Friday, April 24, 2009

The Parish Book of Chant Moves Forward

Today the CMAA places yet another order for the reprinting of the Parish Book of Chant (Amazon, Aquinas and More, CMAA). It was published less than a year ago, and today some 6,000 copies are circulating in parishes, cathedrals, seminaries, homes, colleges, and universities. It has made its mark on history, which is a great credit to its compiler and typesetter Richard Rice.

This book is also one of the few, and perhaps the only, book that is used consistently and equally in both Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form liturgical environments. It contains the ordo for both forms, and illustrates the way in which the ordinary chants are shared in both forms, and highlights the common use of chant for both forms. It also has an all-important tutorial on singing and on pronouncing Latin. It also includes English translations of every Latin word.

So in all of these respects it is a wonderful resource for our time of transition, one that embodies the hermeneutic of continuity between new and old that has become the defining mark of the Pontifical liturgical agenda.

Let me add too that the publisher is not well-heeled and, in fact, has no actual employees, if you can believe it. It is an all-volunteer organization, not by choice but simply because that's the way it is. So many people are involved in making great sacrifices of their time and talent to this cause. And why? The short answer is that helping to bridge old and new is a way of making a difference. It gives meaning to our lives as Catholics and musicians.

A special thank you to all who have worked so hard and prayed to hard to see this dream come true. And yet, as we all know, there is so much more work to do.

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