WYD Mass Setting

Heading Down Under for World Youth Day? Learn George Palmer’s Mass setting. At www.wyd2008.org you can get the score for guitar, keyboard, cantor or congregation. Sound files for listening are also available.

I listened to the Gloria this morning. It’s a nice serviceable setting; it strikes me as singable. It has that British organ and bright voice mixture that doesn’t sound quite like American choirs and their electronic instrument. Maybe it’s the Aussie way, too.

A combination of Latin and English is employed for the Mass texts—nothing really novel about that.

Much more interesting is the use of the new ICEL English translation. Officially, it’s still a year or two away from promulgation. I guess if the pope’s at the Mass, it must be okay to use. The notes to the score suggest that:

It is our desire that this Parish Setting of the Mass be learnt and used widely in the lead-up to WYD08 in parishes across Australia and other English speaking parishes.

A preview of the new ICEL text set to music. In any English-speaking parish. What do you make of that kind of encouragement?

This score may be downloaded and reproduced for the purpose of learning and performing the piece within the context of the Mass in any English speaking parish as long as no monies are received for its use. A separate version for inclusion in parish service sheets will also be made available on the website.

This kind of thing is quite laudable. I don’t suppose the US Bishops will be sensible enough to commission some really good Mass settings for parish use in this way.

Sydney auxiliary bishop Anthony Fisher said more music would be made available online “so that participants can be well and truly practiced in them by the time they get here, and that they get some share of that excitement, some of that vibe, this music presents even in the (time) that we still have leading up to the World Youth Day.”

The composer himself has an interesting story. His main profession is being a jurist. Though trained as a pianist, he began to explore his gift for composing much later. This feature outlines his struggle with hearing loss.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to WYD Mass Setting

  1. Liam says:

    I am glad to see the Aussie bishops taking the approach to commissions and permissions I have long wished the USCCB would embrace with vigor. My sense is that the USCCB and its bureaucracy tends to think “how can we recover the sunk costs of translations [and commissions]?” rather than “how can we help?” Sometimes, Rome is not the obstacle we often prefer to characterize it as.

  2. Todd says:

    Liam, I thought you would approve of the availability of a Mass setting like this. What about the “advance” on the new translation?

  3. Tony Neria says:

    Wow (I listened to the Gloria and Santus)…seemed very high church to me. I wonder if the “youth” will embrace it.

  4. Liam says:


    1. Practical: probably a good idea to run them through the wringer at an event like this. Part of my wishes there would be a “testing” phase for translation changes, but the other part of me knows (1) temporary translation tryouts at the parish level can deeply undermine the ritual nature of liturgy, and (2) it encourages the baleful experiencing of liturgy as product.

    2. Legal: I have no idea what canonical hoops have to be hurdled for this. It would be a good question for Cardinal Pell to answer, and I have a feeling he’d give a bracing answer.

  5. Pingback: South Africa: A Sign of Liturgical Things to Come? « Catholic Sensibility

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