Monday, April 30, 2018

“My Inheritance Is Goodly to Me”: Giving Thanks for Liturgical Providence

Progressive liturgists — that is to say, the entire establishment during and after Vatican II, with a few notable exceptions — seem to make a very odd and elementary mistake in their thinking, akin to the kind of mistakes one finds in liberal biblical critics.

When liturgists dig into the history of rites, they discover lots of change, development, variety, and seemingly chance events (“after all, don’t you know, it was because of Charlemagne that the Roman liturgy both replaced the Gallican and assimilated many of its elements”). So far, so good. But then they make an unwarranted inference:  beyond the postulate of a “golden age” of apostolic worship, we owe no reverence to liturgical rites at any later stage of their development. For example, since medieval and Baroque features of the Roman liturgy resulted from historical accidents, they are seen as ripe for purging at the hands of the cognoscenti, those who know better what our current historical milieu requires.

Such reasoning betrays the lack of a metaphysical and theological framework for seeing how Divine Providence works by governing all things in general and in detail. To us here below, with our faint and finite grasp of causality, there appears to be chance; in the eyes of God there is no such thing as chance. He sees all, He causes all. Without an adequate conception of and trust in Providence, we will (or will be tempted to) commit sins of judging and rejecting the fruits of organic liturgical development, as if we moderns are superior to our forefathers. The default assumption of Christian history is rather that our forefathers have more wisdom than we do, and our job is to receive and assimilate it, striving to live up to it if we possibly can.

Thus, the liturgists’ inference fails to appreciate the spiritual attitude that we are supposed to have towards our inheritance — towards that which “falls to our lot.” The Psalmist captures this attitude perfectly: Funes ceciderunt mihi in praeclaris; etenim haereditas mea praeclara est mihi (Ps 15:6), which the Douay Rheims renders: “The lines are fallen unto me in goodly places: for my inheritance is goodly to me.” The sense of the verse is that the boundaries God has measured out for His people in the course of His fatherly guidance of them are the right ones: they shine with His wisdom. The lot we have received is goodly and not to be scorned or second-guessed.

Note the word used twice in the Vulgate: praeclarus. This word has many meanings: splendid, bright, excellent, famous, illustrious, noble, distinguished. This dictionary definition reads like a listing of all the qualities that traditional liturgical rites of Eastern and Western Christianity possess — and exactly the qualities that are wanting in the fabricated rites of the 1960s and 1970s. For however much we might dress them up, they are still like the social parvenu, the nouveau riche. The psalmist, however, exclaims that his received inheritance is praeclarus. He says it twice in comely Hebrew fashion to drive home the point.

Where else do we see this Latin word praeclarus? We see it twice in the Roman Canon — the Canon that defines the Roman Rite, the optionizing and marginalization of which effectively prove the discontinuity and rupture between the old and the new rites of Mass. First, we hear it in the consecration of the chalice: “taking also into His holy and venerable hands this excellent chalice, hunc praeclarum calicem.”Then we hear it immediately after: “Wherefore, O Lord, we Thy servants as also Thy holy people…offer to Thy supreme majesty [praeclarae maiestati tuae] a pure Victim, a holy Victim, an unblemished Victim, the holy bread of eternal life, and the chalice of everlasting salvation.”

It is not by chance that the same psalm we cited above, Psalm 15, uses the cup or chalice as a symbol of God’s generous provision to His people: Dominus pars haereditatis meae, et calicis mei: tu es qui restitues haereditatem meam mihi, “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup: it is thou that wilt restore my inheritance to me” (Ps 15:5).

By surrounding the word calix with a double use of praeclarus, the Roman Canon not only echoes but enacts Psalm 15, a favorite prayer of early Christians as we see in the Acts of the Apostles, and so reminds us of the nature of our liturgical inheritance. It is not a dead or static set of books, the fallout of meandering chance and merely human intentions, but a living tradition that begins in the Logos of God and culminates in the Logos made flesh, our eternal High Priest who guides His Church into the fullness of truth by the gift of His Spirit. Our goodly inheritance is the rich content of a cup poured out in ever greater measure on Adam, Abel, Abraham, Melchisedek, David, the temple worship, the early Christian dies Domini, and the Catholic centuries of faith, when the liturgy grew from a mustard seed into a great tree in whose branches the birds of the air, that is, the holy angels, lodge (cf. Lk 13:19).

As Joseph Ratzinger often said, we are not the accidental products of chance but the deliberate offspring of a divine intention; the universe is shot through with the Logos reigning above matter and chaos. The same is true of the liturgy. It, too, is not the accidental product of chance but the deliberate offspring of a divine intention; its path, which emerges from Israel and crisscrosses the Greco-Roman and later barbarian world, is from the Logos, reigning above the tumult of human affairs. This, ultimately, is the reason traditionalists reject the liturgical reform: for it itself constitutes a rejection of the unanimous understanding of how liturgy exists and is transmitted and received.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Blessings in Honor of St Peter Martyr

This coming Sunday, April 29th, is the feast of St Peter Martyr, a Dominican Friar murdered by followers of the bizarre heresy of the Cathars in 1252. A disciple of St Dominic, who personally clothed him in the Order’s habit, he was appointed by Pope Gregory IX (1227-41) as a General Inquisitor for the whole of northern Italy, where the Cathars were a fairly notable presence. We have written previously about his feast day, his monumental tomb, and his principal assassin, Blessed Carino, who converted and lived a life of repentance in the Dominican house at Forlì.

The relic of St Peter Martyr’s skull, displayed for the veneration of the faithful on his feast day in 2015.
The Roman Ritual contains two blessings in his honor, one of water, and another of palms, both formerly reserved to the Dominican Order. (The “reserved” blessings proper to particular Orders were all freed up, so to speak, for general use in 1964.) The blessing of water is done “with relics of St Peter.”

V. Our help...
V. The Lord be with you.

Let us pray. O God, who for the salvation of the human race did institute the greatest mysteries in the substance of water, mercifully be present to our invocations, and pour forth upon this element of water Thy bless+ing, which we seal by the power of the blessed Peter, Thy Martyr; so that though his intercession, it may be a salutary remedy for your faithful, driving out evil spirits from them, and warding off illnesses and infirmities of body and spirit; and grant that all who drink of it or are sprinkled with it may be delivered from every adversity of body and soul, and regain health in their whole being. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Let us pray. Almighty everlasting God, we humbly implore Thy boundless clemency, that Thou may deign to bless + by Thy indescribable power these Thy faithful people, who devoutly come to (venerate) the relics of the blessed Martyr Peter, and ask for his prayers; so that by his intercession, delivered from every ailment of mind and body, protected  here and everywhere by Thy mercy, and saved by Thy grace, they may merit, after the course of this way and life, to come unto eternal joy. Through Christ our Lord.

There is also a custom of honoring St Peter by having palm-leaves blessed on his feast. These are traditionally made into crosses and buried in the four corners of one’s property, to guard the place and its occupants both physically and spiritually. (If you live in an apartment or condominium, you could just place them in four corners.) The tradition of the palms is derived from the triumphal entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, as the blessing itself notes, when the people laid palm branches in front of His procession into the city, less than a week before His passion and death. Of course, we celebrate this entrance on Palm Sunday, and a part of that celebration is to receive the palm leaves that have been blessed the Mass. They may then be shaped into the form of a cross and brought to be blessed again on St Peter’s feast.

Courtesy of Mr Gerard Pilley
Palms have also been, of course, a symbol of martyrdom from the very beginning of the Church, and St Peter’s martyrdom was one of the most celebrated and honored of the Ages of the Faith. He remains to this day the single most rapidly canonized Saint by a formal process, which was completed less than a year after his death.

V. Our help...
V. The Lord be with you.

Let us pray. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, bless + these branches of trees at our supplication, and to pour out upon them, o Lord, by the power of the holy + Cross, and by the intercession of the blessed Martyr Peter, a heavenly blessing, Who, when Thou wast about to triumph over the enemy of the human race, willed that the children show Thee honor by palms and the branches of trees; and by the sign of the holy + Cross, may they receive a blessing, such that wherever any of them may be placed, the princes of darkness may depart, and tremble, and flee in terror, with all their ministers, from such homes and places. Let not lightning and storm do damage there, let inclement weather not consume or destroy the fruits of the earth, let nothing disturb or trouble those who serve Thee, the almighty God, who livest and reignest unto all ages. R. Amen.

St Peter’s death took place on April 6th, but since that date will very often occur in Holy Week or the Easter octave, he was assigned to April 29th, and thus is always celebrated in Eastertide, which also has a proper Office and two proper Masses for the Martyrs. The Church released the blessings reserved to particular Orders precisely so that they could be more frequently celebrated; here is an excellent way for us all to increase the glory of Eastertide and invoke the intercession of one of the greatest Catholic Martyrs.

This article comes to us partly from Mr Gerald Pilley, a parishioner of St Benedict’s Parish in Chesapeake, Virginia, an apostolate of the FSSP, with our thanks. 

Pro Civitate Dei - Final Call for Participants

Only a handful of spots remain for the fourth annual Pro Civitate Dei summer school, hosted and organized by the Fraternity of St Joseph the Guardian in La-Londe-les-Maurs, France, from June 8-15. Young adults will gather from around the world for this week of traditional Catholic culture in the French Riviera. The Anglophone program admits select students and young professionals to a schedule of lectures from top-tier Catholic professors, chanted liturgies according to the traditional rites, and a convivial environment aided by local rosé and the French joie de vivre. Pro Civitate Dei seeks to foster the restoration of Western culture in a rich liturgical and intellectual environment inspired by Christian conviviality, with lectures on topics of contemporary and historical interest in Catholic philosophy, theology, liturgy, and politics.

You’ll find all the information needed in a two-minute read here: Please note that only one spot is still available for women. Questions and donor inquiries can be sent to

I spoke at this conference last year and the year before, and it was indeed a very enjoyable experience both times, with liturgies celebrated very well, and excellent conversations thoughout the day. My first year, we visited the cave of St Mary Magdalene, the Sainte-Baume, and the church which keeps the relic of her skull. Last year, we had Mass one day in a 12-century chapel on a very tall hill, with an incredible view of endless miles of the Riviera. The FSJC also has the pastoral charge of a church dedicated to St Anne on the island of Pourquerole, where we visited an Orthodox monastery, celebrated solemn Mass, followed by an afternoon on a perfect beach.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A New Mass Composed for a New Religious Community

Catholic Arts Today, the website of the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship published an interview yesterday with composer Frank La Rocca, concerning a new Mass which he has composed for the Contemplatives of St Joseph. This is a new religious community which has been founded in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and will be formally established by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on May 1st, the feast of St Joseph the Worker. The Missa Sancti Joseph will be sung for the first time at the Mater Dolorosa Church in South San Francisco, starting at 11 a.m., right after the ceremony of consecrating the order’s first prior. The church is located at 307 Willow Avenue. As an example of Mr La Rocca's work, here is his setting of O magnum mysterium from his Youtube channel.

Here are some excerpts from the interview. As you can read, he is a composer who really thinks about the sacred character of the music to be used in the liturgy. (If only we had a few dozen more like him!)

CAT Editors: What composers, if any, influence you and how? Did any composer specifically influence your composition for the Missa Sancti Ioseph?
Frank La Rocca: At this stage of my career, my influences are largely subliminal. That is, I am not consciously aware of any influences per se as I am working. What others have sometimes told me is that they hear the vocal texture of Renaissance polyphony with a harmonic language a bit like Bruckner. This is a sound, therefore, very much in continuity with the Church’s great treasury of sacred music, but in a harmonic language informed by more recent developments in harmony. Since this is music for Liturgy, it would not be appropriate to try to project any kind of highly individualistic voice in the music, such as one might do in a concert work. Seeking to assert a quality of ‘originality’ for its own sake could very well lead to music that would distract from the interior participation in the Liturgy that sacred music is supposed to facilitate.

This restraint, if you will, is not something all composers are willing to exert, but as Popes from Pius X to Benedict XVI have taught, such an approach conforms to the true “Spirit of the Liturgy” (the title of Benedict XVI’s excellent book, which I recommend to anyone interested in the questions surrounding music in the Liturgy). ...

CAT Editors: Is there a specific reason why you have the soprano starting the Kyrie and Agnus Dei, which is not very common in chant-based polyphony? What inspired you to start with the soprano and not the tenor?
Frank La Rocca: The reason is twofold: First, this is not a chant-based Mass. Second, and more importantly, these are the penitential movements of the Mass. The soprano voice, traditionally associated with a child’s voice in an all-male Schola, was (in the Bach Passions for example) often assigned the role of the ‘believer’ or the ‘catechumen’. When we come before God to seek forgiveness, we should approach Him with a childlike receptivity (Matt 19:14). I seek to express that childlike disposition through the use of the soprano voice.

CAT Editors: Were there any special spiritual influences that went into the composition of this music?
Frank La Rocca: There are always spiritual influences in my music, as there are in many composers’ music, even when the subject is not explicitly religious. But more specifically, I sought in this Mass to capture a tone of humility, obedience, and reverence, since these are qualities embodied especially by St. Joseph in his role as the foster father of our Lord. Indeed, among the Saints, only the Virgin Mary can be said to have more deeply and perfectly embodied these traits. So this is for me a particularly “conservative” work, an approach I found entirely in keeping with the spirituality of St. Joseph.

