Articles on this Page
- 09/04/18--13:00: _All-Night Vigil wit...
- 09/04/18--15:19: _The Artists Are Sti...
- 09/05/18--04:14: _Announcing Several ...
- 09/05/18--10:59: _Hophni and Phineas
- 09/06/18--01:13: _EF Mass for the Exa...
- 09/06/18--06:27: _EF Solemn Mass for ...
- 09/06/18--09:00: _Leaves of a 13th-Ce...
- 09/06/18--14:10: _Photos of the Marie...
- 09/07/18--05:00: _Catholic Children’s...
- 09/07/18--09:20: _EF Mass for the Exa...
- 09/07/18--21:48: _The Vigil of the Na...
- 09/08/18--09:08: _The Nativity of the...
- 09/09/18--09:44: _Forty Hours for Rep...
- 09/10/18--07:01: _For Whom and For Wh...
- 09/11/18--05:55: _Scholarship on the ...
- 09/11/18--07:05: _The Rothko “Chapel”...
- 09/11/18--13:42: _All Night Vigil in ...
- 09/12/18--04:22: _“The Imperative of ...
- 09/12/18--04:37: _Photopost Request: ...
- 09/12/18--10:59: _New Collection of E...
- 09/04/18--15:19: The Artists Are Still Working in the Sacristy
- 09/05/18--04:14: Announcing Several Excellent New Books and Reprints
- 09/05/18--10:59: Hophni and Phineas
- 09/06/18--06:27: EF Solemn Mass for the Nativity of the Virgin in Tyler, Texas
- 09/06/18--09:00: Leaves of a 13th-Century Psalter
- 09/06/18--14:10: Photos of the Marie Reine du Canada Pilgrimage
- 09/07/18--05:00: Catholic Children’s Choirs 2018
- 09/07/18--09:20: EF Mass for the Exaltation of the Cross in Marin County, California
- 09/07/18--21:48: The Vigil of the Nativity of the Virgin
- 09/08/18--09:08: The Nativity of the Virgin Mary 2018
- 09/09/18--09:44: Forty Hours for Reparation in Englewood, Colorado, Sept. 13-15
- 09/11/18--05:55: Scholarship on the Origins of the Stabat Mater
- 09/11/18--13:42: All Night Vigil in Cincinnati, Sept. 14-15
- 09/12/18--04:37: Photopost Request: Exaltation of the Cross 2018
- 09/12/18--10:59: New Collection of English Motets Adapted from Renaissance Masters
As noted in the schedule below, Mass for the Exaltation of the Cross on Sept. 14, will be sung at 7:30 pm, that of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary on Sept. 14 at 5:00 am. The church is located at 448 E. 116th St.
6:15 pm - Recitation of the Holy Rosary & Divine Mercy Chaplet
6:45 pm - Stations of the Cross and Confessions
7:30 pm - Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form
8:30 pm - Chanting of the Te Deum
9:15 pm - Talk on the Virgin Mary by Ricardo Saludo from the Archdiocese of Manila
After the talk, there will be Exposition, moments of silent adoration and vocal prayers
Midnight - Angelus and the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
12:45 am - First Break, silent Adoration
1:30 am- Prayers to the Holy Black Nazarene and Our Lady of Caysaysay, followed by the Recitation of the Holy Rosary
2:00 am - Silent Adoration
3:00 am - Divine Mercy Chaplet
3:15 am - Second break, silent Adoration
4:30 am - Procession with and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament
5:00 am - Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. Trans. Patrick Lynch. Ed. James Canon Bastible. Revised and updated by Robert Fastiggi. N.p.: Baronius Press, 2018. Hardcover, with gold ribbon, 568 + xxii pp. $59.95.
I shall begin with what is certainly one of the most impressive books to appear in a long time, and something that should be on everyone's shelf: a beautifully printed new edition of the classic Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott, published by Baronius Press with the same exceptional quality that we have come to expect from all of their books.
Many will already be familiar with this brilliant summary of dogmatic theology, first published in 1952. It has a special place in my heart because it was the first book of serious theology ever placed into my hands in high school, at a time when I was awakening to my Catholic faith for the first time, and looking for meaty explanations, which I had never heard or seen in 16+ years of mainstream Catholicism. A teacher put me on to Ott, and I was riveted to it. I even prepared handouts from it for my youth group, not realizing that the text and the audience did not quite match up. But enough of reminiscing. The point is that Ott is the best comprehensive guide to Catholic dogma ever produced, laying out the Scriptural, patristic, liturgical, and magisterial sources of each Catholic doctrine, and indicating the level of authority attaching to it. This latter feature is particularly helpful, in that one can quickly see whether a teaching is de fide or is held with a greater or less certitude by the Church.
An indication of the usefulness, completeness, and reliability of Ott is the fact that the monastery of Le Barroux (and perhaps others, too, unbeknownst to me) has all of its monks studying for the priesthood read Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma in its entirety, chapter by chapter, as they proceed through their program of formation. Really, any Catholic who wants to know the actual content of the Catholic Faith, as well as which doctrines are matters of opinion or dispute (and to what degree), should consult Ott on a regular basis.
The original English translation of Ott by Dr Patrick Lynch, while it helped countless readers, was afflicted with numerous errors of translation. There has been an "errata sheet" floating around for a long time. The Baronius edition has been compared page for page to the definitive German edition (Bonn: nova & vetera, 2010) and corrected in hundreds of details by Dr Robert Fastiggi. The formatting is cleaner and easier to follow, and of course, being newly typeset and printed in hardcover with a sewn binding, is much nicer on the eyes and much more durable than the old TAN glued paperbacks that would split if you just looked at them too intently.
This edition features an eloquent little foreword by Bishop Athanasius Schneider and a preface by Dr Fastiggi giving examples of how the translation has been improved.
I simply cannot recommend this book and this new edition of it highly enough. If you do not have Ott, wait not a moment longer. If you already have an old Ott, replace it with the new Ott, which is handsomer and better translated. To order, visit its Baronius Press page.
Yet this third volume is no less worthy than its predecessors of our careful attention. The book includes, needless to say, the definitive edition of Cardinal Sarah's plenary lecture in which he made his now-controversial recommendation that priests should begin celebrating the Ordinary Form ad orientem in Advent. This was not the first time the Cardinal had made this proposal, but it was the first time that he attracted the notice of hostile powers in high places. But the other papers in the volume, less notorious, are more intriguing: for example, Dom Charbel Pazat de Lys on "The Public Nature of Catholic Liturgy"; Stephen Bullivant on how confusion about the evangelistic needs of modern man not only dictated the liturgical reform but now require its reversal; Fr Uwe Michael Lang's precise and detailed account of the Tridentine liturgical reform, which nicely complements the study of the same subject by Anthony Chadwick in the T&T Clark Companion to Liturgy; and Alcuin Reid's fascinating account of the conciliar debate over what became article 50 of Sacrosanctum Concilium, namely, the demand that the Order of Mass be revised.
In short, if you have benefited from the earlier volumes, you will undoubtedly benefit from this one as well. The series, which I hope will soon be joined by a fourth containing the proceedings from Sacra Liturgia in Milan, truly sets a benchmark for current liturgical studies, which are submitting decades of ruling assumptions to penetrating critique and contributing to the recovery of lost elements of Catholic tradition.
The Whole Christ. The Historical Development of the Doctrine of the Mystical Body in Scripture and Tradition. Trans. John R. Kelly. First published 1938. N.p.: Ex Fontibus Company, 2018. Paperback, xvi + 623 pp. $21.77.
Emile Mersch was once among the most appreciated theologians, especially in regard to ecclesiology. Then the Second Vatican Council hit, and someone who is customarily depicted with cloven hoofs and a pointed tail pressed the "delete" button. Today, vast swaths of magnificent preconciliar theological work is totally forgotten. It would be more accurate to speak of "the Chernobyl" than of "the Council."
Happily, this is beginning to change as some of the old classics are rediscovered and reprinted. Ex Fontibus has played a vital role in this process, as one can see from consulting their now-extensive catalogue. The latest addition is Mersch's extraordinarily rich and illuminating study of the concept and reality of the Church as Mystical Body of Christ, as it was prefigured in the Old Testament, clearly shown forth in the New Testament (he has many chapters on St. Paul and St. John), powerfully proclaimed by the Greek Fathers (chapters on St Ignatius of Antioch, St Irenaeus, St Athanasius, St Hilary of Poitiers, St Gregory Nazianzen and St Gregory of Nyssa, St John Chrysostom, and St Cyril of Alexandria), and fully articulated in the Western tradition (chapters on Tertullian, St Cyprian, St Augustine, the early Middle Ages, the Scholastics, and the French school).
When I taught ecclesiology at the International Theological Institute, I always assigned the chapters on St Cyril of Alexandria and St Augustine out of this book, as there is no better synthesis of their theology of the Church. In general, I would place it in the top ten books on ecclesiology for any serious reader's shelf. The quality of the reprint is fine.
The last two books featured today are reprinted under my own reprint service, Os Justi Press. I do not yet have a website, but posts about other titles may be found here, here, here, and here.
The Breviary Explained. Trans. William Nayden and Carl Hoegerl. First published in 1952 by Herder in St. Louis. Reprinted by Os Justi Press, 2018. Paperback, viii + 459 pp. $19.95.
Does Pius Parsch require any introduction? Although one can see occasional touches of pastoralism and antiquarianism in his work, Parsch was in fact one of the finest writers of the original Liturgical Movement and his commentaries on the Mass and the Divine Office always make for worthwhile reading. His insights are copious and his style sparkles with his strong love of the Church's daily round of public worship.
This book is a particular masterpiece, and it surprises me greatly that it has been out of print for so long. The contents spell out the scope of the work: Fundamental Notions (e.g., Why pray the breviary?); The Constituent Parts (psalms, lessons, orations, verse and versicle, antiphons, responsory, hymns); The Spirit of the Breviary (structure, cursus, seasonal variations). It is, in fact, a compendious introduction to the Roman Breviary in Pius X's revision, and will immensely enhance the understanding and devotion of anyone, cleric or layman, who uses this edition of the breviary, which would be the vast majority of members of the traditionalist movement.
Anthology of Catholic Poets: 200 Years of Catholic Poetry in English. Compiled by Joyce Kilmer. First published in 1917; last edition 1939. Reprinted by Os Justi Press, 2018. Paperback, xxx + 389 pp. $19.95.
