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Dear Friends of SJV:

Greetings in Christ from the seminary! January ended with “an absolute banger” (as Val, our British secretary would say). SJV sent a basketball team to Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, where they faced off against other seminaries throughout the country.

The rest of us headed west to the glorious towns of Crested Butte and Telluride for a few days of skiing and rest. These ski trips, hosted by local friends, are becoming a staple of the Colorado seminary experience and a true highlight of the year.

In these final days before Lent, we have a reflection from Dr. Charles Nolan on the liturgical life of our seminary, as well as Scriptural meditation from my old prof Herr Doktor Pater Andreas Hoeck to prepare our hearts for the Lenten season.

Know of our gratitude for your support and the promise of our prayers.

Fr. John

Sacred Liturgical Music

“Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when the divine offices are celebrated solemnly in song” says the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council (no. 113). At St. John Vianney, this declaration is taken seriously with a rich tapestry of music used in the various seminary liturgies.

The seminarians sing Mass minimally four days a week with the Propers and the Ordinary chanted with greater or lesser festivity depending on the day. The Propers are texts of the Mass that change with each liturgical day (i.e. the Introit) while the Ordinary is those texts which stay the same (i.e. the Sanctus). The weekday Propers are chanted to simple psalm tones while the feasts are enriched by more elaborate, modern vernacular chants. The music we sing for the Ordinary changes weekly with settings spanning the 8th to the 21st century. The entire seminary community also sings several 3-part settings of the Ordinary during the year.

Solemnities are wonderful celebrations where the treasury of the Church’s sacred music is plumbed. The Entrance and Communion Antiphons from the Graduale Romanum, the Church’s official book of chant, are used. The seminarians also chant the Creed. The Seminary Schola, a dedicated group of 26 seminarians, enrich the liturgy with motets and anthems that span the centuries.

Good hymns and organ music complete the sacred liturgical music of the Seminary. The sacred music program of SJV is rich and varied, manifesting to the seminarians the great treasures, old and new, of the Church’s tradition.

Charles Nolen, D.S.M.
Director of Sacred Music and Organist | Assistant Professor

Lent and Scripture

As we approach Ash Wednesday this year, let us recall that the liturgical ashes evoke Mordecai’s penance and mourning (Esther 4:1), Job’s repentance and acknowledgement of his mortality (Job 2:8; 42:6), but also Jonah’s call for Nineveh’s conversion (Jonah 3:5-6). Moreover, the following 40 days of Lent denote the saving ark of Noah during the flood (Genesis 7:4), Israel’s forty years in the wilderness before entering the promised land (Acts 13:18), Moses’ prayerful fast for forty days and forty nights on Sinai before receiving the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28), as well as Elijah’s journey to meet God at Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8). Primarily, however, these 40 days commemorate the sacred time Jesus spent in the desert, fasting, praying, and being tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11), before beginning his public proclamation of the heavenly Kingdom and its salvation. Similarly, the purpose of Lent is our preparation for Easter through prayer, penitence for our sins, mortifying the flesh, simple living, almsgiving, and self-denial. It is a period of time when, in imitation of Christ, we commit to fasting and giving up certain creature comforts, also known as one’s Lenten sacrifice. Not eating and not drinking could be seen as a means of atonement, too, as if clearing the way for our encounter with God in the Lord’s Paschal Mystery, strengthened against the devil’s temptations. Thus, Lent is a season of necessary grief that builds up to the great celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection on Easter.

Fr. Andreas Hoeck, S.S.D.
Director, Theology Cycle | Professor | Endowed Chair of Sacred Scripture

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