Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Lumen Christi Simple Gradual as a Component of a Parish Music Program

Today there is a veritable flood of outstanding sacred music publications. And they are coming not a moment too soon, as we see the desire for authentic Catholic liturgy growing, opportunities for learning multiplying, and a generational shift under way. Even if this shift is sometimes leading to a certain polarization among the faithful, nevertheless the need for reconnecting with our past heritage is widely recognized by many, including mainstream publishers.

As I discussed last week at Views from the Choir Loft, one of the most crucial things that must be done everywhere is the recovery of the Propers of the Mass. In this noble and necessary task, the Simple English Propers were a step in the right direction, but its author Adam Bartlett freely admits that it was an interim solution until something more complete could be put in its place. (That's not to say that the SEP can't continue to function well in places that are accustomed to using it, but only that musicians should be sure to check out the Lumen Christi Gradual and Fr. Weber's Proper of the Mass when these volumes appear, as each of them will contain all that the SEP has—and a great deal more.)

Most NLM readers are familiar with Bartlett’s company Illuminare Publications, which is bringing out the Lumen Christi line of books. By offering a panoply of English chant that accounts for all the inherent needs of the liturgy, the Lumen Christi series faciliates, for the first time—or at least, for the first time with any ease of execution—a fully chanted English Ordinary Form liturgy.

Not long ago I received review copies of both the LC Simple Gradual and the LC Simple Gradual Choir Edition, and I was quite impressed with the quality of their musical content, internal organization, crisp typesetting, and sturdy production. These should be no surprise to those who have already held in their hands the comprehensive and elegant Lumen Christi Missal.

The LC Simple Gradual is nothing but an excerpted version of the LC Missal—that is, it contains all the chants of the Missal but not the Lectionary readings and devotions. (The LC Simple Gradual Choir Edition adds pointed Psalm verses.) Some parishes don’t want Lectionary readings and are just looking for a sleek, inexpensive volume for the pew in order to begin singing the Mass as the Church desires. This is the niche that the LC Simple Gradual fills, and fills more economically due to its slender size. The LC Missal and LC Simple Gradual are therefore alternatives, based upon community needs and financial ability. The forthcoming LC Hymnal can function as a companion to either. The LC Gradual will complete the series by furnishing a more extensive selection of chants, including more elaborate melodies, for the choir’s use on Sundays and Holydays.

The series may seem a bit complex, but it’s actually quite simple:
  • Do you want the lectionary readings as well as congregational chant? Your book is the LC Missal.
  • Do you want just the congregational chant? Your book is the LC Simple Gradual, with a few copies of the Choir Edition for the cantors/choir.
  • Do you want to add a substantial collection of classic hymns? Add the LC Hymnal (once it’s available, which I hear is relatively soon).
  • Do you wish to have fuller or more complex chants for the cantors/choir? Add the LC Gradual (once it’s available).
The LC Simple Gradual Choir Edition comes with a masterful introduction that describes in detail what the guiding ideals are and how the books are intended to be used. Readers should keep in mind that this is indeed a Simple Gradual, with a full Gradual to follow it. The Simple Gradual provides a repertoire that is aimed at congregational singing through seasonal introduction of antiphons. The full Gradual will have every proper text set in a few different ways (including the Simple Gradual settings). Think of it this way: the Simple Gradual is a base repertoire for congregational singing, hence the seasonal options and sometimes abbreviated texts, whereas the Gradual is the book for the choir, which sets the full proper in its full integrity.

For now, the role of the LC Simple Gradual is clear, so long as it is understood for what it is: a selection of liturgical chant for parishes to help them begin “singing the Mass” rather than “singing at Mass.” One can imagine the book sitting alongside various hymnals, with parishes introducing a few new antiphons each season, leading the faithful beyond a total reliance upon hymnody. In time, a base repertoire is built up, the parish gets used to chant, and hymns begin to take a backseat. This is a very non-radical approach to the problem, but one that is more palatable for most parishes today.

As they watch the rise of newly composed vernacular chant, some traditionally-minded Catholics fear that the ancient and magnificent Gregorian repertoire will be forgotten in the midst of this mini-renaissance. The beautiful thing about the LC Simple Gradual, as with its parent publication the LC Missal, is that it doesn’t necessarily require the sacrificing of the authentic Gregorian repertoire; it can work in tandem with it. As Adam Bartlett explained to me, at the Cathedral in Phoenix there are three different Sunday Masses, all of which feature traditional sacred music—but in different proportions of Latin and English, chant and polyphony and hymns:

1. Saturday evening: LC Simple Gradual antiphons, with a few hymns.

2. Sunday at 9:00 am: Entrance hymn followed by LC Simple Gradual antiphon; English antiphon at Offertory or something more substantial on occasion; Gregorian Proper antiphon at Communion, at the beginning and end of the LC Simple Gradual antiphon, sung with English verses, and with congregation singing the English antiphon.

3. Sunday at 11:00 am: Gregorian Introit and Communion, Lumen Christi chants everywhere else, along with much polyphony.

All of this is done in the context of a fully sung Order of Mass and chanted Ordinaries in Latin and English, as a norm. Bartlett tells me that it has worked out beautifully.

Some parishes, relying more heavily on hymnody, may inch more slowly into the Lumen Christi material. Still, it has the great merit of being accessible to them, and has the potential to open the door to so much more when the time is ripe. Here, a policy of incrementalism in the Ordinary Form context would seem to be more prudent, more realistic about the habits that need to be inculcated, and ultimately more assured of success, as people grow to appreciate the musical and textual prayerfulness that chanted Propers and Ordinary bring to the celebration of the Mass.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Forgotten Art of Gerhard Lamers

We have encountered Gerhard Lamers' (1871-1964) work here before in relation to William Heyer's restoration and rehabilitation of the chapel at the Pontifical College Josephinum, but I was recently sent a photograph of a beautiful painting he undertook for a convent in Cincinnati sometime in the 1930s, and which now is in the possession of St. Mary's Church in Franklin, Kentucky (above). Lamers is one of those ubiquitous if sadly forgotten figures of early twentieth century Catholic art; like his contemporary Hildreth Meière, you may already be familiar with his work without even realizing it. Of German extraction, he traveled first to the United States in 1925 to paint the stunning neo-Byzantine murals that grace the interior of St. Joseph's Cathedral in Wheeling, West Virginia (a work by that other forgotten master, Edward J. Weber) and later returned in 1928, where he remained associated with Cincinnati's large German Catholic community. One of his best-known work is the large mural (now lost) behind the high altar at the Josephinum, but he also produced stunning work at the Monte Cassino shrine at St. Meinrad in Indiana and numerous other locations. Several other examples of his work follow below. Barring his work in Wheeling, his marvelous murals are depressingly under-documented; any further information or photographs would certainly be certainly appreciated.


There are also a host of images of the interior of St. Joseph's in Wheeling at this site.

Urgent Appeal -- August 1st Day of Prayer, Adoration, and Solidarity for Persecuted Christians

Friday, August 1, 2014 is the day chosen by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) for a worldwide day of Public Adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in supplication for our persecuted brethren in Iraq, Syria, and the Middle East:
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter asks all of its apostolates around the world to dedicate Friday, August 1 to a day of prayer and penance for the Christians who are suffering terrible persecution in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
          August 1 is the First Friday of the month and the Feast of St. Peter in Chains, which is celebrated as a Third Class Feast in FSSP houses and apostolates. It is the feast in which we read of the great power of the persevering prayer of members of the Church: “Peter therefore was kept in Prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him.” (Acts 12:5)
          This feast of our Patron should be an invitation to the faithful to join us in Holy Hours and other fitting prayers to beg the Most Holy Trinity that these members of the Mystical Body may persevere in the faith, and that, like St. Peter, they may be delivered from this terrible persecution. May such a day serve as a reminder to us of the stark contrast that stands between our days of vacation and ease, and their daily struggle for survival as they are killed or exiled from their homes. 
It is a day, we believe, chosen wisely by that Institute: we urge all our Catholic brethren, East and West, attached to the Ordinary Form (Mass of Paul VI) or to the Extraordinary Form (Ancient Mass), whatever their theological bent, to join this worldwide prayer day. Whether you consider yourself a more liberal, conservative, traditional, or just plain Catholic, let us join together in this worldwide Adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, together with all the Angels and Saints.

It is also appropriately chosen because Pastors and Chaplains will have 10 days to prepare properly, to contact projects that help Christians in need and collect all kinds of contributions for the Christians of the Middle East (from Aid to the Church in Need to CNEWA, the Syrian and Chaldean Catholic Churches, and other organizations) and, in particular, to add to their bulletins and convey to their congregations how to participate next Sunday, July 27.

Please, spread this initiative around. Copy, paste, and just let this idea spread around throughout the world, through the web, through social networks, to your family and friends.

Bishops, Pastors, priests, join us. First Fridays are a special day of the month, and nothing better next First Friday, August 1, than for all Catholics around the world to join in Adoration before Our Lord to implore his mercy and kindness for our most neglected brethren in Iraq, Syria, and throughout the Middle East.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

“Apostle of the Apostles” - Liturgical Notes on the Feast of St Mary Magdalene

In the Missal of St Pius V, the Creed is said on every Sunday, and several categories of feasts: all those of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, Angels, Apostles, Doctors, etc. To this list is added one other woman, St Mary Magdalene, in commemoration of the fact that it was she who announced the Resurrection of Christ, the foundation of the Faith, to the Apostles; for this reason she has often been called “the Apostles of the Apostles.” This custom was widely observed in the Middle Ages, but originally not accepted at Rome itself; the Ordinal of the papal liturgy in the reign of Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) specifies that the Creed is not to be said on the feast, indicating that it was known to be done elsewhere. It was still omitted according to the rubrics of printed editions of the Roman Missal in the first half of the 16th century; its addition in the rubrics of 1570 is one of the rare cases where a new custom was added to the Roman Rite from elsewhere in the highly conservative Tridentine reform. (It was removed from her feast in 1955, and from the Doctors in 1961.)
Two pages of a Roman Missal printed at Lyon, France, in 1500 (folio 95 recto and verso). The rubric about the Creed begins in the middle of the right column of the first page. Note that at the break between the two pages, St Bonaventure is listed as a Saint on whose feast the Creed is said; this edition was printed for the Franciscans, who counted him informally as a Doctor before the title was officially given in 1588. (Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Réserve des livres rares.)
The Gregorian propers of her Mass (Introit, Gradual etc.) are taken from the various common Masses of holy women; in the Middle Ages, the Epistle was that of Holy Matrons, Proverbs 31, 10-31, “Who shall find a valiant woman? etc.” In the Tridentine Missal, a new Epistle was created, the Song of Songs, 3, 2-5 and 8, 6-7, which begins as follows.
I will rise, and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not. (quaesivi illum et non inveni.) The watchmen who keep the city, found me: Have you seen him, whom my soul loveth? When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him: and I will not let him go ...
St Gregory the Great refers the words “I will seek him whom my soul loveth” to John 20, 11-18, when Mary meets Christ at the tomb and mistakes him for the gardener, in the Breviary homily for Easter Thursday.
We must consider how great was the force of love that had enkindled this woman’s heart, who left not the tomb of the Lord, though even the disciples were gone away. She sought Him Whom she had not found there, (exquirebat, quem non invenerat) and as she sought Him, she wept, … Whence it came to pass that she alone, who had stayed behind to seek Him, was the only one who then saw Him.
“When I had a little passed by them” (i.e. the watchmen of the city) then refers to tomb of the Lord being just outside the city, and the words “I held him: and I will not let him go” to her embracing the Lord, until He says to her, “Cling to me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father.”
‘Noli me tangere’ by Jacob van Oostsanen, 1507. The words of John 20, 15, that Mary Magdalene at first thought the Risen Christ was the gardener gave rise to a delightful tradition of portraying Him with various gardening implements, such as the shovel seen here, or the kind of broad-brimmed hat often worn by gardeners.
From the time of St Gregory, the Western Church accepted that Mary Magdalene was also the sinful woman who anoints Christ’s feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee, as recounted in Luke 7, 36-50, and this is traditionally the Gospel for her feast. This connection was probably made from the words that immediately follow this passage, or at least reinforced by them, Luke 8, 1-3. “And it came to pass afterwards, that he travelled through the cities and towns, preaching and evangelizing the kingdom of God; and the twelve with him: And certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities; Mary who is called Magdalen, out of whom seven devils were gone forth, And Joanna the wife of Chusa, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who ministered unto him of their substance.” (Mark 16, 9 also refers to the seven devils.)

She is also traditionally held in the West to be Martha and Lazarus’ sister, of whom Christ says in the same Gospel “Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10, 38-42) This passage is read on the feast of St. Martha on July 29th, the octave of Mary Magdalene; from it, Martha has traditionally been seen as the symbol of the active life, and Mary of the contemplative. The same passage was then read also on the feast of the Assumption, a custom inherited, like the feast of itself, from the Byzantine Rite; this was understood allegorically in the Middle Ages to signify that in the person and life of the Virgin Mary are perfected both the active and the contemplative life.
Christ in the House of Mary and Martha, by Henryk Semiradzki, 1886
The Byzantine Rite (in which the Creed is said at every Eucharistic liturgy) keeps July 22 as the feast of the “Fair Virgin, Equal to the Apostles, Mary Magdalene,” and on June 4 commemorates “Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus the Just.” Neither of the two Marys thus distinguished is associated with the sinful woman of Luke 7, but the Gospel of Mary Magdalene’s feast day is the passage from Luke 8 noted above. The two sisters are traditionally numbered among the “Myrrh-bearers” who went to the tomb to anoint the body of Christ on the morning of the Resurrection, although they are not named as such by the Gospel; with them are included also Mary, the mother of James and Joses, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, Joanna and Susanna named in Luke 8, and Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee. They are commemorated as a group on the second Sunday after Easter, along with Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. At Vespers of the preceding Saturday, the following idiomel is sung, paraphrasing Matthew 28 and Luke 24.
Mary Magdalen and the other Mary came to the grave seeking the Lord, and they saw an Angel like lightning sitting on the stone, who said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He has risen as he said; in Galilee you will find him’. To him let us cry aloud, ‘Lord, risen from the dead, glory to you!’
In the traditional Roman Rite, Matthew 28, 1-7 is the Gospel of the Easter vigil, which concludes with a very much shortened Vespers; the antiphon for the Magnificat is the beginning of the Gospel, “And in the end of the Sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulcher, alleluia.” Even though the term “Apostle of the Apostles” does not occur in the Roman liturgical books, the liturgy itself proclaims this role for her as the first person named in the accounts of the Resurrection.

The church of Rome was traditionally very conservative about the addition of new texts to the Office; one often finds that the proper Office of a saint hugely popular in the Middle Ages, such as St Nicholas, is found in virtually every medieval Breviary except that of the Roman Curia, the basis of the Breviary of St Pius V. Such is the case with Mary Magdalene, whose Roman Office is mostly that of the common of Holy Women. She has proper antiphons for the Benedictus and the two Magnificats, but none for the psalms; there are also three proper hymns, although that of Matins is a single stanza and a doxology. Three responsories at Matins referring to her are borrowed from Easter, but the rest are from the common of Holy Women.

Other medieval breviaries, however, adopted one of various proper Offices for the feast, of which the most interesting is that found in the Dominican Breviary. At First Vespers, the antiphon of the Magnificat reads as follows:
Celsi mériti María, quae solem verum resurgentem vidére meruisti mortalium prima: óbtine ut nos visu gloriae suae tecum laetíficet in caelis.
Mary of high merit, that first among mortals did merit to see the true Sun rising; obtain that He may grant us joy by the vision of His glory in heaven.
And at the Benedictus:
O mundi lampas, et margaríta praefúlgida, quae resurrectiónem Christi nuntiando, Apostolórum Apóstola fíeri meruisti! María Magdaléna, semper pia exoratrix pro nobis adsis ad Deum, qui te elégit.
O lamp of the world, and bright-shining pearl, who by announcing the Resurrection of Christ, didst merit to become the Apostle of the Apostles! Mary Magdalene, of thy kindness stand thou ever before God, who chose thee, to entreat him for us.
Outstanding among the responsories of Matins is the eighth, (necessarily not as beautiful in my poor English).
R. O felix felícis mériti María, quæ resurgentem a mórtuis Dei Filium vidére meruisti mortalium prima! Pro cujus amore, sæculi contempsisti blandimenta: * sédula nos apud ipsum, quæsumus, prece commenda. V. Ut tecum mereámur, o Dómina, pérfrui felicíssima ipsíus præsentia. Sédula.
R. O happy Mary of happy merit, that first among mortals did merit to see the Son of God rising from the dead; for whose love thou disdained the blandishments of the world: * by thy prayer, we ask thee, commend us to Him with diligence. V. That with thee, o Lady, we may merit to enjoy his most happy presence. By thy prayer.
The Office used by the Premonstatensians shares a number of texts with that of the Dominicans; it contains this very interesting and uncommonly long (and hence rather rarely used) antiphon:
Fidelis sermo et omni acceptione dignus, quia Christus Jesus venit in hunc mundum peccatores salvos facere; et qui nasci dignatus est de Maria Virgine, tangi non dedignatus est a Maria peccatrice. Haec est illa Maria, cui dimissa sunt peccata multa, quia dilexit multum. Haec est enim illa Maria, quae resurgentem a mortuis prima omnium videre meruit Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, quem pro nostris reatibus oret, quaesumus, in aeternum.
A faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners; and He that deigned to be born of the Virgin Mary, did not disdain to be touched by Mary the sinner. This is that Mary, to whom many sins were forgiven, because she loved much. This is indeed that Mary, who before all others merited to see our Lord Jesus Christ rising from the dead; and we ask that she pray Him forever for our sins.
Lastly, we may note the Preface of her feast in the Ambrosian liturgy, another text that can only suffer in translation. 
Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos te, Pater omnipotens, omni tempore glorificare, et in die festivitatis hodiernae Beatae Mariae Magdalenae exultantibus animis praedicare. Quam sic tui amoris igne accendere dignatus es; ut ad Christi Filii tui vestigia devota corrueret, et eadem pretioso unguento perfunderet. Osculari quoque, ac lacrimis rigare, et capillis non cessat extergere, donec audire promeruit, ‘Dimissa sunt tibi peccata, vade in pace.’ O beata fides, divinae misericordiae munita praesidio! O digna conversio, quae tantum munus accepit, ut quae antea draconis antiqui faucibus merito tenebatur astricta, plena jam gaudens libertate, sanctis Apostolis dominincae Resurrectionis mereretur esse praenuncia. Et ideo…
Truly it is fitting and just, meet and profitable to salvation, that we glorify Thee, Father almighty, in every moment, and on this feast day of blessed Mary Magdalene proclaim Thee with spirits rejoicing. Whom Thou didst so deign to kindle with the fire of Thy love, that in devotion she fell at the feet of Christ, Thy Son, and anointed them with precious ointment; and ceased not to kiss them, to wash them with her tears, and wipe them with her hair, until she merits to hear, ‘Thy sins are forgiven go, in peace.’ O blessed faith, strengthened with the help of divine mercy. O worthy conversion, that merited to receive so great a gift, that she who was formerly deservedly held fast in the jaws of the ancient dragon, now rejoicing in complete freedom, should merit to be the first to announce the Lord’s Resurrection to the Holt Apostles. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels…
The Penitent Magdalene, by Caravaggio, ca. 1594-95.

New Large Scale Commission Completed by Henry Wingate

Artist Henry Wingate has just completed a large-scale commission for St Mary's in Piscataway in southern Maryland.

Based in rural Virginia, Wingate studied with Paul Ingbretson in New England and with Charles Cecil, in Florence, Italy. Both Ingbretson and Cecil studied under R H Ives Gammell, the teacher, writer, and painter who perhaps more than anyone else kept the traditional atelier method of painting instruction alive. His website is

The academic method, which Wingate uses, was first developed in Renaissance Italy and was the standard for art education and nearly every great Western artist for the next 300 years. It almost died out altogether in the first part of the 20th century but is gaining ground again now.

For this commision, Wingate writes: 'The subject was the baptism of the Tayac, or chief, of the Piscataway Indians by the Jesuit, Father Andrew White.  This took place on July 5th, 1640.  It is well documented because the Jesuits were required to send a yearly report on their efforts here in the New World to their superiors in Rome, and those documents are available to read.

The church that asked me to do the painting is Saint Mary's of Piscataway.  The baptism took place in the Piscataway Indian village which was someplace near where this church stands today, possibly even on the land owned by the church.  The painting is in the entrance way to the church, and above the new baptismal font.  I finished the painting after about seven months of work, in time for an Easter unveiling. At the Easter Mass their were three baptisms using the new font.  Two of those baptized were descendants of Piscataway Native Americans.  One of the most interesting things I learned while doing this project is that most of the Piscataways, to this day, are practicing Catholics.  Father Andrew White's efforts, and those of his fellow Maryland Jesuits, were very effective.

The painting is 16 feet across and nearly 13 feet high.  It is on canvas that is glued to panels. I had to cut a slot in my studio wall just to get the painting out and into a truck to get it to Maryland.

I used models from around Madison mostly.  The Native Americans were a little more difficult to find.  I did have two real Piscataways pose for me, the older man in the background and the young wife of the chief.  The Piscataways were very helpful in lending me articles of clothing, headresses and so on.'

The photographs show the completed painting and preliminary studies.


Wingate 3

Wingate 4


Monday, July 21, 2014

Prayer Vigil for the Church in Iraq, Monday 28 July, St Thomas, Apostle, Washington DC

On Monday 28 July at St Thomas, Apostle, Washington DC, there will be a Prayer Vigil to pray for our beloved brothers and sisters who are being persecuted in Iraq. Holy Mass will be celebrated at 7pm following which there will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until Midnight. Priests are invited to concelebrate the Mass, and there will be an opportunity for confession.

The Art of the Book in the Third Millennium: Heiligenkreuz Choir Books

Last May while visiting a dear friend, Pater Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., a monk of the Abbey of Heiligenkreuz in Lower Austria and maintainer of the ever-thoughtful blog Sancrucensis, I had the opportunity to see certain parts of the monastery that I had never seen (or seen up close) before. Among the stages of our tour were the immensely beautiful wooden choir stalls where the monks chant the daily Divine Office, to which they are very devoted.

