Chant course at Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

At the basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, the tradition of Gregorian Chant has been kept alive over the past decades by the community of Benedictine nuns. There is now an initiative called "Cantantibus Organis" to help others to learn more about the chant.

Each Sunday, from 9.30am, there will be a half-hour practice of the chants to be used in that day's Mass (ordinary form). After the Masses, during Advent, there will be the following lectures from 11.15am-12noon:

1) "The Introits of the Sundays in Advent"
Luigi Pastoressa, choirmaster and organist at Santa Cecilia.

2) "The ‘sound’ of the Word: Gregorian chant in the liturgy."
Dr Jordi-Augustí Pique OSB, from the monastery at Montserrat and director of the Escolania de Montserrat, the oldest surviving music school in Europe, is at Sant' Anselmo this term. He was the organist when Pope Benedict visited Montecassino on 24 May.

3) "Introduction to Liturgical Spirituality"
Monsignor Crispino Valenziano, Professor emeritus of liturgy at Sant'Anselmo.

4) "Communion antiphons for the Sundays in Advent"
Luigi Pastoressa.

I have fond memories of the basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. During my time at Rome, a few of us used to go there occasionally for the dignified liturgy and beautiful chant. St Cecilia's is also a treasure of Christian art and architecture. It was founded in the 3rd century and rebuilt by Pope Paschal I in 822. The relics of St Cecilia were moved here and in 1600, Carlo Maderno carved the superb sculpture of the saint, modelled on her body as it was seen at the re-opening of her tomb. You can see the mark of the blade on her neck, and her fingers are arranged to indicate 3 and 1 in affirmation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

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