A Little More Information
The invocation “Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God” dates from a 1696 book of prayers for the “Christian Schools” in France. This book was written by St. John Baptist de La Salle, Patron Saint of All Teachers of Youth, and Founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (AKA De La Salle Christian Brothers). Ever since, the phrase begins any school prayer in some 1,000 Lasallian educational institutions around the globe.
This musical setting, composed in 1990, began as a simple invocation/response chant for small or large group gatherings – easy to learn and easy to sing. At the 2007 General Chapter of the Brothers in Rome, it spread internationally, being used with the three main Institute languages. Subsequently, Otto Wild (Choir Director at La Salle Catholic College Prep in Milwaukie, OR), wrote a choral setting that Br. Martin Yribarren, FSC (Professor of Music and Organist at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, CA), further adapted and edited for use by his choral groups. Hence like many of the educational innovations and programs within Lasallian schools, the present choral setting came about through the collaborative blossoming of an initial short and simple initiative.
When used as an invocation chant for prayer settings, it is most effective sung three successive times, with a substantial period of silence following each instance. As with a beautiful piece of jewelry, the chant is the setting, but the jewel is the silence that follows. If used in this way, each of the two instances after the first one could be sung a half-tone higher. The harmony lines are optional, but easily taught, learned, and sung.
“This I believe, O my God, that wherever I go I will find you, and that there is no place not honored by your presence.” St. John Baptist de La Salle (1651-1719)