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    On May 1, 2018, the USCCB will release through selected publishers its unified version of the Misal Romano for use in Spanish-language liturgies (beginning on Pentecost) in the United States.

    This release presents a similar opportunity to that of the 2011 release of the new English translation. Though the changes in text from what most parishes have been using are less numerous and dramatic than the 2011 English missal, one of the similarities between the two missals is the integration of musical settings of the texts within the main body of the missal itself. Like in 2011, this presents a tremendous opportunity for priests and deacons to learn to the sing the Mass.

    In preparation for the release of the Missal, some of my students and I have collaborated with Dr. Nathan Knutson, the director of sacred music at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia to produce recordings of many of the celebrant's and deacon's chants. The Zipoli Institute has prepared handouts with the music and texts of these chants, and they are now available on the website of the Zipoli Institute.

    The free resources on the Zipoli Institute's website include: 

    • Printable/PDF study guides for clergy 
    • Congregational cards
    • Audio recordings 

    The Zipoli Institute is also offering a conference next weekend in the DC area (Hyattsville, MD) at the Fulton Sheen House of Formation of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) at which there will be training in singing of the chants, and talks about sacred music.

    There is still time to register for the conference. The schedule is given below.

    FRIDAY, APRIL 27th - SEMINARIAN SACRED MUSIC WORKSHOP
    3:00 pm - Welcome
    3:15 pm - “Inculturation of the Gospel through Music” - Mr. Heitor Caballero
    4:00 pm - Practicum Sessions: Learning the chants of the Missal
    5:30 pm - Sung Vespers
    6:00 pm - Review the sung Mass in Spanish
    6:30 pm - “Principles of Sacred Music according to the Magisterium” - Fr. Diego Ruiz, IVE

    SATURDAY, APRIL 28th - CONGREGATIONAL SPANISH CHANT PRACTICUM
    8:30 am - Mass, Spanish Novus Ordo
    9:30 am - Keynote Presentation - Mr. Heitor Caballero
    10:30 am - Workshop, learning to sing the Spanish Mass for choirs and congregations
    12-12:30 pm - Closing Address and Prayer

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    In a recent post on his blog examining the Collect for the 4th Sunday of Easter in the ordinary form, Fr John Zuhlsdorf wrote that:

    Those who generally frequent Holy Mass with the traditional form of the Roman Rite heard the Gospel about the Good Shepherd last week. In the Novus Ordo, that Gospel is read this week, for the 4th Sunday of Easter.
    It’s really too bad that there is a disconnect. I’m not why the experts of the Consilium thought it was so important to break the continuity of hundreds of years like that.
    So, I thought I would have a quick look in the relevant documentation to see if there was any reason given by Coetus XI of the Consilium [1] for moving Good Shepherd Sunday, and was pleasantly surprised to find more information than I expected.

    In early May 1966, when a report was being made to the relators of the Consilium on the work on the lectionary up to then, the following suggestion is made about the readings on the Sundays of Easter:
    95. 1° The apparitions of the risen Christ must occupy the principal place. Currently they are recounted on Easter Sunday, the six days of Easter week, and on Low Sunday. The six Gospel readings of Easter week may always be preserved in their traditional place. Nonetheless, they might also be assigned to Easter Sunday (Mark, Luke, John) and the second Sunday [after Easter] (three other Johannine pericopes). Then the pericope of the Good Shepherd would be transferred to the third Sunday [after Easter]. [2]
    The minutes of this meeting of the relators record the reactions to this suggestion:
    About n. 95: this is admitted by everyone. However: several have petitioned that on Easter Sunday the same Gospel reading from Mark be read. This is urged for ecumenical reasons. In addition, Canon [Aimé-Georges] Martimort would prefer that Acts be read every year. Mgr [Pierre] Jounel proposed that, in the first and second years, Acts is read as the first reading, and, for the third year, Revelation is read as the first reading and Acts as the second reading. Someone also petitioned that the account of the Good Shepherd remain in its traditional location. Concerning these comments, Coetus XI will consider these questions again. [3]
    Coetus XI did indeed reconsider the question of Good Shepherd Sunday. Around two months later in July 1966, when the final touches were being put on the proposed order of readings that would be discussed at the seventh general meeting of the Consilium (October), along with the questions to ask the Fathers, the following discussion is recorded:
    The apparitions of the risen Christ must occupy the principal place. Currently they are read on Easter Sunday, the six days of Easter week, and on Low Sunday. Two possibilities may be considered here.
    The first proposal is that the six Gospel readings in Easter week be kept in their traditional locations.
    The alternative proposal is that these same Gospels be read on Easter Sunday (Mark, Luke, John) and the 1st Sunday after Easter/2nd Sunday of Easter (the other three readings from John). The pericope of the Good Shepherd then ought to be transferred from the 2nd Sunday after Easter to the 3rd Sunday after Easter/4th Sunday of Easter...
    Concerning this dual proposition, the opinions in the Coetus and among the relators were diverse. The second proposal has the advantage that the different accounts of the apparitions are read on Sundays and would, therefore, be made known to the people, which currently does not happen; the disadvantage is that, in this way, the same pericope is not always read on Easter Sunday, and that the Gospel of the Good Shepherd, as well as Good Shepherd Sunday, must be transferred to the week following, which does not please several [members]. [4]
    The Fathers of the Consilium were then asked, in October 1966, about which proposal ought to be accepted. A short explanation of the two proposals was evidently given by Canon Aimé-George Martimort:
    Canon Martimort explained three difficulties with the alternative proposal: the three [different] Gospel readings [for each year] on Easter Sunday, then the three [different] Gospel readings on the 2nd Sunday of Easter, and finally the transfer of Good Shepherd Sunday to the 4th Sunday of Easter.
    Question 8: Is the alternative proposal pleasing?
    All say non placet, with one exception.
    Therefore the first proposal is accepted. […]
    Question 9: Is the general structure of the readings for the Sundays of Easter pleasing, without prejudice to any particular corrections that may later be made?
    All say placet, with one exception. [5]
    Thus, the proposal accepted by the Fathers of the Consilium was that Good Shepherd Sunday should remain in its traditional location, as the 3rd Sunday of Easter (2nd Sunday after Easter). We see also that, in the subsequent Ordo lectionum pro dominicis, feriis et festis sanctorum, [6] published pro manuscripto in July 1967 and distributed to every episcopal conference, the participants of the first Synod of Bishops, and around 800 periti (biblical scholars, liturgists, pastors, etc.), that Good Shepherd Sunday is in its traditional location.

    Yet, two years later, when the typical edition of the Ordo lectionum Missae was promulgated in 1969, Good Shepherd Sunday had been moved to the 4th Sunday of Easter, with the accounts of Our Lord's appearances to the disciples at Emmaus (Years A and B) and at the Sea of Tiberius (Year C) read on the 3rd Sunday of Easter. This is very similar to what had been suggested in Coetus XI's alternative proposition. What was the reason given for this change?
    “Good Shepherd” Sunday. In the [1967] Ordo as printed, on the 2nd Sunday after Easter is read the Gospel of “the Good Shepherd”, as currently in the Missale Romanum. Many exegetical experts and pastors have noted several disadvantages with this Gospel being read on the 2nd Sunday [after Easter]. Indeed, in this way, the narratives of the apparitions of the risen Christ are interrupted, and the last of them would be read on the 3rd Sunday after Easter, which is too far away from the day of Easter.
    It would be better if the order of the Gospels for this period were that, on the 1st and 2nd Sundays after Easter, the narratives of the apparitions are read, and that the Gospel of the Good Shepherd be read on the 4th Sunday [of Easter]; this would better prepare for the transition into the Gospels of the Lord’s discourse at the Last Supper, which starts from the 5th Sunday of Easter. [7]
    In his mémoire of the liturgical reform, Annibale Bugnini tells us that the 1967 Ordo was "radically revised" in early 1968 on the basis of 460 responses received from the Bishops and periti who were given a copy. [8] This, it would seem, was the point at which Good Shepherd Sunday was moved - as well as the point where almost all the optional short forms of readings were introduced.

    How numerous were the "many" periti who suggested this change? Without access to the "300 pages of general remarks and 6650 file cards on the various texts" that Bugnini mentions, it is impossible to say. Perhaps, after having been found languishing in a dark corner of a library somewhere, these documents will come to light. But, on this occasion, it would seem that the Consilium is not entirely to blame for this particular disconnect between the usus antiquior and usus recentior.


    NOTES

    [1] Coetus XI were the group of the Consilium ad exsequendam that had responsibility for the reform of the lectionary. I would like to thank Rev Fr Luke Melcher, Director of Textual Resources at ICEL, for helpfully providing access to the relevant schemata of the Consilium and thereby making this article possible.

