requiem

requiem (rĕkˈwēəm, rēˈ–, rāˈ–) [key] [Lat., = rest], proper Mass for the souls of the dead, performed on All Souls' Day and at funerals. The reformation of Roman Catholic liturgy following the Second Vatican Council (see Vatican Council, Second) has modified the traditional requiem, and it is now called the Funeral Mass, Mass for the Dead, or Mass of Christian Burial. Black vestments are no longer required, white or purple may be worn, and flowers are permitted. The hymnody, while still solemn in tone, is often joyful and reflects hope in the resurrection and the service is conducted in the vernacular. Its peculiarities include omission of the Gloria, the creed, and the blessing of the people. The famous sequence, the Dies irae, is now optional. The opening words of the introit, "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them," echo through all the prayers for the dead. The traditional Gregorian musical setting of the requiem is quite beautiful; other requiem music has been written (e.g., by Mozart and Verdi), but it is not often heard in churches.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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