Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Monday, March 10, 2014
It is therefore gratifying to be able to announce the publication of Dr. Kwasniewski's Sacred Choral Works. This 276-page collection brings together a wide variety of sacred music, in Latin and in English, guided by the highest ideals of the Catholic tradition and ready to be used at celebrations of the Roman Rite in both Forms. The 85 works published here, in styles ranging from Renaissance polyphony to classic English hymnody, include settings of the Ordinary of the Mass, Eucharistic and Marian motets, vernacular hymns, Alleluias and Lenten acclamations, seasonal works for Christmas, the Holy Triduum (with three complete settings of the Reproaches for Good Friday), and Easter. Most of the pieces are scored for SATB choir; some are for SSA/TTB and SAB groupings.
Here is CCW's announcement video, featuring one of Peter's settings of the Kyrie:
Additional information may be found at the composer's page, including the book's Preface and Table of Contents, a sample score, a snapshot of the book, and recordings of five pieces sung by Matthew Curtis of Choral Tracks. As an aid to repertoire selection and choral instruction, Dr. Kwasniewski and Mr. Curtis have collaborated to record nearly all the works contained in the book (available soon on 3 full-length CDs).
Congratulations, Dr. Kwasniewski, on this new publication, the fruit of many years of labor!
For those who know, in faith, that Scripture is God’s very own Word spoken to our hearts—why, otherwise, would we desire to draw so near to this burning bush?—it can be something of an agony to find that we are neither quickly ignited nor easily kept ablaze. And yet, we know that we must keep our place near the Word; we stay at our post, and we ask, we seek, we knock, trusting that the Divine Master will speak to us when we are ready to hear—indeed, that His Word, of which our mind is a far-distant echo, has the power to make us ready to hear what He will say.
Once, when meditating St. Mark’s account of the Agony in the Garden (Mk 14:32–42), I noticed that Jesus issues four sets of commands to his disciples, as indicated by the imperative verbs:
- v. 32: “Sit here . . .” (This is addressed to all the disciples.)
- v. 34: “Remain here, and watch [or keep awake].” (This is addressed to Peter, James, and John.)
- v. 38: “Watch and pray.” (This is addressed to Peter.)
- v. 42: “Rise . . . See.” (This seems to be addressed to Peter, James, and John.)
- “Sit here.” — Lectio
- “Remain/abide here, and keep awake.” — Meditatio
- “Keep awake and pray.” — Oratio
- “Rise . . . See.” — Contemplatio
The second step is a continuation of the first—you were already sitting here, now remain here, do not go away when you get distracted or tired or afraid or bored—and yet goes further: keep awake. Turn your mind actively, questioningly, to the word in front of you. Turn it over and over, bang your head against it and stay awake, alert for what it is trying to tell you.
The third step again continues the prior step (keep awake!—we can’t ever give up our vigilance and just go to sleep), but adds, tellingly: pray. Out of your abiding in the Lord’s word, surely a prayer will begin to rise in your heart. Let it rise, let it swim into your consciousness, into your own words, so that it can be the response you make, from your heart, to the Lord speaking to you. Pray—pray for yourself, for your loved ones, your enemies, your rulers, anyone and anything you have a desire to pray about or pray for. In so doing, you will not only stay awake, you will become an instrument by which the Lord spreads His wakefulness and his peace to others beyond yourself.
The fourth step is a surprise: Rise, the Lord says, and see. Here is where the Lord lifts us up by His own strength, for we cannot raise ourselves to His heights. Yet He commands us to rise, because if we intend to rise by His grace, He will raise us up, for He is gracious and He loves mankind. SEE, see what there is to see in His mysteries: He will begin to show them and share them with us by an unexpected insight, an unmerited immersion into His simple truth. This is the gift of contemplation, and it begins with our willingness to rise up and see.
In the garden, Jesus himself prays three times, using the same words—a model for us, as we wrestle with the angel of God, as we accept the chalice we must drink, as we discover that the Father’s will is our sustenance and our life.
