Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Society of St. Catherine of Siena Announces Development of Graduale Parvum for Modern Roman Liturgy and Parishes

The following came into us from our friends at the Society for St. Catherine of Siena, which announces an interesting initiative aimed at small parish churches.

The Society of St. Catherine of Siena’s recent one-day symposium led by Professor László Dobszay, together with the London Oratory School, on restoring the use of Gregorian chant in ordinary parishes was (as was widely reported) an extraordinary success, drawing together Catholic musicians from all over the British Isles, comprising many very well known figures together with parish priests and directors of small parish choirs.

This work is now bearing fruit, in the form of a small working group that will bring forward proposals under Professor Dobszay’s leadership, for a ‘Graduale Parvum’ or ‘Small Gradual’, for use in parish churches in both Latin and the vernacular, for all forms of the Mass. We have put this initiative under the patronage of one of the great liturgists of the Church, and so the St. Damasus Group of the Society of St. Catherine of Siena will be led by Fr. Guy Nicholls of the Birmingham Oratory, and include Mr. Martin Baker, Director of Music at Westminster Cathedral, Mr. Jeremy de Satgé, and Rev’d. Dr. Laurence Hemming for the Society. We will be assisted informally by a number of consultors.

The group will be working hard to coordinate the proposal to the new ICEL translation of the Roman Missal, so that the language and the style of music notation will fit very well with what parishes will be adopting – probably from as early as Advent 2010. We have a publisher who is very keen to publish the results and we are looking into ways of developing a network of support for parishes that want to make use of the new material. Two choirs have already said that they will look at using the new Gradual – Westminster Cathedral Choir and the Schola of the London Oratory School. Some parishes have also offered to participate in using the material as it is produced.

We have had strong encouragement to pursue this project from the Chairman of our Trustees, Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP, and we are looking to ensure that the outcome is in accordance with the desires of the Holy Father for the future of liturgical celebration. The potential for transforming liturgical life in many parishes throughout the Anglophone world should not be underestimated.

We will present the results of the working group at a second, larger, meeting at the London Oratory School in May 2010, and we will announce a date for that event as soon as possible. Please pray for this group as it begins its work.

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