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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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“In spite of what it is currently called, the music of these songs is not modem: this musical style is not new, but has been played in the most profane places and surroundings (cabarets, music halls, often for more or less lascivious dances with foreign names). The people are led on to rock or swing. They all feel an urge to dance about. That sort of “body language” is certainly alien to our Western culture, unfavorable to contemplation and its origins are rather suspect. Most of the time our congregations, which already find it hard not to confuse the crochets and the quavers in a 6/8 bar, do not respect the rhythm; then one no longer feels like dancing, but with the rhythm gone to pieces, the habitual poorness of the melodic line becomes all the more noticeable.”
— Unnamed choirmaster (Northern France) circa 1986

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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.