Although I am currently working hard on perfecting the art of denial, namely denial that the Fall semester is close at hand, I also know many people – pastoral staff and musicians among them – who are busily preparing for the opening of a new school year. Beginning well is important; it sets the tone for the culture of a place for the year ahead. Rainer Maria Rilke’s claim that “there is magic in every beginning” notwithstanding [I remain unconvinced], the labor of opening the new academic year well is plentiful, not least for parishes and campus ministries. Whether it involves planning a blessing of backpacks, a first Mass welcoming new students, a ritual empowering teachers [we need it!], or the table prayer for an opening reception, the magic of a new beginning rarely ever just happens.
A newly-composed “Mass of Welcome” by Julian Revie is welcome indeed at a moment like this. Julian Revie is an Australian-Canadian composer who serves as Associate Director of Music at the Center for Music and Liturgy, Saint Thomas More Chapel at Yale University. He won first prize in the Vatican-sponsored Francesco Siciliani composition competition in 2016. In other words, I am not the only one who loves to sing his liturgical compositions. Julian says this about his Mass: “I have written Mass of Welcome with the goal of encouraging full participation in the sacred liturgy through singing. As I developed, refined, and prayed about this Mass over the past year, I arrived at a set of melodies which I believe are reverent, elegant, and eminently singable, while also being melodically and harmonically varied and full of rhythmic vitality. I hope this Mass setting will serve as an engaging invitation to liturgical participation and that it will assist in proclaiming the truth that all are welcome at the table of Christ.”
You can access the “Mass of Welcome” easily on CloudHymnal, either directly here or by going to Cloud Hymnal and using Easy Search for “Mass of Welcome.” Plus, you can actually sing along for yourself and “feel” the Mass, too. Here is how: When using a tablet or phone you may play the music with the included player. When using a desktop computer and Chrome browser you can also use the Practice Room feature – sing along and see how well you do (for choir members who are amateur singers).