The "Great Blizzard of ‘96" made it impossible for members and speakers from Boston to Washington to depart for Orlando, which required last-minute agenda shuffles.
Session I was presented by Frank Brownstead: "Towards Attitude – Many Peoples Celebrating Together." Working from official norms for inculturation, he distinguished between what is immutable and what is changeable in liturgy. He cited Los Angeles experiences of interaction between Church and culture, as well as between different ethnic and cultural groups themselves. He stressed that language or music alone cannot be expected to carry the burden of multi-cultural liturgy. Chant and polyphony in Latin can often be a bridge to problems of unity vs. diversity.
Tuesday Morning Prayer at St. James Cathedral was sung by the Cathedral Chamber Singers with William Brislin, conductor, conference host Robert Schaeffer and Alison Luedecke, organists. Session II, on the Liturgy of the Hours, was presented by Gregory Glenn. Describing historic monastic and cathedral practices, he cited recent research and the Vatican II mandate for wide-spread re-establishment of the Hours. Also noted was the re-ordering of the psalter and reading cycles. Members described current practice in their own cathedrals.
Session III featured Rev. Juan J. Sosa speaking on Hispanic Pastoral Practice. He outlined options in the interaction of cultures: assimilation, ghettoism, integration. Cultural pluralism requires mutual respect and appreciation; in authentic integration, music can speak to all cultures since text and music are transcendent unifying elements. Sosa suggested that antiphonal music often successful for Hispanics because of the dialogical characteristics of their cultures. He disagrees with the use of Latin as a unifying factor, and called for the authenticity of good Spanish texts rather than ‘patronizing’ bilingual efforts. He described with energy and honor the divisions and tensions between the official Roman liturgy and popular religiosity.
Session IV was the customary composers’ reading session, which followed a visit to St. Luke’s Episcopal Cathedral and its musician, Benjamin Lane. Session V was a plenary session which explored issues of membership, the Handbook, the roster, the Snowbird Statement, and the Society of Catholic Liturgy. An evening concert of music by Florida composers (including Stephen Foster!) was held at St. James Cathedral. In Session VI, Fr. Sosa (standing in for ‘snowbound’ Fr. Kevin Irwin) continued his presentation of multicultural celebrations. His focus was the cathedral itself in its various roles/functions. Small groups considered questions of integration and inculturation in cathedral communities. Sosa wove together many elements into an enlightening theology of cathedral liturgical life. Session VII was re-cast as a business meeting involving the Treasurer’s report, future commissions and scholarships, verbal reports of activities at various cathedrals. A tour of the Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe and, similarly, a visit to Disney World, concluded the day.
Sessions VIII and IX took place in St. Augustine, hosted by Sr. Patricia Consier, OP. A presentation of the history of both city and cathedral was given by Dr. John Armstrong. At Eucharist, members sang Mozarabic chants from Toledo – melodies which would perhaps have been known to Spanish colonists of 1565.
The annual banquet was held at Church Street Station, hosted by Robert Schaeffer and Sr. Patricia Consier. Session X was a discussion of Spanish-American music from the Colonial period in both North and South America. Session XI was a final business meeting and Rite of Departure.