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- 08/23/18--00:06: _Assumption 2018 Pho...
- 08/23/18--19:38: _The Experimental Le...
- 08/25/18--09:32: _Assumption 2018 Pho...
- 08/26/18--19:03: _God’s Providence fo...
- 08/27/18--09:04: _“They That Are Chri...
- 08/28/18--06:00: _New Christian Art W...
- 08/28/18--13:00: _The Joyful Mysterie...
- 08/29/18--06:14: _A New Regular TLM i...
- 08/29/18--13:39: _The Sorrowful Myste...
- 08/29/18--14:53: _Liturgical Notes on...
- 08/30/18--07:55: _Bishop Gainer Inter...
- 08/30/18--09:00: _The Ambrosian Sunda...
- 08/31/18--02:31: _The Value of Prayin...
- 09/01/18--04:34: _Documentary on Chev...
- 08/31/18--13:00: _The Glorious Myster...
- 09/01/18--12:01: _Ambrosian Mass with...
- 09/02/18--12:21: _Dominican Rite Sung...
- 09/03/18--06:56: _Ecclesial and Ethic...
- 09/03/18--20:20: _ Dr Kwasniewski’s U...
- 09/04/18--05:00: _Catholic Sculptor O...
- 08/23/18--00:06: Assumption 2018 Photopost (Part 1)
- 08/23/18--19:38: The Experimental Lectionary of the Consilium ad exsequendam (1967)
- It was produced at a point in the post-Vatican II liturgical reform where there was clearly some uncertainty about what the General Roman Calendar would look like in the future. For example, Lent appears to start on the 1st Sunday of Lent rather than on Ash Wednesday,  and though we have Sundays labelled as post-Epiphany and post-Pentecost, the ferial weekday lectionary does not make this distinction (there are 34 weeks in tempus per annum).
- Compared to the 1969/1981 Ordo lectionum Missae, there are very few short forms of readings, and the majority of those that do exist in the Consilium scheme would seem to conform more to no. 75 of the General Introduction to the Lectionary than those in the 1969/1981 OLM. This issue is more complex than first appears, however, and will be examined in future posts.
- 08/25/18--09:32: Assumption 2018 Photopost (Part 2)
- 08/26/18--19:03: God’s Providence for the Church
- 08/28/18--06:00: New Christian Art Web Resources: A Blog and a Weekly Podcast
- 08/28/18--13:00: The Joyful Mysteries at the Sacro Monte di Varese
- 08/29/18--06:14: A New Regular TLM in the Diocese of Gary, Indiana
- 08/29/18--13:39: The Sorrowful Mysteries at the Sacro Monte di Varese
- 08/29/18--14:53: Liturgical Notes on the Beheading of St John the Baptist
- 08/30/18--07:55: Bishop Gainer Interview on the TLM and Vocations
- 08/30/18--09:00: The Ambrosian Sundays “After the Beheading of St John the Baptist”
- 09/01/18--04:34: Documentary on Chevetogne Abbey
- 08/31/18--13:00: The Glorious Mysteries at the Sacro Monte di Varese
- 09/01/18--12:01: Ambrosian Mass with Music by the Schola Sainte Cécile
- 09/02/18--12:21: Dominican Rite Sung Masses, SF Bay Area, California
- 09/03/18--06:56: Ecclesial and Ethical Consequences of Poor Church Music
- 09/04/18--05:00: Catholic Sculptor Offers Apprenticeships
EF Vigil of the Assumption
The table of the Consilium scheme of readings is now available for download from the following link:
Table of Readings from the Consilium’s Experimental Lectionary (Schemata 233 [De Missali 39], 1967), with the text of the introductory material (PDF)
This scheme is vital source material for studying the work of Coetus XI, and it is worth mentioning that it had eluded me for a number of years until recently. Very many thanks are due to the library staff at Blackfriars Hall (University of Oxford) for allowing me to consult their copy of the Ordo lectionum pro dominicis, feriis et festis sanctorum.
|The elusive Schemata 233 of the Consilium ad exsequendam|
 The German scheme was the one also used in England & Wales between 1965-69. Closely related to this scheme is the one used in Spain and some other Spanish-speaking nations.
 Annibale Bugnini gives more details about the reform of the lectionary in The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975 (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990), pp. 406-425.
 Bugnini makes it clear that this was a feature, not a bug. Pope Paul VI had to personally intervene in order to ensure that Ash Wednesday and the three days following would be retained in the General Roman Calendar (cf. The Reform of the Liturgy, pp. 307, 310-311).
Pontifical Mass celebrated by His Excellency Czeslaw Kozon, bishop of Copenhagen.
|The Most Holy Trinity, by Pieter Coecke van Aelst, ca. 1550|
There are times when the message can be rather subtle, requiring well-trained ears. But there are other times when it seems as if Our Lord is positively whacking us over the head with the obviousness of His message to the Church. One such occasion was surely yesterday’s Mass for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, with readings and orations that the Church has proclaimed on this Sunday for 1,500 years or more — and still does, wherever the Roman Rite endures in its classical form.
The Epistle of the Mass is taken from Galatians, a letter of ever-growing relevance in the ecclesiastical situation in which we find ourselves today (one thinks of such luminous passages as “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema” and “When Cephas [Peter] was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed”), and more particularly, from chapter 5, with its famous contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit:
Brethren: Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh: for the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another, so that you do not the things that you would. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spirit is: charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences.As each day brings with it fresh revelations of clerical corruption in high places — indeed, in the very highest place of all, the seat of Cephas in Rome, whence proceeds a Gospel other than the one Christ and His apostles preached to us — we are comforted and strengthened by hearing these uncompromising words of St. Paul, who assures us that whoever does these works of the flesh, as well as they who approve or support those who do them or fail to take action against them, cannot be acting by the Spirit of Christ. (Indeed, as the Apostle teaches in Romans 1:32, with a nod to the death penalty: “Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.”)
They that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences. On the very Sunday of the Viganò revelations, this is the message of liturgical providence for the Church in the United States of America, in the Vatican, and everywhere. They that are truly Christ’s will live a mortified life of battle against disordered concupiscence, striving for holiness in a relentless military campaign against interior vices and against the external manifestations of vice over which they have any control, especially if they have been given positions of authority by God.
And lest we rely on our own strength or on that of any earthly protector, the Collect of the Mass and the Gradual teach us where our victory will come from:
Keep, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy Church with perpetual peace; and because the frailty of man without Thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by Thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation. Through our Lord.The Gradual of this day’s Mass tells us soberly and simply:
It is good to confide in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in man. V. It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in princes.The Introit cries out: “Behold, O God, our protector, and look on the face of Thy Christ”! Many are they who feel like sheep abandoned by their supreme shepherd, abandoned to the wolves. At times like this, we feel and we know that God is our sole protector. Because He is looking on the face of His Christ, His well-beloved Son on whom His favor rests, and seeing us in Him, He loves us and will never abandon us.
In The Saint Andrew Daily Missal from 1945, each Sunday is preceded by a lengthy commentary on the readings and prayers of that day in the Divine Office and in the Mass. I am struck by two things about these commentaries: first, how tough they are (the doctrine is clear, its moral demands are stated with no compromise, and salutary rebukes are offered to the reader as an examination of conscience); second, how apropos they are to the tragic situation of the Church today, since they frequently diagnose the very diseases of intellect, will, and passions that harass us on all sides.
Here is part of the commentary offered for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
St. Gregory says: “There are men, all athirst for passing joys, who are ignorant or indifferent where eternal blessings are concerned. Poor wretches! They congratulate themselves on possessing the good things of this life without regretting those of the world above, which they have lost. Fashioned for light and truth, they never lift up the eyes of the soul; never betray the smallest desire or longing for the contemplation of their eternal home. Giving themselves over to the pleasures among which they are thrown, they bestow their affection upon a dreary place of exile as if it were their fatherland; and surrounded by darkness, they are full of rejoicing as if they were illumined by a brilliant light. On the other hand, the elect, in whose eyes fleeting goods are of no value, seek after those for which their souls were made. Kept in this world by the bonds of the flesh, each, none the less, is carried in spirit beyond it while making the wholesome resolve to despise the passing things of time and to desire the things which endure for eternity.”In a rare instance of alignment of liturgical planets, the readings of yesterday’s Ordinary Form Mass, for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B), deliver the same message.
