“He who sings . . . prays twice.” (St. Augustine)
Singing elevates our praise and worship of God. Our voices are gifts from God that we can give back to him in prayer and singing. Prayer, when sung, expresses the joy of our hearts — happiness that results from our encounter with Christ and our experience of his love. Prayer reaches its summit in the sacred liturgy — the public worship of the Church.
In 1995 we received a request to publish a hymnal containing Latin and English hymns and chants from the centuries of the Church’s rich musical history. The intention was to bring a selection of the Church’s treasury of sacred music to the laity, presented as an integral element of the Church as an institution and as a source of profound spiritual enrichment for the faithful. The result was Cantate et Iubilate Deo.
This current hymnal, Sing Joyfully to the Lord: A Devotional Hymnal, carries on that legacy with an emphasis on Gregorian chant and other forms of plainchant in Latin as well as in English. It also contains hymns from the Church’s treasury of hymnody. It includes full-color illustrations and helpful indexes for selecting music appropriate to the seasons and feasts of the liturgical year and for private devotions.
This hymnal is a collection of melodies particularly well-suited for a cappella singing. MTF is developing an accompaniment for organ/piano that is scheduled for publication in 2021.
It is our hope that you will continue — or begin! — a tradition of singing together as a family, especially during the four principal liturgical seasons. You can use the devotional text to help you understand the lyrics of a chant, the poetry of a hymn, and how to immerse yourself more deeply in that chant or hymn. Explain the chants and hymns to your children to help them grow in knowledge and love of the faith. Then your singing together will help you all grow in love for God, disposing you to receive his graces and blessings for your family.