Friday, August 26, 2016

EWTN Interviews Fr Cassian Folsom about the Recent Earthquake

On last night’s edition of the EWTN news program The World Over, anchor Raymond Arroyo interviewed by telephone Fr Cassian Folsom, prior of the Benedicine Monks of Norcia, about the recent earthquake in central Italy. The epicenter of the 6.2 magnitude quake was fairly close by, but Norcia itself saw no casualties; other communities in the area were hit much harder, and the death toll is now over 270 persons. Fr Cassian explains that his community has temporarily transferred to the Benedictine house of Sant’Anselmo in Rome, and gives an account of the damage to the church and monastery; the basilica of St Benedict will be unusable for the next year, but there has been as of yet no definitely assessment of the condition of the monastery. (The brewery has not been damaged.) The reportage on the earthquake begins at 6:06.


Click here to visit the monks’ website, where you can find also information about supporting the repair efforts.

“Missa Dulcis Amica Dei,” St. Louis Church, Pittsford, New York

Saint Louis parish in Pittsford, New York (Diocese of Rochester), highlighted the musical legacy of its patron saint with a patronal feast-day Missa Cantata on August 25th, featuring music from the Sainte-Chapelle, the shrine built by St. Louis IX to house the Crown of Thorns and a piece of the True Cross. A schola led by Dr. Aaron James sang the “Missa Dulcis amica Dei” by Pierre Certon, the master of the choristers at Sainte-Chapelle from 1536 to 1572. The music was newly transcribed from its sixteenth-century sources for this occasion. Father Peter Mottola, parochial vicar, was the celebrant.

More Good News from Scotland

In addition to the pilgrimage which we reported on yesterday, here is some more good news from the church in Scotland. A regular reader writes to let us know of an ordination which took place on the feast of the Assumption at St Andrew’s Cathedral in the diocese of Dunkeld, followed by the First Mass of the newly ordained priest, Fr Ninian Doohan, at the church of the Immaculate Conception in Dundee. “One of the most beautiful ordinations in the Ordinary Form I have witnessed.” Our heartiest congratulations to Fr Doohan! And likewise, thanks to His Excellency Bishop Stephen Robson, the Ordinary of Dunkeld, for his support of the traditional liturgy in Scotland, as will be seen from the photos below.

I have not yet received permission to download and reproduce the photos from the website of the diocese, but you can see pictures of the ordination here, and those of the First Mass here.

The following Saturday, Fr Doohan celebrated a Solemn EF High Mass at the church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Glasgow.





On Sunday the 21st, Bishop Robson confirmed three children in the traditional rite, after which Fr Doohan celebrated a Solemn High Mass in the presence of a greater prelate. The assistant priest was Fr Anthony Mary and the deacon Fr Magdala Mary, both of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, and the sub-deacon Fr Mark Morris. The High Mass vestments were donated by Una Voce Scotland to Father Ninian upon his ordination. (The following photographs courtesy of Mr Martin Gardner; click here to see the whole set.)


The famous Confirmation slap!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

NLM Quiz no. 18: What Is This, and Why Is It On the Grounds of a Church? - The Answer

It has been several months since our last quiz, so as a reminder of our regular procedure: Please give your answer in the combox, along with any and all details you think pertinent to it. To keep it more interesting, please leave your answer before reading the other comments. We are always pleased to hear humorous answers as well. The structure you see in the photo below is certainly old, but not broken, and not part of a ruin.


The Answer : This object is called a mounting block, made to help people get on and off horseback when they arrive at the church. The church in question is a very ancient parish church dedicated to St Brynach, in the village of Nevern, Pembrokeshire, in south-western Wales. The block was built in the 18th century, and there is apparently only one other in the region. Thanks to Fr Nicholas Schofield for sharing these photos. Correct answers were given by Jose, Exoniensis, Don Adrian, (with a slight qualification: it’s not just for a bishop), David Peters and Bob Eccles, the latter two on our Facebook page.


As I suspected would be the case, this one really brought out some great submissions for the Best Wildly Incorrect Answer and Best Humorous Answer prizes, which we try to include in every quiz. The former is shared by those who guessed that the ten steps (five up, five down) had something to do with counting the Aves of a decade the Rosary: wouldn’t fingers be easier? Niall deserves an Honorable Mention for guessing that it was an architectural “folly”, i.e. a purely decorative structure which serves no purpose; follies tend to be a great deal more than five steps and a wall.

