Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Want to fix the liturgical music in your parish? Here's how.

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 13, 2015

The news that Jean Vanier has won the 2015 Templeton Prize reminded me that my friend Paul Jernberg met Vanier years ago, and the encounter was instrumental (no pun intended) in rousing Paul’s interest in sacred music, and his appreciation of chant.

Long-time readers of the Catholic Culture site may remember Paul Jernberg’s provocative essay, The Logos of Sacred Music, in which he explained what liturgical music should, and should not, be. Is the music that accompanies the liturgy at your parish truly beautiful and conducive to reverence? Does it fit with the sacred character of the Mass? Is it easy to sing? Do you want to sing? If not, that music is probably violating some (or all) of the principles explained in the Jernberg essay.

But it’s never altogether satisfactory to talk about music. So sample Paul’s Salve Regina. If that whets your appetite—as I think it will—continue on the same site to hear excerpts from his Mass of St. Philip Neri—a setting for the new English translation of the Roman Liturgy.

These are simple harmonies, written for ordinary singers rather than experts. With just a few hours of practice, you could be using them in your church. Why not send our parish music director to this site, too?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: garedawg - Mar. 15, 2015 5:16 PM ET USA

    Beautiful! Sounds very Russian.