Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Il Tempo Interviews Msgr. Guido Marini

This past Sunday, the Italian journal Il Tempo ran an interview with Msgr. Guido Marini which pertained both to himself, but most especially to the liturgical vision and pursuits of Pope Benedict XVI.

Now many of the comments made by Msgr. Marini touch upon many of the same subjects he has spoken of before, but they bear repeating.

Accordingly, here are some of the most relevant excerpts in an NLM translation as they pertain to Pope Benedict's liturgical vision and programme:

[...]

Il Tempo: Are we witnessing simply a process of liturgical restyling or something deeper?

Marini: It is something deeper in the line of continuity, not of a break with the past. There is a development with respect for tradition.

Il Tempo: Since he has arrived, changes or corrections have been made. Some subtle, others more blatant.

Marini: The changes are diverse. One was the placement of the crucifix on the altar at the centre to indicate that the celebrant and the assembly of the faithful do not look at each other, but together they look to the Lord who is the focus of their prayers. The other aspect is the communion given kneeling by the Holy Father and distributed on the tongue. This to demonstrate the greatness of the mystery, the living presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. This attitude and posture is important because it helps the worship and devotion of the faithful.

[...]

Il Tempo: When we will see Pope Benedict to celebrate the Mass in Latin according to Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite, that of St. Pius V? The Motu proprio. I, personally, interpret it as an act of generosity, openness, not closure.

Marini: I do not know. Many of the faithful have themselves taken advantage of this possibility [of the motu proprio]. The Pope will decide if he believes it to be opportune.

Il Tempo: In the post-synodal "Apostolic Exhortation" on the liturgy, Joseph Ratzinger has touched on many aspects. He even suggested that churches should face East, towards the Holy City of Jerusalem. A year ago, he celebrated Mass in the Sistine Chapel with his back facing the people. Why?

Marini: I proposed it. The Sistine Chapel is a treasure trove. It seemed to arbitrarily alter its beauty by building an artificial stage. In the ordinary rite, Mass celebrated "with one's back facing to the people" is an envisaged possibility [una modalità prevista]. But I would stress: [The celebrant] does not turn his back to the faithful, but rather the celebrant and the faithful are facing that thing which matters: the crucifix.

Il Tempo: "The Pope puts on Christ not Prada" was read in L'Osservatore Romano. The look of Benedict XVI is striking and intriguing. Vestments, mitre, pectoral crosses, the cathedra upon which he sits, and the mozzetta and stole. This is an elegant Pope. Is it a media invention?

Marini: Even to say "elegant" in the language of today, seems to suggest a Pope who simply loves outer aspects. A watchful eye sees that there is research which marries tradition and modernity. It is not the logic of a simple return to the past but it is a balance between past and present. It is the exploration, if you like, of beauty and harmony, which is the revelation of the mystery of God.


Source: Il Tempo by way of Papa Ratzinger

Vespers and Benediction from St. Peter's Basilica

Coverage of Papal Vespers and Benediction from St. Peter's Basilica.


















(The incensation at the Magnificat)





Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament













Alma Redemptoris Mater



Habits from old to new

Having spent some years attending the older form of the Roman Rite, I've variously been intrigued by ritual patterns of the faithful attending the new form that are really remnants of the old Mass.

The most obvious one is genuflecting before entering the pew even when there is no tabernacle up front. Another conspicuous one is kneeling for communion in the line (though it must be said that there is nothing intrinsic to the new form that requires communion lines and side tabernacles).

There are also moments in the Mass itself that strike me as clear imports from old to new. Every once in a while, you will see people genuflect in their pew before the recessional hymn, which I've variously theorized is a unconscious reference to the Last Gospel genuflection that doesn't even exist in the new form.

For my own part, I habitually make the sign of the cross following the penitential rite - not that I've really known why I do this. But I've seen others do the same.

So I was intrigued at this explanation at the site of the Brazos Valley Schola Cantorum, drawn from their norms for Mass.

Penitential Rite: “May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life”. No sign of the cross. This habit came about because in the Tridentine Mass the Indulgentiam prayer, which followed the Penitential Rite, started with the sign of the cross. Back then, many Catholics would cross themselves during the Penitential Rite in anticipation of the Indulgentiam. At Vatican II, the Indulgentiam was removed from the Mass, however, many Catholics still have the habit of improperly crossing themselves during the Penitential Rite – even though the Indulgentiam is gone.


(Is the wording imprecise here? Was it "at Vatican II" or at the promulgation of the new Mass?)

What can we say about these habits? For my own part, I find it terribly tedious when someone demands that they be eliminated to keep with modern forms -- e.g., someone who insist that people stop genuflecting before entering the pew. Such crackdowns on old behavior presume that everything we do at Mass must have some cognitive/rationalist basis.

The truth is that many patterns of behavior and belief are absorbed from deep history, and it is not always necessary except as a curiosity to know precisely why we do these things. "Ritual" implies a certain routine that frees us from constantly have to think through every action. In this sense, it is like riding a bike: we would be worse at it if we constantly thought about every rotation of the peddle.

So I don't really agree that it is "improper" to do these things. They are part of our history and who we are. Thus will I probably continue to cross myself after the Confiteor, and if you tell me there is no good reason to do so, I will gladly agree, and still persist in doing it. Call it a "superstition" if you want but the action alone carries some inarticulate meaning and significance.

In any case, it seems like an opportunity for comments on other habits that carry no "rational" basis that have been variously absorbed from old to new.

Renaissance polyphony weekend, Dallas

The University of Dallas is sponsoring a Renaissance Polyphony weekend, February 20, that ends in a Mass, February 22, 2009. The choir will sing Lasso's Missa Il me suffit, under the direction of William Mahrt.

The brochure reads:


“Lasso’s Missa Il me suffit is a classic parody Mass, based on a popular chanson of the day (Il me Suffit by Claudin de Sermisy),” Dr. Mahrt comments. “As such, the Mass provides the occasion for reflecting upon the interaction between sacred and secular elements in the liturgy. Being based on a popular tune, it raises the question of the appropriateness of such an incorporation. Yet, the process of incorporation includes the transformation of secular elements by sacred styles and conventions and amounts to a ‘sacralization’ of the secular elements, which still remain familiar and recognizable.”

Rumour Watch: New Maestro of the Sistine Chapel for Lent?

Covering the papal liturgies being celebrated in the Vatican Basilica in Rome, we have recently, especially since the appointment of Msgr Guido Marini, had much reason to rejoice in the gradual restoration of the sacred. One important element, however, which had so far seemed in some ways not to be affected by this restoration (although the proportion of Latin sung actually has increased, I think) was the liturgical music of these celebrations. The quality of the Sistine Chapel choir under its Maestro Msgr Liberto, whose task it is to sing in these liturgies, has often been criticised from various quarters. Today, there is an interesting article by the well-known Vaticanista Paolo Rodari in the Italian paper Il Reformista looking at this, and which indicates that a change towards tradition may also not be far away in this area. Here it is in an NLM translation:

It was about a year after the election to the throne of Peter that Joseph Ratzinger gave an important signal to the finer palates across the Tiber regarding liturgical music. Surprisingly - it was June 24, 2006 - Benedict XVI called upon to direct a concert in the Sistine Chapel Monsignor Domenico Bartolucci, i.e. the one who, until the "coup" of 1997, was "perpetual" director (i.e. for life) of the homonymous polyphonic choir responsible for accompanying the papal liturgies musically.

In 1997, the then Master of Papal Ceremonies, Msgr Piero Marini, succeeded in installing in the post of Bartolucci the younger Giuseppe Liberto. The exchange was epoch-making: polyphony and Gregorian chant disappeared from the papal ceremonies, in virtue of the practical implementation of that post-Vatican II reform which, as far as it concerns the liturgy, has often characterized itself as intramundane.

In the 2006 concert there are those who read the Pontiff's intention, not so much to give back to Bartolucci that which had been taken from him, as, in the wake of that "reform of the reform" so often advocated by Ratzinger, to return to the Sistine [Chapel choir] the prestige of centuries of liturgical music that have never had anything to do with that more "popular" [music] proposed by Liberto. And together, the signal that Liberto was soon to be promoted bishop and, therefore, redirected to new pastures.

And, instead, nothing. At least until now. Even if, with the Christmas celebrations of this year, another signal has been given, so much so that it is not impossible that, with the next Lent, Liberto becomes bishop in some Italian diocese and in his place arrives a Maestro more attuned to the musical sensitivity of the Pontiff.

The signal came in the Christmas celebrations of this year. For the first time, by indiciation of the Office of the Liturgical Ceremonies led by Piero Marini's successor, that is Guido Marini, every celebration was preceded by a few minutes of listening to music and readings, so as to "dispose the soul of the faithful to the climate of prayer and recollection." An important signal that could bring with it the return of the use of the organ before and during the papal ceremonies.

On the post of Liberto, it is said, would arrive the one who is seen as the only possible heir: the Catalan Monsignor Valentin Miserachs Grau, president of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music [pictured to the right]. In his favour speaks the fact of having the same musical sensibilities as Ratzinger. In his disadvantage, having put himself too much in contrast to Liberto in recent years. Often Benedict XVI, between two contenders, chooses a third, who may possibly be far away from the palace quarrels.

One thing that should be noted if and when such a change does come about is that this must not be seen as simply a choice more attuned "to the musical sensitivity of the Pontiff", as it says at some point in the article. As the article itself points out, this would be a return to the Church's own musical heritage and a millenarian tradition, and therefore, a true restoration of the sacred, not just a new fashion, which is what opponents of the Reform of the Reform and Sacred Tradition in general often try to portray it as.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Solemn Mass Celebrated Today in Mexico City's Cathedral

From a reader in Mexico comes news of a solemn Mass celebrated in the cathedral church in Mexico City by Fr. Romanosky of the Fraternity of St. Peter:

Today in Mexico City Cathedral a Solemn High Mass was celebrated in the Altar of the kings (an altar behind the High Altar, used rarely, [which] was not affected by the post-conciliar reforms. Its a beautiful altar done in a Mexican Baroque style [Churigueresco]. It is an altar dedicated to sainted kings and queens.

[...]

It is a historic occasion since it is the first time a Solemn High Mass is celebrated in the cathedral since the reform. The Low Mass has been celebrated before 5 or 6 times before.

I am attaching a few pictures for the blog, of the Altar, the exterior of the Cathedral, and some of the Mass.


Here are the pictures:









An Incredible Tool for Teaching the Mass and its Ceremonies

We have all heard of "Mass kits" which are kits made particularly for young boys to help inspire interest in serving at the altar, not only as servers but ultimately as priests. They typically include a little thurible like object, something that approximates a chalice, and so on, with the intent that they put themselves in the role of the priest.

I have been struck for sometime, however, by these photos which came in the context of a book for teaching children the Mass. It was not so much the book itself as it was what I saw pictured as the tools which they employed for this purpose which I found both highly creative and inspiring:



As you can see, they have setup a canopied Roman altar, complete with altar candlesticks, altar linen and so on. Not only that, they have included the various other sacred objects which are employed in the Mass:



For those whose preference is for a freestanding altar without gradines:



It is the fullness in which they have approached this that makes these particularly inspiring and effectual. When so approached, it can also provide opportunities to introduce, familiarize and teach children in particular about various aspects of our liturgical tradition, including in its architectural and stylistic elements.

The parts are actually fairly straightforward, and anyone with any small measure of creativity could likely put together such a setup such as this using some basic construction and sewing skills.

It strikes me as well that this sort of tool could be useful in both the home or in the parish and in point of fact, has applications even beyond children for teaching the Mass and its ceremonies -- in both forms I might add. For example, it could be used to explain the ceremonies and parts of the Mass to adults, to converts, or to altar servers.

I offer it here mainly as a point of consideration to families and parish priests alike that it might inspire you.

Developments in Hungary: Hungarian Bishop Celebrates Usus Antiquior

Back in August of this year, I had the privilege to attend and speak at a liturgical conference hosted in Budapest, Hungary, organized by the Hungarian Church Music Association and Professor Laszlo Dobzsay.

(See: Summary of the Budapest Liturgical Conference, Aug. 30, 2008; Vespers (Usus Antiquior) from St. Stephen's Basilica, Budapest, Aug. 21, 2008; Liturgical Images from Budapest, Sept. 1, 2008; Budapest Liturgical Conference: Solemn Pontifical Mass, Sept. 03, 2008.)

Many of the non-Hungarian participants witnessed both the youthfulness of the movement there and also became aware that we were witnessing a new liturgical movement establishing itself in that country. Memorable was the fact that the Solemn Pontifical Mass that was offered on the final day -- to a packed church of all ages and offered by the Apostolic Nuncio to Austria — was, we were told, the first that many there had ever witnessed in person, precisely because it was the first such prelatial liturgy in many decades within Hungary.

It is for this reason that I was very interested to hear of news today that an acting Hungarian prelate, Lajos Varga, the auxiliary bishop of Vác, Hungary, offered Mass in the usus antiquior on the 28th of December in Hungary. The note made above with regard to the Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Budapest conference is relevant here, for it might be noted that it was not offered by a Hungarian prelate. The reason this is relevant is that, apparently, a Hungarian prelate had not offered the usus antiquior in any form in Hungary for decades.

Accordingly, the event of the 28th of December takes on a particular importance as a step forward for the new liturgical movement in Hungary and the advancement of Pope Benedict's programme of liturgical continuity, revival and enrichment.

Before showing the photos of the event however, a preface.

It will not be lost on many of our ceremonialist readers that the Mass offered was neither a Pontifical Low Mass, nor a Solemn Pontifical Mass, but actually most proximate to a Missa Cantata — which is somewhat unusual.

Whatever the case, this was a notable step forward for Hungary, and perhaps even the Central-Eastern European region.







Monday, December 29, 2008

Chants of the Mass: A Free Online Tutorial for Priests

For those who do not already know about it, here is a resource for Singing the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite: Resources for the Priest. These are podcasts hosted by Fr. Mark Withoos.

There would appear to be many useful resources, but one of the most would appear to be the tutorial upon the common chants of the Mass.

Take a browse around the site. I am sure there are various resources which will be helpful.

(Tip: Orbis Catholicus)

St. Patrick's, New Orleans



St. Patrick's, New Orleans, is a thriving parish that provides Latin Masses in both the old and new forms every Sunday, and is home to a spectacular music program -- a good case of a parish that has completely revived through focus on fantastic liturgy. It attracts people each week from around the state and even from neighboring states.

In many ways, the program here seems to use St. John Cantius in Chicago as a model, with friendliness to both forms of the Roman Rite with special attention given to the interior beauty of the Church and also to the liturgy. This is the source of its energy and growth. It is a case in point that you won't find mentioned in any of the well-established Catholic music periodicals, even though the full embrace of tradition and excellence has been a boon for the parish in every way. Such places as this are a great hope for the future.

Here is one report that landed in my inbox:


If you have not been made aware of St. Patrick's Church in New Orleans (it seems to be flying underneath the radar), permit me to share the news with you -- it is everything that you would admire. I travel to New Orleans on Sundays from Hattiesburg, Mississippi for the weekly Latin High Mass, the Solemn High Mass on the first Sunday of the month, along with solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament every third Sunday.

Each Mass is Gregorian while the high holydays (Christmas, Easter, Epiphany, etc.) are usually highlighted with one of the Masses of the great composers. (I must confess, however, that the simple reverence of the chanted Masses are much more congenial to me than the splendor of the classical Masses - too much like a perfromance for my personal taste, but that is just me.) The choir is nothing short of magnificent: fabulous tenor, accompanied by a grand organ, and graced on occasion by Sarah McMahan, a beautiful young soprano who has quite a repetoire of operatic performances in both New Orleans and New York.

When one is kneeling at the communion rail, gazing at the altar built before the Civil War, being administered communion by the beautifully-vested Fr. Klores (he wore a chasuble on Gaudete Sunday that had been worn five centuries earlier by St. Ignatius of Loyola) and with Sarah singing Panis Angelicus, Ave Maria or the like, well... it is just beyond my capabilities to describe.

Before each Mass, six acolytes process to the foot of the altar where they intone a series of quiet prayers - they have been enrolled in the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament - this is part of their ritual. The opening procession, after the Asperges is sung, usually has about a dozen acolytes, a couple of young seminarians and deacons and sub-deacon when applicable. When I tell people about it, I seem to keep repeating the same word over and over: magnificent; but there is no other word that conveys it better.

This past year the parish celebrated the 175th anniversary of its founding, and the Mass was attended by two bishops (there would have been three but Archbishop Hannan was ill), more priests, seminarians and acolytes that one could count and when it was all over, the choir sang the Te Deum in all of its splendor. The huge congregation was numb with joy.

So, just as you have given me so much hope and ecouragement that a better day will dawn, I wanted to cheer you up a little bit also. If you ever get the opportunity to visit New Orleans, be sure to search out St. Patrick's, and also be sure to contact me as I would be thrilled to have you as a guest for brunch.

Bishop Peter J. Elliott, Pontifical Mass and Conference upon Benedict's New Liturgical Movement in Hong Kong

Recently, an NLM reader in Hong Kong sent in news of Bishop Peter J. Elliott's visit. There, Bishop Elliott gave a lecture upon the topic of the new liturgical movement and its growth. (The NLM will endeavour to acquire and publish this lecture, with the permission of Bishop Elliott.)



Following the lecture, Bishop Elliott also offered a Solemn Pontifical Mass.







Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Lyonese Liturgical Feature Spotted at the Parish of St-Georges in Lyon, France

Earlier this year, in February of 2008, the NLM reviewed certain ceremonial and liturgical aspects of the rite of Lyons -- the primatial See of Gaul. (See article.)

Like so many of the Western liturgical rites/uses, it too underwent various Romanizations in recent centuries, though -- happily -- it also saw the restoration of some Lyonese features in its 20th century editions -- beginning with the 1904 edition; the last edition being, I believe, that of 1954.


(The 1904 "Missale Romano-Lugdunense")


One of the elements of the rite of Lyons was the use of the "colletin", a type of collar used by the deacon and subdeacon and worn over the dalmatic or tunicle respectively at solemn Mass.



Now this type of vestment is not strictly Lyonese per se; one is also put to mind of the "collarin" used in the Ambrosian rite for instance. Archdale King in Liturgies of the Primatial Sees notes that this vestment is a development upon the apparelled amice. (For more on this aspect, cf. Appareled Amices and Dalmatic Collars and Their History)

The reason I raise this is because I recently saw some of the Christmas photos from the Eglise Saint-Georges in Lyon. While they (apparently) primarily use the 1962 Roman liturgical books rather than the Missale Romano-Lugdunense, I was very interested to note their use of the Lyonese colletin:









(Photos credits: Ferruccio Nuzzo)

A perusal of their parish photo album will show that this is not the first time they have used this Lyonese feature.

A Comment upon Promoting the Recovery of Western Liturgical Traditions

This perhaps provides a point for further consideration.