In many of these quizzes, the Best Humorous Answer has been very difficult to judge, and this was no exception. Variants on the “StairMaster” and winners’ podium themes were good, but slightly too obvious, and in the end, Will Bloomfield takes it with “Two-thirds of a small bridge built in the wrong spot,” the “two-thirds” being just the right touch. Thanks to everyone who submitted an answer!

A New Annual Pilgrimage Inaugurated in Scotland

Our thanks to Mr Mark Hamid, the director of the newly instituted Two Shrines Pilgrimage, for sending us this description of what will hopefully become a regular and flourishing part of the Church’s devotional life in Scotland, and to Mr Martin Gardner for the use of his photographs. Those are interested can contact the organizers about attending or supporting the pilgrimage at the following e-mail address: the2shrines@gmail.com. You can also visit their Facebook page.

Scotland’s inaugural Two Shrines Pilgrimage took place this month from August 6-8. The walk, which began at the National Shrine of St Andrew in St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, and concluded at the site of the pre-Reformation shrine to Scotland’s patron in St Andrew’s Cathedral, St Andrews, was undertaken for the particular intention of the conversion of Scotland. Inspired by the Chartres Pilgrimage, the event incorporated daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form, accompanied by traditional devotions.



The pilgrimage began with a Missa Cantata celebrated at the Lady Altar in St Mary’s Cathedral by the chaplain to the pilgrimage, Fr Anthony Mary of the Transalpine Redemptorists. Fr Anthony Mary is the chaplain of the Latin Mass Chaplaincy in Christchurch, New Zealand, but joined the pilgrimage from his regular (northern) summer visit to the Transalpine Redemptorists’ principal community on the island of Papa Stronsay, Orkney, accompanied by two of his brethren.



After the traditional blessing for pilgrims was given at the shrine, the chapter headed out of Edinburgh towards South Queensferry to cross the Firth of Forth; this is now possible using the Forth Road Bridge, but in mediaeval times pilgrims used a ferry endowed in the twelfth-century by Scotland’s queen St Margaret, secondary patron of the nation and a particular focus of the first day of the pilgrimage. The pilgrims then walked into Dunfermline, St Margaret’s town, where they received a blessing with her relic before taking dinner and retiring for the evening.

photo by Mark Hamid
The second day, the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, began with a Missa Cantata celebrated in St Margaret’s Church, after which, the pilgrims walked through south Fife, a former mining area, before arriving at Scotlandwell, notable for its holy well which was itself a former site of pilgrimage. The pilgrims then ascended the Bishop’s Hill, in spite of extremely high winds, before crossing the Lomond Hills to arrive at Falkland for the evening. There a Holy Hour in support of the pilgrimage had taken place in the Chapel Royal of Falkland Palace, led by Bishop Stephen Robson of Dunkeld. The palace chapel is the only Catholic Chapel Royal in Scotland, and probably the only one in the Commonwealth. This unusual situation arose through the keepership of the palace by the Crichton-Stuart family, at one point lead by the enthusiastic John, 3rd Marquess of Bute, who was a generous benefactor to the Catholic Church in Scotland in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Indeed, it was his wish that the cathedral in St Andrews be brought back into Catholic ownership and restored to its former glory but, alas, this never came to fruition.

Arriving at St Andrews

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Prayers for Norcia and Environs

By now, I am sure that majority of our readers have heard of the major earthquake that struck central Italy last night, registering 6.4 on the Richter scale, with its epicenter close to Norcia, the birthplace of St Benedict, and home of the famous Monks of Norcia. Two small towns in the area, Amatrice and Accumoli, have been very badly hit, with over 70 fatalities, and a great many more injuries. Norcia itself was shaken up, but the damage has been fairly light, and the monks are all safe; many of the decorations in their church and the bell-towers were damaged. However, there have been so many aftershocks, some of them quite notable, that the community have just posted on their Facebook page their intention to temporarily transfer to Rome, until the condition of their buildings can be fully assessed, and necessary repairs made.

The Patron Saint of nearby Ascoli Piceno, St Emygdius, a bishop and martyr of the persecution of Diocletian, has long been invoked by the Italians against earthquakes, and was so renowned for this devotion that his feast on August 9th was also adopted by several Californian dioceses. These prayers from First Vespers of his proper Office would be appropriate way to ask that Italy be spared any further harm from this event; I have added the prayer against earthquakes from the Roman Missal.


