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Online Edition: November 2010
Vol. XVI, No. 8

News & Views

Solesmes Abbey Observes Millennium | A Musical Offering: The Office of Compline | New Music for the New Missal Texts | SCL Conference | Catholics, Orthodox Discuss Future Unity, Date of Easter

Solesmes Abbey Observes Millennium

The French Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter in Solesmes celebrated the millennial anniversary of its foundation on October 12.

Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and papal envoy for the occasion, presided over the ceremonies, highlighting the abbey’s 1,000 years of fidelity to the Gospel.

Solesmes has encountered numerous severe ruptures throughout its long history. The monastery was destroyed during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453). It was again forced to close during the French Revolution, and at several other times during the 19th century because of political unrest in France. However, through the resourcefulness and devotion of its leaders, other outposts were established in England and France. Solesmes now has monasteries on three continents, 23 for men and eight for women.

It is chiefly for Dom Prosper Gueranger’s recovery of the Church’s tradition of Gregorian chant in the early 19th century that Solesmes is known throughout the Catholic world. Solesmes remains a major center for publishing books of chant. (web site: solesmes.com).

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A Musical Offering: The Office of Compline

The Office of Compline, Gregorian chant settings of Compline (or night prayer) for every day of the year, has been compiled by Father Samuel Weber, OSB, of the St. Louis Archdiocesan Institute of Sacred Music. Father Weber has arranged chant settings for both Latin and the official English text, and provides new English translations for the hymns of the Office.

All hymns are presented with the Gregorian melodies proper to each season and feast of the liturgical year. Complete instructions for praying Compline are included.

A foreword by Archbishop Raymond Burke explains the spiritual tradition of prayer at the close of the day, and reflects on the texts of this Office.

The Office of Compline was released in October by Ignatius Press. Information: www.ignatius.com.

New Music for the New Missal Texts

New music for the new English translation of the Mass is now available from the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). The music, composed by a committee engaged by ICEL, may be downloaded in printable form from the ICEL web site: icelweb.org/musicfolder/openmusic.php.

Recordings of the choral music for the new translation of the Mass are also now easily accessible online — for study purposes, only — in order to prepare for the new Missal translation that will come into use in Advent 2011.

The Church Music Association of America (CMAA) has provided video versions of the new music settings that allow one to listen to the choral music while actually viewing it as the chant progresses. There are recordings for each main section of the Mass.

Separate files of the music alone can also be downloaded from the CMAA site. See “Musical Settings for the Ordinary of the Mass” at musicasacra.com/ordinary.

This music page on the CMAA site also has an assortment of Latin chant settings both as audio files (MP3) and as printable music (PDF).

The web site of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians also has made available recordings of most parts of the new translation of the Mass. These recordings, “Chants of the Roman Missal”, are accessible as both MP3 and PDF files here: npm.org/Chants/index.html.

The new ICEL chants will become standard, with the exception of the Our Father, which will retain the present tune in dioceses of the United States.

SCL Conference

Rituale Romanum: The Sacraments and Sacramentals of the Roman Ritual” is the title of the Society for Catholic Liturgy’s annual conference January 27-29, 2011, in Houston.

The conference will feature main sessions and workshops. Bishop Álvaro Corrada, SJ, of Tyler will be the keynote speaker. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Galveston-Houston, will be the principal celebrant at a conference Mass in the seminary chapel on Friday. Speakers include Father Uwe Michael Lang, Father Timothy Vaverek, editor of SCL’s journal, Antiphon, Father Neil Roy, and others.

Information on SCL web site: liturgysociety.org/conferences.

Catholics, Orthodox Discuss Future Unity, Date of Easter

Overcoming the disparity in the dates of the celebration of Easter in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches was among the topics discussed at the Synod on the Middle East held at the Vatican in mid-October.

Celebrating Easter on the same day would mean observing Lent together, which would give Catholics of the East and West an opportunity to witness together to their disciplines of Lenten fasting and abstinence.

Earlier, at a meeting of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, held September 30-October 2 at Georgetown University, the body agreed on two statements: “Celebrating Easter/Pascha Together”, and “Steps towards a Reunited Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future”. The statements were released October 1 and 2, respectively.

The first statement called for celebrating Easter on the same date. The members “urgently join our voices to those of many others calling for leadership to agree on a continued, unified determination for the celebration of the Resurrection”.

The second statement is an effort to envision “preparatory steps” toward a reunited Catholic and Orthodox Church and the reestablishment of full communion, and toward overcoming disagreement over the role of the Bishop of Rome in the Church. In the section on “The Role of the Papacy” is a proposal to re-evaluate “the Roman curia’s relationship to local bishops and episcopal conferences in the Latin Church [which] would become less centralized:  bishops, for instance, would have more control over the agenda and the final documents of synods, and the selection of bishops would again normally become a local process”. (§7.e)

The statement also summarizes many elements of the Christian faith and ecclesial life that the two churches share, and the urgency of overcoming divisions.

“Conscience holds us back from celebrating our unity as complete in sacramental terms, until it is complete in faith, Church structure, and common action” the statement said; “but conscience also calls us to move beyond complacency in our divisions, in the power of the Spirit and in a longing for the fullness of Christ’s life-giving presence in our midst”.

The Consultation, established in 1965, was co-chaired this year by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans and Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh. Archbishop Aymond is chairman-elect of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship.

Discussion of the two statements of the Orthodox-Catholic Consultation is on the agenda for the USCCB meeting in Baltimore November 14-18. The statements are accessible on the USCCB web site: usccb.org/seia/easter.shtml and usccb.org/ seia/steps-towards-reunited-church.shtml.

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