The first reading shows Joshua (Jesus) summoning all the tribes, their elders, their leaders, their judges, and their officers, and asked them whom they will serve — the true God, or the gods of the nations round about. In other words, accommodation to the world, or fidelity to God the revealer? The people respond:
“Far be it from us to forsake the LORDThis is the state of slavery St. Paul is describing with his “works of the flesh.”
for the service of other gods.
For it was the LORD, our God,
who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt,
out of a state of slavery.”
The Sunday psalm declares:
The LORD has eyes for the just,The second reading, Ephesians 5:21–32, affirms traditional Catholic doctrine on marriage, with a strong emphasis on its heterosexual essence as a reflection of the relationship of Christ and the Church, with the Church being subordinate to Christ, who calls her to be “holy and without blemish.”
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
The Gospel, from John chapter 6, begins right after the Lord Jesus has finished His discourse about the Eucharist as the true flesh and blood of the Son of Man: “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” This saying is indeed hard — like the sayings of Jesus about divorce, about celibacy, about welcoming the little children, and about the need for chastity and purity if we would enter the kingdom of heaven. In words that uncannily parallel those of the Epistle in the usus antiquior, Jesus says:
It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe, and the one who would betray him — the lay people, religious, deacons and priests, and bishops, and the Judas in each generation, in whom the features of the Antichrist yet to appear are glimpsed as in a dark mirror.
But there are some of you who do not believe.
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
May the striking liturgical providence of God, displayed on this Sunday of infamy, August 26, 2018, be an aid for us, a confirmation, a consolation, and a challenge, as we strive to reject Satan and his pomps and the works of the flesh, and cleave ever more to Christ the Head of the Church, the gardener who makes the fruit of the spirit grow within and around us.
|Original Sin, the first chapel of the Sacro Monte di Varallo.|
|Ecce Homo in the thirty-third chapel.|
Each group of mysteries is preceded by a gate; that of the Joyful Mysteries is dedicated to the Virgin Mary Herself. Under the statue is an inscription with the words of Ecclesiasticus 24, 26, which the liturgy often reads as if they were spoken by Her, “Come over to me, all ye that desire me.”
|Also very bad lighting inside, so I took this image from Wikipedia. (Photo by Mattana, CC BY-SA 3.0)|
|The Beheading of St John the Baptist, by Caravaggio, 1608; from the Co-cathedral of St John in Valletta, Malta.|
This is also expressed by the Epistle of the Mass, Jeremiah 1, 17-19, which follows from the Epistle of the vigil of his Nativity, verses 4-10 of the same chapter.
“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak to them all that I command thee. Be not afraid at their presence: for I will make thee not to fear their countenance. For behold I have made thee this day a fortified city, and a pillar of iron, and a wall of brass, over all the land, to the kings of Juda, to the princes thereof, and to the priests, and to the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee, and shall not prevail: for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.”
The Roman Rite traditionally makes very little use of the Gospel of St Mark, notwithstanding the evangelist’s traditional association with the first bishop of Rome. There are three very prominent exceptions: Easter and the Ascension among the feasts of the Lord, and today’s feast among those of the Saints, on which the Gospel is Mark 6, 17-29. The same Gospel is read in the Ambrosian Rite, and also in the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, with one additional verse at the end.