It has always been my intention to bring this fine anthology by Joyce Kilmer back into print, alongside a similar sort of volume (also from 1939) by Thomas Walsh, The Catholic Anthology: The World's Great Catholic Poetry. The difference is simply that Walsh's much larger book contains translations from all major languages and spans many more centuries, while Kilmer's focuses on English poets only, from the start of the 18th century onwards. As one would expect, it includes selections from such literary lights as Belloc, Benson, Faber, Hopkins, Lionel Johnson, Maynard, Meynell, Newman, Patmore, Thompson, and Wilde.
|Hophni and Phineas, represented in the Psalter of William de Brailes, ca. 1250. (Public domain image from Wikipedia.)|
In the Old Testament book of I Samuel, chapter 12, the faithful priest Eli has two sons, Hophni and Phineas. As the narrative goes, Hophni and Phineas meddled with the temple sacrifices, taking the finest sacrificial meat to eat before it had been rightfully offered to God. Shortly after meddling with the sacred sacrifices, Hophni and Phineas were found guilty of sexually abusing the servers in the temple. The two-fold sacrilege was so upsetting, that God placed a curse on the entire family, including Eli himself. God then raised up lowly Samuel, the miraculous and unlikely son of Hannah, to restore proper order to the temple. In the Breviary of St Pius V, this story is read on the day before and the day after one of the greatest solemnities of the liturgical year, Corpus Christi: another example, perhaps, of the “liturgical providence of God”, that the Church’s joyful celebration of the gift of the Blessed Sacrament should be accompanied with such a stern warning to those who administer It unworthily and sacrilegiously.
In our own time, reverent celebration of the liturgy isn’t some mere preference, a side show isolated from other aspects of Catholic practice. It is rather at the very core of authentic faith. Indeed, how can the Eucharist be our “source and summit,” if we meddle with it? May God’s retribution be swift, and may the Samuels of our time hear their call in the night.
It is quite possible that some of the information below is out of date: if so, please help by making amendments in the comments. Likewise, if you are the Director of a Catholic children’s choir which is not listed, please email the details in the format shown below to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will update the post.
UNITED STATES (State alphabetical)
Cathedral of St Paul: a Schola for boys and girls learning Chant and other Sacred Music. Director of Music, Mr. Bruce Ludwick, Jr.: Ludwick@stpaulsbhm.orgWebsite
St. Clare of Assisi: a children’s choir for students in grades 3-8, forming on the west side of the Diocese of Phoenix Arizona. The choir will specialize in Gregorian chant and sacred music. Contact is Director of Music Matthew J. Meloche: email@example.com
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
Corpus Christi: The St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum offers a music education and choral experience which includes instruction in sight singing, theory, Catholic catechesis and Gregorian chant. The St. Cecilia Choir (7+ years) and the Mary’s Angels Choir (under age 7) rehearse on Friday afternoons. Open to non-parish members. Contact the director, Valerie Nicolosi, at firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite
HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO
Pax Christi Church: Chorister program in European Cathedral tradition. Director Raymond Ortiz: email@example.comWebsite
St Mary’s: Director of Music David Hughes, a key CMAA figure and leading Catholic musician, has a huge music programme involving a number of choirs with excellent opportunities for children. Contact David Hughes: firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite
St John Cantius: multiple choirs. Contact Director of Music Fr Scott Haynes: email@example.com Website
Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church: Schola Cantorum founded three years ago as an “after school choir school.” 25 choristers and 8 probationers (lower parts are choral scholars from the local university) directed by Lucas Tappan. The Schola sings every other week for the sacred liturgy as well as for concerts and tours. This year the students will be recording their first CD. Contact Lucas Tappan: firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite
ELLICOTT CITY, MD
Regina Caeli Schola Cantorum: a Gregorian Chant class for children grade 3-8. Rehearsals on Mondays. Contact the Director Mia Coyne: email@example.comWebsite
St Jane Frances de Chantal: Parish Children’s Choir for children grade 3-8, rehearses on Wednesday evenings and sings for Sunday 10am Mass. Gregorian Chant and Hymns. Director Mia Coyne: firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite
St Paul’s, Harvard Square: home to the renowned St Paul’s Choir School, one of two Catholic Choir Schools in the USA. Musical boys in 3rd grade should apply for entry at 4th grade. Contact John Robinson, Director of Music: 617-868-8658, email@example.comInformationWebsite
St. Mary’s, Kalamazoo, Michigan has a children’s choir which sings principally at the EF Mass. Propers, Ordinary, and hymns and motets. Chant and some polyphony. Website
St Benedict’s: Children’s Schola for boys and girls grades 2-8, directed by Sandra Eller, to study sight reading skills using solfege, and sing Latin and English chant in modern and Gregorian notation. Rehearses Wednesday evenings, sings for Sunday Mass once a month. Contact Director Sandra Eller: firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite
ST. PAUL, MN
Cathedral of St Paul: The Cathedral Choir School of Minnesota is an after-school program at the Cathedral on Wednesdays for Choristers in grades K-12, beginning with Benediction and concluding with Mass. Contact Jayne Windnagel: email@example.com Website
St Agnes Church: Parish Children’s Choir, Director Jacob Flaherty. Website
