Ubi caritas et amor

The actual origin of the text is unknown, but it has been dated to some point between 300 and 1100 AD. The text is typically sung during the Washing of the Feet at the Mass of the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday). 

The word ‘caritas’ has many shades of meaning, and there are some nuances that seem to be lost in its translation. While the word ‘charity’ is mostly used about voluntarily giving, the word ‘caritas’ also means honesty, heartfeltness, dearness, and tolerance. In a world with a lot of tension and disunity, I wanted to write a piece that sings about the commandments to love one another.

Commissioned by the Athens Master Chorale, Athens, Georgia, conductor Joseph Napoli.

DETAILS:

  • Instrumentation: SATB or SSAA div. unaccompanied
  • Duration: 5 minutes
  • Author/lyricist: Unknown origin
  • Language: Latin
  • Year: 2017
  • Licensing: Boosey & Hawkes

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     A J. W. Pepper Editor's Choice

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THE TEXT

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.

Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.

Exultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.

Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.

Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Amen.

English translation:

Where charity and love are, God is there.

Christ's love has gathered us into one.

Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.

Let us fear, and let us love the living God.

And may we love each other with a sincere heart.


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