Monday, October 31, 2016


October 29, 2016 Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the Mass of beatification of four BENEDICTINE MONKS who were martyred in 1936.

Fathers José Antón Gómez, Antolín Pablos Villanueva, Juan Rafael Mariano Alcocer Martínez, and Luis Vidaurrázaga Gonzáles were monks of the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos** in Burgos and lived in the Priory of Santa Maria de Montserrat in Madrid.

At the beginning of his homily, Cardinal Amato recalled the example of Father Jacques Hamel, the French priest slain while offering Mass this summer, and said that “he was not afraid of holiness, he was not afraid of martyrdom, nor were these four Benedictine martyrs.”
“The sociopolitical climate of the 1930s was characterized by a manifestation of terror against the Church, a bloody persecution,” he continued. “At that time there was darkness over the earth.”

After his Angelus address the following day, Pope Francis recalled the beatification of the martyrs and said, “We praise the Lord and entrust to their intercession the brothers and sisters that unfortunately, yet today, are persecuted for their faith in Christ in several parts of the world.”

**In the nineteenth century the abbey became a member of the Solesmes Congregation in France, and the singing has since been influenced by the scholarship and performance style ofSolesmes.

The monks of Silos became internationally famous for singing Gregorian chant through the album Chant, one of a number of recordings they have made. Chant became popular when re-released in 1994 and peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 music chart, and was certified as triple platinum, becoming the best-selling album of Gregorian chant ever released.

It was followed by Chant Noël: Chants For The Holiday Season (1994) and Chant II (1995). Technically, the Silos monks are surpassed by other choirs, but they are undoubtedly authentic in the sense that they sing Gregorian chant as part of their daily worship. As a reviewer in Gramophone puts it: "The ensemble is not always perfect, but if these are not professional singers, they are, and they sound like, truly professional monks." 

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