USIC FROM the Catholic Church’s vast treasury has the power to strengthen, uplift, and inspire conversion. Many new Catholics cite the beauty and truth expressed by the Church’s sacred music as a catalyst for their conversion. For others, it fortifies a lifelong struggle in faith. For some, beautiful sacred music has inspired vocations. Fr. William Kelly, Pastor of Saint Paul’s Church in Harvard Square attributes his call to the priesthood to singing in the Saint Paul’s Choir School (known then as the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School) under the direction of the school’s founder Theodore Marier.
The famous Requiem by Gabriel Fauré, Opus 48, is one such piece that inspires faith and conversion of heart. Recently, the Saint Paul’s Choir of Men and Boys sang the Requiem during a Mass in the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo Vatican II Mass). A popular work often performed in concert, when sung within Mass, it offers boundless transcendence.
WHILE SINGING THIS SETTING in the Ordinary Form has its complications, i.e, the combined Introit and Kyrie and the Agnus Dei joined with the communion antiphon Lux Aeterna, many have done so in creative fashion as is true in this case. Some choose to split movements where liturgically necessary. Maestro James Kennerley chose to keep them intact, e.g., singing the Agnus Dei XVIII and then the Fauré setting during Communion. Adding profound context and delight was the singing of the Sequence Dies Irae in the Ordinary Form. Many in the congregation gladly joined in. Furthermore, Fr. Kelly’s brief homily spoke about his experience of singing Fauré’s Pie Jesu as a chorister while coping with the death of family members. Undoubtedly, such music profoundly transforms the soul.
Soli Deo gloria