As we move into the celebration of Memorial Day, I'd like to wish every one of you a peaceful and relaxing weekend. I, for one, am greatly looking forward to three days off. Let's remember those who gave their life serving in the armed forces of the United States, as well as those who died in service to their own countries throughout the world. Perhaps we can take the opportunity this weekend to pick up the Gospel mandate and—as we pray for those who have died—also pray for our enemies.
Friday, May 22, 2009
ICEL's Music for the English Language Roman Missal - A Gem
Many of you probably already know this, but ICEL (The International Commission on English in the Liturgy) has posted an introduction entitled Music for the English Language Roman Missal. You can find it here. I have not yet had the time to read through this introduction in its entirety, but at first glance it looks like a very valuable resource for clergy and musicians as we approach the time of implementation of the new translation of the Missale Romanum. The dialogues, set to chant in English, appear in this introduction. A story here. At Sunday Mass in my parish a few months back, after the entrance song had been completed, the pastor (who had never done this before with us) looked up at us, began to make the sign of the cross, and he chanted it. Without hesitation, we chanted our "Amen" right back at him. In a large gothic structure, with no absorbent material anywhere in sight (save our clothing), the chant was glorious, as it is when we chant the preface dialogue each week and the Lord's Prayer in English during Lent. There is a transparent and simple beauty to this unaccompanied chant. My hope is that musicians and clergy everywhere will read the introduction on ICEL's web site and begin talking and experimenting (not at Sunday Mass yet, of course) with these new texts set to these tones. What is very helpful about ICEL's introduction is that it walks us through the committee's decision-making process on many of these chants, letting us in on the reasons why one or another chant setting was discarded. And to actually be able to see and sing the approved and discarded settings is so helpful. All will obviously not agree on every decision, but this is a great piece of history and catechesis all at the same time. Bravo to ICEL.