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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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“Except the psalms or canonical Scriptures of the new and old Testaments, nothing composed poetically shall be sung in church, as the holy canons command.”
— Council of Braga, 563AD

Motet for Three Voices: “O Crux Ave”
published 24 January 2016 by Fr. David Friel

HE SPACE between Christmas and Lent never seems as long as we expect (or would like). Preparations for Lent and Holy Week have already begun in many parishes, with Ash Wednesday looming on February 10th. Time is therefore precious at upcoming choir rehearsals.

On Friday, Richard Clark offered links to a number of resources he has published for Lent and Easter. Today, allow me to offer a link to a composition of my own.

Available through CanticaNOVA Publications, my setting of O Crux, Ave is written for three voices. The range is limited enough that it can be sung by equal voices (either men or women) or by a mixed choir (SAB).

This piece is ideal for use as a motet during the veneration of the Holy Cross at the Good Friday liturgy. Its structure with optional verses allows the piece to be limited or extended, as necessary, while its text focuses attention on the majesty of the Holy Cross. The text is actually a splicing of a phrase from the Exsultet with a line from the Passiontide hymn, Vexilla Regis prodeunt.

O Crux Ave can also be sung at any point in Passiontide (from the Fifth Sunday of Lent through Good Friday) or on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14th). This piece, which can be ordered here, is an easy, go-to piece for choirs to use any time there is a focus on the Holy Cross or the mystery of salvation.