I have to admit that I have mixed feelings for the Holy Mass concluding the World Meeting of Families on Sunday. The Holy Father celebrated this Mass, Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, at B. Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia on his last day in the country.
Holy Mass: 42:30
I think the setup of the outdoor “Sanctuary” is one of the best one I have ever seen for a Novus Ordo Mass. It is very tasteful and it has a great sense of holiness. In the video, you can also find that Fr. David Friel was serving alongside the papal masters of ceremonies once again. The Preface and the Eucharistic Prayer (Eucharistic Prayer III) was prayed in Latin.
There was a pretty good selection of preludes before the Mass including Sanctus from Durufle’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Hallelujah. I am also very happy to see that the Ordinaries of the Mass, including the Gloria and Credo, being chanted in Latin. However, I am very disappointed with the music at Communion. Is it just me, or is the gospel choir going flat every time when they sing “Taste and see”? I am not an expert in gospel music, but that sound definitely wasn’t pleasing.
One piece that got my attention is Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom, the official hymn for the World Meeting of Families, sung during the offertory (1:35:36). Here is a recording of the hymn sung by the Cathedral Choir in 2014:
The hymn tune, PHILADELPHIA, was written by composer Normand Gouin, former music director at Old St. Joseph in Philadelphia. The text was penned by Fr. Andrew Ciferni, O.Praem, a liturgist, teacher and scholar who is a native of South Philadelphia. Here is the full text:
1. Sound the bell of holy freedom; call all nations of the earth.
Sons and daughters of one Father, sent to spread God’s saving Word.
Come, and gather, as one fam’ly at the table of the Lord.
2. David branch from root of Jesse, Mary that vine’s flow’ring rose.
She brought forth for us the Savior as the angel did propose;
Overshadowed by the Spirit, by her “yes” new life arose.
3.Blessed Joseph, spouse of Mary, teacher of your God and Lord,
You did shelter and provide for wondrous child by kings adored.
Open to God’s Word in dreaming saved your child from Herod’s sword.
4. Jesus, youth in low’ly Naz’reth, faithful son, and loving child,
Guest and host at Cana’s wedding, finest wine you did provide.
You, our rock and you our shelter, keep us ever by your side.
5. At the cross a grieving mother, on the cross, her only son,
With all mothers and their children, Blessed Mary, you are one.
In our joys, and in our sorrows may we do as you have done.
6. Sound the bell of holy freedom; call all fam’lies of the world
To be fed by love incarnate; to proclaim God’s holy Word;
Through the love of Christ our brother, in the Spirit make us one.