Monday, October 15, 2007

"Keep In Mind..."

Continuing with this morning's sacred music theme, we'd be remiss to neglect last week's news out of France that one of the post-Conciliar period's more noted liturgical composers, Spiritan Father Lucien Deiss, died at 86.

A Scripture scholar in addition to his lyrical pursuits, Deiss was said to have often looked to his death as "the most joyful day of [his] life." Tapped by Paul VI to oversee the reform of the Lectionary psalter in the wake of Vatican II, he'll likely be remembered more for one hymn -- a staple of the Lenten office -- than any other work:
Keep in mind
That Jesus Christ
Has died for us
And is risen from the dead.
He is our saving Lord,
He is joy for all ages....
After Deiss' death was announced at last week's meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions in Hartford, the assembly spontaneously broke into his signature song. And tears.

On a rubrical note, while "Keep in Mind" has been employed as a popular (and quite powerful) substitute in some places for the Memorial Acclamation over the years (particularly during Lent), keep in mind that said practice is as verboten as it is beautiful....

(This has been your "Worship Police" moment of the day -- apologies for any disturbance... please don't shoot the messenger.)

Deiss was buried Saturday on the grounds of a Spiritan seminary in Larue, France.

* * *

Keeping with the necrology, the senior American of the Vatican diplomatic corps went to his rest last week. Assigned as nuncio to Australia at the time of his death, Archbishop Ambrose DePaoli was 73. He died in his home church of Miami, having returned to his family in Florida in early September while battling pneumonia and the final stages of leukemia.

A son of the diocese of Greensburg ordained for the Florida archdiocese, DePaoli entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1966. In 1983, at 49, he was ordained a titular archbishop and assigned to lead his first papal delegation as pro-nuncio to Sri Lanka. From Colombo, the archbishop was dispatched to South Africa, where he represented the Vatican during the nation's transition from apartheid to full democracy -- the catalyst which spurred the Holy See's establishment of diplomatic relations with Pretoria in a matter of weeks following Nelson Mandela's 1994 inauguration as the country's first universally-elected head of state.

Three years later, DePaoli was reassigned as nuncio to Tokyo, and then to the Australian church and government in 2004.

The quintilingual prelate's death leaves six US natives currently serving as Vatican mission-chiefs around the world: Cleveland's Timothy Broglio in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic; Philadelphia's Edward Adams in the Philippines and James Green in South Africa; South Dakota's Thomas Gullickson in the Caribbean and Antilles, Indiana-born Michael Blume, a member of the Divine Word Fathers currently posted to Benin and Togo, and New York's own Charles Balvo, now running his first posting in New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and the rest of the South Pacific. In keeping with customary protocol for nuncios, all are archbishops.

(I always say this readership's the best editor I could've ever dreamed of, so in that light a quick word of thanks to the New York crowd for the quick deluge of reminders on Balvo, whose name was unintentionally left out of this post's first draft. A swift show of pride in your own... and a show of lack of sleep from this end. Apologies for the initial sin of omission, a world of thanks again for the assist; further proof that these pages are a product of teamwork, and a tremendous team at that.)

DePaoli's body will be lain in repose tomorrow night at his family's parish in Miami. A full pontifical funeral liturgy will be held Wednesday morning in the city's St Mary's Cathedral. Apostolic nuncio to Washington Archbishop Pietro Sambi has been designated as papal legate for the observances.