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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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Much of the beauty of the older forms was lost and the hymns did not really become classical. We have reason to hope that the present reform of the breviary will also give us back the old form of the hymns. But meanwhile it seems necessary to keep the later text. This is the one best known, it is given in all hymnbooks and is still the only authorized form. Only in one case have we printed the older text of a hymn, number 57, “Urbs Jerusalem.” The modern form of this begins: “Caelestis urbs Jerusalem.” But in this case the people who changed it in the seventeenth century did not even keep its metre; so the later version cannot be sung to the old, exceedingly beautiful tune.
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (1913)

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Essential Resources for Holy Week
published 29 March 2015 by Fr. David Friel

REPARING TO CELEBRATE a Sunday liturgy is a lot of work. The preparation requires several books, and it takes a bit of expertise to make them work together. The major books necessary are: the Roman Missal, the Lectionary, and the Graduale Romanum. Without all three of these resources, something will be missing in the Sunday celebration.

The preparation required to celebrate Holy Week well is even more extensive. In addition to the basic three essential books, Holy Week further requires the RCIA ritual book and a lesser-known document called Paschalis Sollemnitatis. This document is also known as the Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts, and it was published by the Congregation for Divine Worship in 1988.

The purpose of this Circular Letter is “to recall certain elements, doctrinal and pastoral, and various norms which have already been published concerning Holy Week” (#5). The Preface of the document makes clear that all the norms of the liturgical books for Holy Week retain their full force and that the contents of the letter are intended to deepen the understanding of those charged with preparing these liturgies.

The full letter is available HERE, in case you need it for a last-minute tune-up of what you have planned for this week. At the very least, save the link to reference it next year when the Paschal Triduum comes upon us again.

Knowing how to navigate all the required resources for celebrating the liturgy is hard work, but it is part of being a sacred musician. All the resources that are available through CCW and so many other organizations are welcome & valuable, but they can never replace the essential documents that govern the liturgy.