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A new year; a new Breaking Bread; and new hymns...

posted Nov 27, 2010, 7:49 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Nov 27, 2010, 7:52 AM ]
As always, we begin our First Sunday of Advent with a new Breaking Bread, full of new hymns to discover in our new liturgical year.
 
The word “hymn” comes from the Greek hymnos, and were originally songs honoring their gods and heroes.  But in the 6th century, St. Benedict (who founds the Benedictine Order of monks) adapted some of these to Latin texts such as Ave Maris Stella, Pange Lingua and Veni Sancte Spiritus.
 
“Hymnals” begin to appear in the Middle Ages, when some European Christians collected hand-written copies of these songs.  But the Reformation of the 16th century, with its invention of the printing press, popularized both the printed Bible and hymnals.
 
To resolve the unbalanced distribution of hymnals vs. people in our pews, last year we had book cases built, so that you can pick one up on your way into church.  I just discovered these were ingeniously designed to move, so I can roll them into a more convenient position for you as you enter for mass, since several of you inform me you sometimes forget to pick one up.
 
Unfortunately, Breaking Bread is only published in soft-cover.   However, with clear molded vinyl covers they could look as good on Christ the King Sunday as they do now.  And so will next year’s; and the next.  (The covers previously used were soft-vinyl covered cardboard, and the cover spine is now narrower than the book spine, causing the cover to break.)
 

So this Advent, and this coming year, may we learn new hymns, not for the sake of variety, but to enhance the Liturgy.  And may we soon feel comfortable with these new songs, the way we do with those we’ve sung for years.

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