Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Solemn Vespers for the Octave of Easter in Chicago

The Monastery of the Holy Cross in Chicago, a traditional Benedictine monastery of the Subiaco-Cassinese Congregation, will celebrate a special Solemn First Vespers for the Octave Day of Easter on Saturday, April 2 at 5:15 PM.

Over the past decade, the choirmaster and prior, Peter Funk O.S.B., a University of Chicago-trained choral conductor and composer, has taught the monks to chant all the Ordinaries and Propers of the Mass and all the antiphons, hymns and responsories of the Office. The culmination of these labors is a new Solemn Choral Vespers series, which offers perhaps the richest expression of their founding charism, to evangelize through the liturgy.

In the autumn of 2012, a generous benefactor provided the resources to found the choral group Schola Laudis, under the direction of Kevin Allen, a local conductor and composer whose name is likely familiar to many of our readers. The goal of the Schola is two-fold: to enrich the liturgical life of the Monastery and the Archdiocese of Chicago by the incorporation of the masterworks of the Renaissance composers, and more generally, to introduce a broad range of people to the beauty of the Catholic liturgical tradition. The Schola always performs the glorious music of Palestrina, Byrd, Victoria, Josquin Desprez and others in its intended liturgical setting, alternating their polyphony with the monks’ Gregorian chant.

Over the past four years, Solemn Choral Vespers with Schola Laudis has become a regular part of their liturgy. As the monks write, “We believe that this in itself can serve as a powerful witness to the wider Church. Regular liturgical prayer outside the Mass is not only possible, but desirable and beautiful, especially when offered in a rich variety of settings by some of the greatest Catholic composers. Through your website, we hope to make contact with a larger network of individuals and communities in the Northern Illinois area who are already committed to traditional Catholic liturgy but do not yet know about our Monastery or the Solemn Vespers series.” NLM is of course very glad to promote such an initiative.

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