‘[St Damasus] occupied the Chair of Peter from 366 to 384. The Church had recently acquired liberty and now it was the task of the popes to develop her potentialities, especially in matters pertaining to divine worship. Damsus proved himself equal to the task. It is to his credit to have given the Church a good translation of the Sacred Scriptures. He called upon St Jerome to render the Bible into Latin, the version later called the Vulgate. This translation is still used in the liturgy. On his feast day Damsus tells us: Read the Bible zealously.
He was also much interested in the liturgy. He is said to have introduced the chant of the psalms into all the Roman churches; the singing was to be by alternating choirs with the “Glory be to the Father…” added at the end of each psalm. In imitation of a custom at Jerusalem he introduced the Alleluia into Sunday Masses. Pope Damsus also provided honourable burial for the bodies of many martyrs and composed inscriptions in verse for almost all of the then-known martyrs, thereby becoming their highly distinguished panegyrist. St Jerome said of him: “He was the virgin teacher of a virgin Church”. A splendid encomium for any priest’.
from The Church’s Year of Grace, 1953, by Pius Parsch, 1884-1954
Grant, we pray thee, O Lord: that we may constantly exalt the merits of thy Martyrs, whom Pope Saint Damasus so venerated and loved; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon
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