In the Roman version of the Divine Office, the majority of the musical propers (antiphons, responsories, hymns) are taken from the common Office of a single Martyr, but there are a number of propers as well, which follow the text of this Gospel fairly closely. At Second Vespers, the antiphon for the Magnificat is slightly more rhetorical than the Gospel itself. “The unbelieving King sent his loathsome messengers, and commanded that John the Baptist’s head should be cut off.”
|A page of the Antiphonary of Hartker, written at the monastery of St Gallen in Switzerland at the end of the 10th century. (Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 391, p. 107 – Antiphonarium officii https://www.e-codices.ch/en/list/one/csg/0391)|
Aña Joannes schola virtutum, magisterium vitae, sanctitatis forma, norma justitiae, virginitatis speculum, pudicitiae titulus, castitatis exemplum, poenitentium via, peccatorum venia, fidei disciplina; Joannes major homine, par Angelis, legis summa Evangelii satio, Apostolorum vox, silentium Prophetarum, lucerna mundi, Praecursor Judicis, Christi metator, Domini testis, totius medius Trinitatis: hic tantus datur incestui, traditur adulterae, addicitur saltatrici.
Aña John, the school of virtues, the master of life, the form of holiness, the norm of justice, the mirror of virginity, the glory of modesty, the model of chastity, the way of penitents, the forgiveness of sinners, the discipline of the Faith; John greater than man, equal to the Angels, the greatest plant of the law of the Gospel, the voice of the Apostles, the silence of the Prophets, the light of the world, the Forerunner of the Judge, that showeth Christ, the witness of the Lord, that standeth amid the whole Trinity; this man so great is handed over to the unchaste, he is delivered to the adulteress, he is consigned to the dancer.
An ancient responsory for Matins places in the mouth of St John as he dies in prison the words later later spoken by his cousin on the Cross; note how the doxology is cleverly incorporated into the repetition. It appears in the Dominican Office with a slight variation.
R. In medio carceris stabat beatus Joannes; voce magna clamavit et dixit: * Domine Deus meus, * in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum. V. Misit rex, et decollari jussit Joannem in carcere, orantem et dicentem. Domine Deus meus. Gloria Patri. In manus…
R. In the midst of the prison stood the blessed John; with a great voice he cried out and said, * “O Lord, my God, * into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” V. The king sent, and ordered John to be beheaded in the prison, as he prayed and said, “O Lord my God. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”
There is also an antiphon used by the Cistercians and Dominicans among others, whose text is actually that of a Collect attested in the Gelasian Sacramentary; a surprising number of collects were set to music in this fashion in the Middle Ages.
Aña Perpetuis nos, Domine, sancti Ioannis Baptistae tuere praesidiis; et quanto fragiliores sumus, tanto magis necessariis attolle suffragiis.
Aña Defend us, o Lord, by the perpetual protection of St John the Baptist; and the more fragile we are, the more do Thou sustain us by such prayers as we need.
|A Greek icon of the Beheading of St John from the second half of the 18th century.|
Today, the mother of the murder, skilled in the works of impiety, contrives with murderous counsel to send her own wanton daughter, born from a lawless embrace, against the greatest of the prophets chosen by God. For as the most hateful Herod completes the banquet of his unlawful birthday, he contrives with an oath to be asked for the honorable head of God’s herald, whence pour forth wonders. And this he accomplished, the senseless man, giving it as a reward for a vulgar dance, for the sake of his oath. Nonetheless, the prophet of Christ’s coming did not cease to denounce their union that was hated of God, even after his death; but he cried out in rebuke, saying “It is not licit for you to commit adultery with the wife of your brother Philip.” Oh, this birthday that slayeth the prophet, this banquet full of blood! But let us, in accordance with piety, in the beheading of the Forerunner, keep the festival, brightly clad, and rejoicing as if on an auspicious day, and ask him to propitiate the Trinity for us, to deliver us from every danger and calamity, and save our souls.
