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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Friday, July 29, 2011
16th Sunday of the year – 17th July 2011

Forget the millions with which Camelot's Euro Lottery entices us, the Church is engaging in a new initiative which will help to open us to truly deeper and lasting wealth, the real grace of God – a wealth that will spread through us, especially to the poor. As part of this, it's time for some who have always thought they can't sing to discover it wasn't true after all!

A new deeper, more accurate, more scriptural translation of the Mass is on it’s way from Sept-ember. As part of this the Church is also encouraging us to engage in a subtle musical development. Across the whole of the English speaking there is to be a gradually develop-ing emphasis upon singing the actual "parts" of the Mass. These include the "Alleluia", the "Holy, Holy" (also called the "Sanctus"), the Memorial Acclamation (e.g. "Christ, has died"), the Lamb of God ("Agnus Dei"). The actual words used when singing these need to follow the new translations. Also the actual music used for these pieces is gradually to become more uniform in parishes and in all our schools. The latter is to be achieved primarily by a greater focus upon the Gregorian Chant tones which are actually printed in the official English Missal β€” which is the universal book of prayers for the Mass.

At a diocesan meeting last week for priests the leader, Fr Gerard Skinner, pointed out that the rhythm of Gregorian is different from the repeated, regular beat of the secular and religious music which is most common today, in that it has a development and a certain irregularity which stretches forward, almost with a hint of going towards eternity. He said that traditionally, the prayers of all major religions has been dominated by such rhythm.

The idea is to introduce these tones between September and Advent, and the diocese have provided helpful resources. This does not necessarily involve a big changes in the use of hymns, just a greater emphasis upon the parts of the mass and, when hymns are used, on hymns, the lyrics of which, affirm more deeply Christian doctrine.

In our parish we are very lucky to have two great, committed, growing choirs. (Thanks for the nine years together guys!). We are used to singing quite a few parts of the Mass. This has included some Gregorian chant (e.g. singing the current Missal tone for the "Christ has died"), especially at Christmas midnight Mass and the Easter Vigil. Still Archbishop Nichols has strongly encouraged us to try hard at developing this even richer, more beautiful, more communal manner of praising our great God.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 2:22 pm