Saturday, April 08, 2006

Real progress right now

Seminarians Recognizing Value of the Chant

While learning to become Catholic priests, a group of Assumption Seminary students in San Antonio, Texas, have been ministering in an unexpected way: singing Gregorian chant.

They've been singing at weddings, concerts and even a recent ordination Mass for two deacons at San Fernando Cathedral, under the name Schola Cantorum, which is Latin for "School for Singing."

The Schola Cantorum is the only choir organized as such at the seminary, although all Assumption students belong to liturgy planning teams and participate in the singing during chapel services.

Ray McDaniel, seminarian and director, and Jonathan Wallis, another Fort Worth seminarian with musical training, organized the group in 2002 at the suggestion of fellow seminarians who knew of their background and wanted a good choir. Initially, 16 seminarians, mostly amateurs, joined them and began practicing with them.

Jonathan Felux, 25, of San Antonio, in his third year at Assumption, said singing beautiful music in beautiful places is rewarding in itself. "But to sing praises to God in places that resound with the life of his church in such a way is even more powerful."

He said he expects his faith to be moved and deepened by the experience.

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