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    Readers have probably noticed that I am reviewing a lot of books lately. Of course, Christmas is not so very far away and books always make great gifts for people who still use these odd manipulables of paper, glue, string, leather, and cardboard, but the main reason is that I have been flooded with wonderful books to review and have even had to say no to some offers.

    I have paired together two books today, a beautiful edition of the Psalms and New Testamentfrom Baronius Press, and a magnificent new complete Vespers for Sundays and First Class Feasts from Angelus Press. Part of the reason they come together in my mind is that both have the nice black cover that, to my mind, immediately says: "Liturgical book!," even if the Baronius book is meant for personal devotion.

    Baronius's Psalms & New Testament

    The Psalms and New Testament volume is simply delightful. I myself had been searching for a long time for a compact Bible to use for studying in English the psalms I pray in Latin, and for doing lectio divina with the Gospels. It might just be a personal thing, but I can't stand hauling around gigantic Bibles. It's much nicer to be able to pop a little book in your briefcase or backpack and take it on the road or to the chapel. Moreover, I wanted the Bible to have the Douay-Rheims translation, because it's by far the most helpful for those who are immersed in the traditional Latin liturgy, which uses the Vulgate. As time goes on, my distaste for other translations has increased as I have seen how remote they are from the Roman Catholic tradition. This is notoriously true of the New American Bible, which is a paraphrastic and stylistic travesty (written, as Anthony Esolen once quipped, in "Nabbish"), but it is also true in subtle ways of the Revised Standard Version.

    This Baronius edition, therefore, which contains the Douay-Rheims/Challoner has exactly suited my lectio needs over the past few couple of months, and I suspect it will suit the needs of many others, too. It is not quite pocket-sized but it is conveniently small (the photos show that). The cover is flexible leather. As one would expect of top-end Baronius books, the binding is sewn in signatures and the edge is gilt. There is a single yellow ribbon.

    The print is quite small, so if you have good vision or good reading glasses, it will be fine, but if you need a larger print for comfort, you'll have to search elsewhere. The formatting of the text is elegant and the typeface old-fashioned but not distractingly so. Cross-references are abundant.

    The notes, which are from the Challoner edition of the mid-18th century, are few but potent. They tend to arise at passages that Protestants twist to mean something other than the Catholic Church teaches, or at places where the text is very obscure. I like their vigorous tone and theological meat, which is such a far cry from the spiritually desiccated and ecumenically neutered notes one sees in more recent Bibles.

    The Psalms are printed first (pp. 1-78), in the usual Douay-Rheims style, where under each Psalm there is its Latin title, a one-line summary, and the Hebrew description of the Psalm, which in Vulgate Bibles is numbered as the first verse. The Fathers of the Church and the medieval commentators often made a big deal out of these at times rather obscure titles.

    Once again, there is a benefit in re-publishing an older edition of Scripture. As C. S. Lewis says, past generations did not have the hang-ups we have. Thus, the editor's summary of Psalm 48 (pictured above) reads: "The folly of worldlings, who live on in sin, without thinking of death or hell." You won't find that in Today's Inclusive Bible.

    The Baronius Psalms and New Testament is the best compact book of its genre (i.e., psalms and NT in one volume) that I have ever seen. It has become an invaluable component of my morning routine.

    Angelus's Vespers for Sundays and First Class Feasts

    In my capacity as choirmaster and schola director, I am frequently in the position of having to create Vespers booklets for special occasions. Since we often sing traditional Roman Vespers, it typically involves cutting and pasting from a PDF of the Liber usualis, supplemented by Benjamin Bloomfield's psalm-tone generator. There are times when I have thought: If this is how much time and expertise it takes to get chanted Latin Vespers ready, no wonder so few people and places are doing it!

    Enter this incredible resource, hot off the press. If you want to sing Vespers in the usus antiquior on any Sunday or Holy Day of the year, everything you need is present in this 336-page book, clearly typeset in black and red and very easy to find. It is as if someone took all the helpful Vespers material out of the Liber usualis and reorganized it for non-experts and without any shortcuts or abbreviations.

    (Apologies for the fuzzy images; my camera is not very good and neither is the steadiness of my hand.)

    Here are some photos of the "Common of Sunday Vespers" to give a sense of how the chant and text are laid out.

    Then, if we look (for instance) at the first Sunday of Advent, we get the proper antiphons for the Sunday psalms, the Chapter, Hymn, Versicle, and Magnificat antiphon, and the Collect for the day, as well as which Benedicamus Domino to use. Whoever put this together was aiming to make it as user-friendly as possible. There are two ribbons, a black and a red, which is all that one would need (one for the common, one for the proper).

    Finally, as in the Liber usualis, this book groups together Vespers psalms and the Magnificat (simple and solemn) according to the eight tones with all possible terminations.

    A pastor who wishes to bring sung Sunday Vespers back into his parish or a Music Director who has the possibility of doing the same should acquire this book post-haste and consider investing in multiple copies of it. What a vision: a parish whose hymn-racks are lined not only with the Parish Book of Chantor the Proper of the Massor the Lumen Christi Hymnal but also with this Vespers volume... a parish where increasing numbers of families come back to the church at 4:30 or 5:00 pm to chant Vespers together, week after week. It is remarkable how much of a difference the right book can make. This is one we have been waiting for for decades.

    To order the Baronius Press Psalms and New Testament ($24.95), visit here.

    To order the Angelus Press Vespers for Sundays and Feasts ($39.95), visit here.

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    From the 15th to the 22nd of November, the founder of the Fraternity Saint-Vincent-Ferrier, Fr Louis-Marie de Blignières, accompanied by two fathers of his community, Réginald-Marie Rivoire and Ambroise-Marie Pellaumail, will be in New York.
    - Thursday 17th: Holy Innocents Church (128 W 37th St). 18:00 : Solemn Mass in the Dominican Rite, followed by a conference.
    - Sunday 20th : Pequannock, New Jersey, Our Lady of Fatima Chapel (32, W. Franklin Ave.) Masses and Homily: 9:00 ; 11:00 (Solemn Mass followed by a refreshment in the parish and a conference ; 17:00.
    - Monday 21st : Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish, run by the Dominican Fathers, (869 Lexington Avenue). 19:00 : Solemn Mass in the Dominican Rite, followed by a conference.

    (With my apologies for the lateness of the notice; I am currently traveling.)

    Fr Rivoire celebrated a Solemn Mass in the Dominican Use earlier this year at the FSSP’s Roman parish, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, on the feast of St Thomas Aquinas, in thanksgiving for the successful completion of his doctoral studies.

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    Many NLM readers will know about the good work of Louis Tofari at Romanitas Press, which has a new website that surely deserves a visit. I recently discovered many helpful resources there that I had not known about before.

    Romanitas sells server cards, ceremonial books and notes, and classic reprints (e.g., Edwin Ryan's Candles in the Roman Rite, Geoffrey Webb's The Liturgical Altar, and various books in Latin by Callewaert). The "Peregrinus Gasolinus" stories from the 1930s, humorous fictions about points of liturgical ceremony, are definitely worth a look. His lists of rubrical reading materials and "where can I find...?" are excellent. Louis also offers training and consulting services.

    Of note is a recently added set of articles about the altar bell (part 1, part 2).

