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Why Don’t You Have Your Parish Book of Chant Yet?

From St. Mary’s in Norwalk, CT:

St. Mary’s is pleased to use for the first time this weekend the Parish Book of Chant, a brand-new publication from the Church Music Association of America. St. Mary’s was able to purchase the PBC thanks to the generosity of a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. This book is arguably the first to provide a practical means for parishes to implement the wishes of the Second Vatican Council with respect to sacred music and liturgy. It encourages the participatio actuosa (participation in the act) of those who pray the Mass with the music that is integral to the rite itself, namely Gregorian chant.

The Second Vatican Council, echoing the influential 1903 motu proprio on sacred music of Pope St. Pius X, asked that the congregation learn to sing the parts of the Mass that pertain to them; the Parish Book of Chant enables this by providing beautiful, clear typesetting of these chants. There are eleven chant settings of the Mass Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei), several of which we already sing at St. Mary’s on a regular basis, and many more of which we will now begin to sing in the coming months and years.

Summorum Pontificum, the recent motu proprio of our present Holy Father, Benedict XVI, emphasizes the connectedness of the old and new forms of the Mass. To this end, the PBC provides the Latin texts and English translations for both forms. The Order of Mass for the Ordinary Form begins on p. 2; for the Extraordinary Form, on p. 22. For the Ordinary Form, these pages will take the place of the orange “Mass of Vatican II” booklets that we sometimes use at the 11:30 Mass; for the Extraordinary Form at 9:30, these can take the place of the red Ecclesia Dei Latin Mass booklets.

We will continue to use the red Worship III hymnals for English hymns, in addition to the Latin hymns that appear in the Parish Book of Chant. These hymns (each of which has an excellent English translation) will be delineated on the hymn board with a cream-colored “PBC” marker. Mass Ordinaries will be designated by a special marker containing the Roman numeral of the Ordinary for that Mass (e.g., “Mass VIII” or “Mass XI”).

At the back of PBC, there are guides, as helpful as they are brief, on singing chant and pronouncing Latin. Parishioners may find it helpful to consult these guides from time to time before Mass.

For more information about the work of the CMAA to promote the authentic sacred music of the Church, visit their website at www.musicasacra.com. St. Mary’s is excited to be among the first parishes in the United States to make use of this hymnal, and asks the continued intercession of Sts. Gregory and Cecilia, patrons of music, in offering worship which as beautiful as possible to the glory of Almighty God.

I recommend visiting the parish website to learn more about this parish.

We also sent 80 of the Parish Book of Chant to the North American Pontifical College a couple of weeks ago so you know that the seminarians that are there now are going to be familiar with Chant when they become priests.

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