I was pleasantly surprised at my church a few weeks back when the cantor chanted the Agnus Dei after the eucharistic bread was consecrated. Chanting Latin in a "normal" Post Vatican II Novus Ordo mass?! But there is was, all reverent and sacred and stark:
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccati mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccati mundi, dona nobis pacem."
Which translates as "Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace." Gregorian chant is simultaneously pure, simple and transcendent. It takes you to a sacred place, unlike much of the sing-song responses and modern "hymns" we're singing these days. Sigh.
I told the music director that I loved chanting the Agnus Dei. He said he was getting a great response from parishoners and we'd be adding the Sanctus in a few weeks. Yippee! He said that people simply weren't singing much at church anymore. He thought it would be easier for people to chant and therefore more people would do it. Not a strong theological argument there, but whatever brings back Gregorian chant to Sunday mass is fine by me!
While we're at it, I vote for bringing back the communion rail and the veil (or hat) for women too. As The Anchoress noted a few days ago:
"We DID throw away too many babies with the bathwater after VCII, and some things are being reclaimed, but slowly. I personally would love to see us return to “the old way” of receiving communion, both for the reverence, and in order to protect the Holy Eucharist from abuse."
Here, here! Here's a beautiful Agnus Dei, much fancier than what we sang at mass: