A hymn for Trinity Sunday

This Sunday’s first reading in the Ordinary Form was recast into a hymn by the outstanding but troubled poet William Cowper.
Hymns that quote Scripture at length are rather difficult to write, which makes the fluency of this one all the more remarkable. Writing a hymn free-style, without predetermined content, is much easier, especially in a rhyme-poor language like English.
Like any art, hymn writing, apart from inspiration and prayer, is a series of problems to be solved. When working on a hymn from one’s own meditations and imagination, a rhyme problem that is not easily solved can simply be abandoned, and a new idea, with new potential rhymes, can be substituted. Like an organist moving forward through an improvisation, one can choose to take possible roads, rather than highly difficult ones. There are so many beautiful things that can be said about the faith, that good hymns are possible to write even if the initial trajectory has to be abandoned.
It is different in cases of lengthy quotes from Scripture, or translations from the Latin. One has to stay on the subject that is given rather than moving on to a new aspect of the divine plan. The American Anglican F. Bland Tucker, one of the editors of both the 1940 and 1982 Episcopal hymnals, was outstanding at paraphrase. He is well-known among Catholics for his Father, We Thank Thee Who Hast Planted, which paraphrases the anaphora recorded in the Didache. Perhaps even finer is his incorporation of the Hymn to the Philippians (Phil 2: 6:10) into his majestic All Praise to Thee, for Thou O King Divine.
Cowper (pronounced “Cooper”) was a parishioner of John Newton’s, and a top-drawer poet of both sacred and secular works. To help him through his serious psychological struggles and scruples, Newton engaged Cowper to write hymns, and the two collaborated on the celebrated Olney Hymns, which include Newton’s Amazing Grace and Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken, as well as Cowper’s God Moves in a Mysterious Way and the following, which may be sung to the tune AURELIA (The Church’s One Foundation).
Wisdom by William Cowper
(Proverbs, viii. 22-31)

“Ere God had built the mountains,
Or raised the fruitful hills;
Before he fill’d the fountains
That feed the running rills;
In me from everlasting,
The wonderful I am,
Found pleasures never wasting,
And Wisdom is my name.

“When, like a tent to dwell in,
He spread the skies abroad,
And swathed about the swelling
Of Ocean’s mighty flood;
He wrought by weight and measure,
And I was with Him then:
Myself the Father’s pleasure,
And mine, the sons of men.”

Thus Wisdom’s words discover
Thy glory and Thy grace,
Thou everlasting lover
Of our unworthy race!
Thy gracious eye survey’d us
Ere stars were seen above;
In wisdom thou hast made us,
And died for us in love.

And couldst thou be delighted
With creatures such as we,
Who, when we saw Thee, slighted,
And nail’d Thee to a tree?
Unfathomable wonder,
And mystery divine!
The voice that speaks in thunder,
Says, “Sinner, I am thine!”


The Via Pulchritudinis and Evangelization of Young People

Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty’s self and beauty’s giver.

Young people of every generation have their own slang and their own priorities. One of the expressions that comes up in young adults’ conversations about Church art and catechesis is “cringe.” Cringe is what young people experience when older people are trying too hard to meet them at their (supposed) level. This is one of the funnier memes used to express this experience.


Well-meaning efforts to reach devout young people often fail on this account: to the young people themselves, there is an obvious and embarassingly overeager desire to connect with them. The problem is more than just the lack of respect for oneself and others that this implies. The main problems, as expressed by the young people, include the following:

  • Older people guess, wrongly, about what young people need
  • Older people impose unwanted, supposedly relevant experiences on young people
  • Older people’s ideas of the relevant are often outdated
  • Older people do not listen to young people express their own preferences

Just to focus on this last point, it seems undeniable that young people who are serious about their faith tend to prefer more traditional expressions of worship than older people do. Increasingly, the “guitar Mass” is attended by older people, and the more solemn Masses are attended by young people. Young women wear veils. Young people kneel for Communion and receive on the tongue. Young people crowd Masses in the Extraordinary Form. In short, we have a full-blown “generation gap,” only this time–51 years now after the “Summer of Love”–only this time it is upside down. The devout young are not the revolutionaries, but the custodians of something that is deeper and richer than themselves.

Now this is not to say that all young people like traditional expressions, nor that older people all like casual expressions of liturgy. And the existence of a variety of expressions need not be a serious point of contention. It seems to me that young people would be perfectly satisfied if they would only be allowed to continue growing in their faith in the way that seems best to them. But they are not.

Because older people will not let them.

A number of memes illustrate some of the frustration that young people feel when trying to make their needs known. This older one plays on the parental intervention that would happen when a child is found to be using some sort of contraband.

I think that the Church should make a commitment to meet young people where they really are, instead of what often seems to go on: We meet young people where we would like them to be.

There’s a nice story about Walker Percy’s conversion to Catholicism. When he was in college, one of his fraternity brothers, who was otherwise a perfectly normal fraternity brother, used to wake up at the crack of dawn to go to daily Mass. This is the kind of witness that awakes the imagination: the beauty of a committed Catholic life in the midst of the world, like a small but authentic amount of leaven. It is fascinating and compelling and changes minds and hearts.

There’s also an odd statistic that came out a few years ago. One out of six young converts to Christianity attributes that conversion to a visit to a church building. The researchers were astonished.

I think if we really, really listen to the hopes young people have for the Church we would be astonished as well, in a happy way that leads to renewal for us all.





Let us sing Alleluia, even here on earth

In a way, Eastertide is more difficult than Lent. Fasting for 40 days is not too difficult. Rejoicing for 50 days is pretty strenuous by comparison.

In many parishes the Easter alleluias died out weeks ago. The lilies were gone as soon as the first petals dropped.

Meanwhile the Church in the United States continues what seems to be an endless cycle of exposure of corruption, day after disheartening day, like a tooth whose abscesses periodically drain, leaving the rot that remains deeply rooted festering, with no dentists anywhere in sight.

Under these circumstances, it can seem difficult to keep the Alleluia going throughout all the days of Easter. Although these days are quickly coming to their fulfillment in Pentecost, the liturgy keeps the celebration going with great feasts in the following weeks, as though reluctant to bring out the green vestments of Ordinary time for Sundays right away.

Thankfully, Saint Augustine has encouraging words for the Church in every age, in every circumstance of trial. The liturgy places them in the Office of Readings on Saturday of the 34th week in Ordinary time, the final day of the liturgical year, as if to say, “Next year, in the new year, we will try better to remember to rejoice in God.”

Let us sing alleluia to the good God who delivers us from evil

Let us sing alleluia here on earth, while we still live in anxiety, so that we may sing it one day in heaven in full security. Why do we now live in anxiety? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when I read: Is not man’s life on earth a time of trial? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when the words still ring in my ears: Watch and pray that you will not be put to the test? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when there are so many temptations here below that prayer itself reminds us of them, when we say: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us? Every day we make our petitions, every day we sin. Do you want me to feel secure when I am daily asking pardon for my sins, and requesting help in time of trial? Because of my past sins I pray: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and then, because of the perils still before me, I immediately go on to add: Lead us not into temptation. How can all be well with people who are crying out with me: Deliver us from evil? And yet, brothers, while we are still in the midst of this evil, let us sing alleluia to the good God who delivers us from evil.

Even here amidst trials and temptations let us, let all men, sing alleluia. God is faithful, says holy Scripture, and he will not allow you to be tried beyond your strength. So let us sing alleluia, even here on earth. Man is still a debtor, but God is faithful. Scripture does not say that he will not allow you to be tried, but that he will not allow you to be tried beyond your strength. Whatever the trial, he will see you through it safely, and so enable you to endure. You have entered upon a time of trial but you will come to no harm—God’s help will bring you through it safely. You are like a piece of pottery, shaped by instruction, fired by tribulation. When you are put into the oven therefore, keep your thoughts on the time when you will be taken out again; for God is faithful, and he will guard both your going in and your coming out.

But in the next life, when this body of ours has become immortal and incorruptible, then all trials will be over. Your body is indeed dead, and why? Because of sin. Nevertheless, your spirit lives, because you have been justified. Are we to leave our dead bodies behind then? By no means. Listen to the words of holy Scripture: If the Spirit of him who raised Christ from the dead dwells within you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your own mortal bodies. At present your body receives its life from the soul, but then it will receive it from the Spirit.

O the happiness of the heavenly alleluia, sung in security, in fear of no adversity! We shall have no enemies in heaven, we shall never lose a friend. God’s praises are sung both there and here, but here they are sung by those destined to die, there, by those destined to live for ever; here they are sung in hope, there, in hope’s fulfillment; here they are sung by wayfarers, there, by those living in their own country.

So, then, my brothers, let us sing now, not in order to enjoy a life of leisure, but in order to lighten our labors. You should sing as wayfarers do—sing, but continue your journey. Do not be lazy, but sing to make your journey more enjoyable. Sing, but keep going. What do I mean by keep going? Keep on making progress. This progress, however, must be in virtue; for there are some, the Apostle warns, whose only progress is in vice. If you make progress, you will be continuing your journey, but be sure that your progress is in virtue, true faith and right living. Sing then, but keep going.


Job opening in SC: Seeking the right music teacher

It’s been a pleasure to see all the interest from Chant Café readers in our parish, Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Taylors, South Carolina, and our efforts in the liturgical formation of children.  Perhaps there are musicians reading who would even like to take part in that mission, so I invite you to look into in a teaching position that is open in our school and parish, at the center of that important task.

The duties of the position are two-pronged: we are seeking a Music Teacher and Pastoral Associate for Children’s Music. The primary focus is classroom music instruction in our award-winning parochial school and directing the school choir. The position also includes assisting the parish Director of Music in directing choirs for the parish, and associated collegial responsibilities.  The full announcement at our parish web site has more details and contact instructions, so I look forward to hearing from you.


The Liturgical Formation of Children: A Pastor’s Letter to His Parish

Dear Friends in Christ,

Sacred Liturgy as Source and Summit

The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the teaching of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II, Sacrosanctum concilium, “The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life.” (CCC 1324, SC) The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the center of our public worship as Catholics. As Catholics, we are called to full, active and conscious participation in the sacred liturgy. Vatican II reminded us, “In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.” (SC 14) Pastors have a sacred duty to teach the faithful at all levels everything that will assist them in truly taking their proper role in the public worship of the community.

When a child is baptized, his parents promise to raise their child in the practice of the Catholic faith. Observing the Lord’s Day with participation at Holy Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is an indispensable component of that formation. Catholic schools are in a privileged position to help parents in that vocation, by providing opportunities to form themselves as families in that true Christian spirit which is nurtured by the sacred liturgy.

The Roman Rite

Most Catholics worship according to what is called the Roman Rite, according to the liturgical books, rites and ceremonies that are followed by the Pope in Rome. There are presently two main forms of the Roman Rite: the Extraordinary Form, which observes the liturgical books in force from around the time of St Gregory the Great (r. 590-604) until 1970, which was codified and extended to the universal Church in 1570, and is celebrated entirely in Latin; and the Ordinary Form, which was first offered for use in the Church in 1970, and which can be celebrated in both Latin and the vernacular.

At Prince of Peace, we are blessed to have both forms of the Roman Rite every day. The Ordinary Form has built within it a certain amount of flexibility in terms of language and ritual forms. Because Pope Benedict XVI called for the mutual enrichment of the sacred liturgy by both forms of the Roman Rite influencing each other, we observe all of the most traditional options built into the Ordinary Form. At the same time, though, we are careful not to mix the two forms, and to respect their relative integrity.

For the past 50 years, doctrinal and liturgical confusion in the Church has led to a situation in which, in many places, the liturgy is not celebrated in conformity with the mind of the Church as expressed in the liturgical books and laws which govern her worship. A progressive secularization and desacralization of the sacred liturgy has led to an emphasis on the Mass as fellowship and meal, rather than sacrament and sacrifice. Sadly, some Catholics’ experience of the Mass has been so deformed by this horizontalizing theology, they no longer can recognize authentic Catholic worship. Pope Benedict XVI called for a “reform of the reform” to restore the sacred to Catholic worship. Prince of Peace has been recognized internationally for its enthusiastic response to the restoration of the sacred. Our school is in a unique position to expose families to the full breadth of Catholic worship according to the mind of the Church.

The School Mass: Anticipating the Lord’s Day

The school is the principal apostolate of Prince of Peace Catholic Church, and, as such, the ethos which permeates the worship of this parish also drives the way we form our children in the school community. The Wednesday School Mass is an opportunity in the middle of the week to anticipate the worship of the Lord’s Day and to provide the possibility for children to learn throughout their time here how to engage in that full, conscious and active participation that Vatican II calls for. Of course, the purpose of the liturgy is not principally didactic (to teach), but latreuic (to worship). While we are able to teach children to appreciate the riches of their Catholic liturgy in age-appropriate ways, they are still able to engage in worship according to their different capacities as they progress through that learning process. Learning about the liturgy is a life-long process, but we can always participate in the Mass in some way at whatever stage in life we find ourselves.

Active Participation in the Mass

The norm for the sacred liturgy is a fully sung solemn liturgy. “Downsizing” the liturgy by reciting texts, singing texts which are not proper to the liturgy, or omitting the ritual gestures of the Mass is a relatively late accommodation to circumstances that has unfortunately become common. Many Catholics experience only a recited Mass with some hymns sung at various points, instead of the full vibrant life of Catholic worship envisioned by her liturgical books and Vatican II. Because the Church encourages all of us to be actively involved in worship, we not only teach children about the Mass, but involve them in all of the roles proper to them in the Mass: as readers, cantors, choir, gift-bearers, ministers of hospitality, and altar servers. At the same time, though, even children who are not involved in those roles at Mass are not mere spectators, but unite their mind and heart to the action of the liturgy which they are engaging with their five senses.

Because we employ children in such an active way during the School Mass, it builds up a culture of active participation which will go with them throughout their lives as Catholics. When they enter into high school, they are already equipped to perform those same roles in parish celebrations of the Mass.

Latin and Sacred Music: What the Church Teaches

The normative language of the Roman Rite has, since at least the 4th century, been Latin. Even when greater scope was allowed for vernacular languages, Vatican II reiterated that “the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” (SC 36)

According to the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, “pastors of souls must promote the liturgical instruction of the faithful, and also their active participation in the liturgy both internally and externally, taking into account their age and condition, their way of life, and standard of religious culture. By so doing, pastors will be fulfilling one of the chief duties of a faithful dispenser of the mysteries of God; and in this matter they must lead their flock not only in word but also by example”. (SC 19)

Vatican II reminded us that “The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.” (SC 116) Also, “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” (SC 54) This same document mandates, “Great importance is to be attached to the teaching and practice of music in . . . Catholic institutions and schools.” (SC 115)

The Church is very clear that our public worship continues to preserve the patrimony of the Latin language and Gregorian chant. She also instructs pastors to ensure the formation of the faithful in this patrimony, so that they will be able to participate fully in sacred worship according to the mind of the Church. The parish school gives a unique opportunity to accomplish this explicit desire of the Council. While it is true that there are many places that have continued to ignore the Church’s teaching on these matters, Prince of Peace endeavors to live that teaching well.

When we learn our mother tongue, we absorb it by hearing and imitating until we receive formal education in it, and that educational process progresses by stages as we gain greater mastery over it. Likewise, with the liturgical, musical and linguistic patrimony of the Church, we absorb it by hearing and imitating it, and catechesis helps us to learn to live the liturgy, a process which grows.

The Arts in Catholic Education

The arts are not an extracurricular activity peripheral to education; they are an integral part of a Catholic education. Likewise, art and music is not a peripheral part of our Catholic worship, but integral to it. The time a Catholic school invests in sacred music is a crucial component of its Catholic identity, because sacred music is part and parcel of that worship which is the source and summit of Catholic life. Prince of Peace is not a choir school where the main focus is on music. It is a normal parochial school with a commitment to academic excellence, an excellence which encompasses faith and reason, of all that is both old and new in learning. But its Catholic identity requires it to see the arts, and in particular their relation to Catholic worship, as central, and not accidental to education.

Gregorian Chant, English Hymnody and Sacred Polyphony

The musical formation of our children consists principally of music theory, history and appreciation, with an emphasis on the choral element over the instrumental element. But because the Catholic identity of the school means an intersection of religion and music in formal instruction, time is given over to three main areas of sacred music. As we have seen, Gregorian chant is given pride of place in liturgical services by the Church herself. As such, our education provides a formation in reading chant notation and learning the principal pieces of that repertory. Because modern Catholic worship also is open to the vernacular, we also encourage the learning of English hymnody which is in the repertoire of the parish and which is chosen because of the nobility of its texts and elegance of its musical forms. In addition, we have several choirs which go above and beyond that education to explore the vast treasure of the Church’s sacred polyphony, in several languages. All of this musical education broadens the cultural horizons of children, and increases their critical thinking skills as well as the development of other aspects of their personalities. It is part of the education of the whole child, immersed in the Catholic intellectual tradition.

Traditional Options at Prince of Peace

There are certain elements to our corporate worship at Prince of Peace which maximize those traditional options that are built into the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite which is celebrated as the School Mass. Some of these elements are not as common in certain places, but are all legitimate and in fact encouraged. Because we celebrate Mass solemnly, we use incense at the School Mass. The thurible is not opened during the incensations, only two charcoals are used and hypoallergenic incenses are used.

Also, it is common to see the Liturgy of the Eucharist celebrated ad orientem at Prince of Peace. This way, priest and people face the same direction, towards the Lord, and symbolically, towards the East, from which in antiquity Christians believed the Lord would come again.

Holy Communion is distributed either under one form, of bread alone; or by intinction, by the Sacred Host being dipped by the minister in the Precious Blood. Intinction, by its nature, means that the Host must be placed directly on the tongue of the communicant, because it is dripping with the Precious Blood. (RS 104) The normative practice of the Roman Rite is for Holy Communion to be received directly on the tongue. Redemptionis sacramentum, the latest liturgical law in force for the Roman Rite, stipulates the following: “Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognition of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.” (RS 92) Here we teach children how to receive Communion according to the traditional practice of the Church. Parents are free to teach their children how to receive in the hand, as they may do so at parish Masses. Because of the experience of the pastor in working with children receiving in the hand, he exercises his right to discourage the reception of Holy Communion in the hand when not received by intinction, precisely to avoid the profanations that the document recognizes can occur.

Likewise, the traditional practice of the Roman Rite is to kneel for Holy Communion. Although the norm established by the US Conference of Bishops is to make a reverence and then stand, Redemptionis sacramentum states that “it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful [because] the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.” (RS 91) Because in our parish we have responded to that call of Pope Benedict XVI for the mutual enrichment of the two forms of the Roman Rite, and because of the presence of both forms in the parish, we encourage our families to observe the traditional practice for the reception of Holy Communion.

To Learn More

If you would like to learn more about the sacred liturgy as celebrated at Prince of Peace, we encourage you to pick up the booklet Divine Worship at Prince of Peace which you can find in the pews of the church. We also invite you to make an appointment with one of the parish priests if you have any questions.

(Pastoral Letter, Prince of Peace Parish, Taylors, South Carolina, May 18, 2017)


It never really was a fair fight

Aurora lucis rutilat
5th c.
Paschal time, Lauds, my trans.

The light of dawn is reddening,
The heavens’ morning praises spring,
The earth exults: “The morning! Hail!”
While hell’s sad dwellers groan and wail.

Our King, the victor in the strife,
When death was smashed apart by life,
Has trampled hell triumphantly
And captive led captivity.

The Lord, whose barricade of stone
The soldiers kept sharp eyes upon
In vict’ry conquers through that gate
And rises forth in pomp and state.

“The Lord is risen from the dead!”
The splendid angel loudly said.
And hell is evermore left free
To grumble in its misery.

Be this our thought through all life’s days,
Our Easter joy, our Paschal praise:
The grace in which we are reborn
Was won in triumph on that morn.

Jesus, to You let glory rise,
Who vanquished death and won the prize;
With Father and the Spirit blest,
Be endless ages’ praise addressed.


Jeffrey Morse on Chant Intensive 2019: register now

You still have time to register at regular rates and avoid the late fees… Register by May 15th!

Once again, the CMAA will be offering the Summer Chant Intensive at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. The course is offered June 24-28, 2019.

This course has been a valuable springboard for many Catholic musicians who wanted to learn more about Gregorian chant. Many of us got our start in directing scholas and choirs because of this course, which was offered for the first time in 2008.

Our instructor this year will be Jeffrey Morse, who has provided us with this letter that includes more detail about the scope of the course:

… Over the years teaching chant to various groups at the Colloquium, many students had expressed their desire for more Chant instruction, particularly in subjects like the modes, but due to the time limitation of the Colloquium it was impossible to cover these topics.

If you were one of these students wanting more, the Chant Intensive is for you! The topics of the Chant Intensive are provided on the CMAA website, but I thought that perhaps it might prove helpful to expand a bit on the course description and syllabus, which can be a bit off putting and vague as they are necessarily short and succinct.

The Chant Intensive is offered for everyone, with little or no chant experience, but particularly for those with an intermediate level of knowledge of plainchant and even for the advanced. I think all levels will find something useful in this Intensive. While no chant knowledge, or little is required for the class, some will be helpful as the basics of Chant, the reading of the square notes, the staff, etc. will be done at a fairly good pace, serving as a review for the others in the first sessions. In my experience in teaching over the years, this is fine for beginners, but if you would like to go at a much slower pace, perhaps “Laus in Ecclesia Level I”, offered at the same time, might be a better fit.

In the course of the week, we will explore the 8 modes in which Chant is written. Their individual qualities and sounds, using solfège (do, re, mi) to learn the modes and be able to sing them. Modal studies will also focus on examples of Chant representing every mode, the
important notes in each, and how over centuries these notes have sometimes changed, as well as the psalm-tone for each mode. In the learning of the psalm-tones, or the little melodies to which the psalms are sung, we will learn how exactly the psalms are sung to each of these melodies and the rules of “Pointing” accents and preparatory syllables that make it possible. Emphasis too, will be placed on how a good unified, choral tone is cultivated, as well as good basic vocal techniques helpful for those students with choirs or even for themselves! The simple and natural rhythm of Chant, from the simple syllabic chants of the Ordinary of the Mass and Gregorian hymns, to the melismatic glories of the alleluias and Graduals and everything in between will be explored thoroughly in singing through as much of the Gregorian repertoire as possible, with time spent on teaching the direction of Chant (chironomy), with students able to practice the direction techniques learned with the group.

Lastly, we will be returning to the very sources of the Chant in a basic introduction to the reading of the notation of the St Gall school (9th century) which is the earliest notation in the Western world. We will talk about how these manuscripts helped in the melodic restoration of the Chant in the late 19th and early 20th century by the monks of Solesmes, and we will discover how their amazing subtleties, not carried through in the square note notation of later centuries, can inform and finesse our interpretation of the Chant breathing freshness, light, and life into the sacred texts it serves.

