Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Friday, 26 September 2008

Discovering a hidden and forgotten beauty

A terrific tale of patient, loving progress in restoring one of the greatest treasures of the Church, at a parish in Cleveland:

I have been forty years in the desert ...For Forty years the music at Mass has been a genuine means for me to unite closely with the passion and sufferings of our Lord.
Yet in the last eight years we have been slowly introducing chants: The sequences became the mandatory mile markers of the liturgical year, Then the Salve Regina, and Regina Coeli after Mass became routine. When WLP provided the Gloria VIII: well you know what we did! The demand for Taize meditaion services gave us support for Latin and soon the Latin Taize refrains were replaced with antiphons from the Gradual. We are all amazed with the Gradual's intellectual content, its beauty and surprise. It seem as if we have climbed high on a scaffold in our own church and discovered under the layers of white paint, a beautiful mural. [emphasis mine] The complexity of the few Gradual chants that we have learned demanded that we grow in understanding of rythymic groupings and the ictus.This week the choir would not sing t even a simple antiphon unless we reviewed the double and triple rhythmic groupings - marking the ictic notes!
Most of all were having fun doing this.
This coming Sunday, as we are hosting a regional St. Wenceslas Day celebration, we were asked to sing something during Mass in Czech.Though no one in our parish speaks Czech the liturgists had a very positive disposition toward singing in a very foreign language. I could not help expanding the liturgists' positive attitude toward Czech by suggesting that not only will we do Czech, but Latin too. And my suggestion landed well . The Mass will be celebrated by one of our bishops, and ALL but two pieces will be chant ! One non-chant piece is "O God, Beyond All Praising".
We are thankful to this website and I am greatly encouraged (and not intimidated) by the absence of an elitist attitude, especially among so many scholars. Saint John Nepomucene- Pray for us.

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