Archive for the ‘Virgil Michel’ Tag

Feast of Godfrey Diekmann (April 12)   Leave a comment

Above:  Saint John’s Abbey Church, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota

Image Source = Library of Congress

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GODFREY LEO DIEKMANN, O.S.B. (APRIL 7, 1908-FEBRUARY 22, 2002)

U.S. Roman Catholic Monk, Priest, Ecumenist, Theologian, and Liturgical Scholar

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Heaven is eternal, supreme life–not just eternal rest.

–Father Godfrey Diekmann, O.S.B.

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Father Godfrey Diekmann comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Diekmann, a life-long Roman Catholic, helped to pull his Church forward while remaining ahead of it.

Leo Diekmann grew up a Roman Catholic.  He, born in Roscoe (near Collegeville), Minnesota, on April 7, 1908, was one of eight children of Rosalie Loxtercamp (Diekmann) and John Conrad Diekmann, a teacher.  Our saint’s juvenile faith, which extended into his novitiate, emphasized being afraid of God.  Diekmann studied at Saint John’s Preparatory School and University, Collegeville, Minnestota.  He joined the Order of Saint Benedict as a novice at age 17, at Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville.  Diekmann’s novice master taught him a healthy Christian faith rooted in the peace of God and in the Church as the mystical body of Christ.

In 1829, the Order of Saint Benedict sent Diekmann to Rome, to study for the priesthood and to work on his doctorate.  Our saint, renamed Godfrey (“the peace of God”), made his final wows at the monastery of Monte Cassino on July 11, 1929.  Our saint, ordained a priest on June 28, 1931, earned his doctorate then returned to Collegeville in 1933.

There he lived for the rest of his life.  From 1933 to 1938, Diekmann served as the assistant editor (under Virgil Michel) of Orate Fratres (later Worship).  Then, in 1938, our saint became the editor.  Diekmann also began to teach, a profession he pursued until he retired in 1995.  At first, he taught religion and German literature at the Preparatory School.  The following year, our saint began to teach at the theological seminary.  The professor of theology was a talented classroom instructor whose exuberance made his classes

explosive intellectual adventures.

Diekmann’s influence extended far beyond Collegeville, Minnesota.  He, a pioneer of liturgical reform, along with his mentor, Virgil Michel (1890-1938), advocated for vernacular language in liturgy.  Our saint also favored inclusive language in liturgy.  Diekmann helped to draft the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy for the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).  He also founded the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, served on the Consilium for Implementing the Liturgical Reforms of Vatican II, and was a consultant to the American Bishops Committee on the Liturgy.

Diekmann was also an ecumenist.  He, active in the National Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue, helped to found the Ecumenical Institute of Spirituality.  Our saint also founded the Ecumenical Institute for Advanced Theological Studies, Tantur, Israel.

Diekmann’s spirituality included social justice.  For example, he marched with the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., at Selma, Alabama, in 1965.  The monk-priest carried a banner that read,

SELMA IS IN MINNESOTA, TOO.

Diekmann was too progressive for some elements in his Church sometimes.  The Catholic University of America temporarily barred him from teaching summer courses in 1962.  Year later, however, the same institution gave him an honorary doctorate.  He responded to this reversal by saying,

I believe in the Holy Spirit.

Diekmann’s support for married clergy in the Latin Rite has remained mostly ahead of its time.  He also favored the ordination of women.

Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary opened the Godfrey Diekmann, O.S.B., Center for Patristics and Liturgical Studies in 1997.

Diekmann, ill for years, died at Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville, on February 22, 2002.  He was 93 years old.

“Fear of God” is an unfortunate Biblical translation.  The correct rendering is “awe of God,” in the full sense of “awe.”  Such awe properly inspires humility before God and a sense of wonder at the divine.  This description fits the faith to which Diekmann came and in which he spent most of his life.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HANS SCHOLL, AND CHRISTOPH PROBST, ANTI-NAZI MARTYRS AT MUNICH, GERMANY, 1943

THE FEAST OF BERNHARDT SEVERIN INGEMANN, DANISH LUTHERAN AUTHOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD HOPPER, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGARET OF CORONA, PENITENT AND FOUNDRESS OF THE POOR ONES

THE FEAST OF SAINT PRAETEXTATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ROUEN

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Godfrey Diekmann)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Lambert Beauduin (August 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Lambert Beauduin

Image in the Public Domain

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LAMBERT BEAUDUIN (AUGUST 4, 1873-JANUARY 11, 1960)

Belgian Roman Catholic Priest and Pioneer of Liturgical Renewal

Octave Beauduin, born near Liêge, Belgium, on August 4, 1873, came from a wealthy, liberal, and devout family.  Every evening the family and servants gathered for devotions.  Beauduin, ordained a priest in 1897, carried that devout. progressive spirit into his adult life.  After teaching at a minor seminary for two years, our saint joined the Labor Chaplain movement in 1899.  He, as part of that movement, one controversial with much of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, ministered to industrial workers who might otherwise be alienated from the Church.

Eventually Beauduin left the Labor Chaplain movement for the Order of Saint Benedict, becoming Lambert in 1907.  At the monastery at Mount César our saint, influenced by the prior, Columba Marmion (1858-1923), developed a deep appreciation for the liturgy.

This was controversial.  (What was not controversial?)  From 1909 to 1921 Beauduin was at the center of the Belgian liturgical movement.  He argued against individualism, secularism, the neglect of prayer, and other ills, classifying them as explanations for the neglect of liturgy as the center of Christian piety.  This was the crux of Liturgy, the Life of the Church (1914; English-language translation, 1926).  He favored, among other things, High Masses, Vespers and Compline as parish services, and the participation of all present at Masses.

Beauduin was also a student of Eastern Christianity.  He, from 1921 a professor of theology at the Pontifical Atheneum of Sant’Anselmo, Rome, opened a biritual monastery at Amay in 1926.  That year he began to publish Irénikon, a journal of studies of Eastern Christianity.  All this was, of course, controversial, as was his openness to dialogue with Anglicans.

Thus, from 1931 to 1951, Beuduin was in involuntary exile from Belgium.  He served as the chaplain to two French convents, influenced Virgil Michel (1890-1938), helped to found the Centre de Pastorale Liturgique in Paris in 1943, and, the following year, renewed a friendship with Angelo Roncalli, the future Pope St. John XXIII (1881-1963).

Beauduin returned to Belgium in 1951.  He settled at the monastery he had founded, relocated to Chevetogne.  There, after years of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, our saint died on January 11, 1960.  He was 86 years old.

Much of what Beauduin recommended became reality.  Nevertheless, the necessity of heeding his sage counsel, especially in ways churches have not followed it, remains.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 12, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWIN PAXTON HOOD, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, PHILANTHROPIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DAVID JAESCHKE, GERMAN MORAVIAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER; AND HIS GRANDSON, HENRI MARC VOLDEMAR VOULLAIRE, MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MINISTER

THE FEAST OF ENMEGAHBOWN, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND MISSIONARY TO THE OJIBWA NATION

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH DACRE CARLYLE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Within the hour, while seeking a good proper for liturgists in official volumes from various denominations, I found no such thing.  So I wrote a prayer and selected the readings.

Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Lambert Beauduin.)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Virgil Michel (June 26)   2 comments

Above:  St. John’s Abbey Church, St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota

Image Source = Library of Congress

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VIRGIL MICHEL (JUNE 26, 1890-NOVEMBER 26, 1938)

U.S. Roman Catholic Monk, Academic, and Pioneer of Liturgical Renewal

Also known as George Michel

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Liturgy is essentially the Christian faith prayed; it is dogma set to prayer.

–Virgil Michel

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Virgil Michel comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days courtesy of Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997).

George Michel, born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on June 26, 1890, was a man ahead of his time.  In that respect he was like many other pioneers.  Fred and Mary Michel presided over a devout Roman Catholic family that emphasized the value of education.  Our saint, as a young man, mastered five languages.  In 1903 Michel matriculated at St. John’s Preparatory School, Collegeville, Minnesota.  Six years later he became a Benedictine novice, as Virgil Michel.

Michel, ordained to the priesthood in 1916, was an academic.  He taught at St. John’s Preparatory School then became a professor of English and philosophy at St. John’s University.  Later in life our saint was Dean there.  Michel maintained a rigorous schedule as he suffered from overwork and worsening eyesight.

Michel, who earned his Ph.D. in English from The Catholic University of America, valued liturgical renewal.  It had been on his mind before he traveled in Europe, where he witnessed it, in 1924-1925.  He sought to recapture the Mass as an expression of faith; the Mass should never be a spectator sport event, he insisted.  This effort required liturgical reform and the backing away from clericalism–the recognition of the people as the Body of Christ.  Michael presaged Vatican II (1962-1965).

For Michel the link between liturgical renewal and social justice was plain:

The entire life of the true Christian must be a reflection and a further expression of his life at the altar of God.   If he is predominantly a passive Christian there, can we expect him to be an active Christian in the world?

–Virgil Michel

His spirituality of lived values and social reform–of the sanctification of the world rather than the flight from it–influenced Dorothy Day (1897-1980).

Michel, aged 48 years, died at Collegeville on November 26, 1938.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCUS AURELIUS CLEMENS PRUDENTIUS, POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MATEO CORREA-MAGALLANES AND MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT VEDAST (VAAST), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ARRAS AND CAMBRAI

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM BOYCE AND JOHN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN COMPOSERS

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Virgil Michel,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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