many American parishes, chanted Mass propers are making a comeback,
thanks in part to new online resources.
of the choir sing during the annual Christmas concert at St. Malachy’s
Church — The Actors’ Chapel in New York Dec. 13, 2010. (CNS
photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
publication of the new English translation of the Roman Missal has helped
revive interest in the use of chant in the ordinary form of Holy Mass. The
Roman Missal includes many more chanted texts than did the previous edition,
allowing clergy and people alike to “sing the Mass, rather than merely to sing
at Mass,” as Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, executive director of the ICEL
(International Committee on English in the Liturgy) Secretariat, said in
a 2010 address.
new Roman Missal includes a new translation of the General
Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), which also has fostered greater
interest in chant. Citing Sacrosanctum Concilium (the
Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) and subsequent
curial documents, the GIRM states that “the main place should be given, all
things being equal, to Gregorian chant, as being proper to the Roman Liturgy.…
Since the faithful from different countries come together ever more frequently,
it is desirable that they know how to sing together at least some parts of the
Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the Profession of Faith and the
Lord’s Prayer, according to the simpler settings” (nos. 41-42).
Catholics think of Gregorian chant at Mass, many tend first to think of chants
associated with the Ordinary of the Mass—that is, the parts of the Mass that
tend not to vary from day to day—for example, the Kyrie, Gloria, Profession of
Faith (Credo), Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.