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    Today marks the fourth anniversary of the passing of Monsignor Angelo Amodeo, a canon of the cathedral of Milan who dedicated much of his life to preserving the traditional Ambrosian liturgy, and the use of traditional Ambrosian chant within the post-Conciliar rite. Several writers of NLM, as well as our good friends of the Schola Sainte Cécile, had the honor of participating in liturgies celebrated by him, and he is very much missed.
    Ambrosian Solemn Mass celebrated by Mons. Amodeo in the Pantheon in Rome on Sunday, May 2nd, 2010, sung by the Schola Sainte Cécile. Note the cappino, a type of collar which is attached to the upper part of the chasuble, dalmatic and tunicle, and also the fact that the deacon’s stole is worn over the dalmatic. Also note that at the elevation, the deacon lifts the chasuble so that it is parallel to the floor; the subdeacon incenses the Sacrament, since he does not hold the paten under a humeral veil as in the Roman solemn Mass. (Photos originally by John Sonnen of Orbis Catholicus.)
    The very first Ambrosian liturgy I ever attended was a votive Mass in honor of the Blessed Ildephonse Schuster, celebrated in the Duomo itself in December of 1998, at which Monsignor Amodeo and another canon sang the Ambrosian propers of a Confessor Bishop. (They were joined by a choir of Korean music and voice students, who sang the Gloria in excelsis and Sanctus from a Mozart Mass.) After Mass, we processed from the altar of the left transept around the church to the right nave, and sang the Ambrosian litany of the Saints at the altar in which the Bl. Schuster is buried. Subsequently, I attended and served other Ambrosian Masses in Venice (after one of which I wrote my very first article for NLM), Rome and elsewhere.

    Monsignor remained a strong singer all of his life, and celebrated Mass in a way that showed how thoroughly he loved and lived the liturgy; he was always dignified, but completely natural, and precise, but completely graceful. He tended to begin his sermons rather slowly, and in what seemed at first a rather disjointed fashion, but I soon learned that he would always bring them together into something that was not just theologically useful to hear, but genuinely beautiful.

    Our founding editor, Shawn Tribe, writes the following about Mons. Amodeo: “I had the privilege of attending one of the good monsignor’s Ambrosian rite liturgies back in 2008, as well as enjoying a tour of the Borromean palace and Duomo of Milan with him. He was a wonderful and charismatic (in the truest sense of that word) individual. I remember him fondly; he referred to me as ‘il Canadese (the Canadian)’, as he was pleased that someone from so far away would come all the way to Milan because of interest in the Ambrosian rite which he so loved and dedicated his life to. It was an honour and a privilege which remains one of my fondest memories of my NLM career.”

    Here is a video of him sing the Preface, which has a very beautiful melody in the Ambrosian Rite, at the church of San Rocco al Gentilino in Milan on Palm Sunday of 2012, just over six months before he died.

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    O Crux, splendidior cunctis astris, mundo celebris, hominibus multum amabilis, sanctior universis: quae sola fuisti digna portare talentum mundi: dulce lignum, dulces clavos, dulcia ferens pondera: salva praesentem catervam in tuis hodie laudibus congregatam. (Antiphon of the Magnificat at First Vespers of the Exaltation of the Cross.)

    “O Cross, more splendid than all the stars, renowned in the world, much beloved of all men, holier than all things, who only were worthy to bear the Price of the world: o sweet wood, that bearest the sweet nails, the sweet burdens; save the present company, gathered this day in praise of thee.”

    This is not, of course, the Gregorian version of this text for use as an antiphon, but a polyphonic motet made from it by the Netherlandish composer Adrian Willaert, (ca. 1490-1562), and sung by the ensemble Henry’s Eight. (They are named for King Henry VIII, the founder of Trinity College, Cambridge, where they originally formed in 1992.)

    The Exaltation of the Cross also provides an opportunity to sing once again at Vespers the famous Passiontide hymn Vexilla Regis, one of the masterpieces of the 6th century writer St Venantius Fortunatus. Here the ensemble AdOriente (which is correct Italian, not Latin) alternates the classic Gregorian melody with an unnamed polyphonic setting.

    The alternation of Gregorian and polyphony was a popular way of setting hymns especially in the Counter-Reformation, and some of the best examples are those of Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victória. This version is particularly interesting for two reasons; the melody of the Gregorian parts is quite different from the Roman one, and the text of the hymn is that used before it was revised by Pope Urban VIII, (given here with Spanish translation.)

    In the Byzantine Rite, the Exaltation of the Cross is one of the few days on which the Trisagion, “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us!” is replaced by a different text, “We adore Thy Cross, o Lord, and we glorify Thy holy Resurrection.” (The Trisagion is sung between the kontakia, the variable hymn of the Sunday or Saint’s feast, and the Prokimen which introduces the Epistle.) The latter text is also sung the 3rd Sunday of Lent, the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, as seen here in the Orthodox cathedral of Kropyvnytskyi in central Ukraine. (This city was known as Kirovograd until this past July, and its name appears as such on the church’s Youtube channel.)

    Many texts from the Byzantine Rite have also been recast as motets; this setting of “We adore Thy Cross” is sung by the choir of the Trinity Lavra of St Sergius, one the most important monasteries in Russia.

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    The Dominican parish of Ss Vincent Ferrer and Catherine of Siena in New York City is beginning an excellent new initiative to promote what should be one of the most important aspects of the Catholic liturgical life. Beginning on Sunday, September 18, they will celebrate Vespers every week in the Ordinary Form. These celebrations will draw on the Dominican chant tradition as well as the contemporary Antiphonale Romanum, using a combination of Latin and English: Latin for the ordinary chants, the psalm and Magnificat antiphons, and the short responsory, and English for the hymn, psalms, readings, intercessions, and collect. (See the parish website at this link.)

    Each week there will be a singing class at 4:30 pm covering the chants for the week, and Vespers will then be sung at 5:15; the booklet for the first Sunday can be consulted here. The priest who prepared it, Fr Innocent Smith O.P., has been mentioned here on NLM several times in connection with his interest in Dominican chant and various talks that he has given about it. I have known Fr Smith for many years, and I know that he will certainly do a great job in making this a worthy and beautiful celebration of the Church’s evening prayer. The parish evening Mass, sung with Gregorian propers in English, follows at 6 pm.

    The choir of te church of St Vincent Ferrer.

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    From 1814 until 1960, the General Calendar of the Roman Rite contained two different feasts of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary. The older of these is the one long celebrated on the Friday of Passion week; the latter is now fixed to September 15th, but was originally a movable feast. The Offices of these two feasts have only a few elements in common, but the Masses are almost identical. This doubling of the feast is not, therefore, a case like Corpus Christi, which emphasizes one particular aspect of what the Church celebrates on Holy Thursday, nor is one a “secondary” feast like the Apparition of St Michael or the Conversion of St Paul.

