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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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Irish Elk
Thursday, November 13, 2003  

The New Seekers would have cleaned up, not to mention the New Zoo Revue.

Neither of these formative influences on modern Catholic liturgical music were in the running, however, at the annual Unity Awards hosted by the United Catholic Music and Video Association (UCMV).

So Clothed in Love by Tom Kendzia took the honors for Liturgical Album of the Year and Liturgical Song of the Year ("The Eyes and Hands of Christ").

Listen to a few representative cuts (I find saving the mp3s to my desktop and playing them back works best):

"The Eyes and Hands of Christ" * mp3

"I'm Gonna Sing" * mp3

"Clothed in Love" * mp3

(The cover art for Clothed in Love likely will earn its own place in the Fr Sibley gallery.)

This year's Unity Awards theme song, "Together We Stand," will appeal if you can't wait until brunch for a Sunday helping of Kenny G-inspired muzak.

But if you want to bust it up with something more "now," something with more street cred, try this mp3 clip of the Unity Award-winning rap/hip hop song of the year, "MC God" from Love Never Fails, by Jesse Manibusan and Ken Canedo.

* Chris at Maine Catholic blogs on the imprimatur the Marty Haugen style of hymn has been given by the US bishops.

The OCP monopoly on liturgical music doesn't appear ready to be broken any time soon, given the favored relationship the banal hymnodist trust enjoys with the bishops.

Portland Archbishop Vlazny is both a member of the USCCB subcommittee on liturgical music and chairman of the board of Oregon Catholic Press. Meantime, OCP produced the official World Youth Day theme and CD and and partnered with the USCCB Evangelization Secretariat on Disciples in Prayer, a musical companion guide to lectionary readings that has a foreword by Cardinal Mahony

* A central figure in the Gnome School of missalette clipart describes how he got into church art:

Soon Erspamer was showing in galleries around the country, but something was missing. He spent six months working on a one-person show and decided to slip in some subdued religious imagery. It turned out wonderfully well, but the gallery owner rejected every piece, saying no one would buy it. Furious, Erspamer threw the huge urns and plates in the Dumpster and decided to start doing what he wanted to do.

He got a job designing a new church in Texas: the layout, the stained-glass windows, the frescoes. Job after job followed, all through word of mouth. He studied liturgical design at the Catholic Theological Union and began educating parishes about the rich symbolism lost with Vatican II. "We started replacing statues with potted plants, and like any revolution, the cleansing went a little too far. There was a break in the ability to decipher symbolic language, and now there's a whole generation that has no idea what anything means. They don't look at art as a springboard for meditation, they look at it as pretty wallpaper. I keep telling parishes, 'This art is supposed to speak to your soul. Every time you see this, it should invite you to come back and pray and discover.' "

The things one finds doing a search on Br. Erspamer: Who knew there was a blog mad for his art?

Or that he designed a campus chapel at Emory named for former Atlanta Archbishop Paul Hallinan, who as chairman of the US bishops' liturgical commission in 1967 hailed the advent of the New Liturgical Man?

Archbishop Hallinan said reformed liturgy also must recognize the fact of anthropology. According to Dr. Margaret Mead, the Balinese people are delighted with the new Catholic reforms in worship.

With a language that sounds like a bell, an imagination enough to ‘produce a miracle play at a moment’s notice,’…the people of Bali are ready to take the Christian tradition, and give its ritual a new and delightful form, rich in their own symbols. What they could do with our own funeral rite, with equal parts of Latin and medieval gloom, staggers the imagination of every card-carrying reforming liturgist, he said.

Margaret Mead and the Balinese meet '60s liturgical reform: If only modern liturgy were as inspired as the Small House of Uncle Thomas.


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