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Articles on this Page
- 03/31/16--15:51: _Good Friday 2016 Ph...
- 04/01/16--05:00: _International Condu...
- 04/01/16--23:36: _Maundy Thursday and...
- 04/01/16--09:00: _Ambrosian Easter Su...
- 04/01/16--23:37: _Good Friday 2016 Ph...
- 04/02/16--02:10: _Medieval Vespers of...
- 04/02/16--11:03: _St. Mary’s Marks Ea...
- 04/03/16--07:40: _Liturgical Reminder...
- 04/03/16--20:38: _Tenebrae 2016 Photo...
- 04/04/16--06:00: _Holy Saturday 2016 ...
- 04/04/16--21:08: _In Praise of Irregu...
- 04/05/16--08:08: _Norcia 2016 Summer ...
- 04/05/16--21:52: _Ideas For the Cry R...
- 04/06/16--06:42: _Byzantine Catholic ...
- 04/06/16--13:21: _St. Eugene's Cathed...
- 04/06/16--22:03: _Two-part Essay on S...
- 04/07/16--05:00: _Relics of St Charbe...
- 04/07/16--09:00: _Eucharistic Process...
- 04/07/16--22:13: _Dominican Solemn Ma...
- 04/08/16--06:00: _Ambrosian Music for...
- 03/31/16--15:51: Good Friday 2016 Photopost - Part 1
- 04/01/16--23:36: Maundy Thursday and Good Friday at St Mary’s in Norwalk, Connecticut
- 04/01/16--09:00: Ambrosian Easter Sunday Mass
- 04/01/16--23:37: Good Friday 2016 Photopost - Part 2
- 04/02/16--02:10: Medieval Vespers of Easter
- 04/02/16--11:03: St. Mary’s Marks Easter Vigil, First Mass
- 04/03/16--07:40: Liturgical Reminder: Transfer of the Annunciation
- 04/03/16--20:38: Tenebrae 2016 Photopost
- 04/04/16--06:00: Holy Saturday 2016 Photopost - Part 1
- 04/04/16--21:08: In Praise of Irregularity
- 04/05/16--21:52: Ideas For the Cry Room From Greenville, Texas
- 04/06/16--13:21: St. Eugene's Cathedral (Santa Rosa, CA) Retro-Fitting Sanctuary
- 04/06/16--22:03: Two-part Essay on Sacred Music vs. Praise & Worship
- 04/07/16--05:00: Relics of St Charbel to Visit Maronite Church near Boston
- 04/07/16--22:13: Dominican Solemn Mass in Rome
- 04/08/16--06:00: Ambrosian Music for Eastertide
and chaplain of the CMAA, parent organization of NLM
Born in Austria, Honeck has worked to great acclaim with the world’s leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra. In the United States, Honeck has conducted the New York Philharmonic (with whom he is appearing next week), The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra.
His talk is entitled “Faith in Music”; a reception and the singing of Compline will follow.
The Parish of St. Mary’s in Norwalk, Connecticut, celebrated the rites of the Triduum as it has for the past several years, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. More than 400 people attended each of the first two rites, those of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, celebrated by the pastor, the Rev. Richard Cipolla. On Thursday, the congregation was led to the Altar of Repose in the lower church by the ministers, servers, schola cantorum and the St. Mary’s Youth Choir, all under the direction of David Hughes, organist and choirmaster.
The vast majority of medieval liturgical Uses, however, apart from those of the monastic orders, had a special form of Vespers which was used only in this week. I will summarize it broadly here (without giving every detail) from the critical edition of the Sarum Breviary published by Francis Procter and Christopher Wordsworth in 1882, since the rubrics of the Sarum liturgical books are generally more complete than those of others Uses. There were a great many variants to this ceremony, far too many to note here, but the basic outline is the same from one Use to another.
At the beginning, the customary “Deus in adjutorium” is replaced by the Kyrie of the Mass Lux et origo, which is given as Mass I in the modern Liber Usualis. The first three psalms of Sunday Vespers, 109, 110 and 111, are sung with a single antiphon consisting of four Alleluias, followed by the gradual and alleluia of the Mass. The second part of the gradual varies from day to day, just as it does at the Mass; the alleluia is often different from that of the day’s Mass, or made longer by the addition of a second verse. In many Uses, but not that of Sarum, the sequence Victimae Paschali was often said as well. There follow the Magnificat with its antiphon, and a prayer, in the customary manner.
At this point, the procession to the baptismal font is formed in the following order: the cross-bearer, two acolytes carrying candles, the thurifer, two deacons who carry the holy oil and the chrism, a server to carry the book, and the celebrant, followed by the leaders of the choir (called “rectors” at Sarum), and the rest of the clergy. A rubric of the Sarum Breviary notes that it was not their custom to carry the Paschal candle at the head of this procession, indicating that this was certainly done elsewhere.
Before the procession starts, the rectors intone an antiphon, “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,” which is completed by the choir. They then begin the fourth psalm of Sunday Vespers, 112; one “Alleluia” is sung after each verse, and the procession begins moving after the first verse is completed. It makes it way to the baptismal font, where the first verse of the psalm and then the antiphon are repeated, and the font is incensed, after which the celebrant sings a versicle, the choir sings the response, and the celebrant sings a prayer. Many Uses added the Vidi aquam to this part of the ceremony.
|The Baptistery of St John in the Lateran in Rome, photographed by William Henry Goodyear (1846-1923); from the Brooklyn Museum archives via Wikimedia Commons. (The current baptismal font of Salisbury Cathedral is comically hideous.)|
The procession then returned to the main choir, while singing a Marian antiphon, also followed by another versicle and prayer; at Sarum, this antiphon varied each day of the octave, while in other Uses, such as that of the Dominicans, the Regina caeli was sung every day. At the end, Benedicamus Domino and Deo gratias are sung with two Alleluias as in the Roman Rite.
It should be obvious that this ritual had its origins in the very ancient days of the Church, when the newly baptized would return each day of the Easter octave to the font where they had been reborn in Christ on the eve of Holy Saturday. The eminently baptismal character of the ceremony also explains why it is not in the Roman Breviary, a form of the Office originally used in the chapel of the Papal court, which was not a parish, and hence had neither catechumens nor a font. In fact, the Ordinal of Pope Innocent III, which lays out this form of the Office in the early 13th century, contains a rubric noting that Vespers of Easter was done in a completely different manner in the Lateran Basilica from that done in the Papal chapel. This is also why we find that in the Dominican Use, the entire portion which was sung while processing to the font (Psalms 112 and 113) is simply dropped, since the earliest Dominican churches would not have been parishes, and hence not had baptismal fonts.
The most common variant of this rite, as noted above, was the singing of a responsory while processing to chapel of the Cross, instead of Psalm 113 as at Sarum. This beautiful text is attributed to King Robert II of France (972-1031), also known as Robert the Pious.
R. Christus resurgens a mortuis jam non moritur, mors illi ultra non dominabitur: * Quod enim vivit, vivit Deo, alleluia, alleluia. V. Dicant nunc Judaei, quomodo milites custodientes sepulchrum perdiderunt Regem ad lapidis positionem: quare non servabant petram justitiae? Aut sepultum reddant, aut resurgentem adorent nobiscum, dicentes: Quod enim vivit.
R. Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no longer, death shall no longer have dominion over Him: * For in that He liveth, He liveth unto God, alleluia, alleluia. V. Let the Jews now say how the soldiers that guarded the tomb lost the King where the stone was laid: why did they not keep the stone of justice? Let them either give back Him that was buried, or with us adore Him as he riseth, saying: For in that He liveth…
To catalog of all the variants of this ceremony found in medieval liturgical Uses would be a truly Herculean task, since there do not seem to be two cathedrals in all of Europe that did it in quite the same way. One more text, this remarkable antiphon from the Use of Paris, calls for notice; the very simple rubrics of the Parisian Breviary of 1492 simply say that it was sung “ad crucem.”
Aña Ego sum Alpha et Ω, (omega) primus et novissimus, initium et finis, qui ante mundi principium et in saeculum saeculi vivo in aeternum. Manus meae, quae vos fecerunt, clavis confixae sunt; propter vos flagellis caesus sum, spinis coronatus sum; aquam petii pendens, et acetum porrexerunt; in escam meam fel dederunt et in latus lanceam; mortuus et sepultus, resurrexi, vobiscum sum. Videte, quia ego ipse sum et non est Deus praeter me, alleluia.
Aña I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and last, the beginning and the end, who before the beginning of the world, and unto all ages live forever. My hands, which made ye, were fixed with nails; for ye I was scourged, I was crowned with thorns; as I hung, I asked for water, and they offered vinegar. They gave Me gal for food, and a spear in My side. Being dead and buried, I rose, I am with ye. See that it is I, and there is no God beside me, alleluia.
|The reliquary of the Crown of Thorns, by Viollet-Le-Duc in 1862 and preserved at Notre-Dame de Paris. (Image from Wikimedia Commons by PHGCOM.) The cross before which the antiphon given above was said during Easter Vespers was probably destroyed during the French Revolution.|
The Parish of St. Mary’s in Norwalk, Connecticut, celebrated the Easter Vigil with the reception, Confirmation and First Communion of candidates. The combined choirs of the parish, including the Schola Cantorum, Parish Choir, Coro Hispanico and Youth choirs sang the many propers, tracts and liturgical texts appointed for the night as well as Widor’s Messe solennelle. Deacon Stephan Genovese sang the Exultet, with the lessons chanted by various gentlemen of the schola cantorum, youth choir and clergy.
|The Annunciation, by Rogier van der Weyden, ca 1435.|
The irregularity to which I refer is none other than the many beautiful differences that characterize the various seasons of the liturgical year in the usus antiquior. The traditional rubrics, texts, and chants of Lent and Easter bring the contrasting characters of their seasons strongly to the fore: in Lent we suppress the Alleluia while in Paschaltide we sing it repeatedly; the Gloria disappears and then returns with exultation; the Gloria Patri drops away in Passiontide and enters the liturgy anew with Easter. There are many such elements and structures of differentiation, and while the Ordinary Form retains some of them, many, even most, were abandoned.
The traditional Latin Mass and Divine Office display a plethora of differences between seasons as well as on certain special days of the year, be it Ember Days, Rogation Days, All Souls, Candlemas, or what have you. These irregularities or deliberate departures from the “standard” approach magnify the psychological power of the rites and augment their spiritual impact. They also help worshipers enter more deeply into particular mysteries, seasons, or feasts by, on the one hand, startling them out of rote habit, and, on the other hand, building up over the years subliminal associations that reinforce the particular graces besought by the Church at that time.
Three of my favorite distinctive marks take place in Masses around and after Easter. First, there is the use of the Gradual Haec dies during the entire Octave, albeit with changing verses for each day. The constant refrain in the Mass (and in the Office, too) of “THIS is the day that the Lord has made” strongly reinforces the idea of the Octave as one gigantic celebration, and therefore paves the way to experiencing it thus. Moreover, the liturgy preserves the important formulation: “exultemus et laetemur in ea,” let us rejoice and be glad in it, that is, in this wonderful Day of the Lord, the Dayspring from on high, the New Song, the Risen Christ Himself. The postconciliar translation “Let us rejoice and be glad,” period, sounds like a generic exhortation to be happy. “Let us rejoice and be glad in it” points us to the object of our rejoicing, the cause of our gladness, which is none other than the Easter mystery itself, in the Person of the ever-living Christ. While the Haec dies is an option for every day of Easter Week in the Ordinary Form (simply consult the Graduale Romanum of 1974), it is almost never met with in the wild. When the responsorial psalm of year-round familiarity is chosen, an opportunity is lost — from a textual and structural point of view — for emphasizing the differentness, uniqueness, and unity of the Octave by means of the interlectional psalm.
Traditionally, the Gradual, Tract, and Alleluia are all fairly lengthy interlectional chants, written in a melismatic style for the sake of meditating on the Word of God, allowing it to soak in, and preparing the ground for the Gospel as by the application of a long, slow dripline. Although the twin chanted Alleluias are an option in the Ordinary Form (see once more the Graduale Romanum of 1974), they are rarely used, for two simple reasons. First, in the reformed liturgy, the Responsorial Psalm was introduced as an opportunity for verbal participation and the Alleluia changed into a short and easily-repeatable acclamation that rouses people to stand for the Gospel. In this way the historic character and liturgical function of the interlectional chants were fundamentally altered, and with them, the requisite aesthetic forms. If the expectation is that people will speak or sing the psalm and the alleluia (and stand up for the latter), it is obvious that two melismatic Alleluias back to back will not serve the purpose. Of course, this is not to say that Alleluia acclamations cannot be done beautifully—my own choir, when assisting at the Ordinary Form, sings either a Bach setting or a Mozart setting at this juncture, either of which comes across nobly—but we must recognize that we are dealing with a different thing from what the Alleluia had been for most of the history of the liturgy.
|The double Alleluia from the Fourth Sunday after Easter (EF)|
In the traditional Latin Mass, such beautiful Paschal “touches” or “flourishes” are built into the liturgy itself, and no choice is given about whether to exercise them or not. It offers us a privileged spiritual freedom of experiencing more sharply, more actively, the mysteries of the Lord by demanding of us that we modify certain musical habits, adjust our singing and praying according to the seasons, and in all things submit ourselves to a certain cosmic and sacramental rhythm that is far greater than ourselves and our generation.
The foregoing examples (and there are more as we range across the liturgical year and its celebrations — particular during Holy Week) show how, in the name of a certain drive towards simplification and ease of access, some of the inner riches, one might even say the well-regulated irregularities, of the sacred liturgy were lost. As Catherine Pickstock has pointed out, it is ironic that on the cusp of postmodernity and its (at least purported) appreciation for otherness, difference, and pluralism, institutional choices valorized sameness, uniformity, standardization. This is certainly one legacy that the recovery of the usus antiquior can help the Church to move decisively beyond, as we seek to reconnect with the history and anthropology of Catholic worship. Thus, learning about the origin and meaning of special Paschal elements in the usus antiquior will awaken clergy and musicians to the desirability of exercising them in the Ordinary Form as the permissible and choiceworthy options they are, in this way not only rebuilding fallen bridges between old and new, but, more importantly, offering Catholics today a more intense and memorable experience of the bright victory of Easter.
I said at the start that this post had little to do with marriage, but there is one parallel worth pointing out. In a healthy marriage, the spouses make an effort to do things that are out of the ordinary for one another. On special occasions like anniversaries or birthdays, flowers or chocolates may enter the home, or the couple may go out on a date. Married people do this sort of thing because they know that a uniform monotonous routine, which takes too much for granted, is a recipe for mental and emotional stagnation. They know, in other words, that sometimes the best rule is to have a certain irregularity. Christ’s beautiful Bride, the Church, has known and lived the same secret: her liturgical traditions are the evidence. It will be wise for us to know and live this secret, too.
 The Roman liturgy is fairly austere and reserved in its Easter celebrations as compared with the Eastern rites or even the other medieval Western rites (as Gregory DiPippo recently discussed in connection with Vespers), and yet it still has its own treasures that must not be allowed to vanish owing to the pressure of "market forces." An example would be the distinctive sections of the Roman Canon for Easter week, which, of course, are printed in the OF altar missal, but will be heard only by those fortunate enough to have a priest who chooses the venerable Roman Canon during the Octave.
 For discussion of the meaning and importance of interlectional chants, see William Mahrt’s The Musical Shape of the Liturgy.
Meanwhile, the director of the Program, Mr. Christopher Owens, was pleased to inform me that the AMCSS is now able to offer a full tuition scholarship for a priest, deacon, seminarian, or religious. This would cover the cost of the program (900 Euros or ca. $1,025). The recipient would be responsible for getting to and from Norcia.
Mr. Owens also mentioned that he would like to create more such scholarship opportunities so that the theological riches of the summer course and the rich traditional liturgical life of the monks of Norcia, could benefit more of the Church's future leaders and contemplatives. Hence, he is appealing to any potential donors out there to contact him about the possibility of contributing to the scholarship fund or even creating a regular named scholarship. The AMCSS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Inquiries (either about applying or donating) should be made to Mr. Owens at this email address.
Donations may also be made simply by visiting this page.
This has been inspired by photographs sent to me by friends who spent Easter at St. William’s parish in Greenville, Texas. They were struck by the effort that the priest, Fr Paul Weinberger, had put into making the cry room holy.
As Sherri wrote to me, “The cry room is pretty small, but Fr. Paul has managed to fit in a lot for the little ones to examine, and it really adds a sense of holiness to the room. How simple but clever to put everything behind locked glass storm doors, so it is both accessible to the kids for viewing and yet safe from little hands. It’s like a tiny museum!
Besides the items behind glass, there are wooden statues of saints and Angels on the top of each cabinet, keeping a watchful eye on the kids. 😉
It takes something pretty powerful to keep the young fellow in the photo below quiet, I know, so Fr Paul must be getting something right.” So, if anyone has anything interesting from their cry room, send the photos along!
|The Cross set up in the middle of the church for the Matins of the Twelve Gospels.|
|The Shroud of Christ surrounded by flowers and candles for Jerusalem Matins (Matins of Holy Saturday, traditionally anticipated to the evening of Good Friday.)|
|The icon of the Resurrection set in the middle of the church for Easter.|
The Gospel reading of the Divine Liturgy on Easter Sunday, John 1, 1-17, is traditionally done in several languages.
When it was constructed in 1950, St. Eugene's Church was envisioned as a parish church in the growing Santa Rosa community. In 1962 the Holy See erected the Diocese of Santa Rosa, and designated St. Eugene's as the cathedral church. The cathedral parish boasts more than 1,800 families and seven masses a Sunday, including a traditional Latin Mass at 1:30 p.m.
|St. Eugene's Cathedral, showing the nave and current sanctuary.|
|The altar and Fr. Epperson.|
Whenever the popes speak about sacred (i.e., liturgical) music, the very first quality they put forward is holiness or sanctity, which they describe as a certain worthiness of or suitability for the celebration of the sacred mysteries of Christ, and freedom from worldliness or even that which is suggestive of the secular domain. This is why it is especially important that liturgical music both be and seem to be exclusively connected with and consecrated to the liturgy of the Church. If the musical style is borrowed from the outside world and brought into the temple, it profanes the liturgy and harms the spiritual progress of the people.
This also explains why Gregorian chant is held up as the supreme model and the normative music for the Roman Rite: it is a type of music that grew up together with the liturgy and exclusively in service to it, having no other realm or purpose. When we hear chant, there is no ambiguity or ambivalence about what it is or what it is for; it breathes the spirit of the liturgy and cannot be mistaken for secular music in any way. Something quite similar is true about the pipe organ, which, after 1,000 years of nearly exclusive use in churches, is so completely bound up with the ecclesiastical sphere that its sound practically equates with “churchliness” in the ears of most people. For the popes, these strong and deep associations are good and important. It follows that music with a “double identity,” music that involves teleological and tropological ambiguity, is problematic.
A test for whether a style of music proposed for church is truly universal is to ask whether imposing it on a foreign country or people would be a kind of imperialism. With Gregorian chant, the answer is obviously no, because, like Latin, chant belongs to no single nation, people, period, or movement: it developed slowly from ancient times to more recent centuries, across the entire map where Christianity was planted; its composers are predominantly anonymous; it was taken up by the Latin-rite Church as the definitive musical clothing of her liturgy (which cannot be said even of polyphony, as praiseworthy as it is). In short, wherever the Latin liturgy traveled throughout the world, there too the Gregorian chant traveled, and it has never been perceived as anything other than “the voice of the Church at prayer.”
In contrast, the style of Praise & Worship songs is obviously contemporary, American, and secular. If missionaries were to impose these songs on some indigenous tribe elsewhere in the world, it would be comparable to asking them to dress, eat, and talk like Americans. It is, in that sense, comparable to jeans, Coca-Cola, and iPhones.
A culture predisposed to think everyone should be “on a high” via athletics, drugs, sex, or rock concerts will likewise incline people (whether openly or implicitly) to think that prayer and worship should be the same way. One should feel “on a high”! Sacred music has never aimed at such an emotional high. In fact, it has conscientiously avoided it, to guard against the danger of fallen man becoming submerged in (and limited by) his feelings.Read more...
This past Monday, April 4th, when Holy Mother Church observed the Solemnity of the Annunciation, students, faculty, and staff of Wyoming Catholic College came out in good numbers to march through the streets of the town of Lander and bear public witness to the Mystery of our Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist -- the abiding fruit and great sign of His Incarnation. The procession began at the College's downtown center on the corner of Main and 3rd Street and followed Main Street, with police escort, up to Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
Once everyone was inside the church, our chaplain Fr. Robert Frederick intoned the "Deus in adiutorium" for Solemn Vespers of the Annunciation (EF) coram Sacratissimo, with the College choir and Schola leading the chant. The choir sang Monteverdi's "Ave Maris Stella" from the 1610 Vespers, arranged for choir, organ, harp, psaltery, and trombone, followed by a polyphonic setting of the Magnificat by Christoph Dalitz and concluding with Salazar's Regina Caeli. After Vespers there was Solemn Benediction. The local pastor and deacon joined us for the occasion.
It was a joyous way to celebrate the great feastday, and we benefited from the beautiful (if windy!) springtime weather. Here are some photos from our students.
The first is the Confractorium of Low Sunday, the variable chant sung during the Fraction, which in the Ambrosian Mass takes place immediately after the Canon, before the Our Father.
Rising, Jesus our Lord stood in the midst of His disciples and said, “Peace be with you, alleluia.” The disciples rejoiced when they had seen the Lord, alleluia.
The second and third pieces are both Transitoria, the equivalent of the Roman Communion antiphon, but generally rather longer, and very often not taken from the Scriptures. The former is one of a series of twelve sung in rotation on the Sundays after Pentecost; the latter is that of Easter Sunday, and has a particularly beautiful text very much reminiscent of the Eastern liturgies.
Let us love one another, for God is love, and he that loveth his brother, is born of God, and seeth God, and in this the love of God is made perfect; and he that doth the will of God abideth forever, alleluia.
Come, o ye peoples: the sacred, immortal and pure mystery is to be treated with reverence and faith. Let us come forth with clean hands, let us share the gift of penance; for the Lamb of God has been set forth as a sacrifice to the Father for our sake. Let us adore Him alone, let us glorify Him, crying out with the Angels, Alleluia, alleluia.