Nov 15, 2009

News & Views

Online Edition:
November 2009
Vol. XV, No. 8

News & Views

US Bishops to Vote on Liturgy Texts at November Meeting in Baltimore | Synod for Africa: US Participants | Tulsa Priest Is New Assessor at Vatican Secretariat of State | Canadian Bishop-Liturgist Resigns | CMAA Holds “Chant Pilgrimage” at National Shrine

US Bishops to Vote on Liturgy Texts at November Meeting in Baltimore

The annual Fall General Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be November 16-19, at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, Catholic News Service reported October 1. In a change from the usual schedule, the meeting will begin with Mass on Monday morning, followed by regional meetings. The public plenary session will not open until early Monday afternoon.

At the assembly, the bishops will hear an address by the president of the USCCB, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago; and elect the USCCB chairs-elect of the Committees on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations; Divine Worship; Domestic Justice and Human Development; Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; and Migration.

Other action items include votes on
• Sections of the new Roman Missal
• Pastoral letter “Marriage: Life and Love in the Divine Plan”
• Document on reproductive technologies, “Life-giving Love in an Age of Technology”
• Revision of directive no. 58 in “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services”.

The meeting agenda will also include a preliminary report on the Causes and Context Study on clergy sexual abuse of minors conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a report by the National Religious Vocation Conference on a recent study of religious vocations.

The agenda is not finalized until immediately prior to the meeting so items may change. Coverage will be available from live-streaming on the USCCB web site.

Source: Catholic News Service

Synod for Africa: US Participants

The Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, held at the Vatican October 4-25, included more than 200 bishops from all parts of Africa and some other countries.

Two representatives of the US Church were participants at the Second Special Assembly for Africa: Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, and Father Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor, CSSp, who teaches Christian Ethics at the University of Notre Dame.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops prepared a special web section on the synod, with news, presentations from bishops and Archbishop Gregory’s blog:

The bishops attending addressed the issues on the synod’s agenda and offered recommendations to the pope. The First Special Assembly for Africa, “The Church in Africa and Her Evangelizing Mission Towards the Year 2000: ‘You Shall Be My Witnesses’” was convened by Pope John Paul II April 10-May 8, 1994.

Sources: VIS and USCCB

Tulsa Priest Is New Assessor at Vatican Secretariat of State

Pope Benedict XVI named an Oklahoma priest to one of the top posts in the Vatican Secretariat of State. Monsignor Peter B. Wells, 46, a priest of the Diocese of Tulsa, was named assessor for general affairs, a position similar in rank to that of an undersecretary in a Vatican congregation. The announcement was made July 16.

Monsignor Wells had been head of the English-language desk in the Secretariat of State. He was ordained in 1991 after studying at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana and at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He earned degrees in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

He served as an assistant pastor at Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa, personal secretary to Bishop Edwin Slattery, and vicar for religious education.

Monsignor Wells also earned degrees in canon law at the Gregorian University and entered the Vatican’s diplomatic service in 1999. After working in the Vatican embassy in Nigeria, he was transferred to the Secretariat of State in 2002.

Canadian Bishop-Liturgist Resigns

Bishop Raymond Lahey of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, resigned suddenly September 26, 2009, and his resignation was immediately accepted by the Vatican. Three days later it was revealed that the bishop had been charged with possessing and importing child pornography after his laptop computer was checked when he was returning from abroad on September 15.

On June 16, Bishop Lahey had addressed a liturgical conference in Saskatoon, primarily about the new English translation of the Roman Missal. Lahey, a longtime advocate of “inclusive language” in biblical and liturgical translation, told his audience that the Vatican is committed to the use of “inclusive language”.

Lahey, who had served on the Canadian bishops’ conference liturgy committee and on the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, became bishop of Antigonish in 2003, after having been bishop of St. George’s in his native Newfoundland since 1986.

Before his appointment as bishop, Lahey had been professor of theology at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Ordained in 1963, Lahey is a graduate of St. Paul’s University seminary in Ottawa, and studied at the Gregorian University in Rome, and Cambridge University in England.

Archbishop Anthony Mancini, Halifax, was appointed apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Antigonish by Pope Benedict XVI following Lahey’s resignation, which came two months after the diocese had arrived at a $15 million settlement for sexual abuse by a local priest.

CMAA Holds “Chant Pilgrimage” at National Shrine

A Chant Pilgrimage took place at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, September 25-26. The Church Music Association of America (CMAA) sponsored the event, with co-sponsors the John Paul II Cultural Center and St. John the Beloved parish in McLean, Virginia.

More than 160 people attended the two-day chant tutorial observing the Jubilee Year of the National Shrine, which was dedicated on November 20, 1959. People of all ages and from all parts of the country participated. Many were experienced, but chant was a new experience for some.

Dr. William Mahrt, associate professor of music at Stanford University, addressed the group on “Active Participation and Listening to Chant”. Dr. Mahrt, who is president of CMAA and editor of its journal, Sacred Music, stressed music as a means of interior and exterior participation in Christ’s eternal sacrifice; this includes a reciprocal relation of perceiving beauty in sung music and singing from that perception.

Under the able direction of Scott Turkington, of St. John the Evangelist in Stamford, Connecticut, participants learned to read and sing chant, and they rehearsed to provide the chants for a Mass in the “extraordinary form” held in the crypt of the basilica on Saturday evening.

This solemn Mass concluded the Chant Pilgrimage, and an estimated 300-350 attended. A chant schola sang the Propers, while the others sang the main chants for the Mass. Father Franklin M. McAfee, former pastor of St. John the Beloved Church in McLean, Virginia, was celebrant, with Father Paul Scalia, current pastor of the same parish, serving as deacon, and Father John Fritz as subdeacon. David Lang, also of St. John the Beloved, was organist, and David Alexander was the master of ceremonies.

The basilica’s choir, under the direction of Peter Latona, also sang Marian motets by Palestrina and Byrd. The conference was organized by Arlene Oost-Zinner, CMAA’s director of programs, assisted by Elizabeth Poel.

The Church Music Association of America is an association of Catholic musicians and others who promote Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, and other forms of sacred music, including new composition, for liturgical use. The CMAA was formed in 1964, combining the American Society of St. Cecilia (founded 1874) and the St. Gregory Society (founded 1913).

The 2010 CMAA Sacred Music Colloquium is planned for June 21-27, 2010, to be held at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh. CMAA web site:



The Editors