Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Towards the Future: Singing the Mass by Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Director of ICEL

On the 21st of August, Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, the Executive Director of the ICEL Secretariat, delivered a keynote address to the Southeastern Liturgical Music Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia, on the topic of "Towards the Future – Singing the Mass."

The NLM is very pleased to be able to present the address in full. In his address, Msgr. Wadsworth discusses "some of the implications of receiving the new translation of the Missal, with particular consideration of its possible impact on liturgical music."

Here is a pertinent quotation which may help whet your appetite:

Maybe the greatest challenge that lies before us is the invitation once again to sing the Mass rather than merely to sing at Mass. This echoes the injunctions of the Council Fathers in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and reflects our deeply held instinct that the majority of the texts contained in the Missal can and in many cases should be sung. This means not only the congregational acclamations of the Order of Mass, but also the orations, the chants in response to the readings, the Eucharistic prayer and the antiphons which accompany the Entrance, the Offertory and the Communion processions. These proper texts are usually replaced by hymns or songs that have little relationship to the texts proposed by the Missal or the Graduale Romanum and as such a whole element of the liturgy of the day is lost or consigned to oblivion. For the most part, they exist only as spoken texts. We are much the poorer for this, as these texts (which are often either Scriptural or a gloss on the Biblical text) represent the Church’s own reading and meditation on the Scriptures. As chants, they are a sort of musical lectio divina pointing us towards the riches expressed in that day’s liturgy. For this reason, I believe that it is seriously deficient to consider that planning music for the liturgy ever begins with a blank sheet: there are texts given for every Mass in the Missal and these texts are intended for singing.


With that, here is the entire address:

Towards the Future: Singing the Mass by Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth