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Dona nobis pacem

posted Sep 10, 2011, 9:45 AM by Unknown user

Latin for Grant us peace, this phrase at the end of the Agnus Dei has been used in isolation for many musical works; a cantata by Ralph Vaughan Williams; the third movement of Honegger’s Symphonie Liturgique; a hidden uncredited track on Tanya Donnelley’s 2004 country-folk album  Whiskey Tango Ghosts and on Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s 2006 recording No Boundaries.  These last two references are based on the traditional canon found as #210 in our Breaking Bread, whose melody is sometimes attributed to Palestrina, though numerous sources claim it to be Mozart’s. 

This phrase was not originally part of the Agnus Dei, and in the beginning of the 13th century, Pope Innocent III attributed its inclusion to disturbance and calamities affecting the church.  Both this supplication and this reason still hold relevance on this national day of mourning, and a musical setting of this text is performed at most 9/11 memorial concerts.

But just as we remember what has happened in our country and look to the future, the church is remembering its own past as it too journeys forward with a new English translation of the Roman Missal.  Yet these changes are far deeper than just setting new words to new melodies.  Each time we gather for the liturgy, we are called to be transformed with new hearts, new voices, and new hope for the world.

Monday night at 7:30 will be a one-hour workshop where you’ll have the opportunity to learn to sing a new Mass setting more prayerfully, and to rediscover what it is that we proclaim and celebrate every time at Mass.  But it’s not just for those in music ministry.  All parishioners are invited, especially lectors, Eucharistic ministers, altar servers, ministers of hospitality, and anyone interested in building our community of faithful.  Hopefully, this Mass of Renewal will offer us renewed enthusiasm for worship and a stronger commitment in our service to all of our vital ministries to God’s people.