Posted February 11, 2016
Here at St. Xavier we have made an effort since 2011 to sing the new musical settings for the revised translation of the Mass.
Starting today, regular attendees to our 10:30 AM Sunday Mass will notice a different sound from the choir during Lent—chant sung in Latin. The parish staff, the worship commission and I felt this to be a good way to reconnect with a style of singing that has been for centuries a major part of worship in the Church. We have a beautiful tradition.
Most of us have moved on from wanting to use the Tridentine Mass when the priest faced the altar and the people were mere observers. But, I’m sure that some would be surprised to learn that, in spite of all of the changes since the Vatican II, Latin remains the official language of the Church, the organ is considered the primary instrument in liturgy, and chant still holds its place as the preferred style of vocal music when celebrating Mass around the world.
In 2007, the US Catholic Bishops published a set of guidelines called “Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship.” They believe “care should be taken to foster the role of Latin in the liturgy, particularly in liturgical song. Pastors should ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” Often at weekday liturgies, the celebrant here at St. Xavier will intone the Kyrie or the Agnus Dei, and most people feel comfortable responding with hearty voice.
For the next five Sundays we will be using chants for the Sanctus, the Memorial Acclamation (in English), and the Agnus Dei. Please refer to the cover of your parish bulletin each week for a listing of page numbers where the music can be found in your red hymnal supplement. (All Masses except 10:30 AM will use a familiar English setting in Lent). We hope that these chants will be another way of enhancing our Lenten journey in the weeks ahead as we lift our voices in song
Dr. Mark Bailey, Music Director