Sunday, March 09, 2014
|The fellow in black is a member of the Passionist Order.|
|The Procession before Mass, beginning in the ancient cloister of Rome’s cathedral.|
Saturday, March 08, 2014
In the liturgical reforms of Paul VI …, the Mass was radically restructured to take away any pretense of this second sacrifice. (purportedly in the Offertory) There is no “offertory” of bread and wine, but rather a “preparation of the gifts” in which the bread and wine are prepared for the Eucharist. The only sacrifice is the sharing in the One Eternal Sacrifice of Calvary as we “proclaim the Death of the Lord until he comes in glory.” … There is a clear break here with the 1962 and earlier Missals that follow the 1570 liturgical revisions of Pius V, and indeed many of the medieval rites that had developed and on which Pius V based his reforms after the Council of Trent. And this is precisely where we see claims to a “hermeneutic of continuity” in the liturgy to be unsupported by fact. I agree with those who claim that the Novus Ordo represents a break with the past:…
|His Holiness Pope Paul VI at the Mass of the Concistory held in February of 1965.|
The sacrificial nature of the Mass, solemnly asserted by the Council of Trent, in agreement with the universal tradition of the Church, was again declared by the Second Vatican Council. Concerning the Mass it pronounced these important words: “Our Savior at the Last Supper instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood, by which He might render perpetual the sacrifice of the Cross unto the ages, until He come, and indeed entrust to His beloved Spouse the Church the memorial of His death and resurrection.” … Thus in the new Missal the Church’s law of praying corresponds to Her perennial law of belief, by which we are reminded that the Sacrifice of the Cross and the sacramental renewal (renovationem) thereof are one and the same, only the manner of offering being different; which (manner) the Lord instituted at the Last Supper Christ, and commanded the Apostles that it be done in His memory; and accordingly, (we are reminded) that the Mass is at once a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, propitiatory and satisfactory. (i.e., that makes satisfaction for sins.)
Friday, March 07, 2014
'I wanted a travelling icon, so it is a diptych - it goes with me wherever I travel. I have a great devotion to Our Lady of Czestochowa. Aidan Hart, the artist, asked did I want her painted as the icon is currently at Jasna Gora, like the familiar black Madonna or one based upon the Iveron Theotokos? The icon currently displayed at Jasna Gora was originally of the Iveron form, but alas has been renovated on several occasions - the oil paint [yes oil paint, DC] applied by the restorers has not bonded to the underlying egg tempera, hence the ‘artistic mess’ of the icon today. Therefore I asked Aidan to recreate the original Iveron form, however because the attacks on Our Lady’s right cheek (the slash marks) are part of this archetype’s history I asked that these be added to the commission - an idea to which he was happy to comply. Furthermore the border he has used is as on the current icon at Jasna Gora but if often hidden under a rizza.'
Posted Friday, March 07, 2014
Some days later the holy man had recovered his strength enough to continue the journey to Rome; but, passing near the Cistercian monastery of Fossanova and receiving a warm invitation from the abbot and community to stay there a while until his health should be perfectly restored, Thomas accepted the invitation and turned aside to the abbey. And after saying a prayer before the high altar of the abbey church, as he entered the cloister the hand of the Lord came upon him, and he knew in his spirit that he had now reached the end of his life . . .St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us: obtain for us the grace to imitate your humility, devotion, and obedience, and some share of your wisdom, that we may live and die as you lived and died, in faithful communion with Christ and His Holy Church. Amen.
The abbot kindly gave him a room in his own apartments, with all the comforts that could be provided, as was fitting for such a guest; and being now utterly exhausted, he was put to bed and waited on by the monks with all reverence and humility. It was winter and they kept a fire burning in his room, carrying the logs in from the wood on their shoulders. And seeing this, Thomas said, 'Who am I that the servants of God should wait on me like this?' And now with every day that passed his body grew weaker; yet still from his spirit flowed the stream of doctrine. For, being asked by some of the monks to leave them some memorial of his stay with them, he gave a brief exposition of the Canticle of Solomon [the Song of Songs]. And it was indeed appropriate that the great worker in the school of the Church should terminate his teaching on that song of eternal glory; that such a master in that school, when about to pass from the prison of the body to the heavenly wedding-feast, should discourse on the bridal union of the Church with Christ her Spouse.
