Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Catholic Songbook, for all time

Here is a piece published by InsideCatholic.Com . I'll just quote the first few paragraphs, and then maybe you will click through and even comment in order to convince these nice people to run more articles on liturgy:

The appeal of Catholic liturgy is that it is structured, and in this, it differs dramatically from the run-of-the-mill evangelical service in which everything is left to human discretion. What a relief, even a liberation, to have an order of service that has been put together by organic development over the ages rather than by the whim of whomever happens to seize control.

And yet, there is a major aspect of Catholic liturgy that most people today leave to whim: the music. And sure enough, there are more conflicts about music in Catholic liturgy than nearly every other area of parish life. Why would the Church leave so much to human discretion knowing that this doesn't work for other aspects of the liturgy?

Let me disclose a shocking fact: The music of the Mass is not left to whim. There is a book that publishes all the music that is most suitable to the Mass. It is given note by note for every sung portion and includes the material that is repeated week to week (the ordinary) and also the material that changes (the propers). It was not produced by any American Catholic publisher, but by a French monastery.

The book is called the Graduale Romanum or, in English, the Roman Gradual. An edition specially prepared for English speakers is called the Gregorian Missal, available from most major Catholic bookstores. It contains the music for every Sunday of the year. If you want to give the director of music in your parish, or the pastor, a real shock, and possibly very welcome news, you might buy one for him or her.

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