Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Sister's Birthday; St. Michael's Choir School at Notre Dame Cathedral; Use of Churches for Concerts

In our family many of the women have birthdays in May: my maternal grandmother, my Mom, my sister, three of my nieces. Taken with Mother's Day, it's a busy season for birthday cards (including now the email variety), cake and flowers.

Marion's birthday is today and I finally got through to her not in Barrie where she and her husband John Bayfield reside, but at the cottage in Lake of Bays (near Huntsville) to exchange good wishes. It was ladies' day at the golf course, she went out with friends for lunch, the weather was great and supper was in the oven (and John had produced a cake with the help of Safeway).

Happy Birthday, sis!


This evening, the Senior Choir of Toronto's St. Michael's Choir School presented their Cantate Domino spring tour programme of sacred choral music. Tomorrow they leave for Quebec City (with a performance at Eglise Saint-Dominique on Thursday at 7:30) and Montreal (where a concert is scheduled for May 16 at 5PM at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul).

Latin was a significant part of the concert (14 of 21 pieces): selections from Mass through the ages (composed between the 13th and 20th centuries). The Paschal mystery was represented by three Passion texts [O vos omnes; Sicut ovis; Christus factus est] and two Easter hymns [Surrexit pastor bonus and Angelus Domini].

The Director Father John-Mark Missio invited people to make a contribution to the School using credit card options and the possibility of a tax receipt, purchasing CDs and cash in the envelope. In a conversation after the performance, I was pleased to hear he has been asked by Archbishop Thomas Collins to begin doctoral studies in liturgy and chant.


Guidelines for Concerts in Churches

Because churches are increasingly seen as appropriate venues for concerts and with so many demands coming in, our Presbyteral Council recently approved guidelines for determining how such decisions should be reached (dated March 19, 2009).

1. Churches are sacred places that are, at all times, set apart for divine worship by virtue of their dedication or blessing. They are not public places which can accommodate any type of meeting.

2. As a sign of the Christian mystery, their role is put at risk when they are used for ends other than those for which they were built. Cultural and musical events which are totally secular in nature are out of place in our worship spaces.

3. Concerts of sacred or liturgical music do not offend the sacredness of the space. Freewill offerings are acceptable, even suggested offerings can be made, but no one should be refused entrance to a Church event because they cannot afford it.

4. Generally speaking, musicians and performers should not be placed in the sanctuary. They must be dressed in a manner which is fitting to the Church's sacred character. The greatest respect must be shown to the altar, the ambo and the presidential chair.

5. It is essential that for all these events, the Blessed Sacrament should be removed from the worship space and reserved in a side chapel or in another suitable adorned and respectable place.

6. Pastors and administrators should exercise prudential judgment in making such decisions. In taking into account these principles, we will thus achieve consistency in dealing with these situations. If an event does not meet these criteria, kindly consult with the Ordinary prior to making any arrangements (see canon 1210).

1 comment:

  1. Thank you SO much for this Your Grace. I have heard of concerts in Catholic Churches before and it always got me kind of upset. Most of the people not being Catholic would just ignore and not even recognize Jesus is the Tabernacle. I think that these are great guidelines! :D