Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ars Celebrandi Workshops in Poland

Reader Dawid Gospodarek very kindly sent us an account of a series of workshops recently held in Poland at the Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń (Lee-chen; ch pronounced as in German), the largest Marian shrine in the country. The event has its own website,, with an enormous gallery of high quality and very beautiful photographs of the various events. (My experience is that the translation feature of the Chrome browser works quite well with Polish.) There are also a large number of photos available on their facebook page.

First Mass in the Basilica
Solemn Vespers
On Sunday, August 24, a series of workshops on the Ars Celebrandi began at the Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń, the largest Marian shrine in Poland, with the blessing of Bishop Wieslaw Mering of Wloclawek. The participants came from all parts of Poland, but also the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and France, totaling nearly 150 people, including almost 30 priests.

The Ars Celebrandi Workshops are a response to the invitation of Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, and its encouragement to “preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place”.

The workshops cover all the elements that make up the beauty of the liturgy in the traditional Roman rite: priests learn to celebrate and to serve in various functions (as deacon, subdeacon and assistant priest), altar servers learn to serve in all the different roles, and scholas learn how to accompany the liturgy.

The musical part of the workshops was lead by Joanna Orzeł, Magdalena Krzywda-Krzysteczko, Marcin Bornus-Szczyciński, Robert Pożarski (Gregorian chant) and Paweł Bębenek (Baroque polyphony).

The highlight of each day was the celebration of the Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, whether solemn, sung or low. At one of the morning Masses, the faithful could also sing traditional Polish devotional songs. The order of every day was defined by canonical hours, which on certain days were celebrated in a solemn way.

On Tuesday, the feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa, after the Mass a solemn procession took place. Wednesday was a day of penance, devoted primarily to prayers for the dead. A solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated for Pope Sixtus V on the anniversary of his death.

Masses in the Dominican Rite were also celebrated daily, on Wednesday a sung Mass, with the participation of a women’s schola, and on Thursday a particularly important event, a Dominican Solemn Mass. This was only the third time that such a liturgy was celebrated in Poland after the post-Conciliar liturgical reforms. The schola was led by experts in Dominican chant, Marcin Bornus-Szczyciński and Robert Pożarski.

On Friday the main Mass was celebrated in the Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń; this was also the first solemn Mass celebrated by Fr. Peter Wulgaris. The schola, led by Paweł Bębenek, sang a polyphonic Mass by Orlando di Lasso. All sung and solemn Masses were enriched by the organ music played by Robert Hugo, an outstanding musician, organist of the Holy Savior Academy church in Prague, the head and founder of Capella Regia Praha, which gives concerts all over the Europe and overseas.

The organizers of the workshop are priests and faithful working in the diocesan chaplaincies and communities of the Latin tradition in Poland, in cooperation with Foundation of St. Gregory the Great and other organizations of the faithful attached to the traditional form of the liturgy. The event was under the official patronage of the Una Voce Polonia Federation.

Absolution over the Catafalque
Preparation of the chalice at Dominican Solemn Mass
Singing of the Gospel at Dominican Solemn Mass
Eucharistic Procession on the feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa

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