Friday, August 31, 2012

22nd Sunday, English Propers

Basilica della Santissima Trinità di Saccargia, Sardinia, Italy

The Institute of Catholic Culture - An Organisational Model for the New Evangelisation

How to make your organisation at once local and personal and still gain national reach and recognition

I recently gave two talks in Virginia (close to Washington DC) at the invitation of the Institute of Catholic Culture. What impressed me about them was the organisational model that their founder and Executive Director Deacon Sabatino Carnazzo has developed. I have never seen anything quite like it before. I think that this has applications in fields beyond what the ICC is involved with. It's mission is stated here: the Institute of Catholic Culture is an adult catechetical organization, faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and dedicated to the Church’s call for a new evangelization. The Institute seeks to fulfill its mission by offering education programs structured upon the classical liberal arts and by offering opportunities in which authentic Catholic culture is experienced and lived.

First of all, this mission seems to me to fulfill what is needed at the moment. The need is for education. We also have to ask ourselves, in my opinion, why educate? Who are we trying to reach? I personally do not think that any programme, or any number of programmes will educate society into transformation. Most people won't be educated, or not without some other agent of transformation. I believe that we are trying to reach those who will be the creators of the new culture. Thinking now of the fine arts, those who create art and music are the ones who will create the forms that participate in the timeless principles that unite all Catholic culture; yet also speaks directly to the modern age. We looking for something that is both new and timeless. This is the popular culture that is beautiful, true and good and will create the 'new epiphany of beauty' called for by John Paul II. This is what will in turn open people's hearts so that they will accept the Word. I addressed this in a previous article Why Create New Art or Music? The people who we need to reach and form are the future artists, composers and the patrons who will pay them to do it.

I spoke on a Friday evening and a Sunday evening and both times the hall was packed with nearly 200 people. I don't flatter myself here, they came because they trusted the ICC to provide lectures that interest them. The Institute organises at least two lectures every week in its curriculum of learning; and each attracts similar numbers. Furthermore, people were watching live on the internet; and DVDs of previous talks were available to all who come, for free. Their organisation was such that by Sunday a DVD of my Friday talk was being distributed. For those who are interested you can see my two talks online at the their website here: Culture, Liturgy and Cosmos; and here: Catholic Traditions in Sacred Art. From the questions people were asking afterwards, many in the audience were artists who were serious about contributing to the New Evangelisation. All of this and the salaries of its employees are funded by many voluntary contributions from those who attend the lectures, not from large donations.

The Institute's model is one of creating a local community of learning. People are drawn from about 10 parishes locally. This means that they have to be in an urban area where the population is large enough to have 10 parishes that a close enough so that people will travel to the talks. They come because the talks are interesting and of high quality and they enjoy the whole experience. For most lectures, Deacon Carnazzo draws on professors from nearby Christendom College. He says that having good speakers and people who are used to teaching your material is vital. In order to give variety he occasionally pays for speakers to come in from outside. The week before I came Denis McNamara gave a talk on sacred architecture (and you can see his presentations here).

At each talk food is available and the lecture hall is prepared so that it is comfortable and looks attractive. One talk (on the transcendentals!) was held outside in a park overlooking waterfalls on the Potomac River and sausages were grilled for any who wanted them. This organisation is possible because there is a team of volunteers who work to make it all happen. Deacon Carnazzo has created a community devoted to learning and to giving back to the organisation. He has done this by careful attention to the personal element. He makes sure that people enjoy the whole expereince. After my Sunday talk I was ready to return to my hotel. He told me that I would have to wait because he and Melanie Baker, his assistant, always stay on to socialise with any, but especially any volunteers, who want to stay on after the lecture.

This personal touch is vital for the growth of the program, and in my belief to the success of the process of its education. The traditional model for a college, for example, was built around the idea of creating a community of learning because the personal relationships that it engendered (all centred on the liturgical life of the community) allowed for the possibility of God's grace to transform information learnt into wisdom. This is why the old Oxford colleges are designed as they are.

But this model has a limit to how much it can grow. The group of people cannot grow too large, otherwise this sense of community will be lost. If the Institute of Catholic Culture is to grow, therefore, the answer is not for it to develop a larger and larger group of people (with a beaurocracy growing along with it to organise them), but rather, to create new communities of learning. This is what Oxford University did. When each college reached its limit (perhaps 300 at most), it was not allowed to grow, but instead new colleges were founded.

