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    On Friday, September 14, and Saturday, September 15, the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Manhattan, NYC, will hold an All-Night Vigil of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.  All are invited to join in prayer for the many necessities and intentions offered and placed before Our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament, especially in reparation for the victims of sexual abuse by members of the Church, for the healing and purification of the Church. September 14th is also the eleventh annivsary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, and the faithful are invited to prayer in thanksgiving Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI permission to every priest to offer the Mass, Divine Office and Sacraments in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite without restriction.

    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.

    Preliminary Schedule
    Friday, September 14
    6:00 pm - Angelus
    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

    Saturday, September 15

    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

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    It’s been a while since we caught up with our friends Fr Jeffrey Keyes and the Marian Sisters of Santa Rosa, with their always-popular amice tie designs. There doesn’t seem to be any danger of them running out of ideas; this is eighth such post in about 20 months. As we wrote in the first one, “the essence of the Liturgy is Sacred, Universal and Beautiful, and every beautiful thing, however small (and in this case, temporary) contributes to an atmosphere of prayer and reverence.” Thanks once again to Father Keyes for sending these in. Normally, I put these in chronological order, but there are two especially clever ones that deserve to go first.

    August 6 - The Transfiguration. “And as (Peter) was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.” (Matthew 17, 5)
    August 18th - St Helena finding the True Cross (here done with the chasuble ties.)
    May 21 - Mary, Mother of the Church
    May 23 - Ember Wednesday of Pentecost
    May 25 - One of the sisters renewed her vows.
    May 30 - St Joan of Arc; her name written in French
    July 1 - Precious Blood
    July 27 - Friday Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart
    August 4 - St Dominic (EF), in reference to the famous “hound of the Lord” pun.
    Mass of St Dominic
    August 8 - The Holy Curé d’Ars (EF) - no way to get the accent mark on the E of ‘Curé’
    August 9 - St Theresa Benedict of the Cross
    August 11 - St Philomena. Her grave was discovered within the Roman Catacomb of St Priscilla in 1802, closed up with three brick tiles, on which various symbols were painted. Among them were a palm branch and an arrow, which we see here made from the chausble ties... 
    ...and here the third symbol, an anchor.
    August 16 - The crown of St Stephen, King of Hungary (OF)
    August 22 - Immaculate Heart of Mary (EF)

    August 23 - A rose for St Rose of Lima (OF), Patron Saint of their city.
    August 24 - St Bartholomew the Apostle
    August 25 - Another crown, for St Louis IX, King of France
    August 29 - “Behold the Lamb of God” for the Beheading of St John the Baptist
    August 31 - A lock for St Raymond Nonnatus, who was arrested for preaching to convert the Muslims of the Barbary coast, and had his lips perforated and closed with a lock.

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    I have been remiss in reviewing good books sent to me by publishers. In fact, I am remiss even in announcing books that I have reprinted myself! So I will take some time now to recommend these works to NLM readers.

    Ludwig Ott. 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.

    Uwe Michael Lang, ed. Authentic Liturgical Renewal in Contemporary Perspective. Proceedings of the Sacra Liturgia Conference, London, 5-8  July 2016. London/New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017. Paper, xii + 197 pp. $26.95.
    I'm not sure why it is the case that this third Sacra Liturgia volume has been somewhat neglected or even forgotten in the world of liturgical studies and renewal. One might speculate that after two substantial volumes of Sacra Liturgia proceedings (both of which have been reviewed at NLM: the first here, the second here), there may be a market saturation phenomenon; but I think that this is not true, or at least not the main explanation. I believe that people are just not aware of this book and how valuable its contents are, and that the general ecclesial mayhem swirling around us, with seems to worsen with each passing year or even each passing month, is not a congenial atmosphere for the study of scholarly literature.

    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.

    Emile Mersch, S.J. 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.

    Pius Parsch, 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.

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  • 09/05/18--10:59: Hophni and Phineas
  • Hophni and Phineas, represented in the Psalter of William de Brailes, ca. 1250. (Public domain image from Wikipedia.)
    Solomon wisely wrote in Ecclesiastes “there is nothing new under the sun.” As it turns out, the scandals of the past few weeks are nothing new either.

    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.

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    The Cathedral of St Paul in Birmingham, Alabama, will have a Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, featuring William Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices, offered for the healing and purification of the Church. The Mass will begin at 6:30 pm; the church is located at 2120 Third Avenue. Following the Mass, Adoration will be held through the night, from 8:30 pm to 8:30 am, as an act of reparation for the crimes of sexual abuse by the clergy; prayers will be offered each hour in English and Spanish. In the morning, the Mass of Our Lady of Sorrows will be offered in the Ordinary Form, for the healing of the victims.

    This is the second notice we have posted in as many days of an initiative such as this; NLM will be very happy to share notice of other special events of prayer and reparation as we receive them. 

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    The chapel of Ss Peter and Paul in Tyler, Texas, will have a Solemn High Mass in the traditional rite on September 8th, the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, celebrated in the presence of His Excellency Joseph Strickland, the bishop of Tyler. The Mass will begin at 10am; the church is located at 1435 East Southeast Loop.

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    Yesterday, Joel illustrated his post about Hophni and Phineas, the wicked sons of the priest Eli, with an image from a 13th century manuscript which is now kept at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. The illuminator of this manuscript, William de Brailes, was an Englishman, active from about 1230-1260; his surviving works include various Bibles and Psalters, and the oldest known English Book of Hours. The manuscript at the Walters is a gathering of 24 illuminated pages from a now-dismembered Psalter, but a great many other similar pages are now lost; seven others are in the Wildenstein Manuscript Collection at the Musée Marmottan in Paris, while the Psalter text is in the National Museum in Stockholm. Here is a selection of the illustrated pages; the whole manuscript can be seen, and a pdf downloaded for free, from the Museum’s website. (All images from Wikipedia; released into the public domain by the Walters Art Museum.)

    The first two days of creation, Genesis 1, 1-8
    The animals enter the ark, Genesis 7,7 sqq.
    The flood, Genesis 7, 11 sqq.
    The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha, Genesis 19, 15-26
    Potiphar’s wife accuses Joseph, Genesis 39, 7-20 (Note the ugliness of her face, and the grimace on the face of the fellow in blue to the left of Joseph.)
    Joseph’s cup is found in Benjamin’s sack, Genesis 44, 12 sqq.; Joseph is reconciled to his brothers, chapter 45.
    The ninth plague of Egypt, the darkness, Exodus 10, 22-23 
    The eight plague of Egypt, the locusts, Exodus 10, 12-15. (In the manuscript as it is currently gathered, the eighth and ninth plagues are out of order.) It would appear that de Brailes had no idea that locusts are just grasshoppers, and was inspired to depict them as small mammals with human heads from the description given in Apocalypse 9, 7: “And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle ... and their faces were as the faces of men.”
    The crossing of the Red Sea, Exodus 14, 26-30
    The drowning of Pharaoh’s army
    Moses brings water from the rock in the desert of Zin, Exodus 17, 1-7
    The Golden Calf and the breaking of the Tablets of the Law, Exodus 32, 1-9 
    Hannah praying in the temple, 1 Samuel 1, 9-11; the birth of Samuel, verses 20
    Ruth meets Boaz in the field (Ruth 2, 4-16); Ruth sleeping at Boaz’s feet (3, 7-14)
    Christ appears to the Disciples at the Lake of Tiberias, John 21
    The Ascension, Acts 1-11
    Pentecost, Acts 2, 1-11
    The Last Judgment, Matthew 25, 31-46
    The binding was made in the early twentieth-century, incorporating into the front cover a double-sided ivory carved in the Rhine valley in 14th-century, with the Nativity on one side and the Crucifixion on the other.

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    Every year, Marie Reine du Canada, a lay-led apostolate based at the FSSP’s parish in Ottawa, Ontario, St Clement’s, organizes an annual pilgrimage to the miraculous shrine of Notre Dame du Cap, Canada’s national shrine to the Blessed Mother. Pilgrims walk 100 kilometers (62 miles) on foot in 2 and a half days through the historic countryside of New France, following the St Lawrence River, along the route which the North American Martyrs took. Early on the first day of walking, the group stops to pray at a monument marking the spot where Ss Isaac Jogues and Rene Goupil were captured by the Mohawks.

    The pilgrims are divided into three chapters, one English-speaking, one French, and one scout troop. Daily Mass is celebrated in the traditional Roman Rite. With approximately 120 pilgrims, this year’s was the largest pilgrimage to date since the first one took place in 2004. The chaplains were Father Peter Do of the diocese of Pembroke, Ontario, and Father Jacques Breton and Adrian Debow of the FSSP.

    The morning Mass on Saturday, the first day of walking, was a Pontifical Low Mass celebrated by His Excellency Terrence Prendergast, SJ, the archbishop of Ottawa, who ordained Fr Debow last year in Nebraska.
    Day 2

    A Solemn Mass was celebrated at the shrine upon arrival on Monday, September 3.

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    Once again, we publish our annual list of Catholic Liturgical Children’s Choirs. First published in 2013, the list has grown substantially, so we are delighted to share it again. The start of the academic year is an ideal time to be thinking about enrolling your child in a choir. In so doing, you are helping to beautify the Liturgy, and your child will gain the immeasurable benefits of an immersion in the musical treasures of the Catholic Church.

    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 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:

    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 valnic33@sbcglobal.netWebsite

    Pax Christi Church: Chorister program in European Cathedral tradition. Director Raymond Ortiz: rfortiz@paxchristi.orgWebsite

    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: music@stmarynorwalk.netWebsite

    St John Cantius: multiple choirs. Contact Director of Music Fr Scott Haynes: 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: ltappan@mphm.comWebsite

    Regina Caeli Schola Cantorum: a Gregorian Chant class for children grade 3-8. Rehearsals on Mondays. Contact the Director Mia Coyne: miacoyne@gmail.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: miacoyne@gmail.comWebsite

    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, jrobinson@choirschool.netInformationWebsite

    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: nannybouje@gmail.comWebsite

    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: Website

    St Agnes Church: Parish Children’s Choir, Director Jacob Flaherty. Website

    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:

    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. : stephen.concordia@stvincent.eduWebsite

    Harmonia Children’s Choir Christ Our King Stella Maris School. Directors, Scott and Suzanne Fleming-Atwood:

    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:

    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: Website

    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

    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

    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: liturgy@stjameswv.orgWebsite

    Basilica of St Josaphat: a new children’s choir is being formed. Contact Christopher Berry Director of Music berryc@archmil.orgWebsite

    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 : 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: musicoffice@smcs.on.caWebsite

    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:

    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: kmahon79@yahoo.caWebsite


    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: +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: contact@petits-chanteurs-passy.frWebsite

    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: clotildedenedde@gmail.comFacebookWebsite

    St Bavo Cathedral: The Koorschool is a Choir School for boys and girls from age 8. Contact : info@koorschoolhaarlem.nlWebsite

    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:

    Metropolitan Cathedral. Boys’ Choir and Girls’ Choir. Website

    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: oratoryjuniorchoir@gmail.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 Website

    St Francis of Assisi, Pottery Lane. Children’s Choir Website

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    On the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the instructional choir of the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Liturgy and the Schola Sancta of Marin County will sing a Missa Cantata at the church of St Sebastian Church in Greenbrae, California (close to San Rafael in Marin County.). The Mass will begin at 5:30 pm, followed by a reception; the church is located at 373 Bon Air Road.

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    The origin of the feast of the Virgin Mary’s Nativity is a matter of speculation, and the reason for the choice of date is unknown. It was celebrated at Constantinople by the 530s, when St Romanus the Melodist composed a hymn for it; by the seventh century, it had passed to the West, and Pope St Sergius I (687-701) decreed that it be should celebrated with a procession from the church of St Adrian (who shares his feast day with the Birth of the Virgin) to St Mary Major. It would seem, however, that it was rather slower to be accepted than the other early Marian feasts, the Purification, Annunciation and Assumption, since it is not mentioned in some important early liturgical books. Thus we find it included in the oldest manuscript of the Gelasian Sacramentary in roughly 750 A.D., but missing from the calendar in some later books. The liturgical commentators of the High Middle Ages such as Sicard of Cremona and William Durandus were aware of that it was of later institution.

    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.
    By the time the feast was universally accepted, the Roman Rite had ceased to institute vigils for “new” celebrations; this holds true even for the medieval feast par excellence, Corpus Christi. (One exception of the later medieval period is the Visitation, but its vigil, which clashed with the octave day of St John the Baptist, was later abolished.) Thus, the Nativity of the Virgin was never kept with a vigil in the Roman Rite, i.e., a fast on the day before, accompanied by a Mass in violet after None, and without the Gloria in excelsis, Alleluia or Creed.

    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.

    The Byzantine tradition distinguishes twelve feasts, eight of Our Lord and four of Our Lady, as “Great Feasts”, with Easter in a category of its own as the Feast of Feasts. Whether by design or coincidence, the first of these in the liturgical year, which begins on September 1st, is the Birth of the Virgin, which is also the first historically. The Twelve Feasts also each have a Fore-feast, the Roman equivalent of a vigil, and an Afterfeast; the latter are like the octaves of the Roman Rite, but vary in length, and that of the Virgin’s Nativity is only 4 days long, ending on September 12th. A Fore-feast is a full liturgical day, and so unlike Roman vigils, which run from Matins to None, it begins at Vespers of the day which precedes it, in this case, on the evening of September 6th. Here is a selection of some of the hymns sung at that Vespers, followed by the proper hymns of the Divine Liturgy of the Forefeast on September 7th.

    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.)
    In Thy nativity, o Immaculate one, rays of joy dawned upon the minds of the whole world, foretelling to all the sun of Glory, Christ our God; for Thou were shown to be the mediatrix of true gladness and grace.

    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.

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    Today the Blessed Virgin Mary was born of the lineage of David, * through whom the salvation of the world hath appeared to those who believe, whose glorious life hath given light to the world. V. Let us celebrate with rejoicing the birthday of Blessed Mary the Virgin. Through whom... (The first responsory of Matins.)

    The Birth of the Virgin Mary, by Paolo Uccello, ca. 1435; in the cathedral of Prato, Italy.
    R. Hodie nata est beáta Virgo María ex progenie David; * Per quam salus mundi credéntibus appáruit, cujus vita gloriósa lucem dedit sáeculo. V. Nativitátem beátae Maríae Vírginis cum gaudio celebrémus. Per quam...

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    All Souls Parish in Englewood, Colorado, will hold a 40 Hours’ Devotion for the sanctification of the Church and in reparation for sins of Her members, from the evening of Thursday, September 13 through to the morning of Saturday, September 15th. On Thursday, the votive Mass for the forgiveness of sins will be celebrated, starting at 7pm, with Adoration beginning immediately after. On Friday, the Mass of the Exalataion of the Cross will begin at 8:15 am, and Adoration will resume afterwards. On Saturday morning, after prayers of reparation and Benediction, the Mass of Our Lady of Sorrows will be celebrated, beginning at 11:45 am. All three of the Masses will be offered in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite ad orientem; the schola will sing the Gregorian propers, including the Graduals. The church is located at 4950 South Logan Street.

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    The great Canon of the Mass — the one and only Anaphora traditionally found in the Roman Rite from before the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) down to the revolutionary year of 1968 — has long fascinated Catholic authors, who have written many commentaries on it. There is much to take note of, much to wonder about and ponder.

    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.[1]
    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.


    [1] 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.

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    Eight years ago, I published at 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.

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    And I Mean Most Traditional Churches Too! 

    It is often claimed that the work of the abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothko can induce religious experiences in those who see them. Rothko said that this was what he was aiming for, and so many people have claimed to have had religious experiences as a result of contemplating his paintings, that some of those who love his art have designed a special gallery - the Rothko Chapel, in Houston, Texas - designed especially to enhance the experience of encountering these large-scale canvasses of floating clouds of color.

    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.

    Rothko and modern art aficionados might be offended by our classifying him as a glorified painter and decorator, but it is not altogether negative! The use of color and decoration to influence mood in a particular way is important. I can’t believe, for example, that in the English College in Rome, such considerations did not influence the choice of fine works of marble, tiles and painted plaster in gold, Indian red, cobalt blue, and lime green.

    But important as it is, the role of color and decoration is supplemental to that of the holy images placed into that setting. 
    Or it ought to be. 
    If we do not engage with those artistic images in the way intended, then they become just another part of the mood inducing decoration. This is, I fear, what happens in practice. 
    Very rarely, the art in churches contributes no more to the liturgical engagement than the tiled floor or paintwork on the walls, and this is as true in my observation as many of congregations at the traditional Mass as it is of those at the Novus Ordo. Whether it is beautiful art which is ignored, while worshippers bury their noses in Missals, or ugly art that worshippers to their best to disengage from by keeping their eyes shut in prayer or directing their gaze downwards, the effect is the same. It contributes solely to the general impression of color and tone via peripheral vision, for good or ill.
    No wonder the modern era of iconoclasm flourished! Why bother to have art in the church if it isn’t really part of what is going on. And how can we know what art is the best to choose if the people making the choice do not know how to engage with even the best art during the course of worship? To the degree that this describes the situation, we might as well be sitting in the Rothko Chapel after all. His canvasses might well contribute to mood as much as the tiled floor of the English Chapel in Rome, or the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.
    This has ramifications on our faith and on the culture. It is through the visual, tangible, audible and the smellable that our faith is made concrete. And the forms that encounter and engage with directly constitute the most powerful influence on Christian culture, sacred and profane. When our connection with the material in our worship is lost, on the other hand, we lose our sense of what a Christian culture is, and secular influences are sucked into the vacuum. 
    My argument for the importance of re-establishing the practice of worshipping with visual imagery was made in more depth in an earlier article, here.

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    The Cincinnati Oratory will keep a vigil on the night of Friday, September 14, in reparation for the sins of the clergy and hierarchy, for the victims of abuse worldwide, and for healing within the Church. It will begin with a solemn traditional Mass for the Exaltation of the Cross at 7:00 p.m., followed by an outdoor procession with a relic of the True Cross and a statue of the recumbent Christ. Following the Procession, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will go on until 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, with a Low Mass in the traditional rite for the feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary at 6:45. Those who are interested in signing up for an hour of Adoration can do so by following this link: The church is located at 118 East 12th Street.

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    I am sure that many of our readers saw an article recently published on First Things by Fr Jay Scott Newman of the diocese of Charleston, South Carolina, entitled “The End of the Imperial Episcopate”; it attracted a good deal of comment on the original site, and was linked by several of the major catholic aggregators. The jist of it was to argue that in response to the present crisis, (more accurately, the revelation of the depth and breadth of a crisis that has been going on for a very long time), the Church needs to divest itself of the vestiges of what it supposedly inherited from the Roman Empire, “(e)xalted titles and elaborate uniforms ... colored sashes, buttons, piping, and capes...”

    His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kiev-Halych, wearing a black mantiya before entering a church for the celebration of the Divine LiturgyThe 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.
    Yesterday, our founding editor Shawn Tribe published a response to Fr Newman, also on First Things, entitled “The Imperative of the Imperium”, in which he argues, correctly, in my estimation, that “the problems Newman describes in his piece are not caused by titles, dress, or the ‘imperium’—they aren’t even problems limited to bishops. These are personality probles founded in particular individuals and their particular psychological makeup—problems that will emerge whether they are wearing black, purple, red, white, or blue jeans for that matter. If we wish to eliminate these issues in the Church—as we all surely do—we don’t need to start searching for a new tailor, we need to start searching for a better screening process. ... If we want to successfully renew the episcopacy, the priesthood, and religious life, we need to do everything we can to accentuate and reclaim (their) identity and purpose—not enact reforms that minimize it even further. ” Click over to First Things to read the whole article.

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    Last year and the year before, the Exaltation of the Cross fell mid-week, and we didn’t receive enough submissions in either year to do a photopost. This year it falls on Friday, and it seems that in response to the appalling revelations of the last few months, a lot of churches have planned special events for September 14 and 15. (We have given notice here of several such events in the last few days.) We will therefore do one for the Exaltation if we get enough to justify doing one: please send your photos to for inclusion. As always, we are happy to include celebrations in either Form of the Roman Rite, any of the Eastern rites, and the Ordinariate rite, as well as Vespers and other parts of the Divine Office, veneration of relics, processions, etc. We will also include photos from the feasts of the Nativity and Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary. Please be sure to include the name and location of the church, and always feel free to add any other information you think important. Evangelize through beauty!

    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.

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    Heath Morber, Director of Music at St. John’s Catholic Chapel in Champaign, IL, has released his third collection (his previous two collections, Bread from Heaven and English Motets for the Church Year, have been reviewed here and here) in his English Motets series: Everlasting Joy in You: Two- and Three-voice motets of Orlando di Lasso adapted into English. All of the pieces, set originally in Latin, have been fitted with singable English translations for use in vernacular Masses.

    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:

    And some photos:

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