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       It is an historical fact that chant is indigenous to many different languages such as the Coptic, Arabic, Aramaic, Syrian, and, of course, the Roman (Latin).

       The Cantus Project is the endeavor of a bimonthly gathering of a team of Catholic Church musicians for the purpose of supplying the English language to ancient Gregorian melodies. Under the editorship of Father Eduard Perrone, Pastor of Assumption Grotto Church in Detroit, already three-fourths of the ecclesiastical year have been adapted to this end, preserving unmodified the character and the melody of the original chant.

       From its early usage in the Jewish tradition, chant in the early Church was the authentic expression of Christian worship. By the sixth century, it was codified under the influence of Pope St. Gregory the Great; hence this great body of ancient music became known as Gregorian chant.

       From an erroneous reading of the Sacred Constitution on the Liturgy, and its consequent and complete elimination from Catholic liturgical discussion following the Second Vatican Council, the chant proclaimed by the Universal Church as possessing "primacy of place" in the realm of Catholic Church music has been lost for the greatest numbers of practicing Catholics and Church musicians.

       The Cantus Project is, indeed, "the single most significant initiative in Catholic Church music since the Second Vatican Council," having international implications. Its importance to the Church in all English-speaking countries cannot be overestimated, especially due to the increasingly universal nature of the English language. Besides its obvious prevalence throughout the United States, Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and African countries such as Nigeria; Middle Eastern countries such as Sri Lanka and India; as well as numbers of English-speaking European Catholics, increasing numbers of Asian peoples such as the Japanese, South Koreans, and Taiwanese insist upon the study of English in their schools.

       It is significant to note that, at this time, The Cantus Project stands alone in its endeavors.

       The participants are committed to respect the anonymous and nonprofit tradition of the inestimable body of chant bequeathed to us: that, having emanated centuries earlier in medieval monastic communities, the chant was always intended, in its practice, for the praise and glory of God. These same principles, it is believed, likewise guide the dissemination of the treasury of Englished chant.

       Lastly, the shared conviction of The Cantus Project participants maintains that a serious case can be made that, as with the universally accepted doctrine that Scripture is an inspired entity, so is the accepted body of Gregorian chant inspired.

(October, 2001)

 

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