Thursday, December 08, 2016

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception 2016

The nature and greatness of the blessed and glorious ever-Virgin Mary, is divinely declared by the Angel in these words: Hail, thou that art full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. For indeed, it was fitting that the Virgin should be endowed with such favors, that She might be full of grace, even She who gave glory to heaven, the Lord to earth, who brought forth peace and faith to the nations, and end to vices, order to life, discipline to our ways. And indeed, She is full of grace, for to others it is given in part; but upon Mary, all the fullness of grace hath poured itself at once. Truly, she is full of grace, for although we believe that grace was upon the holy Fathers and Prophets, yet not in such a degee; but into Mary came the fullness of all the grace which is in Christ, albeit otherwise (than as it is in Him.) Therefore (the Angel) sayeth: Blessed art thou among women, that is, more blessed than all other women. (From the 4th reading of the Office of the Immaculate Conception promulgated by Bl. Pope Pius IX in 1863. The sermon from which this is taken, generally know from its opening words as “Cogitis me” is written in the person of St Jerome, but is actually a work of the 9th century author St Paschasius Radbertus.)

La Inmaculada Concepción, by José Antolinez, 1650
For Our Lady’s feast day, enjoy this magnificent recording of the 8th O Antiphon, set as a motet by Josquin Desprez.

Aña O Virgo virginum, * quomodo fiet istud? quia nec primam similem visa es, nec habere sequentem. Filiae Jerusalem, quid me admiramini? Divinum est mysterium hoc quod cernitis.

Aña O Virgin of virgins, * how shall this come to pass? for Thou seemest to have none like Thee before, nor any such to follow. Daughters of Jerusalem, why do you regard me in wonder? This which you see is a divine mystery.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Feast of St Nicholas in Byzantine Italy

Fr Hunwicke posted an article yesterday in which, with his characteristically marvelous wit, he describes St Nicholas as “a saint with as large a portfolio of Patronages as a Renaissance cardinal.” This is particularly true among Byzantine Christians, who keep his feast with particular solemnity; he is honored as a Patron of both Greece and Russia, but also of Sicily and Puglia, regions of southern Italy in which, as we have noted before, there many communities of the Byzantine Rite. Here are some photos of the celebrations held in his honor this year among some of them in the area around Palermo, Sicily.

Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie - Palazzo Adriano

Photopost Request : Immaculate Conception 2016

Our next major photopost will be for tomorrow’s feast of the Immaculate Conception. Please send your photos (whether of the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form) to for inclusion. We are also always glad to receive photographs of celebrations of Vespers and other parts of the Office, and particularly of any ceremonies celebrated with blue vestments, in accordance with the famous Spanish indult. Please be sure to include the name and location of the church, and always feel free to add any other information you think important. Evangelize through beauty!

From last year’s Immaculate Conception photopost - blue vestments used at the church of Our Lady of Victory in Santiago, Chile.

Immaculate Conception Mass Announcements: Palo Alto and Philadelphia

The St. Ann Choir will sing the Latin Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Thursday, December 8, 2016, at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Palo Alto, California, (751 Waverly St. at Homer) at 8:00 p.m., featuring the Gregorian chants for the feast and the Missa Quarti Toni of Tomás Luis de Victoria.

The Philadelphia TLM Community will hold Mass for the Immaculate Conception at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss Peter and Paul, located at 1723 Race Street, beginning at 7:00 pm; the Ordinary of the Mass will be the Missa Secunda of Hans Leo Hassler, with the Ave Maria of Victoria and the Ave Maria, Virgo Serena of Josquin des Prez as motets.

The Mass of All Saints at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss Peter and Paul, from our recent All Saints’ photopost

Art Commentaries and Essays on the Blessed Virgin: A New Book by Fr Michael Morris

I am delighted to hear that a book containing essays and art commentaries by the late Fr Michael Morris will be released on December 8th. It is published by Magnificat, for whom he wrote for many years.