    [2] Schema 165 (De Missali, 21), 4th May 1966, p. 29:
    95. 1° Apparitiones Christi resuscitati principem locum obtinere debent. Nunc die paschatis, in sex diebus hebdomadae paschalis, et dominica in albis narrantur. Sex evangelia hebdomadea paschalis, locum traditionalem semper servabunt. Nihilominus assignari etiam possent dominicae paschatis (Mc., Lc., Ioan.) et IIae dominicae (aliae 3 pericopae Ioannis). Tunc pericopa de bono pastore ad dominicam IIIam transfertur.
    [3] Schema 168 (De Missali, 22), 16th May 1966, p. 11:
    Ad n. 95: Admittitur ab omnibus. Attamen: plures petunt ut in Dominica Paschatis quotannis idem evangelium Marci legatur. Hoc suadet etiam ratio oecumenica. D.Martimort mallet ut Actus etiam quotannis legantur. D.Jounel proponit ut in primo et secundo anno Actus legantur uti prima lectio, et tertio anno legatur Apocalypsis uti prima lectio et Actus uti secunda lectio. Quidam etiam petunt ut Bonus Pastor remaneat in suo loco traditionali. Coetus XI de his adnotationibus rationem habebit has quaestiones iterum considerando.
    [4] Schema 176 (De Missali, 25), 25th July 1966, p. 23:
    Apparitiones Christi resuscitati principem locum obtinere debent. Nunc leguntur in die Paschatis, in sex diebus hebdomadae paschalis et in dominica in albis. Duplex possibilitas hic dari videtur.
    Prior propositio est ut sex evangelia hebdomadae paschalis locum traditionalem servent.
    Altera propositio est ut eadem evangelia legantur dominica Paschatis (Mc., Lc., Io.) et prima dominica post Pascha, sive secunda paschatis (aliae tres pericopae Ioannis). Tunc pericopa de bono pastore deberet transferri ex Dominica secunda post pascha ed dominicam tertiam, seu dominicam quartam paschae...
    Circa hanc duplicem propositionem opiniones in Coetu et inter Relatores diversae fuerunt. Altera propositio habet commodum quod diversae apparitiones die dominica legantur et ita populo innotescat, quod hodie non fit; habet incommodum quod hoc modo in Dominica Resurrectionis non semper eadem pericopa legeretur et quod evangelium de bono pastore, et ita dominica de bono pastore, deberet transferri post unam hebdomadam, quod pluribus non placet.
    [5] Schema 198 (De Missali, 31), 17th October 1966, p. 4:
    a) D. Martimort exponit tres difficultates de Propositione altera: sunt tres lectiones evangelii in Dominica Resurrectionis, deinde sunt tres lectiones evangelii in Dominica II Paschae, denique Dominica de Bono Pastore transfertur ad Dominicam IV Paschae.
    Quaesitum 8: Placetne vobis propositio altera?
    Non placet omnibus, uno excepto.
    Ergo prior propositio recipitur.
    […]
    Quaesitum 9: Placetne vobis structurae generalis lectionum pro Dominicis Temporis Paschalis, salvis [correctionibus quoad particularia ulterius postea forte faciendis]?
    Placet omnibus, uno excepto.
    [6] Schema 233 (De Missali, 39), cover letter dated 31st July 1967. As of the date of this post, a tabulation of this draft lectionary will be appearing on NLM very soon.

    [7] Schema 286 (De Missali, 49), 6th April 1968, p. 6:
    Dominica “de Bono Pastore”. In Ordine typis impresso, sicut in MR, secunda Dominica post Pascha legebatur evangelium “De bono Pastore”. Multi periti exegetae et pastores notant plura incommoda si hoc evangelium legitur hac Dominica secunda. Hoc modo nempe, narrationes manifestationem Christi suscitati interrumpuntur et ultima ex eis legitur tertia Dominica post Pascha, quae nimis distat a die Paschatis.
    Melior ordinatio evangeliorum in hac periodo obtinetur si in prima et secunda Dominica quae sequuntur Pascha leguntur narrationes apparitionum; si evangelium de bono Pastore legitur Dominica IV, quod optime etiam praeparat transitum ad locutionem evangeliorum sermonis Domini post cenam, quae incipit inde a Dominica V Pasche.
    [8] A. Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975 (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990), pp. 419-420.

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  • 04/23/18--09:22: Why the Double Ablutions?
  • A priest and regular NLM reader, responding to the series on canonical or liturgical digits (see here), sent this note to me:
    I was wondering if, in your study, you have come across any authors who explain the double ablution that takes place in the traditional liturgy: first with wine, then with water and wine.
              The basic nut I am trying to crack is: I feel like a single ablution is not enough whenever I purify the sacred vessels—whether it is done with water only, or in the more traditional way, with both water & wine. It seems right that there be two ablutions before any further cleaning of the chalice (such as with soap & water, as is common in most hygiene-minded sacristies dominated by busy lay sacristans today) be done. I’m hoping to find some older commentaries on the purification that might (or might not) lend an argument to my feelings and impressions.
    I have not seen an explanation in the sense of a moral or theological explanation, but of course the rubrical authors speak extensively about how it is to be done, and the basic reason why. For example, O’Connell’s The Celebration of the Mass says (p. 286):
    The proper quantity of wine to be taken [at the first ablution] is about the same as had been taken at the Offertory, so that all the surface of the chalice that had been touched by the Precious Blood will be covered by the wine. When the celebrant has received sufficient wine he raises the chalice slightly as an indication to the server. The celebrant may then rotate the chalice carefully once or twice in order that the wine will pass over the surface that had been touched by the Precious Blood. He drinks the Contents of the chalice at the same point on the edge at which he had received the Precious Blood. ... Next the celebrant takes the chalice with the second, third, and fourth fingers of each hand around the cup, and the joined index fingers and thumbs within it. .. The amount of wine and water (together) to be taken will again be about the quantity of the Precious Blood. Rubricians direct that at the second ablution a little wine and a good deal of water be taken: (a) to make sure that when the second ablution has been drunk none of the Sacred Species will remain to be wiped up by the purificator; (b) because water is more cleansing than wine (especially than sweet wine, which is sticky); (c) to avoid staining the purificator.
    This passage seems to confirm the reader’s intuition that a thorough cleansing is only possible with “two goes at it.” It seems to me that this was a matter of common sense developed over centuries of experience, and that it should be adopted today even in the context of the Ordinary Form, in accordance with the principle that we ought to exercise epikeia or good judgment with respect to laws to be followed, and always seek the common good—which begins with the proper treatment of the sacra mysteria, for, as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us, “the common spiritual good of the entire Church is contained substantially in the sacrament itself of the Eucharist” (Summa theologiae III, q. 65, a. 3, arg. 1).

    It is interesting to note, in terms of development (if it can be called such), that in the traditional Roman Rite the purificator does not ordinarily come in contact with the consecrated species, and therefore the Rituale provides no special blessing just for purificators. However, since corporals and palls do come into contact, there is a special blessing for them that is also “reserved”; an ordinary priest had to be delegated to bless a corporal/pall. Nowadays, the opposite obtains: purificators are often soaked with the Precious Blood by extraordinary ministers and clerics, while corporals more or less do not come into contact with the host due to the continuous use of the paten (although I have been told that some priests are sloppy in how they fracture the host). Besides, the modern Book of Blessings does not actually intend to bless the Mass linens as such.

    What the foregoing shows is the beautifully consistent logic in the traditional practices: every detail makes sense. What is supposed to come into contact with the consecrated species is duly and properly blessed by the proper hierarchical authority; what is not supposed to come into contact is not so blessed; and the rubrics themselves govern the disposition and use of all items so that the sacred species will be treated with utmost care and reverence. One suspects that this is why the entire set of customs “had” to be dismantled by the modernists: they could see that it was a total system and had come to despise its rigor, impersonalism, objectivity, and sacrality. As Alice von Hildebrand once remarked, you either have to patiently accept it all and submit to it as the sweet yoke of Christ, or you will chafe at the bonds like a restive horse.



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    Readers of NLM, and particularly those in England and Wales, will be interested to learn that the Liturgy Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has recently announced that the official English-language texts for the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest (Thursday after Pentecost) are now available. The full Lectionary, Missal and Office texts for insertion into the Ordinary Form Missal, along with the relevant decrees of promulgation and publication, can be found at this link. The insertion of this Feast into the proper calendar of England and Wales takes effect on Pentecost Sunday this year, so it will be celebrated for the first time on Thursday 24th May, 2018, and on the Thursday after Pentecost in every subsequent year.


    It was announced by the CDWDS back in 2012 that the formularies for this feast had been prepared for those episcopal conferences that requested use of them, and the Latin texts were printed in Notitiae 551-552 (2012), pp. 335-368.

    In the 2008 Missale Romanum, there is already a Votive Mass of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest. However, and perhaps somewhat confusingly, the Latin texts for the Feast and the Votive Mass are different. The Collect, super oblata and Postcommunion for the Feast are actually nearly identical to those found in the 1962 Missale Romanum for the Votive Mass de D. N. Iesu Christo summo et aeterno Sacerdote, with the only minor difference being a brief insertion in the Collect. For those interested in the differences, here is a side-by-side comparison of the two sets of Mass propers:

    Collect
    Votive Mass of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (2008 MR/2011 RM)
    Votive Mass of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (1962 MR); Feast of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (2012 Latin, 2018 English) [phrase in square brackets not in 1962 MR]

    Deus, qui ad gloriam tuam et generis humani salutem Christum voluisti, summum aeternumque constituere sacerdotem, praesta, ut populus, quem sanguine suo tibi acquisvit, ex eius memorialis participatione, virtutem crucis ipsius capiat et resurrectionis.

    Deus, qui ad maiestatis tuae gloriam et generis humani salutem, Unigenitum tuum Summum atque Aeternum constituísti Sacerdotem, praesta, ut, [Spiritu Sancto largiente,] quos ministros et mysteriorum suorum dispensatores elegit, in accepto ministerio adimplendo fideles inveniantur.
    O God, who for your glory and the salvation of the human race willed to establish Christ as the eternal High Priest, grant that the people he has gained for you by his Blood may, through their participation in his memorial, experience the power of his Cross and Resurrection.
    O God, who for the glory of your majesty and the salvation of the human race, made your Only Begotten Son the Eternal High Priest, grant that, [through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit,] those whom he has chosen as ministers and stewards of his mysteries may be found faithful in carrying out the ministry they have received.

    Super oblata
    Votive Mass of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (2008 MR/2011 RM)
    Votive Mass of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (1962 MR); Feast of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (2012 Latin, 2018 English)

    Concede nobis, quaesumus, Domine, haec digne frequentare mysteria, quia, quoties huius hostiae commemoratio celebratur, opus nostrae redemptionis exercetur.

