Friday, July 29, 2011

Restored and Renovated St. Joseph Cathedral, Sioux Falls, Opened

Monday of this last week (July 25), the historic St. Joseph Cathedral in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, marked the completion of its renovation with the blessing of the cathedral doors and a sneak peak inside. (NLM wrote about the restoration back when it was on the drawing board in 2009). St. Joseph was designed and built by French Beaux-Arts master Emmanuel Masqueray (1861-1917) from 1915 onward, being completed after his death; the renovation, which included the creation and installation of a new baldachin, altar rail, ambo and more in a complementary classical style, marble flooring, and a new, more vibrant color-scheme, was helmed by Duncan Stroik, who needs no introduction here, and includes a number of sculptural works by Cody Swanson, a young master and teacher at the Florence Academy of Art, including crucifix, ambo relief, cathedra tympanum relief, altar frontal reliefs and monograms, baptismal font artwork, and the angels ornamenting the baldachin. The event will be further celebrated by a concert of antiphonal sacred music (sung by double-choir and accompanied by brass and organ) including works by Gabrieli, Guerrero, Monteverdi, Bach and Dupre on September 2 of this year. The renewed interior is a model for an approach to church re-ordering that is both sensitive to the past while still developing a distinctly new beauty within the liturgical and artistic tradition of the Church. Past progress on the project can be found on a photo gallery on the cathedral website here, and a couple of photos of the stunning renovated interior follow below, courtesy several alert readers, and also from Mr. Stroik's site.

And here is the original architect's concept drawing for the interior.

For comparison purposes, this is what it looked like before: note not only the oddly-placed altar but the generally drab paintwork, and then look at the new images again.

On the Liturgical Movement and on a New Liturgical Movement

Wednesday, our blogger friend and colleague Fr. Ray Blake asked the question, "whether the Liturgical Movement has done more harm than good?" (And I would emphasize, as he does, that he is asking a question.) To set some context, Fr. Blake's question is rooted in some critical considerations about the loss of popular forms of piety and devotionals in parish life -- and lay involvement in coordinating and participating the same:

I just wonder whether the Liturgical Movement ... has stripped the Church of its devotional riches and robbed the laity of taking an active part in Church's life, clericalising many aspects, including catechesis, that should properly be the domain of the laity. I am just wondering - because something seems to be missing.

(Some interesting discussion has ensued in his comment box, so I'd invite you to look at that as well.)

While there are a few points that would be worth pursuing for discussion and debate in his piece, what I would like to particularly focus upon is the specific question of the Liturgical Movement.

My own thought about that particular question is that I think one has to be wary of generalizing about the 20th century Liturgical Movement. That movement was not homogeneous, but was instead a broad movement spanning multiple decades and locales, as well as different trends and streams of thought. In short, one has to sift the wheat from the chaff with regard to the 20th century Liturgical Movement for while there are certain commonalities or general principles we might be able to identify, it is by no means a monolithic entity and is best not approached as such -- "lest perhaps while ye gather up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it."

Now while saying this, insofar as we can seem to speak generally, I think it is fair to say that the Liturgical Movement did very well indeed to emphasize the primacy of the sacred liturgy. Insofar as it re-focused on the Mass and the Divine Office, including the "Pray the Mass" movement, emphasis on the liturgical year, and the revival of Gregorian Chant (to name a few), these were very good and meritorious initiatives -- initiatives we do well to continue and expand upon as part of a new liturgical movement.

The issue I see -- and which Fr. Blake is pointing to -- is that some within the Liturgical Movement, in reacting to a devotionalism which at times came at the expense of the sacred liturgy (a problem for certain), went too far the other way, pushing devotions aside altogether. It is the all too familiar problem of absolutes and either/or's -- and this is a lesson to be learnt and avoided as part of a new liturgical movement.