Aña : Emygdius spiritu oris sui idolorum cultum et templa subvertit; quos in Christo genuit filios, illos fideliter a ruinis terraemotus servavit.
V. Amavit eum Dominus et ornavit eum. R. Stolam gloriae induit eum.
Oremus. Oratio Deus, qui beátum Emygdium, Mártyrem tuum atque Pontíficem, idolórum victória et miraculórum glória decorásti: concéde propítius; ut, eo interveniénte, malórum spirítuum fraudes víncere et coruscáre virtútibus mereámur.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, “qui respicis terram, et facis eam tremere”: parce metuentibus, propitiare supplicibus; ut, cujus iram terræ fundamenta concutientem expavimus, clementiam contritiones ejus sanantem jugiter sentiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Aña : Emygdius by the breath of his mouth overthrew the worship of idols and the temples; he faithfully kept the sons whom he had begotten in Christ from the ruin of the earthquake.
V. The Lord loved him and adorned him. R. He clothed him with a robe of glory.
Let us pray. Prayer O God, who didst honor the blessed Emygdius, Thy Martyr and Bishop, with victory over idols and the glory of miracles: grant in Thy mercy, that by his intervention, we may merit to overcome the deceits of wicked spirits, and shine forth with virtues.
Almighty and everlasting God, Who lookest down upon the earth and makest it tremble, spare those who are afraid, show Thy mercy to those who implore Thee; that we who fear Thine anger, which shaketh the foundations of the earth, may evermore enjoy Thy mercy, which healeth its commotions. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Society for Catholic Liturgy - L.A. Conference - Registration Deadline Sept. 6

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, September 6th

The Liturgy and the New Evangelization
September 29 - October 1, 2016

We hope you'll be able to join us for the Society for Catholic Liturgy's Annual Conference held this year at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles, California.

Click here to register: http://liturgysociety.org/conference/.

The conference schedule, speaker bios, and helpful travel information are also available at the conference website.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

“Liturgical Life and the Priesthood” - A New Talk by Card. Sarah

Earlier today, His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, gave the following address to the clergy of the Archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on “Liturgical Life and the Priesthood.” In it, he offers a beautiful series of reflections on the liturgical formation of the clergy, and their duty to impart both knowledge and love for the Church’s prayer to the faithful. We are honored and very grateful to His Eminence for sharing this talk exclusively with New Liturgical Movement.

Cardinal Sarah speaking last month at the Sacra Liturgia UK Conference
Your Eminence, Your Excellencies, dear brothers in the priesthood of Jesus Christ:

Firstly I must thank my brother, His Eminence, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, for his kind invitation to visit your country and for his warm welcome to Colombo. It is a great joy to be able to spend some days here in your country—a country that has been richly blessed by Almighty God in its natural beauty and in the gracious hospitality for which your people are so well known.

It is a particular joy, and a privilege, to meet today with you, my dear brothers in the priesthood. For although I have been called to the episcopal ministry and serve also as a cardinal, in all of my life I continue to look back on the date of the 20th of July 1969: the day of my priestly ordination just over 47 years ago. Every day since then, even in moments of danger or of suffering, it has been a grace and a singular privilege to be a priest of Jesus Christ. Dear Fathers, dear brothers in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, what goodness Almighty God has shown us! What graces has he given us! Never, ever forget the day of your priestly ordination no matter what trials come, no matter how impossible challenges you face may be, nor however illness or old age may weigh upon you.

Cardinal Ranjith ordains one of the 13 new priests of the Archdiocese of Colombo on April 11th of this year, in the Cathedral of St Lucia. (From the archdiocese’s website.)
Of course, the grace of priestly ordination would never have been possible if the day of my Holy Baptism had never occurred—and for me, in northern Guinea, that was not something that could be taken for granted: I was born into an animist family who first heard the Gospel from French missionaries of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, and to them I owe a profound debt of gratitude. To their missionary and priestly zeal I owe the fact that my family became Christian.

My brothers, let us never forget that before we are ordained, we are baptised. This may sound a little strange, but sometimes it is easy for us priests to think and behave as if we are a caste somehow ‘above’ those who are not ordained. That is not correct. We are first and foremost baptised Christians for whom all of the duties of Christian life apply. Let us remember the injunction of Pope St. Leo the Great (400-461) which is cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1691):
Christian, recognize your dignity and, now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return to your former base condition by sinning. Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of God.
St. Augustine (354-430), in his Sermon on the anniversary of his ordination, reminded us of this important truth:
This burden of mine, you see, about which I am now speaking, what else is it, after all, but you? Pray for strength for me, just as I pray that you may not be too heavy. I mean, the Lord Jesus would not have called his burden light, if he was not going to carry it together with its porter. But you too must all support me, so that according to the Apostle’s instructions we may carry one another’s burdens, and in this way fulfill the law of Christ (Gal 6:2). If Christ does not carry it with us, we collapse; if he does not carry us, we keel over and die. What terrifies me is what I am for you; I am comforted by what I am with you. I am a bishop for you; with you, after all, I am a Christian. The first is the name of an office undertaken, the second is a name of grace; the first one means danger, the second, salvation. In the first one, I am tossed about by the storms, as if in the open sea, but in the second, I enter a safe harbour by tranquil recollection of the one by whose blood I have been redeemed; and while toiling away at my office, I take rest in the marvellous benefit conferred on all of us in common. If, therefore, I find greater pleasure in having been redeemed together with you than having been placed in charge, then, as the Lord has commanded, I will more fully be your servant, grateful for the price which makes me worthy to be your fellow servant. (Sermon 340)
We cannot be faithful to our priestly vocation if we are not first faithful to our baptismal vocation! And, as reminded by St. Augustine, our priestly vocation is to be of service to the baptised, to minister to our brothers and sisters as an alter Christus, indeed as ipse Christus, as Christ himself, “who did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt. 20,28). Today I would like to share some reflections with you about that particular ministry which is our privilege and duty as priests of our Lord Jesus Christ.

WHAT IS THE CHURCH? WHAT IS A PRIEST?

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has often observed that the Church is not an N.G.O. It follows from this that we priests are not executive officers or social workers or volunteers trying to do good things in society. What then is the Church? What is a priest?

The Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, teaches that Almighty God “planned to assemble in the holy Church all those who would believe in Christ” (n. 2) and that:
The Son, therefore, came, sent by the Father. It was in Him, before the foundation of the world, that the Father chose us and predestined us to become adopted sons, for in Him it pleased the Father to re-establish all things (cf. Eph. 1:4-5, 10). To carry out the will of the Father, Christ inaugurated the Kingdom of heaven on earth and revealed to us the mystery of that kingdom. By His obedience He brought about redemption. The Church, or, in other words, the kingdom of Christ now present in mystery, grows visibly through the power of God in the world. This inauguration and this growth are both symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of a crucified Jesus (cf. Jn 19:34), and are foretold in the words of the Lord referring to His death on the Cross: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself" (Jn 12:32). As often as the sacrifice of the cross in which Christ our Passover was sacrificed, is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried on, and, in the sacrament of the Eucharistic bread, the unity of all believers who form one body in Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 10:17) is both expressed and brought about. All men are called to this union with Christ, who is the light of the world, from whom we go forth, through whom we live, and toward whom our whole life strains (n. 3).
What then is the Church? It is the assembly—the ecclesia—of all who believe in Christ, to which all men are called by Almighty God. And at the heart of the ecclesia is “the sacrifice of the cross in which Christ our Passover was sacrificed...celebrated on the altar” which both expresses and brings about the Church’s unity. Please note that this “unity” is not a consensus formed amongst those present as at a human meeting. No, the unity of the Church is “union with Christ, who is the light of the world, from whom we go forth, through whom we live, and toward whom our whole life strains.”

So the Holy Father is very right to insist that the Church is not an N.G.O. Rather, the Church is the Family of God (Ep. 2: 19-21) and the People of God called together by Him so as to be nourished by His Eucharistic Sacrifice in order that she might be a true light to the nations and realise her mission “to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church” (Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 1).

My brothers, we cannot underestimate the importance of this teaching. The very first words of St John Paul II’s encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia (17 April 2003) put it succinctly: “The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church.” (n. 1)

In other words, the Church is essentially Eucharistic, which means that the Church is essentially liturgical. The Holy Eucharist and the Sacred Liturgy are not ‘extras’ added on to Christianity: they are part of its very fabric, they are of its very essence. One cannot truly be Christian without participation in the Church’s liturgical life of worship, at the heart of which is the Eucharistic Sacrifice. We remember the wonderful and touching testimony of the 42 African martyrs who died at the time of the Emperor Diocletian for violating the laws forbidding the celebration of Holy Mass. They clearly testified: “non poteram, quoniam sine Dominico non possumus”.