But it was not so much the woodwork that caught my attention as it was certain over-sized wood-covered leatherbound volumes set up between every other stall.

As a cantor and schola director, these naturally engaged my curiosity and I asked Pater Edmund to tell me about them. Seeing my great interest, he not only obliged me at the moment, but sent notes and photos to be shared with the readers of NLM who might be interested in this fine example of contemporary book-making on a scale rarely seen. What follows is Pater Edmund’s account of the genesis of this project.

Heiligenkreuz Choir Books
Pater Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist.
In the 1970s Heiligenkreuz put together an edition of the Divine Office that was meant to adopt some of the reforms of the new Roman Office, while preserving many traditional monastic elements. It was decided to adopt a two-week Psalter developed by Fr. Guido Gilbert-Tarruel, O.Cist., which sought to preserve many features of the division of the Psalms given by St. Benedict in the Rule. (Fr. Gilbert-Tarruel’s division, included in the latest edition of the Cistercian Ritual as one among many options for Cistercian monasteries, is reproduced below.) At the time, it was hoped that other Cistercian monasteries would adopt our breviary, but today Heiligenkreuz is the only monastery that uses it, as well as the only monastery that uses this particular Psalm-division. It could be said, therefore, to constitute a sort of local usage, the “Heiligenkreuz Office.”

In the 1970s, hand-size editions of the breviary, hymnarium, antiphonarium, and psalter were printed. Inevitably, the wear and tear on the books, together with the desire for something more permanent and more worthy of the splendor of the liturgy, motivated the monastery to take a decisive step. In the early years of the millennium, work began on the large choir edition of the Psalter. For the new edition, everything was newly typeset by one of the monks, including all the music (this took him several years).

The choir Psalter is printed on thick Italian paper, usually used for reproducing art prints (size: DIN A3). It was bound by the monks in our own book-binding shop. The covers are made of wood harvested from the abbey’s own forests in the vicinity. The tabs are made of goat leather, and were cut and printed by one of the monks. The pictures are reproductions of pencil drawings by Michael Fuchs, drawn especially for this Psalter.

The monks have been using these magnificent books for close to ten years. The books are durable, easy to read, and beautiful. One may hope someday for a widespread revival of the art of the book, which, despite or perhaps because of its extremely ancient techniques, has much to recommend it in our high-tech world. As a Navajo Indian says to the elderly Bishop Latour in Death Comes for the Archbishop: “Men travel faster now, but I do not know if they go to better things.”

The Feast of Saint Praxedes

Saint Praxedes, by Johannes Vermeer, ca. 1655 (The attribution to Vermeer has often been disputed.)
Praxedes according to her legend was a Roman maiden, the sister of St. Pudentiana, who, when the Emperor Marcus Antoninus was hunting down Christians, sought them out to relieve them with money, care, comfort and every charitable aid. Some she hid in her house, others she encouraged to keep firm in the faith, and of yet others she buried the bodies; and she allowed those who were in prison or toiling in slavery to lack nothing. At last, being unable any longer to bear the cruelties inflicted on Christians, she prayed to God that, if it were expedient for her to die, she might be released from beholding such sufferings. And so on July 21 she was called to the reward of her goodness in Heaven. Her body was laid by the priest Pastor in the tomb of her father, Pudens, and her sister Pudentiana, which was in the cemetery of Priscilla on the Salarian Way. (From Butler’s Lives of the Saints, revised by Herbert Thurston S.J. and Donald Attwater; 1956)

Saint Praxedes is depicted in art squeezing the blood of the martyrs which she has collected from a sponge into a vessel. In her basilica in Rome, a part of the floor in the central nave is marked as the place where their relics were laid to rest within the building that was once her house.

Especially on this day, let us remember and pray for all persecuted Christians in every part of the world.

“Today (the Christians of Mosul, Iraq) are persecuted, they are driven away, they have to leave their homes without the possibility of taking anything with them. To these families, to these people, I want to express my closeness and assure them of my constant prayer. Beloved brothers and sisters who are so persecuted, I know how much you are suffering, I know that you have been stripped of everything. I am with you in the faith of Him who has conquered evil! And to those of you, here in the piazza and those who are following us by means of television, I address the invitation to remember these Christian communities in prayer.” - His Holiness Pope Francis at yesterday’s Angelus

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Feast of St Elijah the Prophet

A few years ago, Shawn Tribe published an article about the presence of Saints of the Old Testament in the Eastern liturgies, and their almost total absence from those of the West. Although a large number of Old Testament Saints are mentioned in the Martyrology, the Seven Maccabees Brothers are the only ones on the traditional Roman Calendar, and their feast was suppressed in the new rite, despite its great antiquity. A number of churches in Venice, a city always marked by strong Greek influences, are dedicated to Saints of the Old Testament, such as San Moisè and San Giobbe. (Moses and Job) The most prominent exception to this absence, however, is the celebration of the Prophets Elijah and Elisha as the founders and patriarchs of the two Carmelite Orders. Of these the former has his feast day on July 20th, the latter on June 14th, the same days on which they are observed in the Byzantine Rite.

Seen above is the central panel of the altarpiece painted by Pietro Lorenzetti (ca. 1280 - 1347) for the Carmelite church of his native city of Siena, San Niccolò del Carmine. The altarpiece is now dismembered and removed from its original frame; most of the surviving pieces are now in the National Gallery of Siena, but the two narrower panels originally on either side of the central one are in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California, and a smaller piece from the top is at Yale University.

To the left of the Virgin stands St Nicholas, to whom the church is dedicated; to the right is the prophet Elijah. On the scroll in his hands are written the words which he speaks in 3 Kings 18, 19: “Nevertheless send now, and gather unto me all Israel, unto Mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty.” The Carmelites have traditionally honored the prophet Elijah and his disciple Elisha as their founders; in the liturgical books of both the Old Observance and the Discalced, they are each given the title “Our Father”, as is St Dominic in the Dominican Use, St Benedict in the Monastic Use, etc. Both orders also add the name of Elijah to the Confiteor, the Discalced even before that of St Theresa of Avila. Their feasts were kept with octaves, a traditional privilege of patronal feasts, even before an octave was given to the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16th.

The tradition behind this is recorded in the lessons of the Roman Breviary for that day, with the cautionary parenthetical note “ut fertur – as the story goes” added at the beginning. In the Books of Kings, there are several references to a group of holy men called “the sons of the prophets”. They foretell to Elisha that Elijah is to be taken away by the Lord, although Elisha already knows this, and afterwards bear witness that “the spirit of Elijah resteth upon Elisha,” who then works several miracles on their behalf. The traditional Carmelite legend claims that a group of men dedicated to God remained on Mount Carmel until the days of New Testament, when they were “prepared by the preaching of John the Baptist for the coming of Christ”, and “at once embraced the faith of the Gospel.” They are also said to be the first Christians to build a chapel in honor of the Virgin Mary, on the very spot on Mount Carmel where Elijah had seen the “little cloud”, understood as a symbol of the Virgin Mary.

One of the two pieces now in Pasadena, one shows St John the Baptist; it was originally placed to the right of the central panel, so that he would be next to Elijah, since John went before the Lord “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, and the Lord Himself said in reference to him, “Elijah has already returned.” On the left was the panel of Elisha, looking very much like an Eastern monk, despite his Carmelite habit; on his scroll is written “Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw him, and cried: My father, my father, the chariot of I[srael, and the driver thereof.]” (4 Kings 2, 11-12)

Even for an age in which the veneration of the Virgin Mary may truly be described as omnipresent, the city of Siena stood out as a place of particular devotion to Her. In 1260, before the crucial battle of Montaperti, the city placed herself by a special vow under the protection of the Virgin, and proceeded to heavily defeat her long-time rival Florence, whose army was nearly twice as large as her own. Both the cathedral and the city hall were prominently decorated with famous paintings of the Virgin enthoned, of the type known as a “Maestà”; the former had that of Duccio di Buoninsegna, commissioned less than twenty years before Lorenzetti’s Carmelite altarpiece, and the latter that of Simone Martini from just twelve years before. When Lorenzetti’s work was finished, the mendicant Carmelites could not afford to pay for it, and so the artist’s fee was provided by the city itself.

Despite all this, the panels at the bottom of the altarpiece are not dedicated to the principal subject of the main panel, as they would normally be, but rather to the prophet Elijah. In the first, an angel appears to his father, with a prophecy of his son’s future greatness, just as an angel would later appear to the father of St John the Baptist.

In the second, we see hermits in the desert around a fountain, which was said to have been built for them by Elijah. These would be the spiritual ancestors of the Carmelite Order, men who lived as monks in the Greek tradition in the Holy Land, before being organized under a rule during the period of the Crusader kingdoms.

The striped mantle which they are wearing is part of the habit worn by the Carmelites when they still lived in the Holy Land; because of it they were often called in Latin “fratres barrati – barred friars” or “fratres virgulati – striped friars.” A tradition of the medieval Carmelites held that these stripes represented the tracks of the chariot that took Elijah into heaven, and had been inherited as part of their habit from Elisha.

When the Carmelites were forced to abandon the Holy Land at the fall of the Latin kingdoms, they brought their traditions, including the habit, with them to Western Europe, where the striped mantle was considered completely outlandish for religious of any kind, but especially for medicants. Many of the universities refused to admit them dressed that way; hence, the decision of a general chapter held at Montpelier in 1287 to replace it with the white mantle still worn to this day. This was a matter of some controversy within the order at the time, and the prophets are shown by Lorenzetti in the “new” habit probably as a gesture to persuade the friars to accept it.

An Interesting Development in the Diocese of Rochester, NY

A local newspaper in the city of Rochester, New York, The Democrat and Chronicle, reported yesterday on an important disciplinary provision by the Bishop of Rochester, His Excellency Salvatore Matano, who was appointed to the diocese last fall, and installed in January of this year. The long-standing abuse of having members of the laity routinely deliver the sermon at Mass has been put to an end; the law of the Church that the sermon is to be given by the ordained clergy, whether the celebrant of the Mass, or another priest, or a deacon, will be enforced. Bishop Matano is quoted as follows: “It is not a policy shift as regards to the universal law of the Church, ... I am trying to help the faithful understand what is the universal law of the Church and how important it is that in the celebration of Mass, we do what the Church asks of us.” The full report may be read here.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Theology of the Offertory - Part 7.1 - The Missals of the Religious Orders

Like the prayers before the altar at the beginning of Mass and the priest’s communion prayers, the Offertory prayers are a medieval addition to the Order of the Mass, one of the many ways in which the Church has enriched the center of Her prayer life. In all three of these additions, there is a great deal of variety to be found between the different Uses of the Roman Rite; this series will continue by examining the various forms of the Offertory prayers and the rites that accompany them. It is not my intention to be exhaustive, of course, but merely to present a selection of some of the more widely used and interesting texts. I will begin with those of the three non-monastic religious orders which maintained their own proper uses after the Council of Trent and until the post-Conciliar liturgical reform.

(In these descriptions, the incensing at the Offertory will for the most part be omitted, partly because it is not especially important to the specific topic of the series, partly because there is no description of it in many of the missals of the medieval Uses. The term “medieval” here is used in reference to Uses of the Roman Rite that trace their origins to the Middle Ages, even though the printed sources out of which I will describe them are post-Medieval.)

Two fundamental texts
First of all, we must make note of two texts which occur in the great majority of Offertory Rites. One is the prayer Suscipe sancta Trinitas, which first appears in the basic form used throughout the Middle Ages in the Sacramentary of Echternach, written in the year 895; it occurs with variants in the great majority of medieval Uses.
Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, quam tibi offero in memoriam Incarnationis, Nativitatis, Passionis, Resurrectionis, Ascensionisque Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et in honore omnium Sanctorum tuorum, qui tibi ab initio mundi placuerunt, et quorum hodie festivitates celebrantur, et quorum hic nomina et reliquiae habentur, ut illis proficiat ad honorem, nobis ad salutem, quatinus illi omnes pro nobis intercedere dignentur in caelis, quorum memoriam facimus in terris.
Receive, o holy Trinity, this offering, which I offer to Thee in memory of the Incarnation, Birth, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honor of all the Saints who have pleased you from the beginning of the world, and whose feasts are celebrated today, and whose names and relics are kept here; that it may profit unto their honor and our salvation; that all those whose memory we keep on earth, may deign to intercede for us in Heaven.
The second is the prayer In spiritu humilitatis, which I give here in the form used in the Roman Missal of St. Pius V. The medieval variants in this texts are usually no more than small differences in the order of the words.
In spiritu humilitatis, et in animo contrito suscipiamur a Te, Domine: et sic fiat sacrificium nostrum in conspectu Tuo hodie, ut placeat Tibi, Domine Deus. - In a spirit of humility, and in contrite heart, may we be received by Thee, o Lord; and so may our sacrifice take place in Thy sight this day, that it may please Thee, o Lord.
The Dominican Use
In the Dominican Missal, as in many other medieval Uses, the chalice is prepared before the Mass begins. The priest pours wine into the chalice, and then the server offers him the cruet with the water and says “Benedicite”. (“Bless” in the imperative.) The priest makes the sign of the Cross once over the water, saying “In nomine Patris et Filii + et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.”, and pours a small amount of water into the chalice as in the Roman Rite. The chalice is then covered with the pall and veil.

At the Offertory, the priest uncovers the chalice, then lifts and closes his hands as he says the words of Psalm 115, “What shall I render to the Lord, for all the things he hath rendered unto me? I will take the chalice of salvation; and I will call upon the name of the Lord” He then lifts the chalice, together with the paten and host that rest on top of it, saying the following prayer, a much simplified version of Suscipe, sancta Trinitas.
Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offero in memoriam passionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi; et præsta ut in conspectu tuo tibi placens ascendat, et meam et omnium fidelium salutem operetur æternam.
Receive, o Holy Trinity, this offering, which I offer to Thee in memory of the passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ; and grant that in Thy sight it may be pleasing and ascend to Thee, and effect my eternal salvation and that of all the faithful.
After laying the host on the corporal, he washes his fingers, saying only three verses of Psalm 25, where the Roman Rite has seven and the doxology. “I will wash my hands among the innocent; and will compass thy altar, O Lord: that I may hear the voice of thy praise: and tell of all thy wondrous works. I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of thy house; and the place where thy glory dwelleth.” He then returns to the middle of the altar, and bowing lay says the Dominican version of In spiritu humilitatis, with the addition noted in bold type.
In a spirit of humility, and in contrite heart, may we be received by Thee, o Lord; and so may our sacrifice take place in Thy sight this day, that it may be received by Thee, and please Thee, o Lord.
Turning to the people, he then says “Orate, fratres: ut meum ac vestrum pariter in conspectu Domini sit acceptum sacrificium. – Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice, which is equally yours, may be accepted in the sight of the Lord.” As in a number of medieval uses, no response is made to the Orate fratres. Before the Secret, the priest adds “Hear, o Lord, my prayer: and let my cry come to thee. Let us pray.”

