East. St. Gregory († 604) notes it being used with the addition of the Christe eleison petition, and in the eighth century, the number of repetitions was set as nine. This current arrangement has been convenient for some to give an additional meaning to it: it contains two trinitarian forms in it, with each set containing three repetitions, and there being three sets total. The first three Kyries are prayed to God the Father, the three Christes to God the Son, and the final three Kyries to God the Holy Ghost.

There is a traditional practice in plainchant to sing the Kyrie, Gloria, and Credo antiphonally, meaning there are two designated groups which alternate lines. Examples of these two groups might be between two equal choirs, between a cantor and the congregation, or between the congregation and the organ. The practice we will adopt for this new Kyrie is to have the cantor sing the first line and then sing all the odd-numbered lines, while everyone sings the even-numbered lines. Since it ends on an odd-numbered line, everyone will sing the last “eleison” of the ninth line. This will all be notated in this bulletin when this Kyrie is used.

The Kyrie to be used will come from the eleventh plainchant mass, Missa Orbis Factor. The name comes from the original form of this setting when alternate titles were used in place of the Kyries and Christes, the first title being “Orbis factor rex aeterne”, meaning “Maker of the world, King eternal”. This mass is suggested by the Kyriale to be used on all Sundays when green vestments are used. It is the same mass that the familiar Sanctus and Agnus Dei settings found in the pews are from, which is why we have been singing those settings exclusively for the past seven Sundays at this Mass. This Kyrie setting is simple in that the music for your part for all the “Kyrie” petitions repeats so it is not complex to learn. The “Christe” petitions have their own music which also repeats within that section.

You may wish to learn this setting on your own by listening to it and following along at Remember the lines you will be invited to sing: the second Kyrie eleison, the first Christe eleison, the third Christe eleison, the fifth Kyrie eleison, and the final eleison.

Music at Incarnation’s 1:00 p.m. Mass

The following was printed in the music information handout for the 1:00 p.m. Mass on Sunday, July 12th, A.D. 2020 at Incarnation Catholic Church in Orlando, FL.

Note on the new 1:00 p.m. Mass by Steven Rabanal, music volunteer

Regular attendees at Incarnation Catholic Church are aware that a regular 1:00 p.m. Mass has been added to the Sunday schedule. This has regularly been a Sung Mass in the Ordinariate Use. I wanted to write this short note to introduce the particular principles behind the music of this newly added liturgy time.

I initially began providing music for this Mass for the primary purpose of practicing my field and to gain experience for future work in church music. Along with that, I saw it as the opportunity to make this liturgy become a liturgy having particular principles musically, not as opposed to the principal 10:15 a.m. Mass, but as a second option with different features to choose from. To put it succinctly, the music at this Mass intends to help the congregation foster an appreciation for the traditional plainchant of the Catholic Church, as well as giving the congregation a working understanding of the music and an active participation in it.

The particular plainchant is the most notable difference. This is especially heard during the minor propers, which are the texts sung by the choir or cantor that vary with each Mass, particularly the Introit, Gradual, Alleluia or Tract, Offertory chant, and Communion chant. These are sung to chant tones that also vary with each Mass, and often include many notes to each syllable, which is known in musical terms as being “melismatic”. While it is possible to sing these same texts to much shorter tones, the purpose to sing them with the longer tones is to sing them in the style that the Church has traditionally prescribed them to be sung. If one attends a Tridentine Sung or Solemn Mass with an accomplished choir, one will also often hear the Latin chants sung to similarly melismatic tones. These same tones have been adapted over time to the English used in the Ordinariate Use liturgy.

In addition to the tones for the minor propers, the ordinary of the Mass also has traditional plainchant settings of it, usually varying by the liturgical season. The ordinary refers to the regular texts of the Mass, and in terms of musical settings, refers particularly to the Kyrie, Decalogue, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and Ite Missa Est. These have been set to innumerable amounts of musical settings, including plainchant, choral, and congregational settings. For example, the ordinary settings familiar at Incarnation consist of the Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena by Anglo-Catholic composer Healey Willan, the Missa Orbis Factor plainchant, a Kyrie by Marty Haugen, and a decalogue setting by Scott Whitmore. Another particular aim of the 1:00 pm Mass would be to introduce a few more ordinary settings. This will be done in phases and will be accompanied by advance notice and explanation about the settings. These will be congregational settings, however, learning new music is difficult; do not be discouraged if you are confused! It is actually alright if you just listen and meditate on the texts if you cannot sing them; in fact, it is traditional and Catholic for sometimes the ordinary to just be sung by the choir or cantor. Know that if you can’t follow along immediately, that is fine, however, the purpose is still to allow the congregation to sing, and so, simple and beautiful settings will be introduced.

Finally, as an additional note, although this Mass is usually sung, there sometimes comes occasions that music will not be available. Advance notice will be given as much as these occasions can be anticipated. Thank you for your understanding in this area.

I hope and pray that this liturgy and its music will help enrich your prayer and worship experience for some time!

Posture for the Sanctus in the Ordinariate Use Mass

There are not many Catholics today associated with traditionalesque circles who are unfamiliar with differences of postures existing between parishes or confusion of what postures should be followed in Mass. A particular difference exists regarding whether the congregation should stand or kneel during the singing of the Sanctus; this difference even exists in the Ordinariate Use Mass. It could be explained as a move to be “more traditional” and that “the Latin Mass does it”. Is that entirely correct though? And how does it apply in the Ordinariate Use? I will address both of those in this article.

The first point to solve would be what the correct practice is in the Tridentine Mass. For this purpose, I’ll refer to a much longer article, which is excellently written and sourced; I’d suggest reading it if you’d like to learn more. That article is found at The author first makes clear that the Tridentine Mass does not have officially prescribed rubrics for the people, so in the most technical terms, neither way is rubrically incorrect. However, the Rev. Adrian Fortescue, a highly trusted rubrician, does tell us that the laity in the congregation “are supposed to take an active part in the ceremony with the sacred ministers and clergy, and so the rubrics assume that, as far as possible, the laity will conform to the rules laid down for the clergy when they are present in choir.” So if we are looking for a way that is “more correct”, it would be to follow the rubrics for the liturgical choir, that is, those clergy and seminarians that attend Mass in the sanctuary wearing cassock and surplice, not filling a role as an altar server.

We read further in the article and find that mostly every prominent rubrical manual has the liturgical choir wait until after the singing of the Sanctus to kneel. It seems that the direction to kneel at the beginning of the sung Sanctus comes particularly from the red booklet published by Ecclesia Dei, popularly used by many parishes. Still, five prominent rubricians all agree that the people should stand until after the singing of the Sanctus is finished. If a “correct” posture for the Sanctus at Sung Mass is to be determined for the laity, it seems it would be to remain standing until it is finished.

Having looked at the posture of kneeling during the sung Sanctus within the Tridentine Mass, we can look at the posture in the context of the Ordinariate Use. The Ordinariate Use Mass is not explicitly or directly influenced by the Tridentine Mass, although such influence is laudable since the Ordinariate Use can be seen as a relatively traditional variation of the Roman Rite and so should be influenced by the traditional ceremonial. However, the Ordinariate Use, like the Novus Ordo Missae but unlike the Tridentine Mass, does give some rubrics for the postures for the people, especially those found in the official congregational booklet (an example is at Pages 12-13 of that booklet include the Sanctus and the beginning of the Canon of the Mass. At the beginning of the Canon, after the Sanctus, a direction is given that “The People kneel”. This direction seems to make it unambiguous that the people kneel after the Sanctus is finished.

So is it incorrect to kneel at the beginning of the sung Sanctus in the Ordinariate Use Mass? A strict reading of the congregational rubrics would say so. I wouldn’t be so convinced myself to say that the people are strictly obligated to such rubrics, though there is a general understanding that the printed rubrics are to be followed. Either way though, having concluded that it is more traditional to remain standing for the sung Sanctus, one could stand with the knowledge that it is both an appropriate posture in the Ordinariate Mass and the Tridentine Mass.

Finally though, above all else, keep in mind that at Mass, you are there to focus on the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary, and not primarily what others are doing. Even if others are following a posture that you think is incorrect, try at the moment to focus on the liturgy itself and that you are participating correctly, and if you happened to feel called to inform someone of better liturgical practice, it is always best to make sure you are informed on the topic.

Music for Divine Worship’s Liturgy of the Word on Holy Saturday

During the suspension of public Masses, I have been providing music at my parish as well as live-streaming/recording the liturgies. A unique liturgy in the Ordinariate Use Missal Divine Worship is the Liturgy of the Word for Holy Saturday, to be sung at some point before the Vigil of Easter. I am not sure of the origin of this particular liturgy or if it has an existing origin before the promulgation of Divine Worship, but it is still a beautiful, reflective liturgy. It consists primarily of three psalms with three lessons and the Ancient Homily on Holy Saturday from the Office of Readings in the Divine Office in the Novus Ordo.

Since I will be cantoring for this liturgy tomorrow, I have pointed all the music for it and am sharing it here. I chose to use the traditional 1662 BCP psalter for the psalms. The antiphon is from the Office of the Dead in The Monastic Diurnal Noted. The anthem is from a typesetting of portions of the burial sentences from Merbecke’s The Booke of Common Praier Noted. I have also included Purcell’s Thou Knowest Lord for optional use by SATB choirs, in which case they should sing the plainchant portion a step lower, to match the E-flat major/C minor key signature of Purcell’s setting.

Music for Liturgy of the Word on Holy Saturday

Central Florida Performing Arts takes you to a mystical Arabian night

A very magical musical took place this weekend in Orlando. Central Florida Performing Arts, a 3rd-12th-grade musical theatre group just wrapped up their production of Disney’s Aladdin Jr. running from November 7th-10th at the Lowndes Orlando Shakespeare Complex. Anyone with the privilege of having seen this production would have been overjoyed at the excellence in the performance of this season’s production.

CFPA is directed by Delisa Dean, a Juilliard graduate and Disney performer. With her more than thirty years of experience teaching performing arts, Dean has done an excellent job managing Aladdin and seeing that the whole cast and team fulfill their true potential. Supported by her essential hard-working assistants, any audience member can really come to appreciate all the work and planning that goes on behind the scenes.

When I say that all aspects of the production were spectacular, I truly mean all of them. The leading roles and all the ensembles showed off their effortless dancing skills, under the direction of choreographer Brittany Noltimier. The masterfully executed choreography filled the stage with such energy that will keep your eyes and mind amused at how nimble, stealthy, and skilled these performers are, complete with somersaults and leaps to make it a perfect pair to the mesmerizing singing.

All of Alan Menken’s refined compositions throughout the musical were rendered with a fresh and harmonious sound, under the coaching of Tom and Kristin Cartwright and Devonny Aikens. The ensembles sang with clearly understood lyrics and marvelously-blended vocalizing. The leading roles did fantastic work with their well-prepared solos. Aladdin’s smooth, charming voice harmonized beautifully with Jasmine’s lyrical, poetic sound; Iago, the sneaky sidekick of Jafar, performed with him with quite a sinister, yet loveable menacing feel, including their delirious, evil laughs that proved contagious to the audience; Aladdin’s friends Babkak, Omar, and Kassim teamed together to sing invigorating songs that get everyone feeling the action; and the narrator captivates you in tuneful sounds taking you to “another Arabian night”.

A very big part of the magic, though, is all the preparation that goes on behind the scenes. Alexandra Byrd and Hannah Chakim did an expert job of keeping the sound and all the lights running flawlessly, other volunteers made sure the costumes, sets, and props looked fabulous, and Brian Miller Productions recorded voice-overs for the spooky voice and cave of wonders and edited them to give a convincing, mysterious emotion.

The excited, supporting audience was obviously delighted with the performance, giving their overjoyed applause and cheering after every scene, and laughed constantly at the priceless sense of humor the actors have. These sold-out performances always leave audiences thrilled, and if you find yourself in central Florida during a future show of theirs, it is a must-see for theatre enthusiasts!

Bishop Lopes to celebrate Palm Sunday Mass in Orlando

Commemorate the Second Sunday of the Passion, Palm Sunday, in a festive manner with Catholics of Anglican patrimony. On Sunday, April 14th at 10:15 in the morning, Bishop Steven J. Lopes will celebrate a Solemn Pontifical Mass according to the Ordinariate Use at Incarnation Catholic Church in College Park.

The ceremonies will begin in Royal Hall, the big building next to the church, at the corner of Shady Lane Drive and Edgewater Drive. There is a flag pole and sign for St. Vincent’s Academy outside the building. The liturgy begins at 10:15 a.m. with the blessing of palms, followed by a procession into the church, where Mass will begin.

You may park in the church parking lot or on the street in the parallel parking. Additional parking is also available on Sunday mornings in the parking lots for the two businesses adjacent to the church on the East side of Edgewater Drive, as they are closed at that time. See the attached parking map for available parking lots.


Solemn Pontifical Mass of Palm Sunday
Bishop Steven J. Lopes, Celebrant

Sunday, April 14th, 2019 A.D. – 10:15am
Incarnation Catholic Church
1515 Edgewater Drive
Orlando, FL 32804

Incarnation parking map

More Solemn Preface and Minor Propers of the Chair of Saint Peter

Although this is a relatively late post, I’m publishing this anyway since there’s still time before Sunday morning tomorrow. Below is the Preface of the Apostles adapted to the More Solemn Tone. This is the preface used on the Chair of Saint Peter, celebrated in the American Ordinariate tomorrow, Sunday, February 24th. I’ve also included the minor propers for tomorrow. The text is from Divine Worship and the melodies are adapted from the melodies in the Graduale Romanum. The alleluia is included for parishes that don’t use Divine Worship. Feel free to use these propers tomorrow, and if you’re interested in more of them, contact James at ordinariatechants at gmail dot com.

Preface of the Apostles

Minor Propers for the Chair of Saint Peter