San Diego’s Canticle is an apostolate with the mission to spread the Catholic faith through the teaching of sacred music, specializing in Gregorian Chant and polyphony. Canticle does this through Chant Camps, a week-long immersion in liturgical catechesis and the study of chant, tailored to young people and adapted for Catholic schools as well.
Canticle’s ministry affects whole families. A grandmother said “When I was listening to the kids I was thinking ‘If that’s what we hear now, what will we hear in heaven!’” A father said “When I heard my children singing the prayers of the Mass it felt like the heavens opened. The beauty brought tears to my eyes…the connection to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass I had not felt before.” A grandfather said “Now we have glorious music at every family gathering.”
Canticle began with twenty-five students in one choir, with one teacher. It has now blossomed into more than two hundred students across four youth choirs and an adult Chorale, and with seven assistant teachers. To accommodate the growing organization, a non-profit (501c3) was founded last year, named Canticle Inc.
Canticle is led by Mary Ann Carr Wilson. She writes “I hold an M.M. and a B.M. from SDSU, and my post-graduate work has centered in the areas of vocal pedagogy and study with Gregorian chant masters in the U.S. and France. I served for nine years as music director at St. Anne Catholic Church in San Diego, leading adult and youth choirs that specialized in Gregorian chant and renaissance polyphony, after which I went on to work for Archbishop Cordileone at the Benedict XVI Institute. Inspired by the work of the Church Musician Association of America, in 2010 I developed the Chant Camp program; Chant Camp culminates in students singing a Missa Cantata, and combines games, teamwork, and faith formation at parishes throughout California and other states. By the grace of God, I’ve been able to lead thousands of students in over 40 camps. Our apostolate is receiving many national requests, so thankfully I am training others to lead this special camp.”
Mrs. Carr Wilson describes the ministry “Our desire is to steward, preserve and pass on the uniquely Catholic tradition of ancient musical prayer, which provides a beautiful connection to God, so that younger generations will be able to carry it into the future. Thanks to our generous benefactors, we are able to provide scholarships and never turn a student away for lack of funds. Our training is given free of charge to priests and religious.”
Seven months ago, Canticle began a fundraising campaign with the goal of $50,000. If the goal is reached, Canticle will receive a matching grant of an additional $50,000. Canticle is currently at $44,500, a mere $5,500 short, and the deadline is March 1. If you’d like to make a donation to the campaign, go here: https://canticle.net/donate/
See and hear Canticle’s Jubilate Deo Choir perform the “Archangel Gabriel” last Christmas.
– By Gibbons Cooney