Here we must note in particular the presence in the Orate fratres of the word “pariter – equally”, an adverb modifying the word “vestrum”, to express the union of the faithful with the priest in the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice. This is a variant common to a number of medieval Uses, including the two which follow here, those of the Carmelites of the Old Observance and the Premonstratensians.

A page of the Ritus servandus of a Dominican Missal from 1687, explaining the Offertory ritual. (available on googlebooks)
The Old Carmelite Use
The traditional Use of the Carmelite Order derives from that of the Latin Rite canons installed in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem at the time of the Crusades. As such, it is, like the Dominican Use, a tradition whose earliest roots lie in France; the Carmelites Offertory, however, is longer and more complex than that of the Dominicans. (In 1584, the Discalced Carmelites, as part of the process of separating themselves from the Old Observance, passed over to the use of the Roman books.)

The chalice is prepared before the Mass, as noted above in the Dominican Use. After saying the Offertory antiphon, the priest uncovers the chalice, then makes the sign of the Cross over the chalice and host, saying “In nomine Patris etc.” He then lifts them all together with both hands, “raising his eyes to God”, as the rubric says, “and with devout mind” says the Carmelite version of Suscipe, sancta Trinitas.
Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offerimus in commemorationem Incarnationis, Nativitatis, Passionis, Resurrectionis Ascensionisque Domini nostri Jesu Christi: et adventus Spiritus Sancti, et in honore beatæ et gloriosæ Dei Genitricis semperque Virginis Mariæ, et omnium sanctorum tuorum, qui tibi placuerunt ab initio mundi; et pro salute vivorum et requiem omnium fidelium defunctorum.
Receive, o holy Trinity, this offering, which we offer to Thee in commemoration of the Incarnation, Birth, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the coming of the Holy Spirit, and in honor of the blessed and glorious Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, and of all the Saints who have pleased you from the beginning of the world, and for the salvation of the living, and the rest of all the faithful departed.
The priest lays the chalice and host on the corporal, and arranges the paten, the pall and the purificator in their places. He then lifts his eyes, opens and closes his hands, bows, and makes the sign of the Cross once again over the host and chalice saying, “Benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris et Filii + et Spiritus Sancti, descendat super hanc oblationem, et maneat semper. – May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, Son + and Holy Spirit, come down upon this offering and abide forever.”

There follows the washing of the fingers, with the same verses of Psalm 25 and as in the Roman Missal. Returning to the middle of the altar, he once lifts his eyes, opens and closes his hands, and bows, saying In spiritu humilitatis as in the Dominican Use (with a slight difference in word order). He then makes the sign of the Cross over himself.

The Orate fratres reads as follows: “Orate pro me, fratres: ut meum pariter et vestrum Deo sit acceptabile sacrificium – Pray for me, brethren, that my sacrifice, which is equally yours, may be acceptable to God.” An edition of the Carmelite Missal printed at Brescia, Italy, in 1490 indicates no response, but pre-Tridentine missals are sometimes rather imprecise. In the 1621 edition printed at Venice, a response is given, words of Psalm 19, “May the Lord be mindful of all thy sacrifices: and may thy whole burnt offering be made fat. May he give thee according to thy own heart; and confirm all thy counsels.” (A similar response was given in the Use of York in England.) The priest then says “Hear O Lord... Let us pray.” as noted above in the Dominican Use, before the Secret.

The frontispiece of a Carmelite Missal printed in 1621, showing the lamentable habit of updating liturgical books in ink. (available on googlebooks
The Premonstratensian Use
Shortly after the Council of Trent, the Abbot of Prémontré, Jean des Pruets, elected in 1572, ordered the publication of a new edition of the order’s Missal. This edition, printed six years later in Paris, remained closely faithful to the pre-Tridentine customs of the Order, retaining the medieval form of the Offertory, and, inter alia, a large corpus of sequences and proper votive Masses. In 1622, however, under Abbot Pierre Gosset, the Missal was heavily Romanized; most of the sequences were suppressed, and both the corpus of votive Masses and the Offertory assimilated to that of the Roman Missal. Here I shall give the text of the 1578 des Pruets edition, which, however, contains no Ritus servandus, (the general rubric on how to say the Mass), and is rather sparse on rubrics generally. (More recent Premonstratensian liturgical books go quite far in the opposite direction.)

When pouring water into the chalice, the priest says “Fiat hæc commixtio vini et aquæ pariter in nomine Domini nostri Jesu Christi, de cujus latere exivit sanguis et aqua. – May this mingling of water and wine together be done in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whose side there came forth blood and water.” This reference to the blood and water that flowed from Christ’s side, as recounted in John 19, 34, is found in other missals as well, such as those the Ambrosian Rite and the Carthusians.

The rubric that follows says “While the host and chalice are offered”, but it is not specified how. The words said here are “Panem cælestem + et calicem + salutaris accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo. – I will take up the bread of heaven and the chalice of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.” Presumably he makes the sign of the Cross over them at the places marked. After the chalice has been covered, the priest says, “Veni, invisibilis sanctificator; sanctifica hoc sacrificum tibi praeparatum. – Come, invisible Sanctifier; sanctify this sacrifice prepared unto Thee.”

Bowing before the altar, he then says the Suscipe sancta Trinitas as follows.
Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offerimus in memoriam passionis, resurrectionis et ascensionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi: et in honorem beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis, et sancti Joannis Baptistæ, et omnium cælestium virtutum, et omnium sanctorum qui tibi placuerunt ab initio mundi; ut illis proficiat ad honorem, nobis autem ad salutem: et ut illi omnes pro nobis et pro cunctis fidelibus vivis et defunctis orare dignentur in cælis, quorum memoriam facimus in terris. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Receive, o holy Trinity, this offering, which we offer to Thee in memory of the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honor of the blessed Mary ever-Virgin, and of Saint John the Baptist, and all of the heavenly powers, of all the Saints who have pleased you from the beginning of the world, that it may profit unto their honor, and to our salvation; and that all those whose memory we keep on earth, may deign to pray in Heaven for us and for all the faithful, living and deceased. That livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.
In spiritu humilitatis is not said. The Orate fratres is labelled in the rubric “The priest’s supplication to the people.” “Orate, fratres, pro me peccatore: ut meum pariter ac vestrum in conspectu Domini sit acceptum sacrificium. – Pray for me, a sinner, brethren, that my sacrifice, which is equally yours, may be accepted in the sight of the Lord.” The people’s response begins with words taken from the prayer by which the celebrant blesses the deacon before he sings the Gospel. “Dominus sit in corde tuo et in ore tuo; suscipiatque Dominus Deus de manibus tuis sacrificium istud, et orationes tuæ ascendant in memoriam ante Deum pro nostra et totius populi salute. – May the Lord be in thy heart and in thy mouth, and may the Lord God receive this sacrifice from thy hands, and may thy prayers ascend in remembrance before God, for our salvation and that of all the people.”

The same Orate fratres and response to it are found in the Use of the Cistercians, an order contemporary with the Premonstratensian; the offertory of the Cistercian and Carthusian Missals will be described in the next article in this series.

