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    St. Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy is pleased to announce that the Fota X International Liturgy Conference, to be held in Cork, Ireland, July 8-10, will be opened by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaler Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta. The subject of the conference is Resourcing the Prayers of the Roman Liturgy: Patristic Sources. His Eminence will deliver a paper entitled Early Sources of the Church’s Liturgical Discipline.

    Card. Burke celebrating Pontifical Mass at Fota IX
    The other speakers at the conference are:

    Dieter Böhler SJ : Jerome and the Recent Revision of the German Einheitsübersetzung Bible.
    Joseph Briody : As He Promised: Davidic Hope Resurgent - the Message of 2 Kings 25:27-30.
    Markus Büning : Panis animarum– The Eucharist in St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
    Sven Conrad : The Christian Sacrifice according to St. Augustine: Prospectives taking into Consideration Joseph Ratzinger`s Approach.
    Gregory DiPippo : The Patristic Sources of the Roman Lectionary in Lent.
    Manfred Hauke : The Holy Eucharist in the Life and Work of Pope Gregory the Great.
    João Paulo de Mendonça Dantas : The Eucharist in the thought of Nicholas Cabasilas
    Johannes Nebel : The Paradigmatic Change of the Post Conciliar Liturgical Reform from actio to celebratio in the Light of the Latin Fathers.
    Mark Withoos: “ad audiendum silentium narrationis eius” (Ep. 147): Silence and Liturgy in St. Augustine.
    Kevin Zilverberg : The Latin Fathers-’ Daniel in Antiphons and Responsories.

    The Lassus Scholars under the direction of Dr. Ite O’Donovan will provide the sacred music for the ceremonies to be held at Ss Peter and Paul’s Church in Cork City. The schedule is as follows:

    Pontifical Vespers, Saturday, July 9
    Magnificat (Tomas Luis de Victoria 1548-1611)
    Salve Regina (Peter Philips 1560-1628)

    Pontifical High Mass, Sunday, July 10
    Propers from the Choralis Constantinus (Heinrich Isaac c. 1450-1517)
    Offertory - Benedicam Dominum (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina 1525-1594)
    Ordinary: Missa Vinum bonum (Orlando de Lassus 1532-1594)
    Te Deum and Ecce Sacerdos Magnus (Tomás Luis de Victoria 1548-1611)

    Solemn High Mass, Monday, July 11
    Gregorian Propers
    Ordinary: Qual donna (Orlando de Lassus 1532-1594)

    The Introit of the Eight Sunday after Pentecost, sung by the Lassus Scholars from the Choralis Constantinus at last year’s conference.

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    Yesterday evening at the CMAA Colloquium, First Vespers of the Sacred Heart was sung at the St Thomas University Chapel in the Extraordinary Form. The choir, directed by Jonathan Ryan, sang a 17th century setting of the Magnificat attributed to Buxtehude, accompanied by strings. The celebrant was Fr Robert Pasley, chaplain to the CMAA.

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    Our first Corpus Christi photopost of this year included photos of a Mass in the Premonstratensian Rite, so our second starts with the Dominican Rite, and continues with a nice selection of churches from around the world, including a few contributers. A third photopost will appear in the next few days. As always, our thanks to all those who sent these in, participating in the work of evangelizing through beauty!

    St Vincent Ferrer, - New York City (Dominicans)
    Procession to the church of St Catherine of Siena

    Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish - Cebu City, Philippines

    St. Mary of Perpetual Help Parish - Chicago, Illinois
    Procession to the nearby Benedictine Monastery of the Holy Cross, where Benediction is held.

    Mary Help of Christians - Hong Kong

    St Kevin’s - Dublin, Ireland

    Tradition is for the young!

    Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish - Tacoma, Washington

    St Benedict’s Parish - Chesapeake, Virginia (FSSP)

    Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Juneau, Alaska

    Holy Innocents - New York City

    Lasalle, Illinois
    Joint procession of the parishes of St Hyacnth, St Patrick and the Queen of the Rosary Shrine

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    A very nice recording of the famous Vespers hymn for today’s feast, and a clever English translation which preserves the Latin meter of the original.

    Ut queant laxis resonáre fibris
    Mira gestórum fámuli tuórum,
    Solve pollúti labii reátum,
    Sancte Joannes.

    Nuntius celso véniens Olympo,
    Te patri magnum fore nascitúrum,
    Nomen, et vitae seriem gerendae
    Ordine promit.

    Ille promissi dubius superni,
    Pérdidit promptae módulos loquélae;
    Sed reformasti génitus peremptæ
    Organa vocis.

    Ventris obstrúso récubans cubíli
    Sénseras Regem thálamo manentem;
    Hinc parens nati méritis uterque
    Abdita pandit.

    Sit decus Patri, genitǽque Proli,
    Et tibi, compar utriúsque virtus,
    Spíritus semper, Deus unus omni
    Témporis ævo. Amen.

    O for thy spirit, holy John, to chasten
    Lips sin-polluted, fettered tongues to loosen;
    So by thy children might thy deeds of wonder
    Meetly be chanted.

    Lo! a swift herald, from the skies descending,
    Bears to thy father promise of thy greatness;
    How he shall name thee, what thy future story,
    Duly revealing.

    Scarcely believing message so transcendent,
    Him for season power of speech forsaketh,
    Till, at thy wondrous birth, again returneth
    Voice to the voiceless.

    Thou, in thy mother’s womb all darkly cradled,
    Knewest thy Monarch, biding in his chamber,
    Whence the two parents, through their children’s merits,
    Mysteries uttered.

    Praise to the Father, to the Son begotten,
    And to the Spirit, equal power possessing,
    One God whose glory, through the lapse of ages,
    Ever resoundeth. Amen.

