Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Charterhouse of Milan

The Charterhouse of Milan was founded in 1349 by Archbishop Giovanni Visconti when, at the death of his brother Luchino, he had to take on responsibility for the government of the city. He donated a property in the nearby village of Garegnano, four kilometers from the city walls, in an isolated area surrounded by woods, to the Carthusian Order for the founding of a monastery whose monks could pray on his behalf, a duty for which his new governmental duties left him no time. Our Ambrosian expert Nicola de’ Grandi recently visited this important monument of his native city’s religious life, and sent in some very nice pictures.

The two Viscontis, Abp. Giovanni and his brother Luchino, are both represented on the façade as the church’s co-founders.
The Sanctuary seen from the entrance.
The walls of the church were decorated by the painter Daniele Crespi in 1629 with scenes from the life of St Bruno, the founder of the Carthusian Order. Here is represented the famous and rather harrowing legend of a professor of the Sorbonne named Raymond Diocres, who came back to life during his own funeral to inform those present of his own damnation.
Bl. Pope Urban II Approves the Carthusian Rule, and St Bruno Refuses the Episcopacy (Crespi).
Crespi also painted a large number of Carthusian Saints on the walls; this is St Hugh of Grenoble, who helped St Bruno to found the order and gave them the property on which the Grande Chartreuse was constructed.

T&T Clark Interviews Dom Alcuin Reid

We recently noted the publication of The T&T Clark Companion to Liturgy, edited by Dom Alcuin Reid a collection of 22 essays, with supplementary material, covering a wide variety of topics in the field of liturgical studies. T&T has just published on their blog an interview with Dom Alcuin explaining a bit more about scope of the volume; we are grateful for his and their permission to reproduce it here. I would call our readers’ attention particularly to his remarks under the third question about the current status of liturgical studies in the academy, in which he explains some of the hot-button issues in the field of liturgical studies which the volume tackles. (For information about purchasing the book in either print or electronic format, please see this link; it is being offered at a 35% discount during the month of February.)

Dom Alcuin, your T&T Clark Companion to Liturgy has just been published. Can you tell us something about its origins please?

The Companion was the idea of Tom Kraft, a T&T Clark editor some years ago, who wanted a volume in the series which would present something of the status quaestionis of liturgical studies in the Western Catholic Church at the beginning of the twenty first century. Undoubtedly Tom’s approach came in the light of the impetus given to these questions by the election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. As Cardinal Ratzinger he had taught for many years that “the true celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is the centre of any renewal of the Church whatever.” Western Catholics have endured a number of decades of liturgical turmoil since the middle of the twentieth century, and what is “the true celebration of the Sacred Liturgy” was then—and still is—very much a live issue.

Tom asked—well really, he insisted—that I compile and edit the volume. That commenced (too many) years of work with many generous contributors and others who gave of their talents eventually to produce what we hope will provide students and those generally interested in Western Catholic liturgy with a resource that contains some of the best theological, historical and pastoral liturgical scholarship available today, which does not ignore the liturgical issues of recent decades, and which will serve as a guide towards further study in these areas.

So what is “liturgy”?

The best answer to that question is found in the first chapter, “Liturgical Theology,” by Professor David Fagerberg of Notre Dame University, USA. Shorter answers are found in the A-Z section of the book. Liturgy is, of course, the public ritual worship of the Church in and through which, in Catholic theology, we hold that Christ acts in a singularly privileged way in our world today. Our optimal participation in the liturgy, our connectivity with this divine action, facilitates our own sanctification and empowers us for Christian life and mission. That’s why Cardinal Ratzinger emphasised that it is the “centre of any renewal of the Church whatever.” If we get the liturgy wrong our connectivity to Christ is impeded. And without optimal connectivity to Christ we, and those so in need of the mission of the Church today in the various and complex situations that the 21st century presents, will lack something essential, we will suffer.

Academically, where does the Companion stand in the field of liturgical studies?

Firstly I must emphasise that this is a companion to liturgical studies in “the Western Catholic tradition.” Some commentators have already noted that this subtitle is unfortunately missing from much of the Companion’s promotional material. The book neither sets out to ignore the Churches of the East nor to minimise their venerable and rich liturgical traditions. Really, another Companion should be commissioned for the great Eastern liturgical tradition.

In the light of what some have termed the “liturgy-wars” of recent decades, contemporary studies in Western liturgy have tended to be fairly ‘safe,’ avoiding critical analysis of the “troubles” following the Second Vatican Council. If you can regurgitate your professor’s take on the liturgical reform following the Council you will pass your seminary course. If you do higher studies in liturgy and do a purely historical analysis of rites or aspects of them, or “engage” with “liturgical sources” (demonstrate a knowledge of ancient liturgical texts), you will receive your degree without difficulty. But should you use history, theology or pastoral practice critically to question the status quo of liturgical thought or practice in your diocese or academic institution, you will often encounter an intolerance that verges on totalitarianism: “Don’t mention the war!” The situation is improving, certainly, but this problem persists amongst a certain generation and school of liturgists.

The Companion moves beyond this academic impasse. Many if not most of its contributors are indeed prepared to “mention the war,” and even to admit that it has occasioned severe casualties. The motivation for this is a positive one—academically and pastorally. The academic questions to which the situation of Western liturgy since the Council has given rise must be studied. The conclusions of such studies must be taken into account in decisions in respect of future liturgical life and reform. So too the associated pastoral issues must be addressed. Yes, a sound knowledge of liturgical history is very important. The ability thoroughly to engage in liturgical sources is certainly a skill and informs the historical study of liturgy. More important today, however, is the ability critically to engage with the liturgical and theological principles operative in history in making a critical assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of our current ritual and pastoral practice. If the Companion helps to form a generation of liturgical scholars who are open to such an approach it will have made a significant contribution.

What do you think is the Companion’s unique contribution?

I think that is, really, the shift from “safe” liturgical study to “critical” liturgical study that I was just talking about. Part III of the Companion, “The Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council,” contains two chapters by Dom Anscar Chupungco OSB (†2013). They take a very different stance to my own chapter and to that of Fr Thomas Kocik in the same section. Students should read them all, attentively and critically. Identifying our different approaches, sources and assumptions will be instructive, indeed I hope it will be formative in acquiring not only a broad appreciation of differing scholars’ stances, but more importantly in developing a critical ability to engage with the sources, underlying principles and realities. This will indeed help to form better scholarship and pastoral practice.

Is there anything else you would like to highlight about the Companion?

The Companion is a large reference book. As such it has many uses—from studying particular chapters according to given interests and needs, to quickly referring to terms and concepts in the A-Z section, as well as making use of its extensive bibliographies for further research. But it also provides something of a course for studies in liturgical theology, history and contemporary issues. Certainly, it does not and could not contain all that one could study— and that is not its purpose. Its purpose is to accompany, to be a companion for, the student of Sacred Liturgy so that he or she will be well equipped to pursue further studies in the field. I hope and pray that we have, at least in part, achieved that aim.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Beautiful Byzantine Chant for Lent

Now the powers of heaven invisibly worship with us, for behold, the King of Glory entereth! Behold, the mystical sacrifice, being perfected, is carried forth in triumph. With faith and love, let us come forth, that we may become partakers of eternal life, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Нынѣ Силы Небесныѧ съ нами невидимо служать, се, бо входитъ Царь Славы: се Жертва тайнаѧ совершена дориноситсѧ. Вѣрою и любовию приступимъ, да причастницы жизни вѣчныя будемъ. Аллилуя, аллилуя, аллилуя. (Sung by the choir of the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow.)

As I am sure many of our readers know, it is the custom of the Byzantine Rite that the Eucharistic liturgy is not celebrated on the weekdays of Lent, except on the feast of the Annunciation. Therefore, at the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, extra loaves of bread are consecrated, and reserved for the rest of the week. On Wednesdays and Fridays, a service known as the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is held, in which Vespers is mixed with a Communion Rite. (It is also held on the first three days of Holy Week, and may be done on other occasions, but twice a week is the most common practice.) The first part follows the regular order of Vespers fairly closely, and the second part imitates the Great Entrance and the Communion rite of the Divine Liturgy. This chant, therefore, replaces the hymn “We who mystically represent the Cherubim,” which is sung at the Divine Liturgy as the bread and wine are brought to the altar.

Here is the Greek version:

Νῦν αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σὺν ἡμῖν ἀοράτως λατρεύουσιν· ἰδοὺ γὰρ εἰσπορεύεται ὁ Βασιλεὺς τῆς δόξης. Ἰδοὺ θυσία μυστικὴ τετελειωμένη δορυφορεῖται· πίστει καὶ πόθῳ προσέλθωμεν, ἵνα μέτοχοι ζωῆς ἀιωνίου γενώμεθα. Ἀλληλούϊα, Ἀλληλούϊα, Ἀλληλούϊα.

A Reader’s Home Oratory (Updated)

Reader Richard Seto sent us these photos of a small oratory space which he set up in his home, along with a description of how he made it. The decorations seen here are an example of the classic Lenten array which was commonly used in the Middle Ages, a more or less simple pattern of crosses on undyed cloth. As Mr Seto notes below, one could certainly make frontals and dossals for such an arrangement, with various colors depending on the liturgical season. Our thanks to him for sharing this with us.

UPDATE: Mr Seto sent in some photos of his oratory decorated in different ways for other seasons,w which I have added below.

“This easy project began by creating a niche between two tall bookcases. The set up involves:
- a corner-leg table
- a curtain rod
- a pair of curtain panels for the Lenten array
- dark red/navy fringe and/or matching fabric paint or embroidery thread
- strip of linen for the fair linen
- a pair of candlesticks
- a Crucifix

I spaced the bookcases so that there are a few inches on either side to fit the table between.

A corner-leg table where the legs come right to the edge serves best to create block works. The Lenten array is made from a pair of curtain panels. One entire panel forms the dossal, which can be painted, embroidered, or left plain.

The frontal is made by matching one edge of the remaining panel to the table and measuring the width so that the panel will cover the front with a seam allowance. I ironed the seam and sewed the entire piece the length of the panel. A frontlet can be made by measuring the height from floor to table top, adding about 4-6 inches, and cutting the panel horizontally into two pieces. If any sort of embellishment is desired, it can be either painted or embroidered onto the body of the frontal. It can be very helpful to make paper cutouts and pin them to the cloth to get a sense of scale and the effect of the final design. The fringe is sewn on the bottom of the frontal and the bottom edge of the remaining piece.

To mark the placement of the frontlet required a little trial and error, so I laid the remaining piece over the top of the frontal to get the overlap and pin the pieces together, then draped them over the table to see if the proportions looked right. Once the correct placement of the frontlet was fixed, I sewed the two pieces together. Rather than trimming off the excess at the top, I let the remaining fabric fall behind the back of the table; this makes it much easier to adjust and gives the fair linen a surface to grip.

If small children or pets are a consideration, shoe laces can be sewn to the top corner of the fabric and used to tie the fabric to the table’s back legs. Hint; purchase the fringe and match the paint / embroidery thread to it.

I prefer a simple candlesticks; the pair shown are made of wrought iron ($1.99 each). I would avoid church candlesticks that can be found in antique shops since they tend to be overly ornate and draw too much attention. The focus should be the Crucifix not the candlesticks.

This entire project was executed by someone with zero sewing experience; basically it required sewing a series of straight lines. If one wishes to make this a permanent fixture, different sets of frontals can be made with damask fabrics, braid and fringe. The dossal need not match although it should harmonize with the frontal.”

Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham Available in the US

Thank you to reader Justin Legault for contacting me with this information. If any are having trouble getting hold of the Customary of Our Lady of Walshingham (as described recently) at a reasonable, then it is available from the The link is here.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Latin-English Dominican Rite Hand Missal Available for Download

I am happy to announce that though the labors of Fr Sebastian White, O.P., I can make available the text of the Saint Dominic Missal: Latin--English (New York, 1959).  This hand missal contains all the changes and reforms from the 1950s and so represents the Dominican Rite as of 1962, which is the form in which it is to be used today.  I regret that Dominican Liturgy Publications cannot reprint this book as it is over the 800 page limit for our books-on-demand printer (

The missal PDF can also be downloaded from the left sidebar of Dominican Liturgy under "Dominican Rite Texts--Downloadable."  You might want to take a look at other publications at Dominican Liturgy Publications.

Free Franciscan Publications

Our college library has received donations of many boxes of journals over the years, and as we are running out of space on our shelves, we have to simplify our collection. As the College's librarian, I will be happy to send the following journals and convention publications to anyone who is simply willing to cover the media-mail shipping. If interested, please contact me at my email address on the NLM sidebar.

Greyfriars Review
Vol. 10, No. 1, 2, 3, and supplement
Vol. 11, No. 1, 2
Vol. 12, No. 1
Vol. 14, No. 1, 2, 3, and supplement (2 sets)
Vol. 15, No. 1, 2, 3, and supplement (2 sets)
Vol. 16, No. 1, 2, 3, and supplement (2 copies of no. 1, 2, 3)
Vol. 17, No. 1, 2, 3, and supplement (2 copies of no. 1, 2, 3)

The Cord
Vol. 46, No. 3, 6
Vol. 47, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (2 sets plus an extra copy of No. 6)
Vol. 48, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (2 sets plus an extra copy of No. 3,5)
Vol. 49, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (2 sets plus an extra copy of No. 2,3,4)
Vol. 50, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 (2 copies of No. 1,2)
Vol. 51, No. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6
Vol. 52, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Vol. 53, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Vol. 54, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Vol. 55, No. 1, 2, 3

The Conventional Franciscan Friars
General Chapter--Assisi 1983
Rome, Christmas 1991
Roma, Christmas 1993
Rome, Lent 1996
Rome, Lent 1997
Rome, General Curia OFM Conv. 1998
Rome, General Curia OFM Conv. 1999
Rome, Pentecost 2002 (2 copies)

First Sunday of Lent: EF Polyphonic Mass in Grand Rapids, Michigan

The student Capella of Calvin College, Grand Rapids, will sing polyphonic works of Victoria, Palestrina, and Duruflé at a celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite on the First Sunday of Lent, February 14, starting at 12:30 pm, at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The college’s select, touring choir, Capella is under the direction of internationally renowned conductor, Dr. Pearl Shangkuan.

Sacred Heart Parish offers the Traditional Latin Mass as a Missa Cantata every Sunday and major feast day. A number of school and college choirs are presenting settings of the Mass Ordinary at this Mass as a way to experience the works of great composers of Latin liturgical music in their authentic setting. Father Robert Sirico is the pastor of Sacred Heart; Daniel Bennett Page is the director of Sacred Music.

Sacred Music Symposium, Los Angeles, 29-31st May

Corpus Christi Watershed has announced the first details of their Sacred Music Symposium. Subtitled Best Practices: Working with Amateur Church Choirs, the symposium is aimed at choir directors who are looking for help in introducing traditional music to choirs and congregations. It takes place in Los Angeles at the end of May.

Named teachers, as you can see on the poster below are: Dr Horst Buchholz, Dr Alfred Calabrese, Jeff Ostrowski, Meaghan King and Fr James Fryar of the FSSP.

For further details see the poster below or go to:

Dr Calabrese will be having a busy May! The previous weekend in Dallas he is organizing a conference at his parish in Dallas, Texas, St Rita’s, on beauty and the liturgy, which will culminate in the world premiere of Catholic composer Frank La Rocca’s new oratorio, A Rose in Winter on the life of St Rita.

If you click the poster below you can see it at a greater magnification...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How The West Wing can help Catholic Choirs

As mentioned in David Clayton’s post on Monday, a Catholic Vespers was sung in the Chapel of Hampton Court Palace yesterday evening. This historic event was conceived and promoted by Genesis Sixteen, the outreach offshoot of The Sixteen, the well-known concert and touring choir. The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Nichols, presided, and the music, sung by The Sixteen and Genesis Sixteen, included a Tallis Magnificat, Salve Regina by William Cornysh and John Taverner’s ‘Leroy’ Kyrie. For a non-Catholic choir to sing a Vespers from scratch is not easy (they were fortunate to have some help from Westminster Cathedral music department beforehand) even for a top-flight choir like The Sixteen. There is a rhythm and flow to the psalms which can only be accrued over time and is difficult to achieve ‘straight out of the box’. Genesis Sixteen, founded by a generous Catholic philanthropist, aims to give people of university age a launch into the professional world of singing. A few similar schemes have appeared over the past few years, including the Monteverdi Choir’s Apprentice Scheme, providing mutually beneficial arrangements for the host choir in terms of finance and publicity, as well as the obvious benefits for the young singers who audition to the requisite high standard.

Vespers in the Chapel of Hampton Court Palace yesterday.
(From The Sixteen’s Facebook Page)

However, sometimes philanthropy is needed in less obvious or visible situations, and sometimes philanthropists want to know where they can help. Towards the very end of the political TV drama series The West Wing, the Bartlett Administration is preparing to leave the White House and the senior staff weigh up their options and mull over various offers of employment from the private sector and other walks of life. Chief of Staff C.J. Cregg is approached by a billionaire philanthropist who tries to persuade her to head up his charitable foundation. He is determined to make a big difference and solve the problems of famine in Africa by bombarding it with aid. She explains to him that Africa’s problems are caused not so much by a lack of aid, but by a lack of roads. The solution therefore does not lie in flooding it with aid, but in building roads. With those roads, the aid can reach the places it needs to.

We learn to read and write at an early age. Music too, is a language, and ideally also needs to be learned at an early age. An ability to read music gives a young person the ability to freely access and experience all the music the world contains. I can say with absolute certainty that I learned more about music in my six years as a chorister at Westminster Cathedral (aged 8-13) than I have in the rest of my life put together. The choristers who sing there today have the same experience: a daily encounter with the highest standards, against which they will measure every other musical note they utter for the rest of their lives, and a total musical literacy, not just the grammar, but a sensitivity and understanding of every nuance and structure. (This is to say nothing of the Catholic experience and the nurturing of the Faith, but I am focusing on the raw music here.)

This is the same experience I work to bring to the boys in the Schola at the London Oratory. These boys, who at Mass this morning in the London Oratory sang Allegri’s Miserere with its famous top Cs, sing a wealth of Catholic liturgical music. Soon they will have sung, in the space of two years, both of J.S. Bach’s settings of the Matthew and John Passions, his B minor Mass, his motet Singet dem Herrn and Monteverdi’s Vespers, to name some of their recent concert repertory. The girls and boys of the Oratory Junior Choir have a similar experience which requires of them the highest standards of singing at the Oratory’s liturgies.

These liturgical choirs and others like them, which aspire to raise the musical standards and aspirations of Catholic children and young adults, need to be supported. They are as essential to Catholic Music as the roads in Africa, and there need to be more of them. (I was delighted to receive a letter from an NLM reader recently seeking advice about a children’s choir they are founding within a major Catholic institution in the USA.) Such choirs are not choral finishing schools. They do not get much publicity. They are fundamental, providing the bedrock support, the nuts and bolts of music if you will. They are founded upon hours of daily toil, and the considerable achievements of the children are earned through hard graft. There are no short-cuts, no quick fixes. And although it is at this age that attention and support most need to be given, most of these liturgical choirs are woefully underfunded. It may not be particularly glamorous to write cheques for replacement cassocks, or new copies of sheet music, or bursary funds, but those few good souls who do this, quietly and unnoticed, are building roads for the future.

Ash Wednesday 2016

Dómine, non secundum peccáta nostra, quae fécimus nos: neque secundum iniquitátes nostras retríbuas nobis. V. Dómine, ne memíneris iniquitátum nostrárum antiquárum: cito antícipent nos misericórdiae tuae, quia páuperes facti sumus nimis. Hic genuflectitur V. Adjuva nos, Deus, salutáris noster: et propter gloriam nóminis tui, Dómine, líbera nos: et propitius esto peccátis nostris, propter nomen tuum.

Tract O Lord, not according to the sins which we have committed, nor according to our iniquities do Thou repay us. V. Lord, remember not our former iniquities: let thy mercies speedily come before us, for we are become exceeding poor. All kneel. V. Help us, O God, our Savior: and for the glory of Thy name, O Lord, deliver us: and be merciful to our sins for Thy name’s sake.

This beautiful tract is sung every Monday, Wednesday and Friday of Lent until Holy Monday, with the exception of Ember Wednesday. Here is a polyphonic version by the Spanish composer Juan de Anchieta (1462-1523.)

New Altar Cards for the Ordinariate Liturgy

Following the promulgation of Divine Worship: The Missal on the First Sunday of Advent 2015, the communities of the personal ordinariates in the United States and Canada, England and Wales, and Australia, have been adjusting to the texts and ceremonies of the new missal, which draws from the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer, and the Anglican missals of the early to mid twentieth century. As the liturgical life of the ordinariates begins now to develop and to flourish, communities and their clergy will no doubt wish to commission works of art to accompany their worship. Examples of this have already been seen with a chalice and paten, commissioned by Saint Gregory the Great in Beverly Farms, MA [].

Another example of this is a newly designed handmade set of altar cards, by DC-based artist Katherine Quan []. The cards seek to reflect the medieval illuminated manuscript tradition of the 13th and 14th centuries, while also acknowledging the artistic heritage and ongoing life of the personal ordinariates. Painted with egg tempera and natural pigments, gold gouache was added for the leaves that decorate the cards, and 23k gold was used for the halos, outer frames, letters, and central crucifix. To create this effect the artist boiled down a bottle of stout for six hours, until it condensed into a molasses-like consistency, and then painted it onto the cards. The next day she breathed onto the beer-based glue, warming it up in order to allow the direct application of the gold leaf.

Each element of cards has symbolic meaning. The focal point of the central card is obviously the crucifix, based on the 13th century Weingarten Missal. The crucified Christ, whose halo is reminiscent of the work of Martin Travers (whose own work adorns the pages of Divine Worship: The Missal), is the source of all things, and it is from his sacrifice that the life of the Church flows. Thus from his wounded side comes the first of twenty-four branches, which each represent one of the Ritual Churches in communion with the See of Peter.

These, in turn, are made of three trees: the olive (Ps. 52:8), the sycamore fig (Song of Songs 2:13; John 1:48), and the holly (the symbol of the crown of the thorns). The olive leaf has single point representing the unity of the Godhead, the sycamore fig has three points representing the Most Holy Trinity, and the holly has seven points representing not only the passion of Christ but also, drawing on the heraldic tradition, truth, the guiding principle of the journey of former Anglicans into the Catholic Church.

Each of these branches is also decorated with flora, many drawn from Sacred Scripture. These are, the Crown Flower (Rev. 12:1); lily (Song of Songs 2:1, Hos. 14:5, Matt. 6:28); mustard blossom (Matt. 13:32); violet (the humility of Our Lady); myrtle blossom (Isa. 41:19, 55:13); pomegranate (Deut. 8:8; Song of Songs 4:3; Hag. 2:19); grapes (John 2:11; 15:1); wheat (John 12:24); fig (Deut. 8:8; Luke 21:29); cedar of Lebanon (Ps. 92:12; Hos. 14:5-6, Song of Songs 15:5).

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Candlemas 2016 Photopost

We have many great photos from Candlemas Masses and blessings this year. Thanks to all the readers who sent in their pictures.
Church of the Holy Innocents, New York City

A parishioner from Poland adorned her candle, in
 accordance with Polish tradition on Candlemas

Notitiae Soon to be Published Online

A reader has sent us a notice that the Congregation for Divine Worship is changing the way its bulletin Notitiae is published. Here is a note “To our subscribers” which prefaces last year’s first-half issue:

Having celebrated its 50th year, the review Notitiae is revising its periods of publication and rethinking the way in which it is communicated. It will keep unchanged its particular goal of offering information and documentation on the liturgical-celebrative and disciplinary fields that are proper to the Dicastery as well as information about its activity. In 2015 two half-yearly volumes will be published which have the same number of pages as the volumes published in previous years. In 2016, however, Notitiae will become a solely online review made up of a single annual volume published in PDF format and freely downloadable from the website of the Congregation (there will be no need to renew your subscription for 2016). It will draw together the Acts of the Congregation, information and contributions on re liturgica that periodically appear on the Dicastery’s website, allowing you to cite the source. The review is simply changing its “clothes”, thus making itself more accessible everywhere. Libraries, archives, institutes, and all those who are interested can print it and collect it. It is planned to make the whole collection of Notitiae available online eventually.

This last piece of news will be of particular importance to liturgical scholars. Here is the link to the Notitiae webpage.

New Altar Cards from Silverstream

The monks of Silverstream Priory are no stranger to the pages of NLM. This new and vibrant Benedictine foundation in Ireland celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the monastic Divine Office in all of their traditional fullness.

I was delighted to learn that they have recently launched an online gift shop, which they intend to expand over time. For now, they are selling a beautiful new set of altar cards for the usus antiquior, designed by their own Dom Benedict Andersen and inspired by the so-called "Editio Lacensis” of the Missale Romanum published by the Abbey of Maria Laach in 1931. The set is available (unframed) from the Priory for €23 (including shipping in Ireland), €24 (with shipping in the UK), and €25 (shipping in the rest of the world). They have also made available their “Prayers at the Foot of the Altar” and a Litany for the Holy Father (which we featured here), printed on nice card stock.

In the near future other products will be added, such as Father Prior’s Way of the Cross for Priests, Dom Morin’s book The Ideal of the Monastic Life Found in the Apostolic Age, and various prayer cards. Please give their shop a visit and check it out from time to time.

The Ordinariate Office - A Wonderful Gift For Lay People and a Hope for the Transformation of Western Culture?

I am a great enthusiast for the Liturgy of the Hours. It holds a key, I believe, to the evangelization of the culture. (If you want to know my arguments, I have included them in both books, the Little Oratory and the Way of Beauty).

Whatever our thoughts on the appropriateness of the vernacular in the Mass, I do think that the availability of the Liturgy of the Hours in the vernacular is one great gift of the Council. I am not a Latin scholar, and certainly in my personal reading, in order to pray the psalms properly I need to be able to understand the text as I read it. Reading or singing Latin while looking across the page at a translation on a regular daily basis does not work for me. The Mass is Latin does not present the same difficulty for me - the bulk of it is repeated and so with relatively little reference to additional texts I can participate.

I have often wondered if this question of language is why some traditionalists are not enthusiastic about the Liturgy of the Hours - tending to promote a piety that excludes it. Certainly, some I have met are reluctant to acknowledge any legitimate case for the vernacular in the liturgy, for fear that it would undermine the argument for an exclusively Latin Mass. A piety focused on the Mass and the Rosary is wonderful, of course, but one oriented to the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours is, I suggest, even better, and for me that means going to the English for the latter.

Ever since Pope Emeritus Benedict created the Anglican Ordinariates, I have felt that they have given the move for greater dignity and beauty in the liturgy in English a huge boost. I wrote about the general principle of this when Pope Francis strengthened the mission of the Ordinariate in an article called Has Pope Francis Saved Western Culture?

It has taken time, quite reasonably so, for the approved and final versions for the texts to come forth. Now that the texts have been set for the Mass, I am hoping that we will see a final version of the Office in the US very soon. As a preview I use the version produced for England and Wales, which is in the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham. It has been recently approved for continued use in England and Wales, as I understand it.

It was difficult to get hold of over here. I tried to order it from several places and it was always out of stock. (I couldn’t afford to have it sent from England). In the end I gave up, and then about six months later, out of the blue a copy arrived in the post; I have no idea who it was who finally sent it to me.

The Customary follows the general scheme recommended for the Ordinariate; you can read this at the bottom of this article, it is very short and simple. In essence, Morning Prayer is like a merging of the Matins (the Office of Readings) and Lauds. I am wondering if this is what the old Anglican Office of Mattins always was. The morning readings correspond exactly to those of the Office of Readings in the Roman Rite, with some approved alternatives for the second reading for English readers. Other than the psalms, there is a traditional hymn, an Old Testament canticle or the Te Deum, depending on the day, and structured prayers.

Similarly, Evening Prayer, like Choral Evensong, looks a bit like a running together of Vespers and Compline in form. So we have psalms, traditional hymn, readings, both the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis, and again structured prayers.

From what I have seen I am excited. I think it provides great possibilities for lay people especially to start praying the Office. The Anglican Office has a proven record not only in enabling laity as well as clergy to pray the Office, but also as a public celebration of Morning and Evening Prayer. I heard recently from Mgr Andrew Burnham in England, who was instrumental in producing this, that this continues to this day. As he told me, the English Anglican cathedrals and choral foundations are in the midst of a golden age, as regards both attendance and music, and clearly meet a very deep need.”

Here are my reasons for suggesting that lay people look at the Anglican Ordinariate Office:

First, convenience and simplicity: the psalm cycle is designed such that it is possible to sing the whole Office with just two Offices in the day - the hybrid Morning and Evening Prayer which allow us, one might say, to sing four Offices as two, and to sing the whole psalter in the course of the monthly psalm cycle. This means that it really is the Office for those who do not have many hours in each day to devote to singing the psalms. However, for those who do have more time, and wish to add more Offices in the day from time to time, there are simple options to add Prime (yes Prime!), Terce, Sext, None and Compline.

Second, as I mentioned, it has the full psalter, all 150 psalms, in its cycle. I am not aware of another version approved for use in English that has this. The other vernacular option is an approved translation of the Paul VI Psalter, in which even if all the Offices are sung (a minimum of five in a day), you will still not sing the whole Psalter, since the three imprecatory psalms are omitted altogether, and many others have had verses removed. According to my count, 24 psalms that are included in the Paul VI Psalter are incomplete and have missing texts. I am happy that now the Church has decided in her wisdom to allow for a translation of the full Psalter to be available for praying in the Liturgy of the Hours. (I wrote about this in more detail in the past, here - Where Have All the *!*?ing Psalms Gone?).

Third is beauty. I love the approved translation of the psalms that the Anglican Ordinariate uses, which is a form of the Coverdale Psalter. I have to say I am not negative about the Grail translation either, but I do find the Coverdale Psalter especially good. It is has an elegant, poetic, Shakespearean feel to it, but is nevertheless accessible. I had have had to look up the meaning of the occasional word, (froward and peradventure for example) but not so often that I lose the flow of text as I sing or read it. (Just fyi, I am not the sort of person who finds the actual Shakespeare easy to understand at all. If I attend a performance of even a top quality companies - such as the Royal Shakespeare Company - I always have to buy a program with a one-page synopsis of the plot, otherwise I lose track of what on earth is going on!) I think that if this version of the psalms was sung in the domestic church of the Catholic family, the impact it would have on the formation of children as they growlistening to, reading and praying such texts would be profound.

There is of course a centuries old tradition of chanting these psalms within the Anglican church, and this is now available to us. The text is set out with traditional chant in mind - with couplets. Again, this is one of the great drawbacks of the American version, at least, of the Paul VI Psalter; it’s almost as if it was set out deliberately to make any form of singing that might be close to a traditional chant very difficult (the British version is better in this respect).

To indicate how adaptable this text is for singing, when I sing the Office, I use the Coverdale Psalter set to psalm tones based upon traditional chant that we used in the Office when I was teaching at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire. I use these because if the pointing is done according to the natural emphasis of speech, regardless of which tone is sung, it is designed to match this pointing pattern, and so every psalm tone can be sung to any psalm. As a result, you don’t need to have a full repertoire of tones in order to be able to sing the whole Office, but it does mean that as your repertoire of tones increases, you can apply them to any psalm. The setting of this Psalter means that with a quick exercise in pointing, with a pencil, you can sing it with your family. For more information on these psalm tones, you can follow the link here.

Below is a photo of the text with my pointing marks...

These were also the tones that we used when singing an Evening Prayer (with both the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in English) in the VA Hospital for the Veterans in Manchester, NH. This was very well received by patients and nurses alike. (Some readers may remember me writing about this in the past, here)

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that something similar and easily available will be produced here. 

Note, you don’t have to be a member of the Ordinariate to legitimately sing the Office. I mention this because after Leila Lawler and I first suggested, in our book the Little Oratory, that readers think about this as an option at home, some people thought that we were suggesting that people who were already part of the Catholic Church should leave their parishes and become official members of Ordinariate parishes. We were not!

As an interim that isn't as expensive or difficult to get hold of in the US as the Customary, some might like to use the St Dunstan's Psalter, which is not produced by the Ordinariate, but has the same psalm cycle and the Coverdale translation and other approved translations for the canticles. You could combine this with the readings from the lectionary for the Office of Readings and Evening Prayer for the Paul VI psalter, by getting them online your smart phone at Universalis.

Below is a copy of the CDF approved outline for the layout of Morning and Evening Prayer for the Personal Ordinariates.

• Required elements appear in bold, while elements in [squared brackets] are occasional or optional. • The Old and New Testament Lessons are to be taken from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition.
• The Collect of the Day should correspond to the relevant Collect in Divine Worship: The Missal. • If the Litany is to be recited at Morning or Evening Prayer, it is to be taken from Divine Worship: The Missal (Appendix 8).
• The Invitatory may be accompanied by seasonal antiphons.
• In place of one of the scriptural Lessons, a non-scriptural reading drawn from the 2nd Reading from the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours may be included. Other non-scriptural readings may be added, but may not replace one of the scriptural Lessons.
• When a lay person leads a public prayer of the Divine Office, the invitation “The Lord be with you” is omitted or substituted by “O Lord, hear our prayer” and the response “And let our cry come unto thee.”
• Night Prayer (Compline) may be recited apart from Evening Prayer, in which case the Nunc Dimittis is always included.
• This Guideline does not exclude the addition of an optional, supplemental provision for the Lesser Hours (Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Compline).

Monday, February 08, 2016

“Mostly Latin” Vespers To Be Sung in Henry VIII's Chapel at Hampton Court

I was recently sent this interesting article in the Catholic Business Journal. Tomorrow evening, a Vespers will be sung by professional choir, The Sixteen. and attended by both Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, and the Anglican Bishop of London, Richard Chartres

As the CBJ article tells us, “On the evening of February 9, 2016, Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Nichols will celebrate Vespers and the Bishop of London, Dean of the Chapel Royal will preach in Henry VIII’s chapel- the first Catholic service held in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace since the 1550s...” [see full article here]

It has been created as an initiative to allow “dialogue” between churches and religions. Whatever form that dialogue takes outside the praying of Vespers itself, I have always been a great fan of using the Liturgy of the Hours to unite Christian worshipers. The texts are biblical and the prayers can legitimately be presented to avoid raising anti-Catholic prejudice without compromising Catholic principles. When we sang our Vespers regularly at the VA hospital in Manchester (as I have described in the past); we had a priest presiding, but we were only allowed to do it because it could be presented as “ecumenical.” All we had to do in order to allow all present to feel comfortable was to change the wording of a few of the prayers (as the General Instruction allows) so that there were no references to the Pope. As a result, I think some who would have felt uneasy knowing they were attending a Catholic service didn’t realise that they weren’t supposed to like it.

It is a good thing to have such luminaries present at this event at Hampton Court, but in fact, the Liturgy of the Hours does not even need a priest presiding in order to be authentically liturgical, other things being equal. A baptized Christian has sufficient standing to do this. Given this fact, I wonder if some of those Vespers that took place in this chapel in the protestant era might be considered Catholic nevertheless?

Things That Remit Venial Sins — The Traditional Liturgy Is Full of Them

We are approaching the great penitential season of Lent. If we live the season as we ought, we will invariably think a good deal about sin — how we can avoid it, repent of it, get it forgiven, root it out of our lives, and pay the temporal penalty for it.

As the great spiritual masters remind us, mortal sin rarely arises suddenly, with no habitual dispositions favoring it. True, our disordered concupiscence can indeed catch us by surprise and we fall into grave sin without an obvious path to it, but most of the time, the way to mortal sin is paved with lots of venial sins, which make us accustomed to a little bit of this or that bad behavior, weaken our resistance, lead us astray. If one tells a lot of small lies, one is greasing the axle for the big lies. If one eats and drinks a little too much again and again, one is laying a foundation for gluttony. And so on, with all the deadly sins. It’s spiritual common sense.

This being so, it seems a sort of enlightened self-love (so to speak) that we should strive to discover how best to avoid venial sins; how best to rid ourselves of them and their bad effects; if habituated to them, how to break the habit.

Fortunately, Holy Mother Church in her age-old treasure chest has gathered for us many means by which our venial sins can be remitted and prevented, and our charity enkindled. Some of these means were tossed aside after the Council, when even the basic elements of the doctrine of sin and grace were being called into question. Happily, such practices are still cherished in traditional enclaves, and their frequent and consistent use is one among many reasons to prefer such enclaves. It goes without saying that these practices ought to be taken up everywhere, whether in connection with the traditional Latin Mass or not, but there is no question that their use is easier to revive or continue in the setting of the TLM.

The Angelic Doctor observes:
[T]here are many remedies against venial sins; for example, beating of the breast, sprinkling with holy water, extreme unction, and every sacramental anointing; a bishop’s blessing, blessed bread, general confession, compassion, the forgiveness of another’s faults, the Eucharist, the Lord’s Prayer, and other sorts of light penance.[1]
This is a very interesting list of examples, and prompts a number of thoughts.

1. The beating of the breast (tunsio pectoris) is the first example that comes to St. Thomas’s mind. That’s not to say it’s the most important, but there is something rather obvious about it as a sign of repentance. Thomas is reminding us here that, done with devotion, the beating of the breast actually remits or prevents venial sins. As I noted here, a Catholic attending the TLM will beat his or her breast as many as 15 times during the liturgy.[2]

2. When we read of the "sprinkling with holy water" (aspersio aquae benedictate), the importance of the Asperges comes to mind immediately (or the Vidi aquam in Paschaltide). Why did this ritual ever pass out of use? In any case, TLM communities should be aspiring to a Sunday High Mass preceded by the Asperges. It is a beautiful blessing, a reminder of our baptism, and a perfect preparation for the sacrifice of the Mass — a symbolic bath before the banquet, one might say. Everyone washes (or should wash) before partaking of a meal, and our approach to the passover Lamb should be no different spiritually.[3]

3. Extreme unction, sometimes called anointing of the sick, obviously remits venial sins, because it remits repented mortal sins as well, and, to invoke a scholastic axiom, that which can do the greater can do the lesser. The "sacramental anointings" that go along with baptism, confirmation, and holy orders are also efficacious against venial sins.

4. "A bishop's blessing." When a bishop processes down the aisle making the sign of the cross over the gathered faithful, this isn't simply a formal way of saying hello or of establishing episcopal credibility. He is imparting his blessing, which, as Thomas points out, has the same sort of effect as the beating of the breast or the sprinkling with holy water.

5. It's fascinating that St. Thomas mentions "blessed bread," a custom long since lost among Roman Catholics but still preserved among the Eastern Orthodox and the Byzantine Catholics, who share out, after liturgy, bread baked for the liturgy that was not consecrated in the anaphora. For Eastern Christians who may be reading this, the partaking of the antidoron remits your venial sins.

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti...
6. By “general confession,” St. Thomas is referring to the saying of the Confiteor or a similar prayer that is recited in common and refers to sins generally. It is noteworthy, again, that at every Mass celebrated in the usus antiquior, the Confiteor will be recited at least twice — once by the priest and once by the servers — if not three times, wherever the laudable custom of the Confiteor immediately before communion is retained.

7. "Compassion, the forgiveness of another's faults." Here we are reminded by St. Thomas that our interior attitude towards our suffering brethren or those guilty of having injured us is itself a potent factor in the remission and prevention of venial sins.

8. "The Lord's Prayer." It should come as no surprise to find Thomas listing this sovereign prayer among the various means given to us to combat venial sin. What bears noting is the manner in which the Divine Office in its pre-1960 form utilized the Lord's Prayer frequently throughout the day, whereas later reforms to the Divine Office tended to minimize its use, presumably in deference to "ancient practice" and with the theory that repetition kills devotion. While the ancient practice may have been as they say, the theory that undergirds the anachronistic attempt to revive it is highly questionable, to say the least. Those who pray the Divine Office in its organically developed form come to appreciate the many times a day it places the Lord's sublime prayer on our lips.

Looking back over this list, we then ask the question: "Why is it that all these things are effective against venial sin?" St. Thomas provides a clear answer:
To the fourth question it should be said that, as has been said, venial sin is forgiven through the fervor of charity, which explicitly or implicitly contains contrition; and so those things that are in themselves of a nature to excite the fervor of charity are said to remit venial sins. Of this sort are the things that confer grace, like all the sacraments, and things by which impediments to fervor and grace are removed, like holy water, which represses the power of the Enemy, and a bishop’s blessing, or another exercise of humility on our part, like beating the breast, or the Lord’s Prayer, and the like.[4]
And again:
Our act is required for the remission of venial sin, but these acts are said to remit venial sin as acts that excite our fervor.[5]
For more thoughts on all of these topics, see my article "St. Thomas on the Asperges."

So, Reverend Fathers, get ready to douse your people this Lent with holy water before the Sunday High Mass! With this simple but potent means, you are driving back Satan's kingdom. Faithful Christian souls, get ready to take advantage of the plethora of tools Holy Mother Church offers you for combating the world, the flesh, and the devil.


[1] In IV Sent. d. 16, q. 2, a. 2, qa. 4, sc 1: "Sed contra est quod communiter dicitur, quod multa sunt remedia contra venialia peccata; scilicet tunsio pectoris, aspersio aquae benedictae, unctio extrema, et omnis sacramentalis unctio; benedictio episcopi, panis benedictus, generalis confessio, compassio, alieni delicti dimissio, Eucharistia, oratio dominica, et alia quaecumque levis poenitentia."

[2] See "Beat Your Own Breast" for further thoughts on this custom.

[3] See Fr. Kocik on how to incorporate the Asperges into the Ordinary Form.

[4] In IV Sent. d. 16, q. 2, a. 2, qa. 4, resp.: "Ad quartam quaestionem dicendum, quod, sicut dictum est, veniale peccatum dimittitur per fervorem caritatis, qui explicite vel implicite contritionem contineat; et ideo illa quae nata sunt de se excitare fervorem caritatis, peccata venialia dimittere dicuntur: hujusmodi autem sunt quae gratiam conferunt, sicut omnia sacramenta, et quibus impedimenta fervoris et gratiae auferuntur, sicut aqua benedicta, quae virtutem inimici reprimit, et episcopalis benedictio, vel etiam exercitium humilitatis ex parte nostra; sicut tunsio pectoris, et oratio dominicalis, et hujusmodi."

[5] Ibid., ad 1: "Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod actus noster requiritur ad dimissionem venialis; sed ista dicuntur peccatum veniale remittere, inquantum in actum, nostrum fervorem excitant."

Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Burial of the Alleluia at St John Cantius, Chicago

Following on from Gregory DiPippo's recent post about the Burying of the Alleluia, we are pleased to reproduce this article by Rev. Scott A. Haynes about the burial of the Alleluia under the Altar Cloth of the Lady Altar which takes place at St John Cantius today. This article originally appeared on the St John Cantius website here.

The Burial of the ‘Alleluia’ is a beautiful custom repeated each year at St. John Cantius Parish. On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, we bid this sacred word a fond farewell for the duration of Lent.

At the end of Mass, a placard with the ‘Alleluia’ in ornate gold letters is taken from the Sanctuary and processed to Mary’s Altar where it is “buried”—placed under the altar cloth. The ‘Alleluia’ will only emerge again at the Easter Vigil after the 40 days of Lent, we hear the Church proclaim the Resurrection of Our Lord.

The Alleluia will only resound again with the ‘Light of Christ’ on Easter Night
In the language of prayer, some words need no translation. Amen is such a word, a Hebrew word of assent meaning “so be it,” by which a congregation affixes its signature, if you will, to the official prayer of the Church. The Kyrie eleison (i.e., “Lord, have mercy”) remained in Greek even after the Roman Rite adopted Latin as its mother tongue. Alleluia is a word familiar to all Christendom, whether the language of the local liturgy is Latin or Greek, Spanish or Ukrainian, Polish or Vietnamese. It is the Latinized form of Hebrew’s Hallelujah (i.e., “Praise the Lord”). In the West, we associate Alleluia with the joy of the Resurrection and Easter. Consequently, the Church buries the Alleluia while we put on the ashes and sackcloth of penance.

Pope Alexander II decreed that the dismissal of the Alleluia be solemnly marked on the eve of Septuagesima Sunday (i.e., three Sundays before Ash Wednesday) in the chanting of the Divine Office by inserting Alleluias in the sacred text. This custom also inspired the creation of new hymns sung at Vespers honouring the Alleluia. The best-known of these hymns is Alleluia, dulce carmen (i.e., “Alleluia, Song of Gladness”), composed by an unknown author of the tenth century:

Alleluia, song of gladness, voice of joy that cannot die;
Alleluia is the anthem ever dear to choirs on high;
In the house of God abiding thus they sing eternally.

Alleluia thou resoundest, true Jerusalem and free;
Alleluia, joyful mother, all thy children sing with thee;
But by Babylon’s sad waters mourning exiles now are we.

Alleluia we deserve not here to chant forevermore;
Alleluia our transgressions make us for a while give o’er;
For the holy time is coming bidding us our sins deplore.

Therefore in our hymns we pray Thee, grant us, blessèd Trinity,
At the last to keep Thine Easter in our home beyond the sky;
There to Thee forever singing Allelúia joyfully.

During the Middle Ages, the practice of “burying the Alleluia” on the eve of Septuagesima Sunday was enhanced by a popular ritual guided by the choir boys. We find a description of it in the fifteenth-century statute book of the church of Toul, France:

“On Saturday before Septuagesima Sunday all choir boys gather in the sacristy during the prayer of the None, to prepare for the burial of the Alleluia. After the last Benedicamus Domino [i.e., at the end of the Vespers service] they march in procession, with crosses, tapers, holy water and censers; and they carry a coffin, as in a funeral. Thus they proceed through the aisle, moaning and mourning, until they reach the cloister. There they bury the coffin; they sprinkle it with holy water and incense it; whereupon they return to the sacristy by the same way.”

This burial of the Alleluia was nicknamed the deposition (i.e., “the giving on deposit”). Curiously enough, gravestones in Catholic cemeteries traditionally had the inscription Depositus, or simply “D,” to indicate a Christian’s burial. When this term indicates the burial of the Alleluia or of the faithful departed, the Christian belief in resurrection is clear. As we bury those who have been “marked with the sign of faith,” (Roman Canon), and as we enter into the fasting of Lent, we do not silence our tongues because of despair or permanent loss. Rather, we do so with confidence that what has been deposited into the earth—our dead, our Alleluia—will rise again.

Yet in this period of preparation, we remain keenly aware of the mystery of sin and of our exile from the place where Alleluia abounds. So until we return to the New Jerusalem, let us not forget the sin that continues to devastate our world and our mission to heal what has been broken.

“We desist from saying Alleluia, the song chanted by angels, because we have been excluded from the company of the angels on account of Adam’s sin. In the Babylon of our earthly life we sit by the streams, weeping as we remember Sion. For as the children of Israel in an alien land hung their harps upon the willows, so we too must forget the Alleluia song in the season of sadness, of penance, and bitterness of heart.”

Chicago’s St. John Cantius Parish has adopted the noble custom of the Burial of the Alleluia for use in the Modern Roman Rite (i.e., Ordinary Form). On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday after Holy Mass, as the choir and congregation sings the traditional Alleluia, dulce carmen, an altar boy holds a large ornate board on which is inscribed Alleluia in golden letters. He leads the joyous procession to the Lady Altar where the board is solemnly buried underneath the altar cloth until the Alleluia is resurrected at the Easter Vigil, as the great moment arrives when the deacon approaches the Bishop with the words, “I announce to you a great joy: it is the Alleluia.” And the priest sings it in three different keys before the gospel of the Holy Saturday Mass, the choir repeats it jubilantly, and we all rejoice again: Alleluia!

Rev. Scott A. Haynes SJC

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