M The following is a guest article by Mæstro Jerome Cole.
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T IS MY DISTINCT pleasure to write to you on the feast of Saint Noël Chabanel. I find it remarkable that your organization dedicated all of its projects to the North American Martyrs and only later on (!) discovered the Texas Secretary of State established you as a nonprofit organization on 19 October, the feast of the North American Martyrs! Ever since my arrival at Saint Joseph Parish [Mishawaka, Indiana] five years ago, I have striven to be faithful to the church’s directives on Sacred Music. I have had the blessing of inheriting a Gregorian Chant Schola Cantorum which was founded a year before I arrived by a parishioner who had learned from the monks at Saint Meinrad Archabbey many years ago, and had finally fulfilled his dream of founding a Schola at a parish. Last year, the Schola sang 4-5 of the full, Gregorian Propers from the GRADUALE ROMANUM at one of our weekend Novus Ordo Masses, and this year I wanted to push forward and do more.
My Mantra • The purpose of sacred music at Mass is the glorification of God and the edification of the faithful, and it is my “mantra” that music at Mass should help reveal the face of God to us so that we might contemplate Jesus Christ truly present in the Eucharist. One way to do this is to add polyphony to the Mass, to, as the church documents say over and over, add greater solemnity to the liturgy.
Saint Noël Chabanel • This past October 1st, my Gregorian Chant Schola added something very simple: the Kyrie polyphonic extension from Jeff Ostrowski’s new Saint Noël Chabanel Mass Setting. This simple piece of polyphony allowed for a deeper contemplation of God at Mass, and was eminently practical for our small Schola. Doing beautiful sacred music such as this would not be possible without the support of my pastor, FATHER CHRISTOPHER LAPP, who has been a constant friend to—and promoter of—authentic sacred music.
Surprise Homily • On 1 October 2023, when we sang the polyphonic extension from the Saint Noël Chabanel Mass, Father Chris wove an explanation of the purpose of polyphonic music into his homily—ad libbing, I believe—explaining that the repeated “Kyrie Eleison” of the polyphony was a repeated cry of “Lord Have Mercy” which allowed us to meditate on the mercy of God, forgiveness, and conversion (which were the themes of his homily). The Father Noël Chabanel extension was the perfect little piece of polyphony to add to our chanted Mass at our midwestern parish to give greater glory to God, allow for the sanctification of the faithful, and reveal the face of God fully present Body, Blood, soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.
JEROME COLE serves as director of Sacred Music at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Mishawaka, Indiana. Jerome Cole’s passion lies in performing and teaching the sacred music treasury of the Church. Jerome’s professional accomplishments include the renewal of sacred music at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Mishawaka where he has emphasized beautiful hymnody, English and Latin chant, polyphony for the adult choir, Gregorian chant for the Schola Cantorum, and orthodox hymns and traditional anthems for the children’s choir. He is a founding teacher at the Saint Thomas More Academy of South Bend, implementing the Ward method and studies in music history and counterpoint. His professional interests lie in the organ music of the Baroque, the choral music of the Renaissance, and the sacred music of Gregorian chant, especially in teaching chant and polyphony to amateur musicians. He earned his Master’s degree in Organ Performance from the world-renowned INDIANA UNIVERSITY JACOBS SCHOOL OF MUSIC, studying under Dr. Christopher Young. His Bachelor’s degree in Music (Concentrations in Sacred Music and Organ) is from Ave Maria University, studying under Dr. Timothy McDonnell, Dr. Susan Treacy, and Dr. Brice Gerlach. Jerome is founder of the Saint Hildegard Project, a non-profit dedicated to the renewal and passing on of the Church’s tradition of sacred music through teaching and performance.