VATICAN CITY, DEC. 25, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has restored the tradition of proclaiming the birth of Christ with the chanting of the “Kalenda.” The chant culminated the prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square on Christmas Eve, which was accompanied by the unveiling of the life-size Nativity Scene.
THE PROCLAMATION OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST (and affirmation that it is TRUE and rooted in HISTORY)
“Today, the twenty–fifth day of December, unknown ages from the time when God created the heavens and the earth and then formed man and woman in his own image.
“Several thousand years after the flood, when God made the rainbow shine forth as a sign of the covenant.
“Twenty–one centuries from the time of Abraham and Sarah; thirteen centuries after Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt.
“Eleven hundred years from the time of Ruth and the Judges; one thousand years from the anointing of David as king; in the sixty–fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel.
“In the one hundred and ninety–fourth Olympiad; the seven hundred and fifty–second year from the foundation of the city of Rome.
“The forty–second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus; the whole world being at peace, Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit;
“And nine months having passed since his conception, was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary.
“Today is the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.”
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At the convent where I am an organist once a year — Midnight Mass every Christmas — I started the prelude music a little too early so we ended with several minutes left before midnight. I was grateful the priest stepped up and chanted this before we began Mass.
The Kalenda has been sung at Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, that I know of, since the days of Pope John Paul II. I have never been to the Vatican; I watched it on tv, NBC, for a few years.
And while I don’t remember for a fact, I believe, that it was suspended during the years of Pope Benedeict’s pontificate. At any rate, it is one beautiful chant proclaiming the history of the world and culminating in the birth of Christ, Our Lord.