|Easter Vigil from Nashotah House
|Easter Vigil from Nashotah House
Robert Cardinal Sarah’s landmark address to Sacra Liturgia UK this month has pastors all over the world wondering how they might introduce ad orientem worship to their parish. Particularly given the controversy that has erupted as a result, I am sure there are some of the brethren who may be thinking the time is not ripe for moving in this direction in their parishes. On the contrary, I think the controversy may provide the perfect opportunity to explore how to implement this change of liturgical direction in the parish, and to do so by Advent 2016.
|Pope Francis celebrates the Ordinary Form ad orientem at the Altar of St John Paul II at St Peter’s, Rome
As far as the actual implementation goes, there are various theories about the best way to do this. Some feel that using the so-called “Benedictine arrangement” of six candles and a more or less prominent altar cross on the altar is an important first step. Parishes like St Mary’s went ad orientem at all their usual Sunday and weekday Masses after the catechesis occurred. In my parish, for several years there were experiments with the new position: for brief periods of time, for holy days, for school Masses.
When I was a seminarian at the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary at St John Lateran, from 2000-2005, one of the highlights of our liturgical year was going to St Mary Major and singing the Christmas Novena in the Borghese Chapel where the image of Our Lady, Salus Populi Romani resides. I was amazed to find that, all over Italy, people gathered to sing in Latin (!) this novena, that comes in large part from St Alphonsus.
When I came back to South Carolina, I was wondering how we might do something similar in my parish. I based a version of the one we used at St Mary Major as well as a paraliturgical service designed for Advent called Vigilate from Msgr Martin Hellriegel, the indomitable pastor of Holy Cross, St Louis, and master of liturgical movement in parish life.
Just in case anyone is interested, I include here a link to the booklet that we have for private use only at my parish. We have not done it publicly yet, but some of our people do it in their houses, and maybe one day we will get to do it in church!
|Divine Worship: The Missal celebrated in Calgary|
Most articles in the blogosphere have a very short shelf life, which is why I am quite surprised that an article I posted on Chant Café on 2 June 2011 keeps reappearing on blogs and in my social media newsfeeds every so often. Why Praise and Worship Music is Praise and Not Worship seems to keep being resurrected, which I can only surmise because the discussion it continues to elicit is still quite relevant, and the questions it raises have not been answered to everyone’s satisfaction. What’s more, following the comments on social media on the article has been very interesting, and I think telling about where we are now with regards to the situation of praise and worship music in liturgy. Perhaps a revisit is in order.
Peter Kwasniewski has a fascinating article at the New Liturgical Movement called The Ironic Outcome of the Benedictine-Jesuit Controversy. In it, he refers to a series of articles by Dom Mark Kirby of Silverstream Priory in Ireland. I think that these articles are very much worthy of reflection, and that they may provide both a key to interpreting some of the liturgical battles of today, as well as provide a necessary tonic or corrective to some of the more extreme reactions in those battles.
If you ask most people what names come to mind when you associate the words church, music and Paris, there are lots of beautiful places that rise up in the imagination: Notre Dame, Ste Clothilde, St Germain des Pres, St Eustache, the Madeleine: the list goes on and on. It is no secret that the City of Lights has been an inspiration to many a church musician through the ages. And it is still unparalleled when it comes to organ music. It’s hard to go far on a Sunday afternoon and not stumble into a first rate organ concert.
Many moons ago when I lived in Paris, I used to go to a small little church off of Grands Boulevards which may not be a household name, but it certainly will be someday. Not far from the Conservatoire, already home to so many promising musicians of the future, this neo-Gothic wonder not too far off the beaten path is home to what in my opinion is one of the brightest spots in the sacred music scene in the world.
The Church of Saint Eugène is twinned with the parish of Sainte Cécile and in this space you will find a home where the liturgical thought of Pope Benedict XVI and Tradition flourishes. On any given Sunday, you can attend Mass in the French Novus Ordo as well as the Extraordinary Form. In my day, Philippe Guy was the mastermind behind the whole musical affair, and the Abbé François Poté attracted numerous families and young people to a parish which otherwise might have suffered, as the neighborhood around it changed.
The musical programme is quite impressive, if for no other reason than here you can listen to some of the best of the classical repertoire of French sacred choral music. It’s one thing to hear Charpentier’s famed Messe pour minuit de Noël in a fashionable French church. It’s another to experience it alongside sequences from the Parisian Missal, Eucharistic motets from the ancien régime and chant at its finest, Sunday after Sunday in a parish that celebrates both forms of the Roman Rite well.
The parish is itself a veritable vocations factory and a center for traditional Catholic piety. Every year men and women go off to seminaries, convents and monasteries, and others start Christian homes as married layfolk from the altar of this amazing parish.
Today the Maître de Chapelle is Henri Adam de Villiers, who not only presides over one of the most unique programs of Catholic music in Paris, but much more. A contributor to the New Liturgical Movement blog, he has not only an encyclopedic knowledge of Parisian church music, he also is master of theory and practice at the Russian Catholic community of Paris. The Schola Sainte-Cécile runs a blog called Liturgia, which is an impressive place to learn more, not only about the work de Villiers & co are doing in the 9th arrondissement, but also all about Gallican liturgy and music. Not to mention the fact that the Schola has provided music all over Italy for the traditional Ambrosian Rite.
Saint Eugène is certainly a model parish in its spirituality, liturgy and sacred music. But, as a parish, its story is not widely known outside of a few cognoscenti who follow the Parisian music scene. That is about to change. There is a kickstarter campaign to get the message out about the incredible music being done every day at this remarkable piece of heaven on earth.
|photo credit to Gonzague Bridault|
There is a great way you can learn more about the project and also donate towards it.
The more the world knows about places like this, the more that other parish priests and musicians may be encouraged as they restore the sacred and bring the fullness of the Catholic tradition alive. I am very blessed to have been a quiet, discreet member of its flock for an all-too-brief period of time which changed my life. My hope is that this shining light may go far and wide with this documentary!
I have been asked several times to give a full list of all the books I mentioned in rapid random fire during my talk on Liturgical Theology: Are We Just Now Beginning?
So, here goes the full list:
Romano Guardini, The Church of the Lord
St John Paul II, Ecclesia de eucharistia
Benedict XVI, Sacramentum caritatis: Summorum pontificum
CDF, Dominus Jesus
St Pius X, Tra le sollecitudini
Pius XII, Mediator Dei
Vatican II, Lumen gentium; Sacrosanctum concilium
Annibale Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975
Piero Marini, A challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal 1963-1975
Nicola Giampietro, The Development of the Liturgical Reform As seen by Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli 1948 to 1970
Gero Weishaupt, forthcoming book on Summorum Pontificum
Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy
Laszlo Dobszay, The Bugnini Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform
Josef Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy
Laurence Paul Hemming, Worship as a Revelation: the Past, Present and Future of Catholic Liturgy
Jonathan Robinson, Mass and Modernity: Walking to Heaven Backwards
Charles Journet, The Mass: the Presence of the Sacrifice of the Cross
Abbot Vonier, A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist
Happy reading, and to all the CMAA Colloquium 2014 participants in Indianapolis, thank you for your kindness and good spirits during an excellent time together!
Oremus pro invicem!