Friday, October 19, 2007

Marty Haugen, Call Your Office

" A New Musical Season Opens at the Vatican" says Sandro Magister here. Highlights:

"The curia will have a new office with authority in the field of sacred music."

"In effect, since just over a year ago, Gregorian chant has been restored as the primary form of singing for Mass and solemn Vespers in Saint Peter's basilica.

The rebirth of Gregorian chant at St. Peter's coincided with the appointment of a new choir director, who was chosen by the basilica chapter in February of 2006.

The new director, Pierre Paul, a Canadian and an Oblate of the Virgin Mary, has made a clean break with the practice established during the pontificate of John Paul II – and reaffirmed by the previous director, Pablo Colino – of bringing to sing at the Masses in St. Peter's the most disparate choirs, drawn from all over the world, very uneven in quality and often inadequate.

Fr. Paul put the gradual and the antiphonal back into the hands of his singers, and taught them to sing Mass and Vespers in pure Gregorian chant.


[The Oblates of the Virgin Mary are not a well-known community in the United States, with only, perhaps, a half-dozen apostolates in this country. But they are in my local parish. And based on that sampling, without ever having seen Fr Paul, I am delighted.]


"It is no mystery that the reciprocal enrichment between the Catholic liturgy and great sacred music is especially close to Benedict XVI's heart.

The pope made this clear with particular force during his recent trip to Austria, with the Mass he celebrated on Sunday, September 9, in the cathedral of Vienna, accompanied by the stupendous Mariazeller Messe by Franz Joseph Haydn, and by a communion antiphon and Psalm in pure Gregorian chant."


In sum, a very optimistic report. We pray the optimism is justified.