Requiescat In Pace: Fr. Willard F. “Bill” Jabusch

Image result for willard jabuschAn online friend alerted me to this news last month:

Fr. Willard F. “Bill” Jabusch, 88, passed on December 8th.

Fr. Bill was a Catholic priest, educated at Mundelein Seminary, Loyola University and Northwestern University. His education was enhanced at the University of London, and as a composer, at the Chicago Conservatory. He was ordained in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1956.

We see his name on a few classic liturgical songs from the late 60s, but he composed for decades beyond Vatican II. Mainly he found melodies from various cultures and applied his lyrics to them. I didn’t know, but wasn’t surprised he was also a teacher, professor, author, and playwright.

For 21st century Catholics, they know this “movement” version. The Fr Jabusch song I remember best from the early 70s are not the two most popular, but this one.

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Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Requiescat In Pace: Fr. Willard F. “Bill” Jabusch

  1. Brian Culley says:

    I loved it!
    From a Jewish folk melody?

  2. Liam says:

    RIP Fr Jabusch,

    (Colbert nailed that one, though.)

    This and the fact that the 20-year tolling of U.S> copyright expiration that started in 1998 has finally ended, moving the public domain period into 1924 for most works, and experiences in divers parishes in recent times does lead me to wonder: How many liturgical songs composed in the wake of the Council are likely to retain deep purchase among the PIPs in the USA in 50 years time? Copyright as practiced by major publishers has perhaps acted to immediately amberize works upon publication, freezing out the kind of continual sifting and revision that over time gleaned durable from less durable work in the past. When the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations are largely passed from the pews, it’s not clear to me how much of what was “current” material they were raised to sing will be left standing on firm ground. (Example: even something once widely thought very durable – On Eagle’s Wings – is in my experience largely limited to funerals, and Catholic funerals are plummeting in a way as pews empty and those who remain appear to increasingly choose to skip funeral Masses properly entirely – instead, there’s a memorial Mass on a significant lag time, and the urgency of pastoral solicitude for funeral mass programming is not necessarily the same.)

    I wander as I wonder….

    • Mary says:

      There has been revision though – it’s just been done when the composer / lyricist was alive and part of the process. Eg what Suzanne Toolan has done with “I am the Bread of Life”.

      However, what happens in America will be probably less significant than what happens in Africa and Asia. YouTube recordings give you an idea of what PIP in there are actually singing, and modifying as the folk process does its work. A classic example: Ray Repp’s “Here we Are” is dead in the water in America – but not so elsewhere. American copyright laws just don’t work so well there.

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