It was back when I was pretty new to the Maternal Heart of Mary Church, Lewisham, that I was asked to use my Gregorian chant typesetting skills to make up a booklet for a new Pilgrimage planned for the feast of St Mary of the Cross (Mackillop).

I used the same source files as A New Book of Old Hymns, then as I updated them I inadvertently spoiled the page numbering on the old Pilgrim’s Primer.

Both books use the old and rather obsolete OpusTeX. Both could do with a complete knock-down rebuild, except that they are still handy as they are. Preliminary experiments with gregorio have shown that there would be a lot of page layout to change, but the Mass Books in the Parramatta Apostolate of the FSSP show that gregorio can work very well.

So, that’s the story – harking back to when I would back up my files on floppy disks and use an Atari Portfolio to do the tedious data entry, neume by neume, for each hymn. Now we have databases of gabc files all ready and waiting to go.

And, no, I won’t be there on the Pilgrimage this year. I’ll be helping with the sung Mass at Lawson instead – 5pm. Also being 8 months pregnant makes the walking a bit much – hey, I’m not even sure I’ll be using the choir loft at Mass – sounds easier to sing from the back pews this time.

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