About this blogger:
Veronica Brandt holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. As editor, she has produced fine publications (as well as valuable reprints) dealing with Gregorian chant, hymnody, Latin, and other subjects. These publications are distinguished on account of their tastefulness. She lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband Peter and five children.
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“I vividly remember going to church with him in Bournemouth. He was a devout Roman Catholic and it was soon after the Church had changed the liturgy (from Latin to English). My grandfather obviously didn't agree with this and made all the responses very loudly in Latin while the rest of the congregation answered in English. I found the whole experience quite excruciating, but my grandfather was oblivious. He simply had to do what he believed to be right.”
— Simon Tolkien (2003)

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Archbishop Sample's Letter On Sacred Music (6 of 8)
published 21 June 2014 by Veronica Brandt

Bodfari welsh choir EADING THROUGH ARCHBISHOP Sample’s letter is refreshing. There is so much good sense here. Watch how he moves from the principle with a quote from Pope Benedict XVI “Nothing can be too beautiful for God” to the practical application of aiming high, making sure musicians are trained and prepared.

      * *  Archbishop Sample • 2013 Letter (PDF)

Not one for vague exhortations, the Archbishop gives concrete guidance in the form of a minimum practice time. Under Practice and liturgical discipline Archbishop Sample writes:

“Every hour of worship should represent at least two hours of structured preparation at a time and place apart from the congregation.” (page 11)

This may seem excessive for a four hymn sandwich. But the aim here is not to sing at Mass, but to sing the Mass – including the propers!

Reading further along is the wonderfully catchy heading: Preparation not planning. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The Church already has a wealth of music come down to us.

Much of our artistic culture today suffers from a perceived need for originality. But God does not require novelty in our worship. All the music is there, and if we’re not quite up to it yet, then it’s time to get to work!


This is part of an 8-part series on Archbishop Sample’s historic letter:

FIRST REFLECTION • Jeff Ostrowski

SECOND REFLECTION • Aurelio Porfiri

THIRD REFLECTION • Andrew Motyka

FOURTH REFLECTION • Peter Kwasniewski

FIFTH REFLECTION • Richard Clark

SIXTH REFLECTION • Veronica Brandt

SEVENTH REFLECTION • Fr. David Friel

EIGHTH REFLECTION • Gwyneth Holston