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Foreword to the
American Catholic Hymnbook

by Most Rev. Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B

When the liturgical renewal in the vernacular began after Vatican Council II, we soon became aware of the need for good English hymns. Our repertoire in the Catholic tradition was somewhat limited. There were many Eucharistic hymns that we all knew, a few Marian texts that served well for May Crowning days, and a body of old favorites for the Christmas Season. Some of these texts and melodies were very good; others, more recent in origin, were not of outstanding quality. In the immediate past our contemporary poets and composers had not been challenged to create a new repertoire.

Archbishop WeaklandThese past twenty-five years, however, have seen us working diligently to remedy the deficiency just cited. First of all, we have gone deeper into the historical tradition and have found many forgotten gems from past ages. Secondly, we have not been reluctant to borrow and adapt some of the excellent hymns in the vernacular from our Protestant friends, regardless of the original language. Many of these we have found had antecedent common roots in Gregorian Chant. Thirdly, we have also looked toward the creating of new compositions and new texts. Out of all these efforts a body of hymnody is beginning to emerge that will serve our congregations well.

The American Catholic Hymnbook seeks to take advantage of all these attempts and provides a fine and varied repertoire. It is hoped that these endeavors will continue, so that our people can pray and praise God in a way that edifies and builds up the faith of all the participants.

Archbishop Weakland Signature

Archbishop Weakland



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16565 South State Street, South Holland, IL 60473
Phone: (708) 331-5485   Fax: (708) 331-5484
E-mail: [email protected]