John Paul the Great said often during his papacy that we live in a Culture of Death, where the basic right to life is no longer considered sacred. The only thing this culture seems to consider “sacred” is its own sacrilegious acts. We see this on variety of avenues, but the entertainment industry for years has been selling music that catapults this lack of the sacred into our lives on a daily basis.
Although it may seem from day to day that we live among the darkness of this culture, a light, with Christ as its foundation, has begun to shine forth from a small Catholic music company by the name of De Montfort Music. Along with Decca Records, this company is giving us some of the best sacred music produced in years. Their first album, Advent at Ephesus, is sung by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles. This CD has quickly climbed the classical and religious charts. Their second album, by the same Benedictines, Angels and Saints at Ephesus, has reached the #1 spot on Billboard’s Classical Traditional Recording and has been featured on a variety of news outlets.
Beginning this Tuesday, August 13, De Montfort Music will release its third album, with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, titled Mater Eucharistiae. Personally, I am super excited for this album to be released. I am a huge fan of this growing and faithful religious order of sisters. As a Catholic educator, it’s been my great honor to teach with the Sisters of Mary in both Phoenix and Austin. I have also written extensively on the order as well. Now I look forward to hear the Singing Dominicans on their first ever CD.
As Dominicans, their main apostolate is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I can think of no better way to reach thousands by producing a CD of sacred music that will do exactly that. Below is a short video of the Singing Dominicans and the story of how they came to produce Mater Eucharistiae. Listening to the previews via iTunes makes me joyful that such music is being produced these days.
In a time when we need sacred music in the Liturgy, we have religious orders, with the help of seasoned music producers, providing for us the music that will lift our hearts and minds into Heaven to sing with the choirs of angels during Holy Mass. When we attend Holy Mass we want to enter the Heavenly Kingdom and focus on the renewing the covenant Jesus established at the Last Supper, not a rock concert where the “band” is the center of attention.
In his book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) said,
“In liturgical music, based as it is on the biblical faith, there is, therefore, a clear dominance of the Word; this music is a higher form of proclamation…in the celebration of Holy Mass, we insert ourselves into this liturgy that always goes before us. All our singing is a singing and praying with the great liturgy that spans the whole of creation…perceiving the “music of the cosmos” thus becomes listening to the song of the angels…the idea of the music of the cosmos, of singing with the angels, leads back again to the relation of art to logos, but now it is broadened and deepened in the context of the cosmos. Yes, it is the cosmic context that gives art in the liturgy both its measure and its scope.”