Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mgr Ranjith - Pontifical Mass - Blue Vestments

The connection is very poor and I am in Wigratzbad today, 31st of May.

Mgr Ranjith, Secretary to the Congregation for Divine Worship celebrated a pontifical mass and ordained eight new deacons. The feast of our Lady, BMV Reginae was celebrated in blue, an indult for Bavaria.

Some photographs of the event...

June 3rd 2008 : Comments have been removed temporaly from this thread as some posts were out of place and I have no possibility to moderate them individually.
Thank you for your comprehension.

Unique Iconic Monstrance--World's Largest--to Be Unveiled at Divine Mercy Shrine, Chicago

An in-progress view of the monstrance; it has since been extensively gilded and painted.

Today will be marked by a significant event in the new revival of Eucharistic Adoration, the unveiling of the new Iconic Monstrance for Chicago's proposed Shrine of the Divine Mercy, which when finished will itself be a significant work of new traditional architecture. The vision of Fr. Anthony Bus, CR, (pronounced Bush) pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Chicago, the monstrance and shrine have also received significant support from His Eminence Cardinal George, who will celebrate the dedication mass today.

The massive gilt-wood monstrance is widely thought to be the largest in the world, standing at 9 feet and weighing in at 900 pounds. It is the work pf Stefan Niedorezo, with gilding and conservation done by Malgorzata Sawczuk. The design is original, though not unprecedented, drawing on eastern images of Our Lady of the Sign and numerous other theological, iconographic and scriptural sources. It consists of a half-length sculpture of an orante Virgin Mary that serves as the backdrop for a foot-wide luna surrounded by rays and a crown of thorns. The statue is flanked by angels, and raised on a base resembling the Ark of the Covenant.

The overall design serves to bridge the gap between the Old and New Covenants in its symbolism. While similar fusions of Marian-Eucharistic symbolism are not unknown, the richness of the iconic monstrance springs from a unique call Fr. Bus says he received from the Virgin Mary to open up a shrine to the Divine Mercy in Chicago's inner city, detailed in his recently-updated book A Mother's Plea: Lifting the Veil in the Sanctuary. The former vice-postulator of St. Faustina Kowalska's canonization cause, Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, has served as a theological consultant on the project. The result is, to my knowledge, the only monstrance of its kind in terms of scale, overall composition and richness of theological-iconographic refinement; it is also unique in its permanent location at the heart of a soon-to-be-built adoration chapel of equal iconographic complexity.

Unfortunately, time constraints on this end prevent me from writing at greater length right now on on this extraordinary subject. I hope to return to it after the dedication, which will be broadcast om EWTN live at 5 p.m. central time, and on the Latin America station, El Sembrador. Relevant Radio is also covering the event.

More information can be found here, and here. After it is unveiled, planners intend to begin raising the $15-$20 million required for the adoration chapel and complex which will house the monstrance.

UPDATE: An image of the monstrance as it will stand in situ in the proposed shrine (which will include a very fine ciborium magnum) can be found here.

Celebration of the Conversion of St. Paul in 2009

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has issued a decree regarding the celebration of the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle, in 2009. Next year, the feast occurs with the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time. Under the rubrics of the Ordinary Form this would mean that the celebration is entirely ommitted. Since the Holy Father has declared the year from 28 June 2008 to 29 June 2009 to be a special Pauline Year for the bimillennium celebrations of the birth of the Apostle Paul, a special solution has been determined. This is the NLM translation of the provisions contained in the decree:

Therefore, in virtue of the faculties attributed to this Congregation by the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, it is being granted, having considered the extraordinary nature of the occasion, that on the coming 25th day of January 2009, which occurs on the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, in each church one Mass only according to the formularium of The Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle, as it is found in the Roman Missal, can be celebrated. In this case, the second reading of the Mass is taken from the Roman Lectionary for the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, and the creed or profession of faith is said.

This grace, by special mandate of the Supreme Pontiff, shall only be in force in the year 2009.

Since I believe that the same rubrics apply to the Extraordinary Form (the sunday being II classis and the feast III classis, preventing even a commemoration, see n. 111 lit. b of the Rubricæ generales), and considering that when the Solemnity of St. Joseph was transferred to 15 March this year because of Holy Week by the Congregation for Divine Worship, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei said that this applied to the Extraordinary Form, too, it may reasonably be expected that the present decree on the celebration of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle, in 2009 will also be held to apply - mutatis mutandis - to the Extraordinary Form.

Learning the Tonus Solemnior

Tonight I attended Mass at Mater Ecclesiae, where the Rector, Fr. Robert Pasley, as he likes to do from time to time, made use of the tonus solemnior for the Preface-Canon. This is the "more solemn tone," which, as you have probably surmised, is even more ornate than the Solemn tone. It is truly a work of musical genius which calls to mind the phrase from the Psalms, "sing artfully unto God." This melody is one way to bring special music right to the very heart of the liturgy. In fact, tonight it was the liturgical highlight of the whole ceremony. If only I had gotten a video!

Of course, this complicated liturgical gem must be performed with the utmost care, and tonight the good rector delivered on this, per usual. I may sound like I'm trying to win favors, but I beg you to believe that I speak the truth: Fr. Pasley should be teaching priests and seminarians how to sing all over this country. We must make him famous! His skills in the vocal art are unmatched by any other priest I have ever personally known.

I believe that this tone can be found near the back of the 1962 Missale Romanum. My understanding, however, is that it is not in all the Missals of the Traditional Rite, so it might be a bit tricky to find at first. The Missal which the CMAA has posted online for free contains it. Be careful, though: that's a big file.

Now that the summer hiatus is upon us, perhaps those priests who think this is something they'd like to learn should start looking at it. If one spends a modest amount of time with it from now until August, it could probably be in first-rate shape by the Feast of the Assumption, or, at the very least, by Christmas. And, by all means, if you need help, ask. Most of us church musicians would be quite eager to help you.

One practical note: For the dialogue portion of the Preface, it might be most wise, at least at first, to use the Solemn Tone, and then jump into the Tonus Solemnior after the dialogue portion is complete. This is for the sake of the congregation. Surely, if one were to use the dialogue portion of the Solemnior, the congregation would need the notation, at the very least.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Feast of the Sacred Heart

I post the following video, not in allegiance to any particular group, or even to condone certain positions, but because I think the chanting in this Mass is a very good example of what good chant sounds like. There is one polyphonic piece at the Offertory which is hardly Palestrina but isn't the worst thing I've heard, either.

Loyola University makes special accomodations

Thanks to a special arrangement made with Loyola University, the Sacred Music Colloquium has been expanded to include more participants to meet a last-minute demand. The CMAA has been working with facilities at Loyola to make sure that there is plenty of room for everyone who wants to come. The conference provides room, meals, and materials; a day rate is also available.

It will take place at Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, June 16-22, 2008. Participants include some 250 singers drawn from a nationwide invitation to novices and experienced singers from all walks of life. The 17-member faculty is made up of some of the most experienced teachers and conductors in the country.

I've been thinking about this, and it does seem to be the largest and most elaborate teaching conference on chant and polyphony in the United States since the Second Vatican Council. Can anyone think of another?

Chant and polyphony are the two forms of music specifically named by the Second Vatican Council as music appropriate to the Roman Rite. Gregorian chant is experiencing a huge revival, not only in popular culture but in Catholic worship as well. Recent initiatives from the Vatican and a change in the musical ethos of parishes have given new energy to the cause of making chant part of the lives of Catholics. Training here is essential, and this week-long program provides it on all levels.

The core music of the program, which features daily Mass and sung office, is Gregorian Chant. In addition, participants will choose a particular choir to sing in for full polyphonic Masses, composed by Palestrina, Victoria, Morales, and Monteverdi, as well as motets from a diverse repertory that include Guerrero, Franco, Byrd, Tallis, Bruckner, and others.

