LITURGY and PRAYER
Integral to community life and the spiritual formation of seminarians are the many and varied opportunities for personal and community prayer and worship at TC. Seminarians meet daily for Morning and Evening Prayer and to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist at Mass in the TC chapel throughout the week. Private prayer and adoration is also nurtured through the weekly exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Seminarians are invited to participate in the recitation of the rosary every Monday morning in the main chapel.
Throughout the year, the Prayer and Worship Committee oversees various events such as the March for Life Holy Hour, March for Life hospitality, Tenebrae, and the annual Prayer for Christian Unity event. It also supports several seminarian-run prayer groups such as Jesu Caritas, Spiritual Reading Group, Praise and Worship, Lectio Divina, and a Holy Hour hosted by Basselin scholars. Other initiatives include producing a resource guide on prayer and spirituality for new seminarians, sponsoring guest speakers on topics relevant to formation and the priesthood, and coordinating a pilgrimage to holy sites in Washington, DC, and Maryland.
Through the many liturgies and other formational activities occurring throughout the year, such as the regular celebration of individual feast days, Sulpician meditations, Days of Recollection, and evenings and weekends of silence, seminarians at Theological College are nurtured and supported in the spiritual vitality that can be gained through these activities both personally and as a member of the seminary community, forming their foundation in prayer to carry them into the priesthood. The updating of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Chapel along with the recent addition of a new Daffer church organ have also helped to significantly deepen both personal and communal prayer and worship experiences at TC.
TC SCHOLA and MUSIC PROGRAM
The formation program at TC is appropriately enhanced by a rich liturgical music program directed by Rev. James McKearney, P.S.S., who holds TC’s John C. Selner Endowed Chair for Sacred Music and Liturgy. Working in collaboration with TC’s Coordinator of Spiritual Formation and Liturgy, Fr. McKearney prepares the music for the Schola Cantorum to sing during all prayer and liturgical activities and celebrations held throughout the year. These activities include, among others: the Opening Day liturgy and Mass in August; the annual Alumni Day reunion Mass in October; Candidacy and the Institution of Ministries ceremonies in the fall and winter, respectively; a televised Mass for shut-ins, and the spring diaconate ordination held in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Under Fr. McKearney’s direction, the Schola Cantorum has grown to include more than 25 members and continues to enhance the prayer and worship life of the seminary community. As an adjunct to the seminarians’ formation, the music program provides the needed training so that seminarians can further develop their musical talents and abilities in preparation for ordination, and as choir members, cantors, psalmists, organists, and in other musical roles.
Seasonal performances have also been scheduled routinely over the past several years at TC, such as the Advent Lessons and Carols and the Tenebrae service on Palm Sunday. These showcase the range, musicianship, and abilities of the seminarians and provide liturgical and ritual experience for the entire seminary community.
In addition, seminarians sing at Masses televised for the homebound across the nation, filmed at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Other daily formational activities include: sung vespers during the week and participation at week day Masses for the entire 100-member seminary community. The Schola of Theological College also performs at the annual March for Life liturgy and Mass celebrated at the Verizon Center in January each year with Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington.
Please enjoy selections from the Schola repertoire, below.