Columba Kelly, OSB

Father Columba Kelly (†2018)—one of the foremost experts on Gregorian chant in the United States.

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Communion Antiphon: Epiphany of the Lord

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Bio

Benedictine Father Columba Kelly (†2018) was one of the foremost experts on Gregorian chant in the United States. Father Columba finished his doctorate in church music at Musica Sacra in Rome just as the Roman liturgy was moving from Latin into English. During the last 35 years of life, in addition to his teaching, directing and composing for the Gregorian Schola at St. Meinrad Archabbey, in St. Meinrad, Indiana, he created a body of English chant based on the natural word rhythm of spoken word.

Presently, there are more than 1,800 responsories and antiphons in the liturgical books at St. Meinrad. This music, which represents only part of his work, forms the day-to-day music of the archabbey. The English antiphons on St. Meinrad's chant CD recordings give an indication of his achievement. All of these compositions are an attempt to recreate the tradition for our own time. With its free rhythm and modal sonority, the chant has a decidedly modern sense.

OCP recently published his St. Meinrad Entrance and Communion Antiphons for the Church Year, a groundbreaking resource that gives parishes everything they need to sing the antiphons from the Roman Missal in English. Written in an accessible, easy-to-learn chant style, the settings are based on the chants that have been used by the St. Meinrad monks for decades.

Father Kelly lived with his Benedictine brethren in the monastery at St. Meinrad, until his death in June 2018.

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