This, then, clarifies our second question: What are priests? The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Ministry and life of Priests, Presbyterorum Ordinis (7 December 1965) states that they are men who, “by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are signed with a special character and are conformed to Christ the Priest in such a way that they can act in the person of Christ the Head” (n. 2). The Decree continues:
[Priests] perform the sacred duty of preaching the Gospel, so that the offering of the people can be made acceptable and sanctified by the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Cor. 4:7). Through the apostolic proclamation of the Gospel, the People of God are called together and assembled. All belonging to this people, since they have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit, can offer themselves as "a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God" (Rom 12:1). Through the ministry of the priests, the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is made perfect in union with the sacrifice of Christ. He is the only mediator who in the name of the whole Church is offered sacramentally in the Eucharist and in an unbloody manner until the Lord himself comes (cf. Eph 3:9.). The ministry of priests is directed to this goal and is perfected in it. Their ministry, which begins with the evangelical proclamation, derives its power and force from the sacrifice of Christ. Its aim is that "the entire commonwealth of the redeemed and the society of the saints be offered to God through the High Priest who offered himself also for us in his passion that we might be the body of so great a Head" (Roman Pontifical [1962] on the ordination of priests).
And so, if the Church is essentially Eucharistic and therefore essentially liturgical, so too it is clear that the priest is above all a minister of the Holy Eucharist, a man set aside for liturgical ministry. The priest is, therefore, first and foremost homo liturgicus—a liturgical being. Whilst this is also true of all of the baptised—to be a Christian is to be a liturgical being—I think that it is clear from what we have read from the Second Vatican Council, that this is true in a particular and specific way of those of us who, by God’s unmerited grace, have been called by the Church to the ordained priesthood and who have been set aside as ministers of Christ’s Word and Sacrament for the service benefit of all of Christ’s faithful.

Let us therefore take some time now to consider the liturgical life of priest.

EF Mass for the Exaltation of the Cross in the Bronx

On September 14, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, an EF Solemn High Mass will be offered at 7:30 p.m. at Church of the Holy Rosary in Northeast Bronx. This will be the first time an EF Mass is celebrated at Holy Rosary, and also a fitting way to mark the 9th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum coming into effect. Fr. Jean-Paul Soler of St. Clement-St. Michael’s Parish in Staten Island will be the celebrant. In addition to the chant Propers, music by Byrd, Tallis, and Morales will be sung.

Fr. Soler will give a talk on the EF Mass on the previous Wednesday, September 7 at 7:30 p.m., also at Holy Rosary. All are welcome to both events; the church would especially like to extend this invitation to youths and young families in the Bronx and the nearby suburbs. The church is located at 1510 Adee Avenue, Bronx, New York; the web address is www.holyrosarybronx.org. The church has a parking lot, and is also accessible by public transit.


Monday, August 22, 2016

The Basilica of the Assumption on Torcello Island

The large lagoon at the top of the Adriatic Sea which is called “Venetian” from its most famous site and city also contains more than 60 other islands. There are several hidden treasures among them, one of the most interesting of which is the island of Torcello, about seven-and-a-half miles to the northeast of the city. An episcopal see was established on the island in the 7th century, and although it was suppressed two centuries ago, its cathedral remains, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, whose octave is today. (The entire lagoon, including Venice itself, has suffered from a notable decline in population over the last several decades, and the group of islands which includes Torcello is now in the parish of nearby Burano.)

Our good friends of the Schola Sainte Cécile are currently wrapping up a pilgrimage to Venice, Italy, joined by our Ambrosian expert Nicola de’ Grandi, who took these photos of this wonderful reminder of Venice’s long association with Byzantium and Byznatine art.

Mosaic of the Virgin Mary in the main apse, second half of the twelth century; the Apostles in the band below are about a century older.
Many churches within the former Republic of Venice ignored some of the common changes in church architecture which developed in the Counter-Reformation period, such as the removal of rood screens.
Last Judgment on the counterfaçade, also twelfth century. 
To the right of main apse, the mosaic of this secondary apse shows Christ the Pantocrator, with Saints Ambrose, Augustine, Martin of Tours and Gregory the Wonderworker beneath; the presence of St Gregory is another example of the strong Byzantine influence in Venice and environs. 
The pulpit on the left side of the rood screen,

Traditional Liturgy Reflects the Dignity and Beauty of the Virgin Mary

On this octave day of the Assumption, we may meditate with profit on a remarkable medieval poem to Our Lady, "Ave rosa sine spinis," which (in typically clever and pious fashion) takes the words of the angelic salutation and weaves the remaining words around them:
1  AVE rosa sine spinis,
Te quam Pater in divinis
Majestate sublimavit,
Et ab omni vae servavit.

2  MARIA stella dicta maris,
Tu a Nato illustraris
Luce clara deitatis,
Qua praefulges cunctis datis.

3  GRATIA PLENA te perfecit
Spiritus Sanctus dum te fecit
Vas divinae bonitatis
Et totius pietatis.

4  DOMINUS TECUM: miro pacto
Verbo in te carne facto
Opere trini conditoris:
o quam dulce vas amoris.

5  BENEDICTA IN MULIERIBUS:
Hoc testatur omnis tribus;
Coeli dicunt te beatam
Et super omnes exaltatam.

6  ET BENEDICTUS FRUCTUS VENTRIS TUI,
Quo nos semper dona frui
Per praegustum hic aeternum
Et post mortem in aeternum:

7  Hunc, Virgo, salutis sensum,
Tuae laudis gratum pensum,
Conde tuo sinu pia,
Clemens sume, O Maria. Amen.
As I studied this text, I was struck by the way in which everything it says about the Blessed Virgin Mary applies analogously to the traditional liturgies (Eastern and Western) of the Church.

1. HAIL, Rose without thorns, thou whom the Father by His majesty in heaven hast elevated and preserved from all woe.

The organically developed liturgies of the Church deserve our veneration; they are splendid roses, beautiful in their symmetry, lushness, color, and fragrance of holiness, without the thorns of rationalism, utilitarianism, anthropocentrism, and other baneful ideologies.

2. MARY, known as the Star of the Sea, thou art illuminated by thy Son with the bright light of divinity, by which thou shinest bright with all thy gifts.

Over the rising and falling waves of tempestuous centuries, the liturgy has been like a fixed star, immutable in its apostolic essence but growing, expanding, in its expression of that sacred core, so that the light of Christ may shine forth ever more clearly and illuminate the world. This shining is undisturbed by the caliginous machinations of committees.

3. FULL OF GRACE: the Holy Spirit perfected thee when He made thee into a vessel of divine goodness and of all mercy.

The Holy Spirit is the principal agent of genuine liturgy and its gradual development from age to age. By His gentle brooding the Church's worship of God is perfected as a vessel of divine goodness and of all mercy, precluding the acceptance of radical rupture. How privileged we are to drink from this pellucid font!

4. THE LORD IS WITH THEE: the Word became flesh in thee in a wondrous way by the action of the Creator who is Three in One: O, how sweet is the vessel of love!

Through the liturgy, the Word becomes flesh in our midst, and O, how sweet is the pure vessel of this Eucharistic love! As with Mary, the traditional liturgy echoes and magnifies the Word of the Lord, without human compromise, without omitting the hard sayings, without deflecting adoration from the Real Presence and the mystery of the sovereign Sacrifice.

5. BLESSED ART THOU AMONGST WOMEN: all peoples bear witness to this. The heavens call thee blessed and high above all others.

How blessed among women is the Virgin in whom the Lord has done great things -- the marvel of His Incarnation! Blessed, too, among prayers, high above all others, is the solemn, objective, and rational worship of the Church's traditional liturgy, which exalts those who partake of it by lifting them above the private limits, idiosyncracies, and opinions of their age or place. All missionized peoples once bore witness to this universal blessing. May God grant it to be so in a future age.

6. AND BLESSED IS THE FRUIT OF THY WOMB: grant that we may enjoy Him always, as a foretaste here, and after death, eternally.

Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso . . . Our Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Victim, Altar, Thou givest Thyself to us in Holy Communion as the price of our redemption, the food of our pilgrimage, the earnest and foretaste of our eternal bliss! Canst Thou do anything more for us that Thou hast not already done? Thou art far more generous with us than we could ever deserve. We owe it to Thee to be faithful stewards of Thy manifold gifts, beginning and ending with the sacred liturgy, lest we be found unworthy servants who squandered Thy treasury.

7. O merciful virgin Mary, lay up in the holy refuge of thy Heart and mercifully receive this disposition to salvation and the pleasing duty of thy praise. Amen.

For us, the liturgy is a holy refuge, the heart of our Catholic life, where we raise up to God the sacrifice of praise and fulfill our vows to the Lord. By the Virgin's prayers may He graciously accept our oblation, which we offer in union with all the saints of the Catholic Church across the ages.

*          *          *
At least two composers set this poem to music: Ludwig Senfl (1486-1542), who set verses 1-6, and the much better known Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585), whose set all seven verses in a magnificent meditation that lasts some eleven minutes:



Saturday, August 20, 2016

Assumption Photopost 2016

Thank you to all the readers who sent in their photos for our Assumption photopost! Starting at the top, I’d like to take special note of a Mass at Fort Hood, a US military base in Texas; according to the organizers, it seems to be the first High Mass in about 45 years in a US Military Chapel. Additionally, EWTN’s Extraordinary Form focused show Extraordinary Faith was also present and did interviews before the Mass with the chaplains.

Fort Hood, Texas




Mater Ecclesiae Parish’s Assumption Mass
at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia




Talk on Way of Beauty, Lincoln, NE, August 26th

For anyone within striking distance of Lincoln, Nebraska, next Friday evening there will be a talk on the Way of Beauty at the Newman Center in Nebraska at 7 pm. This is the opening event for a Diocesan Sacred Music Clinic, run by Adam Bartlett and Matthew Meloche, that will take place the next day.


The talk is by yours truly, and I plan to discuss how the past experiences of successfully establishing traditions in sacred art, such as the introduction of the iconographic style to medieval Russia, demonstrate principles that can be used to introduce high quality and beautiful sacred music to congregations that might otherwise be resistant.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Providence Diocese Soon to Have Another Parish Offering TLM Every Sunday

Solemn Mass, Feast of the Assumption, 2014
Holy Ghost Church, Tiverton, R.I.
For many years, the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus in Providence, Rhode Island, has offered Holy Mass in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms every Sunday and holy day of obligation — the only diocesan parish in the Diocese of Providence to do so. That will soon change, thanks to liturgical liberalism (the good kind). Beginning Sunday, September 4th, the Church of the Holy Ghost in Tiverton will likewise offer the traditional Latin Mass (Missa Cantata) every Sunday, not just on the first Sunday of the month (as has been the case since 2009), as well as on certain holy days (as announced). So, what does this have to do with the new liturgical movement? One connection is the “mutual enrichment” for which Pope Benedict XVI expressed desire in his Letter to the world’s bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum. To reiterate a point I made at the Sacra Liturgia USA conference last year: the process of mutual enrichment takes place, firstly, not at the level of the Holy See or the national episcopal conferences, but from the “ground up,” in actual liturgical celebrations, to people and communities who have experience worshiping in both the older and newer forms of the Roman Rite. It would be interesting to learn what, exactly, mutual enrichment has meant for parishes like Holy Name and Holy Ghost. But that’s a topic for another day.

St Sebaldus of Nuremberg

Today is the feast day of St Sebaldus, a rather obscure character who lived as a hermit in a forest west of Nuremburg, in the Franconia region of south central Germany. Various versions of his life put him in different periods, some in the mid-11th century, others in the 8th. By the middle of the 13th century, he was venerated as a Patron of Nuremburg, and an older Romanesque church dedicated to St Peter was rebuilt, now jointly dedicated to him as well; his shrine-tomb became an important pilgrimage center. At the Reformation, the church became Lutheran, but neither the shrine nor the relics were destroyed.

Our Ambrosian correspondent Nicola de’ Grandi recently visited Nuremburg, and took these photos of the church.

The earlier, Romanesque phase of the church is still visible in the apse and the lower part of the bell-towers. The upper parts date from the 13th century Gothic reworking, as does the nave seen in the next photo.

St Sebaldus was formally canonized by Pope Martin V in 1425. This marvelous bronze ark containing his relics was made by Peter Vischer the Elder in 1509-1519, and is considered one of the masterpieces of the Renaissance in Germany. The Gothic structure beautifully blends with the more Italianate elements such as the statues of the Apostles on the pillars.

The ark of St Sebaldus is not the only thing that remains from the church’s Catholic history. Unfortunately, the building was very badly damaged during World War II, and had to be extensively rebuilt.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: