Chant: get on the wave

By GRosa--Grosasm (Trabajo propio. Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By GRosa–Grosasm (Trabajo propio. Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For years and years and years, the music of the Church was dominated by Gregorian Chant. Pope John Paul II called Gregorian Chant the highest form of musical prayer. It has been likened to the songs of the Angels. In Chant, the music serves the prayer. Never is a word slurred or abbreviated to serve meter. Instead, the music adjusts around the poetry of the psalms, or the meaning of the prayer.

It has only been in recent times, that Chant almost disappeared from regular Liturgy. Pope Benedict asked for liturgical musicians and composers to make an effort to preserve our ancient Chant traditions. With the new English translation of the Mass a few years ago, a sincere effort was made to bring Chant traditions back with many of the new Mass parts that were needed.

On September 3, we celebrate the feast of St. Gregory, also known as Pope Gregory the Great, for whom Gregorian Chant is named. This is a great day to add a Chant experience to your prayer life and the life of your family.

I first experienced chant as prayer, attending St. Anselm College. Students were invited to attend the Liturgy of the Hours and daily Mass with the Benedictine Monks who operated the school. At first, I was so busy figuring out this new-to-me music, I don’t know how prayerful I was. But, after attending prayer for a few days, the music melted away, and we all simply sang and prayed together. It was beautiful and peaceful and truly made me meditate on the Scripture. The unity of the congregation was extra-ordinary.

Gregorian Chant is a unique and important part of our culture as Catholics. We are singing the same lyrics and music as generations of the faithful before us. We are joining with the cloud of witnesses in Heaven in their prayer traditions. How amazing is this? I attended a Chant workshop once, where the presenter said that to chant is to let go of yourself and “get on the wave” as if the prayer is happening all around us and the chant is the vehicle to jump in and join in. It is powerful and deeply spiritual.

With a plethora of beautiful Chant CDs on the market including downloads, you can simply listen and try Chanting along. It is easy to find the words to the prayers in both English and Latin with a simple Google search. We include Chant in both English and Latin in our Making Music Praying Twice curriculum for young children. and also offer many resources.

Try some Chant today, even if it is for the first time!

Tell us about your experience praying with Chant.


Copyright 2015 Kate Daneluk.
Image by GRosa–Grosasm (Trabajo propio. Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


About Author

Kate Daneluk is a wife, mother of six, and co-founder of Making Music Praying Twice. With a background in music, theology and education, she contributes articles and resources to various publications.

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