The Catholic University of America

Dec. 1, 2010

Inaugural Mass to Strike Celebratory Tone on Behalf of President Garvey

  CUA Symphony Orchestra
  David Searle, director of orchestral activities and conducting studies, conducts the CUA Symphony Orchestra. He and Leo Nestor, director of the Institute of Sacred Music, will conduct the University's combined performing ensembles at the inaugural Mass.

Catholic University is finalizing details for a solemn yet celebratory Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the inauguration of John Garvey as the 15th President of CUA on Jan. 25.

According to the plan, bells from the Knights’ Tower will ring; music of Mozart, Haydn, Brahms, and Vaughan Williams will be performed; and readings from a special memorial Mass will be heard.

The readings will come from the memorial Mass of the feast of the conversion of the apostle Paul. The first reading is Acts 9:1-22 in which Paul encounters the Lord on the road to Damascus. The Mass also includes Psalm 117, in which the psalmist exhorts everyone to praise the Lord to all nations. The Gospel reading is Mark 16: 15-18 in which Christ tells the 11 remaining apostles to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.

Rev. Jude DeAngelo, O.F.M. Conv., university chaplain and director of Campus Ministry, said the readings emphasize “the Church’s mission to preach the Gospel to the whole world. Certainly that’s the mission of The Catholic University of America, and the President shapes the way in which the University mandate is carried out.”

Thirty minutes before the Mass begins at 10 a.m., 56 French bells from the Knights’ Tower carillon in the Basilica will ring out, played by Robert Grogan, carillonneur and organist emeritus.

During the liturgy, worshippers will sing and hear ancient hymns of the Church, music of classical composers, and music of today. Leo Nestor, Justine Bayard Ward Professor and director of the Institute of Sacred Music at CUA, said the music flows from the texts of the day.

“These songs of praise and thanksgiving for assembly, choruses, orchestra, organ and carillon have been carefully chosen to maximize the celebratory nature required by the feast, the Eucharist itself, and the event in the life of the University that we celebrate on that day,” Nestor said.

The faculty will proceed into the Great Upper Church of the Basilica accompanied by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’ Andante festivo and organ improvisation.

Several university choruses and the CUA Symphony Orchestra will perform the Gloria from Mozart’s Missa solemnis K.V. 337, "Antiphon" from Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, and Haydn’s “The Heavens Are Telling” from The Creation.

Faculty composers have orchestrated both hymns sung at the Mass: “Holy God We Praise Thy Name” set by Andrew Earle Simpson, CUA professor of music and chair of theory-composition; and “Praise to the Holiest in the Height,” taken from Blessed John Henry Newman’s 1865 poem “The Dream of Gerontius” and set by Stephen Gorbos, assistant professor of music.

Music for the liturgy will be provided by five combined performing ensembles from the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music: Chamber Choir, University Singers, University Chorus, Women’s Chorus, and the orchestra.

Faculty, alumni, and students of the music school will serve as cantors. The conductors will be Nestor and David Searle, assistant professor of music and director of orchestral activities and conducting studies. Peter Latona, director of music at the Basilica, will serve as the organist.

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