Sunday, 10 October 2010

St. Joseph's Church-Mississauga to host Chant Workshop

Something wonderful is happening at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Streetsville (Mississauga) the large suburban city just west of Toronto. Before getting to the meat of this article on formation of a Schola and chant workshop with the renowned Father Samuel Weber, OSB, take a look at these two photos of the sanctuary. It is amazing what a little colour and stencil can do to soften the harshness of modern church design and to focus the eyes to the source and summit of our faith and life, the Eucharistic Presence and the Holy Mass.

Here is the Altar before the renovation.
St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Streetsville, (Mississauga) has announced a Chant workshop.

Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB will be hosting a workshop on Gregorian Chant on November 5th and 6th at St Joseph's Church in Mississauga. On November 5th, the agenda will focus on introducing Chant music to a choral ensemble or parish. The evening will cater to
music directors and those with a choral background. Saturday's workshop will focus on an introduction to Chant and ways to incorporate Chant into our liturgies and Eucharistic celebrations. Father Weber is the Director of the Institute of Sacred Music for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis in Missouri, USA. The institute was begun by the former Archbishop of St. Louis His Grace, Raymond Burke and now Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.

Father Weber work has been featured on many blogs and web sites including the New Liturgical Movement, The Chant Cafe, MusicaSacra and many more.

St. Joseph's Church is forming a Gregorian Schola and has posted this on their web page:

In 1963, as they ordered a “general restoration of the liturgy itself,” the bishops of the Second Vatican Council acknowledged one musical repertoire as “specially suited to the Roman Liturgy”: Gregorian Chant. There, they said, in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, “other things being equal, chant should have pride of place in liturgical services” (SC 116).

Gregorian Chant has a lot going for it: it gives primacy to the human voice in worship; it sets texts that are, for the most part, drawn from Scripture; it is music designed to accompany ritual action; it unites us to the worship carried out by generations of our ancestors; it is music that has only been used to worship God. We use the Gregorian chant because it fits the ritual well. But at other times, the ritual itself will suggest the use of other music.

Liturgy has always been affected by local cultures, and it draws on the unique strength of those cultures - as well as on the treasure of music inherited from previous generations. What we know as Gregorian Chant, in fact, is the product of many cultures: It is similar, in some respects, to chants of the synagogue, to ancient Greek Chant and hymnody, to some early music of the Eastern Church, and to secular and religious music of the Frankish Kingdom.

Chant is meant to serve the liturgy and the text. We are invited to rediscover this treasure of music and to be invited to meditate and pray with Sacred Scripture as it is set to music. Here at St. Joseph we have two opportunities to rediscover this important part of our Tradition. On November 5th and 6th we will be hosting Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB who will lead a workshop on Chant. He is renowned for his work of translating and adapting Chant for use in English.

We are also creating a Schola - a group of people- who are interested in learning and singing Chant. Under the Direction of Ana Maria Nunes they will meet on Wednesday evenings starting on October 6th 2010.

As an editorial comment: While it is wonderful to have Father Samuel Weber, OSB here, where is our own St. Michael's Choir School which pre-dates the St. Louis school by 70 years? Where is the liturgical leadership at the Choir School and Archdiocese of Toronto? Why is our Chancery office not mandating this wonderful initiative at St. Joseph's by all parishes in Toronto?

1 comment:

Patience said...

"Why is our Chancery office not mandating this wonderful initiative at St. Joseph's by all parishes in Toronto? I guess that's a rhetorical question right?
It was 35 years ago as a teenager that I bought my first Gregorian Chant record. I'd never heard it in a church but felt drawn to the music. I thought chant was something monks did in abbeys (in the movies). My dad remarked that I would have liked the Old Mass but it took many years before I understood what he meant.