Boston, Massachusetts—St John’s Seminary held a public advent celebration of lessons and carols in the school chapel on Sunday afternoon. The seventy-five-minute service featured a combination of readings from the Old and New Testament and Mark’s Gospel. Vested in cassock and surplice, the approximately thirty-man seminary choir followed each reading singing Gregorian chant and other hymns in Latin, German and English a capella. Each of the seven lessons featured a reading, then the choir singing chant and then carols sung by the approximately two hundred faithful in the congregation.
Choir selections included Gaudete the introit for the Third Sunday of Advent which is Philippians 4:4, 5 and Psalm 84 in Latin. Es Ist Ein Ros Entsprungen a canon by Melchior Vulpius, Motet by Michael Praetorius in German and Mozart’s Ave Maria. The music sounded through the chapel reminiscent of the angelic tunes from St Joseph Abbey, in the center of Massachusetts, at Vespers
Organist George Bastedo, IV in his second year of theology from the diocese of Rochester, New York accompanied the congregation on the organ for all carols. They sang O Come Emmanuel, The Angel Gabriel for Heaven Came and Savior of the Nations, Come and others.
Mr. Michael J. Olbash is the director of music for the seminary who guided the music for the service.
Thomas Carroll Archdiocese of Boston Superintendent of Schools was one of the six lay members of the congregation who read from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Romans. Others were Brian Healy, Benoit Thibault, Jack O’Brien, Daniel Cerys, and Michelle Gallo.
Vested in purple cope with a gold chain clasp and a stole over his cassock and surplice, Vice-Rector Fr. Thomas MacDonald led the Sunday afternoon service and seventh lesson. Incensing the Book of the Gospels, He then read Mark 1:1-15 from the ambo to a standing congregation as seminarians in cassock and surplice held candles to his left and right. He ended the service with prayer and blessing.
A collation followed in the seminary refectory.
The Boston’s St. John’s Seminary welcomed the first class in 1884 under Archbishop John J. Williams and has operated with little interruption since that time. The Society of St. Sulpice staffed the seminary until the 1920’s when then Cardinal William O’Connell changed the faculty to diocesan priests. It is now run by priests and laity. Originally on Archdiocesan property, it is now surrounded by an expanded Boston College which now owns all except the seminary footprint on the campus. The school operates under the leadership of Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and The Very Reverend Stephen E. Salocks, rector who presided over the same service the previous night.
The seminary website is https://sjs.edu