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    The final Mass of the CMAA Colloquium took place yesterday at St Mark’s Church, St Paul Minnesota. Solemn Mass for the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist was celebrated by the CMAA Chaplain, Fr Robert Pasley. Amongst the choir directors pictured are Jonathan Ryan, Mary Ann Carr Wilson, Wilko Brouwers, David Hughes and Melanie Malinka.

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    Solemn Dominican Mass at Holy Rosary
    On Thursday, June 29, the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Fr. Gabriel Mosher, O.P., will celebrate a Solemn High Mass in the Dominican Rite, assisted by Frs. Augustine Thompson, O.P. and Vincent Kelber, O.P., as deacon and subdeacon, at the Priory Parish of the Holy Rosary in Portland Oregon, starting at 7 p.m.

    The music will be provided by Cantores in Ecclesiaunder the direction of Blake Applegate. The music for that Mass will be Palestrina’s Missa “Tu Es Petrus,” with proper chants from the Dominican Gradual. Cantores will also be singing at the usual 11 a.m. Dominican Rite Missa Cantata the following Sunday.  Holy Rosary is located at 375 NE Clackamas St, Portland, OR 97232, and there is ample parking.

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    I am happy to publish today a delightful table, with introduction, that was submitted to NLM by Isaac Olson, “a young Catholic, professional classical musician, and devotee of hagiography.” Mr. Olson’s goal was to compile a list of saints who were musicians in one sense or another. He writes that this list is not necessarily complete: there are, for instance, a Bl. Paula (buried in San Carlo ai Catinari in Rome) who played violin, and Marie-Anqelique of Jesus, OCD (Pontoise, France), who played the piano and violin and was a cousin of Mendelssohn by her grandmother. It may be that readers would like to add any names that are missing from the table. Thank you, Mr. Olson, for sharing this with NLM.

    Musicians, Singers, and Composers Among the Saints

    by Isaac Olson
    Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) noted that “it belongs to the essence of human beings that they come from God’s ‘art,’ that they themselves are a part of God’s art and as perceivers can think and view God’s creative ideas with him and translate them into the visible and the audible.”

    From the rich, Catholic theological understanding of God and art has grown a keen interest in the interrelatedness of my own line of work - as a classical and studio musician - and the work of God - holiness. Hence, I have recently compiled an initial list of Saints, Blesseds, Venerables, and Servants of God who were musically gifted. This includes instrumentalists, singers, composers, hymnographers, music teachers, choir directors, and more.

    The topics of saints and music are mutually complementary, in that they each reveal “the beauty that is already waiting and concealed in creation”. I treasure how the form of created beauty takes its shape or matter in the lives of those who correspond to God’s diffusive love through their gifts to our rich heritage of music. Would that all musicians might join their intentions with that of the musical Servant of God, Rosa Giovannetti, who responded to the applause of men with the heartfelt cry, “It is all for Jesus! The cello, the concerts? I use this gift for You only, to sing your praises and to praise You. Not to me the honors, but to You, the author of all grace.”

    Note on the chart below: the term “musician” is applied as a general term to those saints whose specific musical accomplishments are unknown at this time of research. The term “composer”, as a general term, encompasses the classification of hymn-writers.

    Name Lifetime Contribution
    Aldhelm of Sherborne, St. 640-709 harpist, fiddler, bagpiper, vocalist
    Alphonsus de Liguori, St. 1696-1787 composer, harpsichordist
    Amalia Streitel, Ven. 1844 - 1911 music teacher
    Ambrose of Milan, St. 338-397 composer
    Anatolios, St. 4th century composer
    Andrew of Crete, St. 650-740 composer
    Anne Catherine Emmerich, Bl. 1774-1824 organist
    Bede the Venerable, St. 672-735 music teacher
    Benignus of Armagh, St. 5th century vocalist, music arranger
    Benildus (Pierre Romancon), St. 1805-1862 concertina/accordionist
    Benno (Benedict) of Meissen, St. 1010-1106 musician
    Caradoc of Wales, St. 11th century harpist
    Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodriguez Santiago, Bl. 1918-1963 pianist, organist, choral director
    Catherine of Bologna, St. 1413-1463 musician
    Charles Samuel Mazzuchelli, Ven. (aka Matthew Kelly) 1806-1864 musician
    Colman of Cloyne, St. 530-600 musician
    Columba of Iona, St. 521-597 composer
    Dunstan of Canterbury, St. 909-988 composer, harpist
    Edward Kazmierski, Bl. 1919-1942 vocalist, composer
    Edward Poppe, Bl. 1890-1924 violinist
    Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. 1880-1906 pianist
    Ephrem the Syrian, St. 306-373 composer
    Eugenius of Toledo, St. 7th century musician
    Felix Echevarria Gorostiaga, Bl. 1893-1936 organist, choral director
    Francis Solano, St. 1549-1610 violinist (lute)
    Francisco Bandres Sanchez, Bl. 1896-1936 musician
    Fulk of Toulouse, Bl. (known as the Minstrel Bishop) 1155-1231 minstrel
    Fulton J. Sheen, Ven. Archbishop 1895-1979 organist
    Gertrude the Great, St. 1256-1302 vocalist
    Giovanni (Giovenale) Ancina, Bl. 1545-1604 musician, composer, music editor
    Godric of Finchale, St. 1069-1170 composer (via miraculous visions)
    Gregory the Great, St. Pope 540-604 collected melodies and plain chant
    Grimbald, St. 9th century musician
    Henry Garnet, St. 1555-1606 vocalist, lutist
    Herman of Reichenau, Bl. 1013-1054 composer
    Hermann Cohen, Ven. 1821-1871 pianist
    Herve, St. 6th century vocalist, minstrel
    Hildegard of Bingen, St. 1098-1179 composer
    Hugh of Lincoln, St. 1140-1200 vocalist
    Jarogniew Wojciechowski, Bl. 1922-1942 pianist
    Jesus Mendez-Montoya, St. 1880-1928 musician, music teacher
    John Damascene, St. 676-749 composer
    John Koukouzelis, St. 1280-1360 musician
    José Luciano Ezequiel Huerta Gutiérrez, Bl. 1876-1927 vocalist, organist
    Jose Tapies y Sirvant, Bl. 1869-1936 organist
    Joseph the Hymnographer, St. 810-886 composer
    Leo II, St. Pope 7th century vocalist, musician
    Louis de Montfort, St. 1673-1716 composer (used popular bar tunes)
    Maria Climent Mateu, Bl. 1887-1936 vocalist, musician
    Maria Crucified Satellico, Bl. 1706-1745 musician, vocalist, organist
    Maria Orsola Bussone, Ven. 1954-1970 guitarist, vocalist
    Maria Romero Meneses, Bl. 1902-1977 pianist, violinist
    Marie-Elisabeth Pelissier, Bl. 1741-1794 vocalist, musician
    Mechtilde of Hackeborn, St. 1241-1298 vocalist
    Newman, Bl. Cardinal 1801-1890 violinist, composer
    Nicetas of Remesiana, St. 333-414 composer
    Noel-Hilaire Le Conte, Bl. 1765-1794 music director
    Notkar Balbulus, Bl. 840-912 musician
    Odo of Cluny, St. 879-942 musician
    Paschasius Radbertus, St. 785-865 composer
    Peter Julian Eymard, St. 1811-1868 pianist, violinist
    Philemon of Antinoe, St. 4th century musician
    Philip Evans, St. 1645-1679 harpist
    Philip Neri, St. 1515-1595 developed musical style of oratorio
    Rafal Chylinski, Bl. 1694-1741 harpist, lutist, mandolinist
    Ranieri Scacceri, Bl. 1117-1161 minstrel
    Raymond Lull, Bl. 1234-1315 troubadour
    Robert Montserrat Beliart, Bl. 1911-1936 musician
    Romanus the Melodist, St. 490-556 composer
    Rosa Giovannetti, Servant of God 1896-1929 cellist
    Solanus Casey, Bl. 1870-1957 violinist
    Theodore Studite, St. 759-826 composer
    Thomas Aquinas, St. 1225-1274 composer
    Tutilo of Saint Gall, St. 850-915 composer, harpist
    Venantius Fortunatus, St. 530-607 composer
    Victor Chumillas-Fernandez, Bl. 1902-1936 organist, vocalist, choral director, composer

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    As follow up to last week’s post on St Thomas and the virtue of religion, here is a description of a talk I heard recently on the film The Book of Eli. This is a film about faith which in some ways frustrated me because it wasn’t more Catholic. If the screenplay writer had known about Thomas Aquinas and the virtue of religion, it might have made it even better! I won’t give a detailed review - I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it - but I will try to give you just enough to see how I thought a reading of St Thomas might have added to it.

    The film, starring Denzel Washington, is set in a post-apocalyptic time in which there is no Church, and he is the only man who has access to Revelation in the form of a single Bible. All bibles, except the one owned by Eli, have been destroyed. We see no other aspect of Tradition surviving.

    Eli reads Scripture daily and absorbs what he reads, so that he becomes a man of faith who attempts to lead a virtuous life and prays daily to his Creator. In time, his faith is passed on to others, not by the words in the book or by his preaching, but by the example of his life. For example, he makes a sacrifice of love, and it is through this action that the one whom he saved becomes a believer too.

    It is a fascinating idea, stylishly told, but I would have loved to have seen the Church re-emerging as he reflects on his faith, and with it, a ritual of worship. This would have been natural to him.

    The review I wrote is here.

    As interesting as the film itself is the story of its making. The screenplay is by an Englishman called Gary Whitta who says he is an atheist. Nevertheless this a film about faith, and Whitta clearly knows his Bible. It was a big budget movie, just under $90 million. During the making of the film, the directors tried, from time to time, to play down the scriptural content, but Denzel Washington, whose father was a pastor and who is himself a Christian, insisted on keeping the Biblical content in the dialogue.

    When Warner Brothers saw the completed movie, they didn’t know what to do with it, and, feeling uncomfortable with the Scriptural element, didn’t put a lot of effort into publicity when it was released. It was presented as a futuristic and post-apocalyptic movie, marketed to the same people as might watch the Mad Max series. It didn’t succeed with this market, but began to gain ground in the “red states” in the US. Believing Christians, and especially Protestants, started to watch it, and eventually it made a clear profit with box-office takings of about $157 million.

    The story of the making of the film says to me that well-made films with intelligently incorporated themes of faith will succeed at the box office. What dismays me, however, is that it didn’t have a stronger Catholic theme, as distinct from a broadly Christian theme. There is no direct reference to the Church, but one might, perhaps equate the villainous intentions of Carnegie, Gary Oldman’s character, with an erroneous Protestant view of the Roman church as an organ of state control, and one that moved away from the Church that Christ established.

    A more Catholic version of this film, would perhaps see the persistence of the Church in such a way that the Apostolic succession would be unbroken. Through this, as the Faith spread, so would the desire to worship God, the natural inclination of any man who has faith.

    This is where the ideas of St Thomas might come into the picture. St Thomas describes what he calls the “virtue of religion,” mankind’s natural propensity, when he reflects upon his faith, to worship God.

