Wednesday, August 31, 2011
A Rich Liturgical Life at Wyoming Catholic College
by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski
Professor of Theology and Philosophy
Wyoming Catholic College
This is true in a special way of the Sacred Liturgy. Too often in recent decades the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been celebrated in a way that is quite different from, and even opposed to, the way it had been celebrated since time immemorial. The Pope is calling us back to a celebration in keeping with the dignity and mystery of the Eucharistic mystery. He is gently but firmly calling the Church back to continuity with her own Tradition. This is the deepest reason for his motu proprio liberating the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite: he wishes to see the two uses or forms exercising a mutual influence, such that lost continuity can be regained over time. It is a long term strategy with many immediate practical consequences. The “reform of the reform” has indeed begun, and the question that each knowledgeable Catholic must ask himself is this: Am I with the Pope and the real Vatican II, or am I de facto against the Pope because I wish to perpetuate a supposed “spirit of Vatican II”?
All over the world, parishes, chapels, and religious communities are adding the Extraordinary Form to their roster of Masses. The Pope’s example is beginning to have effects on the way Mass in the Ordinary Form is celebrated outside of the Vatican, especially in cities and in cathedrals. Plainchant and polyphony, ornate vessels and vestments, the Latin language, incense, and other such once familiar features of liturgy are returning in a way that could never have been foreseen even ten years ago. The seminaries and religious orders that are swelling most rapidly are those that have heartily embraced the Pope’s reforms.
Catholic institutions of higher learning cannot remain unaffected by the momentous shift taking place in the life of the Church. Rather than keeping students in thrall to the outmoded mentality of the past few decades, a truly Catholic college will set them confidently along the path of the hermeneutic of continuity, following in the footsteps of the Vicar of Christ.
For those who are hoping to hear good news in this regard, Wyoming Catholic College is truly a cause for rejoicing. This college is radical in its educational philosophy and curriculum, because we go back to the roots, the radices, of Western thought and culture. In the eyes of the world we are just about as “retro” as a college can be, but we are convinced that this is ultimately in the best interest of our students. Is it not the same with the liturgy and Catholic life? We want to be radical in the best sense—to connect with the deep roots that nourish our faith and identity as Catholics. Traditional liturgy, be it Western or Eastern, is an essential part of this nourishment; so is the language of the Latin-rite Church and her musical patrimony. Wyoming Catholic College is grateful to Almighty God that we are able to provide such nourishment—the robust and hopeful vision of Pope Benedict XVI—to the future leaders of the Church in this country.
As the Second Vatican Council teaches, the sacred liturgy—and above all, the Holy Eucharist—is “the source and summit” of the Christian life. For this reason, the sacred liturgy is celebrated at Wyoming Catholic College with fidelity to the directives of Holy Mother Church and with loving attention to her Tradition. Taking inspiration and guidance from the teaching and example of Pope Benedict XVI, the College chaplaincy offers a rich liturgical life to students, faculty, staff, and members of the local community. On most days of the week, the collegiate Mass is the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, celebrated in English, with common parts (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Pater Noster, etc.) sung in Gregorian chant, and with antiphons taken from the Graduale Simplex. The main collegiate Mass on Sundays is celebrated with special solemnity, the Schola singing the Introit, Offertory, and Communion antiphons and the College Choir providing hymns and polyphonic music.
In keeping with the generous intentions of Summorum Pontificum, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated every Wednesday (12 pm), Saturday (11 am), and Sunday (8 am) by the College’s full-time resident chaplain. On Wednesday it is the only collegiate Mass offered and the majority of students attend it; on Saturday it is the only daily Mass in the town of Lander. On Sunday it is always a Missa Cantata.
About twice a year, a biritual diocesan priest celebrates a fully sung Byzantine Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (Ukrainian recension). This, together with the Roman rite, affords all of us, including several Eastern-rite Catholics in the student body, a welcome opportunity to “breathe with both lungs” of the Church.
Confessions, all-afternoon Eucharistic adoration, and evening Benediction are part of nearly every day’s schedule. Small groups of students gather daily to pray Lauds, Vespers, and Compline in Latin, and the Rosary in English.