A page of the 1578 Premonstratensian Missal. The Offertory prayers are on the left side, and various intonations of the Gloria, with the corresponding Ite, missa est, on the right. Pre-modern liturgical books were often printed with a surprising lack of logic in ordering the material. At the bottom, the Roman Offertory prayers were written in after the Romanization of the Premonstratensian liturgical books (in ink, again.)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fota VII Liturgy Conference 2014: Second Report

This concludes the series of reports on the Fota VII liturgical conference recently held in Cork, Ireland by the St. Colman Society for Catholic Liturgy. The first report may be read here. For links to some videos of the liturgical celebrations, and the fine music provided by the Lassus Scholars at these events, click here.

Sunday’s Mass
The Pontifical High Mass was preceded by the celebration of the office of Terce, during which the Bishop was vested at the throne. The Ordinary for the Mass was Pier Luigi da Palestrina’s Missa Tu es Petrus (1572) with the Propers taken from the Choralis Constantinus of Heinrich Isaac (c. 1455-1517), Kappelmeister to the Imperial Court at Innsbruck. The Ecce Sacerdos Magnus at the entrance of the Bishop, and the Te Deum at the end of Mass were by Tomás Luis de Victoria. The music was prepared and sung by the Lassus Scholars, Dublin, under the direction of Dr. Ite O'Donovan. The Organist was Dr. Peter McKeever.

Manfred Hauke, Lugano
The Deacon and Ministerial Action in the Person of Christ. Fruits of the Recent Discussion on the Specific Profile of Sacramental Diaconate

The presentation was based on the Motu proprio Omnium in mentem (2009) which introduces a modification of the Codex of Canon Law on the difference between the bishop and the priest, at one side, and the deacon, at the other side. According to this change the bishop and the priest act in the person of Christ the Head, whereas the deacon acts in the person of Christ the Servant. The Motu proprio, however, does not state that the precedent formulations were false, but it wants to refer to the text on the diaconate in the Second Vatican Council (Lumen gentium 29). This modification, which corresponds to some similar changes also in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, poses the systematic question whether also the deacon represents Christ the Head of the Church or even whether he belongs to the Sacrament of Orders, if he does not act in the person of Christ.

The conference describes the action of the deacon in the person of Christ according to the Church Fathers and discusses the systematic topic of the headship of Christ represented by Holy Orders, referred to the deacon. The diverse participation in the same Sacrament manifests itself in the fact that certain functions of the ordained ministry are restricted to the priest, especially the consecration of Eucharist and sacramental absolution. The analysis of the participation of ordained ministers in the three offices of Christ and in the action of Christ as Head of the Church shows different accents which have favored the formulation of the Motu proprio Omnium in mentem.

The attributions of “servant” to the deacon and “head” to the bishop and priest are comparable with the appropriations in Trinitarian theology (God Father as Creator and the Holy Spirit as Sanctifier, for instance), but they cannot be accepted as determination of the specific essence of the three grades of Holy Orders. The action in the person of Christ the Head does not imply only functions of leadership (which in the deacon are less accentuated than in the bishop and the priest), but also the mediation of divine life and divine truth. For this reason, the modifications of the Codex of Canon Law and of some texts in the Catechism of the Catholic Church are compatible with the precedent formulations that the deacon, according to his grade, acts in the person of Christ the Head.

Dieter Böhler SJ
Levi’s Temple Service and the Messiah according to Luke

This conference investigates the meaning and importance attributed by Luke to the Temple in Jerusalem and its Levitical cult for the Messiah and his messianic activity in Israel. First it explores how Luke portrays the Temple in Jerusalem as the centre of Jesus’ teaching activity, the house of God, which Jesus claims for himself as the teacher of Israel, for God, his Father and as a house of prayer for God’s people. No other Gospel concentrates Jesus’ life and activity in the sanctuary of Israel as Luke does. But it is not just concerned with the temple as a building. Israel’s liturgy which is celebrated in this sanctuary - the Levitical cult - as prescribed in the Torah of Moses is the narrative frame of Luke’s Gospel into which he inserts his account of the life of Jesus right from his birth and childhood until his death and resurrection.

Old Testament liturgy is the framework around which Luke describes the life and activity of Jesus as Israel’s Messiah. In Luke’s account, Jesus hands this biblical cult over to his disciples before he himself ascends to heaven and returns to his Father. That is why Luke shows us the Apostles in the Acts of the Apostles going up to the temple for prayer at the hour of sacrifice whenever they are in Jerusalem. They reclaim their place in Israel’s temple and temple liturgy.

Christian liturgy, according to Luke in the Gospel and later in the Acts of the Apostles, is a kind of continuation of Israel’s Levitical service, Israel’s God-given liturgy enriched with the mysteries of Christ which Luke filled into this Old Testament temple service. Just as the Christian Easter is a combination of the Jewish Passover and the paschal mystery of Christ, so too, Christ’s mysteries filled into the memory of the Exodus during the Last Supper, enriching - not replacing - the older content of the feast. In the same way, Christian liturgy is the divine service of the Old Testament enriched with Christ’s paschal mystery.

Rev Dr Thomas J McGovern
John Paul II and his teaching on priesthood in persona Christi

This paper examines the relationship between the mission of the priest and the priesthood of Christ. The priest shares in Christ’s consecration and mission through the sacrament of Holy Orders. Participation in the priesthood of Christ consists in a configuration with Christ the Head of the Church. Consecration is an essential element of priestly ordination by means of which the priest is transformed into a persona sacra (sacred person) and is endowed with the sacra potestas (sacred power).

Discussion of the role of the priest as shepherd of souls leads on logically to a consideration of the concept of pastoral charity. In the case of the priest, charity is qualified as pastoral charity, an interior dynamic which impels him to follow Christ as the Good Shepherd. John Paul II pays particular attention to this characteristic of the priest in his apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, which is a participation in Christ’s own love for the Church. The idea of the Headship of Christ is an important key for understanding the specific nature of pastoral charity. The expression in persona Christi Capitis (in the person of Christ the Head) emphasises the very close relationship between the priest and Jesus Christ.

Pastoral Charity can also be viewed as an expression of the priest’s spousal love for the Church. John Paul II also sees this love for the Church under the prism of ‘gift of self’. This gift, he says, has no limits, marked as it is by the same apostolic commitment, the total gift of self to the Church, following the example of Christ. Ordination enables the priest to act in persona Christi, the ultimate source of the dignity of the priest. Acting in the person of Christ, he is the mediator of the message of salvation, and the means to achieve holiness. 

Sunday evening

Cardinal Burke marked the publication and launch of “Celebrating the Eucharist – Communion and Sacrifice” – the proceedings of V Fota International Liturgical Conference. The text of his address is posted here.

Msgr Andrea Bellandi
Fundamental Characteristics of Priestly Ministry as outlined in the writings of Joseph Ratzinger

These writings extend from the years immediately preceding the Second Vatican Council to the election of Joseph Ratzinger to the Chair of Peter. The reason for the ordained ministry, as well as its meaning and development, cannot be understood without original and immediate reference to the person and ministry of Christ. This is Ratzinger’s starting point and the decisive horizon within which he examines the nature of the priesthood, its function within the Church, and its correct exercise from a pastoral point of view. This would all seem obvious – but it is not. The various images of the priest which have arisen over the course of time – and which also arise today – would tend to confirm this.

According to Ratzinger, an adequate reply to the question “who is the priest?” can only be given after a profound scrutiny of the person of Christ, and especially of his revelatory dynamic, following in this the testimony of the New Testament writers. Firstly, the absolute originality of Christ is not something internally contradictory to God’s plan of revelation. Rather, it is its completion and fulfilment. In this way, the cultic-priestly dimension is not abolished in Christ, rather it is perfected and brought to fulfilment in him. It is in this light that the Letter to the Hebrews understands its theology of the mediation of Christ as a theology of the priesthood of Christ.

