Mass of St Gregory the Great

The Oxford Ordinariate Group kept the feast of St Gregory the Great on Saturday 3 September. Having sent St Augustine to these shores, St Gregory has a special place in the history of the faith in this country. His role in the history and development of sacred music is also hugely important. The Anglorum Chorus, a group of singers specializing in Gregorian chant, sang the propers of the mass: the Introit, Sacerdotes Dei, the Greadual Iuravit Dominus, the Alleluia Spiritus Sanctus docebit vos, the Offertory Veritas mea, and the Communion Fidelis servus et prudens. We also sang parts of Mass XI, Missa Orbis factor, with Gloria More ambrosiano, as well as two hymns sung to plainsong melodies, ‘Jesu, the very thought is sweet’, and ‘Thee we adore, O hidden Saviour, thee’.

Gregorian chant’s central place in the worshipping life of the Catholic Church has been renewed again and again: St Pius X called it “the Chant proper to the Roman Church, the only chant she has inherited from the ancient fathers”. The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) describes it as “specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services”. Since the Ordinariate’s place within the Catholic Church is, in part, shaped by the legacy of St Gregory the Great, we hope that, in a small way, we have contributed to the living out of the Catholic vision which the use of Gregorian chant represents.

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