“Let us ever remember the prophet says: “Serve the Lord in fear”; and again, “Sing wisely”; and, “In the sight of the angels I will sing praises to You.” Therefore, let us consider how we ought to behave ourselves in the presence of God and of His angels, and so assist at the Divine Office, that our mind and our voice may accord together.”
– Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 19
Gregorian chant, often referred to as plainchant, is named after Pope Gregory the Great (6th century). Steeped as it is in the Church’s rich tradition and creativity, Pope Benedict XVI called Gregorian chant “the supreme model of sacred music.”
As a community of Benedictine monks who sings the Lord’s praise daily, we are grateful to God for the great tradition of Gregorian chant. And this is being continued into the vernacular, with some of the Latin chants adapted to English texts, and others composed anew.
For a recording of Vespers (Evening Prayer) chanted by our seminarians, visit the seminary website:
Polyphony, or singing in harmony, is also part of the Church’s rich cultural heritage.
On solemnities throughout the year, some of the junior monks prepare a sacred motet which is sung during the distribution of communion. Listen below:
For the last decade the monks of Westminster Abbey have sung Christmas carols before midnight Mass on Christmas Eve to prepare men, women and children to encounter Jesus Christ in the liturgy.
Here is a selection of these carols with commentary by the monks in the link below: