Thursday, April 17, 2014

Solemn Mass of the Lord's Supper at the London Oratory

Here are photographs taken this evening at the London Oratory during Solemn Mass of the Lord’s Supper with Mandatum and Procession to the Altar of Repose. There are 27 photographs in total, including the Stripping of the Altars, so be sure to click on 'Continue reading this article'. There will be more photographs from SW7 over the next few days. [Photos: Charles Cole]

Tenebrae at WCC

For the third year running, students at Wyoming Catholic College met on Wednesday of Holy Week to sing the traditional Tenebrae office for Maundy Thursday. The schola led the chanting and the faithful in the pews joined in the antiphonal psalmody. The service lasted a little over two hours.

Once again, I was carried away by how beautiful and rich Tenebrae is, both in its music and in the texts, especially the poignant lections and responsories. The Lamentation tone is perhaps the most exquisite psalm tone of all, in its strange combination of sweetness and detached observation of destruction. The continual focus on Judas, the wicked tradesman (mercator pessimus), restless and vigilant while the other disciples sleep, brings us into the heart of denial, despair, and the urgent call to repentance before it is too late. The psalms of the three nocturns oscillate between utter dereliction and cosmic triumph. The entire service plunges one into the Passion like few other liturgical ceremonies can do. We need a major revival of Tenebrae throughout the church!

I was touched by the comment of a friend. His little girl had begged him to bring her to Tenebrae again because of the big banging in the dark at the end (the strepitus). But, trooper that she was, she had to listen to a lot of psalmody, antiphons, readings, and responsories before we ever got to the strepitus -- and she enjoyed the whole experience.

Below are a few photos, courtesy of Rob Bolin.

In the Second Nocturn

Singing a Responsory


Chanting the Benedictus

Palm Sunday - Your Photos (Part 2)

Oratory of St Philip Neri - London (Brompton Oratory)

Old Saint Mary’s - Cincinnati Ohio (Oratory in formation)

St Joseph’s - Richmond, Virginia

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Holy Week Schedule - Rome Update for the Russicum

The schedule which I posted several days ago for services at the Russicum in Rome has been slightly changed. Matins of the Twelve Gospels will be celebrated tomorrow evening, Holy Thursday, at 8:30 p.m., not on Good Friday morning. The original post has been updated.

Palm Sunday - Your Photos (Part 1)

Thank you once again for sending these in. They are posted in no particular order, and we received far more than we could post (which is great!) I'll do another set tomorrow, and we will of course be glad to see your photographs of Triduum services, including Tenebrae.

Mary Mother of God - Washington, D.C.

Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary - Indianapolis, Indiana

Holy Wisdom Parish, Latin Mass Community of St. Therese of Lisieux - Pittsburgh, PA

Aquinas College - Nashville Tennessee

Tenebrae for Maundy Thursday at the London Oratory

Here are some photographs taken at Tenebrae this evening at the London Oratory. Earlier today I was invited to speak about music for Tenebrae on EWTN's Son Rise Morning Show. The radio interview which lasts 9 minutes can be heard here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Palm Sunday at Wyoming Catholic College

As is our annual custom, the Wyoming Catholic College community came together to celebrate Palm Sunday in the usus antiquior, with the congregation joining in hymns and sung portions of the Ordinary, the schola singing the propers, and the choir furnishing polyphony. Given the unpredictable springtime weather in Wyoming, it's not terribly surprising that the night before and all through the day it was snowing outside (even after a week of sunny weather in the 60s), so the original lengthy outdoor procession was curtailed in favor of a simpler indoor procession of the sacred ministers.

Over and above the chants in the Liber usualis, the student College Choir sang:

Kyrie: Michael Haller, Missa Prima
Offertory motet: Felice Anerio, Christus factus est
Sanctus: Franz Schubert, Sechs Antiphonen zum Palmsonntag, D.696, n. 3
Communion motet: Tomas Luis de Victoria, O vos omnes
Recessional: Bach/Hassler, O Sacred Head Surrounded

Below are some photos.


Blessing of palms

Distribution of palms

First Gospel

Procession with hymns

Incensation of altar

Elevation of the Precious Blood

Holy Week Schedule - The London Oratory

Holy Week Schedules - Toronto and Berlin, New Jersey (Mater Ecclesiae)

From Una Voce Toronto:
The Mater Ecclesiae Parish in Berlin, New Jersey has the following schedule for Spy Wednesday and the Triduum. All the Masses will be Solemn.

Spy Wednesday, April 16
6:30 p.m. to 7:25 p.m. – Confessions
7:30 p.m. – Mass

Holy Thursday, April 17
(No Morning Mass)
8:00 a.m. – Full Sung Tenebræ of Holy Thursday
6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. – Confessions
7:30 p.m. – Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Procession to the Repository
- Holy Hour for Priests at Repository
- Adoration at the Repository until 11:00 p.m.

Good Friday, April 18
(No Morning Mass)
8:00 a.m. – Full Sung Tenebræ of Good Friday
1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. – Confessions
3:00 p.m. – Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday
7:00 p.m. – Stations of the Cross and Blessing with the Relic of the True Cross
Confessions after Stations of the Cross

Holy Saturday – April 19
(No 8:00 a.m. or 5:00 p.m. Mass)
7:45 a.m. – Blessing of Easter Baskets
8:00 a.m. – Full Sung Tenebræ of Holy Saturday with Polyphonic Responsories
7:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. – Confessions
8:30 p.m. – The Easter Vigil

8:30 a.m. – Low Mass
11:00 p.m. – High Mass (Confessions 45 minutes before each Mass)

Tenebrae with Juventutem DC on Holy Saturday

Juventutem DC to host Tenebrae on Holy Saturday

Thanks to the great generosity of the Oratory-in-formation at St. Thomas the Apostle in Washington, Juventutem DC is hosting a rare opportunity to experience a Holy Week Tenebrae in the traditional form on Holy Saturday this year.

