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    Infographics from giamusic.com
    The suburban parish where I serve has just received renewal notices in the mail for our hymnal-missalette subscription. Would we like to renew for next year, with a 10% early-bird special? Other letters come around the same time, showing trucks, trees, and pollution counts associated with renewables, and suggesting printed hymnals, which feel more solid and convey a message of permanence and respectability in the pews. It’s pretty much the same every year.

    In the past few decades, publishers of Catholic hymnals and missalettes in the United States have operated much like land-line telephone companies of yesteryear. There are few choices, and the products are updated slowly and gradually to reflect market interests broadly understood. Bishops, musical experts, liturgists, and other interested parties exercise minimal influence or authority, because the market naturally determines which resources will be the most popular. In other words, market capitalism is the main organizing principle for these products. This is why some really second-rate materials persist, because there is still a strong market for second-rate music. Money talks, and to a certain extent, you’re going to get what you’re going to get.

    I’d like to think that the New Liturgical Movement is like the cell phone. The cell phone is a totally new way of doing phone communication, one which shook traditional copper communication to its roots. Similarly, through the influence of Jeffrey Tucker from this blog and many others elsewhere, the New Liturgical Movement has embraced online open-source distribution. It's a totally new way of distributing sacred music for the parish. The stuff we create is usually available for free, and all you need is a printer and Internet connection. For those who would like the convenience of a book in hand, most products are also available in printed versions for minimal cost.

    We do things differently because we understand how high quality sacred music is integral to the liturgy. We follow a different organizing principle: as St. Pope Pius X would remind us, “don’t sing at Mass, sing the Mass; don’t pray at Mass, pray the Mass.” These sentiments have been echoed by anyone with common sense for the past century. The printed hymnals and online materials developed through the New Liturgical Movement reflect a strong commitment to this goal. Having attended the CMAA Colloquium in St. Louis this past year, I can attest to the curb appeal of these materials and the immediate appeal of the beauty of this sort of liturgy. When you’ve seen and heard what is possible, what in fact ought to be in every parish, you would never want to settle for less. Bravo to the brave entrepreneurs who are developing these materials, and kudos to the brave musicians and pastors who invest the effort to make it happen in real time!

    Now that it’s missalette renewal season, I would like to propose a few ways the New Liturgical Movement might grow its influence and break into the wider market:

    1. We still need books. Develop “package deals” for liturgy and music materials, simple enough that a pastor of a small- or medium-sized parish can click once, online, and receive comprehensive printed liturgy and music materials for the year, for the entire parish, at reasonable cost. This means developing printed pew hymnals, cantor and choir resources, accompaniment copies, and--dare I say it!--missalettes (or at least something which has daily and weekly readings) which all fit together into a seamless product. If you know of projects of this sort underway or already available, please share in the comments. 
    2. Educate always. If you maintain that the basis of authentic liturgy is not popularity or principles of the market—if your music selections are not based on your parish's “top 40," which, by the way, might just be 1960s and 1970s oldies at this point—you will need to carry on regular and ongoing education within your parish, in a way that is understandable for an outsider. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What does it mean, and why is it valuable? How does it help you and me to have a deeper faith? Without this sort of teaching, the response will be “there’s no disputing of taste.” There’s no need to be stuffy or pedantic. Rather, be cheerful and ready to give an account in simple and ordinary language. 
    3. Invite, invite, invite! the wider community to workshops, concerts, and parish feast-day masses, and offer ways for them to participate in their own way. You never know when the local Presbyterian minister’s wife will have a hankering to learn more about Gregorian Chant. You never know when the local plant nursery would be interested to donate the last of this year’s annuals to your parish for the Feast of the Assumption; the owners might even come to Mass to see the flowers if you invite them. From my experience, only ten percent of people I invite to events actually come. If you would like twenty-five people at your workshop, you need to invite 250. Don’t be discouraged: these numbers are normal in any profession. Our mission is not to ourselves, but to the world. Don’t be shy. 
    4. Offer something unique and refreshing, and be proud of it. I know little to nothing about game theory or market economics, but what I do know is that both attempt to account for “winning.” And so we might ask, what unique advantages does your product offer? What is your parish’s unique “charism”? What unique gift can you bring? The New Liturgical Movement and its various resources for sacred music are breaking out of an otherwise stagnant market. Be proud of the unique thing you’re doing, and do it well. Maybe the market is ready for something new, and you are the one offering it.

    I’m off to renew our parish’s subscription, and I expect you’re eager to know what we picked. Well, the pastor and I haven’t decided yet. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

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  • 07/29/16--13:08: St Martha Kills a Dragon
  • At that time, there was in a certain grove by the Rhone, between Arles and Avignon, a dragon, half beast and half fish, bigger than a cow, longer than a horse, having teeth like swords that were as sharp as horns, and fortified, as it were, with two shields on either side; and it would lay low in the river, and destroy all those who passed along it, and sink the ships. … Besought by the people, Martha came to it, and found it in the grove as it was eating a man. She threw holy water on it, and showed it a cross, and so it was immediately beaten, and stood still like a sheep. Martha tied it up with her belt, and the people at once destroyed it with spears and stone. The dragon was called by the inhabitants “Tarasconus”; wherefore in memory of this, that place is still called “Tarascon”… (From the Golden Legend)
    St Martha and the Tarascon, from the Hours of Louis de Laval, 1470-85; Bibliothèque nationale de France, ms Latin 920, folio 317v 
    This story from the Golden Legend was included in the Roman Breviary even so late as 1529, in one of the last editions before the Tridientine reform. All trace of it was removed in the revision of Pope St Pius V, but it survives to this day in the folk traditions of southern France. The monster, also called “Tarasque” in French, appears on the shield of the city of Tarascon, where the legend is commemorated in a folk festival held every year, and an effigy of the creature is carried through the city in a parade.


    (Image from Wikipedia by Gérard Marin)
    He also appears in some of the Corpus Christi festivals in Spain, as seen here in Valencia.

    (Image from Wikipedia by Chosovi)

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    I just stumbled across this very interesting video, which gives a virtual reconstruction of the Constantinian Basilica of St Peter in the Vatican, as it would have been roughly at the end of the first millenium. What we see here is sort of a “bare-bones” version of the church, which shows very little of the decorations or the innumerable side-chapels and altars (over 120 of them, 27 dedicated to the Virgin  Mary alone!)


    By the beginning of the 16th century, when the church was close to twelve centuries old, parts of it were collapsing under the weight of the ceiling, and the north wall had a stretch of about half its full length which was sagging about a meter off the perpendicular. It was therefore torn down in various stages, and after a long series of fits and starts, rebuilt as the church which we know today by the genius of Michelangelo and his successors. In the year 1590, a canon of the church, Tiberio Alfarano, published this famous plan which shows where everything was in the ancient basilica. (Click to enlarge.)



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    Yesterday, the Fraternity of St Joseph the Guardian celebrated a Requiem Mass for Fr Jacques Hamel in their church in La-Londe-Les-Maures, France. I am sure all our readers know that Fr Hamel, an 85-year-old priest, was murdered last Tuesday by Islamic fanatics while he was in the middle of celebrating Mass in a small church near Rouen. I would call to our readers’ attention the palm branch laid upon the catafalque, symbolizing that Fr Hamel was murdered in odium fidei, and may very well soon be formally honored by the Church as a martyr. The full set of pictures may be seen at the FSJC’s Facebook page.











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  • 08/01/16--05:00: NLM’s 11th Anniversary
  • Today is the eleventh anniversary of the New Liturgical Movement, and the first time I celebrate this anniversary as editor. We cannot let the day pass without a word of thanks to our founder Shawn Tribe, for his nearly eight years of dedication to the site, to our long-time contributor and editor Jeffrey Tucker, to our publisher, Dr William Mahrt, to the Church Music Association of America, our parent organization, as well as to the rest of our team, new and old, for all the work they put into NLM on a daily basis. And of course thanks to all of our readers for your support, encouragement and the inspiration you provide to continue our work.

    In the past eleven years, we have had over 26 million page views. Sometime not too long ago, (I didn’t notice when precisely) we passed the 12,000 post milestone; all of our past posts remain accessible in our archives, although some of the older links within them are now dead, including the link which provided our very first article, a piece by Stratford Caldecott (R.I.P.) entitled, “Why a New Liturgical Movement?”

    For myself, I would say that the purpose of NLM is summed up very neatly in the logo at the top of the page, in the circular band around the thurible: “Dirigatur oratio mea sicut incensum.” The Douay
    Bible translates these words as “Let my prayer be directed as incense,” but the Latin word “dirigatur” can also mean “be set in order”; they are said by the priest at the incensation of the altar during the Offertory of the Mass. In such a context, “my prayer” means the prayer of the Church as a whole, in whose name the priest prays the whole of the Mass.

    The purpose of NLM, then is to help set the prayer of the Church in order, for it is pointless to deny that in many respects it is not in order. Our very first post was a report on a liturgical conference held in England, at which Fr. Mark Drew proposed (almost two years before Summorum Pontificum) the lifting of restrictions on the celebration of the traditional liturgy, stating “Don’t fear anarchy. … Anarchy is what we have already.” To this purpose, we examine every facet of the Church’s liturgical life, and everything related to it, however marginally, historical and contemporary, in the hope of contributing to the process of setting the prayer of the Church in order. We share the essential goal of the first Liturgical Movement: to restore the liturgy in its entirety to pride of place in the Church as the highest and most perfect expression of Her life of prayer.

    The words that follow, “sicut incensum – like incense” remind us that the prayer life of the Church is also the best example which She can offer to the world of Her service to God, “For we are the good odor of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.” The thurible itself is a reminder also of the duty of charity, the greatest of the virtues, for when the priest returns it to the deacon, he says before he is incensed, “May the Lord enkindle within us the fire of His love, and the flame of eternal charity.” Let it serve as a reminder to all, in the midst of all the controversies and difficulties that inevitably result from such an enterprise, that the goal of the Church’s prayer is union with God in eternal charity.

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  • 08/01/16--16:42: What Makes a Family Holy?
  • If the goal of the individual Christian is to become a saint, the goal of a married Christian couple is to become saints together, with one another’s aid, and the goal of a Christian family is to strive to be a holy family, in imitation of the model of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Thus, it behooves us to think carefully about how to define family holiness.

    In order to do so, we need to identify the causes of family holiness, lest we be arbitrary about the effects we should be looking for or prioritizing. One might, after all, skew in this or that direction because one is not holding oneself responsible to the root causes. It’s like defining man as risible, tool-using, linguistic, social, and religious, without saying that he is rational, which is the root of all of these things.

    The teaching of the authentic Magisterium is of great help to us, because it shows again and again the primacy of prayer, the sacramental life, and the Holy Eucharist for the holiness of all Christians, whether single, married, religious, or clergy.
    The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. . . . [T]he renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way. (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium 10)
    Participating in the Eucharistic sacrifice, the source and culmination of the whole Christian life, they [the faithful] offer the Divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with It… (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 11)
    Confirming this doctrine by their lives, all of the saints prioritize prayer over action, the interior life over the exterior apostolate, the Holy Eucharist over any other work of devotion or charity. In this respect they are simply taking their cue from Our Lord: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). In an age preoccupied with activism, engagement, and “results,” there is no truth as frequently neglected or even denied as this one, for which the perfect remedy was (and still is) Dom Chautard’s book The Soul of the Apostolate.

    It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the Magisterium stresses the intimate bond between the sacrament of holy matrimony, the sacred liturgy, the Most Blessed Sacrament, and a holy family:
    The sacrament of marriage is the specific source and original means of sanctification for Christian married couples and families … The gift of Jesus Christ is not exhausted in the actual celebration of the sacrament of marriage, but rather accompanies the married couple throughout their lives. … Just as husbands and wives receive from the sacrament the gift and responsibility of translating into daily living the sanctification bestowed on them, so the same sacrament confers on them the grace and moral obligation of transforming their whole lives into a “spiritual sacrifice.” (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio 56).
    “Fairest love” is learned above all in prayer. Prayer, in fact, always brings with it, to use an expression of Saint Paul, a type of interior hiddenness with Christ in God; “your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). (John Paul II, Letter to Families 20).
    Christian marriage, like the other sacraments, “whose purpose is to sanctify the people, to build up the body of Christ, and finally, to give worship to God,” is in itself a liturgical action glorifying God in Jesus Christ and in the Church” (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio 56). 
    The Eucharist inexhaustibly strengthens the indissoluble unity and love of every Christian marriage. By the power of the sacrament, the marriage bond is intrinsically linked to the eucharistic unity of Christ the Bridegroom and his Bride, the Church (cf. Eph 5:31-32). The mutual consent that the husband and wife exchange in Christ, which establishes them as a community of life and love, also has a Eucharistic dimension. Indeed, in the theology of Saint Paul, conjugal love is a sacramental sign of Christ’s love for his Church, a love culminating in the Cross, the expression of his “marriage” with humanity and at the same time the origin and heart of the Eucharist. (Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis 27)
    This “community of life and love” extends outwards in works of charity (including the spiritual and corporal works of mercy), beginning with one's own children and radiating to one's parish, town, and larger society, according to the proper order of charity. Yet everything we do as Christians flows from and leads back to the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of which the Holy Mass is the supernatural re-presentation, and of which the Holy Eucharist is the supreme sign and mystical reality. We are pilgrims who live from and for the Bread of Life, until we gaze upon His divine and human face in the beatific vision.

    We are entering into dark times, when fidelity to the integral teaching of Scripture, the witness of Tradition, and the fullness of the Church’s Magisterium will be met with increasing incomprehension, incredulity, mockery, ostracism, penalties, and eventually outright persecution. We must do our utmost not to lose sight of these authoritative guideposts, by which we can confidently walk, with God’s grace, along the path of holiness — as men and women, as husbands and wives, as parents and children, as priests and religious. Nor can we accept any substitutes, dilutions, or subterfuges. Christ and His Church have spoken clearly about who we are and what we are to do, if we would remain in the truth of Christ, and live the truth in love.


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    Here is an interesting nugget of a blog post by Carrie Gress, which first appeared on the blog Beauty of Catholicism. (blog.pontifex.university.)

    In it, she contrasts a traditional approach to philosophy, as it would have been taught at the medieval School of Chartres with the typical modern approach. The example she gives of the discussion in a contemporary philosophy class emphasizes how philosophy - the love of wisdom - has become too focused on analytical thinking, which looks at details, and neglects synthetic thinking. Synthetic thinking allows us to take a step back, so to speak, and place the detail in the context of the whole. This is precisely what a traditional formation in beauty - which included the seven liberal arts that Carrie mentions - trains the person to do naturally. Knowledge only becomes wisdom when we can understand how information relates to a bigger picture, which in the final synthesis (as distinct from final analysis!) is our human purpose.

    Carrie is a philosopher, author (and mom) who, among other things, specializes in teaching philosophy courses for artists in any creative discipline. I encourage you also to check out her personal site: carriegress.com.

    Carrie writes:
    I’ve just started doing some research on Chartres Cathedral and ran across this quotation from 11th century Thierry of Chartres.

    In his work, the Heptateuchon, Thierry says, “Philosophy has two principal instruments, the mind and its expression. The mind is enlightened by the Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music), its expression, elegant, reasonable, ornate is provide by the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric and dialectic).”

    These seven liberal arts and the artists who most exemplify them are featured on the Royal Portal of Chartres Cathedral. (Geometry: Euclid, Rhetoric: Cicero, Dialectic: Aristotle, Arithmetic: Boethius, Astronomy: Ptolemy, Grammar: either Donatus or Priscian)
    royport_incarn_arch
    What is striking about this is:

    A) How foreign the notions of the Quadrivium and Trivium seem to us today. What does astronomy have to do with philosophy?

    B) How technical and abstract philosophy has become. Philosophy, the love of wisdom, has only a few academic corners where it can actually call itself that. In most university settings, philosophers resort to very precise language and techniques that strike most on the outside as, at best, impenetrable, and at worst, nonsensical.

    The one semester I spent doing doctoral studies at a well-known university drove this home to me. The methods of logic have overtaken the field in strangely anachronistic and confounding ways. For a course on Plato, a general assignment would be to read five paragraphs from a given text and then evaluate the argument as logical or illogical, while the rest of the text was of no consequence. When I suggested that one paragraph was made clearer by understanding what Plato said in another book, my comment was met with glazed eyes and a quick changing of subject. Such elements were simply irrelevant. The imposition of twentieth-century techniques upon an ancient text was really what we were after.

    Thinking of Thierry of Chartres, few philosophers today give much if any consideration to the elegant, ornate, reasonable expressions available to their trade. For all the efforts to understand the logic of great thinkers, philosophers in the trade have left entire generations of philosophy students empty-headed about great works. Ironically, because philosophy has become so off-putting in content, it has also left students bereft of its modern raison d’etre, the use of logic.

    The West portal has the Seat of Wisdom - the Sedes Sapientiae - on the right. It is Our Lady and Our Lord with the personifications of the liberal arts in the pointed arch above her.


    And here are some more photos of Chartres:




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    I suspect most of our readers have already seen elsewhere that the Holy See has announced the formation of a commission to study the question of women deacons. A member of Fr Zuhlsdorf’s commentariat has very cleverly pointed out a statement by the Holy Father himself to the effect that the surest way to make sure a question remains unresolved is to appoint a commission.

    I noticed while Googling the matter that almost all of what is available on the internet about this matter relates either to the Pope’s original statement back in May that he would consider appointing such a commission (in the statement linked above), or to today’s announcement. Very few results come back with any reference to the International Theological Commission’s study of women deacons, which examined the question during the papacy of St John Paul II. Their report was published in 2002 after four years of work, “approved in forma specifica by unanimous vote of the Commission on 30th September 2002. It was then submitted to its President, Card. J. Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, who authorised its publication.” It is available here in English from the Vatican’s official website.

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_pro_05072004_diaconate_en.html

    Including the titles, foreword, introduction and footnotes, it clocks in at a bit over 42,000 words; this works out to about 85 single-spaced pages in the standard layout (Times New Roman, 12-point). The members of the new commission probably don’t have to worry about whether they can keep their day jobs, since a very large portion of their work has already been done for them. It is difficult to imagine that any significant historical documents or liturgical texts referring to women deacons in the ancient Church have been discovered since 2002.

    I make bold to suggest to any fellow bloggers or Catholic journalists who may read this article that the existence of this earlier study really is essential information on the topic, and should be included in any future articles regarding what the Pope has done today and the work of the commission.

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    The American branch of Radio Maria has posted an excellent interview with Dom Alcuin Reid, in which he discusses inter alia Cardinal Robert Sarah’s keynote address at the recent Sacra Liturgia Conference in London, and his call for a broader use of ad orientem in Catholic worship. Dom Alcuin clears up some of the misunderstandings about what His Eminence said, what it meant, and the reaction to it; it is well worth your time to listen to the whole thing.

    http://radiomaria.us/?powerpress_pinw=30287-podcast



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    This guest article comes to us from writer Roseanne Sullivan, who has shared other items with us previously, for this interesting article which, as she writes below “vividly illustrates some pervasive misunderstandings about the actual intentions of the Second Vatican Council about the liturgy.” 

    In 2006, Raymond Arroyo, EWTN news director and Mother Angelica’s biographer, told one particularly fascinating story among many in Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles. I’m going to recount the highlights of that story here because it is related to the current controversy about ad orientem Masses. This story is especially relevant now because it tells how the bishops of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) battled with Mother Angelica after she instructed her Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word to move away from the exclusive use of the vernacular in EWTN-televised Masses, to sing Gregorian chant, and to celebrate ad orientem.

    And I want to let you in on the end of the story, with some snippets from a recent interview I did with Raymond Arroyo that are about how the liturgical conflicts between Mother and the American bishops played out with a hands-down victory at Mother Angelica’s funeral Mass.

    Mother Angelica and Raymond Arroyo
    The story vividly illustrates some pervasive misunderstandings about the actual intentions of the Second Vatican Council about the liturgy. The conflict initially came about because Mother Angelica was irate about the changes in the English translations to include more “inclusive” language, which the bishops, among others, were said to be planning in the early 90s.

    Mother sent some of her Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration to study the Vatican II document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, and related decisions from the Vatican, and they discovered that the use of Latin and of Gregorian chant and the saying of the Mass ad orientem had never been forbidden. Those who frequent the New Liturgical Movement website, members of the Church Music Association of America and many others had been aware of this for years, but the average Catholic, not to mention, it seems, the average priest and the average bishop, has apparently never heard the facts of the matter, and Mother Angelica and her nuns had to determinedly ferret those facts out for themselves, in self defense.

    As Raymond Arroyo wrote, “The nuns discovered that the Second Vatican Council had never intended a wholesale abandonment of Latin in the new Mass. Quite the contrary, the official council and papal documents encouraged the retention of Latin and use of Gregorian chant in the renewed Liturgy. . . .”

    Masses on EWTN are routinely celebrated according to the Missal of Pope Paul VI, in what Pope Benedict XVI later called the Ordinary Form and what Arroyo referred to as the New Mass. At EWTN’s chapel in Birmingham, the friars began to sing the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin. And they celebrated the Masses ad orientem.

    Arroyo wrote, “Though the monastery celebrated the new Mass of Vatican II, the priest with his back to the people, the sounds of the service, and the old devotions were often mistaken as a throwback to a bygone era. In point of fact, it was much closer to the renewal foreseen by the Second Vatican Council--and it was beaming into nearly every diocese in America.”

    Most of the American bishops objected. One USCCB priest commented that they didn’t like “her kind of theology.” But, as Arroyo wrote, Mother Angelica’s local bishop, David Foley, who was installed as the bishop of Birmingham in 1994, was on her side, at least about the use of Latin and chant. Arroyo quoted Bishop Foley as recalling, “They didn’t like the interspersing of the Latin. But to any bishop who objected, I would say, ‘I don't care. I like it.’ ”

    “To show the power of EWTN and Mother Angelica: When I first came here people were saying, ‘Why are they doing the Kyrie... Why are they doing the Lamb of God as Agnus Dei?’ ” Bishop Foley also told Arroyo. “But if you go into a lot of churches today, they are singing the Agnus Dei and the Kyrie now. They would never have done that if it hadn't been for EWTN.’ ”

    The USCCB couldn’t take any action in these matters because Mother Angelica’s bishop supported those changes. But Bishop Foley later would lock horns with Mother Angelica over ad orientem celebrations of the Mass.

    The battle lines about ad orientem were drawn in 1999 during the planning for the dedication of the Shrine to the Blessed Sacrament that Mother Angelica had built 75 miles away from EWTN. Bishop Foley had gradually become closely linked to EWTN, where he even hosted his own show. He had celebrated ad orientem Masses at the little EWTN chapel for the past several years, under the rationale that “the celebrant had to give his back to the congregation in order to face the nuns, who sat behind the reredos.”

    However, he refused to agree to celebrate the Mass ad orientem at the Shrine’s consecration. Bishop Foley told the friars that his rationale for celebrating Masses with his back to the congregation was no longer valid in the Shrine chapel, where the nuns sat behind a golden cloister grate to the right of the altar. Mother Angelica replied to him that an ad populum orientation of the priest towards the people would “offend the architectural design of the chapel and break the 145-year tradition of her order.”

    Bishop Foley countered by consulting the USCCB liturgy office, and then asserted his authority as Mother’s bishop. He explained his position against the ad orientem posture as coming from how “it was not the norm for the Pope, the bishops, or the priests of Birmingham.”

    In her reply to this latest broadside, Mother showed her chutzpah. She shot back that the bishop had been “misinformed by his consulting canonists.” She protested that the law of the Church allows priests to face either way during Mass, and that she had witnessed for herself that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II celebrated Masses ad orientem in his private chapel.

    Bishop Foley did not like her defiance of him in his role as chief liturgist of the diocese, and he would not back down. He promulgated a law outlawing the ad orientem posture in the Birmingham diocese on October 18, 1999. In a follow-up cover letter to priests in the diocese, Bishop Foley referred to ad orientem as “a political statement dividing the people” and also as “an illicit innovation or sacrilege” for a priest to “turn his back to the people." Any priest who defied Bishop Foley’s decree would face “suspension or removal of faculties.” The decree was to go into effect three days before the scheduled consecration of the Shrine.

    Mother appealed to Rome. She sent two EWTN executives to hand-deliver letters to the Vatican congregations responsible for the Mass and Church doctrine. She knew that Cardinal Ratzinger was on the same side as she was.

    The future Pope Benedict XVI was prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1981 until he was elected to the papacy in 2005. And, as Arroyo wrote, “Cardinal Ratzinger had long espoused the virtues of the ad orientem priestly posture, saluting its theological emphasis--principally the unified orientation of the priest and the people offering sacrifice to God rather than to one another.”

    The Vatican Replies with Alacrity

    A fax came with unprecedented haste from the notoriously slow-acting Vatican. The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments ruled against his prohibition. The fax read in part:

    1. No custom presumed or otherwise could intervene against the liberty of the celebrant to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy in accord with the rubrics of the Missale Romanum.

    2... After having heard the opinion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has expressed to this Congregation its own serious concerns, this Dicastry has concluded that individual Diocesan Bishops may not prohibit celebration of the Sacred Liturgy facing the apse (ad orientem), and therefore, it must respectfully ask that Your Excellency withdraw this Decree because it is contrary to the ius commune with regard to liturgical matters.

    To shorten this long story a bit, Bishop Foley lost that battle, but before it was totally over, he got in another glancing blow. Bishop Foley couldn’t ban ad orientem Masses, but he could and did ban televising them, based on the rationale that broadcasting Masses like that would damage unity.

    In the little chapel at the EWTN studios in Birmingham, the friars began to celebrate Masses facing the people whenever the Mass was televised, because their bishop said they had to. Beautiful, reverent Ordinary Form Masses continued to be routinely celebrated ad orientem at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, but they were not televised. I’ve been there for a few.

    After Bishop Foley retired in 2005, the ban of televised ad orientem Masses was lifted by the next bishop of Birmingham, Robert J. Baker, S.T.D.

    Battle Done, Victory Won

    During a recent interview I had with Arroyo about his biographical sequel Mother Angelica, Her Grand Silence: The Last Years and Living Legacy for an article upcoming in the August issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review, I asked him about the battles Mother had with the bishops and the toll those battles took on her. Here follow some excerpts from the interview.


    Sullivan: You wrote about what is commonly called a “near-death experience” in 2001 in which Mother said she left her body three times and that when she came back she said she wasn’t afraid of death any more. It’s significant that she also mentioned she was no longer afraid of the bishops either! Question: Do you have any more new insights about her battles with some members of the Church hierarchy affected her?

    Arroyo: “Psychologically and physically, it was a great trial. It’s one thing when people from outside the Church come after somebody, but Mother was really fighting a two-pronged war, because she was fighting those outside the Church, and then she was fighting those inside the Church.

    The stroke probably would not have happened if she hadn’t been under such stress and duress.”

    Sullivan: You wrote in the first biography about run-ins that she had with some American bishops, who were trying to launch a Catholic network of their own. Many of them expressed their distaste for what one priest called “her kind of theology.” It seems now that she won over the opposition, and that “her kind of theology” is now accepted. Question: Did you add any more details about those kinds of battles she went through and their outcomes after the initial biography?

    Arroyo:“The [first] biography is pretty conclusive on those battles. She really did win all of them in my mind. The things she fought for, the rosary, Eucharistic adoration, Latin in the Mass, ... those things were considered relics of another age, never to be seen again. Mother Angelica not only kept them alive, she popularized them. She put all those devotions in front of the eyes of the masses so they could see what they had been missing.

    Remember that she had a titanic battle with her local bishop, Bishop David Foley, near the end of her active life. He didn’t want the Mass televised ad orientem, facing away from the people. [And Bishop Foley’s fellow bishops in the USCCB didn’t like the use of Latin in EWTN Masses.] The Mass had to be in English.

    Well, I had to chuckle a little at her funeral because I saw Bishop Foley there on the altar. And I thought to myself, only Mother Angelica could pull this off. Not only did she get a Mass with Latin, celebrated ad orientem, but it was broadcast on television, and an archbishop was celebrating it. Only Mother could have pulled that off.”

    And as Arroyo put it another way in a subsequent email: "Mother managed to not only get an Ad Orientem Mass in Latin on air, but Foley had a front row seat on it."

    During Mother Angelica’s funeral I posted a Tweet with a screenshot from the Mass.


    I had been hoping that it would be a traditional Requiem Mass, but it turned out to be a splendidly reverent Ordinary Form Mass with sung Latin Ordinary, Pater Noster, versicles and responses, concelebrated ad orientem by Archbishop Charles Chaput, Birmingham’s current Bishop Robert J. Baker, Bishop Emeritus David Foley, Mother’s MFVA friars, and many other priests associated with EWTN.

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    The following is a press release from the Roman Catholic diocese of Lancaster.

    At noon on 28 July 2016, the Vatican announced the news that His Holiness Pope Francis has formally established a new Eparchy (Diocese) for the Syro-Malabar Catholic faithful in Great Britain and its first Eparch (Bishop) as Rev Fr Joseph (Benny Mathew) Srampickal – currently a priest of the Eparchy of Palai in Kerala, India and until now Vice-Rector of the College Propaganda Fide in Rome. The new Eparchy will have St Ignatius, Preston (St Alphonsa Parish), as its Cathedral Church.


    It is reported that the Holy Father Pope Francis, was happy to give this new diocese to Great Britain, because he knew there were so many Syro-Malabar faithful living in Britain and it is important for them to have the official support and structures of their Church.

    The new Diocese or in the Eastern tradition ‘Eparchy’ is one of only three dioceses of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church outside of India, the others being in the United States (founded in 2011) and Australia (founded in 2014).

    Upon hearing the news of this development whilst leading the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes, Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster said: "I welcome this exciting news and in particular Bishop Srampickal as the first Bishop of the Eparchy of the Syro-Malabars in Great Britain. I look forward to working with him as a close colleague and friend while he has care of his brothers and sisters throughout the whole country."

    Bishop Campbell added that the establishment of the new Eparchy is "a clear indication of the care of the Holy See for the thousands of Syro-Malabar Catholics who have settled in Great Britain. I congratulate the Major Archbishop, Cardinal George Alencherry, the Holy Synod and all the Syro-Malabar priests, religious and faithful living in Great Britain upon this development. I am particularly pleased that the seat of the new Eparchy will be the wonderful St Ignatius Church, Preston (St Alphonsa, Parish) given our close collaboration”.

    The Major Archbishop, Cardinal Alencherry with Bishop Campbell.
    Earlier this month St Ignatius Church was awarded a substantial grant towards roof repairs as part of the Listed Places of Worship - Roof Repair Fund and follows on from the ‘saving’ of this historic and beautiful church from closure by Bishop Campbell in January 2015 by establishing it as a centre for the mission and life of the Syro-Malabar Catholic faithful. In October 2015, the Syro-Malabar Major Archbishop, Cardinal George Alencherry travelled from India to celebrate a special Mass to launch the new centre at St Ignatius and to also inaugurate two personal parishes erected to care for the pastoral needs of the Syro-Malabar faithful:

    https://bishopcampbellsblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/04/celebrating-the-richness-of-the-syro- malabar-church-in-our-diocese

    These personal parishes – one is for Preston and is based at St Ignatius - were the first of their kind - for the Syro-Malabar Church - in Europe. In Preston over 250 people – many of them children, teenagers and young working professionals with their families - attend the current single Sunday Mass at St Ignatius with an additional scheduled Mass to follow shortly. The usual rounds of Baptisms, First Communions and Confirmations are now re-established in this vibrant parish. Recently, 9 family units have been formed as basic Christian communities to support prayer and faith formation in the family. The Keralan Sisters of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel are now settling well and are involved in diocesan apostolates in Lancaster and also catechetical work in the Preston Syro-Malabar parish. Such a foundation is the first of its kind of Syro-Malabar Religious Sisters in Great Britain.

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    To commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Dominican Order, St Dominic’s Church in Youngstown, Ohio, has celebrated a special series of Masses in the traditional Dominican rite. The last of these will take place on August 19, a Solemn High Votive Mass of St. Dominic; before the liturgy, there will be a brief lessons from the friars explaining the history and the significance of the rite, beginning at 6:30 p.m., with the Mass itself 7:15 p.m. For more information, see the poster below, and visit the parish’s website, www.saintdominic.org.


    We also wish a happy feast of St Dominic (EF) to all the son and daughters of the Order of Preachers throughout the world, and a special word of thanks to those who have been making so many efforts of late to maintain their great liturgical tradition!

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    This article by Shawn Tribe was originally published in October of 2008, and republished in 2013. He and I recently noticed that all of the photographs, which were originally linked from an external source, have disappeared, so I thought it might be nice to repair it and reprint it again. It is listed here under my name, but still entirely Shawn’s work.

    Occasionally we get requests -- inspired by our series and descriptions upon different elements of liturgical vesture and ornament -- to discuss particular ornaments in greater detail. One such request was a discussion of the altar frontal, otherwise known as the antependium or pallium altaris.

    Early Origins

    The Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that the origin of the antipendium might be “traced to the curtains or veils of silk, or of other precious material, which hung over the open space [NLM note: or “confessio”] under the altar, to preserve the shrines of the saints usually deposited there” which later developed into the altar frontal we now know.

    In his work, The Christian Altar, the Anglican Cyril Pocknee notes that “even in the primitive period not only was the altar covered with a linen cloth or pall for the celebration of the Eucharist; but also the Lord’s Table was vested with silk cloths... Palladius writing about 421 mentions some Roman ladies, who renouncing the world, bequeathed their silks to make coverings for the altar... The Liber Pontificalis testifies that during the eighth and ninth centuries coverings for the altar made of gold thread and decorated with jewels and pearls and embroidered with figures of our Lord, the B.V. Mary and the Apostles were given to the great Roman basilicas by succeeding Popes.”

    Pocknee speaks to the development of the form as follows:
    While the altar remained cubical in form, the ‘throw-over’ type of pall continued in use... this linen cloth, known as the Palla corporalis, was thrown over the altar, much as an ordinary table-cloth is spread today, by the deacons, and it fell down around all sides of the table. But in the Gothic period, when the altar tended to be lengthened, two things happened: (a) the linen pall became divided into two parts, one part being a long strip which covered the top of the altar and fell down over each end of the mensa, while the other part became the ‘corporal’ which covered the elements; (b) the silk pall becomes the antependium or frontal covering the front elevation of the altar only when it stood close to a wall or screen. But it should be noted that where the longer type of altar was free-standing a ‘frontal’ was provided for both back and front.
    Both Cyril Pocknee (The Christian Altar) and J.B. O’Connell (Church Building and Furnishing) comment that the earliest frontals were “often made in purple and gold and ornamented with jewels, or with beautiful embroideries.” (O’Connell). The following image from the Benedictional of St. Ethelwold shows this, as well as what Pocknee describes in terms of the fuller, more “table-cloth” like form of the early altar covering:

    O’Connell continues by noting that in the 8th or 9th centuries, some frontals were also made of precious metals such as silver or gold. A classic example of this would be the altar of the Basilica of St. Ambrose in Milan:


    It was during the middle ages that we begin to see the vesting of the altar match the colour of the vestments of the day.

    Symbolism

    Speaking to the symbolism attributed to the frontal, Geoffrey Webb in The Liturgical Altar calls it “a covering of honour for the body of the altar which... represents Christ Himself...” He quotes Bishop J.F. Van der Stappen in his work, Sacra Liturgia as saying: “For the altar is Christ, therefore, on account of its dignity, it is clothed in precious vestments, as the Pontifical says in the ordination of sub-deacons.” Webb continues speaking of the colour that the frontal brings to the altar: “Our Lord, as represented by His consecrated altar, puts on robes of majesty... and when the Robes of Majesty are all removed on Holy Thursday, more is indicated than the removal of His garments. His faithful, His costly garments, His disciples, are all stripped from Him; and His desolation is made all the more evident by this complete annihilation of colour.” The use of colour is “part of the splendour of the liturgy” but “the instinct to provide colour seems less vigorous today than in most other centuries, and one doubts whether its place is sufficiently realized as one instrument of a concerted orchestra, in whose harmony its omission forms a gap.” Finally Webb suggests that “the frontal serves to give to the altar that architectural prominence which its central position in the liturgy requires.”


    O’Connell notes similarly:
    “...at the ordination of a subdeacon, the bishop in his charge to the candidate says ‘the cloths and corporals of the altar [which represent Christ] are the members of Christ, God’s faithful people, with whom, as with costly garments, the Lord is clad, according to the Psalmist: The Lord reigns as king, robed in majesty.’ The clothed altar with its beauty and changing colours is a symbol of the Mystical Body... it translates this doctrine into the language of colour and form. In addition to its symbolical value, the frontal -- with its sequence of colours and its changing form and decoration -- lends variety and new beauty to the altar, and helps to mark the degrees of festivity in the Church’s liturgy. In presenting an unbroken coloured surface it also draws attention to the altar, as the focal point of the church, giving it architectural prominence.”
    A visual comparison of the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, unvested and vested, might serve to illustrate the visual and liturgical difference a frontal can make.



    An NLM Appeal for the Revival of the Altar Frontal

    The NLM has often appealed to clergy to consider re-instituting the use of altar frontals in their parishes and apostolates. It is to be hoped that these descriptions of the history and symbolic and liturgical value of the frontal will serve as further inspiration.

    Now this said it must be stated that, as with any sacred arts, not all frontals are created equal. In my experience, the finest frontals are characterized by neatness, not hanging too loosely (being either stretched onto a frame or at very least of heavy fabric and generally weighted), thereby drawing attention to the form and substantiality of the altar itself; they cover the entirety of the front of the altar, and they are characterized either by a verticality in ornamentation, or a fullness of ornamentation. (What I mean by this will become more evident shortly.)

    Examples of Unsuccessful Frontals

    Let us consider a few examples of what I would deem unsuccessful attempts at altar frontals.


    There are a few problems here. First, the use of a single colour without other ornamentation or orphreys. But worse is the use of pleating which takes away from the altar itself and approximates not so much paraments for the altar as curtains before it.



    This frontal’s ornamentation is rather plain and could be much improved by being weighted better and by including a greater vertical dimension in terms of its decoration.


    Two different forms of a kind of “superfrontal” which only partially covers the altar. The former might also be manifest by the use of a Jacobean style altar linen in which coloured strips are hung down in front, over part of the altar.

    While both are quite neat, neither of them seem to accomplish the dignified vesting of the altar, nor create the focus upon the altar that a full frontal accomplishes.

    Here is another example of this sort of less than edifying attempt at a frontal, but quite a bit less neat:


    Our next example is likely to be the most controversial in my proposal about what is not successful; it is the Laudian frontal:


    This form, which finds itself draped over the entire altar, certainly approximates some of the earlier form of the altar covering discussed in this history, however, this form of frontal seems to lack the neatness and elegance of the frontal as it developed. It must also be remembered that the original forms related to the cube shaped altars of the earlier Church and not to the longer altars that developed.

    A final example of a less than successful attempt:


    Successful Frontals

    Now let us compare the former examples with altar frontals that better serve to vest the altar in a dignified manner, drawing attention to it and to the liturgical seasons. I have tried to include stylistic variations to show the range of possibilities.




    (Image source)

    (An unfortunate aspect of this image is the altar linen hanging before the frontal, but ignore that for the sake of the fact that our attention is purely focused upon the frontal design)



    While I imagine there will be some disagreement about some of the principles behind the comparison of what is successful and what not, my ultimate hope is that this exercise might serve as the basis for a more considered approach to the altar frontal in a way that gives thought to their purpose and how they might be most liturgically dignified and effectual.

    UPDATE

    There has been some discussion and questions about the making and hanging of frontals. Here is what O’Connell notes in Church Building and Furnishing:
    Material of the Frontal

    [...] The frontal is best made of some textile -- because it is part of the clothing of Christ -- brocade, tapestry, velvet, silk, damask, etc.; or more simply for lesser days, or in small churches, with orphreys of silk, or with braid or fringe. Designs should be bold since the frontal is viewed from a distance. In the traditional Roman frontal the material is divided vertically into panels (generally five) by narrow strips of braid; across the frontal (about one-fourth of its depth from the top) is a deeper strip, and the upper part of the frontal above this is divided into twice the number of panels (normally ten) by braid or galloon. The frontal may be adorned with woven or painted figures or scenes, or with suitable symbols (e.g., of the Blessed Eucharist).

    [...]

    Fixing a Frontal

    The frontal must cover the entire front of the altar. It may be fixed on to a wooden frame (telarium)... which slips into a groove under the table of the altar [NLM note: I have also seen peg like objects which the frontal inserts into and then it further tied to the sides of the altar with to hold it tight against the altar; this is the case at Ss. Trinita in Rome]; or it may hang, by small rings, from a rod, supported on metal lugs in the front elevation of the altar. The rod and its attachment are concealed by a frontlet [NLM note: or “superfrontal”; it is the short but long rectangular piece that hangs across the top foot or so of the front of the altar, also the section which was referred to above as having double the panels of the lower half; this is the arrangement at the chapel of Merton College, Oxford]. It is sometimes desireable to back a frontal with some heavy material, like strong canvas, to get it to hang well.

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    We’ve all been there, in those academic lectures that turn into unattended monologues, peppered with dust motes and baked in slow afternoon light. The head bobs, and water leaks from the eyes into the nose, precipitating a yawn. Doodling, stretching, and blinking commence in a desperate attempt to fight the obvious truth: this. is. boring.

    Tempo and pacing are crucial parts of the success of any endeavor, and especially the liturgical arts, music, and education. The speed of delivery, the space between events and ideas, and the overall energy of one’s demeanor form a significant part of the tone of one’s message. Fish bite when the lure is in motion. 
    Because every word or concept is not equally significant, experienced teachers maximize their effectiveness by establishing habits. Students learn a routine approach to learning, not just the content at hand. Teachers return and collect papers quickly in an orderly, efficient way; class begins with familiar patterns; and in general students learn how to fit into a healthy classroom order. Teachers establish these classroom “habits” to give maximum time and focus on the content itself. All of this falls under the general heading of “classroom management.” 
    The data show that teachers with effective classroom management generally have fewer discipline problems, higher scoring students, and better overall morale in their classrooms. Students often recall that perhaps these teachers were not their favorite at the outset, but that as the academic year continued and the habits were formed, the teacher’s style “grew on them” and outpaced other teachers. As Maria Montessori would confirm, learning is always maximized in an orderly environment. 
    Liturgy is education. 
    An effective liturgist will establish exactly the right pace and habits in order to focus on the content itself. Conservatives often say “reverence takes time.” This is a fair statement, a worthy maxim, and a good drumbeat to rally fellow conservatives against Fr. Hasty Minute-Mass. But the tendency here is toward being slow, which may not be the most effective or appropriate tempo. The adage “festina lente” or “make haste slowly” conveys prudence, however quickness can convey strength, enthusiasm, and engagement. Just because something is slow, doesn't mean it is rich and reverent. Slow liturgy might even be boring and anemic. So the question remains, “What pace makes an effective liturgy?”
    Current educational research suggests there can be multiple "speeds" in one classroom. The traditional mass allowed for flexible pace and tempo in various parts of the liturgy, because the priest, choir, and faithful could occupy themselves in their own tasks without remaining necessarily in lockstep with each other. Similarly, effective liturgists today allow for a similar flexibility in the tempo; if the altar is delayed, the organist plays; if the choir is still singing, the priest slows his pace to wait for them to catch up. All things to be done are done well and given their proper amount of time, which may be a few moments or a few minutes.

    Nonetheless, impatience has no place in the liturgy. An effective liturgist never “twiddles his thumbs” while waiting. Let me provide a key example: It is not uncommon in many parishes for the opening procession to reach the sanctuary before the organist has finished the introduction to the opening hymn. Having arrived at the altar, the priest sits there and looks at everyone, as they look at him; and together they glare and wait for those annoying few people to stop singing verses one and two, so that Mass can begin… forget about singing verses three and four! If we wonder why people don't sing, it may have nothing to do with the song selections, the music, or the musicians-- and it may have everything to do with the pastor and the altar servers. 
    Ironically, the things that consume the most time are generally non-liturgical additions. A dear friend and musical colleague once recalled a Lutheran pastor requesting faster hymns and fewer verses, all because there wasn’t enough time and the liturgy was running too long. N.B. This pastor had been a nurse in a previous career, and narrated every detail of the liturgy as if she were about to administer a big, painful shot to a child: “Now I’m going to read the first paragraph, and then I’ll invite you all to read the next paragraph, and then we’ll all read the third paragraph together. Does everyone understand? Did everyone hear me? Okay, let’s go.” Leaving aside the obnoxious pedantry of this pastor’s approach, her silly little narrations added 35 minutes to the liturgy each week, and parishioners dropped like flies. Skipping hymn verses was not the solution. 
    People want to sing. They want content. They don’t want drivel and narration. They don’t want the same pithy community organizing each week. It wears thin and distracts from the content people crave. Focusing on the content requires obedience to the liturgy. All analogous educational research suggests that an ordered “liturgical” environment fosters greater learning and participation. 
    And so I return to the opening paragraph: tempo is critical for the success of the content. Keep the pace and allow all things their proper time. Our liturgy is ordered toward understanding and efficiency. If something is worth doing, yes—to quote G.K. Chesterton—it’s worth doing badly. But it’s even more worthwhile when done well. The most effective way to do the liturgy, is to do it as written: with simplicity, obedience, and excellence... and the proper pace. 

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    The Roman basilica of Saint Mary Major, whose dedication is celebrated today, is also known by several other titles, among them, “the Liberian Basilica”, after its putative founder, Pope Liberius (352-366). I say “putative” because although Liberius did certainly build a church on the site, it was badly damaged in a riot that broke out over the contested election of his successor, St Damasus I; it was then abandoned until the next century, when St Sixtus III (432-440) replaced it with a completely new church. Despite a great many alterations and additions, the nucleus of the structure as we have it today is Pope Sixtus’ building, the oldest church in the world dedicated to the Mother of God; there is no reason to believe that Liberius’ structure was so dedicated. Nevertheless, the title “Liberian” has stuck; the basilica’s chapter of canons is normally referred to in Italian as “il Capitolo Liberiano.” 

    The Miracle of the Snows, by Jacopo Zucchi, ca. 1580; from the Vatican Museums
    Pope Liberius is also a protagonist of the famous legend concerning the church’s founding, which has given it another one of its titles, “Our Lady of the Snows.” The story is that a wealthy Roman patrician named John and his wife, having no heirs, wished to leave their patrimony to the Virgin Mary, and prayed to Her to let them know how they might do so. On the night of August 4th, the Virgin appeared to both of them, and also to the Pope, and told them that in the morning, they would find a part of the Esquiline hill covered in snow, and in that place they should build a church in Her honor. (Snowfalls are exceedingly rare in Rome even in the winter.) The next morning, coming up to the Esquiline, they did indeed find the place covered in snow, and thus the church was founded.

    Each year, during the principal Mass of the Dedication, a shower of white jasmine petals, representing the miraculous snowfall, is let fall from the roof of the basilica during the Gloria; the ceremony is repeated in the evening during the Magnificat of Vespers. It is seen here in a video taken by John Sonnen of Orbis Catholicus in 2010.


    Painful as it is to impugn the story behind such a beautiful liturgical tradition, it is now regarded as purely legendary. The text of Pope Sixtus III’s dedicatory inscription is preserved, and does not mention it; indeed, the story is not heard of until several hundred years after it supposedly took place. The legendary character of the episode is also implicitly recognized in the Tridentine liturgical reform. In a Roman Breviary printed in 1481, the story is told in six unusually long lessons at Matins, each almost a full column in length; the Breviary of St Pius V preserves the essence of the legend, but reduces it to the bare facts at just over 200 words. The feast also had a proper collect, which reads as follows: “O God, who, to declare the glory of Thy Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary, by a snowfall in the heat of summer didst deign to show forth the place in which a church should be built for Her; grant, we ask, that, devoting ourselves to Her service, by the cooling of concupiscence, we may be cleansed in the brightness of innocence.” In the Tridentine reform, this prayer was replaced by the generic prayer from the common Office and Mass of the Virgin.

    The upper left section of the mosaic on the triumph arch of Saint Mary Major, with the Annunciation above and the Adoration of the Magi below. To the right of the Annunciation, the angel comes to reassure St Joseph. In the Adoration of the Magi, Christ is shown as a young child, but not as an infant, since the Gospel of St Matthew does not say how long after the Birth of Christ the Magi came to Him.
    In the Liturgy of the Hours, historical lessons are no longer read at Matins, (now called the Office of Readings,) with a few rare exceptions. For today’s feast, the second reading is a passage from St Cyril of Alexandria’s “Homily against Nestorius”, delivered at the Council of Ephesus in 431. In the Breviary of St Pius V, this passage was read on September 15th, the Octave of the Virgin’s Nativity, but it also makes an especially appropriate choice for the Dedication of St Mary Major. The church was built by Sixtus III, and decorated with mosaic images of the Virgin’s life, in the wake of the great controversy stirred up by Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, who declared that it was wrong to refer to the Virgin Mary with the title “Theotókos – Mother of God”, and that She ought rather to be called “Christotókos – Mother of Christ.” The Council of Ephesus was called to respond to Nestorius’ heresy, and at that Council, St Cyril was the adamant defender of the orthodox faith, the “unconquered teacher that the most blessed Virgin Mary is Mother of God”, as the traditional collect of his feast calls him.

    I see here the joyful company of holy men, all willingly gathered together, called by the holy Mother of God, Mary, the ever-virgin. The arrival of the holy Fathers has brought me from the great grief wherein I dwelled unto joy. Now is fulfilled among us the sweet word of David the psalmist: Behold how good and pleasant it is for brothers to live together as one.” (Psalm 132)

    Therefore, rejoice with us, holy and mystical Trinity, that called us all to this church of Mary, the Mother of God. Rejoice with us, Mary, Mother of God, the venerable treasure of the whole world, the ever-shining light, the crown of virginity, the scepter of orthodoxy, the indestructible temple, the place of Him whom no place can contain, Mother and Virgin; through whom is named in the Holy Gospels the Blessed One, who comes in the name of the Lord.

    Rejoice, thou who in thy virginal womb held Him who cannot be held; through whom the Trinity is sanctified; through whom the cross is called precious and is venerated throughout the world; through whom heaven exulteth; through whom the angels and archangels rejoice; through whom demons are put to flight; through whom the devil, that tempter, fell from heaven; through whom the fallen race is taken up to the heavens; through whom all creation, possessed by the madness of idols, hath come to the knowledge of truth; through whom cometh baptism to them that believe, and the oil of gladness; through whom the Church hath been established throughout the world; through whom the nations are led to repentance.

    What need is there to say many more things? (This is somewhat ironic, since St Cyril goes on to say a great deal more than can be reproduced here.) Through Thee, the only-begotten Son of God hath shone as a light upon those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; the prophets foretold, the apostles preached salvation to the nations; the dead are raised to life, and kings rule through the holy Trinity.

    The famous icon of the Virgin Mary titled “Salus Populi Romani,” painted in the 6th or 7th century, and now housed in the Borghese Chapel at Saint Mary Major. The jewels and crowns seen here have been removed in subsequent restorations.

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    I fully realize that the terms “breviary” and “hand-missal” are not the proper name for this liturgical book, of which I was lucky enough to recently acquire a copy. In Greek it is called Συνέκδημος (synekdhimos), a “fellow-traveler”, which is conceptually similar to the Latin “vademecum.” (The Old Church Slavonic equivalent is also the name of the very first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, Sputnik (спутникъ - traveler), but this term is generally applied to a musical anthology for liturgical use.) The Greek book is functionally the same as the Roman breviary and hand-missal. Printed in Athens in 1966, it contains in just over 1300 pages an extraordinarily large portion of the liturgical texts for both the Divine Office and the Eucharistic liturgy, and like the parallel books in the Roman tradition, has no music. (Of course, some Roman hand-missals also included a limited amount of music.)

    It begins with a number of private prayers, including prayers before meals and going to bed, followed by Small Compline, prayers of preparation for Communion and Confession, the Akathistos of the Mother of God, and the minor Hours. The second section of over 320 pages is dedicated to “the Services of Sunday”: Vespers, the Midnight Office, and Orthros, followed by the Liturgies of St John Chrysostom, St Basil and the Presanctified Gifts (the latter is not of course ever said on a Sunday.) The Resurrection Gospels of Sunday Orthros, and the Sunday Epistles and Gospels are also included. There follow the main texts of the Menaion, or Calendar of Saints, and then the whole series of movable observances, the Triodion (the equivalent of the Septuagesima season), Lent, Great Compline, Holy Week, and finally the Pentecostarion, which includes everything from Easter to All Saints, the Sunday after Pentecost. (As may be imagined, a fair amount of this is in eye-wateringly small type.)

    The Menologion, or calendar of fixed feasts, starts on September 1st with the Indiction, the beginning of the Byzantine liturgical year.
    The beginning of the “Sunday services” section, Vespers on Saturday evening. The liturgical day in the Byzantine Rite always begins on the evening before.
    The Annunciation
    Here the book is open to Palm Sunday, which is technically not part of Holy Week, since the Byzantine liturgical week always begins with Monday. The services of Palm Sunday and Holy Week occupy 298 pages, while the Pentecostarion occupies 84. (The former is far more comprehensive)
    Palm Sunday
    Holy Thursday
    The beginning of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete (26 pages), a very popular Lenten penitential service.
    The table of movable feasts according to the “new” system, i.e., the Gregorian Calendar, covering the 40 years from 1961 to 2000. 
    The table of movable feasts according to the “old” system, i.e., the Julian Calendar, covering the 24 years from 1961 to 1984. Greece was the last major country with an Orthodox majority of its population to adopt the Gregorian Calendar for civil use, in February of 1923. Its adoption by the Greek Orthodox Church led to a notable schism which endures to this day. It would seem that the publishing house which produced this book, Astir, mostly sided with the supporters of the new calendar.



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    The feast of the Transfiguration was adopted into the Roman Rite from the Byzantine in the reign of Pope Callixtus III (1455-58), in thanksgiving for the Christian victory against the Turks at the siege of Belgrade on August 6th, 1456. Coming only three years after the fall of Constantinople, this victory signaled an important halt to the Turkish invasion of Europe; in fact, the common custom of ringing church bells at noon began as a reminder to pray for the defense of this bulwark of Christendom.

    Icon of the Transfiguration, attributed to Theophanes the Greek (called ‘Feofan’ in Russian), the teacher of the famous iconographer Andrei Rubliev; early 15th century. Originally painted for the Cathedral of the Transfiguration in Pereslavl, now in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.
    The nature of the Byzantine Divine Office is such that it would be impossible to construct an Office in the traditional Roman form by merely translating the Byzantine texts. Offices and Masses for new feasts could either be composed ex novo, or reused from older sources, or both. In the pre-Tridentine period, there was no uniformity in this regard, and a variety of liturgical texts were used on the Transfiguration. At Augsburg in Germany, the Office was simply that of the Holy Trinity, with different Matins lessons and a different collect, while the Mass propers were borrowed from the season of Christmas and Epiphany, again with proper prayers and lessons. There were also various proper Offices in circulation; the one found in the Roman Breviary of St Pius V was used by the Franciscans before Trent, but changed in several respects for the Tridentine edition.

    One such change was the addition of the doxology for the feast of the Epiphany: “Glory to Thee, o Lord, who didst appear today, etc.” (A new doxology was created in Pope Urban VIII’s reform of the hymns, but older one was retained by the Benedictines, Dominicans and others.) This is noteworthy because at the Mass of the Transfiguration, the preface is that of Christmas, not Epiphany. But the connection between the “new” feast and the manifestations of the Lord celebrated by older liturgical feasts is expressed most clearly in the third nocturn of Matins, where the psalms and their antiphons were clearly not chosen merely for accidental references to “glory” and “light”, but as a deliberate echo of these same older feasts.

    The first psalm (seventh of Matins as a whole) is Psalm 88, which is used at Matins on only one other feast day, namely Christmas. The antiphon reflects the common tradition, not stated in the Gospels themselves or in the Second Epistle of St Peter, that Mt Tabor in Galilee was the “high mountain” on which the Transfiguration took place. “Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name: Thy arm is with might.” This reflects the fact that at Christmas we celebrate the manifestation of God’s humanity, whereas at the Transfiguration, we celebrate the manifestation of Christ’s divinity.

    Mt Tabor (Image from Wikimedia by Eliot from the Negev.)
    The second psalm, 96, is said with the same antiphon as on the feasts of Apostles, “Light is risen to the just, and joy to the right of heart,” but with two “alleluias” removed. This refers to the fact that in addition to Moses and Elijah, who represent the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament, three preeminent Apostles, Peter, James and John, were chosen as witnesses of the Transfiguration. This psalm is also sung on the Epiphany, and it certainly not a coincidence that each of the three nocturns of the Transfiguration has a psalm from the Epiphany: 28 in the first, 86 in the second, and 96 in the third.

    The third psalm, 103, is also sung on only one other feast day, Pentecost. As a group, together, therefore, these psalms indicate that the mystery of God’s Incarnation, which is revealed privately at Christmas and Epiphany, to Israel in the shepherds, and to the gentiles in the Magi, is now revealed privately to the Apostles, who will preach it publicly to the world once the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost.

    The Church traditionally marks the public manifestation of Christ with the feast of His Baptism, which in the Roman Rite is celebrated as the Octave of the Epiphany, and in the Byzantine is the main object of Epiphany itself. The Apostles, however, were chosen after the Baptism. We must note therefore, that the same words of the Father at the Baptism, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” (Matt. 3, 17) are repeated at the Transfiguration, with the addition of a special commission to the Apostles “Hear ye him!”

    Just as the Creeds of the Apostles and Nicaea focus on the events of the beginning and end of Christ’s earthly life, (“born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate”), so does the liturgical year. We do not keep feasts as such to mark events of Christ’s public ministry like the many miraculous healings or the multiplications of the loaves and fishes, although many of these stories are read in the Sunday Gospels. The Transfiguration is uniquely chosen among these events to be celebrated with a particular feast, because it marks the point at which both the Incarnation and its purpose, the Passion and Resurrection, are revealed to the Apostles, who in the fullness of time will reveal them to the rest of the world.

    The Church of the Transfiguration on Mt Tabor (Image from Wikimedia Commons by Zairon.)

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    This sale includes books in the areas of chant, liturgy, and theology, as well as some rare historic items. Several are in German and Latin. Many are out-of-print. I will start with a list of titles, and if you're interested in seeing photos and details, click "Read more..." below. Shipping is additional to the listed prices; I prefer to ship domestic with Priority flat-rate mailers because of durable boxes, insurance, and tracking. To ask about a book, contact me at pkwasniewski@newliturgicalmovement.org.

    CHANT
    • SOLD Canti per la Messa Ambrosiana. Antiphonale Missarum Schuster-Sunol. Ristampa anastatica parziale. Milano, 2012. Brand new. $40.
    • Graduale Novum. Editio magis critica, iuxta SC 117. Tomus 1. De Dominicis et Festis. Conbrio Verlagsgesellschaft Regensburg/Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2011. Brand new. $50.
    • SOLD Palmer-Burgess, Plainchant Gradual, vols. 1-4 (printed in two paperback books). $30 for the set.
    • SOLD Guide to the Graduale Romanum. Preface, Rubrics, and Titles in English to assist in using the Graduale. 6 copies. $10.
    • Chrysogonus Waddell, O.C.S.O. The Twelfth-Century Cistercian Hymnal. Vol. 1: Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 2: Edition. This is available online as a PDF, but original printed copies are extremely rare. $50 for the set.
    • SOLD Green and Koch, The Complete Proper of the  Mass, Set to Gregorian Themes and Psalm Tones for Sundays and Feasts of the Liturgical Year. 1957. $50
    LITURGICAL
    • SOLD Dom Columba Marmion, O.S.B. Words of Life on the Margin of the Missal. Ed. Dom Thibaut, trans. Mother M. St. Thomas. St. Louis: Herder, 1952. 488 pp., hardcover. Mint condition. $40.
    • Benedictionale, seu Ritus Servandus in Expositione et Benedictione Sanctissimi Sacramenti. Cui adjunctae sunt quaedam preces in piis exercitiis per annum occurrentibus adhibendae. Cura Rev. J. B. O'Connell. New York/Turnhout: Brepols' Catholic Press, 1950. $100
    • SOLD Caeremoniale Episcoporum. Ex decreto Sacrosancti Oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II Instauratum Auctoritate Ioannis Pauli PP. II Promulgatum. Editio typica. Vatican, 1985. It's not even clear whether this is still in print. $80.
    • Marion P. Ireland, Textile Art in the Church: Vestments, Paraments, and Hangings in Contemporary Worship, Art, and Architecture. Nashville/New York: Abingdon Press, 1971. Large format book. $50.
    • SOLD Devotions for Holy Communion. Ed. Hubert McEvoy, S.J. Burns & Oates, 1964. Order of Mass (usus antiquior), followed by 30 sets of preparation and thanksgiving prayers and meditations drawn from Scripture, the Fathers, and the mystics. $35.
    • SOLD James Monti, A Sense of the Sacred: Roman Catholic Worship in the Middle Ages. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012. New copy. $19. 
    HISTORICAL
    • SOLD The Story of the Twenty-Eighth International Eucharistic Congress held at Chicago, Illnois, United States of America, from June 20-24, 1926. Compiled by Rev. C. F. Donovan. The Official Record published by The Committee in Charge at Chicago. 1927. 529 pp. with many illustrations and fold-outs. $50.
    • F. O'Nelis, Rome. The Holy Year 1950. Printed in Italy in 1949 in a limited edition for pilgrims. $30.
    • SOLD Carthusiana lot: a set of 18 booklets on a large variety of Carthusian subjects, including the history of the houses and illustrious members, certain letters of Saint Bruno and Guigo, papal documents, meditations by former and current monks, etc. $18.
    THEOLOGICAL
    • Johannes Quasten. Patrology. 3 vols. (1950, 1953, 1963), hardcover. Excellent condition. $160. (This same set in a garish paperback edition costs $112.)
    • Fernand Prat, S.J. The Theology of St. Paul. 2 vols. (1956, 1958), hardcover, with dustjackets, not ex-library, excellent condition. $120. (Wipf & Stock wants $119 for a paperback reprint of this work.)
    • Summa Theologiae Moralis by H. Noldin, S.J., ed. A. Schmitt, S.J., in 3 hardcover volumes, 1934-36. I: De Principiis; De Censuriis; De Sexto (1936). II: De praeceptis. III: De Sacramentis. Bindings strong, pages a bit fragile. Lovingly and neatly annotated by a cleric and filled with typewritten addenda. $150 or b/o. 
    • Saint Thomas Aquinas Meditations for Every Day, drawn from the Summa theologiae and arranged according to the liturgical year. Father E.C. McEniry. Columbus: College Book Company, 1941. 536 pp., hardcover. Very good+. $50.
    • Gallus Manser, O.P. Das Wesen des Thomismus. Freiburg: Paulusverlag, 1949. 728 pp., hardcover. $100.
    • Otto Hermann Pesch. Die Theologie der Rechtfertigung bei Martin Luther und Thomas von Aquin. Mainz: Matthias-Grunewald Verlag, 1967. 1010 pp., hardcover. $50.
    • Josephus Fuchs, S.J. Theologia Moralis Generalis. Pars Prima: Conspectus praelectionum ad usum auditorum. Rome: Universita Gregoriana, 1971. 218 pp., paperback. $30.


    IN DETAIL


    SOLD Canti per la Messa Ambrosiana. Antiphonale Missarum Schuster-Sunol. Ristampa anastatica parziale. Milano, 2012. Brand new. $40.



    Graduale Novum. Editio magis critica, iuxta SC 117. Tomus 1. De Dominicis et Festis. Conbrio Verlagsgesellschaft Regensburg/Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2011. Brand new. $50.


    SOLD Palmer-Burgess, Plainchant Gradual, vols. 1-4 (printed in two paperback books). $25 for the set.

    Guide to the Graduale Romanum. Preface, Rubrics, and Titles in English to assist in using the Graduale. 6 copies. $10.


    Chrysogonus Waddell, O.C.S.O. The Twelfth-Century Cistercian Hymnal. Vol. 1: Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 2: Edition. This is available online as a PDF, but original printed copies are extremely rare. $50 for the set.




