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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 a doctorate in liturgical theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“It introduces us to a still and serious world, deserted and rigid, without colour, without light, without motion; it does not gladden, does not distract; yet we cannot break away from it.”
— Schweitzer on the THEME from Bach's “Art of Fugue”

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The Magnificat Institute of Sacred Music
published 9 June 2019 by Fr. David Friel

OLLOWING the implementation of the Roman Missal, third edition, in English in 2011, a flurry of “Mass settings” were published. Some are good, many are bad. Among the worst are those compositions which rehash previously existing settings, simply force-fitting the new texts into old wineskins. Among the best is the Mass of St. Philip Neri by Paul Jernberg (available from the composer’s own website).

Jernberg serves as executive director of the Magnificat Institute of Sacred Music, which has recently launched a new website. The goal of the site is to offer resources to those responsible for sacred music in parishes and other communities. These resources include new repertoire along with opportunities for ongoing formation and inspiration. In time, the Institute plans to offer one-day seminars, weeklong workshops, and even consulting services in support of their vision for a four-pronged approach to the renewal of sacred music: theoretical, practical, spiritual, and apostolic.

Based in Lancaster, MA, the Institute began a new phase in 2018. Its history, however, stretches back to the 2005 founding of Magnificat Academy, formerly a choir school for grades 4–12 in Warren, MA. The academy was transferred to the Cathedral of St. Paul in Worcester in 2008. Then, from 2011 until 2017, it shifted its focus to supporting sacred music projects by means of collaboration with various schools and institutions. This re-founding as the Magnificat Institute of Sacred Music, therefore, is exciting news.

OME of the strengths of Jernberg’s Mass of St. Philip Neri include its flexibility, accessibility to congregations, and musical interest. It can be sung unaccompanied with SATB choir, or it can be sung in unison with organ accompaniment.

Check out this 2014 recording of the setting’s Gloria, sung by the schola cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle Church in Chicago under the direction of J. Michael Thompson:


Jernberg’s bio is available here.