Msgr. Charles M. Mangan receives from the composer’s daughter, Sophia, a copy of the music for Lead, Kindly Light, with which he was already familiar. Monsignor is a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. He has an S.T.L. in Canon Law and is currently completing a doctorate in Mariology.
Brother David Blain, Carmelite (cloistered) of St. Joseph from Austin, MN.
Rev. Dr. Robert A. Skeris
This is a collection of forty original sacred songs in English for unison voices and organ by Mary Oberle Hubley. Eleven of the hymns deal with the Blessed Mother, eleven others are psalm settings, and the rest invoke St. Joseph, St. Michael the Archangel and the Sacred Heart.
The texts of these hymns are noteworthy in that they are taken from three important sources: 1) popular prayers from the Roman Catholic tradition, for instance the “Hail Mary,” litanies of the Sacred Heart and of the Blessed Mother or “St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle;” 2) the sacred scripture, principally the Book of Psalms (and the gospels for various refrains); 3) the Byzantine liturgy, for example the famous Akathistos hymn. A few of the texts are furnished with optional Latin verses. From a literary point of view, most of the texts presented deserve respectable marks.
As to the music of the hymns, the tunes evidence the composer’s solid grasp of modality and testify to a high level of musical craftsmanship. Most of the melodies, which are in a style inspired by Gregorian chant, seem eminently singable, some perhaps even for congregations (e.g., psalm refrains). A Melody edition and an Accompaniment edition for organ are available. One would hope that the composer finds an opportunity to try her talent in somewhat larger musical forms, for instance, a Mass.
The collection can be recommended not only for personal listening but for the use in schools and catechism classes, as well as in paraliturgical services of the Word, vigils and devotions, if not in the liturgy itself in all cases.
An interesting beginning has been made here, and initiatives such as this successful combination of worthy texts and appropriate music, are to be encouraged most heartily. Tolle et audi.
Vol. 117, No. 1, Spring 1990, p. 23
Mary E. Le Voir:
Gate of Heaven is a new hymnal published in response to the needs of Catholics searching for meaningful and reverent church music. The hymnal is unique in that it focuses exclusively on Catholic tradition. For example, the forty hymns included in the collection contain thirteen hymns to the Blessed Mother, the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, a hymn to St. Joseph, a Magnificat, a setting of the complete English text of the Hail Mary, and numerous psalm settings.
The melodies are simple and singable. Straight meters of ¾, 4/4 or 6/8 time, together with a single key and a moderate pitch range, should facilitate congregational participation. Recordings of the hymns are available in addition to the printed music.
The role of church music as a source of inspiration and Catholic teaching has been lost for many parishioners confused by difficult hymns and the abandonment of tradition. Gate of Heaven offers an opportunity to provide appropriate, Catholic music for the liturgy.
Vol. 116, No. 4
Father George William Rutler
Gate of Heaven is solid in the Catholic Tradition . . . established in the ancient modes, especially Gregorian, while creating a contemporary style to express authentic doctrine. . .|
Homiletic and Pastoral Review
Mr. Pat Slattery
Your music is nothing short of spectacularly sacred. My devotion to the Blessed Mother has especially grown because of listening to Gate of Heaven.
How come many others don’t respond to your music the way I do? The problem is, we just have an awful many “numb” Catholics - - and the past 30 years of effeminate (yes, the right word!) and empty church music has a lot to do with it.
The Catholic Times
La Crosse, WI
M. Langosch-Schleiffer, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Music, Huntington University (IN)
Re: Gate of Heaven. A Collection of Catholic Hymns by Mary Oberle Hubley, published by Nicholas-Maria Publishers, Huntington, Indiana.
First of all, the songs of this fine collection of Catholic hymns are designed for simple congregational singing. Thus there is only one voice line (the melody) in a strophic form for which the same music is used for each verse.
1. The organ accompaniment is written to add support to the voice line as well as to provide harmony. It is not meant to be a separate entity so as not to detract from the melody and especially from the text. The harmony, while at times traditional, reflects some modality, reminiscent of past music employing the church modes.
2. The texts have either been carefully written or chosen to reflect the theology of the Catholic Church. They are particularly beautiful in their use of imagery. The texts alone represent a body of fine poetic literature.
3. The melodies are metrical and easily memorized, and their repetition for each verse allows for focus on the text. This focus should be the ideal for all sung music in the Church as was such for the ancient chants.
4. While some of the texts are specific to Mary and other saints, many are appropriate for use in the Sunday liturgy. Hymns that are doctrinally specific appear to be sadly lacking in the church¹s current repertoire and should be warmly welcomed.
In general, these hymns fill an obvious gap in the church’s present practice. It seems to me that all concerned Roman Catholics would want to have these melodies and texts in their homes as well as in their churches - coming out of mouths as song, and in their hearts and minds.
We were privileged to feature hymns from Gate of Heaven in past Church Music concerts sponsored by our institution.
M. Langosch-Schleiffer, Ph. D.
Professor Emeritus of Music
Children: Spiritus Sancti Academy (Ann Arbor, MI)
- Thank you for the Gate of Heaven music. I love the songs. There the best!
- Thank you very much for the songs. The songs are very beautiful and they help us focus on Mass. Thanks,
- Those books are the only ones that have my absolute favorite songs in it.
- Thank you for the beautiful songs. We use them almost every day at Mass. I like to sing from the Gate of Heaven songbooks and so do many others. Thank you!
- Thank you for the Gate of Heaven music. It has all the good songs!!! We use them a lot most of the time.
- I want to thank you for the songs you gave us. The Gate of Heaven books have all the good songs. We use them a lot. We apreshat that. I will keep you in my prays.
Your friend, Michael
- Thank you for the Gate of Heaven music. May God protect you.
- Thank you for the Gate of Heaven music. The songs are beautiful! They have two of my favorite songs, “Mystical Rose” and “Mary, Oh Mother of our Redemer!”