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  • 09/02/16--01:49: Byzantine New Year
  • Although the First Sunday of Advent is generally considered the start of the liturgical year in the Roman Rite, this is purely a matter of logic and convention, and is in no way formally indicated in the liturgy itself. In point of fact, many ancient liturgical books of the Roman Rite, such as the early sacramentaries and lectionaries, began with Christmas Eve, and placed Advent at the end of the temporal cycle. The liturgical texts for the feast of the Circumcision on January 1st do not refer explicitly to the civil New Year, although there are some oblique references to the riotous pagan celebrations thereof. Many places in the Middle Ages kept the feast of the Annunciation as New Year’s Day, a custom which lasted in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until 1749, but this is also not mentioned in the liturgical texts of the feast.

    This inscription records the abolition of the “Tuscan New Year”, as it was often called, by the Grand Duke of Tuscany Francesco II. (This is displayed in the famous Loggia dei Lanzi, one of the many Italian monuments that seems to be under an eternal restoration, so I had to take this photo from this odd angle.)
    In the Byzantine Rite, on the other hand, the liturgical year has a formally designated beginning on September 1st, a custom which has its origin partly in an ancient Roman cycle of taxation known as the Indiction. I say “partly” for the following reason. The Byzantine tradition distinguishes twelve feasts, eight of Our Lord and four of Our Lady, as “Great Feasts”, with Easter in a category of its own as the Feast of Feasts. The first of these twelve to occur after the Indiction, and the first to occur in history, is the Nativity of the Virgin Mary on September 8th; the last to occur before the Indiction, and the last to occur in history, is the Assumption. It seems very unlikely that this arrangement is merely coincidental.

    Medieval liturgical calendars from the West often note a variety of different historical events in March, with the beginning of the Creation frequently marked on March 18. Theologically, this indicates that the old Creation was completed on the same day that its renewal began in the Incarnation, and for the same reason, many calendars mark the Passion of Christ on that day, with the Resurrection on the 27th, even though the liturgical celebration of these events is movable. (This year was in fact the last time that any man now alive will see the coincidence of Good Friday and the Annunciation on the Gregorian Calendar, but on the Julian, it will next take place in 2034.)

    The calendar of the Sarum Missal for March, from the 1882 critical edition of Francis Proctor and Christopher Wordsworth. Note the “Entrance of Noah in the Ark” on March 17, (one day before the anniversary of the beginning of Creation,) the creation of Adam on the 23rd, and the Resurrection on the 27th.
    In the Byzantine tradition, however, the Creation of the world is considered to have taken place on the Indiction, a fact to which the liturgical texts of the day refer repeatedly. For example, the tropar at the Divine Liturgy reads as follows.
    Maker of all creation, Who settest times and seasons in Thy power, bless the crown of the year of Thy goodness, o Lord, keeping in peace Thy kings and Thy city, by the prayers of the Mother of God, and save us.
    And likewise these two kontakia:
    Maker and Master of the ages, God of all things, and truly greater than all, bless this year, saving in Thy boundless mercy, o Compassionate One, all that serve Thee, the only Master, and cry out in reverence: o Redeemer, grant a bountiful year to all.
    O Thou that created all things in unspoken wisdom, and settest the seasons in Thy power, grant victory to Thy people that loveth Christ, blessing the going and coming of the year, and guiding our works towards Thy will.
    The connection between the Indiction and the Virgin Mary is highlighted by the addition of a second troparion to Her, with some common themes and vocabulary.
    Rejoice, o full of grace, Mother of God and Virgin, safe harbor and defense of the race of men. For from Thee the Redeemer of the world was incarnate. For Thou alone art Mother and Virgin, ever blessed and glorified. Pray to Christ God to grant peace to all the world.
    An 18th century Russian icon of the Creation of the World.
    Many early Christians attempted to calculate the age of the world, as the Jews had before them, working from the relevant statements of the Bible, and, not surprisingly, coming up with varying results. According to the reckoning most commonly accepted in the Byzantine world, the creation began in 5509 B.C, making this Annus Mundi 7525. (The traditional Roman reckoning as stated in the Martyrology on Christmas Eve puts the Birth of Christ in the 5199st year from the creation of the world, making this year only 7305.) This reckoning is still used by some Orthodox Christians in conjunction with the Anno Domini system for things like ecclesastical calendars and the inscription of dates on the cornerstone of a church. September 1st was celebrated as the civil New Year in the Byzantine Empire until the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and in Russia until in 1699, when it was changed by Peter the Great as part of his Westernizing reforms.

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    I reproduce here the latest in a developing series of blog posts which are appearing on Beauty of Catholicism website by Martinho Correia, about the work of Michelangelo and Caravaggio.

    He calls it The Two Michelangelos (Caravaggio’s first name was Michelangelo). In it, he shows how the second, the trailblazer in Rome who began the baroque tradition around 1600, drew influences from the first, the great painter of the Sistine Chapel who was one of the forming influences on the High Renaissance.

    You can find The Two Michelangelos, Part 1 here.

    Martinho writes:

    This is the “Martyrdom of St. Matthew” from the Contarelli Chapel in San Luigi Francesi in Rome.

    Caravaggio’s version of the martyrdom was inspired by the Golden Legend, according to which St Matthew was murdered while celebrating mass in the Ethiopian city of Nadaber. He had refused to marry the King Hirtacus to Ephigenia, a consecrated virgin; upset at this, the king sent an assassin to kill the Saint.

    The white vestments of Matthew set against the dark background bring our attention to the center of the painting, as the assassin stands over the saint, about to kill him. At left we see a group of young men (including Carvaggio’s self portrait at the back) dressed in contemporary 17th century clothing, as in the “Calling of St Matthew” (on the opposite wall). This group could be the faithful who, upon witnessing the murder, ran to light fire to the king’s palace. On the right is the altar boy running away from the scene, while just behind him is the altar. The bottom group is somewhat confusing as it seems the figures are distorted and/or limbless. Could this refer to the cripples that St. Matthew was known for healing? The strange space they are in may be a reference to the Pool of Bethsaida, a healing pool in Jerusalem mentioned in St. John’s Gospel.

    It is the grouping of St Matthew and the assassin that is most interesting. Once again, Caravaggio references Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, using the body of Adam in the place of the assassin. Below I have photoshopped Adam next to the assassin to demonstrate the similarity.

    The assassin is Adam upright, on his feet, Adam who has become sinner and been exiled from Paradise. The assassin/Adam grabs the hand of Matthew, trying to block contact with the palm of martyrdom being offered to him by the angel above. Adam here is an image of arrogance, in contrast to the redemptive power offered to Matthew. It is sin that prevents us from receiving the grace of God. In this grouping, Caravaggio represents the complex rapport between human and divine.

    With “The Calling of St. Matthew,” the hand of Adam became the hand of Christ that calls Matthew. In “The Martyrdom of St Matthew,” the body of Adam just created becomes the arrogant body of Matthew’s assassin, while the angel above Matthew flies down from God the Divine Creator.

    In the next post we will see how Caravaggio continues to reference the Sistine Chapel in his painting of “The Supper at Emmaus.”

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    I just happened to stumble across this video of the episcopal ordination of Giorgio Demetrio Gallaro, eparch of the Greek-Catholic community in Piana degli Albanesi in Sicily. This took place on June 28 of last year; the principal consecrator is Bishop Donato Oliverio, eparch of Lungro degli Albanesi in the mainland province of Calabria. We have mentioned these Byzantine Rite communities of southern Italy a few times previously; they descend in part from the Greek settlements which were formerly very numerous on the Italian peninsula, and partly from the groups of Albanians, who crossed the Adriatic in the 15th century to escape from the Turkish invasion of their lands. (Hence the distinction “degli Albanesi - of the Albanians”; Albano and Albanese are both fairly common last names in Italy.) It is marvelous to see how they have preserved their liturgical and cultural traditions for so many centuries.

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    Thanks to Shawn Nola and Fr Eric Andersen for sending me details of another Men’s Holy League, this time on the West Coast.

    Under the patronage of Cardinal Burke, the mission of the Holy League is to “combat the forces of evil in today’s society; the Holy League strives to call men back to the state of grace and to transforming the culture through prayer.”

    It is a new, parish-based network of men inspired by the original Holy League of the 16th century, which by prayer and fasting, implored the help of God’s grace, and the intercession of His Holy Mother. By the grace of Almighty God, on October 7, 1571, at the Battle of Lepanto, the Christian fleet won a crushing victory over the Ottoman Turks, saving Christendom and western civilization.

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  • 09/03/16--12:40: Music from the Book of Job
  • When Job heard the words of the messengers, he suffered it patiently, and said: If we have received good from the hand of the Lord, why should we not receive evil? In all these things, Job did not sin with his lips, nor spake he foolishly aught against God.

    Aña Cum audisset Job * nuntiórum verba, sustínuit patienter, et ait: Si bona suscépimus de manu Dómini, mala autem quare non sustineámus? In ómnibus his non peccávit Job labiis suis, neque stultum áliquid contra Deum locútus est.

    This evening, the Saturday before the first Sunday of September, the traditional Office begins two weeks of readings from the book of Job, starting with this antiphon for the Magnificat. The famous recording ensemble Schola Hungarica, founded by the Prof. László Dobsay, has a large playlist (28 items) on their Youtube channel of Gregorian pieces of all sorts, antiphons, readings and responsories, taken from this “history” of Job, as the medievals called it. Here is another example, the first Matins responsory.

    R. If we have received good from the hand of God, why should we not receive evil? * The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. As it hath pleased the Lord, so hath it befallen. Blessed be the Name of the Lord. V. Naked came I from my mother’s womb, and naked shall thither I return. R. The Lord gave...

    R. Si bona suscépimus de manu Dei, mala autem quare non sustineámus? * Dóminus dedit, Dóminus ábstulit: sicut Dómino plácuit, ita factum est: sit nomen Dómini benedictum. V. Nudus egressus sum de útero matris meae, et nudus revertar illuc. R. Dóminus dedit ... 

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    Sometimes at NLM we feature the work of new artists and architects doing projects from scratch. At other times we have featured marvelous examples of renovations that have undone some or all of the evils of a former wreckovation (usually from the sixties or seventies). Today I am pleased to share some conceptual renderings by a young architectural designer, Kevin O'Connor, who is working to complete the "Gothicization" of a church built only a few years ago -- Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the FSSP parish in the Denver archidiocese. The project is quite extensive in scope and shows a fine sense of consistency of style and attention to detail, both on the inside of the building and in its external appearance. It is a great example of taking a good thing and making it even better. The text below was supplied to me by Mr. O'Connor. The parish hall is also undergoing renovation, as the painting below indicates.

     *          *          *

    When the new church for Our Lady of Mount Carmel was built it was done so as an "interpretation" of the Gothic style, but with some elements left missing in order to make the project manageable and to fill an urgent need for a better church building. The purpose of the work being done at present is to address the unfinished aspects and to bring the church from an interpretation of the Gothic to an authentic execution of the style. Specifically, the church will be refinished in the English Gothic Revival as developed by the nineteenth-century architect A.W.N. Pugin. Not only have Pugin's buildings served as inspiration, but the design philosophy is also strongly formed by his writings on the principles of Gothic architecture.

    A faithful execution of any Gothic building requires a great awareness of the integrity of the structure itself. That is, a modern building constructed from structural steel, stick framing, and drywall cannot convey the sense of solidarity, mass, and permanence that a true Gothic building does. When working with a modern structure, we can do our best to minimize those lacunae. Arcades will be added in the Sanctuary, and compound piers added to "hanging arches" in the Nave to augment the building's integrity. A decorated oak-beamed ceiling will be added to the sanctuary, and the walls will be decorated in polychromed and gilt stencil work. Dozens of custom wood, plaster and cast mortar mouldings, corbels, statues, bosses, capitals and splays for arches will be made to properly adorn the church, as any Gothic building requires a profusion of carved work.

    Not only is the design work done by my company, but many of the elements are custom made "in-house," giving the assurance that the end product will match the design concept both technically and in the desired feel. The carved stone work, mouldings, wall patterns, painted and gilt work, the wooden ceiling, and many other features, are all completed in my own workshop. I should like to note that a majority of the new architectural features, such as columns, archways, and the ceiling, are constructed off-site in modular units that can be installed relatively quickly with minimal interruption to the parish's schedule.