The Greater Rogations in the Ambrosian Rite

The Rogations traditionally held on April 25th are known as the “Greater Rogations” or “Major Litanies”, even though they were instituted later than the Minor Litanies, and are held on only one day, as opposed to three. This is because they are specifically Roman in origin, established by Pope St Gregory the Great in 590, at the very beginning of his papacy, while the Lesser Rogations were instituted in Gaul around 470, but came to Rome only in the Carolingian period. In the Roman Rite, they consist of the Litany of the Saints, which is sung during the Procession, and a Mass, which is the same as that said on the Minor Litanies.

Even though the Ambrosian liturgy adopted this tradition from Rome, its liturgical texts for these days are rather more developed. Each of the four Rogation days has its own version of the Litany of the Saints; each of the three days of the Lesser Rogations has its own Mass, but on April 25th, the votive Mass “for penance” is said. I shall here give the liturgical texts for the Greater Rogations, along with the rubrics for their public celebration, from an edition published by the Archdiocese of Milan in 1733.

After the celebration of the Mass of St Mark, the clergy and people gather at the cathedral, and proceed from there to the basilica of St Nabor, which by the 18th century was in the care of the Franciscans, and rededicated to their Patron Saint. The archbishop, wearing violet vestments, stands before the altar, and begins the rite with “Dominus vobiscum”, after which the archdeacon intones the following antiphon, which is continued by the choir.

Domine Deus virtutum, Deus Is-
rael, qui eduxisti populum tuum
de terra Aegypti, et fecisti tibi
nomen gloriae, peccavimus, im-
pie egimus, iniquitatem fecimus;
miserere nobis, Salvator mundi.
O Lord God of hosts, God of Isra-
el, who led Thy people out of the
land of Egypt, and made for Thy-
self a glorious name; we have
sinned, we have done wickedly;
we have wrought iniquity; have
mercy on us, o Savior of the

The procession then makes its way to the basilica of St Victor, accompanied by the following processional antiphons. These are sung in alternation by the college of lectors, and the “mazzeconici”, as they were called, an Italian/Milanese corruption of “magister canonicus - master canon”. These were a group of cantors assigned to the two chapters of the cathedral specifically to maintain a high level of liturgical chant. (Our dear departed friend Mons. Angelo Amodeo came into the chapter of the Duomo as a “mazzeconico.”) The second of these is the same text that forms the Introit of Ash Wednesday in the Roman Rite.

An Ambrosian mazzeconico
Peccavimus ante te, Deus, ne
des nos in opprobrium, propter
nomen tuum, quia tu es Domi-
nus, Deus noster, quem propiti-
um exspectamus.
We have sinned before Thee, o God,
give us not unto reproach, for Thy
name’s sake, for Thou are the Lord,
our God, whom we await to show us
Misereris omnium Domine, et
nihil odisti eorum quae fecisti,
dissimulans peccata hominum
propter paenitentiam, et parcens
illis: quia tu es Dóminus, Deus
Thou hast mercy on all, O Lord, and
hate none of the things which Thou
hast made, overlooking the sins of
men for the sake of repentance, and
sparing them: because Thou art the
Lord our God.
Qui fecisti magnalia in Aegyp-
to, mirabilia in terra Cham, ter-
ribilia in Mari Rubro, non tra-
das nos in manus gentium, nec
dominentur nobis, qui oderunt
Thou who didst great things in Egypt,
wondrous deeds in the land of Cham,
terrible things at the Red Sea, deliver
us not into the hands of the nations,
nor let them rule over us that hate us.
Circumdederunt nos mala, quo-
rum non est numerus; da nobis
auxilium de tribulatione; opera
manuum tuarum ne despicias,
Evils have surrounded us, that have
no number; grant us help in our tribu-
lation; despise not the works of Thy
hands, o Lord.
Si fecissemus praecepta tua, Do-
mine, habitassemus cum securi-
tate et pace omni tempore vitae
nostrae; nunc quoniam peccavi-
mus, supervenerunt in nos om-
nes tribulationes; pius es, Domi-
ne, miserere nobis, et dona re-
medium populo tuo, Deus Israel.
If we had followed Thy precepts, o
Lord, we would have dwelt in secur-
ity and peace all the time of our life;
now, because we have sinned, every
tribulation has come upon us; holy art
Thou, o Lord, have mercy on us, and
give remedy, to Thy people, o God
of Israel.
Iniquitates nostras agnoscimus,
Domine; petimus deprecantes te,
remitte nobis, Domine, peccata
We recognize our iniquities, o Lord,
we ask Thee beseechingly; forgive us
our sins, o Lord.
Vide, Domine, afflictionem po-
puli tui, quoniam amara est ni-
mis; humiliati enim sumus pro
peccatis nostris; exaudi nos,
qui es in caelis, quoniam non
est alius praeter te, Domine.
See the affliction of Thy people, o
Lord, for it is exceedingly bitter, for
we are laid low for our sins; hear us,
Who art in heaven, for there is no
other beside Thee, o Lord.
Liberator noster de gentibus ira-
cundis, ab insurgentibus in nos
libera nos, Domine.
Our deliverer from the wrathful
nations, from them that rise up
against us, deliver us, o Lord.
At the church of St Victor, the mazzeconici sing “Kyrie eleison” three times in a lower voice; this is repeated by the “vecchioni - old men (or) elders”, a group of laymen who participated in a formal way in many services in the Ambrosian liturgy. The readers with the head of their college then sing “Kyrie eleison” three times in a higher voice, which is also repeated by the vecchioni.

A “vecchione” in the white garment which the members of the college wore during Pontifical Mass in the Duomo. At the Offertory, they presented offerings of bread and wine, seen here in his hands, which were used at a later Mass.
The cantors begin the litany of the Saints, which in the Ambrosian Rite is introduced by three repetitions of “Domine, miserere – Lord, have mercy”, three of “Christe, libera nos - Christ, deliver us”, and three of “Salvator, libera nos – o Savior, deliver us.” The names of the Saints are then sung by the cantors, to which all others answer, repeating the names and adding “intercede pro nobis.” (“Sancta Maria. – Sancta Maria, intercede pro nobis.”) In the Roman Rite, the list of the Saints is always the same, although local Saints may be added by immemorial custom; in the Ambrosian Rite, the Saints named in the litany change from one occasion to another.

On this day, after the Virgin Mary, the three Archangels are named, followed by the Apostles Peter, Paul, Andrew, and Mark, whose feast day it is; the martyrs Stephen, Felix, Fortunatus and Victor; then Pope Urban I, Tiburtius, Valerian and Cecilia. (The martyrdom of Cecilia, her betrothed Tiburtius, and his brother Valerian took place in the days of Pope Urban, 222-230; the brothers’ feast is on April 14.) There follows a group of bishops, including St Gregory, who instituted the Greater Rogations, St Satyrus, the brother of St Ambrose, then Galdinus, Charles Borromeo, and Ambrose, who always conclude the litanies in the Ambrosian Rite. The litany ends with three repetitions of “Exaudi, Christe. R. Voces nostras. Exaudi, Deus. R. Et miserere nobis.”, (Hear, o Christ, our voices. Hear o God, and have mercy on us.), and three Kyrie eleisons.

At the conclusion of the Litany, the archbishop sings the following Collect. “Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, cui sine fine potestas est miserendi, preces humilitatis nostrae placatus intende: ut quod delictorum nostrorum catena constringit, a tua nobis misericordia relaxetur. Per. – Almighty and everlasting God, that hast power without end to show mercy, be appeased and harken to the prayers of our low estate: so that what the chain of our sins bindeth may be loosed for us by Thy mercy.”

The deacon hebdomadary, the canon assigned to serve as deacon at the capitular services that week, then intones a responsory. (The Ambrosian Rite very frequently assigns specific chants to specific persons or groups within the chapter.)

R. Te deprecamur, Domine, * qui es misericors et pius, esto nobis propitius. V. Domine, exaudi orationem nostram, et clamor noster ad te perveniat. Qui es... – R. We beseech Thee, o Lord, * who art merciful and holy, be merciful unto us. V. O Lord, hear our prayer, and let our cry come unto Thee. Who art...

The high altar of the church of St Victor. (Image from Wikipedia by Carlo dell’Orto; CC BY-SA 3.0)
The procession then goes from the altar of St Victor to that of St Gregory, as the lector and mazzeconici sing another group of penitential antiphons. The first of these has the same text as the famous antiphon for the Nunc dimittis in the Dominican Office which always moved St Thomas to tears.

Media vita in morte sumus;
quem quærimus adjutórem, nisi
te, Domine? qui pro peccatis
nostris juste irásceris. Sancte
Deus, Sancte fortis, Sancte
misericors Salvator, amarae
morti ne tradas nos.
In the midst of life, we are in death;
whom shall we seek to help us, if not
Thee, o Lord, who art justly wroth for
our sins. Holy God, holy mighty one,
holy immortal one, hand us not over
to bitter death.
Domine, inclina aurem tuam et
audi; respice de caelo, et vide
gemitum nostrum, et de manu
mortis libera nos.
O Lord, incline Thy ear, and hear;
look down from heaven, and see
our groaning, and deliver us from
the hand of death.
Exsurge, libera, Deus, de manu
mortis, et ne infernus rapiat
nos, ut leo, animas nostras.
Arise, deliver our souls, God, from
the hand of death, lest hell take us,
like a lion.
Cor nostrum conturbatum est,
Domine, et formido mortis céci-
dit super nos; ad tuam pietatem
concurrimus: ne perdas pecca-
tores, misericors.
Our heart is troubled, o Lord, and the
fear of death hath fallen upon us;
we run to Thy mercy, destroy not the
sinners, merciful one.
Domine Deus, miserere, quia anni
nostri in gemitibus consumati
sunt, et mors furibunda succedit;
Domine, libera nos.
Lord God, have mercy, for our years
are consumed in groaning, and furi-
ous death cometh after; o Lord, de-
liver us.

At the altar of St Gregory, twelve Kyries are sung as above, followed by a second Litany of the Saints, shorter than the first one. The Saints named are the Virgin Mary, the Archangels, John the Baptist, the same Apostles as above, the martyrs Stephen, Saturninus, Savinus, Protus, Januarius, the bishops Martin and Gregory, Galdinus, Charles and Ambrose. This also concludes with a Collect, which specifically refers to St Gregory. “Infirmitatem nostram respice, omnipotens Deus, et quia pondus propriae actionis gravat, beati Gregorii Pontificis tui intercessio gloriosa nos protegat. Per. – Look upon our infirmity, almighty God, and since the weight of our actions beareth heavy upon us, may the glorious intercession of Thy bishop Gregory protect us.”

The deacon hebdomadary then intones another responsory.

R. Rogamus te, Domine Deus, quia peccavimus tibi; veniam petimus, quam non meremur; * manum tuam porrige lapsis, qui latroni confitenti paradisi januas aperuisti. V. Vita nostra in dolore suspirat, et in opere non emendat, si exspectas, non corripimur, et si vindicas, non duramus. Manum tuam... – R. We beseech Thee, o Lord God, because we have sinned against Thee; we ask for forgiveness, which we do not deserve. * Stretch forth Thy hand to the fallen, Thou who didst open the doors of paradise to the thief that confessed. V. Our life suspireth in sorrow, and emendeth not in works; if Thou await us, we are not reproved, and if Thou take vengeance, we cannot endure it. Stretch forth...

Twelve Kyries are sung once again, followed by the Agnus Dei, alternated between the readers and the mazzeconici.

V. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
R. Gloria Patri. Sicut erat.
V. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
R. Sucipe deprecationem nostram, qui sedes ad dexteram Patris.
V. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
R. Kyrie, eleison. Kyrie, eleison. Kyrie, eleison.
The standard conclusion of most Ambrosian ceremonies is said, after which the canon observer (“observator”), who will serve as hebdom the following week, says the Votive Mass for penance, at which the Archbishop preaches.

St Charles Borromeo leading a procession with the relic of the Holy Nail during the great plague which struck Milan in 1576-7. St Gregory the Great originally introduced the Greater Rogations at Rome to beg God’s mercy and the end to a plague. (Painting by Giovan Mauro della Rovere, also known as ;“il Fiamminghino - the little Fleming”, since his father was born in Antwerp.)
This was supposed to be published yesterday, but my internet service decided it was taking the evening off. Thanks once again to Nicola for his help.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

An Ordinariate Mass in Rome

This morning, the Roman basilica of Santa Maria in Campitelli hosted a Mass celebrated according to Divine Worship, the Ordinariate Missal, by a group of American and English clergy and seminarians. This was an especially appropriate location both for today’s feast, and for this particular rite. The ancient Roman church dedicated to St Mark the Evangelist is about a five-minute walk away, in the area where a Roman tradition says he lived and wrote his Gospel, based on the stories told to him by St Peter. Santa Maria in Campitelli, originally known as Sancta Maria in Porticu, was the first cardinalitial title of Henry Cardinal Stuart, scion of the last Catholic ruling family of England. It has served as a place of prayer for the return of England to union with the see of Peter since his death in 1807, a beautiful choice of church to celebrate a Mass that unites the Roman and Anglican liturgical traditions.

The music included the Communion Service No. 2 from the 1940 Hymnal by Healey Willan, propers from the Plainchant Gradual by Palmer and Burgess, the Processional Hymn The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King, JM Neale’s translation of St Ambrose’s Aeterna Christi Munera, a psalm setting by Edward Elgar, and plenty of beautiful organ music. It is very much to be hoped that this tradition flourish within the Ordinariate certainly for its own sake, but also as a model to Catholics throughout the world for improving the quality of music at Mass generally!

The prayers before the altar and the collect for purity (derived from the Roman prayers of preparation before the Mass.) 
The first incensation.
Thanks to Mr Michael Shami for sharing some of his photos from the organ loft with us.
The deacon reads to the people the summary of the Law.

Pilgrimage in Honor of the English Martyrs, May 5th

The Latin Mass Society, in conjunction with the Institute of Christ the King, is organising a pilgrimage in honour of the Martyrs of England in the city of Preston, England, on Saturday, May 5th, the original date of the feast of St Pius V. The pilgrimage will start from the church of St Walburge, and go to that of St Thomas of Canterbury and the English Martyrs, which has been entrusted to the Institute’s care by the Rt Rev. Michael Campbell, Bishop of Lancaster. This very fine church, designed by Edward Pugin, is not only dedicated to the English Martyrs, but is built on the site of the execution of several of the leaders of the Jacobite Rising of 1715.

The program is as follows:
Assemble 11.45 am at the Church of St Walburge for devotions
Noon: Procession to the Church of the English Martyrs
12.30 pm: Solemn Mass.
Participants are encouraged to bring banners.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Fota XI International Liturgical Conference, July 7-9, 2018

St Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy is pleased to announce that the Fota XI International Liturgy Conference will be held in Cork, Ireland, from July 7-9, 2018.

The conference is entitled Psallite Sapienter: The Liturgy of the Hours. A panel of experts drawn from the United States, Germany and Ireland will explore the subject. Among those participating are Prof. William Mahrt (Stanford), Prof. Dennis McManus (Boston), Sr. Maria Kiely, OSB (Washington), Prof. Joseph Briody (Boston), Gregory DiPippo (New Liturgical Movement), Dom Benedict Andersen, OSB (Silverstream Priory), Fr. Sven Conrad FSSP (Germany), Matthew Hazell (Sheffield), and Dr. Peter Kwasniewski (Wyoming).

Registration for the conference will open on May 5.

His Eminence Raymond Card. Burke celebrating Pontifical Mass at the church of Ss Peter and Paul in Cork during last year’s Fota Conference.

Official English Texts for the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest

Readers of NLM, and particularly those in England and Wales, will be interested to learn that the Liturgy Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has recently announced that the official English-language texts for the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest (Thursday after Pentecost) are now available. The full Lectionary, Missal and Office texts for insertion into the Ordinary Form Missal, along with the relevant decrees of promulgation and publication, can be found at this link. The insertion of this Feast into the proper calendar of England and Wales takes effect on Pentecost Sunday this year, so it will be celebrated for the first time on Thursday 24th May, 2018, and on the Thursday after Pentecost in every subsequent year.

It was announced by the CDWDS back in 2012 that the formularies for this feast had been prepared for those episcopal conferences that requested use of them, and the Latin texts were printed in Notitiae 551-552 (2012), pp. 335-368.

In the 2008 Missale Romanum, there is already a Votive Mass of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest. However, and perhaps somewhat confusingly, the Latin texts for the Feast and the Votive Mass are different. The Collect, super oblata and Postcommunion for the Feast are actually nearly identical to those found in the 1962 Missale Romanum for the Votive Mass de D. N. Iesu Christo summo et aeterno Sacerdote, with the only minor difference being a brief insertion in the Collect. For those interested in the differences, here is a side-by-side comparison of the two sets of Mass propers:

Votive Mass of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (2008 MR/2011 RM)
Votive Mass of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (1962 MR); Feast of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (2012 Latin, 2018 English) [phrase in square brackets not in 1962 MR]
Deus, qui ad gloriam tuam et generis humani salutem Christum voluisti, summum aeternumque constituere sacerdotem, praesta, ut populus, quem sanguine suo tibi acquisvit, ex eius memorialis participatione, virtutem crucis ipsius capiat et resurrectionis.
Deus, qui ad maiestatis tuae gloriam et generis humani salutem, Unigenitum tuum Summum atque Aeternum constituísti Sacerdotem, praesta, ut, [Spiritu Sancto largiente,] quos ministros et mysteriorum suorum dispensatores elegit, in accepto ministerio adimplendo fideles inveniantur.
O God, who for your glory and the salvation of the human race willed to establish Christ as the eternal High Priest, grant that the people he has gained for you by his Blood may, through their participation in his memorial, experience the power of his Cross and Resurrection.
O God, who for the glory of your majesty and the salvation of the human race, made your Only Begotten Son the Eternal High Priest, grant that, [through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit,] those whom he has chosen as ministers and stewards of his mysteries may be found faithful in carrying out the ministry they have received.

Super oblata
Votive Mass of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (2008 MR/2011 RM)
Votive Mass of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (1962 MR); Feast of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (2012 Latin, 2018 English)
Concede nobis, quaesumus, Domine, haec digne frequentare mysteria, quia, quoties huius hostiae commemoratio celebratur, opus nostrae redemptionis exercetur.
Haec munera, Domine, Mediator noster Iesus Christus tibi reddat accepta et nos, una secum, hostias tibi gratas exhibeat.
Grant us, O Lord, we pray, that we may participate worthily in these mysteries, for, whenever the memorial of this sacrifice is celebrated, the work of our redemption is accomplished.
Lord, may our Mediator Jesus Christ render these gifts acceptable to you, and may he present us as sacrifices pleasing to you in union with him.

Votive Mass of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (2008 MR/2011 RM)
Votive Mass of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (1962 MR); Feast of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (2012 Latin, 2018 English)
Quaesumus, Domine, ut, huius participatione sacrificii, quod in sui commemorationem Filius tuus praecepit offerri, nosmetipsos cum illo oblationem facias tibi sempiternam.
Vivificet nos, quaesumus, Domine, divine quam obtulimus et sumpsimus hostia, ut, perpetua tibi caritate coniuncti, fructum, qui semper maneat, afferamus.
We pray, O Lord, that through our partaking in this sacrifice, which your Son commanded to be offered in his memory, you may make us together with him an everlasting oblation to you.
May this divine sacrifice we have offered and received fill us with life, O Lord, we pray, so that, bound to you in lasting charity, we may bear fruit that lasts for ever.

I am sure that readers will have their own, well-considered opinions on the quality of the ICEL translations, which set of Mass propers better expresses the celebration of Our Lord as Eternal High Priest, etc.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Why the Double Ablutions?

A priest and regular NLM reader, responding to the series on canonical or liturgical digits (see here), sent this note to me:
I was wondering if, in your study, you have come across any authors who explain the double ablution that takes place in the traditional liturgy: first with wine, then with water and wine.
          The basic nut I am trying to crack is: I feel like a single ablution is not enough whenever I purify the sacred vessels—whether it is done with water only, or in the more traditional way, with both water & wine. It seems right that there be two ablutions before any further cleaning of the chalice (such as with soap & water, as is common in most hygiene-minded sacristies dominated by busy lay sacristans today) be done. I’m hoping to find some older commentaries on the purification that might (or might not) lend an argument to my feelings and impressions.
I have not seen an explanation in the sense of a moral or theological explanation, but of course the rubrical authors speak extensively about how it is to be done, and the basic reason why. For example, O’Connell’s The Celebration of the Mass says (p. 286):
The proper quantity of wine to be taken [at the first ablution] is about the same as had been taken at the Offertory, so that all the surface of the chalice that had been touched by the Precious Blood will be covered by the wine. When the celebrant has received sufficient wine he raises the chalice slightly as an indication to the server. The celebrant may then rotate the chalice carefully once or twice in order that the wine will pass over the surface that had been touched by the Precious Blood. He drinks the Contents of the chalice at the same point on the edge at which he had received the Precious Blood. ... Next the celebrant takes the chalice with the second, third, and fourth fingers of each hand around the cup, and the joined index fingers and thumbs within it. .. The amount of wine and water (together) to be taken will again be about the quantity of the Precious Blood. Rubricians direct that at the second ablution a little wine and a good deal of water be taken: (a) to make sure that when the second ablution has been drunk none of the Sacred Species will remain to be wiped up by the purificator; (b) because water is more cleansing than wine (especially than sweet wine, which is sticky); (c) to avoid staining the purificator.
This passage seems to confirm the reader’s intuition that a thorough cleansing is only possible with “two goes at it.” It seems to me that this was a matter of common sense developed over centuries of experience, and that it should be adopted today even in the context of the Ordinary Form, in accordance with the principle that we ought to exercise epikeia or good judgment with respect to laws to be followed, and always seek the common good—which begins with the proper treatment of the sacra mysteria, for, as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us, “the common spiritual good of the entire Church is contained substantially in the sacrament itself of the Eucharist” (Summa theologiae III, q. 65, a. 3, arg. 1).

It is interesting to note, in terms of development (if it can be called such), that in the traditional Roman Rite the purificator does not ordinarily come in contact with the consecrated species, and therefore the Rituale provides no special blessing just for purificators. However, since corporals and palls do come into contact, there is a special blessing for them that is also “reserved”; an ordinary priest had to be delegated to bless a corporal/pall. Nowadays, the opposite obtains: purificators are often soaked with the Precious Blood by extraordinary ministers and clerics, while corporals more or less do not come into contact with the host due to the continuous use of the paten (although I have been told that some priests are sloppy in how they fracture the host). Besides, the modern Book of Blessings does not actually intend to bless the Mass linens as such.

What the foregoing shows is the beautifully consistent logic in the traditional practices: every detail makes sense. What is supposed to come into contact with the consecrated species is duly and properly blessed by the proper hierarchical authority; what is not supposed to come into contact is not so blessed; and the rubrics themselves govern the disposition and use of all items so that the sacred species will be treated with utmost care and reverence. One suspects that this is why the entire set of customs “had” to be dismantled by the modernists: they could see that it was a total system and had come to despise its rigor, impersonalism, objectivity, and sacrality. As Alice von Hildebrand once remarked, you either have to patiently accept it all and submit to it as the sweet yoke of Christ, or you will chafe at the bonds like a restive horse.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Good Shepherd Sunday and the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms

In a recent post on his blog examining the Collect for the 4th Sunday of Easter in the ordinary form, Fr John Zuhlsdorf wrote that:

Those who generally frequent Holy Mass with the traditional form of the Roman Rite heard the Gospel about the Good Shepherd last week. In the Novus Ordo, that Gospel is read this week, for the 4th Sunday of Easter.
It’s really too bad that there is a disconnect. I’m not (sure) why the experts of the Consilium thought it was so important to break the continuity of hundreds of years like that.
So, I thought I would have a quick look in the relevant documentation to see if there was any reason given by Coetus XI of the Consilium [1] for moving Good Shepherd Sunday, and was pleasantly surprised to find more information than I expected.

In early May 1966, when a report was being made to the relators of the Consilium on the work on the lectionary up to then, the following suggestion is made about the readings on the Sundays of Easter:
95. 1° The apparitions of the risen Christ must occupy the principal place. Currently they are recounted on Easter Sunday, the six days of Easter week, and on Low Sunday. The six Gospel readings of Easter week may always be preserved in their traditional place. Nonetheless, they might also be assigned to Easter Sunday (Mark, Luke, John) and the second Sunday [after Easter] (three other Johannine pericopes). Then the pericope of the Good Shepherd would be transferred to the third Sunday [after Easter]. [2]
The minutes of this meeting of the relators record the reactions to this suggestion:
About n. 95: this is admitted by everyone. However: several have petitioned that on Easter Sunday the same Gospel reading from Mark be read. This is urged for ecumenical reasons. In addition, Canon [Aimé-Georges] Martimort would prefer that Acts be read every year. Mgr [Pierre] Jounel proposed that, in the first and second years, Acts is read as the first reading, and, for the third year, Revelation is read as the first reading and Acts as the second reading. Someone also petitioned that the account of the Good Shepherd remain in its traditional location. Concerning these comments, Coetus XI will consider these questions again. [3]
Coetus XI did indeed reconsider the question of Good Shepherd Sunday. Around two months later in July 1966, when the final touches were being put on the proposed order of readings that would be discussed at the seventh general meeting of the Consilium (October), along with the questions to ask the Fathers, the following discussion is recorded:
The apparitions of the risen Christ must occupy the principal place. Currently they are read on Easter Sunday, the six days of Easter week, and on Low Sunday. Two possibilities may be considered here.
The first proposal is that the six Gospel readings in Easter week be kept in their traditional locations.
The alternative proposal is that these same Gospels be read on Easter Sunday (Mark, Luke, John) and the 1st Sunday after Easter/2nd Sunday of Easter (the other three readings from John). The pericope of the Good Shepherd then ought to be transferred from the 2nd Sunday after Easter to the 3rd Sunday after Easter/4th Sunday of Easter...
Concerning this dual proposition, the opinions in the Coetus and among the relators were diverse. The second proposal has the advantage that the different accounts of the apparitions are read on Sundays and would, therefore, be made known to the people, which currently does not happen; the disadvantage is that, in this way, the same pericope is not always read on Easter Sunday, and that the Gospel of the Good Shepherd, as well as Good Shepherd Sunday, must be transferred to the week following, which does not please several [members]. [4]
The Fathers of the Consilium were then asked, in October 1966, about which proposal ought to be accepted. A short explanation of the two proposals was evidently given by Canon Aimé-George Martimort:
Canon Martimort explained three difficulties with the alternative proposal: the three [different] Gospel readings [for each year] on Easter Sunday, then the three [different] Gospel readings on the 2nd Sunday of Easter, and finally the transfer of Good Shepherd Sunday to the 4th Sunday of Easter.
Question 8: Is the alternative proposal pleasing?
All say non placet, with one exception.
Therefore the first proposal is accepted. […]
Question 9: Is the general structure of the readings for the Sundays of Easter pleasing, without prejudice to any particular corrections that may later be made?
All say placet, with one exception. [5]
Thus, the proposal accepted by the Fathers of the Consilium was that Good Shepherd Sunday should remain in its traditional location, as the 3rd Sunday of Easter (2nd Sunday after Easter). We see also that, in the subsequent Ordo lectionum pro dominicis, feriis et festis sanctorum, [6] published pro manuscripto in July 1967 and distributed to every episcopal conference, the participants of the first Synod of Bishops, and around 800 periti (biblical scholars, liturgists, pastors, etc.), that Good Shepherd Sunday is in its traditional location.

Yet, two years later, when the typical edition of the Ordo lectionum Missae was promulgated in 1969, Good Shepherd Sunday had been moved to the 4th Sunday of Easter, with the accounts of Our Lord’s appearances to the disciples at Emmaus (Years A and B) and at the Sea of Tiberius (Year C) read on the 3rd Sunday of Easter. This is very similar to what had been suggested in Coetus XI’s alternative proposition. What was the reason given for this change?
“Good Shepherd” Sunday. In the [1967] Ordo as printed, on the 2nd Sunday after Easter is read the Gospel of “the Good Shepherd”, as currently in the Missale Romanum. Many exegetical experts and pastors have noted several disadvantages with this Gospel being read on the 2nd Sunday [after Easter]. Indeed, in this way, the narratives of the apparitions of the risen Christ are interrupted, and the last of them would be read on the 3rd Sunday after Easter, which is too far away from the day of Easter.
It would be better if the order of the Gospels for this period were that, on the 1st and 2nd Sundays after Easter, the narratives of the apparitions are read, and that the Gospel of the Good Shepherd be read on the 4th Sunday [of Easter]; this would better prepare for the transition into the Gospels of the Lord’s discourse at the Last Supper, which starts from the 5th Sunday of Easter. [7]
In his mémoire of the liturgical reform, Annibale Bugnini tells us that the 1967 Ordo was “radically revised” in early 1968 on the basis of 460 responses received from the Bishops and periti who were given a copy. [8] This, it would seem, was the point at which Good Shepherd Sunday was moved - as well as the point where almost all the optional short forms of readings were introduced.

How numerous were the “many” periti who suggested this change? Without access to the “300 pages of general remarks and 6650 file cards on the various texts” that Bugnini mentions, it is impossible to say. Perhaps, after having been found languishing in a dark corner of a library somewhere, these documents will come to light. But, on this occasion, it would seem that the Consilium is not entirely to blame for this particular disconnect between the usus antiquior and usus recentior.


[1] Coetus XI were the group of the Consilium ad exsequendam that had responsibility for the reform of the lectionary. I would like to thank Rev Fr Luke Melcher, Director of Textual Resources at ICEL, for helpfully providing access to the relevant schemata of the Consilium and thereby making this article possible.

[2] Schema 165 (De Missali, 21), 4th May 1966, p. 29:
95. 1° Apparitiones Christi resuscitati principem locum obtinere debent. Nunc die paschatis, in sex diebus hebdomadae paschalis, et dominica in albis narrantur. Sex evangelia hebdomadea paschalis, locum traditionalem semper servabunt. Nihilominus assignari etiam possent dominicae paschatis (Mc., Lc., Ioan.) et IIae dominicae (aliae 3 pericopae Ioannis). Tunc pericopa de bono pastore ad dominicam IIIam transfertur.
[3] Schema 168 (De Missali, 22), 16th May 1966, p. 11:
Ad n. 95: Admittitur ab omnibus. Attamen: plures petunt ut in Dominica Paschatis quotannis idem evangelium Marci legatur. Hoc suadet etiam ratio oecumenica. D.Martimort mallet ut Actus etiam quotannis legantur. D.Jounel proponit ut in primo et secundo anno Actus legantur uti prima lectio, et tertio anno legatur Apocalypsis uti prima lectio et Actus uti secunda lectio. Quidam etiam petunt ut Bonus Pastor remaneat in suo loco traditionali. Coetus XI de his adnotationibus rationem habebit has quaestiones iterum considerando.
[4] Schema 176 (De Missali, 25), 25th July 1966, p. 23:
Apparitiones Christi resuscitati principem locum obtinere debent. Nunc leguntur in die Paschatis, in sex diebus hebdomadae paschalis et in dominica in albis. Duplex possibilitas hic dari videtur.
Prior propositio est ut sex evangelia hebdomadae paschalis locum traditionalem servent.
Altera propositio est ut eadem evangelia legantur dominica Paschatis (Mc., Lc., Io.) et prima dominica post Pascha, sive secunda paschatis (aliae tres pericopae Ioannis). Tunc pericopa de bono pastore deberet transferri ex Dominica secunda post pascha ed dominicam tertiam, seu dominicam quartam paschae...
Circa hanc duplicem propositionem opiniones in Coetu et inter Relatores diversae fuerunt. Altera propositio habet commodum quod diversae apparitiones die dominica legantur et ita populo innotescat, quod hodie non fit; habet incommodum quod hoc modo in Dominica Resurrectionis non semper eadem pericopa legeretur et quod evangelium de bono pastore, et ita dominica de bono pastore, deberet transferri post unam hebdomadam, quod pluribus non placet.
[5] Schema 198 (De Missali, 31), 17th October 1966, p. 4:
a) D. Martimort exponit tres difficultates de Propositione altera: sunt tres lectiones evangelii in Dominica Resurrectionis, deinde sunt tres lectiones evangelii in Dominica II Paschae, denique Dominica de Bono Pastore transfertur ad Dominicam IV Paschae.
Quaesitum 8: Placetne vobis propositio altera?
Non placet omnibus, uno excepto.
Ergo prior propositio recipitur.
Quaesitum 9: Placetne vobis structurae generalis lectionum pro Dominicis Temporis Paschalis, salvis [correctionibus quoad particularia ulterius postea forte faciendis]?
Placet omnibus, uno excepto.
[6] Schema 233 (De Missali, 39), cover letter dated 31st July 1967. As of the date of this post, a tabulation of this draft lectionary will be appearing on NLM very soon.

