Members of the choir sing Gregorian chant during Mass Oct. 8 at St. John the Beloved Church in McLean, Virginia.
Gregorian chant upswing
As David Lang assembled seminarians for an October rehearsal, he announced they would be going over selected Gregorian chants that would be an important part of the liturgy for an upcoming Mass at Theological College, a national seminary at The Catholic University of America.
It's Lang's first year as the music director of the seminary and while his primary mission at this rehearsal is to get these men ready for an important Mass, his ultimate mission is to prepare them to oversee the musical direction of their future parishes once they are ordained priests. Since Gregorian chant is considered the proper music of the Roman rite, Lang is eager to teach it to the seminarians and hopes they will make the prayerful sounds a key component in their ministries. If the past is any indication of what the future may hold for Gregorian chant's place in Catholic life, prospects are good that it may once again become the principal music at Mass. Since its origins in the ninth century, Gregorian chant has enjoyed widespread popularity in its use in religious houses, the Divine Office and the Mass, and eras when it was rare to hear its unique sounds in any Catholic church. The chant experienced a massive revival in the early 20th century, receded after the Second Vatican Council and is now seeing a resurgence.
||Pastor workers' "hope"
The boy at right was dressed as St. Juan Diego for the parish's large annual Our Lady of Guadalupe procession.
Over the past nine years, Holy Trinity Parish in Greenfield in south Monterey County has thrived and grown into a bustling community. More than 2,000 people attend its six Masses every weekend and hundreds come during the week for programs and classes that keep young people safe, educated and focused on faith. Pastor Rev. Enrique Herrera received Catholic Extension's highest honor, the 2017-2018 Lumen Christi Award, for his ministry and devotion to what is now a thriving parish in California's Salinas Valley. Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, left, poses Dec. 10 with Father Herrera and children from the parish.
RON WU/CATHOLIC EXTENSION, cns
Compensation packages in the high six figures are increasingly common for presidents of colleges and universities in the United States, and leaders at some of the nation's Catholic schools find themselves near the top of the pay scale. According to the data published by The Chronicle of Higher Education and published in America magazine Dec. 15, four presidents of Catholic colleges received compensation packages each worth more than $1 million in 2015, though in some instances that includes retirement bonuses and deferred compensation. The Chronicle said it collected the data through tax forms filed by the schools and noted that "other pay" can include severance pay, spending accounts and deferred compensation. The highest paid president of a Catholic college in 2015 was Daniel J. Curran, the former president of the University of Dayton. His total compensation was $2,442,168, which included a bonus and deferred compensation worth $1,816,490. No. 2 was George E. Martin, who has led St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas, since 1999, with a compensation package worth $1,397,470. Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, were Arthur F. Kirk Jr., St. Leo University in Florida, at $1,022,796, and Rev. John Jenkins, CSC, the University of Notre Dame, at $1,006,249.
German Church income
Despite falling Mass attendance, Germany's Catholic Church received a record 6 billion euros ($7.2 billion) in tax money last year, England's Catholic Herald reported. The country's 27 dioceses also have a fortune of at least 26 billion euros, including large investments in real estate and equities, making the German Church likely the wealthiest Catholic institution in Europe other than the Vatican. The newspaper Handelsblatt reports that despite more than 2.2 million Germans formally deregistering from the Church since 2000, the country's strong economy has helped boost tax revenue to record levels. Under the country's church tax, the government deducts a levy of 8 to 9 percent from the income of registered church members and hands it to the country's various churches, including the Catholic Church.
WASHINGTON — The Associated Press named Katie Ledecky the Female Athlete of the Year Dec. 26, after balloting by U.S. editors and news directors. Ledecky, a graduate of Little Flower School and Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland, received 351 points in the vote, placing her ahead of tennis star Serena Williams, who received 343 points. She was the eighth female swimmer to earn the honor and the first since Amy Van Dyken in 1996.
Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen
WASHINGTON — The Diocese of Orange, California, received an early Christmas present in the form of a new bishop Dec. 19, when a man who entered the country as a young refugee from Vietnam in 1973 became its new auxiliary bishop. Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen, 64, became the second priest born in Vietnam to become a bishop in the United States. The first, Bishop Dominic M. Luong — an auxiliary bishop of the Orange Diocese from 2003 until his retirement in 2015 — died days before, on Dec. 6, at age 77.
Father Gregory Harding Keller
Priest's candy cane
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas priest-inventor had a hand in creating the candy canes that you know and love. This candy's history is a little murky. Legend has it that the candy started as plain white sugar sticks, maybe in the 1600s, according to a 2015 National Geographic blog, The Plate. "The stick got its cane-like hook, one unsubstantiated story claims, when a 17th-century choirmaster at Germany's Cologne Cathedral convinced a local candy maker to bend sugar sticks into the shape of shepherd's crooks, to amuse bored and restless children during Christmas Mass," the blog reported. The candy cane was transformed when the idea arose to add peppermint with sugar to make peppermint candy. The iconic red and white stripes came later. In 1919 Bob McCormack started McCormack's Famous Candy Co. in Georgia and started selling candy canes. The company, later known as Bobs' Candy Co. and then Bobs Candies, was known as the largest manufacturer of striped candy in the world. This candy-shaping process was done by hand, until McCormack's brother-in-law, Father Gregory Harding Keller, stepped in. He invented one machine to twist the soft candy into spirals and cut the stick candy in 1952 and another machine to put the crook in the candy cane in 1957. Sales took off. His invention became known as the Keller Machine.
— Catholic News Service
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