    The Seven Sorrows Polyptych by Albrecht Dürer, ca. 1500. The seven sorrows shown here are slightly different from those of the Servite Rosary shown below; counterclockwise from the upper left, they are the Circumcision (considered a sorrow because of the shedding of Christ’s blood,) the Flight into Egypt, the Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple, the Carrying of the Cross, the Nailing to the Cross, the Crucifixion, and the Deposition of Christs Body.
    The Passiontide feast emerged in German-speaking lands in the early 15th-century, partly as a response to the iconoclasm of the Hussites, and partly out of the universal popular devotion to every aspect of Christ’s Passion, including the presence of His Mother, and thence to Her grief over the Passion. It was known by several different titles, and kept on a wide variety of dates; Cologne, where it was first instituted, had it on the 3rd Friday after Easter until the end of the 18th century. Before the name “Seven Sorrows” became common, it was most often called “the feast of the Virgin’s Compassion”, which is to say, of Her suffering together with Christ as She beheld the Passion. This title was retained by the Dominicans well into the 20th century; they also had an Office for it which was quite different from the Roman one, although the Mass was the same. It appears in many missals of the 15th to 17th centuries only as a votive Mass, with no corresponding feast; this was the case at Sarum, where it is called “Compassionis sive Lamentationis B.M.V.” (The Sarum Missal also has a highly irregular sequence for this Mass, 128 lines long, more than twice as many as the Stabat Mater in the Roman Mass.)

    It was also occasionally known as the “Transfixio”, in reference to Simeon’s prophecy to the Virgin (Luke 2, 35) that “a sword shall pierce Thy heart.” For this reason, the Collect of the feast states that “we remember with veneration (her) Transfixing and Passion.” The Preface of the Virgin Mary contains the phrase “et te in *** Beatae Virginis semper Virginis collaudare, benedicere et praedicare – and to praise, bless and preach Thee in the *** of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin.” The name of the feast (Assumption, Nativity etc.) is said where the stars are, but on the feast of the Seven Sorrows, “transfixione” is said in that place. (The Dominicans said “compassione.”)

    The corresponding Office has a number of interesting features. The Seven Sorrows is the only feast of the Virgin which has special psalms at Vespers and Matins, those of the former being the same which are sung on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The Stabat Mater is divided into three parts and sung as the hymn of Vespers, Matins and Lauds, with simpler music than that of the same text when it is sung as the Sequence at Mass. (In Italy, this simpler form is still often sung at the Stations of the Cross.) The responsories of Matins all refer to the Passion of Christ; the fourth is the most famous of the Tenebrae responsories from Good Friday, Tenebrae factae sunt, with the verse changed: “What dost Thou feel, o Virgin, when Thou beholdest such things?”

    The sequence version of the Stabat Mater

    The readings of the first nocturn are the famous prophecy of the Suffering Servant, Isaiah 53, which is also read at the Mass of Spy Wednesday, when the Lenten station is kept at St Mary Major. In the second nocturn, they are taken from a famous sermon of St Bernard of Clairvaux, in which he demonstrates that it is indeed proper to refer to the “martyrdom” of the Virgin, and addressing Her directly, says “Therefore, the force of grief passed through Thy soul, so that we may rightly preach that Thou are even more than a martyr, in whom the affection of compassion exceeded even the sense of bodily passion. … Wonder not, brethren, that Mary is called a martyr in spirit. Let him wonder (at this) who remembereth not that he has heard Paul say, when he recalls the greatest crimes of the pagans, that they were ‘without affection.’ Far was this from Mary’s senses, and far be it from her servants.”

    The Pazzi Crucifixion, by Pietro Perugino, 1496, in the convent of St Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi in Florence. St Bernard of Clarivaux and the Virgin Mary are on the left, St John the Evangelist and St Benedict on the right.
    In the wake of the Protestant reformation, the feast continued to grow in popularity, spreading though southern Europe, and most often fixed to the Friday of Passion week. It was extended to the universal Church on that day by Pope Benedict XIII with the title “the feast of the Seven Sorrows”, although none of the various enumerations of the Virgin’s sorrows is referred to it anywhere in the liturgy itself.

    The second feast of the Seven Sorrows was promulgated in 1668 as the Patronal feast of the Servite Order, which was founded in the mid-13th century by seven Florentine noblemen, and soon spread all over Europe. (St Philip Benizzi, who stands in their history as St Bernard does in that of the Cistercians, not their founder, but their most famous member, was almost elected Pope in 1271.) This order had always nourished a strong devotion to the Mother of Sorrows, and has its own rosary of the Seven Sorrows, which are as follows.

    1. The Prophecy of Simeon.
    2. The Flight into Egypt.
    3. The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple.
    4. The Meeting of Mary and Jesus as He Carries the Cross.
    5. The Crucifixion.
    6. The Removal of Christ’s Body from the Cross.
    7. The Burial of Christ.

    A Servite Rosary, also known as the Crown of the Seven Sorrows, each one of which is depicted on one of the oval medals between the beads. Only seven Hail Marys are said per sorrow; on the beads that lead to the Cross, three more are added in honor of the tears which the Virgin shed as She stood by the Cross. This example was made in the 19th century; it has more recently been the custom to make them with only black beads, the color of the Servite habit. (Courtesy of Mr Forrest Alverson.)
    Since the Servite version of this devotion is not focused entirely on the Passion of Christ, but contains three events from His childhood, a number of changes were made to the corresponding liturgical texts for the second feast. The words of the Collect “we remember with veneration (her) Transfixing and Passion” are changed to “we remember with veneration (her) Sorrows”; however, “transfixione” is still said in the Preface. In the Office, the regular psalms of the Virgin’s other Offices are said at Vespers, but not at Matins; three different hymns, all very much in the classicizing style in vogue in the 17th century, replace the three parts of the Stabat Mater. The responsories of Matins are completely different, each referring in order to one of the mysteries of the Servite rosary given above. An eighth one is added to complete the series, a very beautiful exhortation: “In all thy heart, forget not the groans of Thy Mother, that propitiation and blessing may be perfected. Hail, most noble woman, that art the first rose of the martyrs, and lily of the virgins!” The readings of the first nocturn are taken from the Book of Lamentations, which is otherwise read only at Tenebrae, and the lessons of the second are the same passage from St Bernard read on the other feast. (This passage was also read in the Dominican Office of the Compassion.)

    Michelangelo’s Pietà in St Peter’s Basilica.
    This Servite version of the feast was added to the general calendar by Pope Pius VII in 1814, after he returned from the exile in France shamefully visited upon him by Napoleon. Part of the Pope’s reason for doing would certainly have been to ask the Virgin’s intercession and protection for the Church in the midst of the many horrors visited upon it by the French revolution and the subsequent wars. It was originally kept on the Third Sunday of September, as it had been first by the Servites, but when Pope St Pius X abolished the custom of fixing feasts to Sundays, it was placed on September 15th, the day after the Exaltation of the Cross. While the connection between the Sorrows of the Virgin and the Crucifixion is essential, the Seven Sorrows was of higher rank at the time, and its new placement therefore had the unfortunate effect of cancelling Second Vespers of the much older feast of the Exaltation. This defect was remedied by the Breviary reform of 1960, but at the cost of a much more serious general defect, the abolition of First Vespers from all but the highest grade of feasts. At the same time, the older Passiontide feast was reduced to a commemoration.