LEMAY (ST. LOUIS), MO
St Martin of Tours: a new children’s choir focusing on Chant and polyphony, directed by Mary Pentecost, weekly rehearsals (Thursdays) and singing at a monthly Mass. Auditions for children in Grades 3-12. Contact Mary Pentecost: 314-544-5664 InformationWebsite
Cathedral of St Helena: The St Cecilia Choir for boys and girls aged 7-15 sings once a month at the 11am Mass, with weekly rehearsals on Tuesdays. Website
St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, FSSP: Sacred Music Instruction for boys and girls 7-14: including Ward method activities, Gregorian chant, and beginning polyphony. Rehearsals are Wednesdays from 4-5 pm. Choristers sing for occasional sung Masses at SF Chapel. Those interested in joining please contact Nicholas Lemme, Chant Director at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, FSSP; Choir Director at St. Francis of Assisi Chapel 402-797-7700
St Ann’s Church: Choir auditions Girls aged 11-16. Website
St Patrick’s Cathedral: Children’s Choir. Website
A new youth schola (12+ years old) directed by Dr. Patricia Warren to compliment Schola Vox Clara, a Schola which serves the Extraordinary Form in the Diocese of Raleigh. Weekly rehearsals to sing for one EF Mass per month to start. Mixed voices, and gentlemen with both unchanged and changed voices are welcome. No prior choral experience is necessary. Contact Dr. Patricia Warren,
Director, Schola Vox Clara: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward method classes given by NLM’s Jennifer Donelson are available as part of the Colm Cille Club homeschool co-op curriculum. Classes are on Wednesday mornings at St Catherine’s Church. Website
Padre Pio Academy: Voces Caelestes. Director Annette Spallone Murphy Website
Holy Family: Schola Cantorum sings at a weekly Diocesan Extraordinary Form Mass. Its members are girls and young women ages 14-23, who sing Gregorian Chant and Renaissance polyphony alone, and occasionally with a men’s Schola (in formation). Contact Fr. Stephen Concordia O.S.B. : email@example.comWebsite
MOUNT PLEASANT, SC
Harmonia Children’s Choir Christ Our King Stella Maris School. Directors, Scott and Suzanne Fleming-Atwood: firstname.lastname@example.org@gmail.com
Saint Rita Catholic Church has a graded program for children in grades K-8, with three choirs serving 70 children. Jubilate Deo, grades 5-8, sings once each month for the sung liturgy, Novus Ordo. Additional training in theory and sight singing offered once per week. Dr. Alfred Calabrese, head director: email@example.com
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Schola Cantorum is an initiative of the parish and school, founded in 2016. Includes an after-school choir that sings with professional adults for the principal Mass on Sunday directed by Dr. Douglas O’Neill. In addition, all students of the parish school have obligatory music/choral class, and rotate in service of the school Mass each Friday, as well as sing concerts twice annually. Contact: Douglas O’Neill: firstname.lastname@example.org Website
SAN ANTONIO, TX
The Atonement Academy and Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church. The Saint Augustine Boy Choir is for boys with unchanged voices in grades 3-8. The Saint Nicholas Children’s Choir is for girls in grades 3-8. The choirs focus on Gregorian Chant and many motets and anthems of the Anglican Patrimony. Contact Brett Paterson, Department of Music (210) 695-2240 Website
SALT LAKE CITY, UT
Madeleine Cathedral: The Madeleine Choir School, a superb Cathedral Choir directed by Gregory Glenn with vocal training from Melanie Malinka, both inspirational musicians who are well-known to those who have attended the Colloquium the past two years in Salt Lake. Website
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes: The Diocesan Youth Choir for boys and girls in grades 3-8. In this diocesan choir, children learn music skills including singing technique and sight-reading and sing beautiful sacred music in the context of Mass presided over by the Bishop of Spokane. Contact the Cathedral Music Office at 509-358-4290 or email@example.com
CHARLES TOWN, WV
St James the Greater: a number of children’s choirs - Sacred Heart Choir for Kindergarten - Grade 2, Saint Cecilia Choir for girls grades 3-8, Saint Gregory Choir for boys grades 3-8, Archangelus Chorale for high school students and Holy Trinity Ensemble, and auditioned choir for grades 5-12. Contact Director of Music Gary Penkala: firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite
Basilica of St Josaphat: a new children’s choir is being formed. Contact Christopher Berry Director of Music email@example.comWebsite
The American Federation of Pueri Cantores Website
St John Choir Schola is a Catholic choir and educational program for boys and girls in grades 1-12 based in the community of Varsity. Grades 1-6 attend on Wednesdays and Fridays. Grades 7-12 attend Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Contact the Principal, Paul Hudec : firstname.lastname@example.org Website
St Michael’s Cathedral: St Michael’s Choir School for boys has three choirs which sing at the Cathedral: Elementary Choir (Grades 3 & 4), Junior Choir (Grades 5 & 6), Senior Choir (Grades 7-12). Contact: email@example.comWebsite
Oratory of St Philip Neri: The Oratory Children’s Choir - Children learn chanted ordinaries of the mass, English propers in psalm-tone and 2-pt fauxbourdon and motets from Medieval to 19th Century repertoire. Grade 4-12. Contact Director, Aaron James: firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Thomas More Ordinariate Parish has a children’s choir for ages 7 to 18, meeting for weekly rehearsal on Thursday afternoons. Plainchant to contemporary classical repertoire. Directed by Katharine Mahon: email@example.comWebsite
Autun Cathedral Girls Choir - Choeur de Filles de la Maîtrise de la Cathédrale d’Autun. Liturgy - Concerts - Choir School. Girls aged 6 to 15 years old, trained in Gregorian Chant and Polyphony. Director : Hugo Gutierrez: firstname.lastname@example.org +33980903434 Website
