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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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“To treat harmony and rhythm in this matter was a difficult matter. Facing numerous problems both large and small—that arose constantly—we understood that a flawless harmonization of Gregorian chant cannot be created by improvisation, no matter the competence and ability of the organist or harmonist.”
— Mons. Jules Van Nuffel, NOH Preface

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The New Spanish Missal as Opportunity
published 12 August 2018 by Fr. David Friel

OST English-speaking Catholics can remember the days of Advent 2011, when the present translation of the Missale Romanum was in its infancy. Anyone who has been involved in sacred music since that time can recount how significant that moment was for the Church in the Anglophone world. The adoption of that missal was about much more than just a new translation. That moment provided an opportunity for renewal in every area of parish liturgical life—a renewal that has taken root and borne fruit in many places.

A great deal of preparation went into the implementation of the 2011 English missal. There were pew cards, musical inserts, clergy workshops, adult education sessions, diocesan guidelines, etc. Well before it went into effect, the 2011 English missal was recognized as an important juncture in the life of the Church, and leaders rightly made sure that this juncture would not be crossed unaware.

Another moment, with similar possibilities, is upon us.

The rollout of a new Spanish translation of the Latin, 3rd typical edition of the Missale Romanum has begun. This new missal—the Misal Romano, tercera edición— has been produced for use in the United States of America. It became available from publishers beginning in May 2018, and its use has been optional since the Vigil of Pentecost (19 May 2018). Its implementation becomes mandatory on the First Sunday of Advent (2 December 2018).

Although my assessment is undoubtedly affected by the fact that I don’t presently work directly with any Spanish-speaking communities, it seems to me that preparation for this new Misal Romano has been less extensive than was the preparatory phase of the 2011 English missal. In one respect, this makes sense, inasmuch as the contrast between the new Spanish translation and the former version is not nearly as pronounced as was the difference between the old and new English translations. Nevertheless, making an adequate effort to prepare for the new Spanish missal remains essential.

One aspect of the new Misal Romano which deserves serious attention is its incorporation of chant. Just as the 2011 English edition of the missal was groundbreaking in its extensive use of musical notation for many of the chants of the Mass, so too the new Misal Romano, tercera edición will feature a wealth of quality chants for the Ordinary. The music of the new Spanish missal affords parish priests and musicians a prime opportunity to reintroduce truly sacred music into their celebrations, in place of the American-Hispanic music that has for so long been imposed upon their communities.

EADING THE WAY in this regard is the Zipoli Institute, an apostolate of the Institute of the Incarnate Word that provides resources to help make sacred music accessible in mission territories. The institute has published a lovely and user-friendly website that is rich with musical resources.

The new Spanish missal chants, which have been authorized for free and wide dissemination by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), are available from their website. Among their excellent Spanish resources are:

1. Practice recordings of the Misal Romano chants (in both standard and low pitches)

2. A printable booklet of the Misal Romano chants for congregational use (in both single-sheet and double-sheet formats)

3. A collection of quality, Spanish hymns for various occasions

In addition to their online resources, the Zipoli Institute is also sponsoring workshops to prepare clergy and laity for the implementation of the new Misal Romano. Their first workshops were held this spring in Washington, DC (27-28 April 2018).

Their next set of workshops will be held in Philadelphia, with a clergy-only presentation set for 9 November 2018 at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. A presentation tailored to music directors, choirs, and congregations (but open to all) is scheduled for the next day, 10 November 2018, at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center. The presenter on both days will be Fr. Andres Ayala, IVE.

A flyer with more details on these free workshops in Philadelphia is available:

    * *  PDF Download • SPANISH VERSION

    * *  PDF Download • ENGLISH VERSION

It should be noted that the Zipoli Institute is also a treasure trove of materials for the sung Mass in English and for Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Additional materials are provided or referenced for sacristans, for funeral/wedding planning, and for singing polyphony.

UCH GOOD has been accomplished over recent years in the world of Catholic sacred music in the English language. It took several decades to pass after the Second Vatican Council, but finally quality resources have emerged to facilitate the widespread use of English Propers and a nobler singing of the Ordinary.

The world of Catholic sacred music in the Spanish language cannot and should not be ignored. This new Misal Romano presents an immense opportunity for the Church in the United States of America. Let us pray that the introduction of this new translation of the Misal Romano will enable Spanish-speaking Catholics to sing a truly new song to the Lord!

Cantad al Señor un cántico nuevo, porque ha hecho maravillas . . . Aclamad con júbilo al Señor, toda la tierra; prorrumpid y cantad con gozo, cantad alabanzas. (Salmo 98)