LEWISTON — On Thursday, Aug. 12, and Friday, Aug. 13, the Basilica of Ss. Peter & Paul in Lewiston will host the second annual Maine Sacred Music Conference. 

“Participants will be joining Catholic musicians, religious, and lay people dedicated to the revival of the centuries-old commitment to beauty and reverence in Catholic liturgy as they explore the liturgical forms and practices that have long formed the foundation of Catholic worship,” said Scott Vaillancourt, music director at the Basilica.

The conference will begin on Thursday afternoon with a series of sessions that focus on the Novus Ordo and how to appreciate, learn about, and prepare for beautiful Novus Ordo liturgies. There will be a Novus Ordo Mass celebrated at the Basilica to finish the day. Novus Ordo is short for Novus Ordo Missae (“new order of the Mass”). The term distinguishes the Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969 from the Traditional Latin Mass promulgated by Pope Pius V in 1570. When Pope Paul VI’s new Roman Missal was released, it replaced the Traditional Latin Mass as the normal form of the Mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. The Traditional Latin Mass is still valid and can be celebrated, but the Novus Ordo became the form of the Mass celebrated in most Catholic churches.

Friday’s schedule includes a list of sessions that will take a closer look at the history and traditions of the Catholic liturgy. Morning lecture topics feature an introduction to the Catholic liturgical tradition and the spirituality of Gregorian chant, while afternoon workshops will be dedicated to the practical: teaching and learning Gregorian chant and introducing it to parishes. There will also be a panel discussion in which clergy and lay experts discuss both Catholic liturgical traditions and the changes that have been implemented in recent years. The day will end with a traditional Latin Mass celebrated in the Basilica’s upper church. The keynote speaker for Friday will be Dr. Jennifer Donelson, director of the Schola Cantorum of St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) in Yonkers, New York, and the Metropolitan Catholic Chorale. Dr. Donelson is the director of sacred music at St. Joseph’s Seminary, where she also teaches sacred music courses at the St. Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians. She is the president of the Society for Catholic Liturgy, serves on the board of the Church Music Association of America, and is the managing editor of the journal Sacred Music.

The cost of the conference is $25, and lunch will be provided both days. To register or if you have any questions, please contact Vaillancourt at Scott.Vaillancourt@PortlandDiocese.org.