The general attitude and approach of Wyoming Catholic College is this: whatever form or rite is being used, the sacred liturgy is to be offered in the most beautiful and dignified manner possible, characterized by obedience to current universal norms and by an immense respect for the Church’s ancient heritage. In recognition of the exalted place of the sacred liturgy in the life of the College, our academic schedule is devised to allow all students and faculty to attend every day. The College promotes a culture of daily attendance at Mass and we are pleased to see that a majority of the students do attend daily.
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
The exterior ca. 1800; the bell-tower was finally completed in 1893. On the right can be seen the Fountain of Moses, one of several decorative fountains throughout the city.
This section of the vaulting on the south side of the building, and the stained glass window beneath it, both have the family crests of the donors who paid for them.
The portal on the north side of the building also preserves some very nice late Gothic stonework.
The more I understand about this entire topic, the more it seems that music and liturgy they are really inseparable; the mark of a truly mature musician in the Catholic Church is the understanding that it isn't really about the music after all but rather the integral contribution that music makes to the overall ritual.
The day after Shawn and I had visited about this topic and renewing the musical focus in this venue, the shocking news came that László Dobszay had died. I was stunned by this, and I'm sure many others feel the same way. He was a visionary, a genius, a truly innovative and brilliant thinker who understood the Roman Rite like few other living people. He was a mentor to me through his writings and his drive. He was also a very dear man.
The presence of a mind like this in the world makes a person like me absolutely afraid to write anything at all, simply because he possessed universal knowledge of a topic that I can only hope to understand in fragments. But rather than look down on what I wrote or tell me that I should stop until I had mastered what I need to know, he was always incredibly encouraging, enthusiastic, gentle, helpful, and happy to see that so many people in his last years had taken up his cause.
He must have felt like a lone warrior for all those prior decades. A champion of Dobszay's work has been Fr. Robert Skeris, who worked to bring Dobszay's writing to an English audience. When I first read the Skeris-edited book The Bugnini Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform, I was absolutely stunned. It seemed to bring everything together for me. Here was a severe critic of the structure and rubrics of what is known as the ordinary form today who was by no means an uncritical champion of the older form of Mass. Neither politics nor nostalgia interested him.
He was passionate about the truth above all else. And the two truths that this book drove home were 1) the Roman Rite is intended to be a sung liturgy, and 2) the propers of the Mass are the source text for what is to be sung by the choir. A reform that he championed was once considered outrageous: he wanted the permission to replace Mass propers with some other text to be completely repealed. I've come around to this view. So have many, many others. In fact, it is a rather common view now, and one that even finds support in the new translation of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal.
Of course he was a master in understanding the Gregorian tradition, and a true champion of the universal language of the Roman ritual. However, he was also nearly alone, for many years, in being an advocate of sung vernacular propers in the ordinary form. For years, I couldn't understand his thinking here. Why vernacular? Well, Dobszay saw that there was a step missing in the achievement of the ideal if we expect to take a leap from the prevailing practice of pop songs with random text to Latin chant from the Graduale Romanum. That step was to sing the Mass texts in the vernacular according to a chant-based idiom drawn from our long musical tradition.
He turns out to be incredibly correct on this point. In fact, he was the true inspiration behind the Simple English Propers book that has permitted regular parishes to start singing chant for the first time. This book and so many others are part of his legacy that he left in this world. In fact, I would even suggest that the new translation of the Roman Missal that is implemented this Advent owes much to his influence.
This recording was provided courtesy of Jesson Mata who acted as subdeacon in the Mass. The choir performed Taverner’s Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas. Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle was in choir for the liturgy.
This presentation shows forth the great beauty of the traditional liturgy of the Dominican order. (See here for standalone images from the Mass.)
The Dominican Priory of the Holy Cross in Leicester (U.K.) will celebrate a votive Mass of the Exaltation of the Cross on Saturday 10th September at 2pm. This will be a Dominican rite 'Missa Maior' (High Mass), and it is believed to be the first such celebration at the priory since the 1960s.
In related news, the friars of that priory have produced a booklet containing the Ordinary of the Dominican rite to help those who are able to assist at Mass daily in this rite. The booklet is available via Lulu.
The photo on the right shows the relic of the True Cross in its reliquary. The relic comes from Bornhem in the Spanish Netherlands to which the Dominicans had fled after the English 'Reformation'. When the friars returned to England in the 18th-century, this relic came with them. They established a priory at Leicester where this relic of the holy Cross is still venerated.
Monday, August 29, 2011
The Liturgical Institute announces a national event to prepare the Catholic faithful for the implementation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal.
Mundelein, IL, August 4, 2010— The October event, part of the program of Mystical Body, Mystical Voice: Encountering Christ in the Words of the Mass, will be a comprehensive one-day workshop to prepare the Catholic faithful for the implementation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal in November.
Developed by Liturgical Institute faculty members Fr. Douglas Martis and Mr. Christopher Carstens, the Mystical Body, Mystical Voice program brings a unique approach to liturgical training. “We see the implementation of the Missal as a chance to enrich the lives of the faithful with a deeper understanding of the sacramental nature of worship, whose purpose is to glorify God and sanctify His people,” said Liturgical Institute Director and sacramental theologian Fr. Douglas Martis.
Christopher Carstens, the Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Lacrosse WI, describes the rich theology and positive pastoral approach of the workshop. “We are doing much more than telling people that the Missal used to say this and now it says that. Instead we are discussing the central mysteries of the Faith: how we offer worship to the Father and become conformed to Christ,” Carstens said. “Those powerful words of Vatican II calling for full, conscious, active and fruitful participation in the sacred liturgy ask us to know why words matter and what words mean when they come from Christ and His Mystical Body.
The workshop will take place on October 8th at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL. from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Topics will include an introduction to liturgical and sacramental theology, the principles of language in the liturgy, and the texts that will change when the Third Edition of the Missal is implemented in November. Online registration is available at the website: www.mbmv.org. Early Registration is $45 per person, and includes lunch and a copy of the Mystical Body, Mystical Voice participants Guide. Group discounts are available. For more information, please contact the Conferences office of the Liturgical Institute at 847.837.4540.
Now, evidently, students eventually graduate and shift from being students to being alumni. In other instances they move from undergraduate to graduate work and are likely to shift academic institutions in the process. That is the first point. So one cannot expect, of course, that the blogs of particular individuals at these institutions might run forever -- and if they did, by a certain stage they'd become something else.
However, while I say, "to all things there is a season," what I am not suggesting is that there is perhaps a lack of such individuals in our academic institutions. Through public events and private correspondence I know for a fact that this is precisely not for lack of individuals or activity.
So that being the case, where are the successors to the sorts of blogs I have already referred? Blogs that, amongst other things, detail some of the writers' liturgically oriented aspirations, projects and positions and report on similar sorts of events in their academic institutions and locales?
It is possible they exist and are simply unknown to me, and if so, I'd like to hear about them. But if not, and it is simply a case of encouragement being needed, then I would like to offer that encouragement here and now. In fact, permit me to "name names" for the sake of very particular encouragement. It would be great to see such liturgically interested blogs (which isn't to say they need be exclusively liturgical in other words) come out of some or all of the following institutions:
Thomas Aquinas College
Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts
University College Dublin
University of Cambridge
University of Dallas
University of Notre Dame
University of St. Andrew's
University of Toronto
Wyoming Catholic College
This list is by no means comprehensive of course.
But how to handle the problem of the transitory nature of life in an academic institution? My own thought is that this is where the group blog might be particularly useful. Having a few writers and making a concerted effort to recruit new writers over those years would go a long way to help preserve this particular voice in particular institutions -- one which, I might add, is not only of great inspiration to a broader audience but is also useful for coordinating the new liturgical movement. Where it makes sense, some alumni could even stay on until the torch has been passed to the newer generations.
Still, even individual blogging projects ought to be encouraged.
So then, we're coming up to a new academic year in the next few weeks and with that, might I encourage those of our readers at these or other academic institutions to pick up on this enterprise, writing on and reporting on (and indeed thereby also contributing to) the efforts of a new liturgical movement in your area and/or institution.
I am convinced that this voice is not only desired, it is also needed.
My positive experience and impression of the college was continued when I learnt that the liturgical life of the college was now expanding to further include the usus antiquior.
What generally encourages me is the "both-and" approach being fostered here, and it is in a few regards: first, as regards the use of the two forms of the Roman liturgy; second, the use of the liturgy of Roman West and Byzantine East; third, that their liturgical life includes both Mass and the Divine Office; finally, that their approach encompasses both the sacred liturgy while also giving presence to Catholic devotions.
The NLM is pleased to share the following announcement which we requested of TMC when we were informed of this development. Please note, there is an appeal following the announcement. I would encourage you to consider showing your support for Catholic colleges which take the sacred liturgy seriously.
I know there are other Catholic colleges who would fall into this category: we at the NLM want to hear from you as well.
Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts
Introduces Extraordinary Form
One may be surprised to learn that the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts has not offered regularly the Extraordinary Form of the Mass on its campus. After all, this is a College centered tightly on the liturgy of the Church, beginning each day by chanting Lauds, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass just before lunch, and singing Vespers upon conclusion of the day’s classes.
Thanks to the recent clarification of Summorum Pontificum by the Holy Father in Universae Ecclesiae, Thomas More College will now celebrate the Extraordinary Form, and will commence with a special celebration on October 7—the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The Mass will be offered in accordance with the rubrics of the 1962 Missale Romanum.
Thomas More College is one of the few institutions committed to exposing its students to the full treasure of Catholic liturgy with the values of the new liturgical movement of Pope Benedict XVI in mind, especially in regards to the dialogue between the two forms and additionally by giving exposure to both Western and Eastern Rites.
Masses at the College are celebrated ad orientem with some offered in Latin and others in the vernacular. The student body as a whole chant the responses. The Divine Office is chanted in both Latin and the vernacular. Inspired by the new Anglican Ordinariate, the chant in the vernacular looks to the tradition of Anglican chant—and its roots in the Pre-Reformation Sarum use. The Melkite liturgy is also offered once per month and is well attended by students and faculty. In Rome, our students stay in an Eastern Catholic monastery and are able to participate daily in the Maronite liturgy.
Of course, as an institution of higher education, Thomas More College’s chief mission is the education of students. As a Catholic institution, its chief responsibility is to form young minds and souls consistent with the teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. But the College uniquely recognizes that the liturgy of the Church permeates all aspects of life—including the intellectual life—and so it has renewed its own liturgy consistent with the principles of the new liturgical movement.
Dr. William Fahey, President of Thomas More College, is quoted as saying, “Thomas More College is committed to furthering the principles of the reform of the reform. Through public lectures, symposia, retreats, and by setting an example, we are calling our students and the wider public to greater engagement with the truths of the Catholic Faith. Liturgical renewal is crucial to this engagement.”
As the College prepares to offer the Extraordinary Form each Friday, it has launched a small campaign to raise $5,000 in funds to purchase items necessary for this celebration, including altar cards, copies of the Ordo for Mass and Divine Office, servers’ manuals, vestments, a vesting prayer card, a biretta, Missal stand, and other items.
If you are willing to assist the College in purchasing these items, you may donate via the College’s web site here. For questions, contact Charlie McKinney at (800) 880-8308 or by email at cmckinney@ThomasMoreCollege.edu.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Can you guess the reason for this odd arrangement? As with our previous quizzes, please give your answer in the comments, and give whatever detail you can about the context and the use. (To make this more interesting, please make your answer in the combox before reading the other comments.) The Answer:
My compliments to the many who guessed that it is a reversible pew, which can be switched around so that the back becomes the seat, and the seat becomes the back. This is done so that worshippers can face the pulpit (not a side altar, nor the baptismal font, in this particular case); the white marble in the upper left hand corner of the photograph is the staircase leading up to the pulpit in the middle of the building. The church in question is the Berner Münster, formerly the Catholic cathedral of Bern, Switzerland, converted to Protestant worship in 1528. I have no expertise in any form of Protestant rite, so correct me if I am wrong, but I am given to understand that Calvinist churches often had services with no Eucharist, just Biblical readings, hymns and sermons, the latter being very long indeed. Such services would have been led from the pulpit from start the finish, so obviously, it would be rather inconvenient to have a large portion of the congregation facing the table.
