This web site is a memorial to those individuals who were passionate about the reform of the
Roman Catholic liturgy as set forth in Sacrosanctum Concilium (the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)
and who now, in eternal life, worship the God whom they served in this life.

Bernardus Maria Huijbers

Bernardus Maria Huijbers
July 24, 1922 - April 13, 2003

Bernard Huijbers, a native of Holland, was a leading composer of contemporary liturgical music and an innovative theoretician of the place of music in ritual action. His collaboration with Huub Oosterhuis, the well-known Dutch poet and liturgist, led to the publication of about two hundred compositions, and the English-language translation of his work The Performing Audience introduced many of us to the notion of Christian ritual music.

Born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on July 24, 1922, Bernard entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained to the presbyterate in 1954. After completing his music studies, he served as senior master of school music and choirmaster at St. Ignatius College, Amsterdam, until 1969. In these years he was among the participants who constituted the association Universa Laus, an international study group for liturgical singing and instrumental music, during its first formal meeting at Lugano, Switzerland, in 1966. From 1969 until he left the Jesuits and the priesthood, he served as composer, choir director, and liturgical team member at St. Dominic Parish in Amsterdam. After his departure from the Society of Jesus, he continued to compose for the liturgy and to speak and write about liturgical and theological matters. Many of his theological perspectives developed out of the work of a fellow Jesuit, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

In 1961, Huijbers was among the founders of the Student Work Group for a Vernacular Liturgy in Amsterdam, which evolved into the independent Foundation for a Vernacular Liturgy, through which Huijbers and Oosterhuis initially released their joint composiitons and texts. In the years after 1961, Huijbers composed at a steady–even prolific– rate: Eleven collections of the Huijbers/Oosterhuis material have been released, and several of those collections have been translated into English and published by Oregon Catholic Press.

Bernard Huijbers believed that liturgial music must be simple, that the assembly must be viewed as a ''performing audience," and that the music must bring life to what it celebrates–beliefs that he worked to incarnate in his music. After his departure from the Jesuits, Bernard married his wife, Annelou, and they settled in Espeillac, in the south of France. Following a long battle with cancer, Bernard Huijbers came home from exile a few minutes before midnight on Palm Sunday April 13, 2003.

Shortly after the Second Vatican Council, Bernard set Huub's version of Psalm 126 to music, and Tony Barr translated it into English: "Home from our exile! God, make our dreams come true: Be here among us! Then lead us home, bring us to life, just as the rivers, deep in the desert, flow once again as the new rain appears."

Tribute prepared by NPM staff, published in Pastoral Music, June-July, 2003, pg. 14. Reprinted with permission.