    Haec munera, Domine, Mediator noster Iesus Christus tibi reddat accepta et nos, una secum, hostias tibi gratas exhibeat.

    Grant us, O Lord, we pray, that we may participate worthily in these mysteries, for, whenever the memorial of this sacrifice is celebrated, the work of our redemption is accomplished.
    Lord, may our Mediator Jesus Christ render these gifts acceptable to you, and may he present us as sacrifices pleasing to you in union with him.

    Postcommunion
    Votive Mass of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (2008 MR/2011 RM)
    Votive Mass of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (1962 MR); Feast of OLJC, Eternal High Priest (2012 Latin, 2018 English)

    Quaesumus, Domine, ut, huius participatione sacrificii, quod in sui commemorationem Filius tuus praecepit offerri, nosmetipsos cum illo oblationem facias tibi sempiternam.

    Vivificet nos, quaesumus, Domine, divine quam obtulimus et sumpsimus hostia, ut, perpetua tibi caritate coniuncti, fructum, qui semper maneat, afferamus.
    We pray, O Lord, that through our partaking in this sacrifice, which your Son commanded to be offered in his memory, you may make us together with him an everlasting oblation to you.
    May this divine sacrifice we have offered and received fill us with life, O Lord, we pray, so that, bound to you in lasting charity, we may bear fruit that lasts for ever.

    I am sure that readers will have their own, well-considered opinions on the quality of the ICEL translations, which set of Mass propers better expresses the celebration of Our Lord as Eternal High Priest, etc.

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    St Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy is pleased to announce that the Fota XI International Liturgy Conference will be held in Cork, Ireland, from July 7-9, 2018.

    The conference is entitled Psallite Sapienter: The Liturgy of the Hours. A panel of experts drawn from the United States, Germany and Ireland will explore the subject. Among those participating are Prof. William Mahrt (Stanford), Prof. Dennis McManus (Boston), Sr. Maria Kiely, OSB (Washington), Prof. Joseph Briody (Boston), Gregory DiPippo (New Liturgical Movement), Dom Benedict Andersen, OSB (Silverstream Priory), Fr. Sven Conrad FSSP (Germany), Matthew Hazell (Sheffield), and Dr. Peter Kwasniewski (Wyoming).

    Registration for the conference will open on May 5.

    His Eminence Raymond Card. Burke celebrating Pontifical Mass at the church of Ss Peter and Paul in Cork during last year’s Fota Conference.

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    The Latin Mass Society, in conjunction with the Institute of Christ the King, is organising a pilgrimage in honour of the Martyrs of England in the city of Preston, England, on Saturday, May 5th, the original date of the feast of St Pius V. The pilgrimage will start from the church of St Walburge, and go to that of St Thomas of Canterbury and the English Martyrs, which has been entrusted to the Institute’s care by the Rt Rev. Michael Campbell, Bishop of Lancaster. This very fine church, designed by Edward Pugin, is not only dedicated to the English Martyrs, but is built on the site of the execution of several of the leaders of the Jacobite Rising of 1715.

    The program is as follows:
    Assemble 11.45 am at the Church of St Walburge for devotions
    Noon: Procession to the Church of the English Martyrs
    12.30 pm: Solemn Mass.
    Participants are encouraged to bring banners.



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  • 04/25/18--09:31: An Ordinariate Mass in Rome
  • This morning, the Roman basilica of Santa Maria in Campitelli hosted a Mass celebrated according to Divine Worship, the Ordinariate Missal, by a group of American and English clergy and seminarians. This was an especially appropriate location both for today’s feast, and for this particular rite. The ancient Roman church dedicated to St Mark the Evangelist is about a five-minute walk away, in the area where a Roman tradition says he lived and wrote his Gospel, based on the stories told to him by St Peter. Santa Maria in Campitelli, originally known as Sancta Maria in Porticu, was the first cardinalitial title of Henry Cardinal Stuart, scion of the last Catholic ruling family of England. It has served as a place of prayer for the return of England to union with the see of Peter since his death in 1807, a beautiful choice of church to celebrate a Mass that unites the Roman and Anglican liturgical traditions.

    The music included the Communion Service No. 2 from the 1940 Hymnal by Healey Willan, propers from the Plainchant Gradual by Palmer and Burgess, the Processional Hymn The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King, JM Neale’s translation of St Ambrose’s Aeterna Christi Munera, a psalm setting by Edward Elgar, and plenty of beautiful organ music. It is very much to be hoped that this tradition flourish within the Ordinariate certainly for its own sake, but also as a model to Catholics throughout the world for improving the quality of music at Mass generally!

    The prayers before the altar and the collect for purity (derived from the Roman prayers of preparation before the Mass.) 
    The first incensation.
    Thanks to Mr Michael Shami for sharing some of his photos from the organ loft with us.
    The deacon reads to the people the summary of the Law.
    The collect

    The subdeacon reads the Epistle
    Preparing for the Gospel Procession
    The Gospel
    The Offertory Verses
    The incensation at the Offertory

    The Preface
    Elevation of the Chalice
    The Peace
    The Last Gospel

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    The Rogations traditionally held on April 25th are known as the “Greater Rogations” or “Major Litanies”, even though they were instituted later than the Minor Litanies, and are held on only one day, as opposed to three. This is because they are specifically Roman in origin, established by Pope St Gregory the Great in 590, at the very beginning of his papacy, while the Lesser Rogations were instituted in Gaul in the mid-6th century, but came to Rome only in the Carolingian period. In the Roman Rite, they consist of the Litany of the Saints, which is sung during the Procession, and a Mass, which is the same as that said on the Minor Litanies.

    Even though the Ambrosian liturgy adopted this tradition from Rome, its liturgical texts for these days are rather more developed. Each of the four Rogation days has its own version of the Litany of the Saints; each of the three days of the Lesser Rogations has its own Mass, but on April 25th, the votive Mass “for penance” is said. I shall here give the liturgical texts for the Greater Rogations, along with the rubrics for their public celebration, from an edition published by the Archdiocese of Milan in 1733.

    After the celebration of the Mass of St Mark, the clergy and people gather at the cathedral, and proceed from there to the basilica of St Nabor, which by the 18th century was in the care of the Franciscans, and rededicated to their Patron Saint. The archbishop, in violet stands before the altar, and begins the rite with “Dominus vobiscum”, after which the archdeacon intones the following antiphon, which is continued by the choir.

    Domine Deus virtutum, Deus Is-
    rael, qui eduxisti populum tuum
    de terra Aegypti, et fecisti tibi
    nomen gloriae, peccavimus, im-
    pie egimus, iniquitatem fecimus;
    miserere nobis, Salvator mundi.
    O Lord God of hosts, God of Isra-
    el, who led Thy people out of the
    land of Egypt, and made for Thy-
    self a glorious name; we have
    sinned, we have done wickedly;
    we have wrought iniquity; have
    mercy on us, o Savior of the
    world.

    The procession then makes its way to the basilica of St Victor, accompanied by the following processional antiphons. These are sung in alternation by the college of lectors, and the “maceconici”, as they were called, an Italian/Milanese corruption of “magister canonicus - the masters of the schools”. These were a group of cantors assigned to the two chapters of the cathedral specifically to maintain a high level of liturgical chant. (Our dear departed friend Mons. Angelo Amodeo came into the chapter of the Duomo as a “maceconico.”) The second of these is the same text that forms the Introit of Ash Wednesday in the Roman Rite.

    An Ambrosian maceconico
    Peccavimus ante te, Deus, ne
    des nos in opprobrium, propter
    nomen tuum, quia tu es Domi-
    nus, Deus noster, quem propiti-
    um exspectamus.
    We have sinned before Thee, o God,
    give us not unto reproach, for Thy
    name’s sake, for Thou are the Lord,
    our God, whom we await to show us
    mercy.
    Misereris omnium Domine, et
    nihil odisti eorum quae fecisti,
    dissimulans peccata hominum
    propter paenitentiam, et parcens
    illis: quia tu es Dóminus, Deus
    noster.
    Thou hast mercy on all, O Lord, and
    hate none of the things which Thou
    hast made, overlooking the sins of
    men for the sake of repentance, and
    sparing them: because Thou art the
    Lord our God.
    Qui fecisti magnalia in Aegyp-
    to, mirabilia in terra Cham, ter-
    ribilia in Mari Rubro, non tra-
    das nos in manus gentium, nec
    dominentur nobis, qui oderunt
    nos.
    Thou who didst great things in Egypt,
    wondrous deeds in the land of Cham,
    terrible things at the Red Sea, deliver
    us not into the hands of the nations,
    nor let them rule over us that hate us.
    Circumdederunt nos mala, quo-
    rum non est numerus; da nobis
    auxilium de tribulatione; opera
    manuum tuarum ne despicias,
    Domine.
    Evils have surrounded us, that have
    no number; grant us help in our tribu-
    lation; despise not the works of Thy
    hands, o Lord.
    Sfecissemus praecepta tua, Do-
    mine, habitassemus cum securi-
    tate et pace omni tempore vitae
    nostrae; nunc quoniam peccavi-
    mus, supervenerunt in nos om-
    nes tribulationes; pius es, Domi-
    ne, miserere nobis, et dona re-
    medium populo tuo, Deus Israel.
    If we had followed Thy precepts, o
    Lord, we would have dwelt in secur-
    ity and peace all the time of our life;
    now, because we have sinned, every
    tribulation has come upon us; holy art
    Thou, o Lord, have mercy on us, and
    give remedy, to Thy people, o God
    of Israel.
    Iniquitates nostras agnoscimus,
    Domine; petimus deprecantes te,
    remitte nobis, Domine, peccata
    nostra.
    We recognize our iniquities, o Lord,
    we ask Thee beseechingly; forgive us
    our sins, o Lord. 
    Vide, Domine, afflictionem po-
    puli tui, quoniam amara est ni-
    mis; humiliati enim sumus pro
    peccatis nostris; exaudi nos,
    qui es in caelis, quoniam non
    est alius praeter te, Domine.
    See the affliction of Thy people, o
    Lord, for it is exceedingly bitter, for
    we are laid low for our sins; hear us,
    Who art in heaven, for there is no
    other beside Thee, o Lord.  
    Liberator noster de gentibus ira-
    cundis, ab insurgentibus in nos
    libera nos, Domine.
    Our deliverer from the wrathful
    nations, from them that rise up
    against us, deliver us, o Lord.
    At the church of St Victor, the maceconici sing “Kyrie eleison” three times in a lower voice; this is repeated by the “vecchioni - old men (or) elders”, a group of laymen who participated in a formal way in many services in the Ambrosian liturgy. The readers with the head of their college then sang “Kyrie eleison” three times in a higher voice, which is also repeated by the vecchioni.

