"while I do think the 19th century Hymns by Faber, Wiseman etc gave us a rich devotional heritage it is far more Liturgical to sing Mass"
My response to this may come as a surprise considering what I wrote previously as I'm not as 'anti-hymn' as I appear to be. Believe it or not, but I actually like hymns too, and generally from the same era as Matt who posted the above comment. A recording I made in the early 1990's with a group of singers called the 'St Anne's Singers of Leeds' of wonderful hymns purloined from the Leeds Catholic Hymnal, the St Andrew Hymnal, [where can I get full music editions of these?], and the Parish Hymn Book is partly responsible for sowing the seeds which later bore fruit in the Rudgate Singers.
I'm going to quote something else now, from the forward to the great Parish Hymn Book which, in my opinion, was the last of the great Catholic hymnals before the publication of the Catholic Hymn Book some 30+ years later.
"We may never again see those crowded congregations at evening service - rosary, sermon and Benediction - but we shall still have crowded churches. There is nevertheless regret among the clergy and all who loved congregational singing that the day of popular devotions seems to be gone...
... Mass has become the popular devotion...
...The new Parish Hymn Book is welcome because it will halt the decline of congregational singing. Soon we shall have vernacular versions of the Mass in new musical settings but we shall not have completely satisfactory words and music for the Mass until after a long period of experiment. Meanwhile the English tradition of hymn-singing will be preserved by singing at Mass and at the new type of Service."
These words were written by Cardinal Heenan back in May 1966. How times have changed! It seems to me though that the use of hymns (good, bad, ancient, modern) has now taken over so much that in most parishes up and down the country, the '4 hymn sandwich' has become the staple musical diet within the Latin Rite Catholic Liturgy. I'll leave you to dwell upon the level of congregational singing & musical settings for the Mass, should you actually have the latter in your Parish! The Eastern Liturgy, for those of you lucky enough to experience it, is a different ball game entirely. By mentioning the classic hymn sandwich, I think I've come more or less back to my original point made in the previous posting. More thoughts would be welcome!