Notre Dame de L’Assomption 1er: Les Petits Chanteurs de Passy for boys and girls aged 8-14. Rehearses Fridays and Saturdays, sings polyphony with adult back row. Contact: email@example.comWebsite
Saint-Eugène - Sainte-Cécile 9e: Les Petits Chantres de Sainte-Cécile, a new choir for children launched at the end of September 2013. Rehearsals on Saturday afternoons. Contact the Director, Clotilde de Nedde: firstname.lastname@example.orgFacebookWebsite
HAARLEM, THE NETHERLANDS
St Bavo Cathedral: The Koorschool is a Choir School for boys and girls from age 8. Contact : email@example.comWebsite
CAMBRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM
Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge: The Choir School of Our Lady and the English Martyrs is a Junior Choir programme that trains young singers to become lifelong musicians. Directed by Adam Begley, the Choir rehearses weekly and sings selected Masses with the Parish Choir and Latin Schola. Open to boys and girls aged 7-17. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite
LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM
Metropolitan Cathedral. Boys’ Choir and Girls’ Choir. Website
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
London Oratory SW7: The London Oratory Junior Choir for boys and girls aged 8-16 directed by Charles Cole. Three rehearsals per week and two services including the Sunday 10am Mass. Gregorian Chant Propers and Ordinary, motets from Medieval/Renaissance through to present day. Also sings for the Royal Ballet’s productions at Covent Garden. Contact: email@example.comInformationWebsite
London Oratory Schola. Boys’ choir which sings the Saturday Vigil Mass at the London Oratory, Concerts, Tours, Recordings. All boys attend The London Oratory SchoolWebsite
Church of Our Lady, Lisson Grove, St John’s Wood, NW8
Junior Choir for boys and girls aged 7-14 directed by Martin Toyer. Rehearsals on Friday 6pm-7pm, service Sunday mass at 12 noon and occasional concerts with churches senior choir. Gregorian chant Ordinary, responsorial psalms, hymns and motets from renaissance through to present day. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org Website
St Francis of Assisi, Pottery Lane. Children’s Choir Website
The Nativity of the Virgin, by Pietro Lorenzetti, 1335-42; originally painted for one the side-altars of the Cathedral of Siena, now in the Cathedral Museum.
In the Ambrosian Rite, however, it is kept with such a vigil, as a feast of particular importance, the titular feast of the cathedral of Milan. On the façade over the central door is a large plaque with the two words “Mariae Nascenti - To Mary as She is born.”
On both the vigil and feast, the Ambrosian Mass reads a lesson which very cleverly links two Biblical passages traditionally associated with the Virgin Mary, the sixth chapter of the Song of Songs, and the twenty-fourth of Ecclesiasticus.
“Thus sayeth Wisdom: Song 6, 8-9 She is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her. The daughters saw her, and declared her most blessed: the queens and concubines, and they praised her. Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array? Sir. 24, 24-28 I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations.”
At the Mass of the vigil, the following Confractorium is sung; this is the antiphon that accompanies the Fraction rite, which is done immediately after the Canon, before the Lord’s Prayer.
Beatus ille venter qui te portavit, Christe, et beata ubera quæ te lactaverunt Dominum, et Salvatorem mundi, qui pro salute generis humani carnem assumere dignatus es. ~ Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, o Christ, and blessed are the breasts that bursed Thee, the Lord and Savior of the world, Who for the salvation of the human race deign to take on the flesh. (In the video below, this is the third piece, beginning at 1:10.)
In the same Mass, the Transitorium (the equivalent of the Roman Communio) was borrowed from the repertoire of processional chants used on the feast of the Purification, the first Marian feast to be accepted by the Ambrosian Rite in the post-Carolingian period. In this video, we hear it sung as part of that procession in the cathedral itself, starting at 1:22.
Magnificamus te, Dei Genitrix; quia ex te natus est Christus salvans omnes, qui te glorificant. Sancta Domina, Dei Genitrix, sanctificationes tuas transmitte nobis. ~ We magnify Thee, Mother of God, because from Thee was born Christ, who saveth all that glory Thee. Holy Lady, Mother of God, impart Thy sanctity to us.
|An icon of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, painted by Adrianoupolitis Konstantinos in the middle of the 18th century, now in the Benaki Museum in Athens. (Public domainimage from Wikipedia.)|
The glory of this Thy forefeast, o Immaculate one, foretells to all peoples the good deeds wrought by Thy favor; for Thou art the source of their present gladness, and the cause of the joy that shall come to us, the delight of divine happiness.
The maiden in whom God dwelt and pure Mother of God, the glory of prophets, the daughter of David, today is born of Joachim and the prudent Anne, and in Her birth, overthrows the curse of Adam that was against us.
Theotokion The multitudes of the Angels in heaven and the race of men upon the earth bless Thy all-venerable Nativity, a all-holy and pure Virgin, since Thou became the Mother of the Creator of all things, Christ our God. Ceasa Thou not, we pray, to supplicate Him for us, who after God, place our hopes in Thee, all-praised and undefiled Mother of God.
At the Divine Liturgy, the Troparion From the root of Jesse and from the loins of David, the godly child Mary is born to us today. Therefore, all creation rejoices and is renewed, together with heaven and earth rejoice. Praise Her, ye families of the nations; Joachim is gladdened, and Anna cries out in celebration: The barren woman gives birth to the Mother of God and the Sustainer of our Life.
