January 29, 2016
Bishop John Doerfler of Marquette, Michigan, has issued directions for all parishes in the diocese to institute programs that will lead to the congregation chanting the Ordinary parts of the Mass.
Following up on the work of his predecessor in Marquette, then-Bishop Alexander Sample (who is now Archbishop of Portland, Oregon), Bishop Doerfler has called for the action to carry out the vision of Vatican II, which encouraged the use of Gregorian chant and congregational involvement in the singing.
In a pastoral letter released in 2013, Bishop Sample had also called attention to the Council’s directives on liturgical music, as well as similar directives from post-conciliar Pontiffs and from the US episcopal conference. “Given all of this strong teaching from the Popes, the Second Vatican Council, and the US bishops, how is it that this ideal concerning Gregorian chant has not been realized?” he asked. Bishop Doerfler said that he was taking action to realize his predecessor’s ideal.
Therefore, the bishop said, all parishes in the Marquette diocese will be expected to teach chant to the faithful, and introduce the regular chanting of the Ordinary parts of the Mass. These steps, Bishop Doerfler said, “can be taken by the smallest parishes in the diocese.” He ordered that all parishes have chant programs in place by the end of the year 2020.
Bishop Doerfler also announced that the diocese would prepare its own hymnal, and only music from that hymnal will be approved for use at Mass in the diocese. He said that a diocesan director of sacred music will be appointed, to help parishes instruct the faithful and prepare for the new programs.