Two years have passed since I was first invited to edit this new hymnal. Since then I have had time to reflect and listen to much music. There were many factors that influenced my choice of music, but I have tried always to keep the pobail De at heart as I believe we must continue to encourage an active participation by all in our liturgy. This collection seeks a balance between the richness of past tradition and the diversity of present-day culture while looking to the future with hope as we enter a new millennium carrying the same gospel truths.
It is important to respect the traditions that have served our liturgy for years. This collection offers a selection of Gregorian classics that may well disappear unless we protect them and help our assemblies re-discover their beauty. Our Irish tradition is well represented by a number of pieces from our ancient heritage and from contemporary writers. Many assemblies, particularly our youth, have discovered the vitality of contemporary church music, which has indeed matured from the early days of folk music. There is much in this collection that should serve as a helpful resource for such liturgies and should also be very useful in school and youth liturgies. I think it is very important today to make the link between parish and school and so there is a special childrens section which links with the Alive-0 programme, now familiar to all schools.
In the celebration of our sacraments, some well-known pieces are included, complementing new compositions which should in time themselves become favourites among our worshipping communities. One of the great privileges in editing this collection has been the opportunity to see the birth of new compositions from many of our own distinguished composers and I greatly appreciate the time, effort and support of them all. I have no doubt that the richness of their work will find fruition in many places throughout our land.
I wish to acknowledge all who contributed to this collection in any way. Thanks to Fr Sean Melody, Maura Hyland and Aideen Quigley of the Veritas Editorial Board, and to Helen McGrath, Sinead Cunningham and Patricia Hegarty, for their help with this project. I would also like to acknowledge the constant support and encouragement of Bishop Lawrence Ryan, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, and my colleagues at Carlow College.
It is my fervent wish that this collection will enhance our liturgy for many generations to come and that we will keep alive the traditions of our past, celebrate the diversity of life in an imaginative and meaningful way, and look to the future with new and zealous hope.
Beir beannacht agus bua,
– Liam Lawton