There are classes on reading and singing chant, vocal instruction, conducting technique, instruction in the sung Mass for priests, as well as panels on issues in the management of Church music programs. The music books for the week include the newly published Parish Book of Chant, which will appear just in time, as well as a 200-page packet of additional music.

Faculty includes Horst Buchholz (Denver Cathedral), William Mahrt (Stanford University), Wilko Brouwers (Netherlands), Scott Turkington (Stamford Gregoriana), Kurt Poterack (Christendom College), Kevin Allen (Monastery of the Holy Cross), Arlene Oost-Zinner (St. Cecilia Schola), David Hughes (St. Mary Church), Fr. C. Frank Phillips (St. John Cantius) , Fr. Scott Haynes (St. John Cantius), Fr. Robert Skeris (Catholic University), Michael Lawrence (Philadelphia), Susan Treacy (Ave Maria), MeeAe Cecilia Nam (Met. State College of Denver), Jeffrey Tucker (Sacred Music), and Fr. Robert Pasley (Mater Ecclesia).

The Canons Regular of the Order of Saint John Cantius, famed for its role in teaching and leadership in the area of Catholic liturgy, will be assisting at every Mass, as well as at Holy Hour and Vespers. Contact

Corpus Christi in Łowicz, 2007

A beautiful photo-set on Flickr can be found here, depicting the splendid Corpus Christi festivities in Łowicz, Poland. Most of the space is devoted to images of townsmen and women in colorful traditional costume, rather than a more conventional liturgical focus, but such customs, with no real equivalent in the United States or even much of the English-speaking world, point to the strong Catholic cultural and political framework in which such rituals flourished in times past, and suggest, perhaps, another sort of lay participation often forgotten today.

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos to Ordain FSSP priests on EWTN today

Folks, just a reminder (actually written before I left for Milan and Rome!) that today at 11:00am EST, EWTN will air the ordinations performed by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos for the FSSP in the Cathedral of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Unfortunately, neither Gregor nor myself will be able to provide any live coverage of the event, but those of you interested may tune in to EWTN online to watch.

The Mass will be re-aired on Saturday, May 31st at 12:00noon EST if you miss it the first time.

Do not forget to write EWTN to thank them for airing these Masses.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sacred Heart at Mater Ecclesiae

I have just received the Ordo musicae for the Feast of the Sacred Heart from the director of music at Mater Ecclesiae in Berlin, NJ, one of the finest Extraordinary Form parishes in America. If you're in the Philadelphia metropolitan area tomorrow night, you may want to head out there for this Mass.

Monteverdi: Missa in Illo Tempore

Victoria Ave Maria

Victoria Jesu dulcis memoria

The Mansion of the Past Reopened

I was looking for a book and went to the website of the Oregon Catholic Press, and the following image appeared that just about knocked me on the floor. Keep in mind that this is the Oregon Catholic Press. It seems to recall the days when the same publisher was called the Catholic Truth Society.

With the passage of one year, we are beginning to see that the most substantial effect of Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum is not exclusively or even directly related to the liberalization of the Tridentine form of the Roman Rite. To be sure, this form is making a comeback in parishes and seminaries and cathedrals, and this is a glorious development. The pope brilliantly named the old form the "extraordinary form" and the new form the "ordinary form" and made it clear that they constitute two forms of the Roman Rite. With this change in language comes a kind of liturgical healing, one that reduces the distance that has artificially separated us from the liturgy of the past.

But the real implications here are more significant still. What Summorum has done is re-legitimate the whole of our Catholic heritage--in the broadest way with can think of that term--and free us from the deracination that had become common in the postconciliar years.

The banning of the past was not a policy. It was not a result of legislation. It was not instituted by any one group in particular. But it had become woven into the fabric of American Catholic life in subtle and deeply dangerous ways. In the tumult of the age, Catholics were not entirely sure what it is we were supposed to believe and do, but we were sure of this much: whatever we believed and did was different from what our ancestors in the faith did and believe.

The habitual sneering at the bad old days was the most predictable aspect of this period in which everything changed, and I don’t need to rehearse the details. Confession was different. Music was different. Liturgy was different. Theology was different. Morality was different. And in all these differences, it has been presumed that in all ways we are better off, more enlightened, more humane, and more advanced. Never mind that not a single piece of data seemed to back that view. Whether we looked at vocations, Mass attendance, family size, or the production of art in the postconcilar years, the presence of a new Pentecost has not been entirely obvious.

All Catholics have felt a grave form of discomfort all these years. The Mass that was displaced and then nearly suppressed was the center of Catholic life in the past. It made appearances everywhere in the art, the music, the theology, and spiritual writings. We would stumble upon an old Holy Card with a high altar and wonder whether it is really of any use today. We would find children's books in used book stores and decide not to buy them because they featured priests facing liturgical East. The writings of the saints on the Mass didn't seem as relevant to us since they seem to be talking about something we do not know or experience in our time. We would look at great musical compositions and wonder why the Sanctus is separated from the Benedictus and we would be tempted with the idea that this timeless music just isn't viable in our day.

Even pictures of the past from our own parishes made us feel squeamish. What are these unusual vestments that the priests are wearing? What is that hat on the priest and is that even allowed today? Probably not. What happen to that altar that looks so beautiful and why was it replaced with this little table? Where did those altar rails end up, and is that stained-glass on the windows? It was hard for us even to look at all of this since it seemed like a period of time shut off to us.

Those who longed for restoration were once called disloyal or reactionary. Our mental stability was openly questioned. What is it about our state of mind that refuses to accept modernity? Are we questioning the wisdom of our leadership? What is it about community and openness and participation by the people that causes us to long for bad old days gone by?

It didn't take much for a person to be called a "traditionalist," a term that was used as if it were an insult. I remember years ago objecting to the suggestion by an architect that the high altar be torn down. A priest who sympathized with my objections warned me not to be too vocal lest I be accused of harboring secret traditionalist sympathies and wanting to restore the Tridentine Rite!

Keep in mind that this was a parish in which the rule was otherwise "anything goes." It was this same parish in which I taught a CCD class from the old Baltimore Catechism because it offered the best material that I could find. But when there was a knock at the door I would gather up the books carefully and put them out of sight.

Sometimes it felt like living in the old Soviet bloc and dabbling with ideas of freedom. Of course no one said that I could not use the Baltimore Catechism, but we all intuited the cultural ethos of modern parish life. Anything was possible, anything permitted, all manner of liberality was encouraged -- unless it meant looking back to the past.

Sometimes the desire to purge took the form of a witch hunt. If a musician suggested the use of a Kyrie, everyone wondered if the next step was the forced conversions of the Middle Ages. To sing a full choral Sanctus raised serious questions about whether we were plunging ourselves into a forbidden world that had been shut to us forever. Even to receive communion on the tongue or to ask for confession behind a screen meant to risk being labeled a troublemaker.

The ostracism experienced by those who longed for older liturgy was quite intense. Many people were reduced to declaring that they had no objections to anything going on now; it is only that, for whatever psychological reason, we have an "attachment" to the 1962 rite.

"Attachment" was the word everyone used because it was not threatening and seem to hint at a kind of permissible subjectivism. We are not saying that the old form is better; it is just a personal thing, an attachment. Of course the term lacked some element of plausibility for many people who used it, considering that young people were the driving force behind the movement to liberalize the old Mass. How interesting that teenagers would so quickly develop an "attachment" for a Mass they had only experienced once or twice in the most truncated of environments, or perhaps never experienced!

But with Summorum, much of that tendency to hide and apologize for having a historical interest or desiring continuity of practice is changing. The Mass of the past is renewed again, completely licit for every Roman Rite priest. It is being taught in seminaries. It is making appearances in cathedrals and even in our parishes. The objections you would have heard five years ago are vanishing, as ever more Bishops and priests feel free now to embrace this heritage and even celebrate it.

Whether we attend the extraordinary form or not, we can look at old Holy Cards and connect with them again. Pictures from the parish archive are not sad memories but instructive blueprints for the future. The music of the past seems fresh and fabulous and challenging. The vestments of the old days enthrall those in seminaries. The liturgical books of the preconciliar years are in a boom phase.

None of this means that we must reject developments of our time. It means that these developments can be understood more fully as part of a long history of our faith, and what is new can be more readily integrated in a way that the continuity of our faith demands.

The answer is not merely to "turn back the clock" or to seek to re-establish what has come before, contrary to what is commonly said. What Summorum has achieved is to permit us to intellectually and spiritually draw from a broader range of experience as we look to the future. It has meant an end to the illusion that Catholicism was re-founded in 1969 and that we have nothing to learn from our ancestors beyond what not to believe and what not to do.

In retrospect, this sad situation could not have lasted. But it took a man of great courage to finally put an end to the barriers that had sealed off our heritage like a mansion that had been padlocked pending demolition. That mansion is now open to us, to explore, to repair, to use, to make our own and prepare for future generations.

Thomas Aquinas Chapel Update

We've discussed already Duncan Stroik's work at La Crosse, and I mentioned in passing his in-progress chapel at Thomas Aquinas. I was recently sent a nice little clip of a walk through a very well-done computer rendering of the interior--a handsome, simple fusion of Florentine Renaissance precedents, some Spanish mission elements, and a baldachin reminiscent of St. Peter's--which might be of great interest to our readers. The overall aesthetic is, admittedly, far more restrained than the basilica in La Crosse, but offers an elegant solution to high-quality work within relative budget constraints.

Some of our readers have commented on Mr. Stroik's practice of placing the altar at the head of the chancel close to the crossing in recent projects, and the relative complications this could conceivably cause the celebration of a solemn high mass in the Tridentine rite. It is important to recall these two designs were begun long before the Motu Proprio was even a likely possibility, even before the election of Benedict XVI. I have no doubt Mr. Stroik meant no slight to either form of the Roman liturgy, and I speculate each solution arose from careful consultation with his clients regarding their needs. Architects can certainly shape the direction such planning can take with gentle suggestions but often, prudentially, certain aspects are sometimes beyond their control.

In any case, such an arrangement is not necessarily a novelty, and I have no doubt there are ways to ceremonially work around this situation. There is room for a multiplicity of chancel plans under the aegis of tradition--several right answers as well as several wrong ones. Similar arrangements, with the altar close to the people, appear in Sir Ninian Comper's work at St. Philip, Cosham, and his proposed baldachin for Downside Abbey. Both were intended for oriented worship and owed their planning to very ancient Roman North African models.

Indeed, even the then-Cardinal Ratzinger admitted in The Spirit of the Liturgy that many pre-Conciliar churches possessed altars that had grown somewhat distant from the faithful, for better or worse. I certainly would say my favorite memories of the Traditional Mass come from my experiences in Rome's tiny chapel of San Gregorio, where you could be within whispering-distance of the altar even during a solemn high mass with all three ministers and a fair number of attendants. While I think there is much to be said for deep chancels--especially in greater churches and especially cathedrals--such an arrangement represents a logical attempt to discretely and gently re-connect a contemporary sanctuary arrangement with tradition, a sensitive and pragmatic response to the current politico-liturgical climate.

For more information, see the relevant page at

Corpus Domini in Orvieto, 2008

Catholic Italy, for all her apathy, has nonetheless preserved the strong civic character of many of her seasonal liturgical celebrations, with so many of them deeply embedded in the geography and culture, sacred and secular, of her cities and countryside. Nowhere is this more evident than in Orvieto, an Umbrian hill-town perched on the edge of a sheer tufa outcrop.

Orvieto's churches with a strong claim on the feast of Corpus Christi. The cathedral houses the miraculous Corporal of Bolsena, with its rust-red stains of holy blood--connected in legend, if not fact, with the establishment of the celebration--and St. Thomas Aquinas resided in the city while writing the hymns for the feast. The town's old Dominican church, now sadly reduced to its transepts, chancel and crossing by a Mussolini-era urban renewal project, nonetheless still houses a crucifix that spoke to St. Thomas.

Both pieces of local history play significant roles in the mixed religio-civil ceremonies of Corpus Domini--the local equivalent of Corpus Christi, and the name by which it is known in Rome itself. An enormous tapestry carried in procession (below) depicts the miracle of the talking crucifix, while the famed reliquary itself is brought out on a feretory beneath a splendid six-pole canopy (above). Note one of the clerics holding up the sedia appears to be wearing Greek vestments.

An interesting local custom: I am told that the reliquary of the Corporal also serves as a monstrance, and served as the monstrance in this particular procession, which also explains its presence beneath the vast canopy. If one looks carefully at the reliquary, one will see a white disk above the compartment for the Corporal, which is the Host. I am informed this was the first time in 80 years the reliquary-monstrance was carried in procession. At the end of the procession, the Host was taken out of the reliquary-monstrance and placed into a more conventional monstrance for Benediction on the Cathedral steps.

More photos of this remarkable ritual can be found here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

St. Vincent de Paul, Los Angeles

One facet of the flowering of the American Gothic during the early twentieth century was a certain degree of overlap with a parallel enthusiasm for Spanish Renaissance and Baroque styles growing in California and the Southwest, most clearly evident in some regional works of Ralph Adams Cram and Bertram Goodhue, both of whom at various times in their careers fell under the sway of Mexico and Iberia. Indeed, much of Cram's later work had a colorful Mediterranean tinge, ranging from Byzantine to Spanish Gothic and beyond. Why this family of styles--often densely ornamented--took off in the often-puritanical United States is somewhat surprising, and may have something to do with ecclesiastical perceptions of cultural continuity in Spain between her Middle Ages and Renaissance, as well as its (somewhat tenuous) anchoring in the highly simplified Baroque of the American Spanish missions.

A splendid specimen of this Spanish Baroque revival, possibly the finest church on the Pacific coast, is Los Angeles' St. Vincent de Paul, with a 1927 interior largely by Cram and an exterior by Albert C. Martin drawing considerably on earlier work in San Diego by Cram's sometime partner Goodhue. The church is placed diagonally on a corner lot for maximum visibility and blends nicely with the surrounding Spanish Revival architecture while at the same time establishing itself undoubtedly as a church. The interior furnishings are a fascinating mixture of Cram's rubrical decorousness and occasionally polychromatic medievalism with the riotous sculptural splendor of eighteenth-century Mexican baroque, heavy with gilding and scrollwork. It is a fascinating sight: Cram, often wrongly stereotyped as the prim, archetypal Anglo-Saxon Episcopalian medievalist, throwing himself headlong into the giddy vortex of Latin Catholic warmth.

This is not to say he does not bring something of his own to the design. His personal mixture of modernity and medievalism grant a degree of clarity and focus--both artistically and liturgically--to the design lacking in some of its earlier Hispanic prototypes, which display a certain craftsman's lack of hierarchy with regards to the exotic and sometimes indiscriminate plastering of ornament on every conceivable surface characteristic of many of the outlying regional Baroques (Sicilian, Mexican, German, Spanish) if not its more balanced, subtler, hierarchically-sequenced Italian progenitors. He even manages to discover a tasteful way to give Our Lady a light-up halo, which is surely something in which we can all take pleasure as good Catholics.

Extensive photography of the church, interior and exterior, available here.

The New Site of FSSP Venetia

It was recently noted by Gregor in the comments, but I had wanted to make mention of it as well in a main NLM post; do go and take a look at the excellent and charming new site for the FSSP church in Venice, San Simeon Piccolo:

If that picture doesn't inspire you to want to visit their site, perhaps this one from their gallery of images will:

(The Feast of St. Mark in San Simeon Piccolo)

I have been quite tempted to go and visit this church while in Italy this coming week, but so far I have put those aspirations aside. Perhaps providence will yet dictate otherwise.

A few days quiet

In case you are wondering why I have been quieter than usual these past few days (whether here or in email response), this is in great part due to the fact that I am preparing for an 11 day excursion (not including travel days) to two great cities in the history of Christendom.