    The project will take many years and is to be done is stages. The Sanctuary will be the first stage of the refinishing project to be completed.

    Picture #1: Scale drawing and watercolour of the  new decorated timber beamed ceiling for the Sanctuary

    Picture #2: Photo of renderings of the three ceiling bosses, crown moulding tracery, and string course for the Sanctuary with the first sculpted boss.

    Picture #3: Conceptual rendering of the remodeled Sanctuary

    Picture #4: Conceptual rendering of the new Western Front of the church, and proposed tower and spire to be completed after the church is lengthened.

    Picture #5: Conceptual rendering of the parish hall based upon the collegiate halls of Oxford University.

    Below are some further sketches from the brainstorming process.

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    Some time ago I wrote a piece about the St Matthew of the Lindisfarne Gospels, which was painted by one Brother Eadrith in the 8th century.

    At the time, I was unsure as to who the figure peeping from behind the curtain might be.

    Now, a year later a reader, Rev Dan Bodine has written me to say:
    The most obvious candidate in my view is St. Luke. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke share much of the same material. The painting would therefore accuse Luke as listening in on the Divine Word as Matthew receives it. (Who wouldn’t?)
    One way of checking this is to look at the depiction of Luke in the same gospel. Here it is:

    There is a physical likeness between the two figures, so it might be so. Fr Sebastian Carnazzo, who teaches a course on scripture and icons for the Masters in Sacred Arts at Pontifex University, suggested to me that this might arise from St Augustine’s that Matthew was the first to write a Gospel. The Gospel of Mark was written using Matthew as a source, and the Gospel of Luke was written using Mark as a source. This is something which might well have been known by Eadfrith, and so he portraying Matthew as the ultimate source. The color of the gospel book itself, turquoise, matches too.

    The question then arise: Why didn’t he show also Mark as being derived from Matthew? Here is Eadfrith’s St Mark; he is depicted according to the traditions as a young, dark-haired man. The Lion which represents him is clutching a Matthew-colored, i.e. turquoise gospel. So perhaps this might be a sign of the source. However, as an artist, I know that Eadfrith is as likely to have chosen his color scheme based upon what he thought looked good and the availability of pigments as any other criterion, so one has to careful not to over-interpret.

    Fr Carnazzo also referred me to Michelle Brown’s book “The Lindisfarne Gospels: Society, Spirituality and the Scribe,” which suggests that there was also tradition of depicting with each Gospel writer the source of his inspiration; for Matthew this is Christ, for John the Holy Spirit, while Mark is informed by Peter and Luke is connected to Paul. However, this seems to me to be less relevant as for the peeping figure with St Matthew, who, it seems to me, is listening to him, not dictating.

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    I think our readers will all find this video of interest, and perhaps worth sharing with people they know who may not be convinced of the virtues of celebrating Mass ad orientem. Among those who here speak in favor of this traditional custom of the Church is His Excellency René Henry Gracida, bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas, as well as a priest and a laymen who describe their own experiences with it. Thanks to Mr Castillo, who appears in the video, for letting me know about it.

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    Angelico Press continues to build its empire as the premiere publisher of imaginative and intellectually rigorous traditional Catholic books, both new titles and reprints of old ones. (If you go through their online catalogue, you will see why I say this.) I was reminded of this fact recently when looking at three new books from Angelico, each of which will hold great interest for Catholics who are serious about the philosophical and theological dimensions of the sacred liturgy.

    First, Angelico has prepared new editions (freshly typeset) of a pair of superb books by Jean Hani (1917-2012), namely, The Divine Liturgy: Insights Into Its Mystery(published in French in 1981 and in English translation in 2008) and The Symbolism of the Christian Temple(published in French in 1978 and in English translation in 2007). The two books clearly belong together: while there is no duplication of content, there is a kind of double-helix relationship between them.

    Here are their tables of contents:

    TOC of The Divine Liturgy: Insight Into Its Mystery
    TOC of The Symbolism of the Christian Temple
    These books are extremely penetrating commentaries on the structure and symbolism of the liturgy, its spatio-temporal environment, and the fundamental cosmic and anthropological foundations on which it rests. In this sense, one may describe these books as delivering a comprehensive phenomenology of traditional liturgy, but without the cluttersome jargon typical of much modern French academic writing. Hani's style is refreshingly straightforward as he impressively weaves together numerological, cosmological, psychological, and mystical modes of discourse. Were there ever any doubt that traditional Christian liturgy is deeper than the deepest ocean and vaster than the canopy of heaven, these two books would obliterate it instantly.

    The books are graced with many diagrams and photographs that illustrate the points made in the text. Hani conscientious connects universal axioms or postulates to concrete examples of them, particularly from the Middle Ages, so that he does not seem to be spinning ideas out of his fantasy. One cannot fail to notice that these books constitute a subtle critique of modern liturgical reform and the shallow and shifting foundation on which it rests, as compared with the massive pillars that support the liturgical rites of East and West to which he continually refers.

    Some sample pages:

    Turning to Jean Borella (b. 1930), a retired professor of metaphysics and the history of ancient and medieval philosophy at the University of Nancy II, I am afraid it will be difficult to do any justice to his elaborate and challenging book (or rather, two books in one): The Crisis of Religious Symbolism and Symbolism & Realityin never-before-published translations by G. John Champoux.

    (One of my favorite passages of Borella is found in his book Sense of the Supernatural, where he places an imaginary speech on the lips of "every true rite": "Ever in me is your present; in me your ephemeral life can rediscover its surest meaning, because ever in me is the fidelity and the patience of Divine Love and its promise. You who are worn out by the whirl of time and things, you who have been torn to pieces, divided further and lost; come and see, I will gather you together again, unify you, calm you, for I am always the same; I am the language with which your fathers and mothers prayed . . . I am the long and still fresh memory of people when they remember God.")

    The reason I put this book together with the Jean Hani is that readers of the one author are definitely going to be interested in the other. They both attend closely to "mythocosmology" and the way in which reality is not only understood through but even structured and articulated by the story that a culture tells about it (this may sound relativistic but it isn't, at least not in the hands of Hani and Borella, who combine realist metaphysics with linguistics, hermeneutics, and symbology).

    Here is the table of contents -- a formidable enough outline of this hugely ambitious work.
    I will not mislead my NLM readers: this is a dense and difficult book, playing with all stops on the pipe organ of the Western intellectual tradition. Borella is simultaneously wrestling with dozens of philosophers from all periods, executing one masterful judo-move after another as he throws down modern and post-modern thinkers by leveraging their own intellectual maneuvers. The running critiques of Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, and other "deconstructors" is exhilarating, even if occasionally the wheels get bogged down in French semantic theory. Ultimately, this book is a potent refutation of the pseudo-rational narcissism of far too much of academic thought and a triumphant vindication of the sacred cosmos rooted in the eternal Logos, a horizon still accessible to us if we can clear away the mental fog that artificially separates us from it.

    Lovers of symbols and chants, check out the Hani books. Students of modern and contemporary philosophy, make sure you add Borella to your list.

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    The Romanian Greek-Catholic Monastery of the Holy Resurrection, located at 300 S. 2nd Avenue in St Nazianz, Wisconsin, will have its annual pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady, Searcher for the Lost, this Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. The procession will go from the monastery to the nearby church of St Gregory, where a Divine Liturgy will be celebrated. See the flier below for details.

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    Our next major photopost will be for both the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, which is celebrated tomorrow, and the Exaltation of the Cross, this coming Wednesday, September 14th; please send your photos (whether of the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form) to for inclusion. We are also always glad to receive photographs of celebrations in the Eastern rites, as well as Vespers and other parts of the Office. Please be sure to include the name and location of the church, and always feel free to add any other information you think important. Evangelize through beauty!

    From last year’s photopost for the Exaltation of the Cross, a procession with a relic of the True Cross in the parish of “El Sagrario” in Lima, Perú

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    In October, I will start to offer the 11am Mass at the Cathedral Parish ad orientem.”

    His Excellency Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, announced that beginning in October, his Masses in the Cathedral will be celebrated ad orientem, as part of Cardinal Sarah’s recent encouragement for priests and bishops to follow suit. He further discusses Cardinal Sarah’s and Pope Benedict’s writings on the matter.

    The full recording of his homily which contained the announcement can be found below. His announcement begins at the 8 minute mark, though the whole homily is worth a listen.

    Listen Here

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    Look, o man, up the counsel of God, know the counsel of wisdom, the counsel of holiness. When He was to water the ground with heavenly dew, first He poured it upon the whole fleece (Judges 6, 37-40); when He was to redeem the human race, He conferred the whole price thereof upon Mary. Why was this? Perhaps so that Eve might be excused through her daughter, and the man’s complaint against the woman might be laid to rest. Say thou no longer, Adam, “The woman, whom Thou gavest me, gave me of the forbidden tree;” (Gen. 3, 12) say rather, “The woman, whom Thou gavest me, fed me with blessed fruit.” …

    The Nativity of the Virgin, by Pietro Lorenzetti, 1335-42; originally painted for one the side-altars of the Cathedral of Siena, now in the Cathedral Museum.
    Therefore from the depth our heart, with all the depth of our affection, and in all our prayers let us venerate this Mary; for such is the will of Him who willed us to have all through Mary. This, I say, is His will, but it is for our own sake. For indeed, in all things and through all things taking care for the wretched, He comforteth us in our alarm, stirreth up our faith, strengthens our hope, driveth away our diffidence, raiseth up our weakness. Thou didst fear to draw near to the Father, terrified at His voice, thou fled to (cover thyself with) leaves; He gave thee Jesus as an intercessor. What might such a Son not obtain from such a Father? He will indeed be heard for His reverence, (Hebr. 5, 7) for the Father loveth the Son. (John 3, 35) He is thy brother, and thy flesh, tempted in all things (like as we are, but) without sin, that He might become merciful. (Hebr. 4, 15 and 2, 17) Mary gave thee this brother.
    - From St Bernard of Clairvaux’s Sermon on the Nativity of the Virgin Mary (P.L. 183, 0437D et seqq.) 

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    The Catholic Herald reported yesterday that ordinations will be celebrated in the traditional rite on June 17th of next year at the Fraternity of St Peter’s church in Warrington, England, St Mary’s Shrine. His Grace Malcolm McMahon, O.P., the Archbishop of Liverpool, will ordain Deacons Alex Stewart and Krzysztof Sanetra in the first such ordination ceremony to be held in England in decades.

    The FSSP took over the beautiful church of St Mary in Warrington, which was designed by Pugin, about 10 months ago, saving it from a proposed closure. It was established by Archbishop McMahon as a center for the celebration of the Mass and other sacraments in the EF, and has been embraced as such by the parishioners new and old.

    We will look forward to sharing photos of the ceremony with our readers next year, and we thank Archbishop McMahon for his paternal care of the faithful attached to the Extraordinary Form.

    The sanctuary of St Marys Shrine during Tenebrae this year.
    From our post this past June of the FSSP ordinations held in the Cathedral of Auxerre; the prostration of the ordinands at the Litany of the Saints.

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    As some of our readers may remember from previous articles, there was a long-standing custom in parts of Croatia that the Roman Rite be celebrated in the Croatian recension of Old Church Slavonic, rather than in Latin. Shawn Tribe published an article about the Glagolitic Missal, as it was called, from the ancient script originally created for the Slavic languages, back in 2011. Recently, a Mass was celebrated according to this Missal for the first time in 50 years in Zagreb; we are grateful to one of the faithful who were present for providing us with this account of it.

    Let me start with a brief introduction. The current situation concerning the Extraordinary Form in Croatia is that there is not a single diocesan Mass available anywhere in the country. The only regular Sunday Mass was available from February 2011 to October 2014 , when the priest assigned by the Archdiocese of Zagreb suddenly died. So now, we, the Coetus fidelium of Zagreb, the capitol of Croatia, have been without a priest for almost two years, so we have to rely on the generosity and availability of the visiting priests to at least have occasional Masses. Such was the recent case when a priest from the Institute of the Good Shepherd, Fr. Mateusz Markiewicz, currently stationed in Bordeaux, was on a three day long visit in Zagreb.

    During those three days, Father Markiewicz celebrated the Traditional Mass in the church of St. Martin. For the first two days, these were Latin Masses, but on the third day, we had a Low Glagolitic Mass, a first public Mass of its kind in Croatia after approximately 50 years. It was a votive Mass of St. Joseph, the patron of Croatia, and also of our local ordinary, Cardinal Josip Bozanić. The Mass was celebrated from the so-called “Vajs Missal” (Missale Romanum Slavonico Idiomate), the last printed Glagolitic Missal from 1927, written in the Croatian recension of Church Slavonic. This Missal was transliterated to Latin script, unlike the previous Glagolitic missals, see other examples here:

    As a side note, the first printed Croatian book was a Missale Romanum Glagolitice dating from 1483. You can find the digitized version here:

    The copy of the “Vajs Missal” we used was purchased recently from the United States by the society “Benedictus”, the Croatian chapter of the Una Voce Federation. As the celebrating priest is a Slav, he had no problem in reading the Church Slavonic or Croatian. Here is a short clip of the prayers at the foot of the altar.

    As a gift from a local priest, we also had the Church Slavonic altar cards. A small curiosity - it was not unusual in southern parts of Croatia along the coast of Dalmatia, to have two-sided altar cards, one side containing the Latin text and the opposite side the Church Slavonic – here is an example of the Church Slavonic side from a church in Split.

    Unlike the southern parts of Croatia, the Glagolitic Mass was not something usual in northern Croatia, Zagreb included. However, it was regularly celebrated in the 20th century by the Zagreb Third Order Franciscans (TOR). A common name for them in Croatia was “Popi glagoljaši”, or Glagolitic friars/fathers). The Blessed Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac celebrated a Glagolitic Mass in 1942, during the opening of a new TOR parish in Zagreb.

    Sadly the TOR friars completely abandoned the Glagolitic Mass, a tradition that lasted over thousand years, after the Second Vatican Council. Nevertheless, a big part of our Glagolitic legacy, for instance praying the old Breviary, was preserved on some islands in Dalmatia, especially in the Zadar Archdiocese. You can hear the examples of the ancient Glagolitic chant still used today on the island of Iž here:

    or here (singing of Vespers):

    There are plans for celebrating a sung Mass with the Glagolitic chant in Croatia for the next year, so we will keep you informed. We sincerely hope that this Mass in Zagreb will serve as an encouragement for priests in Croatia, especially the younger ones, to learn the old rite, and to embrace the ancient Glagolitic legacy passed to us from the “Apostles of Slavs”, the saintly brothers Cyril and Methodius. A fun fact to end with – one of the oldest monuments of the Croatian language is the “Baška tablet,” dating from around 1100, who has an inscription in the Croatian recension of the Church Slavonic language. The tablet itself is part of a pluteum, or a partition that separated the sanctuary from the nave, so this remains one of the few communion rails that actually survived the numerous “renovations” following the Second Vatican Council.

    (Parts of this article have been translated into English from a report originally published on (

    The lighting of the Sanctus candle

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    Nothing Superfluous: An Explanation of the Symbolism of the Rite of St. Gregory the Great [i.e., the traditional Latin Mass]. By the Rev. James W. Jackson, FSSP. Lincoln, NE: Redbrush, 2016. $17.95. Available from Fraternity Publishing.

    This is a book whose publication I have been eagerly awaiting, ever since I saw the manuscript a couple of years ago and, subsequently, the tantalizing excerpts that have appeared each month in the newsletter of the North American district of the Fraternity of St. Peter.

    Many readers will already be familiar with the genre of book to which this new one belongs: a running commentary on the parts and prayers of the traditional Latin Mass, probing their symbolism, looking into their theological depths, and offering suggestions for how one might enter into the great mystery of the Mass more consciously and obtain more spiritual fruit from it. There are many classics in this genre, particularly from the early and middle of the twentieth century, the heyday of the healthy Liturgical Movement.

    This new book by Fr. Jackson, however — and I say it without hyperbole — is the best book of its kind I have ever read. Drawing upon centuries of commentarial tradition filtered through his long experience of offering the Holy Sacrifice with loving awe, Fr. Jackson is able to feed us with choice meat; there is no fluff here.

    The book features two Forewords, one by Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, the other by Dom Phillip Anderson, Abbot of Clear Creek Monastery (neither of them strangers to readers of NLM).

    Chapter 1 talks about the language of the liturgy and how it speaks to our hearts (and why its very density of symbolism and stability of form is the precondition for real participation in it); chapter 2 speaks of the church building, its characteristics, furnishings, and objects; chapter 3 is about the liturgy as "serious play," its leisureliness and relationship with wonder; chapter 4 looks into the sacristy and explains the different vestments; chapter 5 is on the ceremonies that precede the priest's ascent of the altar; chapter 6 is on the Mass of the Catechumens; chapter 7 delves into the Creed and the Offertory (and what a rich commentary on the traditional Offertory prayers we get!); chapter 8 is dedicated entirely to the Canon of the Mass; chapter 9 to all that follows, from the Lord's Prayer to the Last Gospel.

    Appendix I is a substantial, detailed, and informative glossary of liturgical vocabulary; Appendix II explains and defends the use of Latin in the Roman liturgy; Appendix III speaks wisely of how the liturgy teaches most effectively when it is most fully itself, not when it busily sets about teaching people; Appendix IV is a short but convincing apologia for the traditional Requiem Mass in all its black-hued distinctiveness. The chapter headings are graced with old-school line drawings.

    Every page glistens with gems of insight. For example, he throws down the gauntlet to those who would perpetually adapt the liturgy to modern man, changing it and strippping it down as they go along:
    Does the fact that we no longer see shepherds and flocks every day mean that such images are no longer comprehensible? Is it because no one at our parish has ever met a seraph that the metaphorical power of this messenger no longer speaks to us? Half of all the poetry ever written makes use of images and terms that are not part of daily life. These words and symbols are a part of a biblical and liturgical mother tongue that simply cannot be replaced. It is a language that must be learned, not replaced. Divine realities only gradually yield their full significance. So understanding the liturgy is a lengthy and progressive process of becoming familiar with a particular reality. This is one of many reasons why the liturgy must have a great stability, not just in texts but also in gestures, vestments, and music. (2-3)
    Fr. Jackson's treatment of how the seven utterances of "Dominus vobiscum" in the liturgy correspond to the seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost, and why they come in the places and the order in which they do (pp. 110-16), is a tour de force. The discussion of why precious articles are used in worship, and the particular symbolism of each vestment of the celebrant, including the liturgical colors (pp. 61-78), is so beautifully and aptly put that it succeeds in being not only informative but deeply moving. The explanation of each part of the church building, e.g., windows, steps, bells, altars (pp. 23-44), reveals layer after layer of rich symbolism; one who reads these pages will never think about or encounter these things in quite the same way.

    As one would expect (and yet still rejoice!) to find in a disciple of the great John Senior and his colleagues of the Integrated Humanities Program, this marvelous book always combines the verum, the bonum, and the pulchrum  that is, the rationale behind a certain object or practice or text, the moral and spiritual goodness of it, and its beauty, its radiance or splendor. Fr. Jackson, more than any author I have seen, appreciates that the Mass as a "poem," the greatest poem our world has ever seen, a poem written by our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit over the course of twenty centuries. He brings out the drama of the liturgy as a solemn re-presentation of the sacred mysteries of the life, death, and resurrection of Our Lord and a participation in their inexhaustible dynamism. The traditional Mass is not simply holy (although it is that, to the maximum degree); it is not simply doctrinally pure, ample, and trustworthy (for it is that, too, without a doubt); it is above all beautiful, orderly, and harmonious, elevating the senses, the imagination, the memory, the intellect, the will above themselves and into the precincts of the heavenly Jerusalem. It has a peculiar power to do all this because of the depth and organic complexity of its manifold elements, which grew up together slowly, intermingling, mutually resonating, reflecting both the graced illuminations of the Church and the subtle needs of human nature.

    There are so many wonderful lines in this book: "People usually enter the Church by one of two doors: the door of the intelligence or the door of beauty. The first is open to scholars and intellectuals. The second is open to anyone — especially those who see with childlike wonder" (47). "The priest's lifting up his hands has a profound human significance, as when a child reaches for his mother, or a friend sees an old friend, or a soldier puts his hands up as he surrenders" (139). Some of my favorite reflections have to do with silence:
    The silence that the priest maintains here [at the foot of the altar] and in different places in the Sacred Liturgy is not an absence of sound. It has no gaps; it is a single great canticle, and the silence acts as an acoustic veil over the whole liturgy to reveal what the liturgy is. The Gregorian Rite has no artificial introduction of silence into the liturgy by the addition of pauses. When silence is at the beck and call of the celebrant, as opposed to the rite, the silence of the priest becomes the whole congregation waiting for him, wondering what is going to happen next. The silence in the Gregorian Rite is given as an integral part of the Mass, determined by the Church through two thousand years of development. And what often seems like silence in our rite is not quite silence; it is rather the priest praying to God in a low voice. (97)
    The silence [of the Canon] also harmonizes with the mystery of Transubstantiation, in which the material elements of the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, without the senses perceiving it or the created mind able to comprehend it; the Real Presence and sacrificial life of the Savior under the sacramental species are concealed beyond all discernment. So the holy silence is quite suited to indicate and to recall the concealment and depth, the incomprehensibility and ineffableness of the wonderful mysteries enacted on the altar. “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him!” (Hab. 2:20)  (201)
    I recommend this book without hesitation for every pastor (it could inspire many fine sermons), every educator (it is the ideal text for a high school or college liturgy practicum), every homeschooling parent — in truth, every faithful Catholic who wants to learn more about the mysteries of the Mass and how to enter more fully into them.

    To purchase, visit Fraternity Publications.

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    The following press release comes to us from Pontifex University, and is reproduced from their website.

    Pontifex University offers a unique approach to higher Catholic education by forming students in the way of beauty so they might renew traditional Catholic culture. Expert faculty including highly respected Catholic artists teach courses online. Regional workshops are planned around the US, Italy and the Holy Land, which include special access to the Vatican Museums and restoration workshops, as well as an optional graduation Mass in the Vatican.

    The Masters of Sacred Arts (MSA) degree is a groundbreaking combination of theory and practice. In addition to the study of theology, philosophy, architecture, film, music and art, students have mentored hands-on studio work in drawing, iconography, painting and sculpture. This two-year program is perfect for artists, architects, priests, seminarians, religious, educators, laity, patrons of the arts and anyone looking to create beauty as a sign of hope in today’s world.

    Pontifex programs are established on the premise that in all genuine Catholic education, the ultimate Educator is God Himself. As Pius XI stated, the aim of a Christian education is “to form the supernatural man who thinks, judges and acts constantly and consistently in accordance with right reason illumined by the supernatural light.” The goal of Pontifex is to guide students along the path, the Way of Beauty, which leads to the supernatural transformation in Christ, so equipping one to serve Him.

    The MSA program was designed by Provost David Clayton, previously Artist-in-Residence at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, whose book The Way of Beauty, published by Angelico Press in 2015, contains the principles utilized by Pontifex University. “The launching of the MSA program at Pontifex is the culmination of 20 years’ research,” Clayton said. “It all began when, as a recent convert, I decided to become an artist and couldn’t find anywhere to give me the training I wanted. I had to work it all out for myself. I am thrilled now to see this being offered to the next generation which, who knows, might contain a latter day Van Eyck or Velaquez!”

    The MSA offers the same formation that enabled the great Catholic artists of the past to create works of radiant beauty that are at once noble, elevating and accessible to the many, drawing all to God. Pontifex prepares students to pass the test laid down for artists by Pope Benedict XVI: “It is precisely the test of true creativity that the artist steps out of the esoteric circle and knows how to form his or her intuition in such a way that the others—the many—may perceive what the artist has perceived.”

    Pontifex University’s MSA is the new catalyst that shows how to bring these elements together in harmony with one’s personal vocation, whatever it may be, for the glory of God and joy of mankind.

    About Pontifex University
    Pontifex University is an authentic Roman Catholic institution formed in 2015 and overseen by a self perpetuating Board of Trustees that governs the Solidarity Association of the Christian Faithful, a public juridical body established by decree.

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    The Juventutem International Federation has just recently published on its website an official report of their participation in the World Youth Day held in Krakow, Poland from July 26th-31st, written by Fr Armand de Mallery of the Fraternity of St Peter. The report can be read in full and downloaded in pdf format by clicking this link. Here is one of the eight sections into which it is divided, in which members of the group from several different countries recount some of their experience. (Reproduced with permission.)

    Juventutem youths in their own words

    (L)et our young adults themselves tell you their impressions. As a sample, we now quote Issac, who leads a polyphonic choir for the Traditional Latin Mass in Malaysia; Ríona, a Remote Sensing Surveyor in England; Simon is a student from the north of Sweden, where the nearest Catholic Mass is several hours away; Mathieu is a choirmaster from France: he attended the Masses and catecheses in the second church, with the French-speaking Juventutem groups; Aldo is from South Italy; and Dan is a photographer in England.

    How did the Extraordinary Form liturgy with Juventutem add to your WYD experience?

    Dan: Having the traditional rite gave me something solemn and prayerful to balance with the social time, meals, and tours of the city (and all the queuing in hot weather!)
    Issac: Juventutem is what attracted me.
    Simon: The Extraordinary Form liturgy with surrounding spirituality and mindset, did not add anything to my WYD, it was instead the very reason I decided to go on this trip. I was not left disappointed on this behalf, since all celebrations were utterly beautiful. The setting was well made, with a fine church and skilled musicians.

    Pontifical Mass celebrated by His Excellency Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin
    Mathieu: I will rather speak in reference to my « Sequentiae Choir » with which I came. Several singers were not Catholic at all, and in any case not practising. They discovered the Extraordinary Form during that week. They all head back after the week asking themselves deep questions about the faith and the Extraordinary Form. “Beauty”, which they had not encountered in this context, was decisive.
    Janice, a young woman from Malaysia: Coming from Malaysia where the TLM is not available daily in the diocese, I can’t tell you how much it meant for me (and some of us) to have daily Mass in the traditional form every day for almost 2 weeks. It was even more so during the Pontifical Masses that took place in the Church of Conversion of St. Paul, Krakow. Enraptured in the beauty of the Mass of All Ages with all its decorum and reverence, I could only hide myself under my veil awe-struck and captivated by the Love our Blessed Lord was offering for us on the altar.
    Jerome, from Singapore: The liturgy of the universal Church connected, presented and brought to life Salvation History and man’s history, (which WYD Krakow 2016 is part of).

    Did you find it a good experience?
    Dan: Yes, very good. I enjoyed being with the group and the people I met from all over the world and will definitely be keeping in touch with each of them. The whole thing was well organised, and had a good balance between planned and spontaneous arrangements. It was also good to be among people who had come together with a shared motive or interest.
    Issac: Yes. Because of the quality of the catecheses and the frequency of the celebrations of Pontifical Masses, Missa Cantata, Private Masses, etc.
    Ríona: I really enjoyed experiencing the contrast between the vibrant festival atmosphere on the streets and the beautiful peace of the Extraordinary Form liturgy; this combined with the frequent thunderstorms, made for an intense, exciting experience!
    Simon: A pontifical high mass almost every day for a week is a buffet of grace one cannot even wish for. How grateful we should be for this!
    Janice: It was my first experience at WYD and I couldn’t have made a better choice than to join Juventutem. The biggest impression that I carried home with me to Malaysia is of the many witnesses of our Catholic Faith. Besides Fr Michal, I met new friends who gave up an existing romantic relationship to join the seminary, friends who are considering religious vocation and also friends who desired greatly and went out of their way to assist at Holy Mass as altar servers – and suddenly, I don’t feel as alone in this journey of Faith.
    Jerome: Yes it was good. In the Asian Church, especially coming from South-East Asia, there is presently no clergy of the episcopate that celebrates the ancient form of the Roman-rite liturgy. So participating in the various kinds of the EF liturgy, in particular the Pontifical High Masses is a dream come true and experience-of-a-lifetime!

    What did you like best?
    Dan: Hard to say, but several things: the group bond by the end of the week; the time to pray; the solid talks from priests and bishops; the fact that many people came for a Mass or talk who weren't part of Juventutem but just wanted to experience it, even for the first time, was good to see; I thought it was good that no one wasted time critiquing other aspects of WYD that were not exactly traditional (!) – everyone in the group were happy to be there, and to participate in the other WYD events as much as they wanted.
    Issac: The venues and their proximity with each other. The presence of 'good' prelates.
    Ríona: The catechesis was a great opportunity to be informed in living the day-to-day life as a Catholic.
    Simon: The best experience from this week will be the last (and only) low mass I heard at a side altar on the final Sunday. This thanks to its beautiful intimacy with the sacred sacrifice of our Lord. I found the trip a very good experience as well as a help to deepen my faith and the understanding for the will of the Lord in my life.
    Mathieu: The Masses of course, and the catecheses of our three excellent bishops.

    What did you like least?
    Dan: I guess all the queuing, but that is part and parcel of a WYD so nothing major or unreasonable.
    Issac: The choir could have been better organised and perhaps a bigger church so that people of different language groups can mix.
    Ríona: What I liked the least was the time spent in queues for food!
    Simon: The thing I liked the least was to see the crowd being so stressed and bumpy. How the eagerness of each individual to, get food, see the Holy Father, or another thing was placed above proper behaviour in public. Even though this was the thing I liked the least, I'm aware of the fact that this situation might have been much worse if there would have been more alcohol or drugs in the picture. Things still got on sufficiently well, without major catastrophes.
    Mathieu: The digressions after the papal Vigil, and before the Sunday Mass.

    Share an anecdote.
    Dan: I think it has to be the marriage proposal on Friday after Mass, in front of a large group of people! Very nice indeed. Our chaplain having a forthright and kind chat with a young Jehovah Witness girl while two evangelicals stood next to him trying to give he some of the literature was a sight! I also thought it was nice that our group were all people at their first WYD, and had just met, but made the effort to have conversations, arrange meals together. Seeing the smiles on the girls’ faces when I suggested going to a cake shop! I ended up eating herring two days in a row, despite my best efforts to try different things. Feeling proud that lots of the group (not me though!) did the long trek to the vigil and back, and some even camped overnight – well done them! Also, I was edified by the commitment to personal prayer shown by several of the group. They didn’t mean to, of course, but I noticed, and it had a good effect on me.

    Issac: A chat with Bishop Schneider, when he said that the beauty of the liturgy is what makes it attractive to the youth. I think these words need to be taken seriously as a yardstick by which we establish the higher standard that is expected from international meetings like these. They must exceed what we are used to having in the majority of places.
    Simon: An anecdote to share is when a smaller group of us were searching for a place to pray our rosary an afternoon. We went from church to church without finding a place before we ended at the market square ready to give up. We made the queue to get in to the basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin where we were supposed to pray in silence, individually. After taking a small tour in the church one of us found an empty chapel dedicated to St Anthony. We borrowed it to say our rosary and foreigners joined as the decades went on. We ended by praying for the conversion of each of our home countries as well as for the papal intentions in order to get the indulgence, finishing by thanking St Anthony for helping us to find this place for prayer.

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider celebrating Pontifical Vespers
    What about someone you met: staff, pilgrim, clergy?
    Ríona: I laughed a lot and enjoyed talking with all the people I met in the Juventutem group.
    Dan: It was great to have a mix of priests and seminarians, made for good conversation and jokes over breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was nice to chat to some of the WYD volunteers from Canada and Germany about their motives for giving up their time, and what they thought about experiencing the traditional Mass and good catechesis.
    Simon: I will also carry the catechesis of the most reverend Bishop Schneider as well as those of the reverend Father de Malleray in my mind for a long time. Thanks be to all concerned in making this week in Cracow possible!
    Aldo, from Italy, added: Meeting traditional Catholics from all around the globe it’s been amazing: and when it was time for praying the rosary together...well, no complications with foreign languages, because Latin helped us and made us feel united. Also the words of Msgr. Schneider have proven to be illuminating: out there the world is struggling with denial of God, but Our Lady guides us and at some point will triumph. For a youth international meeting, this is a great hope to rely on.
    Mathieu: We travelled by car with the Choir, calling twice en route for musical performances: once in Prague on our way there, and another time in Leipzig on the way back. On Saturday midday in Krakow, we decided to park near Campus Misericordiae. But despite various attempts, we found ourselves surrounded by the crowd. A Polish family rescued us and we were able to park our car. They offered us drinks and coffee. The hospitality of the Poles was splendid. They even awaited us on Sunday afternoon to welcome us!
    Janice: Starting the journey during the Days in Diocese in Lgin, Fr Michal Graczyk who was in charge of our group did not only show such ardent charity to everyone around him, but even more, the 28-year-old priest in his black cassock, just by his life was already the perfect exemplar of a witness of Christ to us all by the dedication of his life to the priesthood at such a young age. He certainly left an imprint on many of our hearts – for me particularly, that one can have such courage to leave everything behind and follow Christ even as a teenager then. The group that we had in the Days in Diocese also saw us who came from the different parts of the world forming unique friendship. The one thing that we had in common – our love for the Traditional Latin Mass, was enough to knit us all together as a ‘wspólnota’ (which means ‘community’ in Polish).
    Jerome: I set off for Poland, the land rich in history of a nation, people and its (Catholic) faith. Thinking I knew much, I realised how little I did. I came back filled and receiving more than I could have ever asked or expected. The people, places and soul of the Polish nation is forever etched in my heart. Truly God is Merciful, Błogosławieni Miłosierni and Misericordes sicut Pater!

    And here are a few more photos from the same report.

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    The online journal Religions (ISSN 2077-1444, is currently running a Special Issue titled “Music: Its Theologies and Spiritualities—A Global Perspective”, which is guest edited by Prof. Dr. Edward Foley of Catholic Theological Union. “Music, spirituality and theology are vast fields of study, each expanding in terms of methods and fields of inquiry at a virtually incalculable rate. This rapid expansion, however, is also the opportunity for new and unexplored intersections between these traditionally related fields....” For further reading, please visit the Special Issue website:

    The manuscript delivery deadline is October 8 , 2017. Those who wish to contribute to this volume are cordially invited to address any questions to the guest editor, Prof. Dr. Edward Foley ( or the journal editor, Ms. Jie Gu (

    Completed papers may be submitted to at the following link:

    With the kind regards of the editorial team,
    Jie Gu
    Senior Assistant Editor

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    From the Coetus Internationalis Summorum Pontificum:

    On the ninth anniversary of the entry into force of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, we are glad to announce the participation of William Cardinal Levada, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in the fifth international Summorum Pontificum Pilgirmage in Rome.

    His Eminence has accepted to give the homily for our usual Solemn Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica that will be celebrated at Noon on Saturday, October 29th. It will be a great joy and blessing to have Cardinal Levada, a former Archbishop of Portland, OR (1986-1995), united in prayer with the present Archbishop, the Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample, who will be the celebrant of this Mass and will guide the pilgrims during the entire pilgrimage. It was Cardinal Levada, as President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, who signed the Universae Ecclesiae instruction that confirmed the implementation of Pope Benedict's motu proprio.

    From last year’s pilgrimage, the Pontifical Mass celebrated in St Peter’s by Mons. Rodolfo Laise, Bishop Emeritus of San Luis, Argentina.
    *** Nota bene: Recognizing the unstable condition of the Basilica of St. Benedict due to the earthquake that struck Norcia on August 24th, the opening day of the pilgrimage remains as originally scheduled to be held in Norcia, the hometown of St. Benedict, beginning on October 28th.

    This Saturday, September 17th, our General Secretary will visit Norcia to inspect and decide with the monks in conjunction with the local authorities of any eventual adaptation to the program and will duly communicate afterwards with all the pilgrims.

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