The Young Uplifted

Ken JoblinSacred Music Advisor for the Diocese of Christchurch

For many years, I have enjoyed, used and promoted Dr. Robert Loretz's hymns in the liturgy. They regularly feature in "Jubilate," our Diocesan Sacred Music Concert series, where children, teenagers and adults form an inter-generational choir and embrace his music with enthusiasm.

Robert's music is regularly used at New Zealand's annual 10 day "Hearts Aflame" Summer School for up to 150 young adults. Struck by the quality and depth of the music, participants often ask for copies to take back to their parishes. When young adults encounter hymns with real depth and meaning, they are uplifted and immediately recognise their intelligence is being respected. Through singing this music, their sense that of the sacredness of the liturgy is enhanced.

In teaching Robert's music, I find that the lyrics help to form singers in their faith. "That God might be All in All" makes the Church's teaching on liturgy come to life. It is effectively theological poetry set to complementary music. The music then becomes an excellent vehicle in helping people go further in discovering the depth of the faith.

His setting of the Sequence for Corpus Christi, "Lauda Sion", makes a significant liturgical contribution, allowing this great text to be sung rather than omitted due to its length and complexity. Robert has a gift for making the Church's timeless treasures readily accessible.

He has set every Sunday psalm of the Church's three-year cycle to original modal antiphons with traditional psalm tones. He has found a reverent and simple way to enhance this part of the Liturgy of the Word, which is readily accessible for any parish with a cantor on hand. These settings allow cantors to develop skill and confidence and I have used them with simple organ, sympathetic guitar or no accompaniment.

I strongly recommend this liturgical resource for use in parishes, schools and other sacred music contexts. Robert's music can only enhance the prayerful worship and meaningful participation envisaged by the fathers of Vatican II.

- Ken Joblin, Sacred Music Advisor for the Diocese of Christchurch, NZ and Editor of "Inform" (the principal publication of the Bishop of Christchurch).

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