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    In honor of the dedication feast of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, and that of St Paul Outside-the-Walls, here are some interesting thoughts from the medieval liturgical commentator William Durandus on the Office and Mass of the dedication of a church. (Rationale Divinorum Officiorum 7, 48) The version of the Office which Durandus knows is slightly different from the version in the Breviary of St Pius V, as will be noted in the text itself.

    Pope Urban VIII draws the letters of the Latin alphabet in ashes spread over the floor, during the consecration of St. Peter’s Basilica on November 18, 1626, the 1300th anniversary of the original church’s consecration by Pope St Sylvester I. (Roman tapestry, ca. 1660)
    The feast (of a church’s dedication) is solemnly celebrated by the Church, concerning which it is written in John’s Gospel (10, 22 and 23) “It was the ‘renewal’ ” , that is, the feast of the dedication in Jerusalem, “and Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch” in order to confirm that festival. It is called Solomon’s porch, because he was wont to pray there, and did so on the day of the dedication. (In many medieval Uses, such as that of Sarum, this Gospel, John 10, 22-38, was read on the octave of a dedication.)

    This feast also took place in the Old Testament, whence we read in the book of Maccabees (1 Macc. 4, 42-43), “Judah Maccabee chose priests without blemish, and they cleansed the holy places.” Now the Church Militant can be cleansed, but not the Church Triumphant… * the Church on earth is built in baptism (i.e. washing), and in teaching, and in penance; here are heard (the noise of) the axe and every sort of metal tool, which are the many kinds of penances and disciplines in the Church Militant, … but the temple of Solomon signifies the Church Triumphant, in which these things are not heard.

    The Jews celebrated the dedication for eight days, whence it seems that we likewise ought to solemnly keep the feast of the dedication for eight days. But it is strange that they celebrated it for eight days, when they kept Passover and Pentecost for only seven. The reason for this is that this festivity especially signifies the eternal dedication, in which the Church, that is, the holy soul, will be dedicated to God, that is, will be so joined to him that it cannot be transferred to other uses. And this will take place on the octave of resurrection, and therefore, in the New Testament, this feast has an octave. (In Durandus’ original text, this paragraph is actually where the red star is marked above, interrupting his allegorical passage about cleansing the Church.)

    In the Office of Matins are said those Psalms in which there is a mention of doors, which represent fear and love, as in the Psalm “The earth is the Lord’s”, where it says “Lift up your gates, o ye princes” (23); those in which there is mention of an altar, as in the Psalm, “Judge me, o God, etc.” (42, not in the Roman Use); those in which there is mention of a city, such as “Our God is a refuge” and “Great is the Lord” (45 and 47); those in which there is mention of atria and gates, such as “How lovely are thy tabernacles” and “Her foundations are in the holy mountains.” (83 and 86)

    Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz during the consecration of the seminary chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the FSSP Seminary in Denton, Nebraska. After sprinkling the outside of the church with holy water, the bishop knocks on the door three times with his crozier, saying the words of Psalm 23, “Lift up your gates, o ye princes, and be lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the king of glory shall come in.” From within, the deacon answers from the same psalm, “Who is this king of glory?”, and the bishop replies “the Lord of hosts, he is the king of Glory!” A porter then opens the door, and the bishop blesses the threshold, saying “Behold the sign of the Cross, let all phantasms flee,” then, as he enters, “Peace to this house” to which the deacon replies “Upon thy entrance. Amen.”
    But the question arises, why is the Psalm “O Lord, God of my salvation” (87) is said? To this, some say that it because burials are mentioned in it, but this reason is not correct, because the Psalm does not speak of such burials as those in which the bodies of the faithful dwell, or are buried in a church, but rather of the burials of the wicked. Wherefore, we say that that Psalm is said because it is a penitential Psalm, and treats especially of prayer, which is to take place in a church; whence it is said therein, “Let my prayer come in before thee.” And the Lord says of the Church, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

    But the eighth Psalm (seventh in the Roman Use) is “He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High” (90), that is, in the Church, in which it is said, “thou hast made the most High thy refuge,” because the Church is founded above all, on the height of the mountains.

    The last antiphon, that of the Magnificat at Vespers, is “Eternal peace,” since the dedication is celebrated for this reason, that we may dedicated, and have that eternal peace.


    (This antiphon, incorrectly labelled in the video as the Salve regina, is found in the Dedication Office in most medieval Uses, with a number of minor textual variations. Note the long melisma on the O of the last ‘domui.’ “Pax aeterna ab Aeterno huic domui; pax perennis Verbum Patris sit pax huic domui; pacem pius Consolator praestet huic domui. - Eternal peace this house from the Eternal One; may the Word of the Father be everlasting peace to this house; may the Holy Comforter grant peace to this house.”)

      … To this feast certainly belongs Jacob’s vision of the ladder, and the angels ascending and descending, which is to say, he saw the whole Church in one vision, and raised up a stone, that is, Christ, who is the cap-stone, and the corner-stone, and foundation, who supports all the rest. He raised it up as a title of proclamation, of memory, of triumph, pouring oil upon it. For Jacob, who signifies the bishop, poured oil upon the stone, that is, on Christ, to show forth His anointings, and prophesied the same, saying, “How terrible is this place! this is no other but the house of God, and the gate of heaven. Indeed the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.” (Gen. 28, 17 and 16)

    For the Church is terrible to demons, because of the likeness which it has to God, and therefore this is the Introit at the Mass, “Terrible is this place.” There follows “and it will be called the court of God.” The blessed Gregory added these words of his own initiative, since God is ready to hear us therein, as the Lord said to Solomon, “I have heard thy prayer etc.” But why it is terrible is shown in the verse, “The Lord hath reigned, he is clothed with beauty,” that is, in His members, and therefore the Church is terrible to demons. …


    The Gradual “This place”, that is, the material church, “is holy”, because it is sanctified for this purpose, that the Lord may hear payers in it, and therefore it gives holiness to those praying. For Solomon prayed that the Lord might hear those who pray there, and the Lord said to him, “Thy prayer is heard.”



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    Liturgy in the Twenty-First Century: Contemporary Issues and Perspectives. Ed. Alcuin Reid. London/New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016. xxvi + 367 pp. Paperback, $24.95. [Publisher's site] [Amazon].

    This review will be shorter than the richness of this collection deserves, but I hope it will encourage NLM readers to add this compendious, challenging, and eminently readable volume to their personal libraries -- a step greatly facilitated by the book's affordable price in paperback. (A hardcover is available for those who prefer the Rolls Royce.)

    Liturgy in the Twenty-First Century brings together all the papers delivered at the second of the Sacra Liturgia conferences, namely the one held in New York City in June 2015. Those who remember that event will recall the excitement generated by the message sent to the conference by Cardinal Sarah, who strongly endorsed the program of Pope Benedict XVI and stated that this was still the mind of the Church. If more recent events have cast a cloud over that happy prognosis, the content of this book nevertheless helps us to see why Cardinal Sarah was (and is) essentially correct and why the promotion of sacred liturgy in its traditional fullness is the permanent, ineradicable, and immutable task of the Church on earth, regardless of contrary voices.

