The Neum May 2022
Singing in the sanctuary of the glorious Oratory of St. Francis De Sales in St. Louis, MO.
“The tradition of Catholic sacred music (especially Gregorian chant) is beautiful and holy, and Vatican II calls for its presence in the liturgy.”
Greetings, friends of Floriani!
After a week of seemingly nonstop singing in the “Rome of the West,” we are back in the desert to catch our breath before more travels later in the month. Our time in St. Louis was fruitful, and we were received warmly by clergy, parishioners, old friends and even family. If you’ve never been there, St. Louis is an essential visit for any Catholic. With several stunningly beautiful churches, including the famous Cathedral Basilica, you will be graced with impressive architecture more reminiscent of a European metropolitan than a Midwest town on the Mississippi. We enjoyed the vibrant acoustics of several of these churches, singing for a wedding, four concerts, and even a little impromptu hymnody in the old Italian town known as “The Hill”. It was a memorable trip, and we were able to share our mission with well over a thousand people, making valuable connections with priests and laymen alike. See some of the photos below! A quick update on other aspects of our work: — A recent article in the Adoremus Bulletin shares an interview with Floriani’s Graham Crawley. In the interview (which can be found here), Graham answers some important questions regarding sacred music. A segment of the interview can be found below! —Giorgio’s interview on the Terry and Jesse Show podcast with acclaimed author Jesse Romero can be found on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, or here on Virgin Most Powerful Radio —Our St. Anne’s choirs continue to improve, with new music being added to the repertoire every week. If you know anyone who would like to join this worthy band, have them reach out to our email. Further, I encourage you to come to the 11am Mass at St. Anne’s to view the new sanctuary—they did a lovely job with it.
Grassroots Choral Group Wants Chant to Be the Church’s Full-Time Gig
Catholics looking to revive art or liturgy or architecture are often accused of trying to “turn back the clock” or of having rose-tinted glasses about the pre-conciliar Church. How would you respond to that, in the context of Floriani?
While it may be true that the pre-conciliar Church was in great need of change, the implementation of the Council seems largely to have thrown the baby out with the bath water. Is the answer to concerns over the pre-conciliar liturgy to cast aside 2,000 years of liturgical development, passed on and refined by the saints through the ages? Was the tradition of chanting the scriptures in Mass the cause of the problems? Did the beautiful architecture and elaborate stained glass scare people off? If there was liturgical abuse, then obviously that ought to have been addressed. But to flippantly cast aside a tradition rooted in the days of the Apostles is presumptuous, to say the least, and again, according to the Council itself, this was not the stated intention. And further, was the abuse addressed? My point is not at all to deride the Novus Ordo, but simply to point out that though there was abuse before, there is also plenty of it today.
This debate around revival of tradition is not merely about old art vs. new art, or old music vs. new music, or an old, idealized Mass vs. a new, more accessible Mass. The question at stake is fundamental: What is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Is it a community worship session? Or is it a sacrifice, in the Old Testament sense of the word? If the former, then whatever the community’s preference for music, whatever helps them pray, should be the focus of musical choice. But if the Mass is the re-presentation of Calvary, where Christ offers himself to the Father for the sins of the world, then the liturgical act is something beyond a community prayer. Rather than being ordered outwards towards us, it should be ordered upwards to God, and, insofar as the priest is acting in persona Christi, by God.
When we participate in the Holy Mass, we are participating in the redemptive act of the Crucifixion. We are entering a sacramental anticipation of the New Jerusalem. All of our aesthetic choice ought to reflect this reality, such that it would be impossible to mistake it for something other than sacred and otherworldly. Thus, the liturgy is not so much about personal preference as it is about offering God our first fruits, fruits anointed specifically for this purpose. It seems to me we would be remiss to ignore the traditions passed down, which were themselves honed and refined by Mother Church, who was appointed by Christ to safeguard all that is Good, True, and Beautiful. It’s not about returning to the old way: it’s about resurrecting what was worthy then and incorporating it into our current expression. For the full article: Grassroots Choral Group Wants Chant to be the Church’s Full-Time Gig
Interested in bringing Floriani to your town?
Our schedule for the fall is filling up, but we would love to come to your parish or town! Whether it’s for a workshop, concert, Mass, or all of the above, it is our mission to spread this rich tradition of sacred music and to teach others how to practice it. Reach out to us on our email, firstname.lastname@example.org, to inquire about bringing us to your community!
Questions? Feel free to email us anytime at email@example.com.
We are so grateful for your support! Please keep us in your prayers!
- Giorgio, Graham, Joe, and Thomas