It seems that the proper approach is rather a "both/and" approach whereby there is indeed a fostering of the primacy of the liturgical, while at the same time giving place to devotional life.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (in part quoting from Sacrosanctum Concilium 13 §3) speaks of this both/and approach, on the one hand clearly emphasizing the primacy of the liturgical:

The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church's sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc. These expressions of piety extend the liturgical life of the Church, but do not replace it. They "should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some way derived from it and lead the people to it, since in fact the liturgy by its very nature is far superior to any of them." (CCC 1674-5)

At the same time, it also clearly gives place to devotional forms of piety:

In addition to the liturgy, Christian life is nourished by various forms of popular piety, rooted in the different cultures. While carefully clarifying them in the light of faith, the Church fosters the forms of popular piety that express an evangelical instinct and a human wisdom and that enrich Christian life. (CCC 1679)

I would suggest this too should be our approach, and by the same token, our approach both to the Liturgical Movement and to the history of popular piety must be nuanced, recognizing aspects to be both critical of, as well as aspects which are praiseworthy and to be fostered.

To further elaborate on this topic, I thought I would today publish a talk I gave in Detroit, MI last September at the 2010 Latin Liturgy Association conference. The talk was on the subject of a new liturgical movement and as part of this I considered some of these very same aspects in more detail.

LLA 2010: A New Liturgical Movement by Shawn Tribe

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Audio Embedding and Mac Video Editing Software

Instead of a planned third post for today, I am wondering if anyone can make any recommendations about a site which will conveniently allow one to upload audio files and provide embed code?

Second, I would also be interested to know if anyone has any recommendations on good Mac freeware for creating video, including audio presentations put to video. Something that is versatile and easy to use.

"The Death of Fresco has been Greatly Exaggerated"

I have written about fresco artist and architect David Maynernik here before, but I wanted to point out to our readers this article I wrote on his San Cresci cycle in Valcava, Tuscany for Sacred Architecture Journal; even if you don't read my prose, be sure to look at the pictures, which show the frescoes and their context quite well.

Preview of Early Proof of CTS People's Missal according to the Revised English Translation

Most of the publishing focus to date pertaining to the new English translation of the Roman Missal has been understandably upon the actual altar editions of the same. One of the nicest editions we have seen to date is the CTS edition being produced for England, Wales, Scotland and Australia.

However, another matter of relevance with regard to the new translation are those resources which will be made available to the faithful: namely, the lay missal or people's missal.

The following is an early page proof for the edition being worked on by CTS which will include dual Latin-English for some of the text.

Please note: This is an early proof, not a final proof.

NLM is told "the Missal will have short introductions to the Masses of the ‘tempi forti’ taken from Pope Benedict’s Magisterium and will also have devotional material for preparation and thanksgiving before and after Mass."

It will be interesting to see the final product both in form and in content. You can expect an NLM review at that time. But for now, a quick preview of the early concept.

CTS People's Missal Early Proof Preview

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Antependia from Watts and Co., London

We were recently speaking about antependia (which we have previously featured from Luzar Vestments) and I thought this would provide a good opportunity to feature the same from Watts and Co of London.

Video of Pontifical Vespers, Fota IV

The audio quality is not the greatest, but here is some video footage of Pontifical Vespers celebrated by Cardinal Burke at the Fota IV liturgical conference.

Symposium on Art and Liturgy at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts

As part of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts' Way of Beauty Summer Atelier program, the college held a public symposium on art and liturgy earlier this month. The event took the form of a discussion between a panel of working Catholic artists and was chaired by New Liturgical Movement’s Fr Thomas Kocik. The idea was to provide a forum where people could hear the insights of people who are actually working in the field.

The discussion involved portrait painter Henry Wingate who is one of the leading naturalistic painters in the United States and who teaches in the TMC Way of Beauty Atelier; David Mayernik, who is an internationally commissioned architect and fresco painter, and a professor in the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture; and yours truly.

What was striking was the number of people who attended. When we scheduled it we weren’t sure how many people would attend. As it turned out, places were oversubscribed with many driving for hours to be part of the event. We had to close discussion with many people still wanting to ask questions and private conversations went on until late at night. This seems to me to be a reflection of a strong desire amongst the faithful for a genuine restoration of a culture of beauty rooted in liturgical renewal.

