Conference Reports: CMAA Sacred Music Colloquium
Your reporter was privileged to attend two significant liturgical conferences over the past month.
The largest and most successful convention on traditional Catholic sacred music yet was held June 25-July 1 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Church Music Association of America’s annual Sacred Music Colloquium attracted well over 200 participants. Seminars were offered on numerous aspects of music performance and directing, with a special emphasis on Gregorian Chant. Both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms were given attention. Attendees spanned the spectrum, from singers new to the traditional repertoire, to veteran Tridentine Mass music directors. Liturgies were served by choirs organized to train singers, including a women’s chant choir, a men’s chant choir, and a mixed voice polyphonic choir. It was a pleasant surprise to run into Dr. Ron Prowse, the Music Director of Detroit’s Sacred Heart Seminary, as well as several well-known music directors from around the world, including Connecticut’s David Hughes and the London Oratory’s Charles Cole.
Interestingly, the principal Mass of the convention, held at Salt Lake’s Cathedral of the Madeleine, the Solemn High Tridentine Mass on Friday, June 29, was celebrated by none other than Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, the General Secretary of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). That’s right, the priest in charge of the new translation of the Ordinary Form was the celebrant of a major public Mass in the Extraordinary Form. He and Cardinal Cañizares Llovera of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments are examples of the clear trend of Church leaders charged with the Ordinary Form increasingly involving themselves with the Tridentine Mass.
Fota Liturgical Conference
The fifth annual Fota Liturgical Conference was held in Cork, Ireland July 7-9. Distinguished guests included Raymond Cardinal Burke and the new Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown. Talks were of an academic nature, most revolving around the theme of the Sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist. Detroit was represented by Sacred Heart Seminary professor Fr. Daniel Jones, who presented a paper on St. Augustine.
Every Mass and Vespers service offered was according to the Extraordinary Form, at Cork’s historic Ss. Peter & Paul Church. A Pontifical Solemn Mass celebrated by Cardinal Burke was offered on Sunday, and the First Mass of an Institute of Christ the King priest was offered on Monday. The Lassus Scholars provided the music; this choir is based at Dublin’s St. Kevin Church and travels throughout Ireland to perform at many of the country’s major Tridentine Mass events. Interestingly, they chose polyphonic settings of most of the Mass Propers in favor of the traditional chant settings.
Much has been written about the state of the Church in Ireland in recent months. Not to dismiss any of the unfortunate facts, it’s important to look at the bright side of things, as well. While not as dominating as in England, the Extraordinary Form has a significant and growing place in Irish Catholic life. For example, St. Kevin’s offers daily Tridentine Mass and a spectrum of devotions. The main Irish Catholic newspaper, the Catholic Voice, contains several articles and advertisements concerning the Tridentine Mass. For an idea of what is available, see the Latin Mass Society of Ireland’s web site, www.latinmassireland.org.
Architecturally, there are some truly stunning sites to behold. St. Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh, perched on the side of a hill overlooking a harbor where cruise ships dock, offers not only a magnificent vista, but inspiring, towering Gothic Revival design inside. St. Colman’s has been the site of occasional Tridentine Masses, with music supplied by ... you guessed it ... the Lassus Scholars.
St. Finbarr’s Oratory [pictured below] is an idyllic historic chapel on a lake in Gougane Barra, open all day. It marks the site where St. Finbarr established a monastery in the 6th century. There is something intensely spiritual about this particular site, heightened by the mist and rainbows that occur over the lake due to Ireland’s seemingly continually alternating intervals of rain and sun. Imagine a smaller, more isolated version of St. Hugo’s Stone Chapel [in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan]. Today St. Finbarr’s is a popular site for weddings.
One concluding observation: In Ireland you drive on the left. In Ireland the driver’s seat is on the right. In Ireland the streets are ... narrow. In Ireland there are countless country roads with no shoulders, on which farm tractors will come at you in the opposite direction, occupying at least 50% of the width of the road. In Ireland you will learn the true meaning of fear while driving. St. Christopher, patron of drivers, pray for those renting cars in Ireland.
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
Mon. 07/23 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Apollinaris, Bishop & Martyr)
Tue. 07/24 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Christina, Virgin & Martyr)
Wed 07/25: Previously announced Mass at St. Josaphat cancelled
"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"