The following comes from a January 3 posting on the EponymousFlower blog.
The regular Choir Brothers of the Premonstratensian Abbey of St. Michael in California have published a new CD with Gregorian music from the liturgical hours of their community.
The abbey at Silverado in Orange County is bi-ritual and preserves the Old Mass and the Novus Ordo according to the prescriptions of the Second Vatican Council for Liturgy. Gregorian chant and liturgy have promoted growth of vocations through the years for the abbey.
In an interview with the Catholic News Agency the Premonstratensians have explained why the brothers have taken this particular manner for the spreading of Gregorian Chorale.
“The beauty is made through the lifting up of the faithful, in order to build them, so that the Father can be praised in Mass” said Father Ambrose Criste, novicemaster of the abbey.
The thirteen tracks of Gregorian Chant: Together on the Way includes liturgical texts, hymns, and a litany. The songs were recorded in the St. Michael Abbey chapel, located in Silverado.
Father Chrysostom Baer, the abbey’s cantor, said he chose the selected pieces as “the most Catholic things I could get my hands on.”
The selections were originally sung by the Norbertine canons to introduce and complement three performances by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in Costa Mesa.
“We were going to give them some Catholic prayers,” said Father Baer, “and hopefully through the beauty of the moment, they would join their hearts to ours.”
The selections sung by the Norbertines at the concert hall in February of last year were then recorded so as to bring the music to a wider audience.
“It’s a really excellent vehicle for evangelization,” said Father Baer. “I ran into someone just two weeks ago who recognized our habits from one of those concerts, who had more questions and wanted to come visit.”
Father Criste noted that their music is so beautiful because chant plays a major role in the Norbertine life. “It’s something we do throughout the day, every day,” he said.
The abbey’s public mass is chanted four days a week, and every day the Liturgy of the Hours is chanted. The seminarians of the order have choir practice five days a week, “which consists almost entirely of Gregorian chant.”
Father Criste said that chant is not just for religious communities. In the parish, “ideally, I would think it should play a daily role,” he reported….
“Together on the Way” will be St. Michael’s fourth CD release. All are part of an effort to get the word out about the community, as they aim to build a new monastery and school to accommodate their vocations boom.
To read the entire posting, click here.