Posted by: Catholic of Thule | November 2, 2010

Dies irae, dies illa.

Today I had the privilege of attending a traditional Mass for All Souls’ Day, at which the sequence Dies irae, dies illa (and all the other sung parts of the Mass) was most beautifully sung by a female cantor with a magnificent voice and great stamina. Those who have attended the sung traditional Masses in Oslo on occasion will probably have benefitted from her skills as a cantor and organist.

When I hear Dies irae, it makes me wonder yet again why so many choose On Eagles’ Wings for the requiem Mass of a loved one or even stipulate it for their own. True, unlike On Eagles’ Wings, Dies irae has not really achieved that dubious distinction of being liable to put in an appearance at both funerals and weddings, but surely this is not really a bad thing. It seems to me to be obviously proper and natural to distinguish a tad between a requiem Mass and Mass of intercession for the dead on the one hand and wedding Mass on the other also in terms of the selection of music employed. I suspect it has something to do with a lack of exposure to our rich Catholic heritage of liturgical music, and a lack of reflection of the role of the music in the liturgy.

Anyhow, rant over for now. If you should somehow have managed to forget that it is All Souls’ Day today, please take a moment to pray for the faithful departed.

“May the prayer of Thy suppliant people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, avail the souls of Thy servants and handmaidens: that Thou mayest deliver them from all their sins and make them shareers in Thy Redemption: Who livest and reignest, with God the Fahter, in the unity of the Holy Gost, God, forever and ever. Amen.”

An exceedingly good work, in addition to the prayers for the dead, is to pray always for grace for the dying. Miracles may happen even at the hour of death.



  1. Beautiful post. I love this month.
    Have a blessed All Souls Day.

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