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Revised Grail Psalter Editor to Serve as OSB Abbot Primate

From the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship Newsletter, September 2016 and January 2011

On September 10, 2016, the Congress of Abbots of the Order of Saint Benedict elected Abbot Gregory J. Polan, OSB, of Conception Abbey, MO, as the tenth Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation, succeeding Abbot Primate Notker Wolf, OSB, who served three terms from 2000 to 2016. As Abbot Primate, Polan will serve as the representative and administrative leader of Benedictines around the world. With his election, he also becomes Abbot of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome, where he will now reside.

Abbot Primate Polan is a skilled musician, linguist, and a scholar of Sacred Scripture. He has also served as a consultant to the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship since 2013 and is the principal editor of the Revised Grail Psalter, confirmed in 2010 as the English liturgical psalter for the dioceses of the United States of America.

When the Grail Psalms were first translated in the 1950s and early 1960s, the desire to retain strict rhythmic patterns similar to those found in their original Hebrew setting was a primary principle for the translators. In attempting to adhere to these rhythmic patterns, translators would often abbreviate or paraphrase a text in preference to a more literal translation. By doing so, some instances of the rich biblical imagery of the Psalter were lost. Furthermore, in later decades, significant progress was made in the understanding of Hebrew rhetoric and how to incorporate the Hebraic style in English translation. Finally, there also arose a desire to return to a more elevated sacred language, in contrast to the informal and colloquial approach of the 1950s and 1960s.

Printed copies of The Revised Grail Psalms can be purchased from The Printery House of Conception Abbey (printeryhouse.org) or GIA Publications (GIAmusic.com/RGP). The GIA web site also features an electronic version available for viewing as well as licensing guidelines, and an expanded history of this new Psalter: giamusic.com/sacred_music/RGP/ psalmDisplay.cfm.