    Along these lines, a number of well-known contributors offer penetrating analyses of the current situation. Fr. Thomas Kocik's "The Reform of the Reform" (pp. 19-50) furnishes not only a theoretical map of the ROTR but also a thorough account of the ways in which one could reform the reform. Dr. Lauren Pristas's "The Post-Vatican II Revision of Collects: Solemnities and Feasts" (pp. 51-90) continues her long line of studies on the massive rewriting of the prayers of the Pauline missal, emanating from dubious theological commitments. Fr. Christopher Smith's "Liturgical Formation and Catholic Identity" (pp. 260-86) presents what may be the best short account of what went wrong with liturgy in the sixties and seventies, the various psychological and sociology factors at play, different ways of responding to the crisis and their relative merits and demerits, and the need for a gradual restoration of liturgical tradition, including the old rites, if we are ever to overcome the incoherence of our contemporary situation. My favorite lecture is Michael Foley's "The Reform of the Calendar and the Reduction of Liturgical Recapitulation" (pp. 321-41), which I would consider the single best critique of the severe, not to say brutal, redesign of the liturgical calendar by the Consilium.

    A particular strength of this volume that I have not seen plentifully in other recent literature is its sensitivity to and seriousness about the aesthetic dimension of liturgy and the necessary artistic "clothing" of worship. Several of the papers delve into this area with great subtlety and vigor. In "The Ease of Beauty: Liturgy, Evangelization, and Catechesis" (pp. 91-104), Margaret Hughes pleads that we must let beauty be so that it may woo and win over our minds and hearts to the Lord, with a certain "ease" that is not the passivity of relaxation but the intensification of rational activity in confrontation with the manifestation of the divine. (I am making it sound academic, but the paper is easy to read and persuasive!) In "Addressing the Triumph of Bad Taste: Church Patronage of Art, Architecture, and Music" (pp. 105-24), Jennifer Donelson argues that good intentions without theological grounding and some training in the arts is destined to produce results nearly as disastrous as bad intentions and theological heresies, and that the wave of iconoclasm seen in the Church since the Council can be blamed not only on false ideas and dubious motives, but also on a grave lack of sound judgment as to what is artistically tasteful, appropriate, and in conformity with the spirit of the liturgy. Gregory Glenn makes the bold claim that "Liturgical Music is Non-Negotiable" (pp. 125-39), and explains the benefits of investing in it, using his long experience at the Choir School of the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City. The most magisterial paper in this category is Raymond Cardinal Burke's "Beauty in the Sacred Liturgy and the Beauty of a Holy Life" (pp. 1-18), where he demonstrates that concern with liturgical beauty is not only not antithetical to the pursuit of holiness, as a misguided spiritualism or utilitarianism might maintain, but is in fact an indispensable support to it, and a sign of the interior health of a Christian community with well-ordered priorities and the ability to make sacrifices for the honor of God.

    Other papers in the book are valuable for their insights into particular "spheres" of liturgical life and their peculiar challenges, needs, and successes -- whether it be the seminary (Fr. Kurt Belsole, pp. 189-217), youth ministry (Matthew Menendez, pp. 156-173), the monastery (Abbot Philip Anderson, pp. 342-359), the spiritual life of the priest (Fr. Richard Cipolla, pp. 218-233), or the leadership of the bishop (Archbishop Cordileone, pp. 140-155). Finally, Dom Alcuin Reid looks into interesting historical details about the waves of revision to the Holy Week rites in order to raise questions for further research (pp. 234-259), and Fr. Allan White delves into theories about preaching and proclamation (pp. 174-188).

    In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I was one of the presenters at the conference; my lecture is included herein as "The Reform of the Lectionary" (pp. 287-320). In this work I offer a multifaceted critique of the revised lectionary and the entire set of presuppositions behind its compilation and execution, as well as a defense of the traditional lectionary. In general, it is a healthy sign that this and so many other topics taken up in the book can be openly discussed and debated, at least among people of younger generations who do not feel personally invested in the liturgical reform and offended by the suggestion that it may have serious, indeed malefic, flaws.

    The book is rounded out by messages of Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal Sarah, and Bishop Rey, and the homily preached by Fr. Jordan Kelly, OP, at the Solemn Votive Mass of the Holy Angels that took place during the conference.

    For those who are keen on the practice and study of the sacred liturgy, recognizing in it the font and apex of the Church's life and mission, Liturgy in the Twenty-First Century offers a feast of discourse not to be passed over. Its pages scrutinize the meandering paths of pseudo-reform while scattering abroad hopeful seeds of genuine renewal. I am triply grateful -- first, to have played a small part in the event myself; second, to have heard so many fine papers presented in New York in 2015; and third, to be holding this book in my hands, a permanent record that will enable the authors' work to benefit many more people over the years.




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    Anne, the divine grace, leads the holy Ever-virgin with gladness into the temple of God, even her who is manifestly full of grace, calling upon the young women bearing lamps to go before her, and saying, “Go, my child, become an offering and sweet incense unto the giver (of grace). Go into the sanctuary, and learn the mysteries, and be prepared to become the dwelling place, full of delightly and grace, of Jesus, who giveth great mercy to the world.” (Apostichon from Vespers in the Byzantine Rite.)

    The Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple; fresco in the Studenica Monastery in Serbia, ca. 1210. In Byzantine images of this event, the Virgin is represented not as a child, but as a miniature adult, to indicate that the fullness of grace and virtue already resides within Her.
    Ἄννα ἡ θεία χάρις σαφῶς χαριτωθεῖσαν τὴν ἁγνὴν Ἀειπάρθενον, προσάγει μετ' εὐφροσύνης, εἰς τὸν Ναὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ, προσκαλεσαμένη προπορεύεσθαι αὐτῆς τὰς νεάνιδας λαμπαδηφόρους, καὶ λέγουσα· Ἄπιθι τέκνον, τῷ δοτῆρι γενήθητι καὶ ἀνάθημα, καὶ εὐῶδες θυμίαμα. Εἴσελθε εἰς τὰ ἄδυτα, καὶ γνῶθι μυστήρια, καὶ ἑτοιμάζου γενέσθαι, τοῦ Ἰησοῦ οἰκητήριον, τερπνὸν καὶ ὡραῖον, τοῦ παρέχοντος τῷ κόσμῳ, τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.



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    Using the example of the School of St Albans, I have been discussing how one might re-establish a tradition of sacred art for the Roman Rite, in such a way that it might have the same success as that of the mid-twentieth century re-establishment of the iconographic tradition in the Eastern Church.

    Stylistically, I have opted for something based upon the St Albans school, but for a canon of imagery, I would look first to that of the iconographic tradition. This is because so much of the hard work has already been done. The figures of the last century catalogues a series of images that are rooted in Scripture and related directly to the liturgy. So many of the great feasts have their own icons, and we can re-appropriate this for our own imagery. I say “so many” because there are occasional differences between the feasts of the Roman and Byzantine Rites; so we might have to look to past examples in others styles as a source for content for these, and perhaps even in some cases develop a new iconography, drawing upon the magisterium, Scripture and tradition.

    An example of this would be the Immaculate Conception, which began, as I understand it, as a celebration of the Conception of the Mother of God on December 9th, but was moved when adopted by the Western Church to December 8th in the latter part of the first millennium.