I know that Deacon Carnazzo is aware of this because I had this very conversation with him during my weekend stay.

Although, their focus is on lectures, they do organise events around the liturgy and promote the liturgy of the hours especially by connecting events to the celebration of Vespers. They have organised traditional Latin Vespers, Choral Evensong by a congregation from the Ordinariate and Vespers in the Eastern liturgy. I have posted two posters (if you forgive the pun). One is for a Byzantine Vespers at Melkite Catholic church which is on Saturday September 1st at Holy Transfiguration Church in McLean, Virginia. This is combined with a Middle Eastern Food Festival at the Church and before and after Vespers, Deacon Carnazzo will give tours of the church describing its design and explaining the importance of the icons to the liturgy.

Below a similar poster for the Choral Evensong earlier this year.

Most of their events are in a very smart church hall in the area, but sometimes they go for a more spectacular site, on the bank of the Potomac River. Here is the location for the talk on the transcendentals, in which the sunshine of the good, the true and the beautiful (and perfectly grilled sausages and burgers) more than made up for the rain.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Rare Image from the Pontifical Liturgy of Lyon

John Sonnen recently dug up an interesting photo which shows the then nuncio of France and future Pope John XXIII apparently celebrating a pontifical Mass in accordance with the rite of Lyon:

Elements that would suggest this is the pontifical Lyon rite are the gremial being carried by two coped attendants before the prelate and the fully vested priests before him.

For more on these interesting rites and ceremonies, do see the following posts:

Ceremonial Details of the Pontifical Mass in the Rite of Lyons - Part I: Mass of the Catechumens

Rare Video Footage of the Pontifical Liturgy According to the Rite of Lyons

There you can see further illustrations and photos.

It is my hope that I will some day be able to pursue the second and final part of "Ceremonial Details of the Pontifical Mass in the Rite of Lyons" for which I have still further photographs to share with our readers in addition to further ceremonial details.

More Vestment Work: A Conical Chasuble

Continuing on with our consideration of some more unique vestments, I am happy to present the following chasuble which was sent to me by one of our readers yesterday.

As you will see it is in the conical style and the orphreys seem to have a very nice bit of texture inclusive of some sort of pearl like beading. (It is my own view that this sort of very thin orphrey with strong linear qualities works particularly well with the conical form.) The textile itself is rather interesting in its design and the photos would suggest to me that the predominant tonality is gold. (Incidentally, the owner of this vestment is missing some pieces and so would like to know if anyone knows if this same textile can still be purchased anywhere. Please leave suggestions in the comments.)

Quite a beautiful piece of work in my estimation. While not absolutely necessary, this sort of vestment would work particularly well with apparels.

An Outdoor Mass with a Difference

Often when we think of outdoor Masses we tend to think of events that are not particularly condusive to prayer or to the proper spirit of the liturgy. There are, however, some evident exceptions of course; one of the most noteworthy and familiar is found within the context of the Chartres Pilgrimage.

I mention this because recently one of our readers sent in some photos to us from an outdoor Mass at a Rural Life Conference in Charlton, Iowa. We are told how the priest who coordinated this event took a great deal of time and effort to arrange things such that, despite the outdoor circumstances, would still be befitting the dignity of the sacred liturgy. Having seen the order of service as well, I note that he also prepared a detailed catechesis on the altar arrangement as well as the tradition of ad orientem as it relates to our liturgical history, tradition and theology. Reading it, it is evident that this is a priest who is deeply influenced by Pope Benedict XVI and his new liturgical movement.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vestment Work Seen in Berlin

About a week ago we showed some images from Berlin, Germany and I had commented as an aside that the vestments used had a certain Other Modern quality to them. At the time the best I could offer was to enlarge the photos we had, which only gave a vague sense of the vestments but with little in the way of detail. Since then, the photographer has sent us a selection of these same photos in higher resolution.

I am particularly taken by the coloured, geometric designs in the dalmatic which is simple, original and beautiful. They remind me of some of the vestment work found at the Abbey of Le Barroux.

Here are some further details:

The particular reason I am inclined to show vestments like these is not only because I think they are interesting, but also because I believe one of the challenges we face within the liturgical arts is to resist falling into the pattern of mass produced "catalogue designs" -- what we might even call cliche's.

A great deal can be done with a little imagination, a good sense of colour and a willingness to seek out interesting textiles in the creation of vestments -- and a willingness to think beyond the catalogue styles.

Two Items of Note: Brazil and the Philippines

A couple of recent events to share. First, on Saturday, August 25th, Bishop Athanasius Schneider celebrated a Solemn Pontifical Mass from the faldstool in the mid-18th century cathedral of Belém in Brazil, the Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora das Graças.


* * *

The second item I wished to bring to your attention is a Mass offered in the usus antiquior by Msgr. Seamus Patrick Horgan, first secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in the Philippines on August 26th.

Cardinal Brandmüller: The Form of the Post-Conciliar Liturgy is not Attributable to the Second Vatican Council

Many of you will likely have already seen this but I think its important to mention for the sake of those who have not as yet come across it.

Rorate Caeli have translated an excerpt from an interview published yesterday in Vatican Insider by Walter Cardinal Brandmüller. In the course of that interview he commented accordingly on the subject of the post-conciliar liturgy and liturgical experience when asked about the fruits of the Second Vatican Council:

I must emphasise that the form of the post-conciliar liturgy with all its distortions, is not attributable to the Council or to the Liturgy Constitution established during Vatican II which by the way has not really been implemented even to this day. The indiscriminate removal of Latin and Gregorian Chants from liturgical celebrations and the erection of numerous altars were absolutely not acts prescribed by the Council.

With the benefit of hindsight, let us cast our minds back in particular to the lack of sensitivity shown in terms of care for the faithful and in the pastoral carelessness shown in the liturgical form. One need only think of the Church’s excesses, reminiscent of the [Iconoclastic crisis] which occurred in the [8th] century. Excesses which catapulted numerous faithful into total chaos, leaving many fumbling around in the dark.

Just about anything and everything has been said on this subject. Meanwhile, the liturgy has come to be seen as a mirror image of Church life, subject to an organic historical evolution which cannot - as did indeed happen - suddenly be changed by decree par ordre de mufti. And we are still paying the price today.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Gloria in English, Both Modern and Beautiful

Many Catholics are understandably skeptical of the idea that a setting of the Gloria could be in English, modern, and also beautiful in the liturgical sense. Decades of experience have convinced many otherwise. What if it were no more than a problem of not working hard enough, not thinking with the musical mind of the Church? Here is an example I find very compelling -- a hint of what is possible.

You can download the Mass setting here.

More from the Carmelite Rite

I was pretty well considering any further photos of the Assumption now likely "outside the pale", but I am happy to make an exception for the following few for the reason that they come within the context of the Carmelite, as celebrated by Father Romaeus Cooney O.Carm at St. Joseph's Church, Troy.

Conference Notice: The Glory of Catholic Architecture

There is a rather promising looking conference being held Liturgical Institute in Mundelein this October 25-26: The Glory of Catholic Architecture - Renewing Tradition, Re-Engaging the Heavenly.

Before I go into the particular details of this conference, please allow me to first tell you about an interesting twist to it:

One of the most exciting features of the conference will be a live design clinic presented before the conference guests in which photos and drawings submitted by conference participants will be chosen to serve as a starting point for design development. Mr. James McCrery will do live design review and suggestions for renovation of existing churches, while Mr. David Meleca will address as of yet unbuilt design plans or sites.

Until October 1st, conference participants can submit photos via email here to be considered as one of the projects to be possibly reviewed at the conference. (I know from my time here at NLM that there is a great desire out there for this sort of advice, so it really is a great opportunity.)

Aside from the design clinic, here is a list of the speakers and the addresses they will be giving at the conference:

What Makes Architecture Sacred?
Fr. Uwe Michael Lang, CO

Church Architecture as Heaven on Earth: 2002-2012
Dr. Denis McNamara, The Liturgical Institute

Process, Problems and Progress: Building a New Church
Duncan Stroik, University of Notre Dame

Ornamental Painting in Churches: Artistic & Theological Possibilities
Mr. Jeff Greene, Evergreene Architectural Arts

Those who wish to register for the conference may do so here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back in Print: Byzantine Daily Worship

Whether you are a regular or occasional attendee of the Byzantine liturgy, or whether you simply are one who is interested in the Byzantine liturgy, you may find the following of interest. Namely, Alleluia Press has put Byzantine Daily Worship back into print.

