Catholic Studies' Professor Debuts two Compositions in Europe

Father Jan Michael Joncas, a professor in the Department of Catholic Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, penned two compositions that were premiered in public worship in Europe earlier this month.

Father Jan Michael Joncas

Father Jan Michael Joncas

The first piece, “Evening Prayer II for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross,” was sung Sept. 14, at the priory of St. Agatha in Nijmegan, Netherlands, for the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Crosier Fathers. The song was commissioned by the Crosier Fathers, for whom Joncas also wrote “Evening Prayer I” and “Morning Prayer for the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.”

For “Evening Prayer II,” Joncas wrote settings of two psalms and their antiphons (short texts, usually from scripture, which are sung at the beginning and end of the singing of a psalm or canticle), a metrical setting of a New Testament canticle set to the “Old 100th” hymn tune and musical settings of a Crosier sequence for the Holy Cross, and a metrical translation of the Magnificat by Bernard Mischke, OSC.

The second piece, a hymn titled “Take and Eat,” served as the first processional music during the distribution of communion at the open-air Papal Mass held on Sept. 16, at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, Scotland. 

Joncas said it’s always a pleasure to see his work performed; but because he writes most of his music for use during worship, he is most happy when “I worship anonymously with a community and discover that they are using a piece of my music for their prayer.”