MUSIC, LITURGY, AND SPIRITUAL LIFE at the Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes have traditionally been known for their positive affirmation and proclamation of the Catholic faith in forms that respect the maturity, intelligence, refinement, and emotional richness of human beings. Music is integral to the parish’s worship because music aspires to express what is otherwise inexpressible.
At Mass each Sunday morning at 10:30, and in special events over the course of the year, we offer to God the best we can. Music at Ascension and Saint Agnes is also part of our outreach to the Washington area community and is a vehicle for carrying the Gospel into human hearts.
Guided by J. Owen Burdick, described by one critic as “an extraordinary artist…a unique individual who is able to combine musical excellence and historically informed tradition with the pursuit of cutting-edge innovation,” the music program supports our worship drawing together the liturgy and the best that western sacred musical tradition offers.
HYMNS AND ORGAN LITERATURE reflect high standards of liturgical art. A sizable scriptorium of published and manuscript religious music supports the efforts of the parish musicians, the quality of whose offerings is known and highly regarded throughout the Washington metropolitan area. The choir’s repertory includes plainchant as well as the works of composers from all parts and ages of the Western Church: Lassus, Palestrina, Josquin, Tallis, Byrd, Victoria, Cardoso, Bach, Handel, Stanford, Poulenc, Kodaly, Walton, Mardirosian, Steel, Pärt, and Stravinski. The Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes is one of the few places in the Washington Metropolitan Area where this music can regularly be heard as an integral part of the traditional western liturgy for which it was composed.