While we have been focusing on what Eugene was doing in Rome, today’s text reminds us that he still kept involved with the missions of the Oblates in France. The hymn book was published by the Oblates regularly as an effective instrument for their parish missions. cf. http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=572 and http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=574
It consisted of several sections, each creatively put together to help the people to learn and understand their faith in a simple way: 1/ the hymns sung during the missions in Provencal and French – all calculated to reinforce the theme of the sermon and to help people to memorize any catechetical teaching contained. 2/ A summary of the catechism. 3/ The words of the public prayers, and instructions and helps on how to pray in private.
We will have to have our hymn book approved by the Bishop of Marseilles and that of Nimes, and use the former approbation of the Archbishop. You would do well also to have it approved by the Bishop of Frejus. If you decide on that, you must say to him that I have directed you to present for his approbation this book that is already in use throughout his diocese. I think that it will suffice to print 2000 copies. I hope that you have not made changes likely to confuse those who have the former editions. I would have wished them to include the special psalms for the Vespers of martyrs, confessors and the holy Virgin for the convenience of those who only have this book.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 9 March 1826, EO VII n. 229
The bishops of the dioceses where they preached had to be in accord with what was contained and had to give their approval.
“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” Charles Mingus