A second aspect, which is an essential attribute of the person of Christ, is his being in a state total relationship with the Father: “He who sees me, sees the Father” (John 14:9). He is “the one sent” by the Father. The structure of Christ’s mission is completely relational, because, and even more radically, in it this relational state is expressed at an ontological level: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). It is the Father who acts in everything that he does.

Finally, the Son of God, made man – if we recall Dei Verbum 4 – accomplishes his revelatory work tota Sui ipsius praesentia ac manifestatione, thus, in his words and deeds, of which the Paschal Mystery is the highest summit. In this regard, the proclamation of the Word always has a “sacramental” dynamic, that is, an efficacious Word, which realizes the salvation which it proclaims. Christ’s salvific death constitutes both the definitive act of God’s love made manifest in Christ and the definitive and total expression of all revelation. These three dimensions of Christ’s work of revelation would appear to define in a determining manner that particular task which, from the very first apostolic nucleus, was transmitted to the later Church and which took the form of the ministerial priesthood.

Prof Stefan Heid
The Altar as Centre of Prayer and Priesthood in the Early Church

The altar as the place of prayer and sacrifice is the center-piece of this exposition, reviewing a number of principles, which for centuries determined the image and self-understanding of the priest at the altar.

In addition, patristic, liturgical, and archeological sources of the early and pre-scholastic Church are analyzed, though with an important restriction, namely, that solely the ritual and visual aspects, that is, liturgy and art, are examined, leaving out themes such as the theology of the Holy Mass.

For this reason, the ritually rich offertory, for example, is discussed in depth while the consecration will only be mentioned in passing, since during the first millenium it was not yet ritually marked by the elevation.

A further qualification is that, at least for priests, the present considerations will hardly offer something new. In a period of time, however, in which even those things which were self-understood have become uncertain and threaten to disappear from their central place in the life of the Church, it will do no harm to assess the matter once again on the basis of the Norma Patrum, without making a case for archeologism.


Participants at VII Fota International Liturgical Conference attended a First Mass of Thanksgiving offered by the newly ordained Chanoine Louis Poucin de Wouilt in the presence of Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. The Ordinary for the Mass was Palestrina’s Missa Æterna Christi Munera. The music was prepared and sung by the Lassus Scholars, Dublin, under the direction of Dr. Ite O'Donovan. The Organist was Dr. Peter McKeever.

Book Review: Tales of Glory, the Stories Icons Tell

Tales of Glory: The Stories Icons Tell.  Matthew W. Gaul, Phoenix, AZ: Leonine Publishers, 2013. 176 pp.

On July 15th, the Ukrainian Church celebrated the feast of St. Volodymir, Equal-to-the-Apostles, and on that day I told my daughters the well known legend of how the saint decided what religion to establish among the Rus'.  Having sent emissaries to various monotheistic religions, St. Volodymir heard the reports from each.  It was the emissaries returning from Constantinople, in the end, who carried the day.  They declared:
The Greeks led us to the edifices where they worship their God, and we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendour or such beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We know only that God dwells there among men, and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations. For we cannot forget that beauty. Every man, after tasting something sweet, is afterward unwilling to accept that which is bitter, and therefore we cannot dwell longer here.
The author of this book, Tales of Glory, had a similar experience when he walked into the the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of St. Nicholas in Watervliet, NY.
St. Nicholas Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
Watervliet, NY
 Mr. Gaul describes his experience in the preface to this unique book:
When I first arrived at St. Nicholas, I felt hesitant and even unworthy, for the presence of God was so obvious that I almost did not know how to handle it.  It was an honor simply to be let in the door....The overwhelming glory of the Lord shines forth in the beauty of the chant and icons, in the passionate language of the texts, and in the humble reverence of the kisses and prostrations.
Having had such a profound experience, Mr. Gaul wrote this book as a way to make that experience accessible to others.  In Tales of Glory, he takes the reader through a visual tour of St. Nicholas Church.  The book is laid out according to the structure of the parish.  Chapter one offers a consideration of the vault and the sanctuary, chapter two the iconostasis, then the side shrines, the feasts and scenes depicted along the sides of the vault, and at last a considerations of the icons on the walls of the nave.  As the reader pages through this treasure, he is given a little taste of that glory that converted the Rus' and astounded Mr. Gaul and many a visitor since.

Fundamentally, this book is an evangelical book.  The reader is offered vibrant pictures of each icon in the Church, and then the author adorns these pictures with the liturgical chant that surrounds them during the Liturgy celebrated within that temple.  Thus, whenever an icon is discussed, Mr. Gaul offers us a sidebar with an appropriate liturgical text, so that we march not only through the physical space of the Byzantine temple, but also are carried through the time of the liturgical year.
This page depicts the evangelists Matthew and Mark, with the side bar noting their respective feast days and quoting the Troparion for each saint. 
 Mr. Gaul also takes the time to explain, where applicable, the reason for the placement of the given icons.  Thus, for the evangelists, he offers:
Although the Church has a vault ceiling, the images of the evangelists are painted where the pendentives would be in a domed church.  Architecturally, the pendentives hold up the weight of the dome, and thus the placement of the evangelists reminds us that they support the weight of the Church.
Throughout the book, Mr. Gaul also offers other aids to the reader, so as to enable us to better enter into the spirituality of these icons.  At the beginning of each chapter, he offers us a picture of the part of the Church in question, and then offers a patristic quote to help frame our meditations. For example, the following page on the iconostasis introduces Pseudo-Dionysius' writing from The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. Like Pseudo-Dionysius, the reader is invited to penetrate the meaning of the veiled symbol, the revealing screen, so as to comprehend the invisible mysteries.

  At the end of the book, the author includes an index of feasts so that one may read this book in the order of the liturgical year.  As the appropriate feast arises, one can flip to the back of the book and discover what images to contemplate throughout the year.  Also included is a helpful glossary for readers who may not be familiar with some of the technical words of the Eastern tradition.  Combined with the helpful guidance Mr. Gaul offers the reader in interpreting the actual icons themselves and his translation notes which invite the reader to delight with him in the vibrancy of the liturgical language, the book is both easy to use and a beautiful introduction to the liturgical use of icons in the Byzantine tradition.  For those who would like a more thorough preview, you can look at these sample pages.  

One thing to be kept in mind, however, is the goal of the book.  It is an evangelical work, written by an amateur in the truest since of the word.  Mr. Gaul is an amateur, that is, one motivated by love and not by profession or profit.  He wishes the reader to enter into his love affair with the Byzantine icons and their liturgical use.  As a result, readers hoping to find detailed considerations proper to art historians or experts in the development and theology of the icon should look elsewhere. And while Mr. Gaul will occasionally reference particular theological questions: donations for sacred art in relation to charity for the poor, the role of glossalia in the Church, etc. readers will be disappointed if they expect adequate treatment of those debates.

If instead, however, a reader wants crisp images of lovely parish icons arranged according to a liturgical devotional order in an attempt to recreate the wondrous experience of attending a Byzantine liturgy in a well-adorned temple, all well bound and capable of serving as an elegant coffee-table book, than look no further.  And perhaps, as is Mr. Gaul's hope, Tales of Glory will rise from your coffee table and become an evangelical invitation to both the already converted and those still awaiting the Gospel, to breath that incense filled air of Eastern spirituality, and to ascend through the images of grace, on a journey to the Word that all icons speak.