More news on EWTN in Asia. Fr. David Arockiam, CEO of the Catholic TV channel Madha TV in India visited EWTN in October 2018. Edwin Lopez and others from EWTN’s Asia Pacific team recently returned from a reciprocal visit to Madha TV, which is now an EWTN affiliate, translating and airing some of our programs to their audience of 4 million television households! Deo gratias for the hard work of all involved and the vision of Fr. Arockiam!
SISTINE CHAPEL CHOIR DIRECTOR RESIGNS
The Holy See Press Office today announced that, “In recent days, Msgr. Massimo Palombella SDB, ended his service as Maestro Director of the Pontifical Sistine Choir. The Holy Father accepted his request to finish his assignment. The decision was taken after collecting the concordant opinion of the Congregation of the Salesians of Don Bosco and of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. Msgr. Palombella is now available to the Salesian Congregation for the new ministry that will be entrusted to him.”
Interim Director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, later this morning told journalists that, “with the conclusion of the service of Mons. Massimo Palombella, the interim guide of the Pontifical Sistine Music Chapel was entrusted by the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, Msgr. Guido Marini, to Msgr. Marcos Pavan, currently Master of the Pueri Cantores of the same Sistine Chapel Choir.”
The Sistine Chapel Choir is one of the oldest and most celebrated choirs in the world. On January 19, 2019, the Holy Father transferred responsibility for the choir from the Prefecture of the Papal Household to the Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. (photos: http://www.cappellamusicalepontificia.org/en
Palombella’s most famous predecessor was Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci who headed the choir for just over 40 years, appointed in 1956 by Pope Pius XII. A world famous musician and composer, Cardinal Bartolucci is the only cardinal to have every composed an opera, “Brunelleschi.” He was made a cardinal by Benedict XVI in 2010. He died in November 2013 at the age of 96.
Palombella’s resignation has been expected for some time. News of a scandal allegedly involving both Palombella and choir administrator, a layman, Michelangelo Nardella, surfaced in July 2018 and was confirmed a month later by the Holy See Press Office. Nardella by then had already been suspended. in September 2018.
The Holy See Press Office September 12 statement said: “Pope Francis, some months ago, authorized an investigation on the economic-administrative aspects” of the Sistine Chapel Choir, and underscored that “the investigations are still ongoing.” Those investigations were led by the Vatican public prosecutor and came after two internal investigations conducted by Archbishop Mario Giordana, a retired apostolic nuncio.
The accusations involved embezzlement, money laundering, and aggravated fraud against Vatican City State.
In addition, members of the choir were known to have filed complaints of bad treatment over the years by the choir director and a number were invited to meet with Vatican judicial officials.
On January 19, 2019, Pope Francis released a motu proprio making the Sistine Chapel Choir part of the Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.
Here is the report by Vatican media:
With an Apostolic Letter issued motu proprio on Saturday, Pope Francis decreed that, “the Pontifical Musical Choir of the Sistine Chapel should be inserted into the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.”
He said the Office for Liturgical Celebrations holds “a specific place of service to papal liturgical functions and, at the same time, is a guardian and promoter of the prestigious artistic and musical heritage produced over the centuries by the Choir itself for the solemn liturgies of the Popes.”
The Pope writes that the Sistine Chapel Choir has always had “a direct connection with the major celebrations of the Popes.”
Pope Francis said the decision was taken “bearing in mind the dictates of the Council concerning the Sacred Liturgy,” in particular nn.28-29 of the Sacrosanctum Concilium.
In the motu proprio, Pope Francis also appointed the Master of Papal Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini, as the head of the Sistine Chapel Choir, “entrusting him with the task of guiding all activities, including the liturgical, pastoral, spiritual, artistic, and educational areas, of the Choir.”
He tasked Msgr. Marini with “making ever more perceptible, in it and its individual components, the primary purpose of sacred music, which ‘is the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful’ (SC 112).”
Finally, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Guido Pozzo as the Superintendent of the Economy (or Treasurer) of the Pontifical Musical Chorus of the Sistine Chapel. The archbishop previously served as Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which Pope Francis suppressed on Saturday.
The Pope entrusted him “only with the task of caring for the economic administration of the Choir itself, to be carried out under the guidance of the Master of Ceremonies and Head of the Pontifical Musical Chorus.”
THE PUERI CANTORES OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL CHOIR
Given that the new Sistine Chapel Choir Director is Msgr. Marcos Pavan, currently Master of the Pueri Cantores of the same Sistine Chapel Choir,” we might want to take a look at the pueri cantors
As the Vatican choir’s website notes, “the origins of the Pueri Cantores go back to the 6th century, when Pope Gregory the Great established a school of boy choristers to complement the adult singers at papal celebrations. Today they form the most important link with the Renaissance sound, and at the same time the most delicate part of the choir, because it is not just the boys’ musical training that is overseen, but their educational and cultural development as well.
”The boys attend a private Catholic school, recognized by the Italian state, the Schola Puerorum della Cappella Sistina, where the normal curriculum is supplemented with lessons in music theory, sol-fa, vocal technique and piano. Every year, the teachers of the Pueri Cantores go round the primary schools and parishes of the Rome area to chose the right voices to join the preparatory class. At the end of this phase, the eligible Pueri Cantores go on to join the Sistine Chapel Choir officially.”
There is actually an International Federation of Pueri Cantores. The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life published its story on their website.
Established in 1907, FIPC began as the Schola cantorum of the Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois, founded in Paris by two music students, Paul Berthier and Pierre Martin, following the publication of St Pius X’s Motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini (1903), on the renewal of Sacred music in the service of worship.
In 1944, the first federation of the Pueri Cantores was created, which, in 1947 was officially recognized as a movement of Catholic Action by the Assembly of French cardinals and archbishops. In 1951, following the third International Congress in Rome, the Holy See approved the first statutes of the Federation.
On January 31, 1996 the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed recognition of Fœderatio Internationalis Pueri Cantores as an international association of the faithful of Pontifical Right.
FIPC is comprised of 32 federations, of which 11 are corresponding federations in 24 countries, as follows: Africa (4), Asia (1), Europe (15), North America (2), Middle East (1), and South America (1).