Gregorian Chant

by Jul 28, 2022Pastor's Blog

The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services. But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action.

Pope Paul VI

Last week Deacon Michael El-Nachef preached a homily on prayer. He invited us to discover and rediscover the necessity of prayer in our lives. He mentioned how our prayer life should be noticeable, beautiful, and fruitful. That same week another parishioner spoke to me about Gregorian Chant and its place in our liturgy.

Our parish pastoral priorities continue to be 1) sharing our leadership, 2) the importance of the Liturgy, and 3) the reliance on the Holy Spirit. Since many of our choir members take a break during the summertime, please welcome with me Gabriel Grant, a parishioner, who will be our cantor for the month of August, at St. Finnan’s Basilica, for our Sunday 11am Mass. “Come and see” and experience Gregorian Chant, and let us continue praying for one another.

An authentic updating of sacred music can take place only in the lineage of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.

Pope Benedict XVI

The four Sundays of August we will experience Gregorian Chant together. Gregorian chant may be used in any parish, even when Mass is celebrated in the vernacular. Not only is it appropriate, but Church documents positively recommend that all Catholics know at least some Gregorian melodies. Indeed, it is a beautiful way to pray.

Gabriel, our cantor, will help us with the Mass parts, for example, the Kyrie, Glory to God, Sanctus, and, Agnus Dei. He may also add and entry song, and one during Communion.

Some Gregorian melodies are very simple. From personal experience, I have found that if repeated for a while most parishioners can pick up more complex melodies such as the Missa de Angelis and readily join the choir. Eventually the assembly even becomes capable of alternating with the choir. The people may also learn some of the simpler Eucharistic and Marian hymns.

Again, thanks to Gabriel for sharing his talents, and helping us pray with Gregorian Chant. See you all soon. God bless you, and Mary protect you.

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