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Bishop Sample issues pastoral letter on sacred music

Catholic World News - February 15, 2013

Bishop Alexander Sample has issued a pastoral letter on sacred music in which he emphasizes the importance of Gregorian chant, the pipe organ, and the singing of the ordinary and propers of the Mass.

“Given all of this strong teaching from the Popes, the Second Vatican Council, and the US Bishops, how is it that this ideal concerning Gregorian chant has not been realized in the Church?” he asks. “Far from enjoying a ‘pride of place’ in the Church’s sacred liturgy, one rarely if ever hears Gregorian chant.”

“This is a situation which must be rectified,” added Bishop Sample, who was ordained Bishop of Marquette (Michigan) in 2006. “It will require great effort and serious catechesis for the clergy and faithful, but Gregorian chant must be introduced more widely as a normal part of the Mass.”

He continued:

Every parish and mission in the Diocese should establish to the best of its ability at least a minimum Gregorian repertoire of the chanted Ordinary sung by the people in Latin. Mass VIII (De Angelis) and Mass XVIII (Deus Genitor alme) are the most popular and accessible. Parishes capable of more than this are encouraged to build their chant repertoire beyond this minimum.

Bishop Sample’s letter, released on February 12, is dated January 21 – eight days before his appointment as Archbishop of Portland (Oregon).

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  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Feb. 16, 2013 9:07 AM ET USA

    This pastoral letter is a good foundation for change. However, parishes will need more than a directive letter. There should be training in the diocese for music directors who can return to train choir members and other parishioners who would like to improve worship through music. This sounds like a wonderful project in which to involve Catholic school age children! Start them off right!

  • Posted by: cobol39218881 - Feb. 15, 2013 1:47 PM ET USA

    There is not one parish in my whole diocese that does Gregorian Chant but then again there is not one parish in our diocese that doesn't sing Protestant songs with drums and guitar. With two thousand years of creating the most beautiful and inspiring music do the 'music' directors choose outdated protestant songs from the 70s.

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