This website has been created by John Ainslie, an English liturgist and musician.
John has been captivated by the Church’s liturgy and its music since his schooldays in the 1950s. During the Second Vatican Council he studied at the Venerable English College, Rome, and, as choirmaster there, was responsible for introducing settings of the Mass texts in English for the first time. Back in England, he was appointed secretary of the Society of Saint Gregory at the time that it was embracing the Council’s liturgical reforms. He was the editor of The Simple Gradual (1969), the first English version of the official Graduale Simplex, as well as co-editor of the second edition of the hymnal Praise the Lord (1972). He settled in north London, where he was choirmaster for 29 years at the church of Mary Immaculate and St Gregory, Barnet. He is a former chairman of the Society of Saint Gregory, and was General Secretary of Universa Laus, the European-based study group for music in the liturgy.
It was in response to a request from a contemplative religious community that he embarked on the composition of chant settings in English of the Entrance and Communion antiphons of the Roman Missal. This collection was published in 2014 as English Proper Chants – and is now available in the USA and Canada in editions published by Liturgical Press.
He then composed Sing the Psalms Simply, a complete set of Responsorial Psalm settings for all Sundays and Holy Days of the three-year Lectionary cycle.
For some five years he has been writing up his reflections and research into the presentation of the Mass. Beyond the Altar: Perspective for Liturgical Worship has now been published, and is available from the Shop page of this website.
Sing the Psalms Simply has now been complemented by Sing the Psalms Festively – more advanced settings of the Responsorial Psalms for Solemnities of the Church’s year.