Living and enjoying the liturgy through the art of music

Living and enjoying the liturgy through the art of music

From 14th to 20th of August, a series of workshops for musicians and interpreters of liturgical music in Poland was held at the Dominican Priory of the Holy Trinity in Krakow. The week-long musical festival was named “Extraordinary Music Workshop” (Warsztaty Muzyki Niezwykłej).

The event was organized by the Dominican Liturgical Center Foundation, a ministry of the friars of the Polish Province (Fundacja Dominikański Ośrodek Liturgiczny). The aim of the Festival is to provide those in charge of liturgical life in the Polish Church with interpretative and choral conducting skills as well as with renewed repertoire which can be transmitted to their various pastoral environment. It is an active and practical formation which will help them to assume and develop the responsibility of liturgical music in their communities.


Aware of the crucial role played by music in the Christian liturgy, the Foundation has considered the Festival one of its greatest contributions to the life of the Church. This year’s edition, which is the fourth, was a great success. A total of almost 400 participants, mostly from Poland but also from other European countries (Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, Italy and Spain) and from outside Europe (United States), participated in lessons in vocalization, interpretation, choral direction, Gregorian chant and chanting traditions of the Eastern Churches. They also tried a new liturgical repertoire composed or adapted by musicians collaborating with the DLC.

Furthermore, it was not only an opportunity to experience the importance and necessity of liturgical music of quality but also to enjoy it at the highest level. Parallel to the workshops, the DLC organized a festival of liturgical music offering a program of five concerts of religious music performed in its most natural spaces, as interpreted by concertgoers of high international standard. The groups invited on this occasion were; Alamire, Floripari & Perfugium, Graindelavoix, Linnamuusikud, and Divna & Melódi. Their repertoire was significantly broad, ranging from Estonian folk music to the Renaissance counterpoint of T. Ashewell or F. Guerrero. Of special interest was the presentation of the most recent musical project of the Foundation: the Polish translation and adaptation of the celebrated Cantigas de Alfonso X "el Sabio".

The Dominican Liturgical Center Foundation is an initiative created by the friars of the Province of Poland in the mid-90s, which works within the context of the liturgical and musical renewal of the post-conciliar Church. It is significant to note that, in the face of the often-talked-about supposed crisis of the liturgy, new initiatives and renewed proposals like this continue to emerge. A total of three friars are currently working at the Foundation: Fr. Dominik Jurczak (president), Fr. Maciej Soszyński and Fr. Grzegorz Doniec. It is based in the Dominican Priory in Kraków but it is expanding its influence to other Polish cities. Among many significant services carried out by the Foundation in recent years, notable is the fact that its choir sang at the closing Mass of the Jubilee of 800 years of the Order of Preachers at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by His Holiness Pope Francis. The DLC was also invited to organize the liturgical music for the English speaking participants at the World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, as well as to sing at Masses for the convocation of bishops and diocesan leaders in the United States held last July in Orlando, Florida, under the theme; The Joy of the Gospel in America; Convocation of Catholic Leaders.

Looking ahead, the DLC leadership is hoping to build relationships with individuals and institutions around the world committed to the same goal, one of deepening the sacramental life of the Church through the study and renewed practice of her liturgical traditions


(31 August 2017)