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Archive of February 9, 2014

San Francisco project to promote beauty in music, liturgy

San Francisco, Calif., Feb 9, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - A recently launched initiative in San Francisco will educate Church musicians about sacred music and train lay ministers for their roles, according to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

“To recover a sense of our sacred music” is among the top objectives of the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music & Divine Worship, the Archbishop of San Francisco told CNA Jan. 25.

“Beauty – as Pope Benedict has taught us – beauty evangelizes, lifts us up to God, so we need to recover that sense of beauty in our liturgical music.”

The institute had been launched at a Jan. 5 vespers service for the Epiphany, at which both the archbishop and the foundation's director, Fr. Samuel Weber, spoke.

The Benedictine priest taught the more than 200 attendants how to chant, and in his interview with CNA the archbishop affirmed that such a recovery of sacred music “really is just trying to do what the Church has asked us to do, at Vatican II and ever since, in all the documents on music and the liturgy, that the people also be well formed in singing the sacred repertoire.”

He alluded to the Vatican II document on the liturgy, “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” which acknowledged Gregorian chant as “specially suited to the Roman liturgy,” thus forming the core of the “sacred repertoire.”

“It doesn’t exclude other forms of music, as the (Vatican's) instructions say, although it says it should be in keeping with the sacred nature of the liturgy,” he explained, adding that the Benedict XVI Institute’s purpose “would be to promote chant, and perhaps to some extent polyphony.”

Contemporary music, too, will be included he said, saying, “this is perhaps a good idea, that musicians understand how to use contemporary music well, because it is very popular, and that will draw people too.”

“This is all about evangelization. We have lots of tools in the kit: a lot of them we’re not using, others we’re not using as well as we could. So let's use them,” and “let's use them well.”

Archbishop Cordileone said it is important that “musicians doing contemporary-style Church music should understand what is good music – because not all of it is even good musically – but also to understand the theology underlying the lyrics.”

He cited some songs as having “watered-down” or “bad theology,” while holding up songs “straight from Scripture – especially the Psalms” as examples of what can be given as “good formation” in sacred music “which lifts the soul.”

Fr. Weber, the institute’s director, is well-versed in Gregorian chant, but is also known for “updating” chant, producing English and Spanish language music in a chant style.  

This reform in continuity – producing chant music in vernacular languages – is an example of neither breaking with the past, nor remaining stuck in it.

“That’s really what we’ve been dealing with in the Church for the past 50 years,” reflected Archbishop Cordileone, “rupture, versus continuity and reform.”

He named the new liturgical institute for Benedict XVI, who identified this “hermeneutic of continuity, saying that the emeritus Pope was “calling us to see the (Second Vatican) Council in the context of a historical continuity … building upon what came before; so Benedict was calling us to build upon, not replace,” the tradition of the Church.

“The Church builds on what it has received,” he said, and “Pope Benedict understood what was received.”

The second main purpose of the education institution, Archbishop Cordileone explained, is a more profound formation for laity who serve as lectors or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.

He explained that good training for such lay ministers, while essential, “isn’t enough.”

“There has to be a deeper formation, so it’s coming out of their heart, out of their soul, so they understand the true spirit of the liturgy and they have a liturgical spirituality.”

He cited the importance of lectors appreciating the context of readings and Biblical theology, and said extraordinary ministers “need to understand truly who it is they are handling, and to be formed in that deep respect for the Blessed Sacrament.”

The Benedict XVI Institute will be based at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, and will serve seminarians as well as laymen; according to its website it “supports pastors in their efforts to form lay people” for liturgical ministries and will offer courses both online and at parishes.

The new initiative is one among a number of acts Archbishop Cordileone has done in the 18 months he has served in San Francisco: he has also said a number of Masses in the extraordinary form, provided for regular celebration of the extraordinary form, and has provided for a new order, the Contemplatives of St. Joseph, to assist in liturgical reform and spiritual renewal in the archdiocese.

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New app promotes Catholic social teaching

Washington D.C., Feb 9, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - A new iPhone and iPad application from a Washington, D.C., think tank aims to spread Catholic social teaching through Church documents, news and commentary.