Feeling his strength ebbing away, he devoutly asked for the most holy Body of Christ: and when the abbot, accompanied by the monks, brought it to him, he did reverence to it, prostrate on the ground; weak in body, but with his mind, as it were, running strongly to meet the Lord. And being asked, as the Church's discipline requires, whether he believed that this was indeed the body of the Son of God which was born of the Virgin and hung on the cross for our sake and on the third day rose again, Thomas answered with a strong voice and alert devotion and shedding tears:
"Even were it possible for us wayfarers through life to have some greater knowledge of this truth than sincere faith gives us—faith inexpressibly true—yet now in that faith alone I declare that I truly believe and most certainly know that this is indeed true God and Man, Son of the eternal Father, born of the Virgin Mother, the Lord Jesus Christ. This I sincerely believe and profess."
Then with tears and devotion he received the life-giving Sacrament. But first, according to report, he said also these words:
"O price of my redemption and food for my pilgrimage, I receive You! For Your sake I have studied and toiled and kept vigil. I have preached You and taught You. Never consciously have I said a word against You. But if I should have said or written anything amiss on this sacrament or any of the others, I leave it all to the judgment of the holy Roman Church, in obedience to whom I desire to end my life."
On the following day he asked for and received the Last Anointing. His mind remained clear through the ceremony and he answered the prayers himself. Then, joining his hands, he peacefully gave back his spirit to its Maker.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
News of a Lenten program from the recently-formed Juventutem Lehigh Valley chapter:
Juventutem DC continues its monthly apostolate of Days of Recollection in March with a new twist: An evening of recollection on St. Joseph, including Adoration, Benediction and Confession, on Wednesday, March 19 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Washington D.C.
Fr. James Bradley, a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England & Wales, will be giving a spiritual conference on the feast of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church, followed by Adoration, Confessions and Benediction. This is the fifth such monthly Day of Recollection hosted by Juventutem DC, but the first to be held on a weekday evening. This series continues to generate tremendous interest and turnout by area Catholics drawn to traditional Catholic spirituality. This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available at the talk.
The Recollection begins at 7:00pm in the St. Thomas fellowship hall in the basement, followed by Adoration and Benediction in the main church. Priests will be available for Confession during Adoration. St. Thomas is located at 2655 Woodley Road NW, just off the Woodley Park Metro Station on the Red Line, the most convenient means of access to the area. See our Facebook page for more details on this and other upcoming events being planned by Juventutem DC, at www.Facebook.com/JuventutemDC.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
|Chapel of the Carmel, Bishop Barbar Celebrant (New Rite Roman)|
Friday, March 7, 7:45 a.m., St. Thomas Aquinas
Sunday, March 15, 9:30 a.m., Second Sunday of Lent
Sunday, March 23, 10:00 a.m., Third Sunday in Lent
Friday, March 25, 7:45 a.m., Annunciation
The chant for these Masses will be sung be sung by the nuns, and the celebrants and servers will be friars of the Western Dominican Province. Fr. Reginald Martin, O.P., prior of St. Albert the Great Priory, the Western Dominican House of Studies in Oakland CA, will be the guest preacher for the Solemnity of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Dominican Rite Low Mass is also celebrated at the Carmel, every Tuesday and Friday at 7:45 a.m.
See also all Dominican Rite Masses in the Bay Area, Spring 2014 and Regularly Scheduled Dominican Rite Masss worldwide.
*How to find Canyon Carmel, which has no street number: from Canyon U.S. Post Office (99 Pinehurst Road), go north about one half mile to “John McCosker Ranch Road” on right (easy to miss); take this mostly gravel private road up to the right turn onto “Old Home Ranch Road,” which is signed for “Carmel.” It ends in the parking lot of the monastery.
Posted Tuesday, March 04, 2014
The Wednesday of Cheesefare week is the first day that Christians of the Byzantine tradition celebrate the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, that is, a service wherein the faithful partake of Holy Communion consecrated at a prior Divine Liturgy. The Latin tradition also utilizes a Presanctified Liturgy as part of its liturgical year, but only on Good Friday. There is a manuscript tradition of the presanctified liturgies for the Syrian, Hagiopite and Georgian traditions, as well; the Coptic, Ethiopian and Armenian tradition do not seem to have ever had a full ritual for the presanctified gifts. Within the Byzantine tradition, however, such an observance takes place twice this week, on Wednesday and Friday, and then remains an integral feature of weekday Lenten worship up through the Week of the Bridegroom, Holy Week.
|Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts celebrated according to the Russian Tradition.|
Our consideration of the Presanctified Liturgy in this context will be divided into three parts. First, I will lay out its structure, with some notes on the developments that have taken place within the rite, and the days that it is observed. Part two of our study will consider the historical and theological justifications for an aliturgical observance of Lenten weekdays, (“liturgical” here meaning strictly a service in which there is an anaphora with an epiclesis). Part three will consider some of the key moments of the liturgical observance: Phos Christou, the chanting of Ps. 140, and the Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian, which although not strictly part of the rite is inextricably linked with the faithful’s experience of it.
For readers interested in a far more in-depth treatment of the historical development of the Presanctified Liturgy, I heartily recommend the book referenced a few years ago here at NLM, The Presanctified Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite by Greek Orthodox priest, Fr. Stefanos Alexopoulos. His admirable history of the rite’s development is an exemplary work in the school of the historical liturgist, Rev. R. Taft. Much of what I say about the history and development of the rite only serves as a summary or introduction to the much more detailed work of Fr. Alexopoulos, although at times I will note certain distinctive features of the Slavic tradition which are generally neglected in the study. At present there is no comparable study in English on the Slavic traditions of the Presanctified.
The structure of the Presanctified Liturgy is basically that of a Byzantine Vespers service, with a service for the distribution of communion attached to it. As Fr. Alexopoulos shows, the rite as it now stands is a testimony to the multi-staged development of the Byzantine liturgical tradition, having 1) key pre-Constantinian features at its root, 2) key imperial developments appropriate to the Cathedral rites of the Byzantine tradition, 3) features that characterize the monastic practice at the end of Late Antiquity (called by Taft the Dark Ages), 4) developments proper to the Studite synthesis of monastic and cathedral usages, and 5) characteristics of the neo-Sabaitic liturgical synthesis after the Latin conquest of Constantinople. As such it is a rich repository of liturgical history, and it especially tells the Byzantine story of balancing cathedral and monastic usage, a tension that hangs over the tradition to this day.
While the Liturgy is today attributed to St. Gregory the Dialogist (called “the Great” in the West), such an attribution is relatively late, gaining in popularity as Latin and Greek dialogue picks up after the fall of Constantinople. There does not seem to be any historical basis for an attribution to any particular author. The first documented evidence of the Presanctified Liturgy, which by its own description presupposes a much older tradition, is in the anonymous Chronikon Paschale of the early seventh century:
In the fourth indiction [of Emperor Heraclius, 615 or 616 A.D.], under Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople (610-638), commencing with the first week of Lent, a chant was introduced after the “Let my prayer ascend to You [Ps. 140]” at the moment when the celebrant brings the gifts to the altar from the sacristy (skeuophylakion) after the priest has said, “Through the gift of your Christ.” Immediately, the congregation begins to sing “Now the Powers of heaven are invisibly worshipping with us: for behold, the King of Glory enters in. Behold, the mystic and perfect sacrifice is being escorted. In faith and fear let us approach, so that we may become partakers in eternal life. Alleluia!” This hymn is sung not only during Lent as pre-sanctified offerings are brought in, but also on other days, whenever there are Presanctified offerings (P.G. 92,989).This first citation does not reference the prayers preceding the specific communion rights of the Presanctified Liturgy, but neither do many of the later manuscripts, in which the reader’s knowledge of the typical Vespers service is presumed. In the case of the Chronikon, we don’t know the structure of the whole liturgy into which this new hymn was inserted. By the end of the 8th century, however, we have a Byzantine Eucologion which includes the whole outline of the Presanctified Liturgy, including the Vespers service and the distinctive features thereof. Therefore, either the account above was already a part of the Lenten vesperal service, or it quickly became so over the next hundred some years.
The structure of the rite described above is as follows:
1. The reposition of the Presanctified gifts in the same place as the unconsecrated offerings for Divine Liturgy.
2. The chanting of Ps. 140
3. A procession, similar to the Great Entrance of the Divine Liturgy, but with the consecrated gifts, and with the singing of a new hymn.
All of these elements characterize the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts to this day. (For our Latin readers, it should be known that Alleluia is not prohibited during the Lenten season for the Byzantine tradition; indeed, it sung more often, but in a more mournful tone.)
|Incensing of the Pre-Sanctified Lamb (source)|
Without going into the whole history of how the Cathedral rite described above blended with the monastic usage of the time, and ultimately was almost entirely absorbed into first, the Studite monks’ attempted synthesis between the cathedral and monastic liturgical traditions, and then the neo-Sabaitic synthesis of the same, I will briefly outline the current form of the Presanctified Liturgy, with some notes on particular elements. The current form of the Presanctified Liturgy utilized by the Carpathian tradition was printed in Uzhorod at the beginning of the 20th century, and the form currently in use among American Ruthenians is an adaption of it. I will focus on the full usage, without taking note of the particular pastoral adaptations utilized by Orthodox and Catholic parishes in North America.
Ps. 103 (This psalm is from the usage of Lavra of St. Sabas, replacing the cathedral usage of Ps. 85)
Kathisma 18 (Kathismas are “seats”, or sections of the Psalter. There are 20 kathisma are divided between the hours of the office so that monks can pray the Psalter in a week. During Lent, they pray it twice each week. Kathisma 18 is broken into three stations: 119-123, 124-128, 129-133. This arises from the Sabaitic use.)
Prothesis (During the recitation of Kathisma 18, the Lamb [the square seal removed from the prosphora and offered at a previous liturgy] is ritually transferred from the Tabernacle to the Prothesis table to the left of the altar, which has long since replaced the skeuophylakion of the Hagia Sophia mentioned above.)
Vespers Psalms: 140, 141, 129, 116, and assigned strophe (Typical of all Byzantine vespers; introduced by Studites and replacing the Antiochene usage which previously characterized the cathedral rite.)
Entrance of Priest and chanting of “O Joyful Light.”
B. Readings and Accompanying Rituals
Prokeimenon and First Reading (During Cheesefare Week there is only one reading, and that is taken from the Book of Joel, but during the remainder of Lent the first readings, following the Antiochene tradition that gave us Chrysostom’s homilies on Genesis, progresse through Genesis, with a second reading from Proverbs.)
Phos Christou (Here the priest brings forth a candle, and blesses the congregation with it while proclaiming: “The Light of Christ enlightens all!” The congregation responds by making 3 prostrations to the candle.)
Second Reading (During Holy Week the readings change from Genesis and Proverbs to Exodus and Job. From the first prokeimenon to this point, the entire ritual seems to have derived from the Lenten catecheses/vesperal system in Antioch.)
Chanting of Ps. 140
Epistle and/or Gospel (This takes place on certain key feast days if they fall on a weekday of Lent: St. Charalampas (Feb. 10), the First and Second Findings of the Head of John the Baptist (Feb. 24), and the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste (March 9). There is also a Gospel for each of the first three days of Holy Week. In older times, when the Presanctified was celebrated on Wednesdays and Fridays through the year, there seems to have been a set progression of epistle and Gospel readings.)
C. Litanies: There follows a series of litanies for the faithful, the catechumens, and those in the catechumenate who will be baptized this Easter.
D. Great Entrance: The rite of the Great Entrance involved a procession from the prothesis to the altar, accompanied by incense and the chanting of the hymn described in the Chronikon.
E. Precommunion, Communion, Post-Communion Rites, and Dismissal: These rites have been deliberately modeled on the corresponding rituals of the Divine Liturgy, with only subtle variations in words or actions.
Some Notes on Frequency of the Liturgy
As noted, the Presanctified Liturgy is celebrated on the Wednesday and Friday of Cheesefare Week, every Wednesday and Friday through Lent, and the first three days of Holy Week. In principle, there is nothing preventing the Presanctified Liturgy from being offered every weekday of Lent, and even, as implied by the Chronikon quote, fast days outside of Lent. Under the influence of the neo-Sabaitac reforms, however, the more restricted use has been adopted. Reasons for this, the relation between the Presanctified Liturgy and fasting, and also the question about the theological justifications for fasting from the Divine Liturgy, will be dealt with in the next article.