The Sacred Music program at St. John the Evangelist Parish seeks to deepen the faithful’s understanding of the Sacred Liturgy through authentic music that truly adheres to our Roman Catholic identity through the ages. Music from many different eras is used, all of which builds upon the Roman Catholic Church’s rich tradition of beautiful music and is stylistically identifiable as Roman Catholic. The Parish Choirs sing in both English and Latin, reflecting the Second Vatican Council’s wish that Latin remain within the Mass, and have a healthy repertoire of Gregorian Chant, English Chant, Sacred polyphony, and traditional hymns.
WHY LATIN AND GREGORIAN CHANT?
“It is possible to modernize sacred music. But it should not happen outside of the traditional path of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphonic choral music.”
– Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
In Catholic Churches across the world, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered exclusively in Latin for centuries. The Latin language, as the official tongue of the Catholic Church, unites Catholics across the globe in the unending praise of our creator. One could enter any church in any country and hear the familiar words of the Mass uttered or sung exactly as they would be in their home country.
The Second Vatican Council, which began in 1962, altered the liturgy of the Church, allowing the use of the vernacular alongside the Latin language in Mass; however, the erroneous implementation of the Council’s directives in the years the followed unfortunately resulted in the total loss of Latin in the vast majority of Parishes.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of traditional Catholic liturgy due, in no small part, to the pontificate of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Catholics across the world are re-examining the documents of the Second Vatican Council and realizing that Latin was never supposed to disappear and, in fact, was encouraged to remain in the Mass.
The repertory of Gregorian Chant dates back centuries and has been sung in Mass for just as long. You are invited to participate either externally, by singing the chant if you are familiar with it, or internally, by reading the translations as they appear in handouts and praying the text as it is sung.
For more information about Gregorian Chant and the traditional liturgy, please see the links in the side bar.