Byzantine Daily Worship was edited under the auspices of Archbishop Joseph Raya and Baron José M. de Vinck. Essentially what we have here is an equivalent of the typical Latin rite pew missal. The reprinted edition is priced at $65.00 USD -- and I can tell you that, over the years, I have seen a great demand for copies of this little item. It may be an idea to pick it up while you can.

I have a copy of an earlier printing of this and I can attest to the fact they do a nice job with it.

Monthly EF at Filipino Catholic University

The following was sent to NLM yesterday:

In coordination with Societas Ecclesia Dei Sancti Ioseph {Ecclesia Dei Scoeity of St. Joseph} - Una Voce Philippines the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is once more offered at the Pontifical and Royal Catholic University of Santo Tomas {UST} EVERY MONTH beginning 24 August at the St. Dominic Chapel.

In attendance were the Reverend Vice Rector for Religious Affairs, Secretary General, and bona fide professors and students of the Pontifical and Royal University. I am forwarding to you pictures of the Mass.

Here are some photos of the Mass:

In preparation for this, "Friar Eric OFM Cap" offered a tutorial on the ceremonies of the usus antiquior.

Assumption Grotto Restores High Altar

Whenever photos are shown here of a sanctuary which has two altars -- the historical high altar and a newer altar before it -- there are often comments which lament this situation -- usually for a few reasons.

With that in mind, I thought many of you would be gratified by this bit of news shared to us by Diane at Te Deum Laudamus wherein she notes that the Detroit parish of Assumption Grotto has recently removed their own forward altar, thereby reinstating the historical high altar to its place within their sanctuary:

Here was the situation before:

Fr. Perrone, the pastor of Assumption Grotto, explains the decision in his Sunday bulletin this week. Here is an excerpt:

When I carefully studied the book The Spirit of the Liturgy by then-Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), I realized that we ought to be facing East once again and not towards the people since that position inadvertently created a “closed circle” that did not aim towards heaven, towards God (East), but towards man (symbolically indicating that man and not God was the focal point of the Mass). In the early years of my pastorship here, the low altar was used variously: first, facing the people; then facing East; and then, with a move of the altar farther back some feet towards the main altar, with the priest still facing East. We were getting progressively more in line with an ideal.

Over time I began to think it foolish for us to use the low altar while neglecting the church’s original. In addition, there was a problem having two altars. There ought to be only one altar prominent (main) in a church, not two. Moreover, for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass (now once again available to us), the low altar kept getting in our liturgical way.

Fine, you may say, but what is to be done should a visiting priest want to celebrate Mass facing the people? We have already provided for that in having readily available an altar that can be set in place in a matter of minutes. It too is suitably made, containing an true altar stone and thus worthy of Holy Mass.

Friday, August 24, 2012

21st Sunday, English Propers

The Simple English Propers are the most widely sung vernacular versions of the Mass propers in the English-speaking world.

St John of the Cross and the Artistic Portrayal of the Joyful Pilgrimage

In the Office of Readings, Friday, Week 18, the reading is taken from the Spiritual Canticle of St John of the Cross. In it he indicates that the saints in heaven are in union with God through love.

He tells us that, 'they possess the same blessings by participation as he [God] possesses by nature; for this reason they are truly gods by participation, equals of God and his companions. Therefore St Peter said:"Grace and peace be complete and perfect in you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord, according as all things are given to us of his divine virtue for life and godliness, through knowledge of him who has called us with his own glory and virtue; whereby he has given into us many great and precious promises, that by these things we may be made companions of the divine nature." Saint Peter indicates that the soul will have participation in God, performing in him, in company with him, the work of the Most Holy Trinity, after the manner whereof we have spoken. And though this can be perfectly fulfilled only in the next life, nevertheless in this life, when the estate of perfection is reached, a clear trace and taste of it are attained.'

It is this final sentence that caught my eye. Our goal in this life, one might say, is to get to heaven in the next. Although we cannot experience heaven fully in this life, supernaturally we temporarily step into it through the liturgy and the sacramental life. This is a transforming process that by degrees takes us towards that heavenly state. And this means, in turn, that by degrees we can experience the joy of heaven in this life.

