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Pastores dabo vobis

- Gary D. Penkala


PDF Sample

Use: Priestly Ordination
Required Resources: SAB Choir, cantor, organ
Optional Resources: Bb Trumpet
Language: English, Latin

Pastores dabo vobis is ritual music for the Ordination of Priests. Scored for SAB choir, cantor and organ (with optional trumpet), it's usable by any cathedral or monastery. The majority of the text is English, with Latin phrases used as introductions, descants, and codas.

Four parts of the Ordination Propers are set:

  1. Entrance (Introit) — I will appoint over you shepherds …
  2. Investiture with Stole and Chasuble — Christ the Lord, a priest forever …
  3. Kiss of Peace — You are my friends, says the Lord …
  4. Communion — Go out to all the world …

The Introit begins with a trumpet incipit, echoed by the choir with the text, Pastores dabo vobis from Jeremiah 3:15 ("I will give you shepherds"). This was also the title of the apostolic exhoration (March 25, 1992) by Saint John Paul II on priestly formation. The cantor sings the English refrain, "I will appoint over you …" which is repeated by the congregation with choral harmonies and trumpet descant. Verses from Psalm 16 are sung alternately by the cantor and three-part choir.

The Investiture music is for choir alone, with the women singing "Christ the Lord, a priest forever" over an augmented, chant-like melody sung by the men on the words, Sacredotes Domini ("Priests of the Lord"). Three verses from Psalm 110 are given for cantor, should more music be required.

During the Kiss of Peace, the cantor intones, "You are my friends, says the Lord, if you do what I command you." This is repeated by the congregation, with choral harmonies and trumpet descant. Four cantor verses from Psalm 100 are set, so this music can be extended as the priests present greet their new confreres. A choral Coda on the text, "Receive the Holy Spirit as an Advocate, alleluia," completes the movement.

After the cantor sings the Communion Antiphon, "Go out to all the world and preach the Gospel: I am with you always, says the Lord," the choir and trumpet add harmony and descant to the people's repetition. Each refrain ends with a short choral phrase with the Latin text of the antiphon, Euntes in mundum universum! Up to nine verses from Psalm 34 may be sung, alternating among cantor, choir women, and choir men.

While this certainly makes an impressive setting for the ritual music at any Ordination Mass, individual movements can still be sung separately, particularly those for the rather specific elements of Investiture and Kiss of Peace.


Order #: 3070
1-2 copies-$5.00 ea.
3-5 copies-$3.50 ea.
6+ copies-$2.75 ea.


- Liturgical Setting
- Ordination
- SAB Choir
- Cantor
- Congregation
- Instrumental
- English / Latin

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