American Benedictine abbot is in charge of liturgical art
The U.S. born abbot Michael John Zielinski has been chosen as head of the new office for liturgical architecture and music in the Congregation for Divine Worship
A Benedictine abbot has been chosen to lead the new office of the Congregation for Divine Worship called and give out guidelines for liturgical music and architecture, in an attempt to do away with ugly garage churches. Today, Benedict XVI appointed the American Olivetan abbot, Michael John Zielinski, as the new office manager in the dicastery led by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera.
His entry to the Congregation is strictly linked to the restructuring of the dicastery approved by the Secretariat of State last 3 September.
Zielinski was born in Lakewood, Ohio, in April 1953. He joined the Benedictine monastic Congregation of Saint Mary of Monte Oliveto after his novitiate at the abbey of San Miniato al Monte in Florence and made the perpetual monastic profession on 8 December 1975 in the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore (Siena). He studied philosophy and theology at the Pontifical University of St. Anselmo in Rome and was ordained priest in 1977.
He studied monastic spirituality, Gregorian polyphonic and modern music, medieval and renaissance history and history of art. In 1991 he graduated from the University of Florence with a thesis on social psychology. He spent a number of years in the abbey of San Miniato al Monte in Florence where he was elected Prior and was also given the task of teaching novices. He was also an associate professor at the University of Siena. In 1999 he joined the monastic community of the Abbey of Santa Maria Pilastrello in Lendinara, in the diocese of Rovigo, northern Italy and in 2003 he was nominated secretary of the Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation, Fr. Notker Wolf.
In December 2003 he was elected Abbot of the Abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Pecos (United States). In 2007, Benedict XVI appointed him Vice President of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and Vice President of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Architecture. When these two bodies of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology – led by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi - merged, he left his position in June.
The office he has been chosen to lead constitutes the main change to the structure of the dicastsery for divine worship which will deal specifically with art and music for the liturgy, giving guidelines to ensure the hymns sung at mass, as well as the structure of the new churches are adequate and correspond to the mystery which they are celebrating, according to the conciliar Constitution “Sacrosanctum Concilium”.
Source: Vatican Insider