In our previous quiz, the Most Creative Wildly Incorrect Answer and the Best Humorous Answer awards both went unassigned; this time, the contenders in both classes are almost too close to call. After due consideration, however, the former is awarded to J.C. Saulnier’s guess that the pew is reversible “to allow for a certain type of public penance whereby the penitent was not permitted to look towards the altar.” The electoral college (i.e. me) assigns Best Humorous Answer to Joe Walberg, “For bad worshipers who get put in time out,” although the popular vote went to John Hudson “where people who object to the priest 'turning his back on the congregation' sit in protest.” Next quiz in September!
Many of you will know Prof. László Dobszay from his two written works, The Bugnini Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform and more recently, The Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite.
Prof. Dobszay was a Hungarian who was very active in the scholarly liturgical community, an active promoter of the liturgy generally, and particularly sacred music and the divine office.
He will be missed. More details forthcoming.
In your charity, please offer your prayers and Masses.
Posted Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Anyway, I hope that this will inspire those who are responsible for the interior decoration of our churches to consider geometric designs as an option.
Evidently this is encouraging in and of itself, particularly as we look forward to the use of the richer translation. That said, as with everything at the service of the sacred liturgy, it must speak to the overall dignity and importance of the same. Indeed as Benedict XVI has commented, "Beauty is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of the liturgical action, since it is an attribute of God himself and his revelation."
Many times we here at NLM have spoken of this, including with regard to the production of our liturgical books. It is for this reason that I was markedly disappointed with the design choices made for this Canadian edition when it was first showed to me a few months back:
I cannot comment on the actual quality of materials or the binding itself, not being in possession of a copy of this new edition of the Missal, so on that point I can only remain silent. As regards the design however, at least for me this new edition seems a step backward by comparison to the present Canadian Sacramentary which had a richer and more substantive iconographic presence by comparison:
What has been opted for is a style that has not really proven itself lasting -- already being jettisoned, certainly popularly, but even ecclesiastically. Let us compare the designs of the bindings of two other editions of the revised Roman missal.
As well, the internal art of this new edition of the Missal, which is "based on the work of Jacques Joseph Tissot", a 19th century artist, struck me as rather lack-lustre from what we are shown of it. Indeed, it seems to lack iconographic depth and richness in my estimation and strikes me as the sort of illustration that might better accompany an illustrated book than a Missal which is to adorn our altars. Indeed, I find the much debated art of the new Italian lectionary of greater substance, interest and inspiration -- and this despite my own hesitations about that particular type of art within a liturgical context.
Strange too seems the idea, presented in the explanation for the rationale behind these choices, that there is going to be a future determination as to whether there "is a need for a deluxe version, one with a limited use of four-colour plates and leather binding. Such an edition would clearly not normally be for everyday use, but would be reserved for special occasions." Evidently one can understand the idea of that which is more ornamental for more solemn liturgical occasions (a thing we see is vestments, sacred music and so on), but it seems to me what is proposed should rather be the base standard for an altar missal and not rather the higher bar for "special occasions."
We all certainly look forward to the implementation of the new English translation of the Roman Missal that much is certain. But one thing seems clear to me, and this is that the Canadian edition pales by comparison to its American and British counterparts. In that regard we seem to have a case of a lost opportunity.
It would seem that I was not the only one who was so struck:
Missal's artwork lacks Catholic tradition
By Fr. Raymond de Souza
The B.C. Catholic
A few weeks back I wrote in these pages that the new Roman Missal, which will come into effect this Advent, should be beautiful, worthy of being on the altar during Mass. The missal is the book used by the priest, which contains all the Mass prayers. A new English translation of the missal has been prepared, and so new missals are required in every Catholic parish.
The current missal produced by the publications service of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is most unworthy, lacking even the creative design of a low-end recipe book. Canadian priests were hoping that the new missal published this fall would be a true work of art, not a mere functional instruction manual.
We saw that publishers in England, Australia, and the United States had sample pages posted online, drawing upon the long tradition of Catholic art adorning the altar missal. I wrote that if the CCCB version was as unimaginatively plain as their existing work, Canadian parishes should consider buying a British or American missal. All the prayers are exactly the same and the minor adaptations for Canada - local saints and variations in the rubrics for Mass - are easily enough obtained elsewhere.
Dr. Glenn Byer, director of the CCCB publications service, referred to me as an "unofficial spokesman" promoting "American publications." I am a spokesman only for my own views. He of course is "official" insofar as his job is to sell these missals.
Concerning the promotion of American products, I want a beautiful missal, not an American one. If Canada's only missal publisher cannot get the job done, then being of catholic sensibility I would be happy to get one from Britain, Kenya, or the Bahamas. The new missal should be an occasion for the CCCB publications service to show that it is the equal of anyone in the world.
Dr. Byer writes that the CCCB missal is entirely Canadian-made and that "there is a beauty in this too." Really? Wrapping an ugly thing in moosehide and soaking it in maple syrup does not make it less ugly. Being made in Canada does not make something beautiful. It accomplishes other goals, but why set in opposition beauty and local production?
More troubling still, Dr. Byer seems to miss the entire point of publishing beautiful things for Mass. He argues that there "is nothing more beautiful than the contents of the antiphons and prayers ... these are the stars of the book, not an abundance of colour plates."
Yes, obviously the words are more important than how they are printed, but in that case why not just print a daily sheet in the office and save all that flipping of pages in the missal? The book should be beautiful because the words are important; Dr. Byer gets it backwards, arguing that the book should be plain so as not to distract from the words.
That argument was used for generations to justify hideous vessels for Holy Communion, but no serious person argues now that a beautiful ciborium or chalice distracts from the Eucharist itself.
Dr. Byer is altogether too defensive about his project to inspire confidence among the parishes, which will soon be asked to spend considerable sums on it. Indeed, seeking to justify his decision to use black-and-white drawings from a 19th century French artist rather than full colour reproductions of the masters of Catholic painting, he argues that "hundreds of colour plates" would distract from the words.
Perhaps, but no one was arguing for a coffee-table art book, just a suitably decorated missal. The British version has 15 colour plates, and the most elaborate (horrors!) American version has 49. There would be an illustration for the most solemn feast days, and perhaps a few others for the ordinary of the Mass. That should not prove overwhelming, even for the most aesthetically deficient priest.
The CCCB approach is deeply discouraging, saddling Canadian parishes with inferior products for the foreseeable future. Dr. Byer writes that after everyone has bought one of the CCCB missals, perhaps a more "deluxe" version might be produced. But such a version would not be for "everyday use" but only "special occasions."
Therein lies the major difference between this "unofficial" priest and the CCCB's official director of publications. I rather think every Holy Mass is a special occasion, worthy of the best we can manage as Catholics. And I don't think being Canadian is an obstacle to that.
Parishes should not buy American. Or British. Or Canadian. They should buy beautiful.
Father Raymond J. de Souza is the pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary Parish on Wolfe Island, and chaplain at Newman House at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont.
As Michael Sternbeck of Saint Bede notes, these images appeared in O'Connell's The Celebration of Mass and were taken with permission of the then abbot, the Right Reverend Wilfrid Upson, OSB.
Images as these always bring to mind for me the great richness of the earlier monastic incarnations of the 20th century Liturgical Movement.
Speaking personally, while I am quite pleased at the baroque and renaissance revivals we have seen in the area of vestments and vesture, it would be gratifying to see more revivals of the particular styles seen here as well.
There are actually more images than what appears either here or at Saint Bede and I may take the time at some point to get higher resolution scans of all of these photographs.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Finally, here is one more as a bonus, showing that particularly spectacular church:
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2011