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How to bring better sacred music to your parish

Jeffrey Bruno

Diane Montagna - published on 08/24/16

Yes, this being something I care passionately about, I have written quite a few articles on the subject, based not simply on academic study but on my entire life as a Catholic—as one who has experienced firsthand, at different points in my life, the mainstream parish, the charismatic movement, the Reform of the Reform, and the traditional Latin Mass. Here are a few of the articles readers could follow up on:

Pride of Place in the Roman Rite
Do We Trust the Church’s Judgment—Or Our Own?
Don’t Let the Best Be the Enemy of the Good
Is Your Liturgy Like What Vatican II Intended?
Why Offer God the Finest of Human Artistry?
Sacred Music vs. ‘Praise & Worship’—Does it Matter?” (Part I and Part II)
Is ‘Contemporary’ Church Music a Good Example of Inculturation?
Banish All Guitars and Pianos from the Church
Contemporary Music in Church?

Given everything we’ve talked about, are there reasons for hope?

Recent years have witnessed the reintroduction of sacred music in quite a number of parishes and chapels throughout the world, thanks in large measure to the stirring example and writings of Benedict XVI.

In my experience young people have a hunger for traditional Catholicism and are excited when they discover sacred music. Many of the religious orders that are flourishing are the ones that have maintained or reintroduced Gregorian chant.

Vatican II praised the treasury of sacred music as a greater artistic heritage than that of any other art—which is rather astonishing when you consider the cathedrals, basilicas, statues, monuments, vessels, windows, paintings, poetry, and prose of Christendom. Sacred music tops them all, because it is an integral part of the solemn liturgy. I have seen again and again how musicians who desire to honor the Catholic Faith, connect with its rich history, and ensure its future, are taking this truth to heart. We are living in a difficult and chaotic period, but you can see shoots of green pushing up here and there through the gray volcanic rubble. It is enough to presage the regrowth of a lush forest. Our Lord never abandons His Church but patiently calls us back to the “beauty of holiness” when we have forsaken it.

St. Cecilia, patron saint of sacred music
St. Cecilia, patron saint of sacred music
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Sacred Music
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