I haven’t read the book, but will review it for this column as soon as I get hold of a copy. For those who can make it, the launch will be at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California, at 4:30 pm on December 8th; the speakers will be art historian Dr Kathryn Barush, and Fr Christ Renz, the Academic Dean of the DSPT.

It is especially timely for me. I attended a lecture at the Acton Institute last summer about the crisis of the culture by Dr Carrie Gress, who commented on the “Benedict Option” movement which has grown up out of the angst arising from the conflict between Christian and secular culture. In the course of this lecture, she said that history and theology seem to suggest that a better response might be to look to Mary as a crucial guide in our efforts to evangelize the culture. I felt that she was on to something, and have heard a rumor since that she is in the process of writing a “Marian Option” book. If that is so, I can’t wait to read it; I will keep you posted.

Dr Gress’ idea seemed to me to come from the same place as the Men’s Holy League, recently established under the patronage of Cardinal Burke. I am anticipating the Fr Michael’s book will have much material to connect with this theme.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Video of the Installation of a Boy-Bishop

The archives of British Pathé never fail to turn up all kinds of interesting things; here is a video of the installation of a boy bishop at a small church in England on St Nicholas’ day in 1935.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia article on boy-bishops: “The custom of electing a boy-bishop on the feast of St. Nicholas dates from very early times, and was in vogue in most Catholic countries, but chiefly in England, where it prevailed certainly in all the larger monastic and scholastic establishments, and also in many country parishes besides, with the full approbation of authority, ecclesiastical and civil. The boy-bishop was chosen from among the children of the monastery school, the cathedral choir, or pupils of the grammar-school. Elected on St. Nicholas’ day (6 December), he was dressed in pontifical vestments and, followed by his companions in priest’s robes, went in procession round the parish, blessing the people. He then took possession of the church, where he presided at all the (non-sacramental) ceremonies and offices until Holy Innocents’ day (28 December).”

Although the custom was abolished definitively in England under Queen Elizabeth, it has seen a revival in modern times, first in some of the more ritual-minded Anglican churches, and spreading thence even to a few Catholic ones. The cathedral of Hereford has just appointed its new boy-bishop this past Sunday, as may be seen on its website; the cathedral choir school at Westminster had them for the feast of its patron, St Gregory the Great (in March) for at least a few years, as seen at the now-defunct blog Solomon, I Have Surpassed Thee. (I cannot seem to find any recent Catholic examples.)

Please! A Simple Version of the Anglican Ordinariate Office for Lay People

Here is a both a request and proposal for the Anglican Ordinariate, if I may be so bold.

Can you produce a version that can be reduced to a short booklet containing the Psalter and the unchanging prayers? If, in addition to that, we can find a way for the changing parts to be supplied by smart phone, then I think that you will have something that will really catch on. It will be simple to use and cheap.

If the Ordinariate would produce something like this, then I for one would use it and promote it tirelessly. I know of several others who would be just as enthusiastic to see such a thing. Furthermore, I am ready to create online courses at Pontifex University that teach the singing of the Office in the home, and this would be my preferred option to recommend to families and lay people.

The Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham is wonderful, but complicated to use, and I’m never quite sure if I am getting right those parts proper to the day - and I am reasonable adept at breviary navigation. I have spoken to a number of lay people who bought it and gave up. It would works well for religious and those especially devoted to the Office, who are likely to take the time to figure out what to say.

I am a great fan of the Divine Office as given to us by the Ordinariate, because I think that it gives lay people a greater possibility to take up the praying of the Office. It offers the chance of praying the full Psalter (i.e. no missing cursing psalms) in English, in a translation that is both poetic and accessible. I have written about this in previous articles, such as this one here: The Anglican Ordinariate Divine Office - A Wonderful Gift for Lay People and a Source of Hope for the Transformation of Western Culture. (And incidentally, if you think I was resorting to hyperbole in the title of that article, I wasn’t. I really to do believe that it has this potential.)

Looking at the general guide for Morning and Evening Prayer for the Personal Ordinariates, which constitutes a recitation of the full Office, and drawing on its application in the Customary, I think that I can get the psalms for the day and all that is specified in the table below, which comes from the St Dunstan’s Psalter. I would prefer to be using something similar that came with an endorsement from the Ordinariate.

What is missing in the St Dunstan’s Psalter are the readings and collect for the day. I can get most of this from via my smart phone. The morning readings are the same as those that are in the Office of Readings. What I don’t have is a readily accessible source for the Old and New Testament Lessons for Evening Prayer according to an established lectionary - can anyone tell me a website or other source where I might get this easily?

Although the hymn is not mandatory, if I want to use a traditional Office hymn for the day I always go to the Illuminare Publications hymnal.

The other request relates to the way that the psalms are set out. My goal is to sing everything, so please point the psalms in such a way that the natural emphasis of speech is pointed. Then people will compose psalm tones, ideally based upon the traditional Gregorian tones, that will conform to this method. If this becomes standard, then there will be the following advantages:

Every psalm tone can be applied to any psalm. That means that for people who are just learning, all they need to know is one psalm tone and they can sing the whole Psalter. If they gradually learn two, three or more psalm tones, then they can use those too, and it will quickly become interesting enough for them to be likely to keep doing it. In this system, people can learn many tones and still use this Psalter - i.e, it allows for those with the knowledge of just one tone or those who wish to use 120 tones to have the same Psalter. Also, if this pointing method becomes standard, then many people will start to compose, and as new and better tones are developed, they can easily be adopted. This allows for the possibility of chant for the vernacular as a living tradition which steadily improves and develops. and really starts to connect with people.

When I sing tones to the St Dunstan’s Psalter, I ignore the pointing and the tones they give, and I have pointed the text myself according to this method, and then I sing tones developed as above. This allows me to teach people to sing it very quickly, and I have a regular men’s group consisting mostly of people who have never sung the Office before, who are now enthusiastically singing it each Wednesday evening!

This would be in contrast to nearly every other Psalter that I have seen, (e.g. the Mundelein Psalter) in which even if there is some accommodation for singing, the psalms are pointed to fit a particular melody. The disadvantage of this is that unless you know every tone already, or are musically literate enough to be able to sight read chant, you cannot sing the whole Psalter. Beginners tend not to persevere. At the other end of the spectrum, those who are experienced with chant find it too dull. There are only eight or so tones, and this becomes boring very quickly. Furthermore, there is no scope for development of new tones that can be used with this Psalter, as every psalm is pointed to fit a particular melody. The result is that you use their tones or nothing, and if you don’t like them, you’re stuck with them.

FYI: The first week of the Pontifex University free Advent meditation has a class on singing the Office complete with a description of how to point the psalms and apply our psalm tones.

EF Mass and '24 Hours for the Lord' at St Stephen's, Portland, OR - December 9th and 10th.

St Stephen’s parish in Portland, Oregon, is hosting a 24 Hours for the Lord as an Advent penance service, beginning at 6 pm on Friday the 9th with supper, followed by all-night adoration, and an EF Rorate Mass at 7 am on Saturday the 10th. There will also be sung Lauds and Vespers, confession, adoration and a recitation of the rosary and Litany of Loreto.

Following the Holy Father’ call for a such an event during Lent of this past year, St Stephen’s parish held one which was quite successful; Shawn Natola from the parish tells me that “many of the parishioners were so inspired by this that we have asked for another 24 Hours for the Lord.”

Monday, December 05, 2016

Where Can “Mutual Enrichment” Really Take Us?

The reason liberals hate Summorum Pontificum is that they understand perfectly well that the revival of the old liturgy constitutes a challenge to key principles behind the liturgical reform and to much of its practical outcome. It is not so much a “turning back of the clock” as a destruction of the clock, that is, the peculiarly modern Western assumption that our practices have to be changed (or changing) lest they become stagnant and meaningless. In reality, it is too much change that brings meaninglessness; having no fresh perennial source leads to stagnation and dryness.

