Website for classic devotional hymns

My friend Peter Meggison has an interesting project going: he’s helping to keep old-fashioned Catholic devotional hymns alive by commissioning choral performances and recordings of these sentimental favorites. I’m putting together a web site for him at, so drop by and enjoy some of these charming old songs!

Parish Book of Psalms

Composer Arlene Oost-Zinner has been distributing her a cappella psalm settings for a few years through the Chabanel Psalms project, and this summer she has brought out a complete set of responsorial psalms for Sundays and solemnities, published by the Church Music Association of America.
View the Parish Book of Psalms at Scribd
By way of disclosure, I contributed to the book by doing some custom chant typesetting so I’m pleased with how the music looks. (The Scribd display above is not exactly what the page looks like, but it’s close.)
It’ll be available from Amazon shortly:

In CMAA’s spirit of sharing, free downloads of individual psalms are available online at

“Anglicans and the Roman Catholic Church”

I just finished reading the anthology Anglicans and the Roman Catholic Church: Reflections on Recent Developments, edited by Stephen Cavanaugh (Ignatius Press).
The collection of essays is an orientation to the “Anglican Use” phenomenon by some of its leading advocates: the book covers its origins and development, its current status and possible future, with helpful articles about liturgy, ecumenism, and the experience of entering into full communion with the Catholic Church.
I’m particularly grateful for the articles on liturgy. Brother John-Bede Pauley, OSB’s essay on the monastic character in Anglican liturgy is a help in understanding what the “Anglican patrimony” means as a gift to the Church. Prof. Hans-Jürgen Feulner’s introduction to comparative liturgy and its use in studying the development of rites and texts indicates the sort of studies the Church will need in order to develop a set of rites for the new Anglican Ordinariates. These will need to be suitable for the Ordinariates in various countries, and thus will have to improve on the current Book of Divine Worship, developed hastily in the 1980s for “Anglican-use” congregations in the US; it drew heavily on texts of that era: the U.S. Episcopalian 1979 Book of Common Prayer and the 1975 ICEL Roman Missal (soon to become obsolete).

Toward a revival of the sung Mass

Fr. Mark Kirby, writer of the Vultus Christi blog, is in Italy for a few weeks, where is to present a talk at the Adoratio conference in Rome. He has some observations on the state of the liturgy in Italy: with priest celebrants omitting the daily Proper texts of the Mass and neglecting to sing, the celebration of the Mass is often impoverished there as much as it is here in the US.
Reflecting on the great letter on sacred music Tra le sollecitudini by Pope St. Pius X, Fr. Kirby offers some suggestions for a new papal letter to revive the practice of the sung Mass, where people and priest sing the real texts of the Mass, and not just songs.

A New Creation

One of the small blessings of this Advent is we are less than a year away from the new translation of the Mass, and most US parishes will retire the “Mass of Creation.” Adaptations of the acclamations we are all familiar with to fit the new translation are going to be a hard sell on folks who are in the habit of singing them the old way.
It’s a great time to revisit the real classics – Gregorian Chant, and a great time to be a composer.
Let’s hope the next crop of modern liturgical music has more reverence and less Disney!