    The familiar iconography of the Immaculate Conception is particular to the Roman Church, and was developed in Spain in the 17th century; it therefore has no part in the iconographic tradition. Francisco Pacheco (1564-1644) who was the teacher of Spanish baroque masters such as Alonso Cano, and of his son-in-law Velazquez, described the iconography of the Immaculate Conception in his influential book The Art of Painting (Arte de la Pintura), published posthumously in 1649. I have written about this in some detail in my book The Way of Beauty. The example below is by the great 18th century Italian painter Gianbattista Tiepolo.



    So in my new style, I would adopt the content of the above picture, while trying to paint it in the style of the School of St Albans.

    Iconographic or Gothic?
    For ease of consistency as the tradition develops (being optimistic about it catching on!) I would stick to the principles of the iconographic prototype. Again this is something that is well thought out and can be a useful guideline. So for example, I would make sure that the compositions do not have Saints in profile, and take care to eliminate depth, so that the action, so to speak, takes place in the plane of the painting. 

    It can be surprising, sometimes, how following the principles can dictate how you design an image. For example, if every Saint is to have a halo, then it is difficult to have images arranged packed together one behind the other, as we see here.


    In the following painting of the Last Supper, the artist Duccio wanted the viewer to be able to see the artifacts on the table, so he omitted the halos in the figures in the lower part of the painting:

    The iconographic prototype would not permit this, so the artist below, in a modern icon, has arranged the figures so that none obscure the table.

    Similarly, I would not want figures in profile. In the painting below, also by Duccio, he wants the central figure at the bottom, St John, to be looking up Christ, and so has had to turn his head around. 


    In the traditional icon, the central figure is always shown with his face towards us, dazzled by the light.


    In this 12th century icon from Mt Sinai, two figures are facing away from Christ, dazzled by the light:

    In the following 15th century Russian icon the central figure is prostrated:


    Book suggestions
    Books that I would start with for information on the iconography (i.e. symbolic content) of sacred art are a series published by the Getty Museum. They are not exhaustive, but are a good starting point:

    Icons and Saints of the Orthodox Church for the canon of iconography.
    Old Testament Figures in Art and Gospel Figures in Art and Saints in Art for western images that are not in the iconographic canon too. These books give a pretty thorough description of the meaning of the content of images they contain.

    Occasionally use the different sorts of perspective that you get in iconography.

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  • 11/22/16--19:45: The Dies Irae in English
  • One of the gifts which the Church has received through the promulgation of the Ordinariate Liturgy is a model for vernacular liturgy that preserves some of the great treasures of the Catholic liturgical tradition, treasures which in one way or another were lost to the liturgical reform. Here we see a Mass for All Souls’ Day celebrated at Incarnation Catholic Church in Orlando, Florida, celebrated ad orientem and in black vestments; particularly noteworthy is the singing of the famous sequence of the Requiem Mass, the Dies irae, in an English translation which perfectly preserves the music of the Latin original (starting at 9:57).


    Anglo-Catholic church produced quite a lot of music which the English-speaking Catholic world would have done well to adopt when vernacular liturgy came in the 1960s. (A friend of mine who grew up in a very famous Anglo-Catholic parish knew how to sing the Introit of Corpus Christi, also in an English that followed the original Gregorian chant exactly.)

    In the Liturgy of the Hours, the Dies irae is given as an optional hymn (split into three parts) for the Office of Readings, Lauds and Vespers on the ferias between Christ the King and First Advent. In his book Te decet laus, Dom Anselmo Lentini, O.S.B., who led the committee that revised the Office hymns, leaves little doubt as to what he really thought of the removal of the Sequence from the Requiem Mass, referring to it as something which the faithful knew very well and sung with enthusiasm. The committee decided to give it a place in the Office, lest it be lost altogether from the liturgy, since the revisers of the Mass had decided that death was henceforth to be treated as a rather cheerier affair.

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    Here is the online edition of the Adoremus Bulletin. There are articles by Denis McNamara, Adam Bartlett and editors Chris Carstens and Joseph O'Brien. I have listed what I consider to be the highlights below:

    News and views
    Motu Proprio Harmonizes East and West on Sacraments The Editors
    Cardinal Sarah Talks Liturgical Silence The Editors

    Articles
    The Power of the Knee in Catholic Liturgy Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
    A Liturgical Year of Mercy – Three Priests from Around the World Recall Pope Francis’s Extraordinary Jubilee Joseph O'Brien
    Ever Ancient—Ever New: Implementing Musicam Sacram Today Adam Bartlett
    The Ambo: Launch Platform for the Word Denis R. McNamara

    Questions of Faith
    The Rite Questions: What is “Intinction,” and is it Allowed? Christopher Carstens




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    The Church Music Association of America has extended Early Registration for Winter Sacred Music 2017 to November 30th - you can still take advantage of Early rates and plan to join them in January for a fantastic week to start the new year! Sing Gregorian chant and Sacred Polyphony with the two directors, Scott Turkington and Nick Botkins.


    Enjoy liturgies in the beautiful Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham, Alabama (January 2-6, 2017), including:

    Wednesday Memorial Mass - St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (with music by Bruce Ludwick's cathedral choir), Ordinary Form
    Thursday Memorial Mass - St. John Neumann (chant and polyphony sung by course participants), Ordinary Form
    Friday Epiphany Mass (chant and polyphony sung by course participants), Extraordinary Form


    In addition, enjoy the sounds of Early Music by the Highland Consort (a local Early Music group directed by Frederick Teardo) with a special concert on Wednesday evening. For all the details, including repertory, visit the webpage for the Winter Sacred Music 2017 program.


    Colloquium 2017 Registration now open!

    Join the CMAA in St. Paul, Minnesota next summer for the 27th Annual Sacred Music Colloquium (June 19-24, 2017). Participants will be staying at the beautiful campus of the University of St. Thomas (UST) and enjoying liturgies in three different venues. In addition, an organ recital, featuring Samuel Backman, will be on Wednesday evening at the amazingly beautiful Cathedral of St. Paul.

    Find all the information about schedule, liturgies, faculty, housing, breakout sessions and more at the website SACRED MUSIC COLLOQUIUM 2017.


    Renew Your CMAA Membership now!

    As the year end approaches, most CMAA memberships will expire on December 31st (unless you have an automatic renewal). If you haven’t already, please take the time to send in your renewal so that you don’t miss any issues of Sacred Music. Please be aware that membership rates are to increase for US and Canada members in 2017*. If you have questions about the status of your membership, please contact Janet Gorbitz at gm@musicasacra.com.

    Work continues on the final two issues of the Sacred Music journal for the year... we expect them both to reach you before year-end. Thanks very much for your patience.

    * Membership rate changes for 2017: US & Canada: $60/year, Other non-U.S: $65/year. Parish Membership 2017 rates: US & Canada: $300/year, Other non-US: $325/year. Renew or Join Now

    On the Feastday of St. Cecilia...
    The CMAA Board of Directors and staff wish you all a wonderful day as we prepare to begin the season of Advent.
    With best regards,
    Dr. William Mahrt, President
    Dr. Horst Buchholz, Vice President
    Rev. Robert Pasley, Chaplain
    Adam Wright, Treasurer
    Mary Jane Ballou, Secretary
    Dr. Edward Schaefer, Member
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    David Hughes, Member
    Jonathan Ryan, Member
    Janet Gorbitz, General Manager
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    Just under two weeks ago, we published some photos of the All Souls’ Day Mass at St Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Oberlin, Louisiana, which particularly struck me because of the youth of both the priest and his servers. Each year, for the OF feast of Christ the King, the church holds a Eucharistic procession after their principle Sunday Mass, and the parish priest, Fr Jacob Conner, was kind enough to send us these photos. It’s great to see a parish which celebrates both forms of the Roman Rite in a worthy fashion, and young people enthusiastically participating in them both. Our thanks to Fr Conner, and to the photographer, Mr Ryan Rozas.














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    Fr Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., the founder of the Benedictine Monks of Norcia, has just announced two days ago on the community’s blog that he is stepping down as Prior, and that Fr Benedict Nivakoff will become the new Prior. Our readers will perhaps know that Fr Cassian is a cancer survivor; he notes in the following video message that he has NOT had a recurrence.


    “In the history of every new community, the transition from the founder to the next generation of leadership is a positive sign of growth and maturity. I am happy to announce that the monastic community of Norcia has reached this important moment.

    The earthquakes of the past several months have presented us with incredible challenges, which require vigorous, creative leadership. While I am in good health at the moment, I do not have the strength or energy necessary to meet these challenges. Therefore it is time to pass the baton to younger, more energetic hands. After consulting the chapter members of the monastery, I submitted my resignation to the Abbot Primate, the Most. Rev. Gregory Polan, O.S.B., who appointed Fr. Benedict Nivakoff, O.S.B., to take my place.


    Fr. Benedict is extremely well-qualified to lead the community. He has much experience as Subprior and Novice Master, and possesses the human and spiritual qualities necessary to guide the monastery in these difficult times. As for me, after eighteen years of intense labor, I am ready to accept a less demanding assignment, and will continue to serve the community in whatever way I can, especially as a liaison with our many friends and benefactors.

    When St. Paul talks about the transition of leadership in the church of Corinth, he writes: ‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.’ (1 Cor 3:6). We give thanks for the life of our community: for the planting, for the watering and for the growth that comes from God.”

    NLM offers congratulations to Fr Benedict, and we ask all our readers to pray for him, for Fr Cassian, and the entire community of the Benedictine Monks of Norcia as they rebuild in the wake of the major earthquakes earlier this year which destroyed both their church and monastery.

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    The Sons of the Divine Redeemer write in to let us know that their 2017 liturgical calendar is now available. As in previous years, it contains a wealth of useful information, not just on the liturgical seasons, feast days and fast day, but also on historical anniversaries in the life of the Church, the lives of the Saints, astronomical events and important civil observances, etc., along with a lot of very nice decorations, in the best tradition of medieval liturgical calendars.


    It can be ordered at the following link: http://papastronsay.com/bookshop/product.php?ID=61


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    In Fr. John Gerard’s account of his time in England under the reign of Queen Elizabeth, published as The Autobiography of a Hunted Priest, this sixteenth century Jesuit tells many remarkable stories—stories of his imprisonment and torture in the famous Tower of London and subsequent escape, the priest hunters who almost burn through his hiding place, and several remarkable healings through the sacrament of Extreme Unction.

    Less swashbuckling than some others, one very interesting account nonetheless deserves some attention. It describes the rich altar and votive offerings in the house of a wealthy recusant Catholic that he served for some time. I would like to consider this more closely because it offers encouragement to the effort of filling churches today with art that befits the worship of God.

    In the last great house where John Gerard stayed before returning to the continent in 1606, a place he stayed for some months ministering to the household and surrounding country, he describes the rich vestments and vessels for Mass:
    Also we had there many very fine vestments for the altar: two sets of each color which the Church uses—one for ordinary use, the other for greater feasts; some of these which figures of exquisite workmanship were embroidered with gold and pearls. (1)
    Since the church uses six colors of vestments, (2) Gerard is saying that this house had as many as twelve chasubles. This is incredible for a time when it was against the law to be Catholic!

    Chasuble made by English recusants in the 17th century
    He then describes the candlesticks:
    Six massive silver candlesticks stood on the altar, and two smaller ones at the side for the elevation. The cruets, the lavabo bowls, the bell and thurible were all of silverwork; the lamps hung form silver chains, and a silver crucifix stood on the altar… For the great feasts we had a golden crucifix a foot high. It had a pelican carved on the top, and on the right arm an eagle with outstretched wings, carrying on its back its little ones, who were learning to fly; and on the left on the left arm a phoenix expiring in flames so that it might leave behind offspring; and at the foot was a hen gathering her chickens under her wings. The whole was worked in gold by a skilled artist. (3)
    One thing I especially like about this set of “Popish Massing materials” is the sense of hierarchy: more intricate vestments and different crucifixes for the varying solemnity of feasts. This last item has the most remarkable ornament on it which was donated by the mistress of the house.
    It [the crucifix for great feasts] also had a precious ornament with the Holy Name engraved on it. My hostess had given it to me on the first Christmas after I came to live at her house. The Name was formed of pins of solid gold, and the surrounding “glory” had two pins in one ray and three in the next alternately. It…contained altogether two hundred and forty gold pins, to each of which was attached a large pearl. The pearls were not perfectly shaped (had they been, the value of the ornament would have been fabulous, but, as it was, the whole thing was worth about a thousand florins). At the bottom there was a colophon, worked in gold and gems by the artist, in the form of a monogram, expressing the Holy Name, and in the middle of this a heart with a cross of diamonds radiating from it. This was a New Year’s present from the devout widow in honor of the most Holy Name of Jesus, the day’s feast.
    Is this not marvelous? This unnamed host certainly knew how to express her faith through her wealth, supporting priests in many and various ways, making her house a center of Catholic resistance and refuge.

    The Autobiography of a Hunted Priest brings together two aspects of spirituality necessary today, namely, that the interior life with its prayers, consolations, and trials, must be the guiding principle for the exterior life; that the externals of our faith matter so much that even in time of persecution one should aspire to have the richest and most beautiful objects for the service of the Lord at His holy altar. As Pope Benedict XVI reminded us, nothing is too good, nothing too beautiful, for God, who is Beauty itself. This account of a stalwart Jesuit is good encouragement for traditional Catholics today who feel persecuted in practicing the Faith of our Fathers, even as the recusant Catholics of the sixteenth century did. All the Holy Martyrs of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland, orate pro nobis!

    (1) John Gerard, S. J., The Autobiography of a Hunted Priest, translated by Philip Carmen, S.J., Ignatius Press (2012, San Francisco) ch. 22, p. 246
    (2) White, red, green, violet, black, and rose. Gold is a seventh color, but it is not assigned to any particular occasions or feasts, replacing green, white, and red as a festive color.
    (3) Gerard, ibid.

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    We received the following report from Mr Ryan Kullavanijaya, a Romanian Greek-Catholic born and raised in the U.S., but currently living in his paternal homeland of Thailand, concerning the recent celebration of the first ever Greek-Catholic Divine Liturgy in that country. Photos below courtesy of the Greek-Catholic Society of Thailand, reproduced with permission from their Facebook page. We congratulate them on their efforts to spread the Gospel though the beauty of the Byzantine liturgical tradition, and pray for their continued success.

    Through the prayers of the faithful in Thailand and of many supporters abroad, I worked with several others to launch the Greek Catholic Society of Thailand here in Bangkok in 2014. Slowly but surely, we have been able to reach out to many Thais and foreigners alike here, teaching them about our Catholic Faith and inviting them to pray with us. Nevertheless, this was purely a lay apostolate with little oversight or support by the clergy.

    Yet, in a miraculous turn of events, we were informed (via an Indonesian friend in Australia) that at least four Greek Catholic priests of the Redemptorist Order were attending international meetings this year in Pattaya, Thailand. After playing phone tag with the priests to learn their liturgy schedule, a small contingent of our Society made the journey to Pattaya to meet these priests and to attend their liturgies.
    Preparation Rite for the Liturgy in Bangkok
    While in Pattaya, we invited the priests to Bangkok to celebrate the Divine Liturgy and to meet our small but growing community. After making some changes to their schedule and securing the permission of their superiors, three of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Redemptorists agreed to come and scheduled their liturgy for November 20th.

    Our Society launched a large media campaign via Facebook, our blog, and word-of-mouth. In less than a week, hundreds of people around the world had heard about our upcoming liturgy and passed the word on to others as well. Even so, only about 10-15 individuals confirmed their attendance directly to us or via the official Facebook event.

    We baked prosphora, translated the liturgy propers, printed bulletins, and made other preparations for about 50 attendees, just in case the number more than doubled. When November 20th came, we were shocked to discover that roughly 70 souls turned up to attend the liturgy and to worship the Trinity with us. Ukrainians, Americans, Filipinos, Pakistanis, Thais, and others attended the liturgy and were overjoyed to have the opportunity to participate in a Byzantine Rite service. As this was the first known Greek Catholic liturgy in Bangkok (and the first ever public Divine Liturgy anywhere in Thailand), it was new and mysterious to many, but everyone took to it quite well!

    To add success to success, we also had several Orthodox Christians visit the liturgy. One has been undergoing catechesis with us for almost one year now, and he was formally received into the Catholic Church during the liturgy through sacramental confession and profession of Faith (public recitation of the Nicene Creed). Glory to God for all things!

    A new set of Eucharistic vessels bought for the occasion.
    The Little Entrance
    The Epistle read in Thai

    The Great Entrance
    “Peace to all” before the Creed
    Reception into the Church as mentioned above

    “Approach with the fear of God, with faith and love!”

    The mysteries are brought to the table of the preparation, where the remaining portion is consumed by one of the priest, and the vessels are cleaned and purified.
    The Ambo Prayer


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    The acts of St Catherine of Alexandria tell us that she was a noblewoman of immense learning in all the sciences, who at the age of eighteen went to the emperor Maximin Daia (305-312) to reprove him for his persecution of the Church, denouncing the worship of the false gods of the pagans. Unable to respond to her himself, Maximin had her imprisoned, and then brought a group of fifty philosophers to explain to her the folly of Christianity; all of these she converted to the Faith, for which they were put to death. Catherine was returned to prison, where she was visited by the empress and a captain of the emperor’s troops named Porphyry, both of whom were also converted, and soon after martyred. Catherine was then condemned to die by the famous spiked wheel which has long been known as her emblem, but which broke apart on touching her; like so many Saints whom Nature itself and the persecutors’ devices refused to harm, she was then beheaded. As the traditional Collect of her feast states, her body was carried by Angels to Mount Sinai, where first a church, and later the famous monastery were built in her honor.

    An icon of the Presentation of Mary, with St Catherine on the far left. (Greek, 18th century). In the Byzantine Rite, the Entrance of the Virgin in the Temple is one of the twelve Great Feasts, most of which are kept with both a Forefeast and Afterfeast, broadly the equivalent of a vigil and octave in the traditional Roman Rite. Afterfeasts vary in length, and those of the Virgin’s Presentation and Nativity are the shortest, only four days, the final day being known as the Leave-taking; the Leavetaking of the Presentation therefore coincides with St Catherine’s feast day. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons by shakko.) 
    She became one of the most popular Saints of the High Middle Ages beginning in the 11th century, when some of her relics were brought to the French city of Rouen. Innumerable churches and chapels were dedicated to her, she appears in an extraordinary number of paintings and statues, and her feast day was kept in many places as a holy day of obligation. She has long been honored as a Patron Saint of philosophers and theologians, orators and preachers, (and hence especially by the Dominicans, who kept her feast with an octave until the early 20th century,) but also of women in religious life, students of every sort, millers and wheelwrights. In France, her prestige was very much enhanced by the fact that she was one of the Saints who spoke to St Joan of Arc. She is honored in the Byzantine Rite with the title “Great Martyr”, and named in the preparation rite of the Divine Liturgy; in the Ambrosian Rite, her name was even added to the Canon of the Mass in the later 15th century.

    It is painful to relate that no aspect of the life of St Catherine as given in her acts can be considered trustworthy. Just to give one of many possible examples, she is named as the “daughter of a king named Costus”, even though Egypt in the early fourth century was a province of the Roman Empire, and had had no king for over three-hundred years. There is no mention of her in the wealth of Egyptian Christian literature for several centuries after her death, or in the various accounts of pilgrims to the monastery on Mt Sinai, which was not originally named for her.

    By the time the Roman Breviary was revised after the Council of Trent, scholars had long known that many of the well-known and loved stories of the Saints were not historically reliable. Thus we find several of the Virgin Martyrs who were very popular in the Middle Ages, such as Ss Barbara, Margaret of Antioch and Ss Ursula and Companions, reduced from full offices of nine readings in the Breviary of 1529 to a mere commemoration in the Breviary of St Pius V. Even Ss Cecilia and Agatha, who are named in the Canon of the Mass, were originally kept at the second of three grades; only Ss Agnes, the Roman martyr par excellence among women, Lucy (a rather random choice), and Catherine of Alexandria were kept at the highest grades.

    Virgo inter Virgines (The Virgin Mary among the other holy virgins) by the anonymous Netherlandish painter known as the Master of the St Lucy Legend, ca. 1490. The holy Virgins are Ss Apollonia, Ursula, Lucy, Dorothy, Catherine (receiving a ring from the baby Jesus; her red cloak is covered with her symbol, the wheel,) Mary Magdalene, Barbara, Agnes, Margaret, Agatha and Cunera, patron of the Rhenen area near Utrecht, said be one of the 11,000 companions of St Ursula. (Click image to enlarge; click here for a complete explanation of the icongraphy.)
    The Breviary of St Pius V, first published in 1568, was revised in the last decade of the century, and a new edition published in 1602. Pope Clement VIII had entrusted the task of correcting the Saints’ lives to the great Cardinal Cesare Baronius, also the principle editor of the first Tridentine edition of the Martyrology. Among Baronius’ collaborators was St Robert Bellarmine, one of the most learned men of his age, who is supposed to have said in regard to St Catherine, “I wish I could believe that she existed.” In his History of the Roman Breviary, Mons. Pierre Batiffol notes (p. 216) that Baronius often refused, against St Robert’s advice, to alter some of the popular legends, despite the historical problems associated with them; and that he noted of St Catherine specifically, “Her history contains many things which are repugnant to the truth.” Nevertheless, her Office was left unaltered, and remained in the same form until the Breviary revision of 1960.

    It was certainly a goal of the Tridentine reform of the Breviary to remove from the Church’s public prayer anything that might offer the Protestants a pretext for attack or ridicule. (Baronius was well aware of this problem, and also produced a massive history of the Church, covering the first 12 centuries, in response to Protestant controversialists.) The question therefore arises as to why a Saint whose life was subject to serious doubts, even on the part of the very revisers of the Breviary, was not merely included in it, but celebrated in one of its most prominent feasts.

    In part, we may simply say that scholars must at times take their lesson from the devotion of the people, and accept what they may perhaps not understand. (It is interesting to note in this regard that St Catherine was abolished in the Novus Ordo, but restored to the general calendar by Pope St John II.) But there are three aspects of the story of St Catherine that are particularly significant to the Counter-Reformation, which certainly contributed to the preservation of devotion to her.

    The first is her role as the Patron Saint of philosophers, which comes, of course, from the story told above of her converting the fifty men sent to dissuade her of her Christian faith.

    The second is her role as patron of women in religious life. This arises from the story that Maximin offered to take her on as a second wife or mistress, and even honor her as a goddess, if she would renounce the Faith. To this Catherine replied “It is a crime even to think of such things. Christ has taken me to Himself as a bride; I have joined myself to Him as a bride in an indissoluble bond.” Other virgin martyrs like Ss Agnes and Agatha also speak of themselves in similar terms, but for whatever reason, it was seen as especially important in Catherine’s case. Therefore, she is very often represented, both before and after the Counter-Reformation, receiving a wedding ring from the infant Christ as He is held by His Mother, joined to him in a mystical marriage, although this is not specifically said in the text of her acts commonly read in medieval breviaries, nor in the Golden Legend.

    The Mystical Marriage of St Catherine, by Guercino, 1620
    The third reason has to do with her place among the Fourteen Holy Helpers. In the 1499 Missal of Bamberg, the Collect of a Votive Mass in their honor reads as follows:
    Almighty and merciful God, who didst adorn Thy Saints George, Blase, Erasmus, Pantaleon, Vitus, Christopher, Denis, Cyriacus, Acacius, Eustace, Giles, Margaret, Barbara and Catherine with special privileges above all others, so that all who in their necessities implore their help, according to the grace of Thy promise, may attain the salutary effect of their pleading: grant us, we beseech Thee, forgiveness of our sins, and with their merits interceding, deliver us from all adversities, and kindly hear our prayers.
    The words “according to the grace of Thy promise” refer to the tradition that during their passion, each of these Saints received a promise from God that their intercession would be exceptionally effective on behalf of those who honored them. Thus, the third antiphon of Lauds in the proper office of St Catherine reads “I await the sword for Thee, o Jesus, good king; set Thou my spirit in Paradise, and show mercy to those who keep my memory.” To this Christ answers in the fourth antiphon: “A voice sounded from heaven: ‘Come, my chosen one, come, enter the chamber of Thy spouse; thou hast obtained what thou asked; those that praise thee shall be saved.” And the fifth concludes, “Because we keep the memory of thee o virgin, with devout praises, pray for us, we ask, o blessed Catherine.”

    In these three roles, as Patron Saint of philosophers, as a bride of Christ, and as a Holy Helper, St Catherine stands out as a perfect response to the novelties of the Protestant reformers.

    After serving for many centuries as the “handmaid of theology,” from the Fathers to Boethius to St Thomas, and particularly after the great scholastic conquest of Aristotle, philosophy, and indeed reason itself, were cast out by Martin Luther as “the Devil’s greatest whore… who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom…” And likewise, “Aristotle is the godless bulwark of the papists. He is to theology what darkness is to light. His ethics is the worst enemy of grace. He is a rank philosopher, … the most artful corrupter of minds. If he had not lived in flesh and bones, I should not scruple to take him for a devil.” As for St. Thomas, “he never understood a chapter of the Gospel or Aristotle … In short, it is impossible to reform the Church if Scholastic theology and philosophy are not torn out by the roots with Canon Law.” St Catherine therefore serves as an example of the Church’s true tradition, one who successfully used philosophy in the preaching and teaching of the Faith.

    St Catherine and the Philosophers, from the Castiglione chapel in the Basilica of St Clement in Rome, by Masolino da Panicale, 1425-31. Note how she calmly counts off her reasons for believing the Christian faith, as the philosophers look in confusion in different directions. “We firmly confess this to thee, o emperor, that unless thou shall show us a more likely sect than these which we have followed hitherto; behold, we all convert to Christ, because we confess Him to be true God and the son of God.” (from the Sarum Breviary). At this the emperor orders them to be burnt alive, as seen on the right.
    The Protestants also completely rejected any kind of monastic or canonical religious life, leaving no formal place at all for women in the institutional life of the Church. (Luther himself, like so many disaffected religious, married a former nun, whose name, ironically, was Catherine.) The tradition of Christ accepting her in a mystical marriage would therefore validate the institution of consecrated life in general, but particularly for women.

    Finally, as a Saint renowned for her powerful intercession on behalf of many classes of people, St Catherine stands with countless others in the “cloud of witnesses” against the early Protestant rejection of devotion to the Saints, and their power to intercede for us in this world.

    Even within Luther’s lifetime, it was hardly possible to get two Protestant reformers together to agree on any point; hence, the famous dispute at which he carved “EST – it is” into the table, in reply to Zwingli, who was quite certain that the Lord was only kidding when He said “This IS my body.” Broadly speaking, however, they generally accepted that things had really gone wrong in the Church with the coming of the mendicants, (especially the Franciscans), and the flourishing of their teachings in the universities. Although the life of St Catherine may no longer be regarded as historical, it still bears witness to the Church’s historical belief, before the emergence of the mendicants, in the goodness of reason and philosophy, in the value of consecrated life, and the intercession of the Saints on our behalf.

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    The Angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, a Virgin espoused to Joseph, proclaiming to Her the Word, and seeing the light She was afraid. Fear not, Mary; thou hast found grace before the Lord. * Behold, Thou shalt conceive and bear a Son, and He shall be called the Son of the Most High. V. The Lord God shall give Him the throne of David, His father, and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. Behold, thou shalt conceive, ... Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Behold, thou shalt conceive ... (Third responsory at Matins of the First Sunday of Advent.)

    The Annunciation, by Pietro Cavallni; part of the apsidal mosiac in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome, 1296-1300
    R. Missus est Gabriel Angelus ad Mariam Virginem desponsatam Joseph, nuntians ei verbum; et expavescit Virgo de lumine: ne timeas, Maria, invenisti gratiam apud Dominum: * Ecce concipies et paries, et vocabitur Altissimi Filius. V. Dabit ei Dominus Deus sedem David, patris ejus, et regnabit in domo Jacob in aeternum. Ecce concipies... Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spirítui Sancto. Ecce concipies...

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    Pontifex University is now offering a free short course, An Advent and Christmas Seasonal Meditation as a promotion for its new Masters in Sacred Arts. It is a meditation in art and scripture for these seasons through to Epiphany, taught by Fr Sebastian Carnazzo and myself, using a method that we have developed for the scripture classes in the MSA program.

    Each day, Fr Carnazzo, an experienced scripture scholar who, for example, spent several years teaching FSSP seminarians in their seminary in Nebraska, gives a short meditation on the Gospel account of the Nativity.

    Fr Carnazzo is also pastor at the Melkite Church of St Elias, in Los Gatos, California, and has a deep knowledge of the icons of the Church, which he connects to the Scripture. I offer additional “artistic sidebars” on certain feast days during this season, and on major feast days we discuss the art together. As a result, this is simultaneously a Scripture class that uses beautiful art to communicate truths beyond words, and so increase our grasp of the Word, and an art class that explains the Scriptural roots of the icons of the Church.

    Most importantly, we connect all of this to the worship of God in the sacred liturgy where, one hopes, it will deepen our encounter with Him during this wonderful time in the Church year. It includes an encouragement to pray the Liturgy of the Hours in your domestic church, and even offers suggestions on how families can sing the psalms as they do so.


    Question: why would we be considering the Baptism of the Lord during this seasonal meditation? And who are these figures on fish in the Jordan? And the significance of the rock that Christ is standing on? Answers can be found for free...if you sign up for the course! To go to the MSA catalog page and sign up for the free course: An Advent and Christmas Seasonal Meditation

    Gerrit van Honthorst, 17th century, Dutch. The Adoration of the Shepherds.

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    I have made some corrections in the Dominican Rite Calendar for 2017 and this revised version is now available on the left sidebar at Dominican Liturgy.  You can download it at the link called "Dominican Rite Calendar 2017."  Or download it directly here.  The major change is the addition of memory of the American blessed Francis Xavier Seelos on October 5.  I have also added information to make it easier to find the ferials in the missal.

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    Angelico Press is one of the few Catholic presses today for whose new releases one could envisage having a standing subscription and not be disappointed with each title as it comes in the mail. Even so, Angelico occasionally outdoes itself by publishing a book that soars above and beyond the normal expectations of readers, a book that (in a sense) redefines and enlarges those expectations. Such a book has just appeared: In Sinu Jesu. When Heart Speaks to Heart: The Journal of a Priest at Prayer.

    It will be difficult to describe this work of mysticism in any way that remotely does justice to the contents. Someday I hope to do a full and proper review, but for now let it suffice to say that it is a book of words received from the Lord, His Mother, and other saints during Eucharistic adoration, words which are largely about adoration (in its narrow and broader senses) but which, in keeping with this sacramental focus, also extend to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Divine Office, the ministerial priesthood, the prayer of the clergy, the religious, and the laity, and the interior and exterior dispositions necessary for seeking and attaining intimate union with God. To describe it to someone who has not yet had the privilege of reading it, I would say something like this: imagine a fusion of St. Gertrude the Great, St. Therese of Lisieux, and Bd. Columba Marmion.

    I don't often say this kind of thing because I prefer not to over-recommend, but given what a special message this book holds for priests in particular, I urge the clergy who read this announcement to get a copy of In Sinu Jesu and bring it for spiritual reading to Eucharistic adoration, or simply before the Blessed Sacrament reserved. Judging from the reactions of many other priests who have had the chance to read parts of the manuscript over the past several years, it is a book that can work wonders. I highly recommend it for religious and laity, too, because the message of In Sinu Jesu applies to Christians in every state of life. People should also consider giving this book as an Advent or Christmas gift to their local priest(s).

    Below is the announcement from the publisher's site.

    *          *          *
    In 2007, Our Lord and Our Lady began to speak to the heart of a monk in the silence of adoration. He was prompted to write down what he received, and thus was born In Sinu Jesu, whose pages shine with an intense luminosity and heart-warming fervor that speak directly to the inner and outer needs of our time with a unique power to console and challenge.

    The pages of this remarkable record of spiritual communication range across, and plunge into, many fundamental aspects of the spiritual life: loving and being loved by God; the practice of prayer in all its dimensions; the unique power of Eucharistic adoration; trustful surrender to divine providence; the homage of silence; the dignity of liturgical prayer and the sacraments; the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; priestly identity and apostolic fruitfulness; the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints in our lives; sin, woundedness, mercy, healing, and purification; the longing for heaven and the longed-for renewal of the Catholic Church on earth.

    Given the harmony of its content with the teaching of Sacred Scripture, Catholic Tradition, and well-known works of the mystics, it is eminently fitting that In Sinu Jesu be published in full at this time (it has been granted the imprimatur). Passages from this journal have already influenced the spiritual lives of priests, religious, and laymen. May it now give light and warmth, consolation and renewed conviction, to readers throughout the world.

    328 pages, 6 × 9 in
    Paper: ISBN 978-1-62138-219-5 (at Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk)
    Cloth: ISBN 978-1-62138-220-1 (at Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk)
    E-book for Kindle

    Praise for In Sinu Jesu
    "In Sinu Jesu recounts the graces experienced in the life of one priest through the healing and strengthening power of Eucharistic adoration. At the same time, it issues an urgent call to all priests — and, indeed, to all Christians — to be renewed in holiness through adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces. It is my fervent hope that In Sinu Jesu will inspire many priests to be ever more ardent adorers of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus, and thus find the strength and courage to show forth the Face of Christ in the midst of our profoundly secularized society." HIS EMINENCE RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta

    "Reading In Sinu Jesu has opened my heart to a deeper awareness of what occurs when I spend time before the Savior hidden and revealed in the Holy Sacrament. This can be summed up in one word: Friendship. Deep consolation and a renewed gratitude for Him as He draws His friends to Himself — these are the fruits of following the meditations of this book. It will fill hearts with encouragement and joy." FR. HUGH BARBOUR, O.Praem., Prior, St. Michael's Abbey of the Norbertine Fathers

    "Upon my first reading the words of the Journal of a Priest at Prayer, a seed was planted deep within me. The words spoken to him in the intimacy of the chapel bring such comfort, courage, and light  a longing to be with the Lord, gazing upon and adoring His Eucharistic Face and offering ourselves and our lives in reparation for sins against Love. I rejoice that the Lord has chosen this moment in time to share His desire for Eucharistic adoration through the publication in its entirety of In Sinu Jesu." FR. DAVID ABERNETHY C.O., Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, Pittsburgh

    "In Sinu Jesu has the power to inflame the desire for Eucharistic adoration. It is a powerful expression of Our Lord's thirst to draw us deeper into His friendship, to heal wounds, and thus to renew the Church. For several years now its inspired words have accompanied me in my priestly ministry: attracting, comforting,strengthening, and touching my heart whenever I am in danger of forgetting my 'first love.' May this book cause a revolution of Love and conquer many hearts!" FR. JOACHIM SCHWARZMÜLLER, Krefeld, Germany

    "In Sinu Jesu is a beautiful and powerful work saturated with the kind of contagious love and holiness that can only come from reclining — like His beloved disciple — upon Christ's breast, hearing Him whisper words of consolation and encouragement for us all. Its pages breathe a Johannine spirituality that welcomes also the Blessed Mother into our homes and hearts, drawing us toward more intimate, joyous union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." KEVIN VOST, Psy.D., author of The Porch and the Cross

    "We sometimes dismiss the interior voice, thinking that because it is within, it must be our own. But does God not dwell deep within us? Can he not speak, then, to the heart? This listener has heard Christ invite priests and all the faithful, back to the Sacrament of Love. He has heard a call to draw near to the place where Christ tabernacles in the midst of his people, there to adore the Eucharistic Face of Christ. Here the power bestowed in the sacrament of orders is strengthened for a more selfless ministry." DAVID W. FAGERBERG, University of Notre Dame, author of Consecrating the World

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