Archbp. Cordileone establishes “Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship”

For your Brick by Brick file, I was sent a link to an entry at Catholic San Francisco about a new liturgical institute established by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

Archbishop explains goal of new liturgical institute

On the eve of the feast of the Epiphany, more than 200 sacred music lovers from around the archdiocese and beyond filled the parish hall of St. Sebastian Church in Greenbrae and practiced Gregorian chant with Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone in preparation for afternoon vespers.

The event, organized by St. Sebastian pastor Father Mark Taheny and a group of parish volunteers, served as the archbishop’s launch point for publicly introducing the new Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park and its director, Benedictine Father Samuel Weber.

Archbishop Cordileone explained to the assembly that he created the institute to “reclaim the sense of the sacred” in liturgical expression at the parish level and to offer a deeper sense of formation to lay ministers such as lectors, music directors, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion [may advice is elimination of most of them] and those who bring Communion to the sick. The institute’s program – still in development while it seeks funding – will offer liturgical education courses toward certification at St. Patrick’s, at parishes and online.


Music is at the heart of the institute, the archbishop said as he introduced Father Weber, founder of the Institute for Sacred Music in St. Louis and a highly regarded scholar, composer and practitioner of chant in the English-speaking world.

“We want to reclaim sacred music which is so much at the heart of our celebration of the Mass,” said the archbishop who puts Gregorian chant at the first place of the Mass. [Just like the Second Vatican Council.] “It doesn’t replace other forms of music, but those forms must be in harmony with the sacred traditions of chant.”


For more information about the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship, and to participate in an important survey that may help shape the program, visit

Fr. Z kudos to Archbp. Cordileone!

I also call back to your minds the musical institute set up by James MacMillan in England and the sacred art institute in Florence and, now, in New York City.

Benedict XVI’s liturgical vision, his “Marshall Plan”, is still best, most viable path to follow.

It is no less important and “valid” today than it was before March 2013.

No initiative of renewal of the Church or any dimension of the Church’s life will get any traction without a renewal of our sacred liturgy.  For this renewal to take place, we had better continue in the direction Papa Ratzinger set out for us.

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  1. Thanks Heavens that St. Pius X and Pius XII’s work on the sacred Liturgy and Vatican II’s own affirmation of some of it is being applied. God bless the good Archbishop, his flock has a true shepherd presiding in the place of the Lord.

  2. McCall1981 says:

    Archbp. Cordileone is great. He is my Archbishop and he did a lot of good for the Diocese of Oakland before he was moved to San Francisco. I’d love for him to be Cardinal Cordileone some day.

  3. majuscule says:

    Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has been known to celebrate the TLM.

    I’m hoping this institute brings many graces to my archdiocese!

    Good things can come out of San Francisco…but the institute will be located down the Peninsula.

  4. everett says:

    I had the privilege of being there, and the whole thing is very exciting. Fr. Weber has done outstanding work in our Diocese in the past year before taking this post. He’s currently based out of St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, and is also working with the seminarians there on topics related to Sacred Music and Sacred Liturgy.

    Vespers was fantastic, presided over by Abp Cordileone, and cantored by Fr. Weber, chanted in its entirety. Before we went upstairs to the Church for vespers, Fr. Weber did a quick tutorial/run-through of the chants for vespers, and unsurprisingly, everyone picked them up quite easily. Fr. Weber has a site with a bunch of fantastic resources:

    As they mention, the institute’s website has a survey about an upcoming project between the institute and Ignatius Press regarding the publication of a congregational missal.

  5. “extraordinary ministers of holy Communion [my advice is elimination of most of them]”

    Would not their elimination be implicit in the Institute’s stated purpose to “reclaim the sense of the sacred” in the liturgy?

  6. Elizium23 says:

    The website contains a video from YouTube. I found the music selection… interesting… for the launch video of an institute which wants to promote traditional forms thereof. (Spacey guitar, new-age or “Spirit & Song” sound instrumental.)

  7. AVL says:

    This so totally beyond cool! And I love that he named the it “Benedict XVI Institute”! Wow. What a way to honor our Pope Emeritus. I sure do miss him. Anyway, I have so much admiration Archbishop Cordileone, and I am glad to see this made into a reality for the diocese there.

  8. jacobi says:


    “No initiative of renewal of the Church or any dimension of the Church’s life will get any traction without a renewal of our sacred liturgy”.

    It is now generally agreed that there was a liberal/Modernist attack on the Church, from within, during and after Vat II.
    The attack was three pronged, via education (apologetics and church history), liturgical practises (suppression of the Rosary, Benediction etc), but above all, via the liturgy of the Mass where the concepts of the Real Presence, the Mass as a Sacrifice, and the Ordained Priesthood were diminished.

    The Reformers have been extraordinarily successful given the degree to which these three doctrines are now either misunderstood or simply not known by the Faithful.

    The answer is actually quite simple. Re-sacralisation of the Pauline Mass, and the restoration, as a co-equal form of the Latin Rite, of the Vetus Ordo – in every Catholic Church!

  9. Geoffrey says:

    The formation of lay ministers is absolutely necessary if any “reform of the reform” is to take place. In many parishes, it is they who are “in charge” of the liturgy. I once overheard an associate pastor ask the parish choir / music director if he was to do the penitential rite (act) at a specific Mass or not. When a priest has to ask that of a female lay choir / music director, you know you’ve got problems.

  10. New Sister says:

    This is wonderful, but I hope this doesn’t get him “in trouble” with Rome and keep him from becoming a Cardinal.

  11. RJHighland says:

    Well done Bishop Cordileone, well done. This is how a man elevated by Pope Benedict XVI is supposed to act.

  12. HighMass says:

    I too am very happy to hear that this Archbishop is taking to heart what Papa Benedetto started… wonderful!

    We pray these type of Institutes spring up all over AMERICA, we are very much in need of them.


  13. chantgirl says:

    We miss Fr. Weber here. It is good to see that his talent is being put to good use out in the Wild West.

  14. wonderful.good news for a change :)

  15. frjim4321 says:

    I’m not a big fan of retro but it seems to me as long as it’s permissible and the quality is good I wouldn’t mind it. As a classically trained musician myself I think quality is important, but it can be and usually is very subjective. What I find very distasteful is throwback for throwback’s sake which I find hard to define but I know it when I see it.

  16. chantgirl says:

    frjim4321- I agree that quality is important as badly done chant is a penance for everyone to hear, but chant done well has a timeless quality to it, which is why it is so fitting for liturgy. Chant done well floats and hovers in the air, making it sound unconstrained by time or the physical world. I look forward to hearing the music in Heaven, and wouldn’t be surprised if some of it sounded very much like chant :)

  17. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The thing about chant is that it “makes sense” when heard as part of Mass or as part of Liturgy of the Hours, and it makes Mass and the Hours “make sense” more when we hear it. People forget that, for centuries, chant _was_ the soundtrack of going to church; and that according to Vatican II, it should take the first place when we think of music at Mass. So it’s not surprising that Mass and chant go together like peanut butter and jelly, or like lyrics and music. When you suddenly hear the readings as chantings, it’s like having the half of your body and soul freed to listen that’s always been chained without knowing it.

    I realize it may be different for people who lived before Vatican II and were used to these things, but that’s how it is for me.

  18. teomatteo says:

    chant is hard.

  19. frjim4321 says:

    Chant is hard? Not if you were schooled in it for 12 years beginning at age 13.

  20. q7swallows says:

    An interesting and tangential but related announcement re an important event this month happening in San Francisco:

    From an official email about the 2014 Walk For Life (now in its 10th year?):

    “Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be celebrated [right after the Walk itself on Sat., Jan. 25] at 5:00 pm at St. Francis of Assisi Church in the North Beach area of San Francisco. It will be a Special Mass for Life and this National Shrine is a short walk from the end of the Walk for Life route. The celebrant will be Friar Francisco Nahoe, OFM Conv, Rector of the Saint Thomas Aquinas Cathedral in Reno, NV and Saint Anne’s Choir of Palo Alto will provide the music.”

    I understand that this choir is directed by the awesome and renowned Dr. William Mahrt.

    SO — here are yet more feathers in Archbp. Cordileone’s cap because he is fostering and encouraging the connection between the utmost in liturgical beauty (in both substance and form) with the preservation of life and culture. Brilliant.

  21. Uxixu says:

    My parish uses the choir in the loft to do just enough Chant to leave me wanting more but not nearly enough that keeps from driving 25 miles to the nearest TLM parish once a month or so. During all of Advent and Christmas, it was the Santus or Agnus Dei, but unfortunately never both in the same Mass. I want to ask the pastor about at least trying a Latin Ordinary of the Mass as well as increased regular chant.

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