The Kontakion Today, the Virgin and Mother of God Mary, the inviolate bridal chamber of the heavenly bridegroom, is born from a barren woman according to the divine plan to be made ready as the chariot of God’s Word; even for this was she predestined, the gateway of God, and truly the Mother of Life.
|The Birth of the Virgin Mary, by Paolo Uccello, ca. 1435; in the cathedral of Prato, Italy.|
I have often been struck by the opening of the Canon:
Te ígitur, clementíssime Pater, per Iesum Christum, Fílium tuum, Dóminum nostrum, súpplices rogámus ac pétimus: uti accépta hábeas, et benedícas hæc + dona, hæc + múnera, hæc sancta + sacrifícia illibáta: in primis quæ tibi offérimus pro Ecclésia tua sancta cathólica; quam pacificáre, custodíre, adunáre, et régere dignéris toto orbe terrárum…
We humbly pray and beseech Thee, most merciful Father, through Jesus Christ Thy Son, Our Lord, to receive and to bless these gifts, these presents, these holy unspotted sacrifices, which we offer up to Thee, in the first place, for Thy holy Catholic Church, that it may please Thee to grant her peace, to guard, unite, and guide her, throughout the world…In these first lines, we find a combination of profound humility and earnest pleading that the Father would receive this most solemn offering of the Church and would make it, by His almighty paternal command, the unspotted sacrifices of Christ. (One notes the plural “sacrifices,” a sign of this prayer’s great antiquity, for the early Christians when referring to the Mass spoke of “the mysteries,” “the sacrifices,” and “the sacraments,” whereas later authors tend to speak of the mystery, the sacrifice, and the sacrament.)
The Canon thus gives a certain priority to the fact that this offering of the Mystical Body is being offered for the Mystical Body, and not in a vague way, but with respect to its hierarchical structure — something lacking in the newly-fashioned anaphoras that hold off on the ecclesial purpose of the offering until after the consecration. Indeed, the pseudoscholarly critics of the Roman Canon in the middle of the twentieth century complained that it began with the Church and her structure, rather than starting with something “more theological” like the Trinity, or “grander” like the plan of salvation, or “historically germane,” like the Last Supper. These criticisms show scant regard for the centrality of the Church as the very Body that is offering and is offered, in union with her Head and Lord, Jesus Christ, who became man in order to pour forth the Church from His wounded side; scant regard for the Church as the locus in which the mystery of the Trinity is revealed and glorified; scant regard for the Church as the underlying principle of continuity in salvation history, as St. Augustine demonstrated in The City of God.
Ah, well, if you like all that scholarly balderdash from the late phase of the Liturgical Movement, you can go snuggle up with the Cartesian clarity and distinctness of Eucharistic Prayers II, III, and IV, which were custom-made for you. But I’d like to get back to the really interesting anaphora, which is intricate, difficult, mysterious, beautiful, and powerful, as archaic works of art tend to be.
The Roman Canon calls the Church “Thy holy Catholic Church.” She is the one and only Bride of the Lord — and yet the priest pleads with the Father to unite her, to guard and guide her, and to grant her peace. One would have thought that such petitions would not be necessary. Is she not already indestructibly one? Is she not perpetually guarded from harm and guided safely by Divine Providence? Could He ever abandon her? These are serious questions to ask at a time like this, when the unity of the Church on earth appears more shattered than ever, when harm to the People of God is widespread and obvious, and when the captaining of Peter’s barque seems scarcely better than that of the Exxon Valdez, with similar catastrophic results impending.
The Canon transmits a sobering doctrine here. It is not to be “taken for granted” that the Church will be well-governed on earth; that she will follow peacefully in the right path; that she will remain safe from the evils of ignorance, error, and sin; even that she will remain in visible unity — as if saying that “the Church is indefectible” means that your soul, your local church, or your regional anything is indefectible. Your soul and mine can be lost forever; your local church and mine can be swallowed up by Moslems, militant atheists, homosexual activists, or crippling civil action; your episcopal conference can fall off the cliff into open heresy. All this is well within the realm of possibility, just as branches can be lopped off of trees without the tree itself dying. The Canon says to us that peace, protection, unity, and wise governance are goods to be impetrated, petitioned and obtained from the Lord in His mercy, and by means of the Cross — not only by the Sacrifice of the Cross objectively represented in the Mass, but also by taking this Cross upon ourselves in our prayer, penance, conversion, and fidelity.
All of these goods are gifts from God, who may, in His wisdom and justice, deprive the Church on earth of the enjoyment of these goods if the faithful or their rulers should be so unfortunate as to be lukewarm in performing the opus Dei, or worldly in their attitudes, or cowardly in their preaching. The Church will always have real existence in this world until the end of time, but she may disappear from my life or yours, in my country or yours, in my national hierarchy or yours. Think of the bishops under Henry VIII who fell like bowling pins before his threats. In a matter of years, the hierarchy had essentially vanished.
As with ancient Christianity in general, so here in this Anaphora, there is an utter absence of presumption. The members of the Church on earth do not presume that they are already the perfect, spotless Bride of Christ; rather, they beg to have those qualities. (The same sort of prayer recurs in the “Domine, Jesu Christe” after the Agnus Dei: “Look not upon my sins, but upon the faith of Thy Church, and vouchsafe to grant her peace and unity according to Thy will.”)
The next thing we learn from the Canon is that the Sacrifice is offered for Catholics who hold the true faith, and that they are its beneficiaries:
…una cum fámulo tuo Papa nostro N., et Antístite nostro N., et ómnibus orthodóxis, atque cathólicæ et apostólicæ fídei cultóribus.
…in union with Thy servant N., our Pope, and N., our Bishop, and with all orthodox men: indeed, with those who cultivate [foster, promote, support] the Catholic and apostolic faith.Continuing the same petition, the priest states that he is offering up the sacrifice for the hierarchs of the Church, and, indeed, for all orthodox Catholics — an implicit prayer that we may always be and remain such.
Noteworthy here is the emphasis on doctrinal orthodoxy, which, for the ancient Christians who first prayed this prayer, was incomparably the first and most important thing you had to know about someone: Does he adhere to the true faith? Not: Is he a nice person, does he pay his bills and volunteer to coach football teams and recycle his garbage, but: Does he profess the universal faith that comes to us from the Apostles? Even the question of charity is secondary to this one, since true charity, the infused theological virtue, requires the infused virtue of faith as a foundation. Otherwise it is mere philanthropy, do-goodism, niceness, or pagan virtue, none of which inherits the kingdom of heaven. You cannot love what you do not know; you cannot love the only God that exists—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — if you do not believe in the Most Holy Trinity.
Hence the Roman Canon refreshingly places emphasis on orthodoxy as the basic condition of Church membership, instead of the diffuse semi-moral quasi-virtues that are substituted for it today. This part of the Canon teaches that the Holy Sacrifice is offered not vaguely for a universal brotherhood of mankind or an ecumenical smorgasbord but for right-believing Catholics who profess the faith handed down to us. It challenges us to take dogmatic truth as seriously as all the saints have taken it, being willing to lay down our very lives rather than dissent from one jot or tittle of the depositum fidei. No sacrifice can be offered for our salvation, and we will not in fact be saved, if we are dissenters, heretics, schismatics, apostates, or infidels.
|An archdeacon reading the diptych at Divine Liturgy|
There is a further implication, one especially pertinent to our times. The Canon is not saying that the pope and the local bishop are orthodox, as if pronouncing these words of the Canon magically meant they could never fall away. Rather, it is praying for them as long as they are orthodox. That is, we offer the sacrifice “for all who are orthodox in belief and who profess the Catholic and apostolic faith.” If there were a bishop or even a pope who was not orthodox in belief and did not profess the Catholic and apostolic faith, this sacrifice would not be offered for him.
This is why, as we know, in the ancient Church it was common practice for bishops to strike off the names of other bishops who, in their judgment, had fallen away from the Faith into heresy. A bishop who had excommunicated another bishop would drop his name off of the diptychs, as if to say: We are not praying for you, and we will not pray for you until you repent and return to orthodoxy. This is the “tough love” practiced by the early Church, the heroic age of the martyrs, the greatest theologians, and the monks of the desert.
I am not sure exactly how bishops today could put into practice this supernatural common sense that regarded public prayer as offered only for the orthodox and not for heretics or schismatics, but it is certainly getting to be the case, more and more, that we can no longer assume that when we pray the Roman Canon, we are actually praying for the man who is occupying the chair of Peter or the man who is occupying the local see. We may dare to hope, but we may not assume.
Of course, until there is an ecclesiastical decision of some sort, such as the judgment of an ecumenical or even an imperfect council, God alone would know whether the Mass is able to be offered for the named figures, or whether they are outside of the Church that prays and is benefited by the prayers. The benefit of the doubt is always to be given to the recognized incumbent, until and unless he has been deposed or replaced.
The reader may be asking himself: What is the spiritual benefit of thinking about these things? The benefit is simply this. We must recognize, with full seriousness and sobriety, that the Church in her public prayer does not presume that she will be at peace, united, under good leadership, and heading in the right direction. She begs for it. And we must imitate her, we must internalize the same attitude. We are repeatedly and earnestly seeking these goods from the Lord in His mercy, and His answer partly depends on the faith and fervor with which we ask Him for them. We are warned by the Canon that without holding fast to the Catholic and orthodox faith, entire and inviolate, we cannot be saved, nor can our shepherds.
 As John Pepino pointed out to me, the atque is a strong conjunction that adds something (often a greater specificity) to what came before; it isn't just a synonym for et. It's as though the text says that we are in communion with all who hold the correct faith, and moreover, with those who actively promote the correct faith. This could well be an echo of the Arian crisis.
Dominican Liturgy three posts on the then-new discoveries about the origins of the Stabat Mater. As the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrow is coming up this week, I thought it would be useful to gather these earlier posts together.
I thank Fr. Innocent Smith O.P. for calling my attention to the original article, which announced the discovery of the famous Stabat Mater being used as a sequence in the Gradual produced by a convent of Dominican nuns in Bologna in the later thirteenth century. This is by far the earliest known manuscript example of this hymn used as a sequence rather than as a devotional hymn. It has been commonly believed that the hymn only became used as a sequence in the late middle ages. It is also interesting that the melody provided matches neither the received Roman one nor that found in the printed Dominican books. This text is found in Bologna: Museo Civico Medievale MS 518, fo. 200v-04r.
