Who is Bernard Huijbers? A Dutch liturgical composer, who was born in 1922, and in 1940 entered the Jesuit novitiate. In the mainstream of European liturgical renewal inspired by the great minds of the day, such as Pius Parsch in Strasbourg and Josef Jungmann in Innsbruck, he collaborated with fellow Jesuit Joseph Gelineau in France to begin composing new liturgical music for The Netherlands. With the collaboration of former student and emerging poet Huub Oosterhuis, he became The Netherlands’ foremost liturgical pioneer in developing new music and forms for the Liturgy, a decade before Vatican II. Strongly influenced by the liturgical reforms of the French Church, especially the Saint-Séverin in Paris, he experienced the dynamic of assembly singing as the formative element of Liturgy.
Discarding Sacred and Popular Hymns, he regarded these as no longer being appropriate for singing the Liturgy. The work he was doing with that of his Dutch and other European colleagues was to lead to the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. He was effortless in his analysis of the distinction between singing during the liturgy and singing the liturgy itself. But due to being Dutch, whose language was not mainstream European, he never gained the recognition given to Gelineau, yet in many ways outshone him, as Gelineau himself testified on his first visit to Amsterdam.