(In Greek, the words “skilled in the works of impiety” are a single word, “ἀνοσιουργότροπος” (anosiurgotropos), which in Old Church Slavonic becomes the jaw-cracking eleven-syllable “непреподобнодѣлоѻбразнаѧ” (neprepodobnodjeloobraznaja). )
The second oldest lectionary, from Murbach in eastern France, dates to about 100 years later, and represents the Roman Rite as used in France after Charlemagne had introduced it to replace the older Gallican Rite. It is much better organized and more complete than the Wurzburg manuscript, with 25 Sundays “after Pentecost.” This system has remained in use in the Roman Rite ever since, adjusted for the variable date of Easter, which can leave as few as 23 and as many as 28 such Sundays. The later medieval variant of counting Sundays after Trinity is no more than a variation on this theme.
|A page of Ambrosian Misaal printed in 1522; the Ingressa (Introit) of the First Sunday after the Beheading of St John the Baptist is at the bottom of the lower right hand column.|
In the ancient use of the Roman Rite, the Saints whose feast days mark the divisions of this period are three patrons of the city of Rome itself, and one of the most prominent martyrs of the era before the Peace of the Church. The question therefore arises as to why the Ambrosian liturgy marks the second division with a feast which is certainly very ancient, but by no means the most prominent within the same period, where the Assumption might be seen as a more logical choice. This was answered by Prof. Cesare Alzati in his talk given last year at the Sacra Liturgia conference held in Milan.
On the Egyptian calendar, the New Year begins on the first day of the month of Tout, which corresponds to the Roman date of August 29th.  The Roman Emperor Diocletian began his reign on November 20th, 284, but the Egyptians backdated his regnal year to the start of their New Year, and the “Era of Diocletian” was thus counted from August 29th, 284. Since it was he who initiated the last, greatest and most systematic ancient persecution of the Church, the “Era of Diocletian” soon came to be known as the “Era of the Martyrs”; this term is still used to this very day by the Coptic Church, whose calendar begins in 284, making their current ecclesiastical year 1734.
|A famous icon showing Christ with St Menas, one of the most revered of the early Egyptian Martyrs; his feast was even adopted at Rome, and he is still kept as a commemoration on the feast of St Martin in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. (Public domainimage from Wikipedia.) This icon, which is now in the Louvre, is one of the oldest in existence, dated to the 6th or 7th century.|
After the Council of Nicea adopted the method of dating Easter followed by the churches of Rome and Alexandria, it became the latter’s responsibility to calculate the date of Easter, and communicate it to the other churches. St Ambrose speaks about this in one of his epistles. “In the eighty-ninth year from the reign of Diocletian, when the 14th day of the moon was on March 24th, we celebrated Easter on March 31st. The Alexandrians and Egyptians likewise, as they themselves wrote, when the 14th day of the moon fell on the 28th day of the month of Phamenoth), celebrated Easter on the fifth day of the month of Pharmuth, which is March 31st, and so they agreed with us.” (Ep. 13, alias 23, 14, PL XVI 1031A)
The church of Constantinople has perhaps preserved a memory of the same tradition, since the ecclesiastical New Year of the Byzantine Rite begins with the first day of the first Roman month after August 29th. The years, however, are counted from the creation of the world, and the year about to begin is reckoned as 7527.
 Since the Copts have not reformed their calendar according to the principle of the Gregorian calendar, Tout 1/August 29 currently falls on Gregorian September 11th.
Part of this article comes from notes written by Nicola de’ Grandi.
We never let August 30th pass without remembering the Blessed Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, who went to his eternal reward on this day in 1954, after serving as Archbishop of Milan for just over a quarter of a century. We have written about him many times on NLM, partly in connection with our interest in the Ambrosian liturgy, of which he was a great promoter, but also as one of the most important scholars of the original Liturgical Movement. I am reprinting this meditation on the value of praying the Office, hoping that our readers will find them an encouragement particularly in their prayers for the Church during these dark days.
For those who know Italian, the passage is well worth reading in the original, as he was a man very skilled in the rich rhetorical language of his era.