It is the gothic figurative liturgical tradition that through its form portrays this pilgrimage to heaven. (Baroque art portrays through it form evil and suffering transcended by hope; and the iconographic portrays man fully in union with God in heaven). I have talked about this before in an article: Why the Church has Different Artistic Traditions. In it I written about the theology that shapes the form of the three liturgical traditions of the Church and explain why I feel they are complementary.

This passage of St John did cause me to reflect for a few moments on my own journey and what caused me to convert to Catholicism. As one might expect there were a number of different influences, but very important was the belief that becoming a Catholic would open up for me a life of greater joy. I went through a very unhappy period in my mid/late twenties. I don't want to get too melodramatic about the whole thing, but it was bad enough that I was even prepared to consider Christianity as an option. I was lucky during this period to meet someone who was a Catholic and I saw this joy in his life. He eventually became my sponsor when I was received into the Church. Through his example as much as through his answers to my questions, I had a clear picture in my mind of a life with a beginning, a journey and an end. The beginning was where I was before coming into the Church, suffering but with hope; the journey is the life of faith and Christian joy; and the final end is heaven. Artistically, this is a transition from the baroque to the iconographic via the gothic.

As one might expect, the the journey for me has not been perfectly smooth. In some ways I experience this grand picture in microcosm on a daily basis. It is a process of continually straying from the path, renewing that hope, fixing my sights once again on that final end and resolving once more to follow my guide on the journey. Nevertheless, the underlying trend is one that moves steadily upwards. And my overall experience is that the Christian life is a joyful one (without claiming to have reached the heights of St John of the Cross). This 'gothic' message of a joyful pilgrimage which attracted me to the Church was true.

In his address on the saint, Pope Benedict told us that in his Spiritual Canticle, from which the excerpt above is taken' 'St. John presents the path of purification of the soul, that is, the progressive joyful possession of God until the soul feels that it loves God with the same love that it is loved by him.' The Pope goes on to make it plain that this path is open to each of us. St John, he says, had 'a hard life but, precisely in the months spent in prison, he wrote one of his most beautiful works. And thus we are able to understand that the way with Christ, the going with Christ, "the Way," is not a weight added to the already sufficient burden, but something completely different, it is a light, a strength that helps us carry this burden.'

One of the surprises for me when I entered the Church was to discover that not all of my fellow Catholics seemed to believe that happiness is really on offer to them in this life as well as the next. Aside from missing out themselves, I believe that one of the reasons that people aren't flocking to the Church is that they do not always see joy in the lives of Christians they meet. It seems that as part of the New Evangelisation we must rediscover the Christian joy.

Clearly, the idea of Christian joy did not begin or end with the gothic period. Historically, St John himself came after it, in the 16th century. However, I believe that the artistic tradition that developed during gothic period can play a part today in directing us to a participation in that joyful pilgrimage. This is why I would like to see it reestablished in a living form. It seems to me that one reason that Fra Angelico resonates so strongly today is that he is communicating something to us that is needed.

Remember when I speak of what the gothic communicates, I am talking of its form, it's style. The content, that is the subjects painted, is likely to be the full range that one would expect to tackle in sacred art; but its form, because it is integrated with the theology is always in the background speaking poetically to our mind's eye, as it were, encouraging us with the idea that there is joy in this life on route to the next. (Just as with icon painting: the fact that its form speaks of the eschaton - the heavenly realm - does not mean that you cannot paint scenes in salvation history.)

The art from above: Christ on the Cross, by St John of the Cross; Fra Angelico's Madonna and Child; and Chaucer as a Pilgrim from the Ellesmere Psalter

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oddities: The Byzantine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom - in Latin and Greek

I saw this referenced on the Byzantine Catholic Forum and found it rather interesting as a kind of liturgical oddity. It is a text which presents the Byzantine liturgy in a parallel Latin-Greek translation. When I saw it, I was put to mind of another similar sort of liturgical oddity, the Liber Precum Publicarum of 1560 -- the Anglican Book of Common Prayer in Latin. At any rate, here is the book in question. The text of the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom begins on page 47 according to the original page numbering.

Blessing of Honey at a Russian Monastery

It has been awhile since we featured something from the Christian East, and by way of Byzantine, TX, I ran into the following images which show the blessing of honey from the Optina Monastery in Russia. The blogger there explains:

The blessing of new honey is a wonderful tradition. It is done traditionally on the first day of the Dormition Fast (specifically: on the Feast of the Procession of the Precious and Life-giving Cross) along with the blessing of water.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: