Thursday, February 04, 2010

Matthew Alderman at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, Candlemas Day

The good men of what I was told they call Kenrick-Glennon Industrial Light and Magic -- the seminary's AV experts -- have posted the three lecture and question-and-answer sessions from the day-long workshop I led for about sixty seminarians earlier this week. I hope to post a longer report on my visit, including my observations on the seminary's vibrant liturgical, devotional and spiritual life, and a few other adventures and scrapes I got into along the way. I cannot say enough good things about the prayerful, bright, and articulate men who are studying here--it is always good to see the bright future of the Church manifested so explicitly.

Session 1: Unto the Altar of God: Liturgical Planning is the talkiest of the three sessions, dealing with the intersection of liturgy and the built environment, and what distinguishes an authentic traditional architecture from, variously, modernist monstrosities and an aesthetics solely grounded in nostalgia--often good, but not good enough.

Session 2: The Beauty of Holiness: Aesthetics and Theology: This session was occupied primarily by a follow-up activity led mostly by the students (which is not recorded here, unfortunately), who responded to my lecture with intelligent and probing comments; I was also able to briefly touch on the theology behind the ordered aesthetics of classical and traditional design, which you'll hear here, along with one or two off-topic Monty Python references. (Unfortunately, the slides are not online, so you may have a little trouble following me without the pictures when I refer to them.)

Session 3: Unless the Lord Build the House: Architecture for the Parish Priest was something of a clean-up session, including a guided discussion of the difference between plaster statuary, truly traditional liturgical art, and self-indulgent modern self-expression, as well as a primer on what a parish priest needs to know when he starts on a building project, including comments on choosing and working with an architect, fundraising, and making beauty work on a budget.

Please have a listen--the students' comments are in many cases just as interesting as my own observations, and probably even more so!

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