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May 2008

Vol. XIV, No. 3

Benedictine Composer to Direct New Saint Louis Institute of Sacred Music

by Helen Hull Hitchcock

“It gives me great joy to announce the creation of the Institute of Sacred Music in the Office of Sacred Worship of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. I am also happy to announce the appointment of Father Samuel F. Weber, OSB, as the first Director of the Institute of Sacred Music, effective May 12th”, announced Archbishop Raymond Burke on April 4.

The new institute, the archbishop’s announcement continued,“has been established to assist me in providing a fuller cultivation of Sacred Music for the celebration of the complete Roman Rite.

“Among the activities of the institute will be the following:

1) programs of education in Sacred Music, especially Gregorian Chant, for parish musicians, musicians of other archdiocesan institutions and interested individuals;

2) assistance to parishes with the singing of the Mass in English, for example, the Entrance Antiphon, the Responsorial Psalm and the Communion Antiphon;

3) assistance with the singing of the Liturgy of the Hours;

4) assistance to parishes which wish to develop a schola cantorum for the singing of Gregorian Chant;

5) programs for the full implementation of the English translation of the Roman Missal in the archdiocese; and

6) particular assistance to the programs of Sacred Music at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis and Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

A story in the St. Louis Review (April 4) said that Archbishop Burke noted that his action in creating the new institute is in keeping with what the Holy See desires for proper musical settings at Mass.

“The Holy See has rightly asked that musical settings be provided for those parts of the Mass which are to be sung, for example, the Responsorial Psalm and the various acclamations. Father Weber has been distinguished for his work of setting these texts to music which is beautiful and accessible to the congregation”, the archbishop told the Review.

“A number of new settings will need to be prepared for the new translations of the Roman Missal, which will be approved in the coming time”, Archbishop Burke said. “It is my desire that our parishes have the help which they need to sing the various parts of the Mass. Clearly, other parts of the Church will be able to reap the fruit of his labors on behalf of the archdiocese”.

People have told the archbishop of their desire to use Gregorian Chant at Mass and other celebrations, the Review reported. Father Weber said his approach to instruction “is always flexible and friendly”.

Asked about any negative reaction he may receive to Gregorian Chant sung in Latin, Father Weber told the Review, “People’s sensitivities are important. I would say, ‘Come and see’. Then I would be available to assist as best I can to help all come to a deeper appreciation of the Church’s teaching and directives about Gregorian Chant and our heritage of sacred music”.

Father Weber’s invitation to “Come and see” seems to echo his article “Sacred Signs and Religious Formation”, published in AB (March 2008).

Father Weber, who is associate professor of early Christianity and spiritual formation at the Wake Forest University Divinity School, and teaches at Chicago’s Liturgical Institute at Mundelein, was also the hymn editor of the Mundelein Psalter, published by Hillenbrand Books in 2007.

It gives Adoremus great joy to say “welcome to St. Louis, Father!”

***

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