Nous Rendons Grâce a Dieu
Posted by james0235 on May 23, 2010
This afternoon I attended a concert at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church called Nous Rendons Grâce à Dieu or We give thanks to God, the last phrase spoken by the people in the Mass in French. Last year’s My Spirit Rejoices was also held on Pentecost so maybe this is an annual thing. I certainly hope it is.
The calendar on the parish website listed this as “a program of French music” but, with I believe one exception, it was all Latin but by French composers. The choir at St. Francis of Assisi seems to be made up of some very talented people under very good direction. And that combination sometimes seems hard to find.
Quite a few years ago at one parish in Central Ohio that I will not name I asked the pastor about the possibility of having some Gregorian chant or traditional Catholic hymns instead of the usual St. Louis Jesuits, Marty Haugen, and David Haas. His response was “I don’t think that is necessary.” When I pointed out to him some of the things that the popes and bishops have written on music in the Mass I believe the terms he used were “archaic” and “pre-Vatican II” – and this was in reference to quotes from the Vatican II documents themselves. I am not exactly sure how Vatican II can be pre-Vatican II but his arguments in defense of his liturgical abuses were just as powerful. But, that is a topic for another day.
Seeing that this was going nowhere I decided to approach the music director with my requests. She actually had no idea what Gregorian chant was – she had never heard of it. And in reference to my request for some traditional Catholic hymns in place of the folk music she responded that we often have traditional Catholic hymns – and then she gave City of God, On Eagle’s Wings, Be Not Afraid, and several other songs I cannot remember as examples.