    The cantors begin the litany of the Saints, which in the Ambrosian Rite is introduced by three repetitions of “Domine, miserere  Lord, have mercy”, three of “Christe, libera nos - Christ, deliver us”, and three of “Salvator, libera nos  o Savior, deliver us.” The names of the Saints are then sung by the cantors, to which all others answer, repeating the names and adding “intercede pro nobis.” (“Sancta Maria.  Sancta Maria, intercede pro nobis.”) In the Roman Rite, the list of the Saints is always the same, although local Saints may be added by immemorial custom; in the Ambrosian Rite,  the Saints named in the litany change from one occasion to another. On this day, after the Virgin Mary, the three Archangels are named, followed by the Apostles Peter, Paul, Andrew, and Mark, whose feast day it is; the martyrs Stephen, Felix, Fortunatus and Victor; then Pope Urban I, Tiburtius, Valerian and Cecilia. (The martyrdom of Cecilia, her betrothed Tiburtius, and his brother Valerian took place in the days of Pope Urban, 222-230; the brothers’ feast is on April 14.) There follows a group of bishops, including St Gregory, who instituted the Greater Rogations, St Satyrus, the brother of St Ambrose, then Galdinus, Charles Borromeo, and Ambrose, who always conclude the litanies in the Ambrosian Rite. The litany ends with three repetitions of “Exaudi, Christe. R. Voces nostras. Exaudi, Deus. R. Et miserere nobis.”, (Hear, o Christ, our voices. Hear o God, and have mercy on us.), and three Kyrie eleisons.

    The archbishop then sings the following Collect. “Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, cui sine fine potestas est miserendi, preces humilitatis nostrae placatus intende: ut quod delictorum nostrorum catena constringit, a tua nobis misericordia relaxetur. Per.  Almighty and everlasting God, that hast power without end to show mercy, be appeased and harken to the prayers of our low estate: so that what the chain of our sins bindeth may be loosed for us by Thy mercy.”

    The deacon hebdomadary, the canon assigned to serve as deacon at the capitular services that week, then intones a responsory. (The Ambrosian Rite very frequently assigns specific chants to specfic persons or groups within the chapter.)

    R. Te deprecamur, Domine, * qui es misericors et pius, esto nobis propitius. V. Domine, exaudi orationem nostram, et clamor noster ad te perveniat. Qui es...  R. We beseech Thee, o Lord, * who art merciful and holy, be merciful unto us. V. O Lord, hear our prayer, and let our cry come unto Thee. Who art...

    The high altar of the church of St Victor. (Image from Wikipedia by Carlo dell’Orto; CC BY-SA 3.0)
    The procession then goes from the altar of St Victor to that of St Gregory, as the lector and maceconici sing another group of penitential antiphons. The first of these has the same text as the famous antiphon for the Nunc dimittis in the Dominican Office which always moved St Thomas to tears.

    Media vita in morte sumus;
    quem quærimus adjutórem, nisi
    te, Domine? qui pro peccatis
    nostris juste irásceris. Sancte
    Deus, Sancte fortis, Sancte
    misericors Salvator, amarae
    morti ne tradas nos.
    In the midst of life, we are in death;
    whom shall we seek to help us, if not
    Thee, o Lord, who art justly wroth for
    our sins. Holy God, holy mighty one,
    holy immortal one, hand us not over
    to bitter death.
    Domine, inclina aurem tuam et
    audi; respice de caelo, et vide
    gemitum nostrum, et de manu
    mortis libera nos.
    O Lord, incline Thy ear, and hear;
    look down from heaven, and see
    our groaning, and deliver us from
    the hand of death.
    Exsurge, libera, Deus, de manu
    mortis, et ne infernus rapiat
    nos, ut  leo, animas nostras.
    Arise, deliver our souls, God, from
    the hand of death, lest hell take us,
    like a lion.
    Cor nostrum conturbatum est,
    Domine, et formido mortis céci-
    dit super nos; ad tuam pietatem
    concurrimus: ne perdas pecca-
    tores, misericors.
    Our heart is troubled, o Lord, and the
    fear of death hath fallen upon us;
    we run to Thy mercy, destroy not the
    sinners, merciful one.
    Domine Deus, miserere, quia anni
    nostri in gemitibus consumati
    sunt, et mors furibunda succedit;
    Domine, libera nos.
    Lord God, have mercy, for our years
    are consumed in groaning, and furi-
    ous death cometh after; o Lord, de-
    liver us.

    At the altar of St Gregory, twelve Kyries are sung as above, followed by a second Litany of the Saints, shorter than the first one. The Saints named are the Virgin Mary, the Archangels, John the Baptist, the same Apostles as above, the martyrs Stephen, Saturninus, Savinus, Protus, Januarius, the bishops Martin and Gregory, Galdinus, Charles and Ambrose. This also concludes with a Collect, which specifically refers to St Gregory. “Infirmitatem nostram respice, omnipotens Deus, et quia pondus propriae actionis gravat, beati Gregorii Pontificis tui intercessio gloriosa nos protegat. Per. Look upon our infirmity, almighty God, and since the weight of our actions beareth heavy upon us, may the glorious intercession of Thy bishop Gregory protect us.”

    The deacon hebdomadary then intones another responsory.

    R. Rogamus te, Domine Deus, quia peccavimus tibi; veniam petimus, quam non meremur; * manum tuam porrige lapsis, qui latroni confitenti paradisi januas aperuisti. V. Vita nostra in dolore suspirat, et in opere non emendat, si exspectas, non corripimur, et si vindicas, non duramus. Manum tuam... R. We beseech Thee, o Lord God, because we have sinned against Thee; we ask for forgiveness, which we do not deserve. * Stretch forth Thy hand to the fallen, Thou who didst open the doors of paradise to the thief that confessed. V. Our life suspireth in sorrow, and emendeth not in works; if Thou await us, we are not reproved, and if Thou take vengeance, we cannot endure it. Stretch forth...

    Twelve Kyries are sung once again, followed by the Agnus Dei, alternated between the readers and the maceconici.

    V. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
    R. Gloria Patri. Sicut erat.
    V. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
    R. Sucipe deprecationem nostram, qui sedes ad dexteram Patris.
    V. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
    R. Kyrie, eleison. Kyrie, eleison. Kyrie, eleison.

    The standard conclusion of most Ambrosian ceremonies is said, after which the canon observer (“observator”), who will serve as hebdom the following week, says the Votive Mass for penance, at which the Archbishop preaches.

    St Charles Borromoeo leading a procession with the relic of the Holy Nail during the great plague which struck Milan in 1576-7. St Gregory the Great originally introduced the Greater Rogations at Rome to beg God’s mercy and the end to a plague. (Painting by Giovan Mauro della Rovere, also known as “il Fiamminghino -  the little Fleming”, since his father was born in Antwerp.)
    This was supposed to be published yesterday, but my internet service decided it was taking the evening off. Thanks once again to Nicola for his help.

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    Catholic Arts Today, the website of the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship published an interview yesterday with composer Frank La Rocca, concerning a new Mass which he has composed for the Contemplatives of St Joseph. This is a new religious community which has been founded in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and will be formally established by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on May 1st, the feast of St Joseph the Worker. The Missa Sancti Joseph will be sung for the first time at the Mater Dolorosa Church in South San Francisco, starting at 11 a.m., right after the ceremony of consecrating the order’s first prior. The church is located at 307 Willow Avenue. As an example of Mr La Rocca's work, here is his setting of O magnum mysterium from his Youtube channel.


    Here are some excerpts from the interview. As you can read, he is a composer who really thinks about the sacred character of the music to be used in the liturgy. (If only we had a few dozen more like him!)

    CAT Editors: What composers, if any, influence you and how? Did any composer specifically influence your composition for the Missa Sancti Ioseph?
    Frank La Rocca: At this stage of my career, my influences are largely subliminal. That is, I am not consciously aware of any influences per se as I am working. What others have sometimes told me is that they hear the vocal texture of Renaissance polyphony with a harmonic language a bit like Bruckner. This is a sound, therefore, very much in continuity with the Church’s great treasury of sacred music, but in a harmonic language informed by more recent developments in harmony. Since this is music for Liturgy, it would not be appropriate to try to project any kind of highly individualistic voice in the music, such as one might do in a concert work. Seeking to assert a quality of ‘originality’ for its own sake could very well lead to music that would distract from the interior participation in the Liturgy that sacred music is supposed to facilitate.

    This restraint, if you will, is not something all composers are willing to exert, but as Popes from Pius X to Benedict XVI have taught, such an approach conforms to the true “Spirit of the Liturgy” (the title of Benedict XVI’s excellent book, which I recommend to anyone interested in the questions surrounding music in the Liturgy). ...

    CAT Editors: Is there a specific reason why you have the soprano starting the Kyrie and Agnus Dei, which is not very common in chant-based polyphony? What inspired you to start with the soprano and not the tenor?
    Frank La Rocca: The reason is twofold: First, this is not a chant-based Mass. Second, and more importantly, these are the penitential movements of the Mass. The soprano voice, traditionally associated with a child’s voice in an all-male Schola, was (in the Bach Passions for example) often assigned the role of the ‘believer’ or the ‘catechumen’. When we come before God to seek forgiveness, we should approach Him with a childlike receptivity (Matt 19:14). I seek to express that childlike disposition through the use of the soprano voice.

    CAT Editors: Were there any special spiritual influences that went into the composition of this music?
    Frank La Rocca: There are always spiritual influences in my music, as there are in many composers’ music, even when the subject is not explicitly religious. But more specifically, I sought in this Mass to capture a tone of humility, obedience, and reverence, since these are qualities embodied especially by St. Joseph in his role as the foster father of our Lord. Indeed, among the Saints, only the Virgin Mary can be said to have more deeply and perfectly embodied these traits. So this is for me a particularly “conservative” work, an approach I found entirely in keeping with the spirituality of St. Joseph.

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    Anybody seriously interested in prayer or music is familiar, at least, with Gregorian Chant: what the Gothic arch is for sacred architecture, so Chant is for sacred music. This year, Paraclete Press is re-releasing a number of rare chant recordings sung by the famous Benedictine Monks of Solesmes, France. You can purchase them at the Paraclete Press website (click here).

    The lovely folks at Paraclete Press sent me some review copies of these recordings, and instead of writing yet another yawning treatise about chant’s place in the liturgy, I’ve decided to offer my observations about the recordings themselves, from my perspective as someone engaged in Sacred Music on a daily basis in a very large parish church in Phoenix, Arizona. 
    At heart, I’m a pragmatist. I know that word causes a twinge of pain for some readers, but I mean it in the best way. I seek practical ways to help as many ordinary people as possible to experience the richness of our tradition. I want to help people connect with something outside of the immediate culture of our own time. That much is part of evangelism, isn’t it? But I also need something personally sustaining in my work. On that note, I did not fully understand the value of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories until I read them aloud to children as an adult. As a child, an outsider to the world of adult responsibility, I enjoyed the stories for their face value, as fun stories. As an adult, I saw an entirely new layer of humor and play. “Heffalumps” were Elephants, mispronounced, and the mysterious footsteps in the Hundred Acre Wood were actually Pooh and Piglet traveling in circles unknowingly. This is the genius of A.A. Milne: to create a story which is fun for the child, and even funnier for the adult at the same time.
    So also with Gregorian Chant. For the neophyte, chant communicates a mood of mystery, timelessness, peace, beauty, and contemplation. Some twenty years ago, I encountered Chant for the first time. Having grown up in the Presbyterian Church with amplified praise and worship and some hymnody with organ, chant was otherworldly and downright foreign. Chant wasn’t simply at the threshold, it had seemingly already arrived and lived in the place that so much other Christian music was still striving to reach. Two decades later, my experience of Gregorian chant has only become richer and more sustaining, especially when I’m teaching it or helping others to hear it for the first time. I notice even more nuances, more ways that chant teaches prayer, more ways the chant is a loving exposition of scripture and sacred tradition. I’m still in love, and it still “works” for me. It’s still sustaining.
    The success of Gregorian chant in the past century and the centered richness of prayer it brings to all of us are almost singularly due to the herculean efforts of the Benedictine Monks of Solesmes, France. By the 1800s, through time and wear, some eighty percent of the original Gregorian melodies had been effaced or lost. Arguably the chant had lost its wings. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the Monks of Solesmes reconstructed the entire chant “curriculum” from the inside out, using the most authentic manuscripts and ancient documents to recover the original melodies. Then, they found a concise and effective way to promulgate these restored melodies, and the proper manner of singing them, to the world.
    It would be easy for some to see the work of Solesmes as purely academic, but we ought not to forget that Solesmes was primarily an active Benedictine Monastery, not a research university. Chant wasn’t some cream-puff Sunday driver, it was the work vehicle. We might well say of Solesmes what St Paul writes in Hebrews 13, 15: “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise always to God, that is to say, the fruit of lips confessing to his name.” When love becomes a habit, something done always, it takes on the nature of sacrifice. No longer a brief fascination with something new, as chant was for me the first time I heard it, this sacrificial habit of love is worn like a garment, transforming the one who wears it. Chant has both the initial appeal and the sustaining richness for it to serve as a regular diet. Chant clearly also worked for Solesmes.
    For readers of NLM, so much is preaching to the choir… or dare I say “chanting to the schola?” But what then is the unique value of these historic recordings of the Monks of Solesmes, which Paraclete Press is re-releasing in their entirety? Of course, the first excitement is that these rare recordings are now accessible again. Thank you, Jim Jordan, and thanks to the whole team at Paraclete Press!
    For chant aficionados, or those seeking to learn chant by listening, why THESE recordings? Why not just click a Spotify playlist or youtube channel? What is the unique value of these historic recordings? Why not a new recording of a Grammy-winning professional vocal ensemble or a skilled solo cantor? I listened with a pencil and paper, asking careful questions, and several details in these recordings stand out. See what you think: 
    • The monks’ chanting is living, strong, unvarnished, and imperfect. Especially in older recordings, the chanting is more like the rough stone of cathedrals or the stretching redwood with its bark, than a smooth consumer product intended to be consumed and replaced. So often parishes lack courage to do the “full Gregorian” propers, because they are difficult and won’t sound as refined as simpler settings... at first. As an NLM writer on Parish Liturgy, and director of sacred music in a very large parish which chants well and often, I will take the opportunity to remind our readership that authentic Gregorian Chant is always better done than not done, and refinement will come with practice and experience. It’s something learned by doing it, by finding a voice as a community of prayer. Commit to singing chant regularly with a group of people! It’s also learned through training and competent instruction. Get thee to a chant workshop!
    • These recordings are a monument to collaboration. It’s easy to imagine the monks disagreed on interpretation – after all, this was the focus of their academic expertise, and the manuscripts were nearly 1,000 years old. Some later developments would contradict earlier ones, and changes were not uncommon. The monks did, however, come together and sing together for their sung prayer. Similarly, while readers of this article may disagree wildly about chant interpretation, how to sing various neums or observe certain markings, may these recordings encourage us to sing together with one voice when we are together in prayer. Ubi caritas et amor…
    • As the newly re-released recordings make clear, Gregorian chant does not fall into one genre, dynamic level, or tempo. There are hymns, antiphons, and psalms sung to tones; some chants are melismatic and ornate, others are Spartan, simple, and robust. The spirit of “Gregorian” prayer is varied and complex; it isn’t an attempt to cram the wideness of human experience – or the wideness of divine revelation— into one emotional state.
    • Generally the chanting in these recordings is free, quick, “on the breath,” and unaffected; but more notably it is sung at a moderate or even higher pitch. Reciting tones are rarely lower than A or B flat. Most commonly the reciting tone is B. I do not believe this is simply “sprezzatura” or an attempt to make difficult things seem easy; nor, sadly, do I see this as an attempt to show favor to the tenor voice (we tenors always thought we were better). Rather, speaking as a teacher of singing, I believe it was a decision made toward some specific outcomes: first, the chanting requires more support and physical effort; second, the chant is organic and text based, revealing the grammar of larger phrases and not note-by-note rules; and lastly, and the singing is full and not attenuated. It is impossible to sing freely and healthily in a high tessitura (vocal range) without confidence and strength. In other words, while we often listen to chant recordings on quiet volume, or hear Gregorian chanting from the choir loft at a much quieter dynamic than the organ or full choir, the fact is the singing technique is robust and well-supported. The monks are singing “lustily,” as John and Charles Wesley would put it. All of this was done, despite the recordings clearly having some older voices joining in the chant. “Low and slow” is not the answer; at least, this isn’t the model proposed by the Monks of Solesmes.
    • The recordings present entire liturgies, most likely sung live. For those interested in the interrelation of the parts as understood by Solesmes, these are entire, intact recordings. Most notably, I hear an unbroken connection of pitches between the various chants and prayers in the recordings of the Divine Office. In practice in most parishes, how rare this is, if we even chant the liturgy! More often, each person will chant in his own way: one psalm or antiphon will start at a different and unrelated pitch to what came before, especially if the pitch has dropped. At Mass, the celebrant will start the Our Father in a completely different mode and pitch than the doxology and Amen at the end of the Eucharistic Canon, not realizing that they can and should work together. The sense of unbroken, focused prayer is only made clearer by continuity in the chant, when regardless of the celebrant or leader, the chant remains even and steady throughout the liturgy, a sign of our attention to God in prayer. This is a legitimate and worthy goal!
    I could go on. Some of us have been listening to chant, or even singing and directing it, for years. People have passed on recordings to us, and we have our favorite monastery or seminary choirs. Wherever you are, do yourself the favor and check out these recently re-released recordings. Listen carefully and ask questions. There’s something incredibly fresh and new, even with the oldest 1930 recording, which is well worth your attention.
    Thank you again to Jim Jordan and the team at Paraclete Press, for their generosity in making these recordings available again, anew. May the sacred music of the 21st century be deeply enriched and shaped by the beauty of Gregorian Chant.

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    Only a handful of spots remain for the fourth annual Pro Civitate Dei summer school, hosted and organized by the Fraternity of St Joseph the Guardian in La-Londe-les-Maurs, France, from June 8-15. Young adults will gather from around the world for this week of traditional Catholic culture in the French Riviera. The Anglophone program admits select students and young professionals to a schedule of lectures from top-tier Catholic professors, chanted liturgies according to the traditional rites, and a convivial environment aided by local rosé and the French joie de vivre. Pro Civitate Dei seeks to foster the restoration of Western culture in a rich liturgical and intellectual environment inspired by Christian conviviality, with lectures on topics of contemporary and historical interest in Catholic philosophy, theology, liturgy, and politics.

    You’ll find all the information needed in a two-minute read here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pro-civitate-dei-summer-programme-2018-tickets-41153411963. Please note that only one spot is still available for women. Questions and donor inquiries can be sent to pcdfrance@gmail.com.

    I spoke at this conference last year and the year before, and it was indeed a very enjoyable experience both times, with liturgies celebrated very well, and excellent conversations thoughout the day. My first year, we visited the cave of St Mary Magdalene, the Sainte-Baume, and the church which keeps the relic of her skull. Last year, we had Mass one day in a 12-century chapel on a very tall hill, with an incredible view of endless miles of the Riviera. The FSJC also has the pastoral charge of a church dedicated to St Anne on the island of Pourquerole, where we visited an Orthodox monastery, celebrated solemn Mass, followed by an afternoon on a perfect beach.



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    This coming Sunday, April 29th, is the feast of St Peter Martyr, a Dominican Friar murdered by followers of the bizarre heresy of the Cathars in 1252. A disciple of St Dominic, who personally clothed him in the Order’s habit, he was appointed by Pope Gregory IX (1227-41) as a General Inquisitor for the whole of northern Italy, where the Cathars were a fairly notable presence. We have written previously about his feast day, his monumental tomb, and his principal assassin, Blessed Carino, who converted and lived a life of repentance in the Dominican house at Forlì.

    The relic of St Peter Martyr’s skull, displayed for the veneration of the faithful on his feast day in 2015.
    The Roman Ritual contains two blessings in his honor, one of water, and another of palms, both formerly reserved to the Dominican Order. (The “reserved” blessings proper to particular Orders were all freed up, so to speak, for general use in 1964.) The blessing of water is done “with relics of St Peter.”

    V. Our help...
    V. The Lord be with you.

    Let us pray. O God, who for the salvation of the human race did institute the greatest mysteries in the substance of water, mercifully be present to our invocations, and pour forth upon this element of water Thy bless+ing, which we seal by the power of the blessed Peter, Thy Martyr; so that though his intercession, it may be a salutary remedy for your faithful, driving out evil spirits from them, and warding off illnesses and infirmities of body and spirit; and grant that all who drink of it or are sprinkled with it may be delivered from every adversity of body and soul, and regain health in their whole being. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

    Let us pray. Almighty everlasting God, we humbly implore Thy boundless clemency, that Thou may deign to bless + by Thy indescribable power these Thy faithful people, who devoutly come to (venerate) the relics of the blessed Martyr Peter, and ask for his prayers; so that by his intercession, delivered from every ailment of mind and body, protected  here and everywhere by Thy mercy, and saved by Thy grace, they may merit, after the course of this way and life, to come unto eternal joy. Through Christ our Lord.

    There is also a custom of honoring St Peter by having palm-leaves blessed on his feast. These are traditionally made into crosses and buried in the four corners of one’s property, to guard the place and its occupants both physically and spiritually. (If you live in an apartment or condominium, you could just place them in four corners.) The tradition of the palms is derived from the triumphal entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, as the blessing itself notes, when the people laid palm branches in front of His procession into the city, less than a week before His passion and death. Of course, we celebrate this entrance on Palm Sunday, and a part of that celebration is to receive the palm leaves that have been blessed the Mass. They may then be shaped into the form of a cross and brought to be blessed again on St Peter’s feast.

    Courtesy of Mr Gerard Pilley
    Palms have also been, of course, a symbol of martyrdom from the very beginning of the Church, and St Peter’s martyrdom was one of the most celebrated and honored of the Ages of the Faith. He remains to this day the single most rapidly canonized Saint by a formal process, which was completed less than a year after his death.

    V. Our help...
    V. The Lord be with you.

    Let us pray. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, bless + these branches of trees at our supplication, and to pour out upon them, o Lord, by the power of the holy + Cross, and by the intercession of the blessed Martyr Peter, a heavenly blessing, Who, when Thou wast about to triumph over the enemy of the human race, willed that the children show Thee honor by palms and the branches of trees; and by the sign of the holy + Cross, may they receive a blessing, such that wherever any of them may be placed, the princes of darkness may depart, and tremble, and flee in terror, with all their ministers, from such homes and places. Let not lightning and storm do damage there, let inclement weather not consume or destroy the fruits of the earth, let nothing disturb or trouble those who serve Thee, the almighty God, who livest and reignest unto all ages. R. Amen.

    St Peter’s death took place on April 6th, but since that date will very often occur in Holy Week or the Easter octave, he was assigned to April 29th, and thus is always celebrated in Eastertide, which also has a proper Office and two proper Masses for the Martyrs. The Church released the blessings reserved to particular Orders precisely so that they could be more frequently celebrated; here is an excellent way for us all to increase the glory of Eastertide and invoke the intercession of one of the greatest Catholic Martyrs.

    This article comes to us partly from Mr Gerard Pilley, a parishioner of St Benedict’s Parish in Chesapeake, Virginia, an apostolate of the FSSP, with our thanks. 

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    Progressive liturgists — that is to say, the entire establishment during and after Vatican II, with a few notable exceptions — seem to make a very odd and elementary mistake in their thinking, akin to the kind of mistakes one finds in liberal biblical critics.

    When liturgists dig into the history of rites, they discover lots of change, development, variety, and seemingly chance events (“after all, don’t you know, it was because of Charlemagne that the Roman liturgy both replaced the Gallican and assimilated many of its elements”). So far, so good. But then they make an unwarranted inference:  beyond the postulate of a “golden age” of apostolic worship, we owe no reverence to liturgical rites at any later stage of their development. For example, since medieval and Baroque features of the Roman liturgy resulted from historical accidents, they are seen as ripe for purging at the hands of the cognoscenti, those who know better what our current historical milieu requires.

    Such reasoning betrays the lack of a metaphysical and theological framework for seeing how Divine Providence works by governing all things in general and in detail. To us here below, with our faint and finite grasp of causality, there appears to be chance; in the eyes of God there is no such thing as chance. He sees all, He causes all. Without an adequate conception of and trust in Providence, we will (or will be tempted to) commit sins of judging and rejecting the fruits of organic liturgical development, as if we moderns are superior to our forefathers. The default assumption of Christian history is rather that our forefathers have more wisdom than we do, and our job is to receive and assimilate it, striving to live up to it if we possibly can.

    Thus, the liturgists’ inference fails to appreciate the spiritual attitude that we are supposed to have towards our inheritance — towards that which “falls to our lot.” The Psalmist captures this attitude perfectly: Funes ceciderunt mihi in praeclaris; etenim haereditas mea praeclara est mihi (Ps 15:6), which the Douay Rheims renders: “The lines are fallen unto me in goodly places: for my inheritance is goodly to me.” The sense of the verse is that the boundaries God has measured out for His people in the course of His fatherly guidance of them are the right ones: they shine with His wisdom. The lot we have received is goodly and not to be scorned or second-guessed.

    Note the word used twice in the Vulgate: praeclarus. This word has many meanings: splendid, bright, excellent, famous, illustrious, noble, distinguished. This dictionary definition reads like a listing of all the qualities that traditional liturgical rites of Eastern and Western Christianity possess — and exactly the qualities that are wanting in the fabricated rites of the 1960s and 1970s. For however much we might dress them up, they are still like the social parvenu, the nouveau riche. The psalmist, however, exclaims that his received inheritance is praeclarus. He says it twice in comely Hebrew fashion to drive home the point.

    Where else do we see this Latin word praeclarus? We see it twice in the Roman Canon — the Canon that defines the Roman Rite, the optionizing and marginalization of which effectively prove the discontinuity and rupture between the old and the new rites of Mass. First, we hear it in the consecration of the chalice: “taking also into His holy and venerable hands this excellent chalice, hunc praeclarum calicem.”Then we hear it immediately after: “Wherefore, O Lord, we Thy servants as also Thy holy people…offer to Thy supreme majesty [praeclarae maiestati tuae] a pure Victim, a holy Victim, an unblemished Victim, the holy bread of eternal life, and the chalice of everlasting salvation.”

    It is not by chance that the same psalm we cited above, Psalm 15, uses the cup or chalice as a symbol of God’s generous provision to His people: Dominus pars haereditatis meae, et calicis mei: tu es qui restitues haereditatem meam mihi,“The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup: it is thou that wilt restore my inheritance to me” (Ps 15:5).

    By surrounding the word calix with a double use of praeclarus, the Roman Canon not only echoes but enacts Psalm 15, a favorite prayer of early Christians as we see in the Acts of the Apostles, and so reminds us of the nature of our liturgical inheritance. It is not a dead or static set of books, the fallout of meandering chance and merely human intentions, but a living tradition that begins in the Logos of God and culminates in the Logos made flesh, our eternal High Priest who guides His Church into the fullness of truth by the gift of His Spirit. Our goodly inheritance is the rich content of a cup poured out in ever greater measure on Adam, Abel, Abraham, Melchisedek, David, the temple worship, the early Christian dies Domini, and the Catholic centuries of faith, when the liturgy grew from a mustard seed into a great tree in whose branches the birds of the air, that is, the holy angels, lodge (cf. Lk 13:19).

    As Joseph Ratzinger often said, we are not the accidental products of chance but the deliberate offspring of a divine intention; the universe is shot through with the Logos reigning above matter and chaos. The same is true of the liturgy. It, too, is not the accidental product of chance but the deliberate offspring of a divine intention; its path, which emerges from Israel and crisscrosses the Greco-Roman and later barbarian world, is from the Logos, reigning above the tumult of human affairs. This, ultimately, is the reason traditionalists reject the liturgical reform: for it itself constitutes a rejection of the unanimous understanding of how liturgy exists and is transmitted and received.


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    Painting and Viewing the Nude in Christian Art

    I recently read a short but excellent discussion of the place of nudity in Christian art written by Deacon Lawrence Klimecki. For Deacon Lawrence, the question turns on the judgment as to whether or not the nudity distracts from the Christian purpose of the art. This will depend on the response of the people who are meant to see it and the skill of the artist in representing nudity in an ordered way. I encourage you to read it.
    Here is a different, but complementary argument that I make that supports his assertion that it is appropriate, but only in certain circumstances. What follows is a summary of a longer article published some time ago in a Festschrift for my friend Stratford Caldecott.

    maxresdefault.jpg
    When Pope John Paul II presented his Theology of the Body and addressed artists directly, he challenged them to portray the human figure “naked without shame”, and in such a way that the beauty of the human form would be revealed in an ordered way. He reiterated this when he spoke in 1994 at the re-opening of the Sistine Chapel after the cleaning and restoration of Michelangelo’s paintings.
    This caused quite a stir at the time. Here was a respected Pope (now a Saint) who was putting his intellectual weight behind the artistic tradition of painting the nude... and not only excusing it, but promoting it! Many cultured and arty Catholics in the chattering classes heaved a sigh of relief. Now they could point to the words of the Pope and claim that they were right at the cutting edge of culture and simultaneously in the mainstream of the Church! Now they were as free to air their views over coffee after Mass as they were with their secular friends at dinner parties, for the Pope, no less, had become an apologist for the Sixties! After all, he was telling the Philistines who were uncomfortable with nudity that they didn’t really understand Catholic culture. Many artists didn’t miss the point either. The Pope’s challenge to them inaugurated the creation of a wave of contorted Theology-of-the-Body nudes that, the artists told us, communicated human sexuality “as a gift” through the exaggerated gestures of intertwining limbs and torsos.
    Initially, I accepted this view too, to a degree. Then I actually read the Theology of the Body and John Paul II’s address on the re-opening of the Sistine Chapel.

    Several years ago, when I moved to the US from the UK and started teaching at a Catholic college, I knew that I would have to deal with devout Catholic parents who might be hesitant about allowing their sons and daughters to draw nudes in figure-drawing classes. I imagined that they would have been even more nervous about the idea of some of them posing for the classes.

    In order to have some good Catholic arguments to persuade them of the appropriateness of this, I set about looking at the tradition of the nude in Catholic art, while also reading the Holy Father’s words on the subjects.

    I was surprised by what I came up with. Rather than finding evidence to bolster my view, I found the reverse. I had to abandon certain assumptions that I had held until that point and adopt some new ones:
    • It is not necessary to study the nude to draw or paint the human person well, even in naturalistic styles.
    • The Christian tradition is very cautious about nudity in art, and for the most part, avoids it. The nude appears consistently in the tradition only a very limited way, and in connection with certain subjects (e.g. Genesis and the account of the Fall), where it is crucial to understanding the passages. It has to be in accord with compositional and stylistic considerations that maintain the dignity of the person portrayed. 
    • The artist has to take into account the sensibilities of the time, which can vary. The artist must always avoid lasciviousness, but what that means precisely will be different at different times.
    • John Paul II himself was, consistent with tradition, extremely cautious about the portrayal of the nude. He most certainly was not promoting in any way of the liberal attitudes of the 20th century. He advocated that naturalistic styles of art, as distinct from highly idealized styles, should not be used to portray the nude.
    When I read John Paul II’s writing referred to above, and his Letter to Artists of 1999, what I see is someone who understands and respects the differing traditions in art very deeply, and who is conservative by nature. Far from giving models carte blanche to take their clothes off, and voyeuristic artists his blessing to paint them, he was in fact, in accordance with Catholic tradition, strongly against the portrayal of the nude in both the grotesquely distorted and erotic modern styles and the style of the 19th-century realists.

    In fact, he said that the human person should only be portrayed nude when we see the body shining with the “light that comes from God.” This narrows the scope considerably. It is a reference to what is called in the context of traditional iconography the “uncreated light” of sanctity. He is proposing that only highly idealized representations of the human form are appropriate for the nude. While this doesn’t rule out new interpretations consistent with the principle, historically, it points strongly either to the highly stylized iconographic tradition, as seen here,
     An icon of the Baptism in the Jordan
    An icon of the Baptism in the Jordan.
    or to the Gothic tradition.
     The Temptation from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
    The Temptation, from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
    In common with many other Christian commentators, John Paul II also admired the nude as portrayed in ancient Greek sculpture.
      The goddess Venus.
    It is the correspondence to this idealized form, and not its naturalism, that causes him to appreciate the work of Michelangelo so highly, especially his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.
    michelangelo_last_judgement_1050x700.jpg
    William Blake is an artist who individualistic style also strongly reflected the Greek ideal. (Thank you to Bill Donaghy of the Theology of the Body Institute for pointing this out to me.
    Rather than blandly stating that the human body is beautiful, it is always appropriate to show it nude, we must recognize that man after Fall, which is who we are, does not shine with light in the same way, and is prone to look in an impure way at the other. With this in mind, the way to restore man after the Fall, which John Paul II called Historical Man (i.e. all of us now) to the dignity of Original Man (man before the Fall), whether in art or in reality, is the same: put some clothes on, for heaven’s sake!
    Clothes on fallen man don’t hide the beauty of the body; they complete it in a dignified way. That is why, incidentally, it is traditional to have masculine and feminine clothes - so that human sexuality can be revealed in an ordered way. To put it bluntly: before the Fall, man was clothed in glory; after the Fall, man retains his dignity by being clothed!
     Portrait by John Singer Sargent
    Portrait by John Singer Sargent
    We must also consider not only the effect of the image on the observer, but also how the process of creating the image affects both the model and artist. It is often stated that the etiquette of the studio, by which the model disrobes behind a screen, and no one other than head of the studio speaks to him or her when nude, protects the dignity of the model.
    In fact, even if we accept that such etiquette does remove the general indignity of baring oneself in front of others, and the erotic charge that might otherwise be present when the model is attractive, it does so by objectifying the person; that is, it creates a situation in which we no longer view the model as a person, but as shaped flesh. We need to be aware, therefore, that this approach might still be participating, albeit in a different way, in the problem of the modern understanding of the human person that the Pope is trying to remedy. Perhaps in removing one difficulty, we are replacing it with another.
    65e738230b72398235c56aaff2543cf8.jpg
    There are two other reasons that are often adduced in favor of the nude which I feel are wrong. The first is that it is a longstanding part of the Christian tradition of art. As far as I can ascertain, this is not quite the case. Christianity drastically reduced the degree of nudity in art, compared with the pagan art that preceded it. Only with the Renaissance did we start to see nudity appearing in art beyond certain very carefully designated situations, like Adam and Eve and the Baptism in the Jordan, as seen above.
    Even then, as we have already mentioned, the style is important. Only those artistic styles developed to portray the person bathed in the uncreated light of God are appropriate for nudity, says John Paul II, for, “If it is removed from this dimension, it becomes in some way an object which depreciates very easily, since only before the eyes of God can the human body remain naked and unclothed and keep its splendor and its beauty intact.”
    The second misconception is that it is necessary to study the nude in order to paint the human person well in naturalistic styles. While there are methods of study that do require the artist to understand anatomy, there are alternatives. I remembered my time studying at a studio in Florence where I learned the academic method, a way of painting that developed first during the High Renaissance. Although we did study the nude daily, we used a method called sight-size, in which we were taught to disregard our awareness of what we were looking at and consider only the shapes in the abstract. In other words, we learned to paint accurately what we saw, not what we knew to be there. We did not build up a figure by first sketching a skeleton, then putting on muscles, skin, and finally clothes. Some other schools do this, but it wasn’t necessary. Our teacher explained that we were following the method of the school of 17th century Spanish baroque naturalism. In that era, the Church in Spain (in contrast with Italy), forbade nude models, and so artists such as Velazquez and Zurburan never studied the nude as part of their training. They seemed to do pretty well despite this supposed handicap!

     The Ecstasy of St Francis, by Zurburan
    The Ecstasy of St Francis by Zurburan
     Crucifixion by Velzaquez.
    Crucifixion by Velazquez

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    This Friday, May 4th, a Solemn High Mass for the feast of St Monica will be celebrated at Holy Name, in Brooklyn, New York, starting at 7pm. The church is located at 245 Prospect Park West. St Monica, 322-87, is the patron Saint of difficult marriages, victims of unfaithfulness or of verbal abuse, conversions, and is especially invoked for the sake of those who have lapsed from the Faith, like her son, St Augustine; his famous autobiographical work, the Confessions is a still widely read telling of his conversion from a sinful life.


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    The feast of the Apostle St Philip is traditionally kept on this day, together with St James the Younger, a custom which derives from the presence of their relics in the Roman basilica of the Twelve Apostles, which was originally dedicated only to the two of them. In the Synoptic Gospels, he is not mentioned apart from the list of the twelve disciples whom Jesus called his Apostles (Matthew 10, 1-4 and parallels). However, St Clement of Alexandria, writing ca. 200 AD, knew a tradition that Philip was the man who asked leave to go bury his father, to whom Christ replied, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” (Stromata 3, 4, 25, citing Matthew 8, 22.)

    Reliquaries of Ss Philip and James displayed in the crypt of the church of the Twelve Apostles. Photo by Agnese, from part 3 of the very first Roman Pilgrim series, in 2014. 
    In the Gospel of St John, on the other hand, Philip is a very prominent figure. After Christ “finds” him, and calls him, saying no more than “Follow me!”, Philip brings to Him Nathanael, who confesses “Thou are the Son of God, Thou are the king of Israel.” (1, 43-49.) At the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, it is Philip to whom Christ says “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”, and who replies “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little.” (6, 5 and 7). Later on, Philip and Andrew together introduce some gentiles to Jesus. (12, 20-22) Finally, during the Last Supper, Philip says to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”, to which Jesus replies, “Have I been so long a time with you; and have you not known me? Philip, he that seeth me seeth also the Father. How sayest thou, show us the Father? Do you not believe, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” (14, 8-10) A fuller version of this passage, John 14, 1-13, is listed as the Gospel for the feast of Ss Philip and James in the very oldest lectionary of the Roman Rite, ca. 650 AD, and provides most of the proper antiphons for the Office, as well as the second Alleluia and the Communion antiphon of their Mass.

    A motet based on the Communion of the Mass of Ss Philip and James, in a polyphonic setting by the Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621).

    At the beginning of the Acts, he is named in the company of the Apostles in the upper room. (1, 13). When the first seven deacons were chosen, one of them is also called Philip, and there was already in antiquity some confusion between the two. Eusebius of Caesarea, for example, in his Ecclesiastical History (3, 31), takes it for granted that they are the same person, referring to his four daughters, even though in Acts 21, 9, it is stated that it was Philip the deacon who had four daughters. He quotes a letter from Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, to Pope Victor I (189-99), which refers to Philip’s burial at Hierapolis in Phrygia, (now called Pammukale, in southwest Turkey), where he had preached the Gospel for many years. He also cites from one of the very first Church historians, Papias, bishop of Hierapolis and a contemporary of Pope Victor, the story that Philip had raised a man from the dead, a story which Papias had heard from one of Philip’s daughters.

    Like several other Apostles, Philip also has an apocryphal set of Acts written about him; his is a compilation of fifteen different episodes which vary in their degree of absurdity. One of these episodes, the ninth, is a brief account of the slaying of a dragon, which he does on his missionary travels in the company of his fellow Apostle Bartholomew, and his sister, whose name is given as Mariamne.

    In the Golden Legend of Bl. Jacopo de Voragine, the account of St Philip is quite short, far shorter, in fact, than that of St James, and also contains a dragon-slaying episode. However, the story is told in a completely different manner from that of his fictitious Acts. In the Golden Legend version, Philip is in Scythia, where he is brought by the pagans before a statue of Mars, and ordered to sacrifice to it. A dragon emerges from the statue’s base, killing the son of the priest in charge of the sacrifice, and the two local officials who were keeping the Apostle in chains, while making everyone else present sick with its breath. Philip promises to remedy these ills if the pagans break the statue and replace it with a Cross; when they do, he heals the sick, raises the three dead persons, and banishes the dragon to an uninhabited desert. He then comes to Hierapolis, where he successfully combats the heresy of the Ebionites, establishes the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and is finally crucified by the infidels.

    In the year 1487, a wealthy Florentine merchant named Filippo Strozzi commissioned the painter Filippino Lippi to fresco a chapel dedicated to the name Saint whom he shared with the artist. The complex and agitated style which Lippi learned from his teacher, Sandro Botticelli, perfectly suits the complex and agitated scenes of the dragon’s defeat and the Apostle’s crucifixion. The dragon is clearly too small to really pose a threat, representing that his power is vanquished by that of Christ’s minister. The statue of Mars is shown as a colored figure like the living persons in the lower part of the scene, and not as a white stone figure like the statues below him; this is often understood to represent the fact that the conflict between paganism and Christianity was very much alive in the Florence of Lorenzo the Magnificent and Savanarola.

    St Philip Banishing the Dragon, by Filippino Lippi, in the Strozzi Chapel of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, 1487-1502
    The Crucifixion of St Philip
    In the pre-Tridentine Roman Breviary, this story is told in terms very similar to those of the Golden Legend, even so late as the editions published in the 1520s. The scholars charged with revising the legends of the Saints for the Breviary of St Pius V were very concerned to remove anything that might bring discredit on the Church, and were particularly severe with episodes of dragon-slaying; there is no hint of the story whatsoever in the revised legend of St Philip, the version which is still read to this day in the Breviary of the Extraordinary Form. (Ss George, Martha and Margaret of Antioch are treated in similar fashion.)
    Nevertheless, in the 18th century, when statutes of the 12 Apostles were put up in the Lateran Basilica, the Pope’s own cathedral, a reference to the old legend was kept. This work by Giuseppe Mazzuoli, executed between 1703 and 1712, shows St Philip stepping on a dragon, albeit also a very small one.


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    The little town of Cocullo in the Abruzzi region of Italy, with a population of less than 250, has a very particular way of celebrating the feast of its Patron Saint, Dominic of Sora. Dominic was one of the great monastic reformers of the later 10th and early 11th century, as active in central and southern Italy (Lazio, Abruzzi and Campagna) as his contemporaries Ss Romuald and Peter Damian were in the north. He lived in Cocullo for seven years, and the main church there has two relics of him, one of his teeth, and a shoe of his mule. As part of the celebration of his feast on May 1st, people pull the bell-rope of a chapel dedicated to him with their teeth, a gesture which is believed to protect them from disease.

    He is also honored a Patron Saint against snake-bites and rabid animals, the aspect of his cultus which makes it especially noteworthy. Towards the end of March, the inhabitants of the region begin collecting snakes from the countryside (non-poisonous, of course), and keeping them in boxes at home. On the feast day, they bring them to the church, and drape them over a statue of the Saint, which is then carried through the town in procession. The snakes are then returned to their natural habitat.

    It would be easy to dismiss this custom and others like it as nothing more than holdovers from paganism, and it is true that this one in particular seems to have some antecedents in the ancient pagan cults of the region (of which, however, very little is known for certain.) I dare say that this is a feature, not a bug. In the modern world, it is very difficult for us to appreciate what a very serious problem a rotten tooth or a rabid animal could be for peasants living a hard-scrabble life in these  mountainous regions, even as little as a century ago. A religion which does not afford some sense that the spiritual powers, whatever they may be, are genuinely concerned with the human race’s welfare, spiritual and physical, and can help us through such problems, is simply not worth its salt. It was precisely the death of this idea, the transition from the ancient gods of hearth and field to the distant One of Plato or the even-more-distant Prime Mover of Aristotle, that drove people towards the many mystery cults that flourished in the early centuries of the Roman Empire. In Christianity, they found the mystery of a God who is not merely concerned with the human race’s welfare, but so concerned that He joined it, and then entrusted the care and cure of its many problems to His beloved friends, the Saints.

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    This past Saturday, His Excellency Alexander Sample, Archbishop of Portland, Oregon, celebrated a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Several people I know were present and have commented on how beautiful the ceremony was, with fine music and a well-executed ceremony. The church was, not at all surprisingly, quite full, and the members of the congregation were predominantly young. The Mass was broadcast live on EWTN, and can now be viewed on the Youtube channel of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (embedded below). It is accompanied by a commentary by Monsignor Charles Pope, who describes it at the very beginning as “one of the most beautiful liturgies you will ever see”, and Mons. Andrew Wadsworth of the Washington DC Oratory. This commentary will certainly be useful to those who are not familiar with the traditional Mass, and especially the Pontifical Mass.

    For our reader’s convenience, here is a video with just the sermon. I strongly encourage you to listen to the whole of it, but would like to highlight a particularly wise thing which His Excellency says, starting at 5:18.

    “Over the years, since the release of Summorum Pontificum, I have heard many in the Church ... express puzzlement, and dismay, over why so many young people are attracted to this venerable form of the Roman Rite. They say things like, ‘I just don’t understand it. How could they be so attracted to a form of the liturgy that they did not grow up with, or ever experience before?’ If the comment has been directed to me, I have often responded ‘That is exactly the question you should be asking. Why are they attracted to this liturgy?’ Or perhaps more pointedly: ‘What is it that this form of the Roman Rite provides for them that their own experience growing up with the Ordinary Form did not provide?’ For this will give us an insight into what future liturgical development might look like. ”

    Our sincerest thanks to Archbishop Sample for all that he has done, and continues to do, to encourage reverent celebration of the liturgy in both Forms, and his pastoral generosity in helping all Catholics, but especially the young, to live and love their rightful liturgical inheritance.


    Here is the video of the complete ceremony, with commentary. (There is about 4:35 of dead air at the beginning, and, weirdly, a cough can be heard at 2:35.)


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    A Dominican Rite Missa Cantata will sung at the Priory of St. Albert the Great, the house of studies of the Western Dominican Province in Oakland, CA, on this coming Saturday, May 5, at 10:30 am. The Mass will be that of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with Propers and Ordinary from the Dominican Gradual.

    The celebrant will be Fr. Augustine Hilander, O.P.  The servers and schola will be composed of student brothers of the Western Dominican Province.

    The St. Albert the Great Priory Chapel is located at 6170 Chabot Road, Oakland, CA 94618, with ample parking available on the street or the basketball-court parking lot.

    This will be the last Dominican Rite Sung Mass for the First Saturday Devotion to our Lady at the Dominican House of Studies in Oakland for this academic year.

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    As we recently noted, our long-time contributor Dr Peter Kwasniewski recent had one of his original compositions premiere in Denver, sung by the Victoria Ensemble, and conducted by Rick Wheeler. The Missa Honorificentia Populi Nostri, includes both the Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria etc.) and the five propers (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion) of the Mass specific to the city of Innsbruck, Austria, honoring the translation of a miraculous image of Our Lady into the cathedral. Peter recently posted two of the pieces from Ordinary, the Kyrie and Sanctus, to his Youtube channel; I hope you enjoy them, and we look forward, of course, to hearing more. Congratulations, Peter!


    From the same concert, a setting of the Tantum ergo based on the classic chant melody.

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