Beginning tomorrow, Thursday May 29th about midday, I will depart for Italy, returning the evening of Tuesday, June 12th.

Once there, I will quickly make my way to the city of Milan where I will spend a few days visiting the sites associated with St. Ambrose, the Ambrosian church and the Ambrosian liturgy.

After these few days, I will then find myself in the Eternal City for the remainder of my visit.

For the days in Milan I am uncertain if I will have much time or opportunity for internet access, but I am more hopeful that once in Rome, I will have some opportunities to update readers, and to some extent, continue to keep up with current news and events -- though evidently without the same concentration as usual. That said, the rest of the NLM blogging team will be hard at work in these regards, as they usually are. So do continue to send in your emails, photos and news for at very least, if I haven't the time to post an item myself, I shall be able to send it to one of my confreres.

This visit will be very much a liturgically focused and oriented pilgrimage, so I do hope to present some interesting sights and sounds for our readership, and I will be seeking out those sorts of opportunities and interests.

While there, I will also be present for the first solemn Mass of the new personal parish in Rome for the usus antiquior, Ss. Trinita. I will certainly bring you a first-hand report of those events.

Evidently your prayers for safe travels are appreciated.

Official Report from Sancta Missa Workshop

The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius sent to the NLM an official synopsis of their recent training course as well as a variety of photos. Here is that report.

Ever since Pope Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum in 2007, the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius have been hard at work to educate priests how to offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass according to the 1962 Missale Romanum. Their multi-media website,, is not yet one-year old, yet it has already given assistance to priests throughout the world learning to offer the usus antiquor.

Because many priests regularly approach the Canons Regular for personal training in the Extraordinary Form, it seemed advantageous to them to offer a formal group-training workshop for priests so that the requests of more clergy could be met. Working in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Canons Regular received the blessing of Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, to carry out this work of formation, so that the pastoral needs of Catholics today could be better addressed. His Eminence also suggested inviting seminarians to the workshop so that they would also be able to gain from this liturgical and pastoral formation experience.

With enthusiasm, priests and seminarians descended upon the campus of Mundelein Seminary on May 19, 2008, to attend a hands-on workshop on the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass of the Roman Rite held at the Cardinal Stritch Retreat House. For the next five days, these priests and seminarians, who hailed not only from the Archdiocese of Chicago, but from all over the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Lithuania, Italy, and the Philippines, would study the ceremony, ritual, rubrics of the Missal of Blessed John XXIII.

Each day the participants of the workshop had an opportunity to attend celebrations of the Traditional Latin Mass, ranging from Missa Pontificalis to Missa Lecta. Hosted by the Conventual Franciscans, the Missa Pontificalis and Missa Solemnis were celebrated at Marytown. The celebration of the Missa Cantata was held three times during the week at the St. Mary Chapel of Mundelein Seminary. The participants were greeted with warm hospitality by our hosts at Marytown and Mundelein, and everyone enjoyed participating in the robust singing of the Gregorian chant ordinaries and responses.

(Low Mass)

(Missa Cantata from Mundelein Seminary)

(Pontifical Mass in Marytown)

During the workshop, the Most Rev. Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, presented a talk entitled The Spirituality of the Traditional Latin Mass, showing how the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Mass, held in equal honor, can enrich the Catholic faithful in parish life. Plunging into the spiritual depths of the Traditional Latin Mass, Bishop Perry inspired all to receive the Extraordinary Form as a gift from the Church, meant to nourish souls with the grace of God.

Rev. C. Frank Phillips, C.R., Pastor of St. John Cantius Church in Chicago, and Founder of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, gave a lecture entitled The Extraordinary Form in Parish Life Today, detailing ways in which the celebration of classical form of the Liturgy can be successfully integrated into parochial life and help provide Catholics of all ages with a deep appreciation of the heritage and tradition that is ours.

While the priests of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius instructed the priests in the celebration of Low Mass and High Mass, the brothers taught the seminarians in attendance how to serve at the altar. Additional tutorials were provided in the correct pronunciation of ecclesiastical Latin as well as in Gregorian chant.

The workshop filled the Cardinal Stritch House to its capacity and had a waiting list of priests who expressed a desire to attend. Due to the popularity and success of this workshop, the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius are scheduling future training workshops for priests and seminarians at the Cardinal Stritch House.

(Private altars setup at Stritch House)

The entire success of this workshop was entrusted to Our Blessed Mother, and each day the priests and seminarians begged her intercession as they continued to study the celebration of the Extraordinary Form, so that they might return to their parishes and serve the faithful attracted to the Sacred Liturgy celebrated according to the venerable traditions of our fathers.

Here are some additional photographs of the event:

More from the Pontifical Mass

(The Proclamation of the Gospel)

(The Elevation)

Solemn Mass

Chant for Children

Here is a very charming book of chant, based on Psalm tones and other simple melodies, that tells the story of the faith. It was published in 1952, and long out of print.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Venice: Requiem for the Grand Master

These photos came to the NLM from Venice and the Fraternity of St. Peter apostolate of San Simeon Piccolo. They depict a Requiem Mass that was recently offered for the repose of the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta.

Corpus Christi in Saint-Eugène - Paris - France

Since Cardinal Caprara gave in 1802 an indult to France to celebrate Corpus Christi both on its real day, and on the Sunday in the octave (to fulfill the obligation to attend mass on Corpus Christi) most of the processions take place on Sunday after vespers for practical reasons.

Here is a link to the indult both in Latin and French:
Caprara Indult

We have had the traditional latin mass in Paris in Saint-Eugène since 1985, it is the oldest indult mass in Paris and the group is stable enough to continue.

The parish itself was built in the 19th century and is much inspired by the Sainte-Chapelle de Paris. It is stone outside and cast iron inside, the first church of its kind in Paris. The organ comes from the Exposition Universelle de Paris and was built by Merklin. The name of the church comes from Imperatrice Eugenie. It is probably the most English looking church in Paris and it reminds me of Pugin. Pugin's parents were French actually).

So, solemn vespers have been sung at 3:30 with French faux-bourdons which have been mentionned earlier on this forum and then the blessed sacrament has been exposed. The church was nearly full. I remember that years ago, we used to expose the blessed Sacrament a the beginning of Vespers for this special day only, which makes the ceremonies a little bit more complicated.

Then the procession left the church for nearly 45 minutes. Two altars of repose had been set in the streets. Il becomes more and more difficult to maintain these processions in Paris as some people dare to spit on the procession from their balconies and to throw water and unidentified liquids... A lot of insults as well and hifis turned on to the maximum. But the procession made its way, there is an arab saying: les chiens aboient, la caravane passe - the dogs bark but the caravan goes on and also la pluie n'arrête pas le pèlerin - rain does not stop the pilgrim.

Back into the church, we had a solemn benediction. This was not the only procession in Paris for Corpus Christi. Our next procession in Saint-Eugène will take us to our cathedral, Notre-Dame de Paris, where we have been allowed to sing a solemn mass, on the 17th of June in the evening.

Ward's Rossini-like Propers

Now, this is an interesting find. Justine Ward wrote simplified propers for children (1932) to sing at Mass, as a means of getting them going on Latin and prepping them for full-blown Gregorian propers. It is certainly a Rossini-like project.

This file has to be printed because the Psalm-tone propers extend over two pages.

Fr. Rob Johansen on Beauty, Subjectivism and Liturgical Music -- also a job opening

Fr. Rob Johansen has a couple of issues related to music up on his blog. One is an interesting piece he has written titled, Beauty, Subjectivism, and Liturgical Music where he discusses the matter of the nature of beauty. Here is an excerpt:

...the idea that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"... seems to me to sum up the thinking of many, if not most, Catholics, whether musicians or those in the pews. On numerous occasions, in my efforts to explain and promote the authentic vision of Vatican II regarding liturgy and music, I have heard from parishioners and others a response something like this:

'Well, Father, you like all that classical music and chant, and the traditional hymns, and that's fine for you. But I [we] like [insert musical genre here], and, after all, it's all for God's praise. One kind of music is just as good as another.'

Alasdair McIntyre, in his seminal book After Virtue, described this mode of thinking as emotivism, that is, the collapsing of all moral or qualitative judgments into mere expressions of personal preference. And this kind of thinking is the besetting sin of the post-modern West.

What is missing in the thinking illustrated above is any sense that the liturgy, and the music of the liturgy, has any objective quality whatsoever.

The fact is, the Church has never treated the liturgy and its music in the relativized and subjective fashion typified above.

In addition, some of our readers may be interested in a music position that has come open at Father Johansen's parish:

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, in Dorr, Michigan, is seeking an
Organist/Music Director. St. Stanislaus is a parish in the Diocese of
Kalamazoo of about 250 families. We have a school whose enrollment is
approximately 90 students.

The position is 1/2 to 3/4 time, depending on how certain aspects of
the school music program are integrated. Depending on the candidates
qualifications, it may be possible to combine this position with
other responsibilities to create a full-time position.

The candidate should possess competency in organ: ability to
accompany congregational singing and familiarity with simpler organ
repertoire. Competency in other instruments would be a plus. He/she
should also have basic knowledge of choral conducting. Knowledge of
Gregorian Chant would be a plus.

The Music Director/Organist plays at the two Sunday Masses (Ordinary
Form), and directs the adult choir, which rehearses once per week.
The Music Director, in consultation with the pastor, also plans and
provides music for the weekly school Mass.

Salary will be commensurate with education and experience.
See full job description [provide link] for more details."

Full Job Description

Monday, May 26, 2008

Celebrating the Graduale

As managing editor of Sacred Music, I'm very happy about what we've put together for the summer issue (Volume 135, Number 2). It's 92 pages, so possibly the longest ever, but it is never boring.

The theme is the 100th anniversary of the Vatican Graduale. William Mahrt begins the issue with an editorial that could almost substitute for the whole issue, with wide-ranging commentary on the place of the Graduale in liturgy, the controversies before and after its release, and its present place in Catholic liturgy, with particular focus on the Papal Masses in the United States this year. Some of his judgments on what was good and what was not surprised me!

John Berchmans Göschl, retired professor of Gregorian Chant at the Music Conservatory, Munich, reconstructs the history of the Graduale with some learned comments on its restoration and the tensions between the need to produce results and the integrity of the paleographic research that went into the effort. He makes a case against the early Solesmes rhythmic theories and markings and calls for new directions.

I'm particularly pleased by an exciting piece by Fr. Anthony Ruff, who reminds us that the Graduale did not just descend from the clouds but was the result of some remarkable debates and controversies that overthrew the Medici chant editions then in use. He introduces a polemical monograph from the period (reprinted in this issue) that made the case. His commentary illustrates the passion that he has for this topic and helps readers gain a glimpse of how the Church music is not only the product of the faith but also hard work and debate extending far into the past.

Under repertory, Javier Martin presents a "new" composition that is really a 500-year old piece of Mexican polyphony that has been rediscovered. His article explains the origin and meaning of the piece, and the full score is released into the public domain with this issue.

Also, Joseph Sargent examines the interesting history behind Tallis's "If Ye Love Me," and the dictates of the English government that led to its unique style. It seems that Edward VI issued an order for Lincoln Cathedral: the choir shall sing "a plain and distinct note for every syllable one: they shall sing them and none other."

I had to laugh about that line and the different world in which such an order could be given, much less enforced!

David Saunders provides the first parsing to two contrasting English translations of Musicam Sacram: the Vatican Polyglot Press and the Vatican website. The differences are striking and strongly favor the Polyglot edition.

I have a too-long article on the relationship between chant and the democratic character of Catholic worship today, while Quetin Faulkner provides more discussion on the problem of musical illiteracy among Catholics. There are several pages of news, and Kurt Poterack adds a final note on the "strange rejection of the Graduale" in Catholic music. He deals with the objections and the current climate, and suggests new approaches.

Report on Sancta Missa Workshop, May 19-23, Chicago

One of our diaconal readers, due to soon be ordained, sent in this report for the NLM from a recent workshop in the usus antiquior hosted by the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. Here is what he had to say:

I went to the workshop with a fair amount of trepidation: the Tridentine Mass has always seemed quite overwhelming. Where does one begin with learning it? Naturally I hoped that the Canons Regular (of Saint John Cantius) would help to make it seem less intimidating. And that they did.

There were upwards of 30 priests, transitional deacons, and seminarians in attendance. The group was divided into those who would only be learning to serve the various forms of the Tridentine liturgy (mostly seminarians), those who were learning the Low Mass (transitional deacons and many of the priests), and those who already knew at least how to celebrate Low Mass and wanted to learn more advanced things such as Sung Mass or Solemn High Mass.

I was in the group learning Low Mass.

Each day we had intensive training workshops in small groups with one of the Canons Regular. Each of us had the opportunity to practice the parts of the Mass hands-on. The Cardinal Stritch Retreat Center afforded an ideal location for learning the Mass: in the basement there were countless altar stalls that were (nearly) perfect for doing small group training sessions. Each altar had altar cards, a Missal, a chalice, and vestments, so that we could learn everything thoroughly.

In addition to the daily intensive instruction and practice, there was instruction on the Latin language (pronunciation and practice recitation of the Mass prayers) and Gregorian Chant (singing the Ordinary, Propers, and so forth). Fr. C. Frank Phillips, C.R. -- superior of the Canons Regular -- also gave a very fine talk on the Extraordinary Form in the Life of the Parish. It was very helpful to hear about his experiences celebrating the extraordinary form in a parish setting that also has the ordinary form. I was able to gain many insights and practical suggestions on implementing the extraordinary form in the average parish setting some day when I am a pastor.

One of the main highlights of the week was the presence of Bishop Joseph Perry, auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He gave a fine talk on the spirituality of the Extraordinary Form on Monday and then celebrated a Pontifical Solemn High Mass that evening.

Each evening (and Friday mid-day) we had Mass in the extraordinary form. The first two nights were in the exceedingly beautiful, nearby chapel of Marytown. The last three days were in the Mundelein Seminary campus chapel, which is also extremely beautiful. On Wednesday we celebrated the vigil of Corpus Christi with a Sung Mass with Incense; on Thursday, it was the proper Feast Day celebration (again, a Sung Mass with Incense), with the addition of a Eucharistic procession in the Church at the conclusion of Holy Mass.

In talking with other attendees the reaction to the week was overwhelmingly positive: a good and profitable time was had by all. I would highly recommend any future workshops offered by the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. I might add by way of conclusion that it was an added consolation, as it were, knowing that Cardinal George had fully endorsed and encouraged this workshop and had in fact instituted training in the extraordinary form for those seminarians who request it at Mundelein. Good things are happening in Chicago and the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius are helping to lead the charge under the fine leadership of Cardinal Francis George and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry.

These are the yet unseen fruits of the motu proprio that are presently in blossom. The substantive effects of the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, have not yet in fact been seen. There have certainly been gains in traditional liturgics in both the ancient and modern form, but those only arise out of those who were already prepared "out of the gate" if you will. What has not yet been fully seen is this first wave of priests, deacons and seminarians who are studying and training; nor the ripple effect that will occur once they and others begin celebrating the ancient liturgy and bringing what they can into their celebrations of the modern liturgy.

The problem of perfect pitch

I've only known one person well who had perfect pitch and she suffered miserably for it. Hardly any music sounded right to her. Choir concerts were out of the question. She couldn't listen to the music, the lines, the phrasing, the words, the articulation, the drama, or anything else because it pained her to no end to hear people singing out of tune, particular in a cappella passages. It all sounded bad.

Asked to sum up a wonderful evening of music, she would say "the tenors were terribly flat, the altos were sharp, and the sopranos were flat going down and sharp going up, while the basses only gravitated around the notes. And did no one think to tune up the strings before playing?"

So she was something of a downer, if you know what I mean. This created an attitude in her that she couldn't help: grave intolerance for listening to any music. She couldn't play on a piano that was even slightly out of tune. Harpsichords drove her nuts. Even hearing a group sing "Happy Birthday" was painful. It would have been better from her point of view if everyone would just stop singing and stop playing because it all sounded awful -- the way most of us would react of speakers dropped every second consonant or consistently mixed up vowels.

So was was intrigued to read this blog's comment:

It is beyond me why everyone assumes perfect pitch is such a wonderful thing. The nearest visual equivalent would be if everywhere you went, you saw a Cartesian plane projected onto the landscape which told you the approximate dimensions of everything you were looking at. While this might amuse people at parties ("Hey Osbert! How high is that mountain out the window?" "157.2 metres." "OMG THAT IS SO COOL DID YOU HEAR THAT EVERYONE HE DIDN'T EVEN NEED A TAPE MEASURE"), it would also tend to take some of the aesthetic enjoyment away from life.

There are also problems of practicality. When I sing with less skilled choirs, I am forced to transpose the music down a semitone when the ensemble begins to go flat. And you can imagine what mental gymnastics I have to go through in order to perform at A-415.

To sum, if you don't have perfect pitch, consider yourself blessed. (Thanks Choralnet)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

They did it!

Reuters reports that "A group of Austrian monks [Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz] have entered the British album charts with a recording of Gregorian chants, the Official UK Charts Company said on Sunday. The Cistercian monks of the Stift Heiligenkreuz monastery are Universal Classics' latest unlikely stars, entering the British album charts at number nine with their debut "Chant -- Music for Paradise". It also clinched the top spot in the classical chart."

One wonders what the effect will be in the UK, which has its own issues concerning music at Mass.

The CD (which is truly glorious) is set for a July 1 release in the U.S. If enough sales take place between now and when it is released, it could come in high (if not #1) in the U.S. charts as well. Now, I'm not of the temperament to conduct some sort of public campaign but it strikes me that a #1 opening in the United States would make quite the statement on behalf of a sound future for Catholic music in our parishes and cathedrals, nudge nudge. Support chant!

Inaugural Juventutem Mass held in Sydney

The following comes to the NLM from Juvenutem Australia:

Juventutem Australia had its inaugural Mass in Sydney, in preparation
for WYD 2008, Saturday, May 24, the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians.

The Mass was held at our church for WYD 2008, St. Augustine's in Balmain.

Here are some images from Saturday of the event:

In addition, there is a story about this launch on yBenedict, "a pilgrim news-site and campaign for the young people of the world... hosted by Towards2008 with the support of Catholic Youth Services (Sydney) and The Catholic Weekly." Here is their story:

Juventutem to Launch Tomorrow
Friday, 23 May 2008

The official Sydney launch of ‘Juventutem’ - the international youth chapter dedicated to the traditional Latin liturgy – will take place with Solemn Mass, this Saturday at St Augustine’s Church, Balmain at 11am.

juventutem - mass large.jpgSpiritual Director of Juventutem Australia, Fr Glen Tattersall believes the Mass, which will be celebrated in ‘Extraordinary form’ of the Roman Rite, will be an opportunity for young people who haven’t experienced a Latin Mass before to be touched by its sacred beauty.

“By experiencing a Mass in the Latin liturgical tradition, Catholics can rediscover their own heritage – one that has many treasures including Gregorian chant and the Latin tongue (the Church’s official language) as well as get a very strong sense of the sacred through its unique liturgical form,” Fr Tattersall said.

In July last year, Pope Benedict XVI recognised the continuing importance of the older form of the Mass in His Holiness's Letter to the Bishops that accompanied the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum .

“In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful,” His Holiness Benedict XVI wrote in this Letter to the Bishops that accompanied the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

“It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place,” continued Pope Benedict XVI in the Letter.

As well, Pope Benedict XVI also highlighted how the Latin liturgical tradition has had an engaging impact on the young people who have also requested the usage of the 1962 Missal since the Second Vatican Council.

“…It has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote.

The first Juventutem chapter went to WYD2005 in Cologne, where Cardinal Pell celebrated Vespers. Cardinal Pell will again lead Vespers in Latin and give Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesday 16 July at 4pm at St. Augustine’s Church, Balmain.

Following this Saturday’s launch, Juventutem Australia will be running Gregorian Chant workshops on consecutive Saturdays throughout June, to give everyone an opportunity to learn Gregorian Chant.

The sessions – ‘the Enchantment Project’ - will be run by David Molloy, an experienced organist, choir director and teacher who has spent over 40 years devoted to learning sacred music.

“Juventutem Australia is not just a movement that’s looking for those who are already attached to the Latin liturgy, but it also has a role to invite those Catholics who haven’t had a chance to experience their own heritage,” Fr Tattersall said.

For more information about Juventutem Australia, visit:

To register for the Enchantment Project, click here.

Solemnity and a Restored Altar frontal in Spain

A reader from Spain sent in the following photo from San Pedro de Sencelles in Majorca, Spain. He tells me that this occured in conjunction with the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Apparently there was also the solemn celebration of Vespers according to the modern Liturgia Horarum.

Noteworthy was the readers comment that through the work of their sacristan, many traditional items were reclaimed to liturgical use that had not been for many decades now, including the apparent recovery of the altar frontal used and which had been hung in the intervening years in the dining room of the rectory.

(Click the image for a larger view)

While it was good to hear that the item was valued for the treasure of sacred art that it is (rather than being destroyed) it is very good to hear of its reclamation for the use it was intended: first, for the adornment of God's altar upon which the sacrifice of Christ is perpetuated; second, for the edification of all the faithful.

It is to be hoped that we will see more such restorations in parishes. Perhaps our pastors here might find items in their own rectories, church basements or attics that they might restore to divine use? If any of our parish priests here have any such stories they would like to share, or tell of us plans for similar projects, do send them into the NLM; they may be of interest, particularly if they come as a direct result of the liturgical programme of Pope Benedict XVI.

Prostration on the Forms in the Dominican Rite

Over at Dominican Liturgy a commentor requested a posting on the Dominican practice of Prostratio in Formis ("prostration on the forms"), or simply Prostratio ("prostration"), which may well also be found in other monastic rites. So following my usual practice I am also posting it here for those interested.

This practice is probably as old as the Dominican Order and rubrics on it are found in the Ordinary of the Humbert Codex (1256), the codification of the Dominican Rite. The rubrics on this rite were codified in their modern form in the Jandel Caeremoniale of 1869, nn. 781ff., which I will outline. Prostration on the Forms is made by kneeling, with the capuce raised, in the choir stall and bowing over the kneeler of the stall, with the head inclined. You can see this gesture in the image to the right, which shows the practice in a French Dominican house during the 1950s. When there is no "form" or kneeler, the gesture is made by kneeling on the ground and bowing low.

The use of prostration on the forms continued in the Dominica Rite until the reforms of 1963, when the prostration was replaced by simple kneeling. At that date the elaborate rubrics for raising and lowering the capuce were also abrogated. It is interesting that after the Order's adaption of the Roman Rite, the Proprium Ordinis Praedicatorum of 1982, which provides for elements of our ancient liturgy that may be retained in the New Roman Rite, we find in the section on the Liturgy of the Hours, in "Indicationes pro Celebrationibus Liturgicis," n. 38, on p. lxxxiv: Pro opportunitate, fratres in quibusdam occasionibus possunt etiam prostrationem facere. I might mention that I have never seen Prostration on the Forms used with the modern Office, but this rubric sanctions its use. There is nothing in the Proprium to indicate that it may be used at Mass. No specific occasions are given, but, if this practice is to be used, the traditional norms of Office may give some guide. For historical interest, however, I will describe the use of Prostrations for Mass as well as Office in the traditional rite.

Prostration, like kneeling, has, in the Order and the Church, a dual meaning. It is a penitential gesture of humiliation, as modern liturgists never ceasing reminding us, but it is also a gesture of adoration, without any penitential significance. Its use reflects that dual quality both as to liturgical days and parts of the liturgy. Most generally, Prostration was used for adoration or humiliation, outside of festive seasons. This means that, in general, it was used on Ferials outside of Easter time. It was never used on Sundays from Vespers to Vespers, even in Lent--when it was used on all other days, even solemnities, like the Annunciation. It was omitted on the ferials when the O Antiphons were sung and, oddly, during the Solemn Litanic Preces of Lauds during the Easter Triduum. It was also done (outside the forms in the middle of choir) as a gesture of respect by the reader after completion of the readings at Matins.

Prostration as a penitential gesture, with no variation for the seasons, was practiced in various other rituals: during the recitation of the Seven Penitential Psalms, at the giving of the General Absolution for infractions of the Rule and Constitutions (which do not bind under sin). It was also the posture for receiving the Discipline, As an act of adoration, it was employed when the Sacrament was removed from the tabernacle in the pyx until it was restored, and when it was carried in procession past the friars, whether in or outside of choir. It was also used at General Commuions during Mass, and at all Communions outside of Mass (I have discussed this ritual in part five of an earlier post on the Solemn Mass). As a gesture of adoration, it was also done during the singing of the Passion at the mention of the Death of Christ, and at the Liturgy of Good Friday, during the singing of the Ecce Lignum Crucis, which is only sung once in our Rite.

At Solemn Mass. On Ferials inside and outside of Lent, except in Easter season, the prostration was made during the Opening Collect and the Postcommunion Collect at Solemn Mass, otherwise the friars simply bowed. During Lent (except Sundays) and all vigils (except those of Christmas and Epiphany), from the completion of the singing of the Sanctus until the Agnus Dei, those in choir prostrated on the forms. This was not only an act of adoration and humility, but also an act of self-denial since it meant that the friars could not look up to see the Elevation. I suspect that this long prostration was the original practice during the Consecration. The Elevation of the Host is first witnesses in Paris in 1205. The Dominican Rite add the Elevation of the Chalice only in the late 1200s. The introduction of the Elevations was to provide visual contact with the Blessed Sacrament, and our rubrics provide for this. Outside of the times just listed, the prostration was made only from after the Elevation of the Chalice until the singing of the Pater Noster. I might add that the celebrating priest and other ministers never made the Prostration during Mass.

At Divine Office. In the Ferial Office, the Prostration was made: 1. During the silent Pater and Credo preceding Office; 2. At the doxology after Deus in Adiutorium; 3. At the Preces (including the Pater Noster) before the Final Collect; 4. During the Confiteor at Compline and Prime. Dominicans who want to incorporate this ancient practice in the modern Liturgy of the Hours following the suggestion of the Proprium, might first consider its use at the Confiteor of Compline (where the Proprium already specifies kneeling) and then during the Intercessions and Our Father at Lauds and Vespers in Lent. This does not, of course, exclude other possibilities.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Not Your Grandmother's--or Your Mother's--Eucharistic Hymn

Save for the occasional Pange lingua or O Salutaris, most Eucharistic hymns that come to my mind which enjoy widespread popularity seem to epitomize either the 1940's or the 1970's. Alas, even the aforementioned Latin hymns can be given a kind of saccharine, "Sweet and Low" sort of flavor, depending upon the rendition.

It is little wonder that many weary of this time-bound musicianship. Maybe you have as well. Are you looking for a good Eucharistic hymn to sing? Well, besides the wonderful chant hymns, of which there are many, there is another you might like to know about, one that was introduced to me by my friends at St. Clement's here in Philadelphia--When the Patriarch Was Returning. This is sung to the tune All Saints, which can be found in The Hymnal 1982. I'm not sure if this tune is in any Catholic hymnal, but just call your local Episcopalian organist and ask for a copy of this fair melody. Then, apply the text below. A video of this hymn, from the dvd of Corpus Christi at S. Clement's, follows. You might wish to stay tuned also for the Introit for this Feast.

When the Patriarch was returning
Crowned with triumph from the fray,
Him the peaceful king of Salem
Came to meet upon his way;
Meekly bearing bread and wine,
Holy Priesthood's aweful sign.

On the truth thus dimly shadowed
Later days a luster shed;
When the great high-Priest eternal,
Under form of wine and bread,
For the world's immortal food
Gave his flesh and gave his blood.

Wondrous Gift! The Word who fashioned
All things by his might divine,
Bread into his body changes,
Into his own blood the wine;
What though sense no change perceives,
Faith admires, adores, believes.

He who once to die a Victim
On the cross did not refuse,
Day by day upon our altars,
That same Sacrifice renews;
Through his holy priesthood's hands,
Faithful to his last commands.

While the people all uniting
In the sacrifice sublime
Offer Christ to his high Father,
Offer up themselves with him;
Then together with the priest
On the living Victim feast.

Corpus Christi Procession

There will be a Mass and Procession for the external Feast of Corpus Christi tonight at 5pm at St. Peter's Church in Merchantville, NJ. Hayden's St. John of God Mass will be sung. In years past a small wind band has accompanied the procession; I suppose that will be the case this year as well.

Reminder: Pray for the Church in China Today

Today, feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, has been designated by the Holy Father as a day of prayer for the Church in China (see this post). This is the prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan composed by Pope Benedict for this occasion:

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians",
the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.
We come before you today to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them
along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be
a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth,
you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb
and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.
You willingly and generously cooperated in that work,
allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,
until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary,
standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed
with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world,
and of the world to Jesus.
In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!

Find the prayer in other languages here.

Abbé Claude Barthe surveys Catholic France nearly one year after the Motu Proprio

I came across this interview in Monde et Vie via Le Forum Catholique, where M. l’abbé Claude Barthe speaks about his view of the situation in Catholic France nearly one year after the release of the text of the motu proprio.

Fr. Barthe is known to the English speaking world by virtue of his work, Beyond Vatican II: The Church at a New Crossroads (published in English by Roman Catholic Books) as well as his presence at the 2006 CIEL Conference in Oxford where he delivered a paper on the subject of liturgical allegory.

As we approach the one year anniversary of the release of the text of the motu proprio you can expect to see more such accounts and opinions of the past year. The NLM will try to document some of the more significant of these for you as we begin to see them.

Here is the interview in an NLM translation:

Monde et Vie, May 17, 2008

On July 7, 2007, in a solemn motu proprio, Benedict XVI acknowledged that the traditional rite was never repealed. The Pope ensured that every priest has the right to celebrate it and that the faithful organized into stable groups can enact this right for themselves.

But what about the bishops, how have they received the will of the pope, particularly in France? After a year, the time has come for an initial assessment. M. l’abbé Barthe, analyses...

French Catholics were the first and strongest to take to the defence of the traditional liturgy since the early 1960's. Fourty years later, the delay in the issuance of the motu proprio that rehabilitates the liturgy was due to the resistance of the French clergy. Nine months after its release, how has it been received in France?

Abbé Barthe:
Historically, one notes that France has often been the preferred venue of the great religious battles (Jansenism, infallibility, modernism, and even Americanism). So there was, and there is still the one for the Tridentine Mass and for what it represents in terms of doctrine. The reception by the French Episcopate of the Motu proprio of 2007 has generally consisted in "dragging their feet". As for the reaction of the clergy, it is very diverse. It is still impossible to draw an exact balance of a situation still very much evolving. Grosso modo, one can say that there has been, not this tidal wave feared by its opponents, who played the game of scaring themselves to cause fear, but a deep shock: very numerous requests all together, priests in fairly important quantities learning to celebrate the "extraordinary form", an increase, certainly relatively modest, but "gnawing away", of Sunday celebrations. Very specifically, the bishops have tried to set up fire lines, i.e. they have granted more Masses under the indult of 1988, in order to avoid that their priests are obliged to grant Masses according to the indult of 2007. The essential thing is that the number of Tridentine Masses have increased. There were 300 places of Sunday worship of [the missal of] Saint Pius V before the motu proprio of 2007. There are 30 more, 10%? On the other hand, the number of requests not yet satisfied is really considerable.

Many groups of faithful were formed to ask for the application [of the motu proprio] to their bishops. Can we identify their origin (FSSP, FSSPX, 1962 rite)?

The Motu proprio creates a paradoxical legal situation: it asserts a radical right for all the faithful of the Latin rite to the ancient form, but instead of requiring (for the moment) that the clergy should ensure this right in its application, it stipulates that those who wish it to apply must ask for it in the form of "groups". In a sense, one could say that the papal text acknowledges that the Tridentine Mass stood for 40 years as a result of the pressure of the faithful, and it institutionalizes that pressure. In these (legal) "pressure" groups, there are those who take the initiative, those who are members by their signing to such initiatives, and then those who attend the Masses obtained. According to my surveys, the first two groups are composed of faithful of the FSSPX and the faithful of Ecclesia Dei. On the other hand, the great surprise is that a minor but notable share of those faithful attending the traditional masses newly celebrated (or which already existed, but which become even more “legal” since the motu proprio) are members of the faithful ones who worshipped before according to the Missal of Paul VI. And if the masses which were newly proposed were in convenient places and times, which is not always the case (in Paris, in any case), this category of faithful grew substantially, perhaps even dramatically.

What impact have the requests for the Extraordinary form had on the ordinary clergy? Are they able to face these requests or give recourse to priests already formed in the traditional liturgy? In the long term will this be sufficient?

Your expression of "ordinary clergy" is not in the motu proprio… Some diocesan priests are very happy and learn to celebrate according to the "extraordinary form". Some are very hostile. The most interesting cases, from the point of view of religious psychology, is that of the hostile priests who accept the requests however: I know some cases of conversion, and conversely a case of depression (not yet of [infarction?]!) Concerning the celebration of the "extraordinary form" in the mid term, one has to also call upon the priests trained in the traditional Mass: they will make up, across the board, 10% to 20% of active French priests in ten years. But more broadly, in these ten years, very many things will change: the number of active priests will fall dramatically, acertain number of French dioceses will practically cease to exist (and in Rome? If God grants life to the pope, he will, in ten years, be 91 years old). In short, all the priests of all bents and nuances will have to respond to a situation in which it is likely that Catholicism is passing into marginality. With everyone, traditionalists and "officials", inevitably many things will necessarily be upset.

The French bishops may adopt radically different attitudes. What are the arguments that can justify the refusal?

The recalcitrant bishops invoke one or all of the three following reasons: 1. The opportunity to attend the "extraordinary form" already exists sufficiently in the diocese, 2 . The celebration in such and such parish will "divide" the faithful; 3. We are making a big effort to have a worthy [celebration of the] Paul VI [missal]. Specifically, it is in the dioceses where already the most Tridentine Masses are being celebrated that the number of groups asking for celebrations in parishes is the largest. So I return to my idea (do not see any irreverence therein!): There is a kind of using the democratic principle in the liturgical reversal (or at least the balancing) that the pope wants to establish; and therefore, as in the field of dominant capitalism, in the field of "on demand" traditional liturgy, wealth calls for wealth… But to continue to turn this pleasant metaphor: one must seek to eliminate ever more the liturgical misery!

-- Interview conducted by Thierry Bouzard

A quick note. Early on in the interview, Fr. Barthe uses the term "indult" in relation to Summorum Pontificum though it seems he may have done this with the intent of literary effect, pairing it with the former indult. Just for the record, what occured in 2007 was not in fact an indult, which is an exception to the law. It was rather a clarification that the usus antiquior is within the law, and therefore not an exception requiring permission. In short, it isn't an indult. Again, this is not a critique of Fr. Barthe as I believe he is using this for literary effect.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Archbishop Ranjith's visit to Austria

Recently, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith -- secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship -- visited Austria to deliver a lecture at the invitation of the Department of Liturgical Studies at the University of Vienna. Msgr. Ranjith's lecture was upon "Liturgy: The Splendour of Heaven on Earth. Some Orientations and Challenges to Liturgy in the Present Times". In addition to Archbishop Ranjith, Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, the Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego, was also present for the discussion that followed the lecture.

One of our readers was present and noted that the Archbishop Ranjith's lecture was both well attended and also very well received by those in attendance.

After his lecture, Archbishop Ranjith visited Heiligenkreuz Abbey where some of his fellow countrymen are present. Here are two photos from a visit of Archbishop Ranjith to the same Abbey from a couple of years ago:

New Jersey Ordination

Rev. Mr. Michael C. Barone of the Archdiocese of Newark - one of nine men who will be ordained to the priesthood tomorrow, May 24 at 10:00 AM, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart - will celebrate his first Solemn High Mass in the usus antiquior on Monday, May 26 at 10:30 AM at St. Anthony of Padua Chapel in West Orange, N.J. Assisting him will be Rev. Andreas Hellmann ICRSS, Rev. Jean-Pierre Pilon and Christopher Feeney.

The sung ordinary will be Mass IV "Cunctipotens Genitor Deus". A five-voice male schola will chant the Veni Creator Spiritus before Mass, and the Gregorian propers for the feast of St. Philip Neri, while an eight-voice mixed choir will present Arcadelt's Ave Maria and Palestrina's Sicut cervus at the Offertory and Communion respectively. The Te Deum (tonus sollemnis) will be sung after Mass with accompanying prayers.

A reception will follow immediately following the Mass in Fr. Wickens Hall.

Some meandering reflections on Jeffrey Tucker and Gustav Mahler: Not for the humor-impaired

We here at the New Liturgical Movement are all familiar with the great work that Jeffrey Tucker has done on behalf of Gregorian chant here in America. What many of you may not realize, however, is that Jeffrey Tucker is a heroic figure in many other ways. In fact, I have undertaken to model my life on his. From Jeffrey I have learned how to handle garbage disposal purgatory. I have removed the governor from my showerhead which restricts the flow of water, turned up the temperature on my hot water heater, and I always wear a t-shirt, no matter what. And I stopped using shaving cream nearly two years ago. Heck, I might even wear a bow tie to this year's colloquium.

But, alas, there is one thing in which Jeffrey should not be mimicked. You see, he has this very strange idea that he should not listen to the final three symphonies of Gustav Mahler until he is on his deathbed. Aside from the potential practical difficulties of such a resolution, I have pleaded with Jeffrey, that, while the 7th and 9th symphonies are indeed gory and perhaps best suited to macabre circumstances, the 8th is glorious and he should listen to it immediately. To my knowledge, however, he has yet to do so.

My point about all this was proven in a most powerful way a few weeks ago when the Philadelphia orchestra performed Mahler's Eighth Symphony for FIVE sold out concerts. I myself stood in a line for well more than an hour to get a ticket in a most regrettable seat, which somehow didn't at all dim the brilliance of the performance. Mahler's Eighth is nicknamed the "Symphony of a Thousand," the description it was given in the advertisements for its premier. Written for full orchestra and chorus, the actual total number of performers at that first concert is believed to be somewhere around a mere 800, somewhat larger than the average church choir.

This symphony's first movement is a setting of the Latin hymn Veni Creator Spiritus. It makes full use of both symphonic and contrapuntal devices in ways that would, perhaps, make Brahms proud. Or maybe not. The second part is a rendering of the final act of Goethe's Faust. That's the version of Faust with a happy ending. The whole thing is glorious, but I myself would never have thought that it would attract so much attention from the general public. Five sold out concerts!

What does this tell us? I think, in a word, it tells us that people still have a need for, and even demand, beauty.

But one question remains: Will Jeffrey dare click on "play" below?

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