Matins and Lauds of Holy Saturday, according to the 1962 Breviary, will be chanted beginning at 9:00am in the main church at St. Thomas. Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth of the Oratory will lead the chanting of the Office.

St. Thomas the Apostle is located at 2665 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008. Parking is available off street or at the Marriott across the street, but the most convenient method is to make use of the Red Line Woodley Park Metro Station, which is just a few minutes walk from the church. For more information, see our Facebook page at

"He shall dwell in thy tabernacle; he shall rest upon thy holy hill." (First Nocturn, Cf. Psalm 15:1)

The restoration of a hidden gem

Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane
An ambitious restoration project is underway in one of London’s most beautiful churches. Often referred to as the ‘hidden gem’ of the West End, Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, in the Archdiocese of Westminster, was founded in 1873 and consecrated on the 20th of October 1874. During his homily at the opening Mass, the Archbishop of Westminster, Henry Cardinal Manning, declared that ‘a sanctuary has been opened to be specifically devoted to the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament’.

The restoration project is being led by the Parish Priest, Father Alan Robinson and the architect Anthony Delarue. The plans include a new floor for the nave, the cleaning of the roof timbers and the restoration of the entire fabric of the church interior. Some work has already been completed, such as the Sacred Heart Chapel and its newly-cleaned stained glass windows (pictured below). This work, and the restoration of the Narthex, has been generously supported by Viridor Credits Environmental Company. Work yet to take place includes redesigning and decorating the Sanctuary and Lady Chapel and installing new altar rails. The Lady Chapel (see architect's drawing at the bottom of the post) is based on the Holy House of Loreto and will contain a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Sacred Heart Chapel
This was the first church in England to be dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament after the Reformation. The famous hymns Sweet Sacrament Divine and O Sacred Heart were written by the Parish Priest Father Francis Stanfield (1835-1914). It is also known as ‘The Actors' Church’ and is the home of the Catholic Association of the Performing Arts (formerly, the Catholic Stage Guild). For decades the Latin Mass Society has also celebrated Mass here.

A famous visitor to the parish over many years was Monsignor Ronald Knox. He first preached his Forty Hours Sermon at Corpus Christi in 1926, at the invitation of Father Kearney. This became a regular feature in Monsignor Knox's diary from 1926 until 1956. These sermons were published by Burns & Oates in 1956 under the title ‘The Window in the Wall’, and the charming and touching dedication of this book is, ‘To the memory of Father Kearney and to his successors.’

If you are able to donate to this wonderful restoration project, please click here.

Architect's drawing of the new Lady Altar

Palm Sunday Photopost Request

Don’t forget to send us photographs of your Palm Sunday liturgies: OF, EF, Eastern or Ordinariate, we’re glad to share them with our readers. Please be so kind as to use both the NLM photopost address, and my NLM email:

We’ll also be happy to post links to any videos you might have made publicly available; youtube is always the easiest way to do that. It makes it easier for us to process if you send jpgs to us directly, rather than links to flickr etc., but if you can’t do it that way, we understand. It is also helpful if you can put the name of your church and its location as the subject of your email. Don’t hesitate to send large files; it’s easy to make a large picture smaller if necessary for posting purposes. A blessed Holy Week to all of our readers and friends!

New Images of the Stations of the Cross - the Sacred Art of Helen McIldowie-Jenkins

A reader has directed my attention to the paintings of this London based Catholic painter. She bases here style on the 14th century Italian gothic style. I am encouraged that she is developing so well a voice, so to speak, that is characteristic of the Western tradition. I am reminded of the Florentine painter Lorenzo Monaco, whose paintings I used to see regularly in the National Gallery in London when I lived there. The link for the full set on her website is here; and to her notes on the commission here.

These new Stations were blessed by the Bishop of Norwich at Wymondham Abbey on Laetare Sunday.

There is one point of consideration here and that is the choice of painting the buildings in the style of 14th century Italy and some of the figures dressed in clothes contemporary to that period (we see that in the 5th station particularly. When painted, these were echoes of what the world around them looked like at that time. One might argue that today, if we were to adopt the same principle, we would be showing modern buildings and modern clothes painted in a gothic style. It is difficult to imagine, but it is the job of the artist to imagine for us. This is the talking point that I brought up recently in connection with my own work in the style of the English School of St Albans. I painted a pious knight in chainmail and wondered if I should have been painting a pious Wall Street trader in pinstripe suit as a modern equivalent!

On the other hand it might be argued that although not historically accurate representation of Palestine of 2000 years ago is nevertheless convincing to the modern viewer in regard to sacred art. We are not concerned with strict historical representation provided the principles that we do wish to convey are communicated, and the style is certainly the right balance of naturalism and abstraction that one would want to see. One could argue therefore, that it evokes another age sufficiently for us to acknowledge that this event took place historically in the past and then we move past that and on to the spiritual lessons.

Christ meets his mother

Christ's Second Fall

Christ is nailed to the cross