    The assumption here is that the event which these people survived, though widespread and destructive to civilization, and in this sense “apocalyptic”, was not the final end. It was not the Apocalypse of the described in the last book of the Bible. If it had been, then of course redemption would have taken place in the Second Coming of Christ, and this would be a film about the bodily resurrection of all Christians.

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    For our readers in the greater New York area:

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    As we have for a few years running, we got up to three photoposts for Corpus Christi this year. It is certainly encouraging sign that each of them has included Masses celebrated in the proper Use of a religious order: Premonstratensians in the first, Dominicans in the second and third, although the Dominican Mass in this post was celebrated on the feast of the Sacred Heart. I also include a Mass for the feast of St John the Baptist, the first solemn EF celebrated in the cathedral of St Andrew in Victoria, British Columbia, since the liturgical reform. As always, we are very grateful to all those who sent these in. Continue the work of evangelizing through beauty!

    Cathedral Basilica of Ss Peter and Paul - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Cathedral of St Stephen - Owensboro, Kentucky

     Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini - Rome, Italy (FSSP)
    Tradition is for the young!

    Shrine of Christ the King - Chicago, Illinois (ICKSP)

    Chapel of Our Lady of Corpus Christi - Corpus Christi, Texas

    Oratory of St Joseph - Detroit, Michigan (ICKSP)

    St Mary’s - Greenwich, Connecticut

    St Francis de Sales - Benedict, Maryland

    St Dominic, Youngstown, Ohio (Dominican Mass for the feast of the Sacred Heart)

    St Andrew’s Cathedral - Victoria, British Columbia (Mass of St John the Baptist)

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    On Sunday, July 2nd at 5:00 p.m., on the external solemnity of the titular feast day of the Church of the Most Precious Blood in New York City, the Sacred Constantinian Military Order of St George will sponsoring a Solemn High Mass in the traditional rite, accompanied by the Mass for Three Voices of the 17th-century Neapolitan composer Francesco Durante. The church is located at 113 Baxter Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood.

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    I strongly commend to our readers’ attention this excellent talk delivered to the recent Colloquium of the Church Music Association of America by Dom Benedict Maria Andersen OSB, a monk of Silverstream Priory in Ireland. It is entitled “Fulfilled is all that David told”: Recovering the Christian Psalter; by “Christian”, Dom Andersen here means the Psalms according to the Septuagint translation, which was used in the New Testament itself, and received by the Church from the very beginning for liturgical use. He offers a particularly interesting discussion of the importance of certain readings of the Septuagint for Christian theology and liturgy, also noting how the modern presumption in favor of the later Hebrew Massoretic text has led to a significant (and largely unjustified) break with tradition in the recasting of many liturgical texts for use in the Ordinary Form.

    Listen to the talk at Silverstream Priory’s Soundcloud channel:

    h/t to Mr Brian McCord!

    The first page of a Psalterium Triplex, with the three versions of the Latin Psalms in parallel columns, plus glosses and commentaries. Paris BNF Ms. Latin 8846, ca. 1190.

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    Truly it is fitting and just, right and profitable to salvation to give Thee thanks always, here and everywhere, in honor of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Whom Thy election did so deign to consecrate, that it might change blessed Peter’s worldly trade as a fisherman into divine teaching; so that he might deliver the human race from the depths of hell with the nets of Thy precepts. And then Thou didst change the mind of his fellow Apostle Paul, along with his name; and whom the Church at first feared as a persecutor, She now rejoices to hold as the teacher of divine commandments. Paul was blinded that he might see; Peter denied, that he might believe. To the one Thou gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to the other, knowledge of the divine law, that he might call the nations; for the latter brought them in, as the other opened (the door of heaven). Therefore both received the rewards of eternal virtue. Thy right hand did raise up the one, lest he sink as he walked upon the water, and rescued the other from the dangers of the deep when he was shipwrecked for the third time.

    The Stefaneschi Triptych, painted by Giotto and assistants for the high altar of St Peter’s Basilica, ca. 1330. On the left, the Crucifixion of St Peter; in the middle, Card. Giacomo Stefaneschi kneels before Christ in majesty; on the right, the beheading of St Paul. In the upper part of the right panel, Angels bring St Paul’s blindfold to one of the women of the Roman church after his death, as Paul promised her would happen. (Public domain image from Wikipedia; click to enlarge.)
    The one did conquer the gates of the hell, and the other the sting of death; and Paul was beheaded, for he was shown to be the head of the Gentiles’ faith, while Peter, followed in the footsteps of Christ, the head of us all. Whom together with Thee, almighty Father, and the Holy Spirit, the Angels praise, the Archangels venerate, the Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Principalities and Powers adore; whom the Cherubim and Seraphim with shared rejoicing praise. And we pray that Thou may command our voices to be brought in among them, saying with humble confession: Holy, Holy, Holy… (The Preface of Ss Peter and Paul in the Ambrosian Missal.)

    Vere quia dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper hic et ubique in honore Apostolorum Petri et Pauli gratias agere. Quos ita electio tua consecrare dignata est, ut beati Petri secularem piscandi artem in divinum dogma converteret; quatenus humanum genus de profundo inferni praeceptorum tuorum retibus liberaret. Nam Coapostoli ejus Pauli mentem cum nomine mutasti, et quem prius persecutorem metuebat Ecclesia, nunc caelestium mandatorum laetatur se habere doctorem. Paulus caecatus est, ut videret; Petrus negavit, ut crederet. Huic claves caelestis imperii, illi ad evocandas gentes divinae legis scientiam contulisti. Nam ille introducit, hic aperit. Ambo igitur virtutis aeternae praemia sunt adepti. Hunc dextera tua gradientem in elemento liquido, dum mergeretur, erexit; illum autem tertio naufragantem, profunda pelagi fecit vitare discrimina. Hic portas inferni, ille mortis vicit aculeum: et Paulus capite plectitur, quia gentium caput fidei probatur: Petrus autem praemissis vestigiis caput omnium secutus est Christum. Quem una tecum, omnipotens Pater, et cum Spiritu Sancto laudant Angeli, venerantur Archangeli; Throni, Dominationes, Virtutes, Principatus et Potestates adorant. Quem Cherubim et Seraphim socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostra voces, ut admitti jubeas, deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus…

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    Our thanks to Mr Teddy Thongratnachat, one of our regular photopost contributors, for sending these photographs and the description of the ceremonies recently held at the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in New York City, as a part of a prayer vigil for Nascent Life.

