The (New) Pilgrim Mass and other Masses by Gordon Rock

This is a description of some Mass settings written during the 1970s by English organist, music teacher and Roman Catholic convert Gordon Rock (1930-2018).

The original Pilgrims Mass was published in 1971 by Mayhew-McCrimmon.

The New Pilgrim's Mass was released on-line after the Roman Catholic church mass words were changed in 2011.    It does not appear to have been included in any published hymnals.

A website owned and maintained by the creator  -  - said:

All four settings of the mass in this collection by Gordon Rock are entirely free to download and distribute, in the form of vocal (with guitar chords) and keyboard scores.

The only survivors from the original Pilgrims Mass (1971) are the Kyrie, Sanctus and Lamb of God, severely curtailed to meet the requirements of the 2011 translation. (The Gloria, Creed and Our Father were in verse)
In all four of these settings the Great Amen can be used to follow the plainsong amen, or on its own, or not at all.

That website is no longer on-line, but the files from it are distributed here in the spirit of Gordon's original work.

A CD with recordings of the all five of Masses may still be available from the Carmelite Book Service  (I have not tested to see if this service is still working.)

Header of the original NewPilgrimsMass website - now offline

The New Pilgrim Mass

This is  the most widely-known of Rock's Masses.

Performance notes

Ideally the new Gloria should go at a cracking pace, (dotted minim=60, i.e. a bar a second), but with a congregation in tow you might have to settle for less. Playing the first three bars of the Our Father as an introduction will discourage inadvertent echoing of the third bar of the Gloria. At the end of Lamb of God some persuasion may be needed to get singers down to the C natural.

Mass for all Seasons

This Mass is for the seasons of Advent and Lent. It was written for the parish of St Thomas More, Towcester, England, where Gordon served as organist for a considerable time.

Performance notes from Gordon Rock's website

The Lamb of God, with its threefold appeal to the mercy of Our Lord, surely calls us to abandon our inhibitions and execute a steady crescendo in three stages, with a final diminuendo. By contrast the Agnus Dei in Missa de Saeculis focuses the tension on the middle section, as do all of the settings of the Kyrie eleison/Lord, have mercy. Not for nothing does the Mass begin and end with a threefold prayer (echoed in the Gloria).

The Sinner's Mass 1980/2014

The Confiteor  ("I confess that I have sinned") and Invitation to Communion ("Lord, I am not worthy") use ICEL-73 text, while other parts were were updated to meet the requirements of the 2011 translation.

Missa de Saeculis

This Folk Mass in Latin and was written in 1972.

Unfortunately the keyboard score for this Mass is unavailable:  if you have a copy that you can share, please email   or leave a message with a link in the Comments box below.

Performance notes from Gordon Rock's website

They are not easy for a congregation, but with a choir (or any good singers) leading the way, the phrases in capital letters do provide an entry even for the "musically challenged".

Why these Masses

These settings are (probably) not widely used any more.  Some people would say that they served a useful purpose in the 1970s / 80s, and should now be retired from use - and forgotten about.

But this page was inspired by a current parish musician who was looking for the materials.   It's possible that are other people looking for them as well.  And they provide information about the quality of material that was produced in the years following Vatican II, and are work preserving for reference purposes, at least.

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