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Online Edition - December 2006 - January 2007
Vol. XII, No. 9

News & Views

Build the House of God With Men, Holy Father Says | Pope’s New Book on the Life of Jesus Coming Soon | AMU Seeks Music Faculty Member | Chant for the Church and the World

Build the House of God With Men, Holy Father Says

“The church-building is a concrete sign of the Church-community, made up of the ‘living stones’ that are the believers”, said Pope Benedict in his Angelus message on December 10, the Second Sunday of Advent.

The Holy Father had earlier inaugurated the new church building of the Roman parish of St. Mary Star of Evangelization, an event that, he said, “assumes symbolic significance within the liturgical period of Advent as we prepare to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord. In these days the liturgy constantly reminds us that ‘God is coming’ to visit His people”.

The parish church is a beacon

In his homily at the new parish, Pope Benedict had observed that, “[t]he parish is a beacon that radiates the light of faith, above all in our largely secularized world. Thus it meets the most profound and authentic desires of the human heart, giving meaning and hope to the lives of individuals and families”.

Saint Mary Star of Evangelization is a young parish, said the pope, because it was founded in 1989 and because most of its families are young. “Your community has the arduous but fascinating task of educating its children in the life and the joy of the faith. I trust that together, in a spirit of sincere communion, you will prepare the Sacraments of Christian initiation, and help your boys and girls ... to grow in love and faithfulness to the Lord”. 

A sacred building, the Holy Father explained, “exists so that the Word of God may be heard, explained and understood.... It exists so that the Word of God can work among us as a power that creates justice and love”. But most of all, “The church exists so we can meet Christ there, Son of the living God. God has a face. God has a name. In Christ, God became flesh and gives Himself to us in the mystery of the Blessed Eucharist.”

In his Angelus message, Pope Benedict explained that “Saint Peter and Saint Paul both highlight how the ‘cornerstone’ of this spiritual temple is Christ and that, united to Him ... we too are called to participate in the construction of this living temple. If, then, it is true that it is God who takes the initiative to come and live among men, and that He is the principal architect of this project, it is also true that He does not want to accomplish it without our active collaboration.

“Therefore, preparing for Christmas means commitment to building the ‘house of God with men’.... At the end of time it will be complete, and it will be the ‘heavenly Jerusalem’.

“Advent invites us to turn our gaze towards the ‘heavenly Jerusalem’, which is the final goal of our earthly pilgrimage. At the same time, it exhorts us to commit ourselves with prayer, conversion and good works, to welcoming Jesus into our lives, to constructing together with Him that spiritual building in which each of us — our families and our communities — is a precious stone”.

Source: Vatican Information Service

Pope’s New Book on the Life of Jesus Coming Soon

A new book by Benedict XVI, scheduled for publication in the spring of 2007, was announced by the Vatican Press Office on November 22, 2006. The book is titled, Gesu di Nazareth. Dal Battesimo nel Giordano alla Trasfigurazione (Jesus of Nazareth, From His Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration).

Vatican press officer Father Giuseppe Lombardi made the official announcement in a press introduction:

The fact that Benedict XVI has managed to complete the first part of his great book on Jesus, and that within a few months we will have it in our hands, is wonderful news. I find it extraordinary that despite the duties and concerns of the pontificate, he has managed to complete a work of such great academic and spiritual depth. He says he dedicated all his free time to the project; and this itself is a very significant indication of the importance and urgency the book has for him.

With his habitual simplicity and humility, the pope explains that this is not a “work of Magisterium” but the fruit of his own research, and as such it can be freely discussed and criticized. This is a very important observation, because it makes clear that what he writes in the book in no way binds the research of exegetes and theologians. It is not a long encyclical on Jesus, but a personal presentation of the figure of Jesus by the theologian Joseph Ratzinger, who has been elected as Bishop of Rome.

In the book’s preface, Father Lombardi’s note says, the Holy Father “explains that in modern culture, and in many presentations of the figure of Jesus, the gap between the ‘historical Jesus’ and the ‘Christ of the faith’ has become ever wider.... Joseph Ratzinger, taking into consideration all the achievements of modern research, aims to present the Jesus of the Gospels as the real ‘historical Jesus’, as a sensible and convincing figure to Whom we can and must trustingly refer, and upon Whom we have good reason to base our faith and our Christian life. With his book, then, the pope aims to offer a fundamental service to support the faith of his brothers and sisters, and he does so from the central element of the faith: Jesus Christ”.

Source: Vatican Information Service

AMU Seeks Music Faculty Member

Ave Maria University, Naples, Florida, announces a full-time faculty position to begin in Fall 2007. Completion of the PhD or DMA by May 2007 is expected. Rank and salary will be commensurate with experience and credentials. The department is seeking an applicant with a specialty in music theory, but with the ability to teach an occasional music history course. Applicants should also have demonstrated excellence in choral conducting and a knowledge of the Catholic Church’s teaching and tradition of sacred music. Teaching excellence is essential, along with a commitment to scholarship.

In addition, the successful applicant will be committed to the educational mission of Ave Maria University, which is the education of the whole person in the Catholic liberal arts tradition, as articulated in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Veritatis Splendor and Fides et Ratio.

Applicants should submit a letter of application, a short statement relating the university’s mission to their philosophy of teaching, curriculum vitae, transcripts, and three letters of recommendation to: Dr. Susan Treacy, Chairman, Department of Sacred Music, Ave Maria University, 1025 Commons Circle, Naples, FL 34119.

Electronic applications preferred. Send to: susan.treacy@avemaria.edu. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Ave Maria University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Chant for the Church and the World

The Church Music Association of America (CMAA) announced in November a “major milestone” in its “Communio Project”, publishing online the Communion chants for Sundays and Holy Days. These chants are now completed and ready for instant download and printing on the CMAA web site. (The announcement notes the paradox of “using 21th century means to disseminate and promote timeless music that dates from the first millennium of Christianity”.)

The CMAA web site provides a variety of resources for teaching/learning Gregorian chant, as well as a growing collection of downloadable music. To view these resources, go to www.musicasacra.com/documents.html.

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