[7] Schema 286 (De Missali, 49), 6th April 1968, p. 6:
Dominica “de Bono Pastore”. In Ordine typis impresso, sicut in MR, secunda Dominica post Pascha legebatur evangelium “De bono Pastore”. Multi periti exegetae et pastores notant plura incommoda si hoc evangelium legitur hac Dominica secunda. Hoc modo nempe, narrationes manifestationem Christi suscitati interrumpuntur et ultima ex eis legitur tertia Dominica post Pascha, quae nimis distat a die Paschatis.
Melior ordinatio evangeliorum in hac periodo obtinetur si in prima et secunda Dominica quae sequuntur Pascha leguntur narrationes apparitionum; si evangelium de bono Pastore legitur Dominica IV, quod optime etiam praeparat transitum ad locutionem evangeliorum sermonis Domini post cenam, quae incipit inde a Dominica V Pasche.
[8] A. Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975 (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990), pp. 419-420.

New Misal Romano - Resources Now Available for the Chants in Spanish from the Zipoli Institute

On May 1, 2018, the USCCB will release through selected publishers its unified version of the Misal Romano for use in Spanish-language liturgies (beginning on Pentecost) in the United States.

This release presents a similar opportunity to that of the 2011 release of the new English translation. Though the changes in text from what most parishes have been using are less numerous and dramatic than the 2011 English missal, one of the similarities between the two missals is the integration of musical settings of the texts within the main body of the missal itself. As in 2011, this presents a tremendous opportunity for priests and deacons to learn to sing the Mass.

In preparation for the release of the Missal, some of my students and I have collaborated with Dr. Nathan Knutson, the director of sacred music at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, to produce recordings of many of the celebrant’s and deacon’s chants. The Zipoli Institute has prepared handouts with the music and texts of these chants, which are now available on the website of the Zipoli Institute.

The free resources on the Zipoli Institute’s website include: 

  • Printable/PDF study guides for clergy 
  • Congregational cards
  • Audio recordings 
The Zipoli Institute is also offering a conference next weekend in the DC area (Hyattsville, Maryland) at the Fulton Sheen House of Formation of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE), at which there will be training in singing of the chants, and talks about sacred music.

There is still time to register for the conference. The schedule is given below.

3:00 pm - Welcome
3:15 pm - “Inculturation of the Gospel through Music”: Mr. Heitor Caballero
4:00 pm - Practicum Sessions: Learning the chants of the Missal
5:30 pm - Sung Vespers
6:00 pm - Review the sung Mass in Spanish
6:30 pm - “Principles of Sacred Music according to the Magisterium” : Fr. Diego Ruiz, IVE

8:30 am - Mass, Spanish Novus Ordo
9:30 am - Keynote Presentation: Mr. Heitor Caballero
10:30 am - Workshop, learning to sing the Spanish Mass for choirs and congregations
12-12:30 pm - Closing Address and Prayer

Friday, April 20, 2018

St Agnes of Montepulciano

On the Dominican Calendar, today is the feast of St Agnes of Montepulciano, who predates Catherine of Siena among the great Saints of the Order of Preachers, although she was formally canonized very much later, in 1726. Prior to becoming a Dominican, St Agnes, who was born in 1268, was made abbess of a religious community at Procena at the age of only 15, by a special dispensation issued by the Pope. Her native city was so eager to have her back that a convent was founded specifically so that she could be the prioress of it, and affiliated to the then very new Dominican Order; she ruled over the house at Montepulciano until her death in 1317. When St Catherine, who was born 30 years later, came to her shrine to venerate her relics, as she stooped down to kiss St Agnes’ foot, the foot raised itself to meet her lips. Her life was written by Raymond of Capua, St Catherine’s spiritual director, who was himself beatified in 1899.

Our dear Roman pilgrim friend Agnese counts the Roman martyr as her principal patron and name Saint, but is also very devoted to this later Agnes. Our thanks to her for sharing with us these photos of the shrine at Montepulciano, where her incorrupt body is preserved, along with a great many other relics.

Note the raised foot!

EF Missa Cantata in the Bronx, April 29

The church of the Holy Rosary in the Bronx, New York, will have a Missa cantata in the Extraordinary Form on April 29th, the Fourth Sunday after Easter, starting at 1 pm, with music by Vincent d’Indy and Cristobál de Morales, in addition to the Gregorian chants. The church is located at 1510 Adee Avenue.

Tradition is for the Young (Part 12) - OF Mass Ad Orientem in Boston

Our thanks to a reader for sending us these pictures and description of an OF Mass celebrated ad orientem, with evident care for beauty, solemnity and good music. Once again, we should all find it very encouraging to see these young people, the celebrant, ministers and servers, rediscovering and embracing our traditional Catholic manner of worship!

For Divine Mercy Sunday, St Ann’s parish in Boston Massachusetts hosted a special afternoon celebration with the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, who reside next door. ( A Holy Hour with Solemn Benediction was followed by an English OF Mass, offered ad orientem. The Mass was served by two transitional deacons, along with seminarians from St John’s Seminary, and a special schola chanting the propers; the music included Peter Latona’s Mass of the Immaculate Conception, the English Roman Missal Credo I, the Gregorian introit, sequence, and communion, the Offertory chant from Simple English Propers, and the Regina Caeli.

Incensation during the Introit at Mass
The Collect
The program booklet featured a brief explanation of ad orientem, which might be of interest to readers:

Upon entering St. Ann’s Church, one is immediately struck by the beauty of the immense high altar rising over the tabernacle, which stands at the focal point of the entire church. This striking visual reminds us that the mysteries which take place here are nothing less than the source and summit of our Christian lives. To highlight the solemnity of this special occasion, today’s Mass will be celebrated on the high altar in the traditional posture known as ad orientem, or facing “towards the East.” While this position is commonly associated with the traditional Latin Mass, it has always been and remains a legitimate option for the modern rite of Mass as well.

The Gospel Procession
Preparation of the Altar
At first glance, the ad orientem posture may seem to isolate the priest and his actions on the altar from the congregation. However, it can actually accomplish just the opposite. By having the priest and faithful pray together in the same direction, it makes abundantly clear that the priest is no mere performer on a stage; rather, he is speaking to God on behalf of the faithful. This unified orientation toward Christ, who is the rising sun in the east, expresses both our faith in the resurrection and our anticipation of the risen Christ returning again in glory. So may our worship of God’s abundant mercy today bring us one step closer to the coming of His Kingdom!

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