While we all can rightly rejoice in the recovery and revival of the Roman usus antiquior to Catholic parish life, we should likewise advocate, promote and foster the recovery of our other Latin liturgical traditions; traditions that were either lost or replaced following the Council. Accordingly, I would propose that we should promote the recovery of liturgical books such as those of Lyons, the usus antiquior of the Ambrosian rite, the Bragan rite, the Dominican rite, the Carmelite rite and so on.

The Pope's message of continuity and of how we should treasure our liturgical inheritance should not begin and end with the Roman liturgical books. It has value for all Catholics and all liturgical traditions.

Let us then work to recover these venerable Latin liturgical traditions, just as we work to reform the reform and promote the Roman usus antiquior.

Music Without Borders


The New York Times is devoting a major 3-part story to the changing demographics of the American priesthood. The core of the story deals with the priest shortage in the United States, and the ways that dioceses are dealing with it by drawing from the surplus of priests in Africa and Latin America. One of six diocesan priests now serving in the United States came from abroad.

For now, only part one has been printed, and it may yet deal with the problem of music, for this is a major issue that these new priests face. Music in all times and places is a major contributor to helping us identify aspects of home wherever we happen to be. This is a factor in the spread of digital MP3 players; they permit us to bring our preferred surroundings to us whether we happen to be in the subway, the car, an airport, or wherever.

The music of the Roman Rite—itself a universal liturgy—has a universal music that permits priests from all over the world to have a sense of “home” when celebrating it in all places. That is not to say that there are not local variations. The music at Mass in Uganda is going to have a different character from Masses celebrated in Utah, and national variations in incidental music are legendary.

However, there is a foundational music of the Roman Rite that has been the same in all times and places. The ordinary settings of the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus are world-wide settings in which no national culture in particular is embedded in its sound and feel. They were put together as part of a body of music overtly structured with a multicultural demand that no one language group of demographic prevail over any other. The Mass and its artistic setting must transcend not only time but also place and even the cultural character of the gathered people.

This is also true of the propers of the Mass (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion), which are of the same plainchant style as the ordinary settings but more musically complicated and designed for singers who have studied and are engaged in continual practice. The Sequences are the same all over the world, provided we are using the prescribed melodies.

Finally, there are the chant hymns such as those gather in the Parish Book of Chant, and they have a universal quality as well. At Masses where there is an international gathering of people, chant hymns are what unite people from all over the world in song. They convey a sense that no matter what your national origin, the Catholic Church is your home, and it is a home that you share with the faithful from all over the world.

I don’t think it often occurs to American Catholic just how provincial and national in character the music at our Masses has become over the years. Of course this was also true in the 19tth and early 20th century, when the favorite songs of Irish and Italian immigrants became standard fare. But underneath them, there was still a constant strain of music that united the immigrants groups, and that was the chant tradition.

What is different today is that this chant tradition has been nearly entirely displaced by new tunes written in the 1970s and continue to be written today, and their source of inspiration was not the universal music of the Roman Rite but the localized, national, and contemporary trends of secular and evangelical culture. Our Masses take on a sensibility that strikes foreign people as predictably “white bread,” and provincial as hot dogs.

The result is that our liturgy often sounds distinctly American in a way that is distinctly unCatholic. I noted this years ago when I attended a Mass at the North American College in Rome prior to its more recent effort to revive and universalize the music used at the seminary. I was struck at how the Mass seemed no different from what one would hear in your local parish. Yes, it made one feel “at home” but only in the sense that Americans feel at home only with American things.

In this sense, we should have some strong sympathies with “progressive” Catholic liturgists who complain about the alienation that is felt by ethnic minorities in our parishes, and how the music that is dominate doesn’t really connect with their own history.

Not that music at Mass must necessarily connect with any particular national tradition but neither should it be so tied to a national genre as to indicate exclusivity. The chant, on the other hand, takes us to a new level in which we are neither catering to majority interests nor pandering to minority demands. It calls us all to leave such selfish concerns at the door and discover timeless truth.

What we need in our parishes is a form of music that emphasizes the universal unity of all people in Christ. On a practical level, this means that the African priest should be able to step into any parish in America and be part of a repertoire of music that is familiar and known, illustrating how any Catholic parish is a home to any Catholic priest anywhere in the world. It is an undeniable truth that there is only one musical genre that fulfills this demand, and it so happens that it is the same music that has been specifically named by the Church as that which is to have primacy of place at Mass.

Reflect on the wisdom of those who see chant as the universal music of the Mass. It means that all Catholics can have a sense of belonging. The Marian antiphon for the season is the same in all parts of the world, even if we are struck but subtle local variations.

My own parish had a visiting priest from Africa last year, and it was the chant that provided that deep connection between himself and our local parish. He was so grateful that he brought with him, in his heart and heart, this music. This gave our local parish a grander appreciation for the chant and its capacity to unite us all. And he left with a burning desire to learn even more and singing ever more in his own country, as a way of underscoring the mystical connection between parishioners here and there.

It is enough that priests from abroad must struggle with language issues and adjustments to our national traditions like Thanksgiving and our peculiar ways in matters of politics and material things. Amidst all these differences, if we can find areas of commonality, that is all to the good. The Rite itself we have in common. The music of the rite too should be a source not of division but of unity.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

ICRSS Seminary Photos of Christmas

The Seminary of the ICRSS near Florence, Italy, have photos up of their Christmas celebrations for those interested.

Chant in the New Year

If you were still thinking about attending the CMAA's Winter Chant Intensive coming up on January 5-9, this might be the sign you've been waiting for. There have been a few cancellations due to illness - which leaves a handful of spots open.

Imagine yourself studying nothing but chant for an entire week - and with one of the premier chant masters working today. Can you see yourself singing the propers for Epiphany in the historic Founders Chapel at the University of San Diego? There is no telling how long it's been since the chant has taken pride of place in a Mass celebrated in this beautiful and sacred space. Become a part of this historical event.

You can register here.

Reader Question: Roman Chasuble and Altar Frontal Patterns?

A priestly reader is looking to have vestments made up in the Roman style, complete with pieces used within the usus antiquior, and is in need of assistance in finding good patterns for such vestments. He is also looking for patterns for altar frontals in the gothic and Roman styles.

I am certain there are others out there who are thinking similarly, and so I am sure it will be of benefit to open this discussion here.

Now, there are various cuts possible to a Roman chasuble. Some wider than others, some longer or shorter than others. Accordingly, it would be helpful to have the advice from vestments makers (professional or hobbyist) and particularly it would be nice to see an example of the pattern put into practice with pictures of the vestments in use. This will best show how a particular vestment pattern will look when actually used.

If there are patterns people have found to be not particularly good or easy to follow, this would be relevant to know as well.

Please use the comments to discuss.

Christmas in Venice

One of my favourite parishes to report upon is that of San Simeon Piccolo in Venice, Italy -- which was also the parish attached to the musicologist and early defender of the usus antiquior in post-conciliar life, Don Siro Cisilino.


(An artistic rendering of San Simeon Piccolo, seen to the left)


Recently, Fr. John Berg, the Superior General of the FSSP, was there to celebrate the Masses of Christmas. The NLM secured some photographs of the Mass of Christmas day, thanks kindly to one of the parishioners there.







The wonderful tradition of festal red and gold banners was in evidence as usual at this parish, which is a very dignified way to ornament a church for feast days of particular importance in the life of a parish.

Readers are invited to send in their photos as well -- though not everything can be used of course. Recall that the NLM is not only interested in those from the usus antiquior, but also the reform of the reform, the Eastern Catholic liturgies, and those of the other Western rites as well.

Documenting and sharing these photographs seems to be a particularly effectual way of giving encouragement to each other, as well as a means to recover our collective "liturgical memory" by means of visual catechesis -- something useful and pertinent to both forms of the Roman liturgy, as well as the other Western rites.