About usJun 24, 2017
We believe that the quality of the liturgy is crucial for the renewal of the Church. As Dominican friars and lay Catholics, through various educational projects and publications, we desire first to deepen the understanding of our faith and then express it through beautiful liturgical celebrations. We draw inspiration from the treasury of Christian culture and tradition, and we want to enrich our society through the way Catholics intentionally live out their identity.
In Poland there has been something of a hidden revolution in liturgical music, beginning in the 1990s with the Dominican university chaplaincies in Krakow and Poznan. There young people's longing for authentic beauty met with the friars' search for the fullest meaning of what Vatican II described as the source and the summit of the Church's life. In awe with both the old and the new, the friars and their students prayed with Gregorian chants as well as new liturgical pieces from Taizé or the Community of the Beatitudes, but most importantly with compositions of a French Dominican, Fr. André Gouzes. Most of Fr. Gouzes's music is antiphonal, where a short refrain is repeated several times, interspersed with verses coming from the Scriptures or from the profoundly fresh liturgical hymns of the early Church Fathers.
This unique experience triggered creation of a certain musical style and a holistic approach to the liturgy recognized by many contemporary Polish Catholics as the "Dominican style". What followed was formation of the Dominican Liturgical Center in Kraków and its commissioning of well over 1,000 pieces of liturgical music by Dominican friars and the young composers in their orbit. The point was not to create something “new” or “exciting,” but rather to tap into the sound of the eternally prayerful: the simplicity of the human voice, singing in four parts, influenced by the tradition of both Christian West and East. The addition of orchestral instruments serves to bring a variety of colors to the enterprise, but is meant only to reinforce the impact of the text and deepen the prayers of the worshiper.
In its 20 years of existence, the Dominican Liturgical Center has published three volumes of the Dominican hymnal "O Inexpressible Trinity", recorded over 15 albums with liturgical music, and sponsored dozens of workshops, seminars, and conferences all over Poland. Most importantly though, the DLC has managed to create a vibrant environment of theologians, artists, and liturgy enthusiasts who devote their energy to the service of Beauty.
DLC in America
Polish Dominicans have been applying their particular liturgical approach and sound in the United States for a decade and a half, and have served all over the country, including:
— Church of Notre Dame New York City, NY
— Columbia University Catholic Ministry New York City, NY
— Providence Academy Minneapolis, MN
— St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish Charlottesville, VA
— Holy Name Cathedral Anchorage, AK
— St. Thomas More Newman Center Tucson, AZ
— Blessed Sacrament Parish Seattle, WA
— Univ. of Washington Newman Center Seattle, WA
— St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center Salt Lake City, UT
We have worked with students and parishioners of all ages, constantly expanding and refining the corpus of our music translated into English. In 2016 we were commissioned to lead music at the Mercy Centre at World Youth Day 2016 in Kraków, Poland, where 18,000 pilgrims from the United States would gather for daily Mass. Our approach to liturgical music attracted notice of many bishops and priests gathered there, and in 2017 we were invited to provide music at the USCCB Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Orlando, FL. Our hope for the future is to bring the richness of DLC's experience to the U.S. and be a voice in the dialogue on the shape and nature of Catholic life in America.