Father Kocik set the tone of the discussion in his opening address in which he emphasized the link between the liturgy and the broader culture. A summary of the discussion follows (as it written up in the college press release, hence references to myself in the third person, but I would recommend readers to full text of Fr Kocik’s opening speech, here, which spoke very powerfully to the importance of an active liturgical piety to the re-establishment of a culture of beauty.

The summary is as follows:

In his opening address, Fr Kocik told us: "The word "culture" derives from the Latin cultus, meaning what we cherish or worship. Christian culture is thus centered on Christ, the incarnate beauty of God. The "source and summit of the Christian life," (Lumen Gentium, #11) and therefore of Christian culture, is the Liturgy: Holy Mass, the sacraments, the different Hours of prayer that sanctify the entire day. In liturgical prayer, art and culture—indeed all human activity— finds true meaning; for at the center of the Liturgy is Christ, the source and summit of all human hope.”

He then introduced each artist who in turn gave a short description of his work and in the context of Fr Kocik’s opening address and in the light of their own experiences as working artists, talked about how important it is to respond to the call to reestablish a culture of beauty in the West.

Professor David Clayton, Director of the Way of Beauty Program, said that, “The power of culture should not be underestimated. In his book The Spirit of the Liturgy, Pope Benedict XVI talks about how after the Enlightenment the culture of faith and the broader culture became separated, creating Catholic ghettoes culturally separated from the mainstream. Our job is connect the two together so that we establish a Catholic culture that is rooted in the liturgy. I believe that if we can do this, then just as it was in the past, Catholic culture can be so beautiful and compelling that it overcomes all others. This is part of the force for the New Evangelisation that we are being asked to contribute to."

David Mayernik spoke of the importance of Rome not simply as the center of Catholic Faith, but as an essential area of study for all artists: "The importance of Rome for a Catholic understanding of art is essential. Rome is the fountainhead of what we as artists do. It gives us some sense of heaven. Through its art, Rome enables us to translate the ancient world, and the Church conveys this world to us while continually renewing it. Rome is the curator of Western culture, and I am committed to reflecting that culture in my architectural work."

Henry Wingate spoke about the value of copying works of art in preserving tradition. "Copying the works of old masters is unpopular today, but I find great value in recreating on my canvas what the Old Masters created centuries ago. It was always such an important part of training of artists in the past, as well as drawing from life of course. Through this the form of the tradition is transmitted and we learn directly from the greats. John Singer Sargent, for example, in the 19th century went to Spain and copied every painting by the great 17th century artist Velazquez in the Prado museum in Madrid."

Wingate spoke of how he was recently commissioned to paint a copy of a painting of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by a little known 19th century Mexican master. He was happy to receive the commission and in undertaking it, he said, he learnt a great deal about the artist communicated form.

One questioner asked if we have lost some skills forever and if that means we have little hope for the future in recreating the glories of the past. Mayernek responded by pointing out that the all traditions began somewhere and provided that we are critical of the work we are doing now and not too easily satisfied, then we can succeed. The artists agreed and each felt that their role was to play a part in reestablishing the habit of tradition – handing the skills and knowledge on, so that with God’s grace, the artists of the next generation can build on it and improve the quality of work. In this way, we can hope to see work that equals and ‘who knows’ perhaps even surpasses the beauty of the past.

The evening concluded with a discussion on the ways artists communicate the truths of Christianity through art: “If a new art form is developed, it will be because a new need arises,” said Clayton. “It will develop out of conversations with artists, theologians, and Church leaders—and the elements of this new style will complement the characteristics of this age. In short, it will communicate perennial truths in a way that modern man understands them and is drawn closer to God."

From the left: Fr Kocik, David Mayernik, Henry Wingate and David Clayton

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Three Dimensional Rendering of the Sanctuary of the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter's

A reader points out that the author of the Italian blog Traditio Liturgica has created a computerized, three-dimensional recreation of the ordering of the sanctuary of the Constantinian basilica of St. Peter's in Rome.

For cross-reference, here is an image of this sanctuary as painted by Raphael in his Donation of Constantine:

One will note the hanging lamps and candlesticks on top of the balustrade. For more on this see our December 2009 article on Standards, Funalia or Candelabra Magna.

Sacred Heart Cathedral Basilica, Newark, New Jersey

To my knowledge we have not featured the splendid Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey. My attention was actually drawn to it by a photo I saw of an Anglican use Mass which was celebrated here -- an event which I'd be happy to receive photos from. What little I saw impressed me and so I sought out the building.

In particular I was drawn to the magnificent ciborium of the cathedral-basilica:

We should perhaps state the obvious: evidently the altar candlesticks, seen on the floor in front of the ciborium, would more appropriately and edifyingly be placed upon the altar itself, whether in a "Benedictine" configuration or of course an ad orientem one. This would both put them in better relation to the altar proper and also further add to the vertical aspect of the entire arrangement. I'd also make brief note that this is an altar which cries out for the use of full antependia instead of the partial sort seen here, not only further emphasizing the altar itself, but better vesting it in the liturgical colour of the day.

That said, the ciborium looks magnificent and it is good to see that the altar continues to be used in relation to it. Why I say so is for both the reason that often this was not the case by the latter part of the 20th century (a good example of the lamentable loss of some of the very gains made by the 20th century Liturgical Movement, pushed aside in the face of other trends) and also for reason of the history of the ciborium in relation to the altar. Schuster and Bishop speak of that history accordingly:

The sum of the Christian religion was there upon the Altar, the gospel of the Word and the gifts of the Paraclete. For this reason, in the minds of the early Christians, the altar could never be without the halo of its sacred nature -- that is, the ciborium or baldacchino in marble or in silver. The altar in its entirety constituted the true tabernacle of the Most High, who assuredly could not dwell sub divo without a special roof of his own under the lofty vaulting of the naos.

-- Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster, Liber Sacramentorum, p. 163

* * *

The canopy served for honour: the existence of a covering over, and marking the seat of the ruler, magistrate, pontiff, existed in the general instinct of the peoples; it was surely fitting to render the same honour to the seat of Majesty of the King of Kings...

-- Edmund Bishop, "On the History of the Christian Altar", Liturgica Historica

As for antependia, see our article of Oct. 16, 2008: The History, Development and Symbolism of the Antependium, Altar Frontal, or "Pallium Altaris"

Here are some further images from the cathedral, which has many edifying aspects. (For more information on the history of this cathedral, see here.)

Photo credit: Image source

More Photos from Holy Child, Philadelphia

As a follow-up to our previous post on the subject, here are some really fine photos sent by a reader with a family connection to the place, showing the exterior and interior of the former parish of Holy Child in Philadelphia (now Our Lady of Hope) in considerable detail. Also, in regards to comments--please refrain from making snide remarks about non-architectural matters; there are other places where such axe-grinding would be better appreciated and this post is about form and beauty.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dr. Manfred Hauke on the “Basic Structure“ (Grundgestalt) of the Eucharistic Celebration According to Joseph Ratzinger

Recently, we presented to you a summary report provided by The Catholic Voice in Ireland of the Fota IV liturgical conference.

One of the complete papers of that conference has been made available to us. That of "The 'Basic Structure' (Grundgestalt) of the Eucharistic Celebration According to Joseph Ratzinger" by Prof. Manfred Hauke.

The “Basic Structure“ (Grundgestalt) of the Eucharistic Celebration According to Joseph Ratzinger

Diaconal Ordinations at the Benedictine Abbey of Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux

This past July 22nd, the Abbey of Le Barroux saw two deacons ordained by Bishop Marc Aillet, bishop of Bayonne. Bishop Paul-Marie Guillaume, bishop emeritus of Saint-Dié, was also in attendance.

Photo credit: Olivier Figueras

* * *

As an aside, while we very often do get to show bishops in the full splendour of baroque style vestments and pontificals, we seldom get a chance to show the splendour of the same in the fuller mediaeval -- even if not conical -- style. Accordingly here is a view of such, minus the apparelled alb, but truly iconic all the same. The photo brings one to mind of the countless images of bishops as seen in mediaeval statuary and manuscript illuminations.

The Other Modern at the "Other Dominican"

Stuart at the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny has a great architectural-historical post on one of my favorite churches in New York, St. Catherine of Siena, an intriguing 1930 exercise in a sort of streamlined Liturgical Movement-meets-the-Arts and Crafts Style by Wilfrid E. Anthony. Usually overshadowed by its big sister, St. Vincent Ferrer, it is a wonderful exercise in true noble simplicty, stripping the Gothic down to its most radical elements while retaining a sense of authenticity and reality. It is, as far as both of us can tell, sui generis both in Anthony's personal oevre and in America as a whole, and shows what can be achieved by simple, well-proportioned forms offset by elegant painted detail-work. Have a look round.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Reader Request Re: 1954 Missale Ambrosianum

(One of our friends is doing some research and looking for a scan and/or photograph of the text of the decree promulgating the 1954 Missale Ambrosianum. Sadly my own copies are not from 1954. If anyone has this, or knows where it can be found online, can you please send it in to me, or share in the combox and I will forward to the reader in question.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sacred Architecture: The Language of Form

Some Thoughts About Art Criticism That Might Encourage Constructive Dialogue

It seems to be an aspect of human nature that criticism flows more easily than praise, and this is never more apparent in the comments at the bottom of blogs! However, some subjects particularly seem to attract the ire of readers and whenever I feature art that draws on the iconographic prototype but deviates from Russian or Greek variants, I always hold my breath. I know it will attract a hail of criticism from people who worry that it does not conform to what they believe to be the standard for all sacred art. Criticism and differing opinions are not bad things in themselves. After all, we are trying to re-establish a culture of beauty in the West and beauty by its very nature it is difficult to pin down precisely. One should expect differing reactions and ideas of what is good. So please, let’s have them. However, I would like to make some points about the nature and tone of some of the criticisms made.

First, a request: if you are stating opinions, please do so in the spirit that concedes that others may have other perfectly valid opinions. Like email, blog comments seem to be a forum in which it is difficult not to express things abruptly and so appear rude. It’s not always easy I know, to make sure that what we write has a gentle manner. I would ask us all to try. Aside from discouraging the more timid to respond, for fear of getting more of the same thrown back at them, my concern here is for any contemporary artists whose work I am portraying. Artists must expect criticism of their work, but they should not have to put up with rudeness. Sometimes in embarrassment, I have felt compelled to contact the artists to them for tone of the comments.

If you can explain why you think as you do, that would be helpful, especially if you don’t like something. If you do not, then what you are giving us is just a subjective opinion. I am not suggesting that we always have to justify our opinions. After all, we’re not always sure ourselves why like or don’t like something. But if they are opinions, let’s make it clear that this is all they are rather than presenting them as indisputable truths.

For example, one work of art was dismissed brusquely ‘pseudo-Byzantine fluff’. Without explanation this amounts to little more than the equivalent of blowing a raspberry at the artist (albeit elegantly articulated). The writer could have stated in addition: how the art in question deviated from the iconographic prototype (which I am assuming is what he was referring to by using the word Byzantine); why he felt that it was wrong to deviate from the iconographic prototype at all (this is not a given); and also, what does he mean by fluff – if he is saying that it is superficial and lacking in meaning? If so what is lacking? Is it possible to characterize why? Otherwise, 'I don't like his work' says it far more accurately; and less rudely.

There are recurring themes in the comments left in the combox which seem to indicate assumptions about what Catholic art should be that I feel are not correct. I make the following points in respect of these:

The iconographic prototype: I am referring here to the art of eschatological man, the form that portrays mankind redeemed and in the heavenly state. The icon is not the only legitimate form of liturgical art and there is no basis for saying that as a form it is superior to any other tradition of liturgical art. And Catholics are not bound by the iconographic form. Therefore, it is simply not a valid criticism in itself to say only that it deviates from the iconographic prototype. If you are going to say this, say how and say why this is problematic. Furthermore, the analysis of the stylistic features of the tradition and the theological explanations for them as we most commonly hear about today didn’t happen until people started to re-establish the form in the Eastern Church in the 20th century. This analysis is still developing. For example, I was taught certain painting methods used in Italy were never used in icons because they contravened the theology that I was told was the foundation of the Eastern method. Subsequently X-ray analysis has demonstrated that this 'Western' method was used in early Eastern icons and might well be the older method of the two. This caused a revision of the statement of allowable methods, and the theology amongst the people who originally taught me.

