Wednesday, September 14, 2016

In Memory of Mons. Angelo Amodeo

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the passing of Monsignor Angelo Amodeo, a canon of the cathedral of Milan who dedicated much of his life to preserving the traditional Ambrosian liturgy, and the use of traditional Ambrosian chant within the post-Conciliar rite. Several writers of NLM, as well as our good friends of the Schola Sainte Cécile, had the honor of participating in liturgies celebrated by him, and he is very much missed.
Ambrosian Solemn Mass celebrated by Mons. Amodeo in the Pantheon in Rome on Sunday, May 2nd, 2010, sung by the Schola Sainte Cécile. Note the cappino, a type of collar which is attached to the upper part of the chasuble, dalmatic and tunicle, and also the fact that the deacon’s stole is worn over the dalmatic. Also note that at the elevation, the deacon lifts the chasuble so that it is parallel to the floor; the subdeacon incenses the Sacrament, since he does not hold the paten under a humeral veil as in the Roman solemn Mass. (Photos originally by John Sonnen of Orbis Catholicus.)
The very first Ambrosian liturgy I ever attended was a votive Mass in honor of the Blessed Ildephonse Schuster, celebrated in the Duomo itself in December of 1998, at which Monsignor Amodeo and another canon sang the Ambrosian propers of a Confessor Bishop. (They were joined by a choir of Korean music and voice students, who sang the Gloria in excelsis and Sanctus from a Mozart Mass.) After Mass, we processed from the altar of the left transept around the church to the right nave, and sang the Ambrosian litany of the Saints at the altar in which the Bl. Schuster is buried. Subsequently, I attended and served other Ambrosian Masses in Venice (after one of which I wrote my very first article for NLM), Rome and elsewhere.

Monsignor remained a strong singer all of his life, and celebrated Mass in a way that showed how thoroughly he loved and lived the liturgy; he was always dignified, but completely natural, and precise, but completely graceful. He tended to begin his sermons rather slowly, and in what seemed at first a rather disjointed fashion, but I soon learned that he would always bring them together into something that was not just theologically useful to hear, but genuinely beautiful.

Our founding editor, Shawn Tribe, writes the following about Mons. Amodeo: “I had the privilege of attending one of the good monsignor’s Ambrosian rite liturgies back in 2008, as well as enjoying a tour of the Borromean palace and Duomo of Milan with him. He was a wonderful and charismatic (in the truest sense of that word) individual. I remember him fondly; he referred to me as ‘il Canadese (the Canadian)’, as he was pleased that someone from so far away would come all the way to Milan because of interest in the Ambrosian rite which he so loved and dedicated his life to. It was an honour and a privilege which remains one of my fondest memories of my NLM career.”

Here is a video of him sing the Preface, which has a very beautiful melody in the Ambrosian Rite, at the church of San Rocco al Gentilino in Milan on Palm Sunday of 2012, just over six months before he died.

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