For those wanting a more thorough grounding and exposure to Gregorian Chant than what is possible at the Colloquium, this class is for you. I am grateful to the CMAA for offering the Chant Intensive each year, for I can think of nowhere else where such a complete education in the Chant is offered in such a concentrated fashion. With this class, it is hoped that the students will gain the confidence and skills to form and direct their own scholas or choirs, or become better directors of already existing ones, to bring this unparalleled music of the Church forward to our parishes and future generations, this music with its unique and singular ability to lift minds and hearts to God.

Looking forward to seeing old friends at the Chant Intensive and making new ones, singing with you all and passing it on! See you in Pittsburgh!

For all the information about the upcoming Chant courses in Pittsburgh, visit our website to find information about Registration, Housing, Schedule, and more: CMAA SUMMER COURSES

View a short video about the summer courses here:



Summer music and liturgy events

Still making plans for the summer? Here are some of the educational opportunities being offered in sacred music and liturgy:

  • The Sacred Music Colloquium of the Church Music Association of America: a six-day program including fully sung Masses in English, Latin, and Spanish, providing an experience of the liturgy with its full ceremonial and sacred music. Participants join choirs under expert instructors to learn and sing Gregorian chant and choral polyphony. This year the Colloquium Masses will be held at the cathedral in Philadelphia July 1-6, and the polyphony choirs will be directed by Timothy O’Donnell, Charles Cole, David Hughes, and MeeAe Cecilia Nam.
  • Chant courses sponsored by the Church Music Association of America: in the week preceding the Colloquium, two chant programs will be presented on the campus of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh: our “Chant Intensive” program under conductor Jeffrey Morse, and the first level of the “Laus in Ecclesia” cantor training program under Br. Mark Bachmann OSB of Clear Creek Abbey. Graduate credit is available for both programs through Duquesne.
  • Michael Alan Anderson is directing a week-long workshop on chant and polyphony presented by Eastman School of Music, to be held in New York City June 10-14.
  • Janet Coxwell, David Woodcock, and Andrew Carwood will be directing the Early Music Academy Boston program July 27-Aug 2, to be held at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., studying works of Palestrina, Clemens, and Guerrero.
  • Patrick Torsell will direct a chant camp for children and youth 7-18 years of age in Harrisburg, PA, June 24-28; a video on-line has more information.
  • St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York will offer graduate-level courses in sacred music this summer, on site and on-line; the on-line classes start June 3, and on-site programs start July 22: descriptions are available on the Musica Sacra Forum.
  • A retreat for church musicians will be offered August 16-20 in Sleepy Eve, MN: a description of the program with liturgies offered according to the Usus Antiquior of the Roman rite is offered in this PDF file, and registration information is at the event’s Facebook page.
  • Schola Cantus Angelorum is presenting its seventh summer liturgy conference in Spokane May 28-31 on the campus of Gonzaga University. Speakers include Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Bishop Thomas Daly, Bishop Robert Vasa, Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Nathan Schmiedicke, Msgr. Richard Huneger, Canon Lawyer Magdalen Ross, Rev. Theodore Lange, Rev. Gabriel Mosher OP, Douglas Schneider, Alex Begin and Enzo Selvaggi. More information is at https://sacredliturgyconference.org/
  • The Monastère Saint-Benoît of the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon is presenting the sixth annual Sacra Liturgia Summer School, in English, at La Garde-Freinet in France, August 3-16.
  • Composer-conductor Paul Jernberg is presenting a Sacred Music Workshop for clergy, musicians, and laity June 24-29 on the beautiful campus of Northeast Catholic College in Warner, New Hampshire. (unfortunately cancelled)
  • St. Vitus Parish (FSSP) in Los Angeles is presenting its Sacred Music Symposium June 24-28 under the direction of Jeffrey Ostrowski.
  • Daniel Saulnier, former director of the paleography workshop at Solesmes, is presenting an introductory workshop on Gregorian chant August 6-9 as part of the Choralies festival at Vaison-la-Romaine.
  • The Gregorian Institute of Canada will present its summer conference August 8-11 at the Abbey of St.-Benoit-du-Lac in Quebec, with musicologist Juan Carlos Asensio Palacios presenting on Hispanic (“Mozarabic”) plainchant.