Imagine this scenario: say you have a community, half of which attends a feisty charismatic Novus Ordo and the other half a whispered Latin Low Mass. Both celebrations are permitted by the Church. The charismatics are probably going to be thinking: “We’re the ones who are really open to the working of the Holy Spirit, and we show it in the way we praise God with hands and voices. Those Catholics who just kneel quietly at a Latin Mass while the priest does everything — they’re sure missing out!” The Latin Mass-goers are probably going to be thinking: “This is the way that countless men and women were sanctified for centuries; this is an intimate encounter with Our Lord in His Passion and in the mystery of the Eucharist. Here I have a vivid sense of the Presence of God, and it keeps me going throughout the day or the week. It’s so sad to think of how the charismatics are stuck at the level of their emotions and don’t reach this deeper experience!”

Neither way of thinking is completely correct; each verges on caricature. A charismatic may enter into the Holy Sacrifice and the silent glory of the Eucharistic Lord; a traditionalist may sing the Gloria vigorously and fervently beseech the Holy Spirit. But, humanly speaking, do we not see that these groups, having made choices that tend in opposite directions, stand in judgment over one another? Is it possible for the one group not to think that what they are doing is better than what the other group is doing — and so much better that, in an ideal world, the other group wouldn’t exist? No, it is not possible; for otherwise they would not be doing what they think is better. This is why a “chant-crazed Latin-loving charismatic guitarist/vocalist” is about as rare as a functional democracy.

In much the same way, the majestic cathedrals of the Age of Faith stand in judgment over the sterile modernist churches of Corbusier and his imitators; the great paintings and sculptures that cover the Christian world stand in judgment over cubist hulks and felt banners; the soaring melodies of Gregorian chant and the mystic harmonies of polyphony stand in judgment over the worldly sentimentalism of contemporary church music; vestments of silk brocade and lace albs stand in judgment over polyester drapes and velcro-albs; ornate bejewelled gold chalices and patens stand in judgment over clumsy faux-Franciscan cups and plates. It is not possible for such things merely to “co-exist,” let alone to complement one another. They are antagonists in a duel for the face of the Church and the soul of the people. A church looks like this or that; the people are this or that. We are dealing not with the Catholic “both-and” but with the metaphysical “either/or.”

Let us take an example: kneeling to receive communion on the tongue from a properly ordained minister. A traditional Roman Catholic thinks that this way of receiving, which developed naturally out of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament and achieved total stability for centuries of devotional life, is superior in every way to the practices introduced in recent decades. With full consistency, then, a traditional Catholic will also think that the modern practice of receiving communion in the hand, standing, from lay ministers, is a bad thing, that it had a bad origin and has bad consequences. In such matters, it is simply not possible — I repeat, not possible — for everyone to smile and agree that everything and everyone is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.[1]

Pope Benedict XVI arranged that the Novus Ordo and the usus antiquior should co-exist in order that “mutual enrichment” might occur — presumably a sort of cross-pollination of the one by the other. If one looks at Ratzinger’s papal example and reads his works, and if one looks to such figures as Cardinal Ranjith, Cardinal Canizares, Cardinal Burke, and now Cardinal Sarah, it seems that 90% of the enrichment will go in one direction, namely, from the usus antiquior to the Novus Ordo, since the former possesses great riches of which the latter stands in desperate need. It is like St. Martin of Tours cutting off a piece of his ample cloak to cover a naked shivering beggar. As for the 10% where the older form could learn from the younger one, we may safely say it concerns just the sort of things that would have happened slowly, were it not for the bungling of a certain committee.