    On Friday, June 23, the second All-Night Vigil for Nascent Life was observed at the Pontifical Shrine and Parish Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Manhattan. The liturgical rites began with the Stations of the Cross at 7 pm, followed by Solemn High Mass for the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Immediately after Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the throne above the tabernacle, and the clergy and congregation recited the Act of Reparation and Consecration to the Sacred Heart; the Litany of the Sacred Heart was chanted in Latin. After a small break, Second Vespers for the Sacred Heart and Compline were celebrated coram Sanctissimo.

    At 4 am on Saturday, June 24, a small bonfire was blessed according to the rite given in the Rituale Romanum, in front of the shrine’s entrance on 116th St. The blessing was originally planned for 4:30, but an impeding thunderstorm forced it to be done earlier; fortunately, the skies were clear for most to gather outside, while a few members of the congregation remained inside the Church before the Blessed Sacrament. After the blessing, the faithful lit their candles while the hymn Ut queant laxis was sung.

    After the concluding prayers, the faithful returned to the Shrine for the closing Procession, Benediction and Sung Mass for the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, beginning at 5 a.m.

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    The joint commemoration of the Apostles Peter and Paul is one of the most ancient customs of the Roman Church, attested already in the oldest surviving Roman liturgical calendar, the Depositio Martyrum, written in 336 A.D. A verse of the hymn Apostolorum passio, agreed by most authorities to be an authentic work of St Ambrose († 397), and still used in the Ambrosian liturgy, says that “the thick crowds make their way through the circuit of so great a city; the feast of the sacred martyrs is celebrated on three streets.” These “three streets” are the via Cornelia, the main street running up to and over the Vatican hill; the via Ostiensis, where the burial and church of St Paul are; and the via Appia, on which sits the cemetery “in Catacumbas”.

    This last is the ancient Christian cemetery now called the Catacomb of St Sebastian; the word “catacomb” was in fact originally the name of the site of this cemetery specifically, and only later came to be used as a generic term for ancient subterranean Christian burial grounds. The basilica over the cemetery, now also entitled to St Sebastian, was originally known as the “Basilica Apostolorum”, in memory of a tradition that the bones of Peter and Paul were kept there for a time, probably to save them from destruction in the era of persecutions. This is referred to in various ancient sources, including the Depositio Martyrum, and confirmed by modern archeological research. The celebration of the feast “on three streets” would refer then to a procession to visit the site of St Peter’s burial at the Vatican, that of St Paul on the via Ostiensis, and the cemetery where their remains were once kept.
    The building of which this wall is a part was constructed over the Catacomb of St Sebastian about 250 A.D., and is covered with dozens of devotional graffiti like the one seen here. “Paule ed (et) Petre, petite pro Victore - Paul and Peter, pray (lit. ‘ask’) for Victor.” 
    The poet Prudentius, writing in the very early fifth century, calls the day “bifestum – a double feast”, and attests that on that day the Pope would say a Mass at the Basilica of St Peter, and then hasten to say another at St Paul’s. He does not refer to a visit to the Catacombs on the via Appia, but assuming this visit was made on the way back to the Papal residence at the Lateran, the total circuit is nearly nine-and-half miles, to be made at the height of the Italian summer. However, only seven years after Prudentius visited Rome in 403, the city was sacked by the Goths, then sacked again by the Vandals in 455; over the sixth and seventh centuries, it was largely reduced to ruins and depopulated by the long wars between the Goths and Byzantines, and the invasion of the Lombards.

    It should not be surprising, then, that at a certain point the double feast was divided, and kept in a more manageable way as two separate feasts. In the Gelasian Sacramentary, we find three Masses of Ss Peter and Paul assigned to June 29th; the oldest copy of the Gelasianum dates to roughly 750, but much of the material is considerably older, some of it reaching back even to the days of St Leo the Great 300 years earlier. In some manuscripts, however, one of the three, “the proper Mass of St Paul”, has already been assigned to June 30th. In the Gregorian Sacramentary, written roughly a century later, we find the feast of St Peter on June 29th, and that of St Paul on the 30th; each Mass contains references to the other Apostle, but they are nevertheless clearly distinct. Thus, by the time of Charlemagne, the “bifestum” of Prudentius had already been separated into a two day feast.

    At the traditional Mass of June 29th, the majority of the texts refer either to St Peter alone (Introit, Epistle, Alleluia, Gospel, Communion) or to Apostles generically, as in the Gradual “Thou shalt make them princes over all the earth.” The sole reference to St Paul is in the Collect, “O God, who hast consecrated this day by the martyrdom of Thy Apostles Peter and Paul, grant Thy Church to follow in all things the teaching of those through whom she first received the faith.” The Office is likewise dedicated almost entirely to St Peter, the notable exceptions being the hymns of Vespers and Lauds, and the antiphon of the Magnificat at Second Vespers. This latter is in both the structure of its text and in its Gregorian melody very similar to the Magnificat antiphon at Second Vespers of Pentecost, to indicate that the mission of the Holy Spirit is fulfilled in the lives and deaths of the Apostles, and thereafter in their successors.

    Ant. Hodie * Simon Petrus ascendit crucis patibulum, alleluia: hodie clavicularius regni gaudens migravit ad Christum: hodie Paulus Apostolus, lumen orbis terrae inclinato capite pro Christi nomine martyrio coronatus est, alleluia.

    On this day, Simon Peter ascended the gibbet of the cross, alleluia: on this day, he that beareth the keys of the kingdom of heaven passed rejoicing to Christ: on this day, Paul the Apostle, the light of the world, inclining his head, for the name of Christ was crowned with martyrdom, alleluia.

    The following day, therefore, the whole of the liturgy is dedicated to St Paul, and is not called a day within the octave of the Apostles, but rather “the Commemoration of St Paul.” The variable texts of the Mass all refer to him, but a commemoration of St Peter is added to the feast, in accordance with the tradition that the two are never entirely separated in the veneration paid them by the Church. (The same is done on the feast of St Paul’s Conversion, and commemorations of him are added to the feasts of St Peter’s Chairs and Chains.) The Office is likewise dedicated entirely to him; both the Mass and Office, however, make use of St Paul’s own testimony in Galatians 2 to the mission of the two Apostles: “For he who worked in Peter for the apostleship of the circumcision, worked in me also among the gentiles; and they knew the grace of God that was given to me.” In the 1130s, a canon of St Peter’s Basilica named Benedict writes that it was still the custom in his time for the Pope to keep the feast of St Peter at the Vatican, but then celebrate Vespers at the tomb of St Paul in the great Basilica on the Ostian Way, “with all the choirs” of the city.

    The apsidal mosaic of the St Paul’s Outside-the-Walls, executed in the 1220s, and heavily repaired after most of the ancient church was destroyed by fire in 1823. To the left of Christ are St Luke and St Paul, on the right St Peter and his brother St Andrew.
    Originally, the Gospel for the feast was St Matthew 19, 27-29, and from this passage are taken the antiphon of the Benedictus and the Communion of the Mass. This same Gospel is used on several other feasts of Apostles, including the days within the octave of Ss Peter and Paul, and the feast of St Paul’s Conversion. It was changed in the Tridentine liturgical reform to St Matthew 10, 16-22, evidently because of the words “you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the gentiles,” an eminently appropriate choice for this feast. It also used on the feast of St Barnabas, who, after Paul’s conversion, when the members of the Church feared that it was perhaps a ruse to further the persecution, “took him, and brought him to the Apostles, and told them how he had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken to him.” (Acts 9, 27) The Epistle of the Mass, Galatians 1, 11-20, has been added to the traditional readings for the vigil of Ss Peter and Paul as the Epistle of the vigil Mass in the new rite.
    The Apostles Paul and Barnabas at Lystra (Acts 14, 5-18), by Jacob Jordaens, 1645; Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna.
    In the Novus Ordo, the Commemoration of St Paul has been abolished, and the texts of both Mass and Office for June 29th rewritten to give equal space to both Apostles. So for example, of the two responsories in the Office of Readings, the first refers to Peter, and the second to Paul. (Inexplicably and unjustifiably, the Magnificat antiphon “Hodie” cited above was not retained in the Liturgy of the Hours.) June 30th is now the feast of the “Protomartyrs of the Roman Church”, the Christians whose martyrdom at the hands of the Emperor Nero is described in a famous passage of the Annals of Tacitus.
    But all human efforts … did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration (which destroyed much of Rome in July of 64 A.D.) was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.
    Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed. (Book XV, chapter 44)
    The Torches of Nero, by Henryk Siemiradzki, 1876
    Despite the early and explicit attestation of this martyrdom by an historian with no bias in favor of the Christians, there is no historical tradition of devotion to this group of martyrs “whose number and names are known only to God”, as we read in Donald Attwater’s revision of Butler’s Lives of the Saints. A notice of them was added to the Roman Martyrology in the post-Tridentine revision of Cardinal Baronius, but their feast was not added to the calendar of the diocese of Rome until the early 20th century, by Pope Benedict XV.

    The “circus” to which Tacitus refers as the site of the martyrdom was a chariot racing facility that sat immediately to the south of the via Cornelia, next to where St Peter’s Basilica is today. It was allowed to fall to ruins after the death of Nero, and apparently razed to the ground by Constantine to make space for the original basilica. Left in place, however, was the Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome by Caligula, and set up on the “spine” of the circus, as the Romans called it, the wall down the middle around which the chariots raced. The turning posts on the end are called “metae” in Latin, and the apocryphal Acts of Peter, a work of the mid-2nd century, say that Peter was crucified “inter metas”; the obelisk, then, would have been among the last things St Peter saw in this world. After sitting next to the old Basilica for over 12 centuries, it was moved in 1586 to the area in front of the new church, then still under construction, later to be surrounded by Bernini’s Piazza. Its former location is marked by a plaque in the ground to the side of the modern basilica; the surrounding area was renamed by Benedict XV “Piazza of the First Martyrs of Rome.”

    The Basilica of St Peter in 1450, according to the reconstruction of H.W. Brewer, 1891. The obelisk is seen immediately in front of the first rotunda on the left side of the basilica.
    Gratias quam maximas refero Bono Homini, quo sagacior et diligentior consulendus non invenitur!

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    Yesterday, on the feast of Ss Peter and Paul, the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Chicago celebrated the enthronement of its new Eparch, Bishop Venedykt Aleksiychuk, who has hitherto served as an Auxiliary of Lviv in Ukraine since 2010. The ceremony, which took place at the Cathedral of St Nicholas, was presided over by the head of the UGCC, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych. The Ukrainian Catholic Church’s television channel Живе Телебачення live-streamed the Divine Liturgy, and has now posted it on its Youtube channel; the ceremony starts around the 9:30 mark. It is, as one might well imagine, fairly lengthy, but like all such ceremonies in the Byzantine Rite, incredibly beautiful and majestic.

    We wish every blessing upon Bishop Venedykt in his new ministry, and upon the people he will serve in the Eparchy of Chicago - Многая Літа!!

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    Our good friends of the Fraternity of St Joseph the Guardian in La-Londe-Les-Maures, France, also have the pastoral charge of the church of St Anne on the beautiful little island of Porquerolles. Each year, for the feast of Ss Peter and Paul, they have a blessing of the boats in the waters of the island’s port, with prayers for those who have been lost at sea, followed a procession with a statue of St Peter, and Mass at the church. Our thanks for their kind permission to reproduce these photos from their Facebook page.

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    In liturgical discussions, a major premise of the progressivist side is, ironically, what might be called neoscholastic reductionism, which defines the “essence” of the Mass as having a valid consecration. In almost any conversation about whether and to what extent the rite of the Mass can change or should change, the proponent of tradition is immediately challenged with: “But you can’t prove that the Novus Ordo [or any fabricated, experimental liturgy] is bad. It has the words of consecration.”

    The problem with this approach, of course, is that is falsifies the reality of a liturgical rite as a definite embodiment of apostolic tradition existing over the course of history. Each rite has its own deep characteristics that make it irreducibly itself. No one would dream of defining the Byzantine rite as “essentially” a valid consecration, with which a lot of florid prayers and hymns are accidentally associated. Nor should anyone with a modicum of sense try to define the Roman rite of Mass apart from the Roman Canon, which is its defining feature, or attempt to import an epiclesis into the Roman Canon, when, properly speaking, it has none and needs none. These rites are what they are—and thanks be to God for that.

    Reducing the Mass to a valid consecration is like reducing the nuptial act to a successful conception of a child. I sincerely hope no one is foolish enough to define the nuptial act as the conception of a child. The nuptial act is ordered to the conception of a child, to be sure, but it has its own reality, its own meaning, that comprises more than conception; it is an expression of spousal love, which is designed to culminate in new life. By God’s institution, life is supposed to proceed from love; both elements are involved in defining the act. This is why the Church opposes in vitro fertilization, which otherwise she could not do if the sole meaning or value of the union of man and woman were a viable zygote.

    In like manner, the Mass is a privileged microcosm of unitive prayer with a Eucharistic finality. The presence of the sacrificial victim who is to be our divine food is conceived, as it were, by the liturgy in its totality; even if the consecration takes place at a certain moment, it has been prepared for and will be followed by a manifestation of love that suits us to receive the Lord and rejoice in His presence. When this does not happen, we are dealing with the specter of in vitro transubstantiation.

    Unfortunately, since nearly everyone who came to Vatican II or who worked for the Consilium had been brought up on this superficial neoscholastic reductionism, they felt free to rip apart and reconfigure the Roman Rite as long as they kept the words of consecration (more or less) intact. In this regard they were lab technicians committed all along to the result of a valid Mass but not feeling themselves ethically bound to any particular content or process.

    Indeed, the arrogance of the reformers could not stop at the threshold of the holy of holies, but went so far as to tamper with the very formula of the consecration of the wine by removing the phrase mysterium fidei from within it — a phrase already so well known and so venerable in the Middle Ages that St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century could plausibly attribute it to the Apostles.

    Unquestionably, therefore, we need to start all over again with better questions. We should not ask: What is it that makes transsubstantiation happen,[1] but: What is it that makes a liturgy a Christian liturgy? Even more importantly, what makes this liturgical rite to be itself (Roman, Ambrosian, Byzantine, Syro-Malabar, etc.) and no other? When these are the questions we pursue, we find rich answers that show us the fittingness, the beautiful complexity and sufficiency, of each rite in itself, and therefore, shows us the dramatically anti-liturgical, anti-ritual, anti-historical, and ultimately anti-Catholic nature of the reforms.

    Obviously, there are elements more and less central to a given rite. But it cannot escape our attention that elements truly fundamental and constitutive of the Roman Rite have been abandoned by nearly everyone—including by the supposed guardians of the rite.

    What belongs to this inner core of the Roman Rite?
    • Most importantly, the Roman Canon, its sole anaphora for 1,500 years, going back in its elements to the first centuries.
    • The ad orientem stance. We do not know how early on this stance became universally normative, but we know that already in the first centuries of the Faith it had become universal in East and West, which could never have happened were it not apostolic in origin, as St. Basil the Great takes for granted in his treatise On the Holy Spirit. It belongs to the original configuration of all of the great historic rites of Christianity. Without it, a liturgy is no longer in actual continuity with apostolic tradition, however much it may enjoy a technical licitness of the reductive sort mentioned above.
    • The liturgical “vesture” of the Latin chant, which is not a mere add-on or ornament, but the very liturgy-as-sung. The Proper and Ordinary chants articulate the shape of the rite, fill its content, sustain its spirituality, and guarantee its substantial continuity over time and space. Without them, we are not looking at the Roman Rite any more.[2]
    • The cursus of readings, namely, the set of Epistles and Gospels. This is a topic on which much has been written elsewhere; here it suffices to note that the Roman lectionary, almost as venerable in its antiquity and universality as the Roman Canon, was supplanted by the novelty of a multi-year lectionary constructed for the Missal of Paul VI. The old and new lectionaries have very little overlap at all.
    • The calendar with its particular clusters of Roman saints and its rhythm of Sundays, Holy Days, vigils, octaves, Ember and Rogation days, etc. It is true that, as Dom Gregory Dix shows, the calendar had a lengthy development, but it did develop organically in certain ways distinctively Roman and always preserved until the revolution of the 1960s.
    • In light of the principle of organic development, one may argue that the offertory (as in all the traditional offertory prayers), which developed in the Middle Ages and spread to all Western rites, had fused with the core of the Roman Rite. The offertory may be compared with a branch successfully grafted into a tree so that it loses all foreignness and becomes a major part of the flourishing organism. Its removal was not a haircut but the amputation of an arm or a leg.
    Now, it cannot escape the notice of anyone that in most or all of these ways, the modern “Roman Rite” is a striking departure from the Roman Rite. It is possible for it to be celebrated in a way that follows some of the rite’s precedents, but it is also possible for it to be celebrated in a way that is utterly at variance with all of them. A very great number of celebrations, certainly the vast majority, are at variance with the Roman tradition, because
    • the Roman Canon is not used;
    • Mass is said versus populum;
    • liturgical texts are not recited or chanted, e.g., the Propers and Ordinary are absent, mangled, or delivered in a way inconsistent with their origins;
    • that novelty of novelties, the multi-year lectionary, is employed;
    • a severely reduced calendar is followed;
    • the traditional offertory is lacking, de iure as well as de facto.
    In other words, when Roman Catholics attend such liturgies, they are getting a Mass, but not the Mass of the Roman Rite in its essential constitution. They are getting what might be called “the Modern Rite,” as liturgical scholar Msgr. Klaus Gamber would have it.

    The damage wrought by neoscholastic reductionism is all too real and very extensive. It is the only atmosphere in which the outrageous enterprise of creating a Modern Rite in the late 1960s could have sprung up. The same mentality has, over time, propagated itself to other aspects of Catholic life as well. For example, that there are people today who are seriously asking the question of whether public sinners may receive Holy Communion shows that the Eucharist has been reduced, in the minds of many, to a mere sign of belonging or of table fellowship — not a supernatural mystery that requires the full commitment of one’s mind, heart, soul, and strength to Jesus Christ really present, against whom one mortally sins by unworthily receiving Him.[3] Such moral and disciplinary reductionism is not, however, surprising against the backdrop of the wave of liturgical reductionism that went before. Our age has provided a nearly scientific demonstration of the axiom lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.

    The traditional movement in Catholicism simultaneously pursues two great goods: the recovery of a sound Eucharistic theology and the reestablishment of the actual Roman Rite of the Mass. Good theology and authentic liturgy work together to unveil to the eyes of faith the presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the entire liturgy and, above all, in the miracle of the host and chalice, in such a way that Catholics will be able to experience once more the terrible beauty and challenging joy of Eucharistic communion, and will strive to order our lives and our societies according to Its demands.


    [1] As a Thomist, I certainly accept that there is a moment of consecration, as I have defended here and elsewhere. But if one looks at Summa theologiae III, q. 83, one will see that St. Thomas is far from being a liturgical reductionist. He sees the complexity of the Roman Rite, the meaning and value of each of its parts, and the respect with which it ought to be treated by those who worship in it. Scholastic precision does not have to devolve into neoscholastic reductionism.

    [2] Even the Low Mass bears witness to this normativity of the chants of High Mass by requiring the recitation of the texts of the chants, although this is somewhat like a two-dimensional drawing versus a three-dimensional sculpture.

    [3] See my article on 1 Cor 11:27-29. Again, “worthy reception” here does not mean that we are already perfect, but, as John Paul II explained in Ecclesia de Eucharistia, that we have renounced mortal sin and have an intention of living according to all the commandments of God.

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    I received the following letter from artist Lisa Andrews, who wanted to show me a commission she had recently completed for Bishop Monforton in Steubenville, Ohio. Lisa’s website is, and you can see more of her work there.

    She wrote to me:
    The commission was simply “paint a portrait of Jesus.” They had seen my previous work at Franciscan University of Steubenville and other churches in the area.

    I chose the theme of “The Word Made Flesh,” showing Jesus as the embodiment of God’s Holy Word. Until His revelation in Christ, God’s Word was confined to Sacred Scripture, symbolized by the scroll behind him with writing in Aramaic. Just as He brought Light into the world, He “illuminated” the sacred texts, as shown in the gold leaf detail of the text immediately around his head, creating a halo effect.

    I used the Shroud of Turin as my “model” for the image of Jesus. Much of my research also focused on Cardinal Schönborn’s book God’s Human Face. In that book, he describes the iconographic form and the conviction from the 4th century on that Christ’s outward looks constituted “long parted hair; a full beard; delicate elongated facial features, large, serious eyes, gazing at the onlooker.”

    I chose to depict him in the traditional blessing pose, with his hands bearing the marks of the passion. I used gold leaf for the sacred wounds, symbolizing the glory manifest through his perfect obedience to the Father. The light emanating from his heart illuminates the cosmos, symbolized by the rays of light in a cross against the dark blue background. The chain design on the neckline of his robe is a reference to Gregory of Nazianzus’ image of the unity of the Trinity as similar to the links of a chain; as soon as one link is moved, all the links move.

    Lisa Andrews

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    The ICK’s church in Wausau, Wisconsin, Saint Mary’s Oratory, will have a solemn Mass of Thanksgiving for the 10th anniversary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, starting at 6 pm, followed by a Theology-on-Tap presentation on the Extraordinary Form, and a social for young adults. The church is located at 325 Grand Avenue. (click poster to enlarge.)

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