The news was published in Cesarino Ruini, “Un antica versione dello Stabat Mater in un graduale delle Domenicane bolognesi,” Deo è lo scrivano ch’el canto à ensegnato: Segni e simboli nella musica al tempo di Iacopone, Atti del Convegno internazionale, Collazzone, 7-8 luglio 2006, ed. Ernesto Sergio Mainoldi and Stefania Vitale,Philomusica On-line, 9, no. 3 (2010). Those who would like the full text of the chant may find it at the end of this article.
For those who do not wish to read the article in Italian, here is the English summary:
The discovery of a Stabat Mater version set to music as a sequence in a late 13th-century Gradual from a Bolognese Dominican nunnery, makes it possible to advance new hypotheses about the origins and history of this renowned text. Untilnow there was no evidence that it was used as a sequence before the mid 15th century. The analysis of the piece highlights previously unidentified peculiarities regarding the historical and the liturgico-musical context in which it was used, whilst the comparison with the wealth of textual variants offered by its complex tradition points to concordances with later sources, mainly originating in Veneto and Emilia. As one of the earliest witnesses of this popular composition (there is only one other contemporary version, also from Bologna, but it is unnotated) there can be no doubt about its importance for textual criticism, and, inter alia, it does not favour the disputable paternity of Iacopone da Todi.
Here is the image of the manuscript with the beginning of the chant.
Careful readers will not that there are textual variants in this version as well. The Dominican Rite used by the friars added the Stabat Mater as a sequence on the feast of our Lady of Sorrows only in the 15th Century, thereby conforming the rite to the Roman, which had already added it. But the melody is not that of the thirteenth-century version. Here it is for comparison:
And here for additional comparison is the first verse with the melody as found in the 1961 Roman Gradual:
I would hope that some attempt will be made to use this chant.
The discovery of this manuscript, as explained in the article (in Italian) linked above, shows by the manuscript date that the traditional ascription of authorship to Jacopone of Todi can no longer be maintained. The date, however, leaves open the possibility, often mentioned, that it is the work of Pope Innocent III.
This new version is interesting for a number of reasons. First, this is the earliest use of the text as a sequence. Until the discovery of this version, it was only known as a hymn until the late middle ages. This manuscript shows that the earliest known use of the text as a sequence was among Italian Dominican nuns in the late 1200s.
Next, the text includes not only a number of verbal variants, but also includes two verses absent from the commonly received version. Those who wish to examine these can download my transcription and compare the text to the received version here.
Even more interesting is the music. As pointed out to me by the nuns of Summit NJ, this ancient sequence borrows, with the exception of one stanza, the melody (cf. verses 19 and 20) of the Sequence of St. Dominic in the Dominican Rite. There are a number of minor musical variants as well. Those interested might want to compare the music to that found in the Dominican Gradual for the Mass of St. Dominic.
Through the kindness of one of our readers who converted the PDFs of this music into JPGs, I am posting below the newly discovered 13th-Century Sequence version of the Stabat Mater for viewing by readers. The PDFs may still be downloaded here.
I am aware that these images are a bit blurry; if you click on them or download them, you will get a clearer image. Perhaps some Dominicans (and non-Dominicans) may want to make use of the ancient version on the up-coming celebration of Our Lady of Sorrows.
And I Mean Most Traditional Churches Too!
Is it possible that these paintings really do cultivate the virtue of religion? I am about to fulfill one of my teaching roles, as Visiting Fellow at Thomas More College in New Hampshire, by teaching an intensive week of the course The Way of Beauty, and as part of this we consider just this point, along with the validity of the styles of modern art as the basis of Christian art.
So we consider, for example, the work of Matisse - who was commissioned by Dominicans in France to do some paintings for a Catholic chapel, as well as Rothko’ Abstract Expressionist artist work.
Rothko particularly provokes interest. In the class, we look at the comments of the artists, of people who admire his work, of the critics and of those who attend the chapel (taken from the chapel website). The conclusion that we usually draw is that these works might have a psychological impact through color and shape, in much the same way that interior decorations influence mood, but that influencing emotion is not the same as a religious experience or even spirituality, as a Christian understands it. Therefore, we conclude, it is not a holy icon and cannot replace the images of our Lord, the Saints and so on necessary for worship. But, on the other hand, some say, we might consider painting the walls of parts of the church in some of the colors he uses if we thought it beneficial.
Here are some more pictures of Rothko’s work and of the Rothko Chapel, so you can see what we are talking about.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kiev-Halych, wearing a black mantiya before entering a church for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. The mantiya is similar to the Western cappa magna, but the use of it is not as restricted, since it may be worn by all members of the monastic clergy.
|From our 2015 photopost for the Exaltation of the Cross, veneration of a relic of the True Cross at the parish of El Sagrario in Lima, Perú.|
Few Renaissance composers wrote extensively for smaller voice ensembles, but Lassus was a master of the duet. These bicinia have been studied in counterpoint classes for generations. His three-voice collection, however, is much lesser-known, but these trios are written skillfully and remain accessible to the average chorister.
All of the bicinia come in two transpositions, for SA-TB and for AT voicings. For the trios, Lassus mostly uses the unique voicing of STB, though there are a few settings that call for three equal voices.
The variety of texts ranges from complete psalm settings (Laetatus Sum) to New Testament excerpts (Qui Vult Venire) to the traditional post-meal blessing (Agimus Tibi Gratias).
This collection would be a wonderful addition to any music library in parishes where the vernacular is used but the beauty of polyphony is desired.
The book can be purchased here (samples can be found there, also).
Two selections from the book can be heard and seen below: