Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music - Guest Article by Roseanne T. Sullivan

Our thanks to Ms. Sullivan for this write-up of the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship, newly founded in the diocese of San Francisco by His Grace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Fr. Samuel Weber, O.S.B. 

If you are a lover of reverent Masses, this is the kind of news that could make your heart soar.

Regina Magazine’s Secret Insider’s Guide for Priests issue (December, 2013), included an article with breaking news about a new liturgical institute that was about to be launched in the archdiocese of San Francisco. On January 5, 2014, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Father Samuel Weber, OSB, the institute’s founder, officially revealed more specific details about the goals of the institute. 
In his introduction, Archbishop Cordileone announced the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship. The institute is fittingly named after the Pope whose book The Spirit of the Liturgy, written before his election to the Papacy, made a persuasive case for many liturgical practices that had fallen out of favor in the liturgical reforms that took place after the Second Vatican Council. Benedict XVI, of course, is the same Pope whose motu proprio Summorum Pontificum defended the Traditional Latin Mass as never having been abrogated, named it the “Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, affirmed it was just as validly a part of the Roman Rite as the Ordinary Form, and gave permission for it to be celebrated more freely with fewer restrictions. This new liturgical institute is just one of several initiatives that Archbishop Cordileone has launched to put the principles of The Spirit of the Liturgy and Summorum Pontificum into practice. 
Archbishop Cordileone

After the archbishop’s introduction, Fr. Weber demonstrated that it is easier than people might imagine to train people to sing chant well without any instruction on how to read the chant notation. Rehearsing with a program he had prepared with chants of his own composition, Fr. Weber prepared the 200 or so people who attended the event to chant hymns and psalms at the Benediction and Vespers of the Epiphany. Even though most of those attending had never been exposed to chant before,  the congregation sang the Gregorian chant in the service very well. As one commenter on Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog noted, “Vespers was fantastic, presided over by Abp Cordileone, and cantored by Fr. Weber, chanted in its entirety. Before we went upstairs to the Church for vespers, Fr. Weber did a quick tutorial/run-through of the chants for vespers, and unsurprisingly, everyone picked them up quite easily.
Photos courtesy of Roseanne T. Sullivan and Sancta Trinitas Unus Deus: Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco. (
Fr. Weber training the faithful to sing Vespers.

The cover of the chant booklet put together for the event.

The hymn for Vespers of the Epiphany.

Incensation of the Blessed Sacrament at Benediction

Fr. Weber leading the congregation in chant.
Although the liturgical institute is housed at St. Patrick’s Seminary, its focus will not be only on seminarians but also on laity. Father Weber has affirmed that part of his work in the Institute includes teaching duties in liturgy and Latin at the seminary. “Seminarians who would like to learn the Extraordinary Form and have the permission of their diocese may do so. At the direction of the Archbishop, a chapel has been designated for celebrating the Extraordinary Form, which is available on certain days.”

A large part of the work of the institute will be to provide formation for lay people who are exercising ministries at parishes, and courses will be offered that will lead to certification in specific ministries. For example, Extraordinary Eucharistic ministers will be taught the theology of the Eucharist. Lectors will be taught Biblical theology, so that they will understand the context of the readings and what they mean in the history of salvation.
The Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship supports pastors in their efforts to form lay people for liturgical ministries, including music directors, parish musicians, acolytes, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. The Institute will offer courses toward certification both online and at parishes. The Institute is based at Saint Patrick's University and Seminary in Menlo Park, California in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. -
If we are going to enter into the true spirit of the liturgy, we need to inculcate a liturgical spirituality, a liturgical devotion – Archbishop Cordileone.
The archbishop emphasized the importance of music in the new institute: “The heart of the institute is music.” The goal is to “reclaim the sacred music that is so much at the heart of our celebration of the Mass.To do this, the institute will promote what the Church has been asking us to do for a really long time, beginning at the Second Vatican Council” and continuing with “so many documents since, including the current General Instruction on the Roman Missal: Gregorian chant is to have first place in music at Mass.” Even when contemporary music is used, the parish musicians, as in any field, need to understand the tradition, so a course in "The Tradition of Sacred Music" will be required.

For more information, see this article from Catholic San Francisco.

For photos of the event, click here

For a videos of the event, click here and here.
Archbishop Cordileone has taken several steps to improve the liturgy during his first year in office:
Initiated the creation of a Liturgical Institute at the seminary to improve the celebration of the Mass and church music, with the help of Fr. Weber, a world-renowned expert and composer of Gregorian chant, who previously founded and directed a trail-blazing Institute for Liturgical Music in St. Louis. See this articleNew Liturgical Institute in San Francisco for more details.

Established a weekly Extraordinary Form Mass at a San Francisco parish church during normal Sunday morning Mass hours (at 11:00 a.m.), weekdays at 7:30 a.m. and First Fridays at 6:30 p.m. When the pastor, Fr. Mark Mazza, asked Archbishop Cordileone who was going to celebrate the Masses, Cordileone told him that he was going to be the one. For the first time in about 50 years, what used to be the normal Latin Mass is being said regularly again in a centrally-located regular parish by a regular parish priest during regular Sunday Mass hours (before noon).  See this a
rticle for more details.

Commissioned the fledgling order of the Contemplatives of St. Joseph to dedicate themselves to liturgical reform in the archdiocese of San Francisco. Prof. William Mahrt, Church Music Association of America president, Editor of the journal Sacred Music, and director of St. Ann Choir
has been teaching the two
COSJ priests, and preparing booklets from them to use to chant the Divine Office. Canon Olivier Meney, a priest of the Institute of Christ the King, trained the priests in the Traditional Latin Mass, and they began offering a regular Sunday EF Mass at 5 p.m. in the city of South San Francisco on January 19, 2014, and daily Masses Monday to Friday at noon. They are also being called upon to teach others what they have learned. See this article, “New California Men’s Order Will Teach Roman Liturgy for more details.

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