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    I have been asked to summarize the use of the Gloria and Credo at Mass in the Dominican Rite according to the  rubrcs in force in 1962.  This means under the new ranking system of feasts and the new assignations of the chant ordinaries.

    This involves two separate questions, both of which I will try to answer.  One is what are the rules on recitation of the Gloria and Credo after the change of rankings in the calendar from the "Duplex" "Totum Duplex" "Simplex" etc. system to that of first-, second-, third-, etc., class feasts.  These rules are basically unchanged from before 1960; so one needs only to have a current Dominican Rite calendar to apply them.  The current year's calendar can be downloaded at my Dominican Liturgy blog.

    The next issue is what Dominican chant ordinary is to be used with the various feasts.  This is harder because the reassignments of the various Ordinaries of the Dominican Kyriale are very hard to find, unless you have a copy of the 1965 Dominican Rite Missal, which gives the reassigned Masses by the intonations of their Glorias.  I give those below.  Here is a summary of the rubrics and ordinaries. to be used.

    1st-class Feasts:
            Gloria and Credo are both always said
             Mass Ordinary I. "In Festis solemnibus" Graduale S.O.P., p. 126*ff
                     Except when it is a feast of the Blessed Virgin, then:
             Mass Ordinary V. "Sabbatis, Festis, et Octavis B.M.V." GSOP, p. 139*ff

    All Sundays of the Year except Easter and Pentecost
           Credo is always said, Gloria is said outside of Advent, Lent, and Passiontide.
           Mass Ordinary II. "In Duplicibus communibus et Dominicis majoribus" GSOP p. 132*ff

    2d-class feasts of Apostles:
            Gloria and Credo are both always said
            Mass Ordinary III. "In Duplicibus et Dominicis minoribus" GSOP, p.135*ff
     2d-class feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
            Gloria and Credo are both always said
            Mass Ordinary V. "Sabbatis, Festis, et Octavis B.M.V." GSOP, p. 139*ff

    All other 2d-class feasts: 
             Gloria is said but not the Credo
             Mass Ordinary III. "In Duplicibus et Dominicis minoribus" p.135*ff

    Note that during Paschal Time on 1st- and 2nd-class feasts the Easter
            Kyrie is used from Mass Ordinary IV. "Tempore Paschali" p.138*

     3d.- and 4th-class feasts of BVM (i.e. Votive on Saturday): 
             Gloria is always said, but not the Credo
             Mass Ordinary V. "Sabbatis, Festis, et Octavis B.M.V." GSOP, p. 139*ff

    All other 3d-class feasts: 
             Gloria is said but not the Credo
             Mass Ordinary  VI. "In Semiduplicibus et Simplicibus" GSOP p.143*ff

    All other 4th-class ferials and all days of penance (i.e. Ember Days or Vigils) 
             Gloria and Credo are never said
             Mass Ordinary VI. "Profestis diebus"  GSOP p.145*
             Note  the "Benedicamus Domino" is now only used when some function IMMEDIATELY follows the Mass---e.g. Procession on Holy Thursday---see 1965 Missal.  The Ite missa est for ferials is found in the 1965 Missal, not in the Graduale.

    Other Mass Ordinaries may, of course, be substituted for the Dominican Cycle, and (Roman) options are given in the supplement to the Kyriale in the Dominican Gradual.  

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    In the Byzantine Rite, the Exaltation of the Precious And Life-Giving Cross is one of the twelve Great Feasts, as they are called, celebrated with a fore-feast and after-feast, roughly the equivalent of vigils and octaves in the Roman Rite. (Afterfeasts vary in length, and conclude with a day called the Leave-taking of the feast.) The Exaltation is very often the occasion for processions with relics of the Cross, as we see here among the Greek-Catholic communities of Piana degli Albanesi in Sicily.

    From the cathedral of St Demetrius the Megalomartyr

    The Byzantine Rite communities of southern Italy descend in part from the Greek settlements which were formerly very numerous on the Italian peninsula, and partly from Albanians who crossed into Italy 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.) Their liturgy is therefore celebrated in a mix of Greek and Arberesh, a literary form of Albanian from about 400 years ago. Here we see the variable texts of the liturgy in transcribed Greek and Arberesh.

    In the town of Palazzo Adriano, morning procession and adoration of the Cross in the church, followed by an evening procession through the street of the town. (Palazzo Adriano was where the exterior shots in the movie Cinema Paradiso were done, the winner of 1990 Best Foreign Picture Oscar, and deservedly so.)

    At Mezzojuso, a procession was held from the Church of St Nicholas to the Church of the Holy Crucifix followed by the adoration of the Cross, and the Divine Liturgy in Greek.

    Divine Liturgy at the cathedral of St Demetrius

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    In honor of the feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a candlelight Missa cantata was celebrated last night at Wyoming Catholic College. The collegiate Schola sang the Propers of the Mass.

    Several things struck me about this Mass. The stark juxtaposition of light and dark threw into great relief the priest and his actions at the altar. Since reading a missal was difficult or impossible, one simply gave up on the idea of reading, and watched with eyes made keener by the surrounding black and the flickering flames. It was easy to surrender oneself to the motions of the priest at the altar as he went back and forth with the incense, or bowed to recite a prayer, or genuflected. His actions became mine: he was doing all this on my behalf, and I was assisting him with my internal attention and love. The unity of his action and mine was somehow strongly apparent: this was not "his work" but ours, as the Mystical Body of Christ, head and members.

    Another thing that struck me was how the darkness deepened the silence and augmented the chant. A church fully lit can be silent, too, of course, but the very fact of everything being lit up in all its distinctness and multiplicity can create a certain "visual noise" that makes the space busy, perhaps even distracting. When you are in a dark church, the space collapses to the region of light: this become the light shining in the darkness that the dark cannot comprehend. The resulting silence is one of concentration, fullness, expectancy. How often is it so quiet that you feel your heart beating? The dark silence also "amplified" those parts of the Mass that were audible; it furnished a suitable but contrasting setting for the chant, like a gold ring for a precious stone.

    Some of these things I had noticed before at our nocturnal singing of Tenebrae, but this was different because it was a Mass, and because the Schola was in the choir loft looking at the altar from afar. I don't know how it was for the many others who were present, but I know that I went away with an enormous peace in my soul, a sense of having entered more fully and deeply into the mystery of the Passion of our Lord and the Compassion of our Lady. For this, I say, once again and always, Deo gratias.

    At the Introit

    At the Gospel


    Before Communion

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    The month-long feast of San Gennaro in New York City's Little Italy is an iconic representation of the cultures Catholic immigrants brought from their native lands to the New World. Unfortunately, this very "Catholic" celebration has seen its religious roots eroded over the last several decades to the point most people know it only as a secular celebration of Neopolitan origin.

    Saturday, September 24, a solemn Votive Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in honor of the saint at the Church of the Most Precious Blood, 113 Baxter Street at Mulberry Street in New York City. 
    Sponsored by the St. Hugh of Cluny Society, the Rev. Richard Gennaro Cipolla, pastor of St. Mary's Church Norwalk, will be the celebrant, and David Hughes, Director of Music at St. Mary's will direct the choir.
    Mozart's Missa Brevis in F, will provide the Mass Ordinary, while motets by Palestrina (Justorum Animae) and Mozart (Venite populi) will be sung at the Offertory and Communion, respectively.
    Two of Mozart's church sonata's will serve as prelude and postlude.
    Known as St. Januarius in English, his feast day is celebrated on September 19. Bishop of Benevento, San Gennaro was executed in the persecution under Diocletian for visiting Christians in prison. He was tortured and beheaded. His head and body were wrapped, and his blood was collected by faithful servants, enough to fill two glass phials 
    Four decades later, when his remains were transferred to the catacombs in Naples in solemn procession, the first liquification of the blood occurred. Three times a year the blood liquifies: the first Sunday in May, his feast day on September 19, and December 16, when his intercession was asked against a threatened eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
    Those seeking more information should visit:

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    Here is a very important discovery in the department of online liturgical resources: an Ambrosian Breviary printed at Venice in 1539 from A couple of pages at the beginning are damaged, but the rest seems to be in very good condition; the scan is the public domain, and can be downloaded in a variety of formats for free. The full link is as follows:

    The Te Deum is printed before any other part of the Office in a pre-Tridentine Ambrosian Breviary, because of the tradition that it was composed by Ss Ambrose and Augustine on the occasion of the latter’s baptism; it is here described as a “hymnus dialogicus - a hymn sung in dialog.” King David appears below as the author of the Psalms, Isaiah as the author of the first canticle sung at Sunday Matins, and Daniel as the prophet in whose book the Benedicite appears.
    A few notes about the organization of the book, which may be helpful to those who are interested in perusing it. The calendar is followed by a series of indexes and tables. The Office begins with the Te Deum, as described above. even though when it is said, is at the end of Matins.

    The Psalms are then printed in their Biblical order, which, as in the Roman Rite, is not quite the same as the order in which they are used liturgically. The Ambrosian Rite has Old Testament canticles, not Psalms, at Sunday Matins, so the liturgical Psalter therefore begins with Monday Matins. Psalms 1-108 are divided into ten blocks called “decuriae,” which are said from Monday to Friday over two weeks. The Psalms of Vespers (109-147) are interrupted by Psalm 117, which is said at Lauds on Saturday, and Psalm 118, which is said from Prime to None as in the Roman Rite. (This spectacularly inconvenient habit of printing the Psalms in canonical order was very common in written breviaries of the Middle Ages, as well as the early printed editions, and continued in Dominican Breviaries until the end of the 19th century.) There then follow the hymns and canticles in the order in which they are used from Matins to Compline; as one might imagine, using such a breviary required a great deal of flipping back and forth, and it was for this reason that most breviaries were completely reorganized after Trent.

    As an interesting side note, the nocturn of Saturday Matins begins with the canticle of Moses in Exodus 15. Psalm 118 is divided into four parts, two of which are read after this canticle on a two-week cycle. (1st week, verses 1-48 and 49-88; 2nd week, verses 89-128 and 129-176). The Ambrosians therefore read the longest Psalm in the Psalter 7½ times a week, where the Roman Rite has it only 7 times, and they have a two-week Psalter which is nevertheless longer than the older Roman one-week Psalter.

    On pages 53v-54r (152-153 in pdf format), one may note the Laus Angelorum, which is similar to the Gloria in excelsis of the Mass, but with several interpolations and verses added to the end. This was sung at Lauds on Sundays and feast days, but suppressed in the Borromean reform; it has been restored to optional use in the Ambrosian Novus Ordo.

    There follows an Ordo, and then the Propers begin with St Martin on November 11th, since the six-week long Ambrosian Advent begins on the Sunday after his feast day. As was often the case with the liturgical books of this era, the Offices of the Season and those of the Saints are mixed in together, not separated into two distinct parts. The common Offices of the Saints then appear at the back.

    First Vespers of Easter sung at the conclusion of the Easter vigil as it is in the Roman Rite (in quite a different form.)
    An historical footnote: none of the Ambrosian liturgical books printed before the days of St Charles Borromeo was an “official” edition, including this breviary. They were printed solely at the private initiative of printers who hoped to sell them, or individual members of the clergy who commissioned them, but they were not ordered, edited or given any official sanction by the archdiocese of Milan or its cathedral or curia. At the time that St Charles became archbishop in 1560, Milan had not had a resident archbishop in eighty years, which is to say, for most of the period since movable type had been invented. Among the many things which he did to bring order and discipline to the diocese, and to preserve the Ambrosian tradition, was to arrange for editions of the major liturgical books to be produced after careful editing and revision; the first such official breviary was printed in 1582.

    Thanks to our Ambrosian correspondent Nicola de’ Grandi for bringing this to my attention! 

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    Today is the feast of St Januarius, who is also widely known by the Italian form of his name “San Gennaro”, as emigrants from Naples, of which he is the principle Patron, have brought devotion to him wherever they have settled; the feast held in his honor in New York City is particularly famous. September 19th is the day of his martyrdom, which took place at Pozzuoli during the persecution of Diocletian, alongside that of several other Christians from various parts of Campania; he was in point of fact bishop of Benevento, about 33 miles to the north-east of Naples. In the Middle Ages, his relics were transferred to the important monastery of Monte Vergine, and from there to the cathedral of Naples only at the beginning of the 16th century.

    He is of course especially well-known for the famous miracle which takes place on his feast day in most years, when the relic of his blood is brought into the presence of the relic of his skull and liquifies. Perhaps less well-known is the fact that the miracle normally happens three times a year, since Naples celebrates two other feasts of him as well. On the Saturday before the first Sunday of May, the translation of his relics is commemorated; on December 16th, a third feast commemorates a rather spectacular miracle by which St Januarius demonstrated his care for and protection of the city. In 1631, an unusually powerful lava flow from Mt Vesuvius, the crater of which is only 9 miles from the city center, had come down towards the city and threatened to destroy the granaries which would provide bread for the populace through the upcoming winter. The bishop therefore brought the Saint’s relics to the lava flow, which turned aside at that point. I attended this December feast one year, when the relics of the blood are brought from the cathedral to the church of St Clare; I could see very clearly that the liquified blood was moving around inside the crystal vial which contains it, mounted in the reliquary, as it was carried back to the large chapel at the cathedral where it is housed.

    Outside the church of Santa Caterina a Formiello in Naples is a monument which commemorates another occasion on which St Januarius saved the city and the region around it from the eruptions of Vesuvius, in 1707.

    “To Saint Januarius, chief patron of the city of Naples, because, when (the relic of) his sacred head was shown on an altar set up in this place, he put down and completely pacified the destructive assaults of Mt Vesuvius in the year 1707, as, with a great eruption of fire, it raged with increasing force for a great many days, and thus threatened most certainly to burn the city and all of Campania; the Neapolitans, mindful of his divine favor, as also of the countless others by which he has liberated the city and its region from war, famine, plague and earthquake, set this monument.”
    Behind the cathedral, in the Piazza Cardinale Sforza, stands a large baroque obelisk, also still called by the medieval Italian term “guglia”, which was erected in the Saint’s honor after the miracle of 1631. The inscription on the base says that “the grateful city of Naples raised (it) to Saint Januarius, most ready protector of the nation and kingdom, and her most-well deserving citizen.”

    And here is really magnificent reliquary formerly used for the processions, now kept in the museum at the church of St Clare, where the December liquefaction happens.

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    St. Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975), the founder of Opus Dei, celebrated the traditional Latin Mass all his life as a priest. He had mystical experiences in connection with it. He loved it so much that he obtained permission (it was thought at the time that such permission was necessary) to continue with the Mass he had always offered, rather than shifting over to the Novus Ordo Missae. These are facts that deserve to be better known.[1] A marvelous gallery of photos of the saint celebrating the usus antiquior may be found here.

    For spiritual reading, my son has been using St. Josemaría’s three famous books of aphorisms — The Way, The Furrow, and The Forge — and has taken pleasure in sharing with me some wonderful remarks on liturgy and the virtues it forms in the soul. It is obvious from reading the remarks that they emerge out of the rich spirituality of the traditional Mass and the healthy phase of the Liturgical Movement. Modern-day members and supporters of Opus Dei would benefit from rediscovering this important side of their founder and his life of prayer.[2]

    Some sayings from his most famous book, The Way:
    Your prayer ought to be liturgical. Would that you were given to reciting the psalms and prayers of the missal instead of private or special prayers!  (#86)
    Show veneration and respect for the holy liturgy of the Church and for its ceremonies. Observe them faithfully. Don’t you see that, for us poor humans, even what is greatest and most noble enters through the senses? (#522)
    The Church sings, it has been said, because just speaking would not satisfy its desires for prayer. You, as a Christian — and a chosen Christian — should learn to sing the liturgical chant. (#523)
    “Let’s burst into song!” said a soul in love, after seeing the wonders that our Lord was working through his ministry. And the same advice I give to you: Sing! Let your grateful enthusiasm for you God overflow into joyous song. (#524)
    That woman in the house of Simon the leper in Bethany, anointing the Master’s head with precious ointment, reminds us of the duty to be generous in the worship of God. All the richness, majesty and beauty possible would seem too little to me. And against those who attack the richness of sacred vessels, of vestments and altars, we hear the praise given by Jesus: “opus enim bonum operata est in me”—“she has done me a good turn.” (#527)
    A very important characteristic of the apostolic man is his love for the Mass. (#528)
    “The Mass is long,” you say, and I add: “Because your love is short.” (#529)
    You saw me celebrate the holy Mass on a plain altar— table and stone, without a reredos. Both Crucifix and candlesticks were large and solid, with wax-candles of graded height, sloping up towards the Cross. The frontal, of the liturgical colour of the day. A sweeping chasuble. The chalice, rich, simple in line, with a broad cup. No electric light, nor did we miss it. And you found it difficult to leave the oratory: you felt at home there. — Do you see how we are led to God, brought closer to him, by the rigour of the liturgy? (#543)
    From The Forge:
    By a process of assimilation we should make these words of Jesus our own: Desiderio desideravi hoc Pascha manducare vobiscum, I have longed and longed to eat this Passover with you. There is no better way to show how great is our concern and love for the Holy Sacrifice than by taking great care with the least detail of the ceremonies the wisdom of the Church has laid down. This is for Love: but we should also feel the need to become like Christ, not only inside ourselves but also in what is external. We should act, on the wide spaciousness of the Christian altar, with the rhythm and harmony which obedient holiness provides, uniting us to the will of the Spouse of Christ, to the Will of Christ himself. (#833)
    We should receive Our Lord in the Eucharist as we would prepare to receive the great ones of the earth, or even better: with decorations, with lights, with new clothes… And if you ask me what sort of cleanliness I mean, what decorations and what lights you should bring, I will answer you: cleanliness in each one of your senses, decoration in each of your powers, light in all your soul. (#834)
    I understood you very well when you confessed to me: I want to steep myself in the liturgy of the Holy Mass. (#644)
    From Furrow:

    A great response to the urge, the fever, the panic almost, to modernize and be relevant — a fool’s errand which always ends with a path of destruction in its wake:
    Is the idea of Catholicism old and therefore unacceptable? The sun is older and has not lost its light; water is more ancient and it still quenches the thirst and refreshes us. (#937)


    Here are some statements of eerie relevance to the past three years:
    Although it seems a paradox, those who call themselves sons of the Church may often be precisely those who sow greater confusion. (Furrow, #360)
    Always have the courage — the humility, the desire to serve God — to put forward the truths of the faith as they are, not allowing any concessions, or ambiguities. (The Forge, #580)
    The conversion of a soul cannot be made easy at the risk of many others possibly falling away. (Furrow, #966)


    [1] There are, as one might expect, different stories circulating around about what exactly happened after 1969, some of them more colorful than others. This is a fairly sober account, although its title is oddly anachronistic: "Why St. Josemaría Escrivá Only Celebrated the Extraordinary Form."
    [2] Someone might say it is a matter of indifference which form the founder celebrated. But this cannot withstand critical scrutiny. After all, the two forms are sufficiently distinct and different that Pope Benedict XVI could establish them as two forms or uses of the Roman Rite. Hence, the total formation offered by each will be distinct and different. Thus, if one's goal is to assimilate the spirit of the founder of a community, one should strive as much as possible to be formed in the same school of piety in which he was formed, the same texts, chants, and ceremonies.

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    If you are in the vicinity of Washington, D.C. you may be interested in this event organised by ‘Juventutem DC.’ There will be a Low Mass in the Dominican rite at the Lourdes chapel in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, followed by the Dominican blessing of roses and Rosaries – please bring your own if you would like to avail of this sacramental blessing. Following this, there will be a short talk entitled The Rosary: Medication against Spiritual Alzheimer’s. Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. of the Province of England will deliver the talk and also say the Mass.

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    In good sacred art, even the look of the negative space around the figures is carefully controlled by the artist.

    The iconographic tradition portrays the heavenly realm, which is outside time, and crucially in this context, outside space. In order to convey a sense of the heavenly order in an earthly image, all sense of depth beyond the plane of the painting is deliberately eliminated. There is no superfluous background in an icon, and the negative space around a figure is meant to appear flat.

    This first icon was painted in the 20th century by Gregory Kroug, a Russian ex-patriot living in Paris.

    The naturalistic tradition, in contrast, seeks to do precisely the opposite, as we see here in a 15th century painting by the Venetian Giovanni Bellini.

    It is portraying Historical man, that is man after the Fall, but not yet redeemed; this is the world of time and space that we live in. When painting in this tradition, the artist deliberately sets out, therefore, to create the illusion of space, which he can do in a number of ways. One is to draw a scene with conventional perspective (and the icon painter can do the converse by using inverse perspective). However, in order to use either form of perspective, there must be a background scene painted in the area around the main figures onto which the artist would apply them. If there is no background scene, the artist must use other means to control our sense of how the negative space appears, either as a three-dimensional space or as a flat surround in the plane of the painting.

    This is done by the choice of medium or media used in the painting; one option is to gild, which always looks flat, as you can see this 12th century Greek icon of Moses at the burning bush.

    If the background is painted rather than gilded, then egg tempera, fresco and mosaic always tend to look flat too, whereas oil paint, especially when used for painting shadow, always creates a strong sense of space beyond the plane of the painting.

    Just to illustrate, compare the icon above by Gregory Kroug with another work by Bellini, his Sacred Conversation painted in 1490. Neither has scenery around the figures, yet first has a white background that is designed to eliminate as far as possible any sense of space beyond the plane of the painting. Bellini, on the other hand, has painted a dark background that plunges into the depths, and gives a sense of almost infinite space – there is a gaping chasm beyond the figures.

    The next painting, done just 4 years before Bellini’s by Carlo Crivelli in 1486, demonstrates why the standard choice of medium became oil rather than egg tempera. In this image of the Annunciation, Crivelli uses single point perspective to create a sense that the pathway on the left is receding far into the distance. The draughtsmanship is fine, but for me the painting just doesn’t work. I have seen the original many times in the National Gallery in London, and every time I am struck by the fact that although the size of the figures in the background and all the perspective lines pointing to them tell me that they are in the distance, they simply don’t look distant, they look small. The reason, I feel, is the medium that Crivelli is using is egg tempera.

    Even beyond the choice of medium, there are also ways of manipulating the paint so that it can enhance or reduce the natural look of the paint in this respect. These are called “glazes” and “scumbles.” I do not know for certain, but as far as one can tell from the reproductions, my guess is that this is what Kroug and Bellini were using. Certainly, if I was trying to create the same effect, this is what I would do.
    Glazes and scumbles are created when a translucent layer of paint is put over another layer. When the tone of the upper layer is darker than that of the lower, it is called a glaze; when the tone of the upper layer is lighter, it is called a scumble. If I were seeking to create the Bellini effect, I would use a glaze in the background; and if seeking to create the Kroug effect, I would use a scumble.

    When light hits the surface of the painting, some light is transmitted through to the lower layer of paint, and some is absorbed and reflected back. This reflected light bears the character of the layer that absorbed it. This is why, for example, when you shine blue light on paint, that it appears blue. Consider now the light that was not absorbed, but which passed through the layer of paint, and falls on the layer of paint underneath. At this interface the same thing happens again: some is transmitted and some absorbed and reflected. This goes on right until some of the light penetrates all the way through to the ground. If the ground of the painting is white and very reflective, a good part of the incidental light comes back out of the painting.

    When we look at a painting, what the eye sees is the aggregate of different rays of light emerging from differing points within the paint layer and bearing the mark of the layer that last absorbed and reflected it. When I paint with tempera, which can be diluted into thin washes of paint, the final effect is the cumulative result of as many as 15 layers of paint of varying tones and colours. If you shine a light directly onto the painting, then the optical effect is that the painting is itself a source of light. It is especially beautiful if the light is a flickering candle. If you use a glaze with tempera, the usual medium for icons, it creates richer, jewel like surface. If you apply one in oil, the effect is even more dramatic, as it causes the surface to appear to sink into the deep distance. The shadows of baroque art, such as we see in a Rembrandt, seem to sink into the infinite. This effect is created by a glazes and it is perfect for the numinous, mysterious feel that baroque artists sought, as here in Rembrandt’s St Bartholomew.

    A scumble, on the other hand, creates the opposite effect. The upper layer appears to float on the surface. As a general rule, it is less useful to an artists, and so you don’t hear them use the term very often. However, it is extremely useful to any icon painters wishing to create this Kroug effect. You simply ensure that the final layer of paint is the lightest in tone. If the layers underneath are a combination of glazes and scumbles, it still looks interesting and varied, but thrust forward, rather than sinking back into the painting. What I find so lovely about Kroug’s works is the huge variety of washes of tone and colour that he applies underneath the upper layer, be it glaze or scumble.

    So many modern attempts at icon painting don’t do this; the colours are flat, dull and lifeless because they are created by the painting of a number of thick layers of the same paint, like a do-it-yourself decorator painting a wall.

    The painting below is The Virgin at Prayer by the Italian artist Sassoferrato, a baroque artist who uses oil to create sinking depths in the negative space around the Virgin. What a wonderful painting! This is in the National Gallery too, and I make a point of going to look at it every time I visit the gallery.

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    The Traditional Latin Mass Community in Seoul, South Korea, has asked us to announce that on the weekend of October 1-2, they will host a special series of events with a visiting priest, including a visit to the Catholic Martyrs’ Shrine at Jeoldusan, “the beheading mountain,” in the Mapo-gu district. Over a period of just under a century, 1791-1888, more than 10,000 people were killed for the Faith in Korea; the shrine houses over 3,000 relics. (Today, September 20th, the Church celebrates the feast of Ss Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and Companions, a group of 103 martyrs canonized by Pope St John Paul II in 1984 during a visit to Korea.)

    Statue of St Andrew Kim Taegon, the first native Korean Catholic priest and Patron Saint of Korea, at the Martyrs’ Shrine at Jeoldusan. St Andrew was born in 1821; he entered seminary when he was only 15, was ordained a priest at 23, and martyred by beheading at the age of 25. (Image from Wikipedia by Swiss James.)
    The schedule of events is as follows:

    Saturday October 1
    1:20 p.m. - Introduction and greeting (location: front of education centre of Jeoldusan Catholic Martyrs' Shrine)
    1:40 p.m. - Pilgrimage to Jeoldusan Catholic Martyrs' Shrine and Rosary

    The Jeoldusan Catholic Martyrs Shrine in Seoul (Image from Wikipedia by Matthew Smith.)
    3:30 p.m. - Move to Oratory of the St. John’s House

    4:30p.m. - Welcoming ceremony
    5:00 p.m. - Confession and imformation about Mass
    5:20 p.m. - Prayer before Mass
    5:25 p.m. - First Saturday Low Mass
    6:00 p.m. - Prayer after mass, Traditional blessing of sacred objects and clothing with the Brown Scapular

    Sunday October 2
    1:30 p.m. - Introduction and greeting (location: Oratory of the St. John’s House)
    1:40 p.m. - Open lecture about liturgy
    3:30 p.m. - Rest time and Confession
    3:55 p.m. - Prayer before Mass
    4:00 p.m. - Sung Mass and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
    6:00 p.m. - Prayer after mass, Traditional blessing of sacred objects and clothing with the Brown Scapular

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  • 09/20/16--13:10: Guadalupe Chasuble Ex Voto
  • In thanksgiving to God on the fifth anniversary of my Ordination to the Priesthood, I celebrated a Low Mass in the Dominican rite. 
    The vestment worn for the first time on this occasion, at a Saturday Mass of Our Lady, was a gift commissioned in memory of my grandparents, and it was made by a talented young seamstress based in England, Geneviève Gomi who has had years of experience in vestment restoration and embroidery.
    Six years ago on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to whom I have a special devotion, I had been involved in a serious bus accident in Oxfordshire. As I emerged unscathed from the wreckage of the bus, I attributed this miracle to the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A motet by Sir James MacMillan CBE was subsequently written for my Ordination in 2011, and it was offered to Our Lady in thanksgiving (see video below, which has scenes from the Ordination).
    This new vestment set has been, likewise, offered in thanksgiving to Our Lady of Guadalupe for her protection. I have often felt dissatisfied with embroidered images of Our Lady of Guadalupe – they just do not look like the image on the sacred tilma in Mexico City. So, after consultation with Miss Gomi, it seemed that a printed photograph of the Virgin would be the best way to render the face of Our Lady of Guadalupe as faithfully as possible. Moreover, as the miraculous image is itself some kind of celestial photograph, this seemed most apt. The image is thus printed on fine Habotai silk and certain details have been emphasised with gold and coloured silk embroidery. The chasuble itself is made from a bespoke embroidered dupion silk fabric from Marseille, but it is relatively simple so that it does not distract from the image of Our Lady. Moreover, as one finds with many old Marian chasubles, it is lined in fabric of a dusky rose colour.
    In a homily given to priests at the Chrism Mass in Rome in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI said that "liturgical vestments must make it clearly visible to those present that we are there 'in the person of an Other'", and then, citing Pope St Gregory the Great, he said the Priest has to wear "clothes of love... which alone can make us beautiful". Accordingly, this chasuble was made with love by a devoted Catholic seamstress, and they were worn with love for Our Lord and his Blessed Mother. In our attention to beautiful Liturgy that is worthy of God we should not neglect the vestments that are worn at the Altar, and whenever possible, we should encourage new talent and commission from them works of sacred art that can stir us to greater devotion; let us offer to God the very best we can muster. To this end, do visit the site of Geneviève Gomi, and please offer her your prayers and encouragement; she can be contacted at:

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    Ben stumbled across this very interesting video which was published a bit less than two weeks ago, an historical reenactment of Mass as would it have been celebrated in a parish church in Sweden on Sunday, October 4, 1450. On the Youtube channel it is described as the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, but the video itself correctly notes it as “Dominica XVIII post Trinitatis (festum) - the 18th Sunday after (the feast of the) Trinity,” according to the system widely used in the north of Europe in the later Middle Ages.

    Some of the differences from the Tridentine Mass as celebrated today which you may note here can be attributed to the many variants and vagaries of medieval liturgical custom. The most obvious is the the use of a red vestment instead of green; this was common enough in the Middle Ages, and continues in use to this day in the Ambrosian Rite for the season after Pentecost.

    Someone posted in the comments on Youtube an English translation of the introduction, which occupies the first 3:45 of the video; I will post part of it below. However, I feel that there is one very significant problem here which ought to be addressed, namely, the fact that throughout the service, the congregation remains completely silent. Obviously, one cannot exclude absolutely the notion that such Masses happened in the Middle Ages. However, common experience would strongly indicate that this was not typical, and that a sufficient number of people would have known at least the Ordinary, and perhaps rather more than that, well enough to join in with the cantor.

    While there are many EF Masses celebrated today where only the schola sings, there are also many where the congregations does join in for at least the Ordinary and things like the hymns sung at the Offertory or Communion. Surely this must have been all the more common when attendance at the regularly Sunday liturgy was so much more the focus of peoples lives, when did not depend anywhere near as much as we do on printing, and when most of them lived their whole lives in the same church, hearing the same chants year in and year out.

    To this day, if one attends a Divine Liturgy celebrated in Old Church Slavonic for a Ukrainian or Slovak congregation, people still sing along with the invariable parts such as the Creed and the Cherubic hymn, and very often with a great deal more besides. One may argue that the language of a modern Ukrainian is nowhere as far from Old Church Slavonic as medieval Swedish is from Latin; to this I answer that my own regular attendance at the liturgy in Old Church Slavonic has enabled me to learn a great deal of it without any particular effort, despite no knowledge at all of any Slavic language. Earlier this year, I attended the first part of the Easter vigil on Julian Holy Saturday in a Russian Orthodox church, and heard several people single along with the Cherubic hymn “Let all mortal flesh keep silent”, which is only sung once a year, at that service.

    I say this, not to run down the creators of the video, who clearly put a great deal of effort into it. Nevertheless, we as Catholics ought to always keep a clear and accurate understanding of what the religion, the prayer, and the liturgical life of people really was in the Age of the Faith, as the historian Will Durant rightly proposed to rename the “Middle Ages.” Modern scholarship such as Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars and Fr Augustine Thompson’s Cities of God have shown that medieval people knew and understood, and lived participated in the liturgy, far more than they and their culture are generally given credit for.

    Translation of the Swedish introduction:

    “Five hundred years ago, the universe seemed much more understandable than it does for us. All of existence was framed by a number of ceremonies and behavioral patterns which were a matter of course for people at the time. And the most important of them was the Holy Mass - that ring of charged words and actions which surround the central mystery in the Christian faith: That Jesus becomes man anew in the creatures of bread and wine.
    We have reconstructed a High Mass from 500 years ago in an ordinary Swedish parish church, namely in Endre Church, one mile east of Visby in Gotland. We imagined ourselves to be participating in this high mass on an autumn Sunday in the middle of the 15th century. It is local people who are participating in clothes typical for the time, and we have tried as much as possible to reconstruct [something to do with (worship) services] in the Diocese of Linköping at that time - since Gotland belonged to that diocese.

    The service is conducted in an incomprehensible language, a language incomprehensible to the people: Latin. Because church services at the time were not considered a medium for communicating information, except for silent prayers. Just as one cannot describe what is fascinating about a melody or a sight, one shouldn't be able to understand or describe the central mystery of the universe. The congregation waits for the central moment, when the bread and wine shall be transformed into the body and blood of Christ.

    The priest was helped by a chorister, perhaps the [experienced?] youth whom [his soul has discovered?] and who with time would be sent to Linköping in order to attend the cathedral school. Songs, mostly from the Bible, were sung by the local cantor. We don't know exactly how the music went in the medieval churches. Maybe Endre Church had a specific order which required a qualified cantor like the one we shall see here.

    The Sunday service began when the priest sprinkled Holy Water on the congregation. This was to remind them that they had become members of the Christian church through baptism. The Holy Water would drive away all the powers of evil. "Let us now place ourselves in the Middle Ages. Let us try to grasp the atmosphere in a normal Swedish parish church, in a time where man still believed himself cast out into an empty, cold existence, when Europe was still unified, and when the central mystery around which everything revolved was that Jesus Christ, had become man, had died, and risen again for all.”

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    Last Wednesday, the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione in Milan welcomed Mons. Luigi Magnanini, emeritus Archpriest of the Cathedral Chapter, for a Solemn Mass in the traditional Ambrosian Rite on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The Monsignor was assisted by Fr Alberto Fiorini as deacon, Fr Michele Somaschini as subdeacon, and our own Nicola de’ Grandi as master of ceremonies. These photographs give us a nice idea of some of the typical ceremonies of the Ambrosian Mass.

    The celebrant and ministers enter the church to the chanting of a Psallendum, an antiphon repeated from the end of Lauds. The processional cross halts at the entrance to the sanctuary, and is turned towards the celebrant, who stands facing it in the nave, with the ministers in two rows facing each other on either side. There are then sung 12 Kyrie eleisons and a hymn, followed by a second Psallendum; at Gloria Patri, all bow to the Cross, at Sicut erat, the ministers bow to the celebrant. The Psallendum is then repeated as they enter the sanctuary.

    Many of the dignitaries of the Ambrosian clergy. including the canons of the cathedral, may use a staff called a ferula as a symbol of their authority.

    At the Gloria Patri of the Psallendum. 

    If the Blessed Sacrament is present in a tabernacle on the altar, it is incensed by the celebrant while kneeling, before he begins to incense the altar.

    The reader who sings the Prophetic lesson, and the subdeacon when he sings the Epistle, are both blessed by the celebrant, as is the deacon before the Gospel. The celebrant gives the blessing after the reader has sung the lesson’s title, bowed to him, and said “Jube, domne, benedicere.”

    During the singing of the Alleluia, the deacon goes to the sacristy to get Gospel book, which he then brings back to the sanctuary. Incense is imposed and blessed by the celebrant, and the procession forms in a manner similar to that of the Roman Rite; the deacon is blessed after singing the title of the Gospel.

    The Gospel procession assembles; here we can see the Ambrosian custom by which the deacon wears his stole over the dalmatic.

    The singing of the Gospel.

    The Offertory

    Imposition of incense

    At the Offertory, the celebrant incense the Host, Chalice and altar, he is then incensed by the deacon, at which point the incensation halts. During the singing of the Creed, which is done at the end of the Offertory, all kneels as in the Roman Rite...

    the Master of Ceremonies then incenses the rest of the ministers and the faithful as the rest of the Creed is sung.

    The celebrant does not wash his fingers during the Offertory, but rather during the Canon, right before the Institution Narrative.

    At the Consecration of the Host. Note that subdeacon incenses the Sacrament at the elevation, and from the side.

    During the Canon, the deacon and subdeacon both remain with the celebrant; here we see them bowing with him at the Supplices te rogamus.

    A houseling cloth used at the Communion.

    The humeral veil is used by the subdeacon as he brings the paten with the host and the chalice to the altar at the Offertory, as as he takes them away at the end of the Mass.

    The deacon sings “Procedamus cum pace” at the end of the Mass. The deacon and subdeacon do not line up in file behind the celebrant as in the Roman Mass, but stand to either side of the him when they are serving him directly, and to either side of the altar when they are not. The Ambrosian Mass does not have theIte, missa est, which is exclusive to the Roman Rite, but preserves the older Benedicamus Domino at the end of all Masses, as also at the end of all Hours.

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    The Religion and Ethics section of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s website has posted a very interesting article by Gregory K Hillis, an Associate Professor of Theology at Bellarmine Univ., about the famous Trappist monk and writer Fr Thomas Merton, and his attitude to the reform of the liturgy. No one who knows anything at all about Merton will be surprised to learn that he was rather ambivalent about the post-Conciliar liturgical reforms. As was the case with so many people, the initial enthusiasm with which he greeted the publication of Sacrosanctum Concilium was very much tempered by some of the results he saw in the following years, results which he himself predicted while the ink on the Council’s document was still drying.

    Prof. Hillis cites Merton’s journal, in which he writes immediately upon reading SC, ‘There is no question that great things have been done by the Bishops,’ and then notes that “(a)s novice master, Merton devoted three sessions to it in the days following its release.” And yet, only five days after the document was officially promulgated, he wrote to a friend at the Grand Chartreuse, with astonishing prescience, “Our great danger is to throw away things that are excellent, which we do not understand, and replace them with mediocre forms which seem to us to be more meaningful and which in fact are only trite. I am very much afraid that when all the dust clears we will be left with no better than we deserve, a rather silly, flashy, seemingly up-to-date series of liturgical forms that have lost the dignity and the meaning of the old ones.” Likewise, in 1966, he describes the English liturgy at Gethsemane Abbey as “very open, simple, even casual, but very moving and real,” while writing a year before that in a letter to an Anglican friend “As I tell all my Anglican friends, ‘I hope you will have the sense to maintain traditions that we are now eagerly throwing overboard.’ ”

    Merton died in December of 1968, just under a year before the Novus Ordo Missae came into use. One can only wonder what his reaction would have been to the explosion of abuses that attended the coming of the New Rite, the disintegration of Catholic liturgical music, already well-under way by the later ’60s, and whether he would have seen in these things a cause of the collapse of his order, now at 40% of the membership it had in 1971.

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    The Holy Name Society of St. Antoninus Parish in Cincinnati, Ohio, together with the Community-in-Formation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in Cincinnati and Old St. Mary’s Church will hold a men’s Eucharistic Procession on October 8th from 9 am to 11 am. It will begin at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral on West 8th Street, and process to Old St. Mary’s Church at 13th and Main Streets.

    The first local Holy Name Society group began in Newport in the year 1900, while the Holy Name procession recorded in Cincinnati was in 1907 in Mt. Adams. By 1913 the march became so large that they ended the parade at Redland Field (later renamed Crosley) to adore the Most Blessed Sacrament. It was estimated that 35,000 men marched that day. These parades were indeed a mark of the hearty heritage of Catholics in Cincinnati.

    Today the Holy Name Society Men’s group of St. Antoninus realizes that the world needs strong men to stand up in faith to honor the Holy Name of Jesus. In a world that constantly deals with brokenness and fatherlessness, the group stands as one of courage and faith. These few men seek to build up fellow men to be strong leaders, faithful fathers who will promote peace and unity in our beloved city. This Group wishes to renew the Catholic heritage of the Holy Name processions of the past and encourages all men to prayerfully join this year’s Eucharistic Procession.

    From last year’s procession, courtesy of Joshua Mincher. (Also see his story about it here.)

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    For some years, Massachusetts-based hymn expert Peter Meggison has been working to keep classic devotional hymns alive by commissioning new recordings of them. Having made over a dozen sessions with choirs and small ensembles, he distributes the songs on CDs and on the web. Most of the music on the site is from the era 1850-1950, and represents popular hymns sung at Catholic Masses and devotions in America and England.

    This summer he collaborated with conductor and organist Michael Olbash to offer something different. Instead of late-Victorian hymns in English, the aim was to present a once-familiar sound from the traditional Mass itself: the sound of the Latin chants of the Requiem Mass, sung with organ accompaniment. A choir of 11 met for an afternoon in St. John Church in Clinton, Massachusetts in June to perform the music, and it is now available on the project’s website.

    The recording begins with the Subvenite, which is sung as the body is brought into the church, and concludes with the Libera me, the ninth responsory of the Office of the Dead, which is sung as the coffin is sprinkled with holy water and incensed before being taken to the cemetery, the ceremony known as the Absolution. Between them are all of the Gregorian parts of the Mass, the regular antiphons, plus the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus dei. The choir is a strong group of men’s voices, really giving a very nice example of how Gregorian chant can and should be done, with a sober organ accompaniment (written by Achille Bragers) that works very nicely with, and never overpowers, the choir. (Cross-posted from Chant Café.)

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