In hymns, antiphons, psalms, and responsories, the chant schola sings of John the Baptist who announced Jesus' coming, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Joseph her spouse, the apostles Peter and Paul, the evangelists Matthew and Luke, and Saints Benedict, Scholastica, Hildegard, Dominic, and Francis.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is venerated with great love by the Catholic faithful, and she and the saints are honored for their virtue and prayed to for assistance in daily life. These chants venerate and call upon Mary and the saints, with selections drawn from Mass and Liturgy of the Hours (Office) from the entire liturgical year, concluding with the feast of All Saints. The chant is predominantly in Latin, but with a bit of English chant in some cases. Vocal harmony enhances the ancient medieval chants in some cases.
The Gregorian Chant Schola of Saint John's Abbey includes monks as well as undergraduate and graduate theology and music students. Men and women sing together, which roughly replicates the medieval sound of monks and choir boys singing in octaves. The school sings regularly throughout the school year at Abbey School of Theology liturgies as well as at the neighboring monastery of Benedictine sisters in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
Anthony Ruff, OSB, a monk of Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, teaches liturgy, liturgical music, and Gregorian chant at Saint John's University School of Theology -Seminary. He is the founding director of the National Catholic Youth Choir and is a frequent presenter across the country on topics of liturgy and music. He is on the board of directors of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians and on the leadership team of the Catholic Association for Liturgy. In addition to many journal articles, he is the author of Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform: Treasures and Transformations, and Responsorial Psalms for Weekday Mass: Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter (Liturgical Press, 2008).