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June-July 2014
Vol. XX, No. 4

News & Views

Blessing of Bells at Church and Newman Center in Lincoln | Church of England Approves Women Bishops | New Web Resource for Chant Hymns | “Prayer and Worship” Section of USCCB Website Updated | Saint John Paul II - Calendar Change

Blessing of Bells at Church and Newman Center in Lincoln

A brand new church will soon enhance the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The new St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and the Newman Center to be completed next spring will be an impressive entrance to the campus — not only visually, but audibly.

Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln blessed the four cast bronze bells — named Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke, and Saint John — in a mostly Latin ceremony on June 5, where many had gathered at the construction site to witness this event. Each of the bells was blessed in a ceremony of ritual washing, anointing with two holy oils, and incense.

After the blessing ceremony, the bells were hoisted into the 105-foot belltower, and the final steel beam was lifted into place in the traditional gothic-style church’s octagonal tower.

Bishop Conley explained that in early times, the ringing of church bells was the only form of mass communication. Bells rang out as a call to worship; to notify villages of good news, bad news, and death; and to warn of impending dangers. “Everyone was attuned to the sounds of the bells,” he said. “Parishes were mapped out to the sounds of the bells,” and if the bells were too distant to be heard, another church would be built.

“When you hear the bells toll, it is a sacred moment,” Newman Center director Father Robert Matya said. “To hear the bells ring and sanctify the day — what a beautiful thing it will be for our campus.”

The four bells, made of 80% copper and 20% tin, have a combined weight of 1,900 pounds. The largest, Saint Matthew, is 37 inches in diameter and weighs about 990 pounds. They were made by the Verdin Company of Cincinnati, which  has been dedicated since 1842 to creating cast bronze bells, other bells, and clocks.

Construction continues at the site of the 30,000 square foot Newman Center, which will be finished this winter. Completion of the 650-seat church is anticipated in the spring, in the hope of holding a church dedication ceremony before classes let out for the summer in 2015.

To read more about this unusual project, visit the Newman Center website: newmancenter.unl.edu.

Sources:
Lincoln Journal Star, Erin Anderson
Verdin Company: verdin.com

***

Church of England Approves Women Bishops

The Anglican Church of England voted on July 14 to allow women bishops during its General Synod of bishops, priests, and laity, held in York. The Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said that there is a “good chance of the first woman being announced very early in 2015, possibly being chosen before that.”

The Daily Telegraph reported that 81% of synod members backed the change, and 75% of the laity supported the move. The action awaits confirmation by the House of Lords. Prime Minister David Cameron strongly supports the move.

The result of the ballot clears the way for the first female clerics to be ordained as Anglican bishops by the end of this year.

In 2012 this move was rejected by the General Synod of the Church of England. But Anglican groups in other countries had approved ordaining women as bishops years ago. The Episcopal church in the US, for example, has ordained women as bishops since 1989, and its Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Shori, was elected in June 2006. The Anglican Churches of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada also ordain women as bishops. The new Anglican bishop of New Westminster in Canada is the Reverend Melissa Skelton, former pastor of an Episcopal congregation in Seattle.

Many Anglicans, however, strongly objected to this departure from traditional belief and practice. Some Anglican parishes had separated from the Episcopal church over doctrinal and liturgical  issues, including women’s ordination in the late 1970s. 

In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI established a canonical structure for welcoming Anglicans into the Catholic Church. The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus accepted married clergy, provided for Anglican parishes entering the Church to retain elements of their liturgical and spiritual patrimony, and to form ordinariates, the equivalent of dioceses. So far, three ordinariates have been established — the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (for England, Wales, and Scotland), the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (for the US and Canada), and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (for Australia).

***

New Web Resource for Chant Hymns

A recently renewed interest in Gregorian chant has led to an increase in the teaching of chant to choirs and congregations. A new website with several international sponsors provides downloadable music for classic Latin hymns and Mass music, along with recordings and even layouts for booklets for personal or parish use. Called simply Gregorian Chant Hymns, the new website is accessible at gregorian-chant-hymns.com.

A note on the website explains: “Contributors to this website are schola directors who are riding this wave of enthusiasm. We have benefitted from and are grateful to others who created websites with free music and audio downloads especially for the Mass Ordinaries and Propers. When teaching, we observed that choristers were very interested in and easily learned hymns, but we also noted a lack of easily accessible free downloads. We also learned that recordings are a very effective way of teaching both choristers and the congregation.

“This website focuses primarily on hymns and devotional chants. It serves as an educational tool for all ages and purposes (e.g., teaching individuals, choirs, parishioners, or for listening pleasure).”

Contributors have “provided the music and audio recordings for the sole purpose of learning and teaching individual chants. Music and English translations are used with permission from Schola Sanctae Scholasticae, UK; St. Cecilia’s Abbey, UK; Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, France; Pluscarden Abbey, Scotland; Church Music Association of America; and the Society of St. Bede. These materials are made available for personal, congregational, or institutional use; but may not be sold for profit.”

***

“Prayer and Worship” Section of USCCB Website Updated

The June 2014 Newsletter of the US bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship (BCDW) explained a recent reorganization of the USCCB website. Following is an excerpt from the Newsletter:

“The Secretariat of Divine Worship recently led a reorganization process for the ‘Prayer and Worship’ section of the USCCB website. The topics featured in that section form a major component of the Conference’s current strategic goals of Faith, Worship, and Witness.

“In August 2011, the USCCB launched a new website designed to be more user-friendly and provide information on a variety of Catholic topics. After almost three years of use by the public, the need for further refinements was indicated. The ‘Prayer and Worship’ section is now organized into nine sections, influenced in part by the chapter divisions found in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium:


•  The Mass
•  La Santa Misa (Spanish counterpart)
•  Homiletics
•  Sacraments and Sacramentals
•  Bereavement and Funerals
•  Liturgy of the Hours
•  Liturgical Year
•  Sacred Art and Music
•  Prayer and Devotions

“With the new structure now established, and most of the related webpages appropriately relocated, additional revisions are expected in the coming weeks to further enhance the ‘Prayer and Worship’ sections and provide more resources to better understand the role of the Sacred Liturgy and other devotions in the lives of the Catholic faithful in the United States.”

The new website is accessible at: USCCB.org/prayer-and-worship.

***

Saint John Paul II - Calendar Change

The BCDW Newsletter announced a change in the liturgical calendar for 2014 and 2015 due to the canonization of Saint John Paul II. The dates to be celebrated and readings are as follows:

October 22, 2014
Wed. Weekday [Saint John Paul II, Pope] Eph 3:2-12/Lk 12:39-48 (475) green/white
October 22, 2015
Thu. Weekday [Saint John Paul II, Pope] Rom 6:19-23/Lk 12:49-53 (476)
green/white

 

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