The Ethics and Public Policy Center said its free app is “a great resource for politicians, journalists, teachers, students and anyone who wishes to better understand the Church’s teaching on issues of economics, politics and culture.”

The Catholic Social Teaching App provides a selection of papal encyclicals ranging from Pope Francis’ 2013 “Lumen Fidei” back to Pope Leo XII’s 1891 “Rerum Novarum.” It includes documents from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on bioethics and Catholic political participation, as well as Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on evangelization, “Evangelii Gaudium.”

The app provides commentaries from Catholic and non-Catholic writers about Catholic teaching and current events. Authors include Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Neb.

Other writers on Catholic topics include former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Michael Sean Winters, George Weigel, Father Robert Barron, Russell Shaw, James Kalb, Hadley Arkes, Patrick Deneen and Ryan Anderson.

The app also provides news from Catholic News Agency, EWTN News, Catholic News Service and other sources.

Search and cross-reference functions help users find content about topics that interest them.

The app’s promoter, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, was founded in 1976. According to its website, its goal is the application of “the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy.”

The Catholic Social Teaching App is available for download from Apple’s App Store. Its content is also available at the app’s website, http://catholicsocialteaching.eppc.org.

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A Christian must give light to the world, urges Pope

Vatican City, Feb 9, 2014 (CNA) - Pope Francis centered his Angelus message this Sunday on the image of a Christian whose faith is like a burning lamp that brings light to the darkness.

“We must carry the light of Christ with the witness of a genuine love,” encouraged the Pope on Feb. 9. “The Christian must be a luminous person who carries the light, a light that comes from one that his not his own, but a gift of God, a gift of Jesus. We carry this light forward!”

If a Christian loses this light, “his life doesn’t make sense.  He is a Christian in name only,” Pope Francis cautioned.

Departing from his prepared remarks, the pontiff turned to query the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “I want to ask you now, how do you want to live? As a lamp that is lit, or one that is off?”

“I can’t hear your response!” he said, urging the crowd to reply louder.

“A lit lamp!” he affirmed, “This is the Christian vocation!”

Sunday’s gospel passage recounted Jesus’ encouragement to his disciples, “you are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world.”

This story might “surprise us a little,” noted Pope Francis, “if we think of who was in front of Jesus when he said these words.”

The disciples were mere “fishermen, simple people...but Jesus saw them with the eyes of God.”

Christ “wanted to say to them: if you will be poor in spirit, if you will be gentle, if you will be pure of heart, if you will be merciful, you will be the salt of the earth and the light of the world!”

Such a calling extends to all Christians, the Pope explained. “All of us who are baptized are missionary disciples and we are called to become a living gospel in the world: with a holy life we will give ‘flavor’ to diverse settings and preserve them from decay, as salt does.”

After leading the crowds in the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis noted that Tuesday, Feb. 11 is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day for the Sick.

“The dignity of of the person is never reduced to his faculties or capacities, and does not diminish when the person himself is weak, handicapped, and in need of help,” affirmed the pontiff.

He went on to thank health care workers for their “invaluable work,” and acknowledge the many letters he receives from families who have very ill members.

“So many write to me, and today I want to assure all of these families of a prayer, and I say to them: don’t be afraid of frailty! Help one another with love, and feel the consoling presence of God.”

Pope Francis then expressed his well wishes for those participating in the Winter Olympics in Sochi and greeted the many pilgrim groups who had travelled to St. Peter’s Square.

Before concluding with his usual “I wish everyone a good Sunday and a good lunch,” the Pope paused for a moment to ask again, “A lit lamp, or a lamp that is off? Which do you want?”

“A lit lamp!” the crowd enthusiastically replied.

“A Christian carries the light!” he affirmed. “He is a lit lamp. Always forward with the light of Jesus!”

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Liturgical Calendar

December 22, 2014

Advent Weekday

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Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

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12/15/14
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First Reading:: 1 Sam 1: 24-28
Gospel:: Lk 1: 46-56

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

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12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

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