Catholics especially should be aware that this modern analysis of iconographic form, though largely very helpful and important, is a work in progress and can sometimes reflect the narrow focus of the predominantly Orthodox who developed it. I have spoken to many people emerge from icon painting classes with the mistaken impression that anything that differs from the form they studied (most commonly Russian and or Greek) is not an icon and not true liturgical art. This is a prejudiced view that doesn’t take into account that there are many other forms, including Western forms, that are consistent with the iconographic prototype; and that the Western artistic tradition is richer, in the sense that it includes the icon but has in addition other authentic liturgical forms that not iconographic.

Archeologism: the comments of some seem to stem from an assumption that culture existed in a perfect form at some point in the past and that the work of man over time has caused it to degenerate. The main concern for those who believe this, therefore, is a strict conformity to the past glorious (sometimes arbitrarily assigned) age. Working from tradition, in contrast, is more nuanced. It respects the past and does not seek change without good reason, but always seeks to understand why something was done in a particular way. It accepts that sometimes we must develop and reapply the core principles in response to contemporary challenges or if there is a need to communicate something new. Sometimes this development will be so great that a new tradition is established. The gothic is an example of this. It developed out of the Romanesque, which is an iconographic form, and became a distinct tradition in its own right that presented a different aspect of man.

Dealing with imperfection: even if something is partially wrong or in error or even just disliked, it doesn’t mean that we can’t learn something from it. Christian art has always drawn from non-Christian art forms. It has been able to do so in the past because it does have some objective criteria which it can apply in order to discern what is good and what is bad. So for example, you see the first Christian art it developed from the late classical form. Some of the styles and subject matter remained unchanged, some were rejected (for example the nude), and then some features were added that were uniquely Christian. Readers will know that I am very interested in the re-establishment geometric patterned art tradition. Islamic art is likely to be one place that we look to in order to invigorate the Christian tradition today.

As a general principle, given that we are in a process of re-establishing a culture of beauty, I would generally advocate a conservative approach to what goes in our churches at the moment. However, in the context of this forum, I am always interest to look at work by Christian artists that draws on these traditions even if it steps outside the bounds of what would be ideal for the liturgy. Flexibility and adaptability underpinned by good discernment is the source of richness and vigour in Christian culture. To come back to the gothic again. At some point an artist will have added shadow to the painting and although this had not been seen before, some who saw it will have had the confidence to say that although this is new and does not conform to the existing tradition, it is good nevertheless. No doubt along the way there were innovations and experiments that were rejected as a whole, but nonetheless contributed something to what eventually became an acceptable variant.

To this illustrate this piece I have given some that probably fall into the last category. A reader recently brought the work of the Russian artist Viktor Vasnetsov to my attention. He worked in the period around the turn of the last century and died in 1926 and his work is typical of much Russian sacred art of this period. This is a late 19th century naturalistic/iconographic hybrid and is neither baroque nor the style of Russian iconography (it makes me think of an Eastern version of the Pre Raphaelites with its highly coloured, hard-edged forms). I probably wouldn't commission such a work today but I would be a lot happier walking into a church adorned with his art, as shown below, than the vast majority built since the war. There is enough here, I would suggest, for us to benefit from looking at it. When these hybrid styles always look better when painted in fresco, rather than oil, I always feel. Fresco is a medium which tends to look flatter and less sensuous than oil and so naturally diminishes some of the excesses of a naturalistic style.

The Church of the Spilled Blood, St Petersburg

A portrait by Vasnetsov which, shows the baroque balance in its variation of colour and focus and which differs from his religious art style. I like this very much.

Special Report on Fota Liturgical Conference Papers

As part of our final bit of coverage of the fourth Fota liturgical conference which took place earlier this month, I am pleased to provide the following special report which was written by William A. Thomas of the Catholic Voice newspaper, and used with kind permission of the same.

The report gives some basic details of the papers presented.

The Fourth Fota Liturgical Conference

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Call for Papers and Recital Programs: L'Orgue Mystique, February 2012, Fort Lauterdale, Florida

The accomplished Dr. Jennifer Donelson of Nova Southeastern University, Florida, recently sent me the following details of a conference on liturgical music she is organizing with the Church Music Association of America:

Gregorian Chant and Modern Composition for the Catholic Liturgy: Charles Tournemire’s L’Orgue Mystique as Guide

February 2-3, 2012 - The Church Music Association of America

in collaboration with Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
and the Church of the Epiphany in Miami, Florida.

The Church Music Association of America will hold a conference exploring Charles Tournemire’s landmark L’Orgue Mystique on February 2-3, 2012 on the campus of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale and at the Church of the Epiphany in South Miami. The conference seeks to explore the aesthetic, liturgical, and compositional principles of L’Orgue Mystique, the broad implicationsof the work for modern compositions inspired by Gregorian chant, and, more generally, the role of modern compositions and the organ in the Catholic liturgy.

The conference will include a Missa Cantata for the Feast of the Purification ofthe Blessed Virgin Mary (Candlemas) featuring Tournemire’s office for the day from L’Orgue Mystique, a concert featuringselections from L’Orgue Mystique, aswell as recital programs and papers relating to the conference theme. Papers presented will be considered forpublication in a collection of essays following the conference.

The conference committee welcomes proposals for papers and recital programs.

The deadline for proposals is September 2nd, 2011. Notification of acceptance will be given by September 15th, 2011.

Proposals must be submitted via email to Jennifer Donelson at:

Acomplete call for papers may be viewed at the conference website:
I have not seen an academic-liturgical undertaking this elaborate in southern Florida in a while, so I heartily encourage all to support and especially for locals to get the word out about this event.

Holy Child (now Our Lady of Hope), Philadelphia

This is another image I've blatantly stolen from Inscrutable Being, but I don't think the author will mind. At some point I shall have to dredge up some of the Liturgical Arts Quarterly coverage that attended the construction of this grandiose pile on Broad Street, Philadelphia; that such a monument has been utterly forgotten by historians and architectural connoisseurs casts light not only on the selective amnesia of preservationists but also that the early twentieth-century was so crowded with good churches going up across the United States at such a rate that it could be, in a sense, lost in the shuffle. It is not the work of a major master, but one George I. Lovatt, but is nonetheless spectacular in the majesty of its massing and the delicacy of its detail, and reminds us that Romanesque is not limited to the strictly basilican in its architectural repertoire of tricks.

July 21: The Prophet Daniel

The Roman Martyrology for July 21st commemorates "at Babylon, the holy prophet Daniel" (and, incidentally, on July 20th the Prophet Elijah was commemorated).

Daniel is perhaps most popularly known by way of the Bible story of "Daniel in the Lions' Den", taken from the Book of Daniel 6:10-23:

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem; and he got down upon his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the interdict, "O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that any man who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?" The king answered, "The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked." Then they answered before the king, "That Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no heed to you, O king, or the interdict you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day." Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed, and set his mind to deliver Daniel; and he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. Then these men came by agreement to the king, and said to the king, "Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance which the king establishes can be changed." Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!" And a stone was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him. Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. When he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish and said to Daniel, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live for ever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong." Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of hurt was found upon him, because he had trusted in his God.

Those who pray the Divine Office will be particularly familiar with a canticle which is taken from the Book of Daniel related to the three holy youths, Ananias, Azarias and Misael, the Canticum trium Puerorum or Benedicite: "Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord; Praise and exalt him above all forever..."

Aside from the Divine Office, on Sundays and Feast days in the Mozarabic rite the "Hymnus Trium Puerorum" (an abridged form of the same canticle) was also sung. (See an image of the chant from the Mozarabic Missal.) Here is that Mozarabic chant:

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: