“A religious hymn is a great blessing for everyone. It constitutes praise to the Most High,
honor for His holy people, worldwide harmony, an eloquent proof of the Church's unity. It
expresses the voice of the Church, its confession. It brings about a complete spiritual
uplifting and absolute peace and joy in redeemed hearts, with the triumphal hymn and
song of happiness. It drives away hardness of heart. It chases away disturbance. It
dissolves and dissipates despondency... The voice sings the soul's joy, while the spirit
delves into the mysteries of the faith.”
— St. Ambrose of Milan (Enarr. In Psalmum 1,9. P.L. 14,968)
The singing tradition of the Church has always maintained a joyful solemnity and reverence, employing sacred, theologically sound texts set to timeless melodic lines. We know this best as Gregorian Chant. Today, we revisit this beauty in singing Mass VIII, the Ordinary of the Mass, in Latin.
These sung prayers tie closely to the liturgy with texts that often echo the readings, themes and actions of the day. When we sing these beautiful texts, we pray them in an elevated way, kind of a "step-up" from the spoken word, as they are purposely integrated into the Mass.
We use our bodies and voices to pray and sing the Mass. St. Paul reminds us to be stewards to the mysteries of God. As good stewards, we must dedicate some of our study to the rich musical history of the Catholic Church.
Latin Chant is a staple of the Roman tradition going back more than a thousand years. During Lent and Advent, Latin Chant makes a reappearance for the Kyrie (Lord, Have Mercy) Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) Memorial Acclamation, and Agnus Dei (Lamb of God). We provide weekly handouts which facilitate page numbers and references to aid participation.
“By singing these parts of the Mass, emphasis is given to the dialogical nature of the Liturgy. God has initiated dialogue and the Church responds through Christ and in the Holy Spirit. In addition, such dialogical singing emphasizes the interaction of the material (ordained) priesthood and the royal (baptismal) priesthood of the faithful. Number 95 of the General Instruction on the Roman Missale (GIRM) notes that God has made His own a holy people "so that they may give thanks to God and offer the spotless Victim not only through the hands of the priest but also together with Him …" In addition, number 34 of the GIRM states, Since the celebration of Mass by its nature has a communitarian" character, both the dialogues between the priest and the faithful gathered together, and the acclamations are of great significance, in fact, they are not simply outward signs of communal celebration but foster and bring about communion between priest and people.”
~ CanticaNova Publications