The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Melismatic Propers for Midnight Mass at Christmas

Many people who attend Anglican Use liturgies are aware of The Anglican Use Gradual, edited by C. David Burt, a fellow congregant of mine at St. Athanasius Parish in Boston. The AUG sets the minor propers of the liturgy (introit, gradual, alleluia, tract, offertory and communion) to simple psalm tones so that even a small schola or choir can chant them. I have heard the chants of the AUG sung not only in Pastoral Provision and Ordinariate parishes, but even in regular Roman Rite parishes.

Mr. Burt's gradual was the first English language gradual to appear for Catholic use, although there are now many others available, thanks to the work of folks like the hard working people at Corpus Christi Watershed.

But The Anglican Use Gradual remains the best suited for the Divine Worship liturgy, as it has congruent language, the texts being taken from the Coverdale psalter and the King James and Revised Standard translations of the Scriptures.

Over the years, we have published additions to the gradual in Anglican Embers, adapting the melismatic tones found in the Solemnes books and chants from the Sarum tradition. These are available on the Anglican Embers page at the Anglican Use Society web site, but here's a link to an appropriate one, the Midnight Mass propers for Christmas, published in our Advent 2010 issue:

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