England: 17 September – Inauguration of Bl. John Henry Newman Institute of Liturgical Music

This Saturday, 17 September, will bring the official inauguration of the Blessed John Henry Newman Institute of Liturgical Music in Birmingham, England.  My friend Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth wrote me saying that this is “probably the most significant enterprise in liturgical music in the UK since the Council.”

17 September will be the 1st anniversary of the beatification of Bl. John Henry, founder of the modern Oratory in Birmingham.

I can’t help but think that my old mentor, Msgr. Richard Schuler, who fought the good fight all those decades would be delighted at the creation of a new institute with this objective.

I have perused the inaugural address, which is embargoed for the time being… obviously.  There is a fine vision underlying this project.

Remember: Music is not an “add on” in the liturgy.  True sacred liturgical music, which must be art and sacred, is liturgy.  Music should be what the Second Vatican Council calls an “integrating part” of liturgical worship, and not something tacked on for the sake of a false notion of “active participation”… usually resulting in a collective drop in the IQ of everyone in the building.  I incessantly talk about a “Marshall Plan” to rebuild our Catholic identity.  I relentlessly claim that a renewal of liturgical worship is the point of the spear in such an endeavor, a sine qua non for progress.  Sacred liturgical music must be addressed.  This new Institute is setting out to do that.

I ask St. Philip Neri, one of my personal patrons, and Bl. John Henry to intercede with the Father, amidst the music and choirs of heaven, to bless this initiative.

I hope that on a future trip across the way, I can visit the place and see what they are up to.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. GREAT choice of patron, Father!

  2. RomeontheRange: I was ordained on 26 May, so the choice was fairly easy. However, he is a great saint!

  3. irishgirl says:

    I like St. Philip Neri-he had a great sense of humor!
    I also like Blessed Newman more and more. I’m reading the first volume of Meriol Trevor’s biography, ‘The Pillar In The Cloud’ [the original title of the poem and subsequent hymn, ‘Lead Kindly Light’]. Already read volume two, ‘Light In Winter’.
    Great choices of patrons for this new music institute!

  4. amsjj1002 says:

    Technically speaking, the 1st anniversary of the Beatification Mass is September 19th. I was there at Cofton Park and what a beautiful moment it was! How I pray that Blessed John Henry may soon be canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church!

    The Trevor biography is excellent. I’d also recommend reading the “Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman”. I really got the impression of his personality, felt like he was there before me, and was able to share all those years of his long life.

    I am hopeful of many good things from this new institute. Blessed John Henry, pray for us!

  5. irishgirl says:

    amsjj1002-you were at the beatification last year? Oh, how cool is that! And how I envy you!
    I watched it online via EWTN’s YouTube channel. I wept with joy when the sentence of beatification was pronounced by the Holy Father and the portrait of Blessed Newman [by Ouless] was unveiled!
    I would have loved to have met Cardinal Newman when he was still in this life. I read in the Trevor biography (the second one, I think) that after the Apologia was written, many Americans who read it named their children after him!

  6. amsjj1002 says:

    Hey, irishgirl, yes, and such a blessing! I was first seat, second row, on the ground in front of the altar. I just kept looking back and forth at the Holy Father and Bl. John Henry’s picture. I too wept with joy when he pronounced those words — actually I had tears in my eyes throughout that pilgrimage! Though I don’t know if I could have borne meeting him; I am far too small for someone of his great holiness! But I would have loved to see him from afar and to hear him speak of God.

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