    Green and Koch, The Complete Proper of the  Mass, Set to Gregorian Themes and Psalm Tones for Sundays and Feasts of the Liturgical Year. 1957. $50



    SOLD Dom Columba Marmion, O.S.B. Words of Life on the Margin of the Missal. Ed. Dom Thibaut, trans. Mother M. St. Thomas. St. Louis: Herder, 1952. 488 pp., hardcover. Mint condition. $40.




    Benedictionale, seu Ritus Servandus in Expositione et Benedictione Sanctissimi Sacramenti. Cui adjunctae sunt quaedam preces in piis exercitiis per annum occurrentibus adhibendae. Cura Rev. J. B. O'Connell. New York/Turnhout: Brepols' Catholic Press, 1950. $100




    SOLD Caeremoniale Episcoporum. Ex decreto Sacrosancti Oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II Instauratum Auctoritate Ioannis Pauli PP. II Promulgatum. Editio typica. Vatican, 1985. It's not even clear whether this is still in print. $80.


    Marion P. Ireland, Textile Art in the Church: Vestments, Paraments, and Hangings in Contemporary Worship, Art, and Architecture. Nashville/New York: Abingdon Press, 1971. Large format book. $50. An absolute blast from the past.





    SOLD Devotions for Holy Communion. Ed. Hubert McEvoy, S.J. Burns & Oates, 1964. Order of Mass (usus antiquior), followed by 30 sets of preparation and thanksgiving prayers and meditations drawn from Scripture, the Fathers, and the mystics. $35.




    James Monti, A Sense of the Sacred: Roman Catholic Worship in the Middle Ages. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012. New copy, slight bend in lower right-hand corner of the cover. $19. 

    SOLD The Story of the Twenty-Eighth International Eucharistic Congress held at Chicago, Illnois, United States of America, from June 20-24, 1926. Compiled by Rev. C. F. Donovan. The Official Record published by The Committee in Charge at Chicago. 1927. 529 pp. with many illustrations and fold-outs. $50.







    F. O'Nelis, Rome. The Holy Year 1950. Printed in Italy in 1949 in a limited edition for pilgrims. $30.





    Carthusiana lot: a set of 18 booklets on a large variety of Carthusian subjects, including the history of the houses and illustrious members, certain letters of Saint Bruno and Guigo, papal documents, meditations by former and current monks, etc. $18.

    Johannes Quasten. Patrology. 3 vols. (1950, 1953, 1963), hardcover. Excellent condition. $160. (This same set in a garish paperback edition costs $112.)



    Fernand Prat, S.J. The Theology of St. Paul. 2 vols. (1956, 1958), hardcover, with dustjackets, not ex-library, excellent condition. $120. (Wipf & Stock wants $119 for a paperback reprint of this work!)



    Summa Theologiae Moralis by H. Noldin, S.J., ed. A. Schmitt, S.J., in 3 hardcover volumes, 1934-36. I: De Principiis; De Censuriis; De Sexto (1936). II: De praeceptis. III: De Sacramentis. Bindings intact, pages a bit fragile. Lovingly and neatly annotated by a cleric and filled with typewritten addenda. $150 or b/o.




    Some of the book owner's notes (which are at times quite amusing)

    These books were studied very closely!

    Saint Thomas Aquinas Meditations for Every Day, drawn from the Summa theologiae and arranged according to the liturgical year. Father E.C. McEniry. Columbus: College Book Company, 1941. 536 pp., hardcover. $50.



    Gallus Manser, O.P. Das Wesen des Thomismus. Freiburg: Paulusverlag, 1949. 728 pp., hardcover. $100.


    Otto Hermann Pesch. Die Theologie der Rechtfertigung bei Martin Luther und Thomas von Aquin. Mainz: Matthias-Grunewald Verlag, 1967. 1010 pp., hardcover. $50. (Who knows? Could come in handy, depending on what happens in Sweden in October.)


    Josephus Fuchs, S.J. Theologia Moralis Generalis. Pars Prima: Conspectus praelectionum ad usum auditorum. Rome: Universita Gregoriana, 1971. 218 pp., paperback. $30. One among many authors whose errors prompted (eventually) Veritatis Splendor.



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    I have written in the past about the Institute of Catholic Culture instituteofcatholicculture.org/ and the great work it is doing. It is worth mentioning the ICC again, if only to bring to your attention once more the value of what they do and the success of their model of engagement, which I think could be used by other organizations. First, it connects with people at the local level and creates a community of faith and learning. Then it organizes talks and workshops for that community, which are also broadcast live over the internet, and recorded and uploaded onto their website. This makes available a large and ever-growing resource of material about all aspects of the Faith, for free.I described this in more detail here in a past blog post.
    Since I wrote this first article, Deacon Sabatino, the Institute's director has morphed, or perhaps I should say 'transfigured' into Fr Hezekias - Congratulations on your ordination Father! Also, as the new look website describes, the free material has been organized into a series of structured programs available for your self-education. When I was talking to Fr Hezekias about this, he told me that his materials are of such a high standard that they are used by the formation programs of several communities of cloistered religious! 
    For example, you might want to look up the content of my last talk given there, at the beginning of the summer, in which I give an introduction to the transcendentals - objective beauty, truth, goodness, unity...and two lesser know transcendentals referred to by St Thomas, res and aliquid. (The thing and the other thing,by which he is saying, as I understand it, that all created things are made to be in relation to something else). Go the website, here, to the Library, and then on the right hand side you will see 'Talk Lists' and 'By Speaker'. If you go to that list you will see my name and the talk title 'Lift Up Your Eyes - Understanding the Transcendentals'. 
    I have been invited to give another talk about prayer entitled Living Christ: Reclaiming the Church in Our Home and Life. It will be on Sunday, September 11th, at the St Ambrose Church Hall, located at 3901 Woodburn Road, in Annandale, Virginia. It will be held in the evening from 6:30 to 8:45. 
    In this talk, I will speak about the principles of prayer and personal reflection that are described in the book, the Little Oratory, A Beginner's Guide to Praying in the Home
    I will explain all that is in the book through my own story in prayer that contributed through my own experiences and the guidance that I have been given over the years to the creation of the book.  This is a story of the power of prayer to change someone. It began over 25 years ago when someone threw down a 'Pascal's Wager' challenge to me: 'Try this for 30 days and see how you feel; if you don't like it, we'll return your misery with interest. What else have you got to lose?' From a very simple daily routine in prayer that I was given, a faith in God developed very quickly, and a new world opened up to me.

    I should point out of course, that the Little Oratory was co-written with Leila Lawler. What made this cooperation so effective was that we were both converts who had come to very similar conclusions about praying in the home through quite different experiences. Leila's 'story in prayer' - the spiritual journey by which she reached that point - is different to mine as one would expect. But I always felt that it was that dual perspective of the same truths that helped to make the book as rich as it is. Of course if you want Leila's story in prayer, you'll have to invite her to talk about it. She's a great speaker I can assure you!

    It was because the pattern of personal prayer that I was given right from the beginning of my journey was modelled on that of the liturgy, albeit subtly, that when much later I walked into a church with beautiful liturgy I was so receptive to what I saw, My daily prayers had formed me to be so. I had no idea about that at the time, of course; and if I had known, I would probably have refused to do any of it given my prejudices at the time. When this offer was made to me I was a miserable, bitter anti-religion atheist. I will describe how a man called David managed to attract my attention in the first place, so that, suspicious and sceptical as I was, I was prepared to pray and how very quickly because of the effect it had, I became convinced of the power of prayer. Furthermore, I was shown how by the same man how to discern my personal vocation. He inspired me to believe that God want me to be joyful and free and this lead to my changing direction altogether in my career and doing what I do now. I will talk about this too.
    I am bringing my personal experiences into this for a couple of reasons - one is that it always helps to illustrate the general through the particular if we want people to remember and understand. Second is in reaction to response to an article I wrote recently that compared the ideas about culture of Roger Scruton and Pope Benedict XVI. It was called Two Conservatives Seeing Eye to Eye on Culture. In this I mentioned Benedict's suggestion of offering Pascal's Wager to people. Some people responded by saying that they doubted it was possible to engage people to take the wager. I want to show that I think that it is possible by describing how I was engaged and evangelized. This is a method that I have used in turn with others to some effect.



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    A new film has been released by St Anthony Communications. Available on DVD, the film is presented by Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Andrew Pinsent and also features Jamie and Joanna Bogle. From the DVD:
    What are miracles? Are miracles possible and, if so, how do we know? Do miracles happen and, if so, what is their purpose? What attitudes should we take towards reports of miracles? How might miracles impact on our prospects for future happiness? What are the perspectives of science, theology, and philosophy on miracles today?

    The exploration of miracles raises some of the most important spiritual, intellectual and personal questions that we face. An understanding of miracles is important for catechesis in parishes and in the home, for personal spiritual and intellectual growth, for devotions, as well as many courses in religious studies and the humanities in general today.

    This film explores these questions from a Catholic perspective, informed by historical and modern discussions in science, philosophy, and theology, as well as cases of particular miracles, ancient and contemporary.

    This film can be purchased from St Anthony Communications, and for readers in the USA, many of their popular titles can be purchased from Ignatius Press including:

    - To Be A Pilgrim: The Canterbury Way
    - Marriage: God's Design for Life and Love
    - Lead Kindly Light: The Life and Message of John Henry Newman
    - Prayer: A Surge of the Heart
    - Faith of Our Fathers: In Search of the English Martyrs
    - The Why? Course
    - Powers and Dominions
    - The Last Things
    - Hostia
    - Gifts from God


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