Monday, 14 November 2011

Revised Roman Missal and musical settings

Fr Guy Nichols, C.O.
Thanks for Fr Guy Nichols Cong. Orat., who, for a number of weeks, has been presenting a series of lectures on chant and the Mass, with particular attention paid to the chants given in the revised translation of the Roman Missal.

Now the books themselves have been delivered, we can use them, as we have been doing at Oscott since half-term. I can tell you that even as something as simple as the beautiful re-rending of the collects and proper prayers of the Mass has had a profound influence on my spiritual life, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Now every time I open my breviary and see older, more sub-standard translations of the prayers, I want to weep with despair. Praise God; we are living in a wonderful and grace-filled time. Let's make the most of it!

It used to be said that Mass was sung, and indeed, the whole of the Mass (except the homily!) can be sung. The liturgy is our best act of worship we give to the Lord, so we should give our best, our finest talents, in the liturgy, always and without exception. The revised Missal provides various tones for the whole Mass, and with Fr Guy, we've looked at, and sung, English Collects, Prefaces, the Eucharistic Prayers, the Ordinary, and, not from the Missal, but from a new Graduale Parvum, English antiphons and graduals (the alternative for responsorial psalms). These are all very simple, and most parishes have, somewhere in the pews if it hasn't already been discovered, some degree of musical talent. The congregation and small choirs can, and are already, singing and enjoying the new, simple music.

Don't just eat the scraps, but sit at the table, and dine upon the banquet!

This is the first, most simple and obviously effective way to restore our much ill-treated Catholic heritage, now we are in the era of the New Evangelisation.

He who sings, prays twice, as St Augustine opined. Indeed, why pray once when you can pray twice!

I cannot find any of the sung texts from the missal (probably not looking in the right places!), but here is a simple and beautiful setting we sing at Oscott from an organisation which has produced an exciting new hymnbook, very much in the true spirit of Vatican II.

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