February 17, 2014

The Spirit of Vatican II is alive and well at the 10:30 Sunday Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica. The changes in the liturgy not only more clearly follow the wishes of the council fathers, but also the instructions in the missal of Pope Paul VI.

The hiring of professional singers allows "the chants at the Entrance, at the Offertory, . . . and at Communion" to be sung with pristine intonation. The new Schola Cantorum truly is a musical school for us to more fully and actively participate in praying the Mass as they chant and sing the prescribed texts rather than replacing them with hymns.

We are still given a couple of opportunities to sing hymns in addition to singing the Mass in both Gregorian chant, which Vatican II said "should be given pride of place," and "other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony."

Exposing us to our musical heritage, the roots of which go back before the birth of Christ, is accompanied with the introduction of more Latin.

Hopefully, the council's directives will be followed and "steps [will] be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them."

Fortunately, the Schola sings from the choir loft so as not to be a distraction. This also allows better communication between the Schola and the organist, who is now free to make better use of one of the finest organs in Western Canada.

Perhaps this new life given to the liturgy by more faithfully following both the missal and Vatican II will produce more vocations to the priesthood and religious life as youth seem to be more interested in our Catholic heritage than the older generations.

Russell Grigaitis