All this being the case, the result is plain: while the Novus Ordo and the usus antiquior are currently co-existing, they are a challenge to one another, and they could not not be. If the Novus Ordo world does not learn to assimilate the lessons that the usus antiquior can teach it, we are on a crash course to Armageddon. Either the philosophy of Summorum Pontificum will bridge the enormous abyss between the two forms by bringing the modern Roman Rite into a more obvious harmony with the preceding liturgical heritage, or we will see over time a dramatic intensification of our internecine conflicts. I say this not in a pessimistic spirit but as one who believes that having two supposedly equal forms of the same rite is a recipe for radical instability UNLESS there can be a genuine and profound rapprochement between these forms. And we can be certain this will never happen by the older form becoming hip, trendy, and modish, swapping Gregorian for guitars. It will happen instead when the modern form relinquishes its counterfactual claim to be “just what the doctor ordered.”

As with everyone else who ponders such questions, I have no idea what the long-term results will look like. Will there still be a Novus Ordo or an usus antiquior a century hence? Will there be a hybrid? If mutual enrichment actually occurs, will we see one or the other form fall away as dead weight, so that the sanity of a common worship may be restored to the Roman Church? God alone knows.

Meanwhile, it is our task to appreciate and live by the immense riches of our liturgical heritage and to share them with others while we await better, happier, more peaceful days. Like the joy of the Lord, this treasure is one that no man on earth can take away from us, because it belongs to Christ and His Church as a permanent endowment.


[1] Before someone thinks it needs to be pointed out, I am of course aware that Eastern Christians receive the Lord standing. However, first of all, this was their long-standing custom, as kneeling was ours, and if they should keep their custom, we should keep ours. Second and more importantly, outside a concentration camp emergency, they would not dream of having lay people administer holy communion; I think they would rather die a thousand deaths. Third, the layman never handles the sacred vessels, for the handling of which the priest’s hands have been anointed. Communion is by intinction. Fourth, the layman receives tilting his head back like a baby bird, with a red cloth beneath his chin, and the priest standing above him, as is fitting to his hierarchical position. All in all, the traditional Eastern practice and the contemporary Western practice have practically nothing in common.

Catholic Artist Society Lecture, Dec. 10 in NYC, with Jennifer Donelson

Here is a talk that cuts right to heart of what Catholic education is about. The New Liturgical Movement’s own Jennifer Donelson is giving the next Catholic Artists Society lecture in New York City on December 10th.

I want to encourage anyone who is interested in the general formation of Catholics, not just Catholic artists, to go to this talk. The title is Sacred Liturgy as Primary Source for the Artist’s Imagination. (Unfortunately, I cannot get there myself.)

This is a topic that is close to my heart. A lot of painters come to me asking about how they can get a formation as a painter. I always say that the most important thing is the worship of God in the sacred liturgy. That is not to rule out other aspects of an artist’s training, of course, but without a connection to the primary source, the artist is cutting himself off from the main font of inspiration that is available to him to direct his brush on the canvas, and to the wisdom that will guide him in the choices he makes in his own formation.

It is a topic that also comes up in discussions about education in general. Some people who favor a “great books” education seem to forget, it often seems to me, that the worthy books that are studied are the result of inspiration. In that sense they are secondary sources. The goal of studying them is to give students both an appreciation of their content, and an understanding that such wonderful works emanate from a source of inspiration, a source which, as Catholics, they have access to in ways that sometimes was not open to the original authors of the books themselves. This should, in my opinion, inspire us to look at these works and think that we could not merely equal, but even surpass them. The person who is satisfied in the study of such works of the past, and does not see them as pointing to something greater, the worship of God in the liturgy, is like the one who savors the smell of the meal but never actually eats. A Catholic inculturation, therefore, does not necessarily require a student to be immersed in the full range of the canon of great books; it can be sufficient to grasp the point that the liturgy is the wellspring of creativity, the place of the universal Christian culture.

(I pass over another point that arises from this discussion of a great books education, namely, the prejudice of many academics who have a book-based education against art and music as essential elements of education. There is a feeling that the study of these “lesser” disciplines is more recreational than transformational. But as an artist, I suppose I would think that, wouldn’t I!?)

I know no more about what Jennifer is going to say than the title, but these are the thoughts that cross my mind as I ponder over this extremely important topic. Please go if you can.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Ad Orientem - How’s It Going?

Two weeks ago, I received the following message from a priest friend who runs two parishes: “Today was the last Sunday with versus populum Novus Ordo Masses at our parishes ... . From next week on, all Masses shall be celebrated ad orientem.” Another friend, a laymen, wrote at the same time to say “(Our) parish ... will have all the Masses ad orientem during Advent. This has been announced in the bulletin for a month, accompanied with educational explanations, and I know Father X has already received some push-back in his efforts.” The priest has since written to say “I’d like to thank you for your prayers for this weekend. I’d say I almost witnessed a ‘moral miracle’ at (one of his parishes). We had all the Novus Ordo masses celebrated ad orientem, and not a single parishioner criticized or complained about it, something that I certainly never expected. Some people were even happy at this.” Thus far, I haven’t heard from the layman about how things went at his parish.

Anyway, it seems like a good idea to see how things are going with Cardinal Sarah’s call to return to what should, of course, be the norm for Catholic worship, turning to the Lord when addressing the Lord. So I’d like to ask our readers, clerical and lay, to report in the combox of this post their experiences from those places where ad orientem worship has been instituted, even if only ad experimentum. We will be happy to publish photos, which you can submit to our usual photopost address: (We can safely assume that Fr X is not the only priest receiving push-back on this, so if you have any reason to think that your local priest may be put in difficulties, please ask him before commenting or sending in pictures.)

Novus Ordo Mass celebrated ad orientem at the church of the Sacred Heart in Clifton, New Jersey: from this year’s All Souls photopost.

Friday, December 02, 2016

A First Mass in Ireland

Thanks to our friend Mr John Briody for sending in these photos of the First Mass of Canon John O’Connor of the Institute of Christ the King, celebrated this past Sunday at St. Kevin’s Church, Harrington Street, Dublin, Ireland which is home to the Latin Mass Chaplaincy for the Dublin Archdiocese. Our congratulations to Canon O’Connor, who is currently posted to the Institute’s Apostolate located at Sacred Heart Church, The Crescent, in Limerick. (A reminder that Mr Briody has a large number of photos, of liturgies and other stuff, on his two flickr accounts.)

Book Notice: St. Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on Job

Back in November 2013, I offered NLM readers an update on the progress of the Aquinas Institute's massive project of producing a first-ever complete bilingual (Latin/English) hardcover edition of the OPERA OMNIA of St. Thomas Aquinas. At that time, I noted that we had published 17 volumes out of a projected 57 volumes (see here for a complete listing of the contents of each volume), and all of these, of course, are still in print: Summa theologiae (8 volumes), Commentaries on the Letters of Paul (5 volumes), the Commentaries on Matthew and John (4 volumes; also available separately).

The good news, and the main reason for this post, is to announce the publication of another volume in the series, namely, St. Thomas's majestic Commentary on the Book of Job. The Aquinas Institute's policy with respect to scriptural commentaries is always to include a critical edition of the biblical text in Greek (either Septuagint or NT), the Latin Vulgate, and the English Douay-Rheims. The translator, Fr. Brian Thomas Becket Mullady, OP, has also contributed a fine introduction.