“Chiudo gli occhi, e mentre le labbra mormorano le parole del breviario che conosco a memoria, io abbandono il loro significato letterale, per sentirmi nella landa sterminata per dove passa la Chiesa pellegrina e militante, in cammino verso la patria promessa. Respiro con la Chiesa nella stessa sua luce, di giorno, nelle sue stesse tenebre, di notte; scorgo da ogni parte le schiere del male che l'insidiano o l'assaltano; mi trovo in mezzo alle sue battaglie e alle sue vittorie, alle sue preghiere d'angoscia e ai suoi canti trionfali, all'oppressione dei prigionieri, ai gemiti dei moribondi, alle esultanze degli eserciti e dei capitani vittoriosi. Mi trovo in mezzo: ma non come spettatore passivo, bensì come attore la cui vigilanza, destrezza, forza e coraggio possono avere un peso decisivo sulle sorti della lotta tra il bene e il male e sui destini eterni dei singoli e della moltitudine.”
Each group of mysteries begins with a gate; the last one is dedicated to the Patron Saint of Milan, St Ambrose.
The Mass was that of the Martyr St Genesius, an actor who, in the presence of the Emperor Diocletian was performing a mockery of the Christian faith when he was suddenly inspired to embrace it. - The default position, so to speak, of the servers in an Ambrosian sung Mass is standing before the altar. The Preface conclusion “per quem majestatem” names all nine choirs of the Angels, and the melody is of course quite different. The Canon of the Mass is similar to the Roman Canon; the differences are outlined in these articles on the Communicantes, the Nobis Quoque, and the rest of the Canon. There is no lavabo during the Offertory; instead, the priest washes his hands right before Qui pridie. The coverless thurible is swung in a series of circles, as seen during the Elevation. As in most medieval Uses of the Roman Rite, the priest stretches his hands out in the form of a Cross immediately after the Consecration.
The fraction and commingling are done immediately after the Canon, accompanied by an antiphon called a Confractorium. On the feast of St Genesius, it is taken from an Old Latin version of Psalm 118: “In salutari tuo anima mea, et in verbum tuum speravi. Quando facies de persequentibus me judicium? Iniqui persecuti sunt me, adjuva me, Domine, Deus meus. - In thy salvation is my life, and in thy word I have hoped. When wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me? The wicked have persecuted me; do thou help me, o Lord, my God.” Oremus is said silently before Praeceptis salutaribus moniti; at sanctificetur nomen tuum, all bow the head to the Cross. The embolism is sung outloud, and includes the name of St Ambrose; the conclusion is slightly different: “Praesta per eum, cum quo beatus vivis et regnas etc. - Grant this through Him with whom Thou blessed livest and reignest etc.” The formula for the peace is “Pax et communicatio Domini nostri Jesu Christ sit semper vobiscum. R. Et cum spirito tuo. - May the peace and fellowship of our Lord Jesus Christ be always with you.”; all make the sign of the Cross. The priest then says “Offerte vobis pacem. - Offer the peace to each other.”, to which the choir answers “Deo gratias.”; as in the Roman Rite, the peace is only given at solemn Mass.
At the conclusion of the Mass, the Schola sang this Magnificat by Orazio Colombano (1554-95), a Capuchin friar who was choir master first at the church of St Francis in Milan, and then become the choir master of Vercelli cathedral, which we also visited during the pilgrimage. I took this very amateur video and the pictures below it from the upper gallery where the choir was singing, which runs around the whole church.
The building is divided unevenly into two parts, the smaller being the public church, where the Mass was held, and the larger the nuns’ choir, which is on the other side of the wall from the altar. Most of the walls in both parts are frescoed, the work being done between 1509 and the end of the 1570s, and very well preserved. The religious community was expelled during the suppressions of the Napoleonic era, and has never been reestablished, but the church, although little used, is still consecrated.
October 6, 2018
November 17, 2018
December 1, 2018
February 2, 2019
The Mass will normally be that of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with Propers and Ordinary from the Dominican Gradual. The servers and schola will be composed of student brothers of the Western Dominican Province. I will post the celebrants for these Masses as they are determined.
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.
The musical language follows suit, with “lounge chords,” syncopations, meandering melodies, and awkward leaps replacing the more orderly rhythms, dignified melodies, and stylized harmonic progressions of classic hymnody, or better yet, the peaceful and flowing lines of Gregorian chant, illuminating ancient texts in angelic arcs.
