We're snatching food from the hot plates before the caterer puts everything away; we had a very nice brunch after a beautiful, solemn celebration of the Holy Mass in the Crypt Church of the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the nation's capital.
It's been a very busy week, if you attempted to learn both chant and polyphony; I forewent the polyphony, for two reasons: (1) I really won't sing polyphony any time soon, and (2) I needed to focus my energy on chant, which I do sing.
I want to say the lectures have been extraordinarily good -- pointed, substantive, delivered with clarity and good humor, very persuasive. I've sat in hours of presentations that were gassy, overly long; these were tight: a lot of material covered in about an hour, each case.
Some will wonder how practical all this is. Well, this music is slowly returning. Even parishes that never hear a word of Latin do use polyphony, and a lot of people don't know they're not supposed to like Gregorian chant.
This movement is growing: we doubled our participation this year, with many more turned away; the plan is to accommodate many more next year. For Piqua's part, the music director and I have several folks in mind who say they want to come next year.
As it is, I had it rather easy. This year, I wasn't a main celebrant, so I didn't have to worry about intoning any of the prayers; but I open to doing so, even in Latin, which is still rather new to me. But I was glad others got the opportunity this time, and I was very happy to be a concelebrant. All I had to do was pray.
Why should we rekindle and bring back out the treasures of chant and polyphony? Because it is part of who we are, because it expresses the faith so well, because -- as music specifically composed for the Mass -- it conveys something special, and above all, because it is beautiful.
The Sacred Liturgy must be beautiful.
This doesn't mean only chant and polyphony; but it does mean these must not be excluded. On the contary, the Church, at the highest level, teaches they merit "pride of place" (particularly chant).