My colleague at Wyoming Catholic College and co-worker for the Aquinas Institute, Dr. Jeremy Holmes (who has also contributed guest posts to NLM), wrote up an informative piece about the theological originality and importance of this commentary. Here is an excerpt:
It is commonly said that Thomas Aquinas wrote commentaries on Scripture. But the claim is liable to misunderstanding: in our day, biblical scholars write commentaries on Scripture while theologians write monographs about theology. St. Thomas would have found this division of labor interesting in theory but odd in practice, because his job as a medieval university master was to teach theology to the most advanced students by lecturing on a book of the Bible. He lectured on Scripture in class, wrote theological treatises at home, and did theology all the time.
       When St. Thomas was named lector for the priory at Orvieto, he was expected to expound a book of Scripture for the brethren. He had already begun work on Book III of the Summa contra gentiles, on divine providence, so to keep his work focused he looked for a book of Scripture that would allow him to lecture on divine providence.  Where to turn?
       His clue came from Maimonides, who devoted two chapters of his Guide of the Perplexed to the book of Job.  According to this venerable Jewish teacher, Job was written to explain the various opinions people hold about divine providence. Literal exposition of the book of Job was rare in the Christian tradition, but St. Thomas saw this as an opportunity to fill a gap. And so he set out to teach his fellow Dominicans about divine providence via the book of Job, declaring that “The whole intention of this book is directed to this: to show that human affairs are ruled by divine providence using probable arguments.”
       For today’s students of St. Thomas, this was a stroke of luck. Everyone knows that the artist flourishes under constraint: the poet’s creativity is unlocked, not diminished, by a rigid sonnet structure; the architect’s brilliance emerges especially under the demands of an unusual terrain; the painter’s genius rises to the challenge of a fresco where ceiling and walls dictate the contours. The same is true of a theologian. It is one thing to compose a treatise on divine providence in the open spaces of unshackled speculative reason; it is quite another thing to teach about divine providence through respectful engagement with the complicated, pungent, and often obscure poetry of Job.
       The result is one of St. Thomas’s most lyrical works, a book Jean-Pierre Torrell describes as “beautiful.” The dramatic situation and the nooks and crannies of the poetry elicit insights from St. Thomas that might never have come up any other way. 
The Commentary on Job is available from Amazon.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

“Fisher of Men” - A Paulist Vocation Video from the 1960s

Here’s an interesting thing which a friend pointed out to me, a vocation video from the Paulist Fathers. Their Youtube account describes it as from the early 1960s, but I think it must just a bit later, since the Mass is being said (sigh...) versus populum, and on something (deep sigh...) that doesn’t look much like an altar. The vestments (like the entire video) suggest that all-too-brief period during and immediately after Vatican II, when “engagement with the modern world” actually meant “engagement with the modern world”, rather than “accommodation to the modern world.” Particularly striking is the how the life of this fictional priest is so focused on mission, on bringing the true joy of the Gospel to non-Catholics, and leading them to Christ in His Church. (Those of us who are old enough to remember 1970’s television will recognize the actor Brian Keith, who played Uncle Bill on Family Affair, as the husband who does not want his wife to be Catholic, and it is interesting to note how the order is promoting vocations by showing that Fr Bergin does not shy away from a little righteous indignation at him for this.)

Solemn High Mass with Monks of Norcia at Wyoming Catholic College for the Feast of St. Andrew

On November 30, the students, faculty, and staff of Wyoming Catholic College enjoyed the privilege of hosting a visit from two of the monks of the monastery of Norcia, Fr. Benedict Nivakoff, the Prior, and Fr. Martin Bernhard. The monks, together with college chaplain Fr. Robert Frederick, celebrated a Solemn High Mass for the Feast of St. Andrew. The student Schola chanted the Propers and the student Choir sang Hassler's Missa Dixit Maria, Verdelot's "Sit Nomen Domini," Byrd's "Ave verum Corpus," and Tye's "Laudate Nomen Domini."

Fr. Martin preached a rousing homily on how the words of Our Lord calling St. Andrew to drop everything and follow Him were not just spoken 2,000 years ago, but are spoken to us every time this Gospel is proclaimed in the liturgical action. Our Lord is calling young men and women in this very church to follow Him in a life of radical dedication, even a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience for the Kingdom of heaven.

Later in the afternoon, the monks led second Vespers for the feast, and met with men at the College who are discerning religious life.

We were delighted to have Fr. Benedict and Fr. Martin on campus (it was the third time monks of Norcia have come!) and we hope to welcome them or any of their confreres back again whenever they are next traveling anywhere near the Cowboy State.

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