The Institute for Christian Formation
Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
Feast Day (Memorial): November 22
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Guido Reni, 1606
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA, USA
tradition to keep St. Cecilia’s feast day with music and song, which is good preparation for spending eternity singing God’s praises!
Read more about Saint Cecilia from the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia, and you can also access a novena to Saint Cecilia at their web site. You can find out more about sacred music from the Church’s documents. See Second Vatican Ecumenical Council – “Musicam Sacram: Instruction on Music in the Liturgy” (March 5, 1967); and, “Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship” (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2007).
And on the feast of Saint Cecilia, listen to beautiful music! Below is a video of Henry Purcell’s, “Hail! Bright Cecilia,” featuring:
Jennifer Smith, Soprano
Ashley Stafford & Brian Gordon, Altos
Paul Elliott, Tenor
Stephen Varcoe, Baritone
David Thomas, Bass
English Baroque Orchestra: John Eliot Gardiner
On November 22nd the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Cecilia, an early martyr, perhaps being martyred in the early 3rd century. Saint Cecilia has been honored in Rome since the 5th century. To this day, we hear her name mentioned in Eucharistic Prayer I, the Roman Canon. Tradition says that on her wedding day she sang to Christ in her heart. Perhaps this is why she is known as the Patron Saint of sacred music and musicians. (According to tradition, she did not want to marry, and her song to God was a prayer that she might remain undefiled, a virgin.)
Music has always been central to our Christian prayer and liturgy. Saint Augustine even said, “Those who sing pray twice.” And the Bible gives us wonderful descriptions of the heavenly choir singing God’s praises. It is
Treats for Musicians on their Feast Day!
Celebrate the feast of Saint Cecilia with the musicians in your life, be they family, friends, church musicians, and/or music students! It is easy to find cookie cutters in a variety of “musical” shapes, such as musical notes, clefs, and numerous instruments. So pick up a few and bake/decorate some cookies to present as gifts. You can also purchase/order fine chocolates in a variety of musical shapes. Just do a web search for various vendors. And an Opera Torte/Cake is always a favorite! You can access one recipe here.