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Archdiocese of St. Louis opens sacred music institute, reknowned priest-musician takes helm

.- An accomplished musician and authority on the Church’s musical heritage will move to St. Louis, Missouri to head the Archdiocese of St. Louis’ new Institute of Sacred Worship, the St. Louis Review reports.

On Friday Archbishop of St. Louis Raymond L. Burke announced that Father Samuel A. Weber, OSB, is being appointed as the first director of the institute.

The new sacred music office will, with Father Webb’s help, offer parish music directors and choirs several educational programs, including courses covering: Gregorian Chant; singing the Mass in English, especially the Entrance Antiphon, the Responsorial Psalm, and the Communion Antiphon; the Liturgy of the Hours; and the full implementation of the English translation of the Roman Missal. 

Father Weber will also offer instruction to seminarians.

Father Weber is a professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina and a monk at St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana.  An accomplished organist and Church music composer, he earned a degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome.  He also earned a master of arts in classical languages from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Archbishop Burke said he established the new sacred music office after talks with people within the diocese who were involved in the music sung at Mass.

"The concern does not come from a negative judgment on the music presently used for sacred worship but from the sense of the Church’s perennial, that is, constant, responsibility to make the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy as worthy and beautiful as possible," the archbishop said. "Given that sacred worship is the highest expression of our life in the Church, the desire is to offer every possible help for the most worthy and most beautiful possible celebration of the Sacred Liturgy."

Father Weber told the St. Louis Review that he has been working on resources “to enable all to participate fully in the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours.”  Father Weber played a part in producing the Mundelein Psalter, which he called “a resource that allows for simple and immediate participation in the Liturgy of the Hours in parishes.”  He said that families had found the Psalter helpful in family prayer.

Father William McCumber, director of the archdiocese’s Office of Worship, welcomed the news.

"It’s going to be a great boost for the archdiocese to have the institute under the direction of Father Weber, a very talented man and a holy priest," Father McCumber said.

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