About this blogger:
Richard J. Clark has served since 1989 as Music Director and Organist at Saint Cecilia Church in Boston, Massachusetts. He is also Chapel Organist (Saint Mary’s Chapel) at Boston College. For the Archdiocese of Boston, he directed the Office of Divine Worship Saint Cecilia Schola. His compositions have been performed on four continents.
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“The plea that the laity as a body do not want liturgical change, whether in rite or in language, is, I submit, quite beside the point. … (it is) not a question of what people want; it is a question of what is good for them.”
— Dom Gregory A. Murray (14 March 1964)

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Simply Stunning | Sacred Music of Paul Jernberg
published 13 March 2015 by Richard J. Clark

AUL JENBERG, Jr. has lead a most interesting life. Perhaps it is the various twists in following God’s plan for him that allow him to express the most profoundly sacred truths through music. From his website, here is only a glimpse of what lies behind his work:

In 1988, Paul helped prepare and then participated in a Scandinavian retreat with l’Arche founder Jean Vanier. His friendship with Vanier led him to a deeper awareness of the mentally handicapped and the vision of l’Arche, further studies in theology and Church history, and eventually in 1990 the decision to spend time living in a Franciscan monastery outside of Gothenburg. This was also a time of discovering the great beauty of Gregorian chant from the “inside”, that is from the perspective of singing it as prayer in the daily Mass and Liturgy of the Hours. This discovery, along with a grace-filled experience of the Catholic liturgical and sacramental life, brought a new sense of unity and mission to Jernberg’s work in sacred music.

Listen here to his simply stunning setting of the Salve Regina recorded by the Schola Cantorum of Saint Peter the Apostle, J. Michael Thompson, Director:

ANY OF YOU HAVE HEARD about Paul Jernberg’s Mass of Saint Philip Neri. This extraordinary work and his other sacred works including the Salve Regina is available for purchase on his website here.

The Mass of Saint Philip Neri can be sung with unaccompanied SATB choir, or very easily with organ accompaniment and unison schola. The layout of the SATB score in two lines makes this score quite flexible. Furthermore, the score is reminiscent of Theodore Marier’s Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Canticles in that it provides the ability to sing the entire mass as well as its multiple settings of various acclamations. The end result is also a mass that is very accessible to the congregation after hearing it just a few times.

His compositional voice is uniquely his, yet without pointing attention to itself. Paul’s rhythmic rendering of the text is simple, but never overshadows the music; it links accessible and sensitive rhythm with the freedom of Gregorian Chant. His music possesses sacred nobility, graceful humility, and simplicity, while reaching for the transcendent.

Listen here to his simply stunning setting of the Gloria from the Mass of Saint Philip Neri recorded by the Schola Cantorum of Saint Peter the Apostle, J. Michael Thompson, Director:

AUL JERNBERG IS CURRENTLY Music Director of St. Monica and St. Lucy Parishes in Methuen, Massachusetts. He is also Composer-in-Residence at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire and the founding director of the Magnificat Academy, a choir school for grades 4-12 in Warren, Massachusetts.

An educator at heart, Paul is a model servant of the Church. Please pray that his work may continue in great service to the Church, and please sing his glorious music!