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Notes on the Book of Sung Gospels


The Rev. Michael A. Caridi, S.T.L.

In a very real yet mysterious sense, Catholic liturgy is the entrance into sacred time and space and the meeting of two worlds: the imminent and the transcendent. As Catholics, we firmly believe that, "In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God..." (Sacrosanctam concilium, 8).

All Christian worship must be centered on God, and Catholic liturgical celebrations should reflect this God-centeredness in how they are executed. Thus, any authentic Catholic liturgy will be carried out with a certain degree of awe and humility, reverence, solemnity and decorum all directed toward the praise of God as we encounter his divine presence. Obviously, celebrations that focus only on the here and now, in which the congregation turns in on itself, and that do not reflect the supernatural and transcendental nature of true liturgy cannot sustain themselves for any extended period of time.

In recent years, those attuned to the movement of Catholic liturgy have observed a renewed interest among various individuals, groups and societies in rediscovering the transcendental dimension of Catholic worship. There has been a discernible shift in emphasis in many liturgical circles from the carefree styles born out of the late sixties and seventies to a reawakening of the need for proper reverence and solemnity in the Mass and other liturgical celebrations. CanticaNOVA Publications, in this their premier publication, is a sure sign that this movement continues to gain momentum.

As we know, sacred chant is an inestimable treasure of our Catholic liturgical heritage and remains, even today, a relevant and desirable way of adding the appropriate solemnity and grace to the liturgy. Utilizing a tone common in the Church for centuries, Gary Penkala and Christopher Bord have assembled and arranged in the Book of Sung Gospels forty-two uncomplicated Gospel chants of noble quality for use during the various major solemnities and feasts of the liturgical year. The material in this volume has already been employed in various cathedrals and seminaries and has received enthusiastic response. This publication, I believe, will prove very useful for those parishes, seminaries and religious communities striving to achieve an ever higher level of grace and dignity in their worship.

The Rev. Michael A. Caridi, S.T.L.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
October 1996

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