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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 all this mediaeval religious poetry there is much that we could not use now. Many of the hymns are quite bad, many are frigid compositions containing futile tricks, puns, misinterpreted quotations of Scripture, and twisted concepts, whose only point is their twist. But there is an amazing amount of beautiful poetry that we could still use. If we are to have vernacular hymns at all, why do we not have translations of the old ones?”
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

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Motet for Three Voices: “O Crux Ave”
published 22 January 2017 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 March 1st. Time is therefore precious at upcoming choir rehearsals.

This time last year, Richard Clark offered links to a number of resources he has published for Lent and Easter. Late last week, Richard announced a new collection of his Lent & Easter Communion antiphons available from WLP. 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.