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One Spirit, One Church

posted May 19, 2013, 12:01 PM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated May 29, 2014, 10:03 AM ]
The chant Veni Creator Spiritus is believed to have been written in the 9th century. As an invocation of the Holy Spirit, it is sung on the feast of Pentecost; as the Cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope; the consecration of bishops; the ordination of priests; the sacrament of Confirmation; the dedication of churches; the coronation of kings and other similar solemn events.

A thousand years after it was written, Louis Lambillotte becomes a Jesuit priest, organist and composer in Belgium. He spends many years traveling to almost every country in Europe, visiting both monastic and secular libraries in search of ancient manuscripts and treatises regarding the history and theory of chant; becoming the leading researcher, restorer and publisher of Gregorian chant in the 19th century. He is credited with composing the hymn tune that bears his name, LAMBILLOTTE, which is based on Veni Creator Spiritus. Translated, it has become known as the hymn, Come, Holy Ghost.

Kevin Keil believes in borrowing our Catholic musical heritage and blending it with a contemporary style that makes the music new again. So after composing a refrain based on Maryanne Quinleivan's text about church unity, he combined it with his own arrangement of Lambillotte’s hymn tune as the verses. Together, this refrain and verses form a quodlibet, meaning they can be sung simultaneously with each other. Silent Night/Night of Silence and What Child Is This/Child of the Poor are other examples of this musical technique.

Kevin Keil received an award from OCP (the publisher of Breaking Bread) for the popularity of his arrangement of One Spirit, One Church. He also received World Library Publication’s “Owen Award” for outstanding achievement in the field of liturgical music. He sees his mission as bringing “all who experience and share my music closer to the living presence of Jesus Christ.”