Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Communauté Saint-Martin

We have made mention of this community before on at least two occasions, but one of our readers recently sent us a note about them, and it struck me that we perhaps have never directly featured them as a community proper.

The community I am speaking of is the Communauté Saint-Martin (Community of St. Martin) based out of France, who operate within a reform of the reform context.

Here is some information about them from the English edition of their website.

The Community of St. Martin is a public clerical association of secular priests and deacons committing themselves to live their apostolate through a common life style in the spirit of brotherhood. The dioceses of the universal Church benefit from this bonding. It was founded in 1976 by Rev. Father Jean-François Guérin (1929-2005), a priest from the diocese of Tours, France. The creation was preceded by the after-council "revival", which oriented its efforts in the development of a priestly secular life and training. The Community of St. Martin was first established in Voltri (archdiocese of Genoa, Italy), under the paternal protection of Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, who granted the first canonical recognition in 1979.

In 1993, the Community of St. Martin left Genoa and established its Home of training and Mother House in Candé-sur-Beuvron, near Blois, in the Loire valley (200 km / 125 miles from Paris). The training of the seminarians is provided by the priests of the Community themselves. In 2000, the Community of St. Martin was granted by the Holy See the statute of Clerical Public Association of Pontifical Right, depending on the Congregation for the Clergy. Our School of theology has been affiliated since 2007 to the Pontifical University of Lateran in Rome. Lastly, the statutes of the Community were confirmed by the Holy See in 2008. By this way, Rev. Father Jean-Marie Le Gall (photo), first successor of the founder, elected Moderator-General in 2004, became Ordinary of the Community, thus having the ability to call to orders and to incardinate into the Community.

Today, the community of St. Martin has about sixty priests and deacons and about forty seminarians having no particular assignment except the Home of Training. Upon the request of bishops the community accepts various apostolic missions such as those in parishes, confessors in schools, chaplans in boarding schools, at shrines and other religious institutions (see map of our apostolic missions).

Communal life and mobility are the two main characteristics of "martinian" life set within a precisely defined framework which has been established by the conventions signed in agreement with the bishops. The priests are sent in groups of at least three, to live and work together in a profound spiritual and common brotherhood. The pastoral solidarity in the service of souls is the main and most important interaction in their collaboration with their office. Their presence establishes a deep family brotherhood that is strongly felt in the community. This fraternal life takes its roots in their daily prayers, especially in regards to the Divine Office performed every day together including the daily "Community Holy Mass" and through day to day life in which the community meals have a particular place. The priests are available for different missions, moving from one diocese to another or even from one country to another.

Along with the different ministries that the Community of St. Martin has been entrusted with in several dioceses of France, members were selected by the Holy See for more specific services in Rome or in Apostolic Nunciatures. In 2006, the community accepted the charge of an important parish in Cuba.

The community may be most widely known because of its publication of the Les Heures Grégoriennes (The Gregorian Hours) of which more information is available off their website.

In brief, Les Heures Grégoriennes is a French-Latin publication "for parishes and communities who want to celebrate the modern Liturgy of the Hours in Latin...". It includes "the complete edition of all the Gregorian melodies for the texts of the day hours of the Liturgia Horarum.

This book is simply the implementation of the requests of the Holy Father and the directives of Vatican II. The Council, in the liturgy constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, ‘canonized’ a musical repertoire as the proper chant of the Roman Rite for the first time in its history. The Council went on to order the books of Gregorian Chant be revised and new editions prepared. This is exactly what the Community of Saint Martin has done in the midst of our Holy Father Benedict XVI’s encouragement of the blossoming of a ‘new liturgical movement.’ We should mention that those responsible for this project have requested approval (editio “iuxta typicam”) from the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, and the Prefect of the Congregation, Francis Cardinal Arinze, has given his very enthusiastic endorsement with a wish that everyone will make good use of this work.

A few photos from the Community of St. Martin will give you some liturgical sense of them.

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As an aside, for those of our readers interested in vestments and all that is associated with them, I thought I would point out a small detail that I noticed while browsing the community's site, and which I personally found of some interest -- indeed, I didn't expect to run into it. Namely, in the Community's photos from their 2009 Ordinations, I noted with interest their use of apparels on both alb and amice.

I have often felt that these work extremely well with the fuller flowing gothic forms of chasubles, be they conical or the truncated gothic we are more accustomed to seeing today.

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