HE TIME has come for honesty; so let me be completely honest. I’m bubbling over with excitement about the imminent release of the St. Jean de Brébeuf Hymnal. It is truly unique. On the one hand, it is aimed at the “average” Catholic parish in the United States—and I have personally experienced so many of these, from cathedrals to small rural churches. That means the texts are accessible and the melodies are solid, beautiful, dignified, and (usually) simple. On the other hand, our historical research was extensive—and we unearthed unbelievable hymn treasures which are almost beyond belief. We scanned thousands of pages of Catholic hymnals, choosing only what is most excellent from each. 1
This was sent to us from England:
This hymnal has been out of print for half a decade! It was generously scanned and sent to Corpus Christi Watershed by Mr. Colin E. Jackson.
From what I can tell, the Leeds Hymnal (1957) contains only “traditional” material, whereas the Brébeuf contains melodies and texts commissioned from contemporary artists.
Well, I guess there is a reason for my earlier comment about “traditional” hymns—check out what was just sent to me, from the “words” edition which appeared in 1954:
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 Generous friends from all over the world have also assisted us, sending us interesting historical hymnals.