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Tag: hymns

What is Sacred Music? The History Is More Complex Than You Might Think

June 19, 2017 4 Comments
What is Sacred Music? The History Is More Complex Than You Might Think

Note to readers: The following article is long (3500 words). This is because I have been adding to it over the years as my research has continued. I am by avocation a church musician. Before my ordination, I was a Choir director and an organist. Like most of you, I have my preferences in the […]

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For All the Saints – Reflecting on a Great Hymn of the Church

October 29, 2015 5 Comments
For All the Saints – Reflecting on a Great Hymn of the Church

As we approach the Feast of All Saints this Sunday, we do well to meditate on one of the great English hymns, “For All the Saints.” It is a wide and sweeping vision of the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant. Its imagery is regal and joyful, its poetry majestic and masterful. A vivid picture […]

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Dust on the Hymnal: Pondering the Decline of Hymn Singing in American Denominations

June 1, 2014 75 Comments
Dust on the Hymnal: Pondering the Decline of Hymn Singing in American Denominations

One of the more prominent features of Protestant denominations over the decades was hymn singing. Get in your time machine, go back 50 years to a service for any Protestant denomination, and you would find every member of the congregation on his feet, hymnal in hand, singing quite loudly, even harmonizing the old familiar hymns: […]

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The Bridegroom Comes! A reflection on the Great Wedding Feast That Christmas Brings

December 19, 2013 11 Comments
The Bridegroom Comes! A reflection on the Great Wedding Feast That Christmas Brings

The coming of Christ at Christmas was as an infant. And thus we don’t usually think of wedding imagery related to the First coming of Jesus.  Yet, since the first coming of Christ is certainly fulfilled, we now focus more on his Second coming, of which the first coming is a sacramental reminder. Thus, in […]

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What is Sacred Music? Historically it’s a bit more complex than you may think.

December 9, 2013 55 Comments
What is Sacred Music? Historically it’s a bit more complex than you may think.

Recently  there was a discussion on my Facebook page about Church music. My parish, Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, here in Washington DC, was featured on EWTN’s nightly news (video is below), and discussion centered on that report. Among the many forms of music we use here the parish, gospel music is predominant at our 11:00 AM […]

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Where Will You Be When the First Trumpet Sounds? A Good Question Asked in An Advent Hymn

December 1, 2013 21 Comments
Where Will You Be When the First Trumpet Sounds?  A Good Question Asked in An Advent Hymn

Part of the Genius of the African American Spirituals is their ability to treat of serious themes, such as the final judgment, in a creatively compelling manner that steered a middle course between unproductive fear and prideful presumption. Some of them are even playful saying things like, I would not be a sinner, I’ll tell […]

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For all the Saints – Reflecting on a Great Hymn of the Church

October 31, 2013 29 Comments
For all the Saints – Reflecting on a Great Hymn of the Church

One of the greatest English hymns ever written, is “For All the Saints.” It is a wide and sweeping vision of the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant. It’s imagery is regal and joyful, it’s poetry majestic and masterful. A vivid picture is painted in the mind as the wondrous words move by. If you […]

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A Word By Word Translation and Study of the Latin Hymns Used at Benediction

July 18, 2013 24 Comments
A Word By Word Translation and Study of the Latin Hymns Used at Benediction

I sometimes get requests for help in understanding the Latin texts of the very familiar hymns for Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction. The O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo, though familiar to many Catholics remain only vaguely understood in terms of a word-for-word translation. Most know the poetic English renderings (“O Saving Victim Opening Wide” and “Humbly […]

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