Singing Priests

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Singing Priests

Yesterday, here at the Cenacle, we held the first meeting of the Diocesan Priests' Schola Cantorum, a group of nine priests who have decided to come together weekly to study the chants of the Graduale Romanum, and to sing them at various liturgical celebrations of the Diocese of Tulsa. We will sing for the first time in Holy Family Cathedral at the Mass of Chrism during Holy Week.

Our first session began with a presentation of certain characteristics of the Lenten Propers in the Graduale Romanum, followed by some simple vocalizations (warm-up exercises). We worked on two pieces; the Introit, Dilexisti, and the hymn, O Redemptor. Given that it was the very first time the group of us had sung together, the effect was not at all displeasing. A suitably Lenten luncheon followed.

An Indispensable Element of the Roman Rite

One of things that emerged in our discussion is the spiritual value of the Propers of the Mass. (The Propers, by the way, are a constitutive element of the Mass of the Roman Rite. A Mass without them is truncated, deformed, and theologically impoverished. To replace the Propers with "something else" is, effectively, to dismantle the spiritual architecture of the Roman Rite.

As I sang through the Gradual of this morning's Mass, I was once again seized by an inner awareness of the "sacramental" potential of the Chant. Nothing conveys the Word of God as efficaciously as the Chant of the Church:

Cast the burden of thy cares upon the Lord, and He will sustain thee.
V. Still I will call upon the Lord; He will not be deaf to my appeal when many take part against me. (Psalm 54: 23. V. 17a, 18b, 19a)

4 Comments

Fr. Mark, you are a genius. By the way, the New Liturgical Movement blog has a post about your initiative! Additionally, your work has spread to my friends in North Carolina, who emailed me to ask if I knew about your blog, and it was my happy privelage to tell them I met you face to face at the 100 year celebration in Collinsville. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog. Many, many blessings!

Oh!!!!!!!!!!! I want to move to Tulsa!

As a parishioner at the FSSP parish in Tulsa, it brings me great joy to see such wonderful things taking shape in this diocese. Though we have a strong Bishop, many of our parishes are still far behind the Bishop's initiative concerning the liturgy. It is a great encouragement to know that a group of Tulsa priests will be familiarising themselves with the ancient chants of the Church. I will be sure to attend the Chrism Mass this year! Thank you, Fr. Mark!

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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