A musical repertoire that is people-oriented rather than God-oriented, turning us towards each other rather than to the Blessed Trinity and the mysteries of salvation, inculcates the false impression that worship is something we do from and for ourselves, a communal self-help ritual that vaguely gestures towards the divine but in a way that validates our own assumptions. (It was, after all, in a similar though artistically superior way that Protestants in the sixteenth century used music to express, transmit, and validate their doctrines and supplant Catholic dogma. It remains a scandal that the best music often to be met with in Catholic churches today are the Protestant hymns of the last several centuries, rather than our own distinctively Catholic musical repertoire in monophony and polyphony.)
In expressing themes of togetherness, equality, and non-judging attitudes, the message of popular liturgical songs is too easily assimilated to or confused with secular ideas of equality between all humans and especially between men and women (on every level), barring the way to making necessary judgments about states of objective human disorder or discordance from natural law and divine law. One might put it this way: if contemporary church music tells me that Mass is all about forming a warm, affective community of people who are “there for each other,” and I buy into that message, then of course I can’t deny someone the “symbol” of belonging in that community: the full participation in the communion rite. I’d risk hurting that affective community by making a person feel offended and excluded.
This is exactly the mentality we are up against in a world run by Amorites.  It will eventually undermine every aspect of Catholicism if it is not vigorously combated, because it is an acid that breaks down intellectual assent to propositional truths and spiritual commitment to inflexible principles, that is, revealed religion as such.
Put simply, if the great Catholic liturgy and its centuries-old music can be changed overnight, written off as irrelevant and virtually abandoned at the whim of the Church’s shepherds, why cannot women become deacons, or some types of contraception be approved, or remarried divorcees be admitted to communion? While such reasoning would be terribly simplistic, it cannot be denied that there are powerful forces at work in the Catholic Church that suggest and support this very inference, and pastors have done far too little to counteract those forces.
These difficulties concerning music surface also in matters of architecture, furniture, sacred vessels, and liturgical vestments — indeed, any area in which the categories of fittingness and beauty must be dominant concerns. There is an intimate relationship between beauty and evangelization, as Bishop James Conley explains:
We speak of beauty as something “transcendent.” Every instance of real beauty points beyond itself, toward the infinite perfection of God. … We can think of beauty as a kind of language, through which God speaks to our hearts and souls. ... The first point — and the most essential — is that we must present the truths of faith in a beautiful way. Our liturgical worship, in particular, must reflect God’s own beauty and holiness. Worship, after all, is the basis of Christian culture. The beauty of the sacred liturgy is meant to radiate outward into the world. Liturgical beauty shapes the common life of believers, and it can also help to attract those who are outside the Church. A leading liturgical scholar, Monsignor Nicola Bux, has said that: “a mystical liturgy celebrated with dignity can be a great help for people searching to find God.” ... Monsignor Bux is right. To renew Catholic culture, and evangelize our contemporaries, we must restore beauty to the sacred liturgy. If we cannot restore beauty and holiness to our sanctuaries, we will not be able to restore it anywhere else. The recovery of the beautiful in worship — the specifically and unmistakably sacral beautiful, one might say — is an urgent priority for the Church in an era of obsessive utilitarianism, “scientific” material reductionism, technological excess, and saturation with banality and superficial messages. The works of the fine arts of the Catholic tradition have a spiritual power, deriving from their inherent qualities and consecrated status, that is capable of awakening modern man to an awareness of an entirely different realm of being and manner of action.  In particular, liturgy beauty plays a part in ordering the communion of persons in marriage to God, its source, strength, and shield, restraining the downward tendency of fallen human beings to turn in on themselves and their own fleshly desires, and making it easier to keep one’s mind on the things of the spirit and to live according to the desires of the spirit (cf. Rom 8:5; Gal 5:16–17).
If the lyrics and style of church music do not continually elevate the soul to God in such a way that a habit of meditation and even rudimentary contemplation can be formed, it is not clear that they will not have the contrary effect in the long term, producing habits of distraction or emotional self-absorption. This will not assist the individual in his pursuit of holiness, nor will it assist married couples in their striving for a shared life of prayer, purity, and fidelity. 
As Bishop Conley’s observations imply, the paucity of vibrantly and transcendently beautiful works of art in Christian worship is a tragedy of the first order, since it blunts the keen edge of man’s longing for the transcendent God and His supernal beauty — a longing that draws man out of himself towards his divine exemplar and relativizes earthly desires by placing them in a greater context. 
 See, inter alia, William Mahrt, The Musical Shape of the Liturgy (Richmond, VA: Church Music Association of America, 2012); Joseph P. Swain, Sacred Treasure: Understanding Catholic Liturgical Music (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012); Edward Schaefer, Catholic Music Through the Ages: Balancing the Needs of a Worshipping Church (Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2008); Thomas Day, Why Catholics Can’t Sing: Revised and Updated with New Grand Conclusions and Good Advice (New York: Crossroad, 2013); Jeffrey Tucker, Sing Like a Catholic (Richmond, VA: Church Music Association of America, 2009).
 Lucy E. Carroll, among others, has exposed these aspects of modern Catholic lyrics: “Singing for the Supper or the Sacrifice?,” Adoremus Bulletin 8.8 (November 2002); idem, “A Choir Director’s Lament on Lyrics for Liturgy,” Adoremus Bulletin 12.3 (May 2006). See also Anthony Esolen, “Pop Goes the Mass: The Curse of Bad Liturgical Music.”
 That is, proponents of the pastoral accommodationism of Amoris Laetitia as codified in the Buenos Aires documents.
 Bishop James D. Conley, “Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Role of Beauty in the Restoration of Catholic Culture,” Crisis, October 10, 2013.
 For a thoughtful reflection along these lines, see the concluding document of the 2006 Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture: The «Via Pulchritudinis», Privileged Pathway for Evangelization and Dialogue.
 For more discussion of the dangers of emotionalism in church music, see "Sacred Music vs. 'Praise and Worship': Does It Matter?"
 Here is the bare-bones argument: Those things that communicate or constrain Catholic beauty have an effect for good or for ill on the spiritual life of married couples; we have lost the things that communicate Catholic beauty and added things that constrain it; therefore, there has been an ill effect on the spiritual life of married couples. The liturgical reform is a contributing cause to the breakdown of marriage and family in the last half-century; it must therefore be resisted and supplanted as part of the strategy of renewal.
 It is part of God’s providential plan that we be steeped in the beautiful in divine worship so that our ability to recognize and resonate with the beautiful in nature and in human persons can be awakened and energized. The spread of body-piercing, prolific tattoos, and other forms of mutilation and defacement seem to show that, as a culture, we are blind to the simple beauty of the human body and deaf to the primacy of spiritual realities. How can this not affect the most natural of all relationships, that of man and woman, in which the body and the spirit are uniquely interwoven? One is reminded of the words of Gaudium et Spes, in one of its less woolly moments: Creatura enim sine Creatore evanescit. ... per oblivionem Dei ipsa creatura obscuratur — “for without the Creator, the creature disappears ... when God is forgotten, the creature itself is darkened” (n. 36).
On Saturday, September 22, at 2:00 pm, I will give a lecture at the Albuquerque Hyatt on “Tradition as Ultimate Norm: Clearing up Confusion about Essentials and Incidentals.” That morning at 10:00 am, a High Mass for Ember Saturday will be celebrated at Church of the Incarnation in Rio Rancho.
On Sunday, September 23, at 12:00 pm, I will give a lecture in Santa Fe on “The Roman Canon: Touchstone and Transmitter of the Catholic Faith,” at the home of Ms. Mary Turner. That afternoon at 2:00 pm, a High Mass for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost will be offered at San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe.
Full details may be found in the UVNM poster below. Events are open to all. Please help spread the word among Catholics in this part of the country. Questions may be directed to Ryan Wityak at email@example.com.
Here is a detail of his Twelve Apostles at Clear Creek Abbey.