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    This Completorii Libellus iuxta Ritum Sacri Ordinis Praedicatorum of 1957 was the last publication of Dominican Rite Compline with all the Dominican Gregorian music, published at the order of Master General Michael Browne.Dominican Liturgy Publications has now produced a reprint edition  of this book.

    Those using this book according to the 1962 rubrics need only sing the entire antiphon at the beginning as well as the end of each psalm or canticle. This book is paperback, has red rubrics and generous gutter margins, making it inexpensive and suitable for personal use. Although it is a photographic reprint the quality is quite good, but you should check the preview before ordering. A hardback version for choir use is planned.

    If you are looking for Compline according to the modern Liturgy of the Hours, with approved Dominican elements, also in Dominican chant, you should go here.

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  • 12/19/18--13:37: Article 0
  • In the Middle Ages, many uses of the Roman Rite added one or more new O antiphons to the well-known ancient series of seven. Of these additions, the first given here, O Virgo virginum, was certainly the most widespread, and in fact is still used by the Premonstratensians; many places in Germany lengthened the series to eleven or twelve. There was also one written for Vespers of St Thomas the Apostle, O Thoma Didyme, since the ferial antiphons of the 20th and 21st would normally be used only for the commemoration of Advent on his feast. As noted in an article last week, the Use of Augsburg in Germany supplemented the O antiphons not only by the addition of four new ones, but also with a special chapter and prayer assigned to each day, which refer back to the antiphon itself. The O series began on December 13th; the four additional ones were then sung from December 20th to the 23rd.

    The Annunciation, by Jan de Beer (1475-1528); first quarter of the 16th century. (Public domainimage from Wikipedia.)
    December 20
    Capitulum Ecce Virgo conci-
    piet, et pariet filium, et voca-
    bitur nomen ejus Emmanuel;
    butyrum et mel comedet, ut
    sciat reprobare malum, et
    eligere bonum.
    Behold, a virgin shall conceive,
    and bear a son, and his name
    shall be called Emmanuel; he
    shall eat butter and honey, that
    he may know to refuse the evil,
    and choose the good.
    (Isa. 7, 14-15)
    Aña O Virgo virginum, *
    quomodo fiet istud, quia nec
    primam visa es, nec habere
    sequentem? Filiae Jerusalem,
    quid me admiramini? Divi-
    num est mysterium hoc quod
    O Virgin of virgins, how shall
    this come to pass? For Thou
    seems to have none like Thee
    before, nor any such to follow.
    Daughters of Jerusalem, why
    do you regard me in wonder?
    This which you see is a divine
    Oratio Domine, sancte Pater,
    omnipotens aeterne Deus,
    Creator humanae substantiae,
    qui Verbum tuum in Virginis
    uterum venire voluisti: sup-
    plicantium tibi preces beni-
    gnus intende. Per eundem.
    Lord, holy Father, almighty and
    eternal God, creator of our hu-
    man nature, who didst will that
    Thy word come into the womb
    of the Virgin; listen kindly to
    the prayer of them that beseech
    Thee. Through the same...
    December 21
    Cap. Vidi portam in domo
    Domini clausam, et dixit ad
    me Angelus: Solus Dominus
    veniens ingreditur per eam,
    et semper erit clausa.
    I saw a closed door in the
    house of the Lord, and the An-
    gel said to me, “Only the Lord
    will come and enter through it,
    and it will always be closed.”
    Aña O Gabriel, * nuntius
    caelorum, qui januis clausis
    ad me intrasti, et Verbum
    nuntiasti: Concipies et pari-
    es, Emmanuel vocabitur.
    O Gabriel, messenger of the
    heavens, who came to me
    through the closed doors, and
    announced the Word: Thou
    shalt conceive, and bear a Son. 
    Oratio Deus, qui de beatae
    Mariae Virginis utero Ver-
    bum tuum, Angelo nuntian-
    te, carnem suscipere voluisti,
    praesta supplicibus tuis; ut,
    qui vere eam Genitricem Dei
    credimus, ejus apud te inter-
    cessonibus adjuvemur. Per
    God, who willed that Thy
    Word should, by the message
    of an Angel, take flesh in the
    womb of the Blessed Virgin
    Mary, grant unto us, we be-
    seech Thee; that we who be-
    lieve Her to be truly the Mo-
    ther of God, may be helped by
    Her intercession. Through the
    December 22
    Cap. Magnificabitur Domi-
    nus usque ad fines terrae, et
    in diebus ejus pax et laetitia
    erit multis.
    The Lord shall be magnified
    unto the ends of the earth,
    and in his days there shall be
    peace and joy unto many.
    Aña O Rex pacifice, * ante
    saecula nate, per auream e-
    gredere portam, redemptos
    tuos visita, et eos illuc revo-
    ca, unde ruerunt per culpam.
    O peaceable King, born before
    the ages, go out through the
    golden gate, visit those whom
    Thou hast redeemed, and call
    them back there, whence down
    they fell through sin.
    Oratio Redemptor, noster,
    aspice, Deus, et veni ad li-
    berandum nos de profundo
    iniquitatis, et dona Eccle-
    siae tuae perpetuam tran-
    quillitatem. Qui vivis.
    Look upon us, o God, our Re-
    deemer, and come to deliver us
    from the depth of iniquity; and
    grant perpetual peace to Thy
    Church. Who livest...

    The chapter Vidi portam is actually the text of an antiphon written for the feast of the Annunciation, which, however, was apparently not used at Augsburg itself; it alludes to, but does not exactly quote the prophet Ezechiel’s vision of the new and eternal Temple in the final chapters of his book. The chapter of the following day begins as a quotation of Micah 5,4, but is more allusion than quote. As with many such expansions of earlier liturgical customs, these are not of a uniform literary quality. The antiphon O Gabriel is a grammatical fragment, and the prayer assigned to O Virgo virginum is rather vague. Three of the four are not addressed to the Lord, and therefore do not end as the classic seven do with an invocation to Him to finally come to us in His Nativity, as we have longed for throughout Advent.

    On the night of December 23, the last of the O antiphons is sung; in the Middle Ages, many churches celebrated this final Vespers of the Advent season with great solemnity, like the First Vespers of a feast. At Augsburg and elsewhere, it had the peculiar name “Vigil of the Vigil of the Nativity”; the word “vigilia” was often used in medieval liturgical books to mean “First Vespers.” The psalms were said of the weekday, all five of them with a single proper antiphon. After the chapter, a responsory was added, according to the general medieval custom for First Vespers. The responsory in question, De occulta illa, is very ancient, and found in many medieval breviaries. The custom of the special antiphon for the psalms appears to be uniquely German, and varies from use to use. In the table below, I have noted another common one, Paratus esto, which in the reform of St Pius X, was added to the Roman Breviary at Lauds of the Ember Saturday of Advent.
    December 23
    Aña super psalmos Levate *
    capita vestra; ecce appropin-
    quat redemptio vestra.

    (alia Paratus esto, * Israel, in
    occursum Domini, quoniam
    Lift up your heads, behold,
    your redemption approacheth.

    (elsewhere Be thou prepared, o
    Israel, to meet the Lord, for He
    shall come.)
    Cap. Leva, Jerusalem, oculos
    et vide potentiam Regis; ecce
    Salvator venit solvere te a
    Life up thy eyes, o Jerusalem,
    and see the might of the King;
    behold the Savior cometh to
    release Thee from thy bond.
    R. De occulta illa habitatione
    sua egressus est Filius Dei: *
    descendit visitare et consola-
    ri omnes qui eum devoto
    corde desiderant. V. Ex Sion
    species decoris ejus: Deus
    noster manifeste veniet.
    Descendit. Gloria Patri.
    R. From His hidden abode the
    Son of God has gone forth: *
    He has come down to visit and
    console all those who long for
    Him with a devout heart.
    V. Out of Sion the loveliness
    of His beauty, our God shall
    come manifestly. He has come
    down. Glory be. He has come
    Aña O Jerusalem, * civitas
    Dei summi, leva in circuitu
    oculos tuos, et vide Domi-
    num, Deum tuum, qui jam
    veniet te solvere a vinculis.
    O Jerusalem, city of God most
    high, lift up thy eyes around
    thee, and see the Lord, thy
    God, who will not come to re-
    lease thee from thy bond.
    Oratio Vincula, quaesumus,
    Domine, humanae pravitatis
    abrumpe; ut ad Unigeniti tui
    Nativitatem libera mente
    curramus. Qui tecum.
    Break, we beseech Thee, o
    Lord, the bonds of human
    wickedness, so that with free
    minds we may run forth to the
    birth of Thy Only-begotten
    Son. Who with Thee...

    The east choir of Augsburg Cathedral. The town of Wigratzbad, the home of the Fraternity of St Peter’s European seminary, is within the diocese of Augsburg.

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    Thanks for Shawn Natola from the congregation of St Stephens in Portland, Oregon for alerting me to the following! There will be a Rorate Mass on Saturday, December 22nd at 7 am at the church.

    A Rorate Mass during is the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Advent season, celebrated in the early morning while it is still dark. The church and the altar are only lit by candlelight, so many candles are used to illuminate the darkness. Christ is the True Light, and we keep watch for His coming at Christmas; the Mass begins in the dark, and the light begins to come into the windows about the time of the Consecration.

    The schedule on the day is as follows:

    Rorate Mass by candlelight starts at 7:00 a.m. 9 (Sunrise at approximately 7:45 a.m.)
    Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass, until 9:00 a.m.
    Confessions from 9:30 to 10:45

    The photographs below are of the previous Rorate Mass, celebrated last Saturday, courtesy of James Mears Photography.

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    Today marks the 90th anniverary of the publication of Divini Cultus, an Apostolic Constutition issued by Pope Pius XI to commemorate the 25th anniversary of St Pius X’s motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini. Although the post-Conciliar reform was effected with almost total disregard for earlier legislation and magisterial pronouncements on the liturgy, as an Apostolic Constitution, this remains part of the law of the Church to this day, no less than the motu proprio which inspired it. It is very much to be hoped that when the time comes to reform the liturgy properly (which it most surely will, though we know not the day nor the hour), the Church will take the wisdom of this document into serious consideration. particularly in regard to the importance it lays on the training of the clergy in the field of sacred music, and the importance of the public celebration of the Divine Office. We here present some excerpts from an English translation published on the website of the Adoremus Bulletin, where you can read the complete text; the Latin original is available on the Vatican website. (h/t Nicola.)

    Public domainimage from Wikipedia
    “... No wonder, then, that the Roman Pontiffs have been so solicitous to safeguard and protect the Liturgy. They have used the same care in making laws for the regulation of the Liturgy, in preserving it from adulteration, as they have in giving accurate expression to the dogmas of the faith. This is the reason why the Fathers made both spoken and written commentary upon the Liturgy or “the law of worship”; for this reason the Council of Trent ordained that the Liturgy should be expounded and explained to the faithful.

    In our times too, the chief object of Pope Pius X, in the Motu Proprio Tra Le Sollecitudini which he issued twenty-five years ago, making certain prescriptions concerning Gregorian Chant and sacred music, was to arouse and foster a Christian spirit in the faithful, by wisely excluding all that might ill befit the sacredness and majesty of our churches. The faithful come to church in order to derive piety from its chief source, by taking an active part in the venerated mysteries and the public solemn prayers of the Church. It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that anything that is used to adorn the Liturgy should be controlled by the Church, so that the arts may take their proper place as most noble ministers in sacred worship.

    Far from resulting in a loss to art, such an arrangement will certainly make for the greater splendor and dignity of the arts that are used in the Church. This has been especially true of sacred music. Wherever the regulations on this subject have been carefully observed, a new life has been given to this delightful art, and the spirit of religion has prospered; the faithful have gained a deeper understanding of the sacred Liturgy, and have taken part with greater zest in the ceremonies of the Mass, in the singing of the psalms and the public prayers. ...

    It is, however, to be deplored that these most wise laws in some places have not been fully observed, and therefore their intended results not obtained. We know that some have declared that these laws, though so solemnly promulgated, were not binding upon their obedience. Others obeyed them at first, but have since come gradually to give countenance to a type of music which should be altogether banned from our churches. ...

    In order to urge the clergy and faithful to a more scrupulous observance of these laws and directions which are to be carefully obeyed by the whole Church, We think it opportune to set down here something of the fruits of Our experience during the last twenty-five years. ...

    We wish, then, to make certain recommendations to the bishops and ordinaries, whose duty it is, since they are the custodians of the Liturgy, to promote ecclesiastical art. ...

    Holy Thursday in the Sistine Chapel in the reign of Pope Pius XI
    All those who aspire to the priesthood, whether in seminaries or in religious houses, from their earliest years are to be taught Gregorian Chant and sacred music. At that age they are able more easily to learn to sing, and to modify, if not entirely to overcome, any defects in their voices, which in later years would be quite incurable. Instruction in music and singing must be begun in the elementary, and continued in the higher classes. In this way, those who are about to receive sacred orders, having become gradually experienced in chant, will be able during their theological course quite easily to undertake the higher and “aesthetic” study of plainsong and sacred music, of polyphony and the organ, concerning which the clergy certainly ought to have a thorough knowledge.

    In seminaries, and in other houses of study for the formation of the clergy both secular and regular there should be a frequent and almost daily lecture or practice — however short — in Gregorian Chant and sacred music. ... Thus a more complete education of both branches of the clergy in liturgical music will result in the restoration to its former dignity and splendor of the choral Office, a most important part of divine worship; moreover, the scholae and choirs will be invested again with their ancient glory.

    Those who are responsible for, and engaged in divine worship in basilicas and cathedrals, in collegiate and conventual churches of religious, should use all their endeavors to see that the choral Office is carried out duly — i.e. in accordance with the prescriptions of the Church. And this, not only as regards the precept of reciting the divine Office “worthily, attentive and devoutly”, but also as regards the chant. ...

    ... it should be observed that, according to the ancient discipline of the Church and the constitutions of chapters still in force, all those at least who are bound to office in choir, are obliged to be familiar with Gregorian Chant. ...

    We wish here to recommend, to those whom it may concern, the formation of choirs. These in the course of time came to replace the ancient scholae and were established in the basilicas and greater churches especially for the singing of polyphonic music. Sacred polyphony, We may here remark, is rightly held second only to Gregorian Chant. We are desirous, therefore, that such choirs, as they flourished from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, should now also be created anew and prosper especially in churches where the scale on which the Liturgy is carried out demands a greater number and a more careful selection of singers.

    Choir-schools for boys should be established not only for the greater churches and cathedrals, but also for smaller parish churches. The boys should be taught by the choirmaster to sing properly, so that, in accordance with the ancient custom of the Church, they may sing in the choir with the men, especially as in polyphonic music the highest part, the ..., ought to be sung by boys. Choir-boys, especially in the sixteenth century, have given us masters of polyphony: first and foremost among them, the great Palestrina. ...

    The traditionally appropriate musical instrument of the Church is the organ, which, by reason of its extraordinary grandeur and majesty, has been considered a worthy adjunct to the Liturgy, ... We wish, within the limits prescribed by the Liturgy, to encourage the development of all that concerns the organ; but We cannot but lament the fact that, as in the case of certain types of music which the Church has rightly forbidden in the past, so now attempts are being made to introduce a profane spirit into the Church by modern forms of music; which forms, if they begin to enter in, the Church would likewise be bound to condemn. Let our churches resound with organ-music that gives expression to the majesty of the edifice and breathes the sacredness of the religious rites; in this way will the art both of those who build the organs and of those who play them flourish afresh and render effective service to the sacred liturgy.
    A Mass coram Summo Pontifice at the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, celebrated on the occasion of Pope Pius XII’s proclamation of Ss Catherine of Siena and Francis of Assisi as the Patron Saints of Italy. (Courtesy of the Liturgical Arts Journal, via their Facebook page.)
    In order that the faithful may more actively participate in divine worship, let them be made once more to sing the Gregorian Chant, so far as it belongs to them to take part in it. It is most important that when the faithful assist at the sacred ceremonies, or when pious sodalities take part with the clergy in a procession, they should not be merely detached and silent spectators, but, filled with a deep sense of the beauty of the Liturgy, they should sing alternately with the clergy or the choir, as it is prescribed. If this is done, then it will no longer happen that the people either make no answer at all to the public prayers — whether in the language of the Liturgy or in the vernacular — or at best utter the responses in a low and subdued manner.

    Let the clergy, both secular and regular, under the lead of their bishops and ordinaries devote their energies either directly, or through other trained teachers, to instructing the people in the Liturgy and in music, as being matters closely associated with Christian doctrine. This will be best effected by teaching liturgical chant in schools, pious confraternities and similar associations. Religious communities of men and women should devote particular attention to the achievement of this purpose in the various educational institutions committed to their care....

    We are well aware that the fulfillment of these injunctions will entail great trouble and labor. But do we not all know how many artistic works our forefathers, undaunted by difficulties, have handed down to posterity, imbued as they were with pious zeal and with the spirit of the Liturgy? Nor is this to be wondered at; for anything that is the fruit of the interior life of the Church surpasses even the most perfect works of this world. Let the difficulties of this sacred task, far from deterring, rather stimulate and encourage the bishops of the Church, who, by their universal and unfailing obedience to Our behests, will render to the Sovereign Bishop a service most worthy of their episcopal office.”

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    As was the case the previous two years, the response to our request for photos of Gaudete Sunday liturgies and Rorate Masses has been pretty remarkable, we will definitely make three posts of them, possibly four. If you sent photos in, but don’t see them here, know that they will certainly be posted, and that we are very grateful for your submissions.

    Rose vestments are not just optional, but can only be used twice a year, while Rorate Masses are entirely optional. Once again, we can all take encouragement from this, seeing how many Catholics are not just letting these things drop as unimportant or inessential, but rather, positively encouraging and promoting them as part of our tradition and heritage; not asking “Why was not this vestment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?”, getting up extra early for Mass before sunrise. So thank you all also for your good example - evangelize through beauty!

    Chapel of the Holy Cross at Jesuit High School - Tampa, Florida

    Tradition will always be for the young!

    Igreja de São Nicolau (St Nicolas) - Lisbon, Portugal

    St Gianna Beretta Molla - Northfield, New Jersey

    Our Lady of the Sacred Heart - Cebu, Philippine Islands
    Baptism celebrated before the Mass of Gaudete Sunday

    St Joseph - Richmond, Virginia

    St Joseph - Greifswald, Germany

    St Mary, Star of the Sea - Jackson, Michigan

    Sacred Heart - Albany, New York
    Our Lady of Guadalupe - Clovis, New Mexico
    The church’s first TLM since the reforms.

    St Paul - Cambridge, Massachusetts

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    Ss Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary will hold a conference next May 21-23, entitled “East, West, and Beyond: Enriching One Another’s Liturgical Traditions”, to examine liturgical synthesis in Eastern liturgical theology and practice with other Eastern and Western theological and liturgical traditions, and showcase general cross pollination between Eastern and Western liturgy. The keynote speaker, Dr John Demetracopoulos, is the leading expert on the influence of Latin Scholastic texts on Greek Orthodox writers, including their liturgical commentaries.

    The organizers of the conference are currently inviting proposals for papers; scholars are welcome to explore or analyze (though are not limited to) the following suggested areas of research:
    • Latin or Western influences on Byzantine liturgical rites and praxis
    • Eastern influences on Latin or Western liturgical rites and praxis
    • East-West mutual influences on sacramental theology
    • Byzantine and Oriental interaction and mutual influence (ancient/modern)
    • The use of Latin, Byzantine, Armenian, and Syriac texts outside of their original liturgical family 
    • Methodologies and principles for evaluating adoption of e limine sources from other liturgies 
    • Comparative study of Eucharistic Prayers from East and West
    • Eastern and Western spirituality within the liturgical context
    • Ecology, environment, and cosmos in Eastern and Western liturgy
    For more detailed information, see the website,
    Proposals can be sent to the following email address:

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    Yves Chiron, Annibale Bugnini: Reformer of the LiturgyBrooklyn, NY: Angelico Press, 2018. $26.00/£21.00 cloth (ISBN 978-1-62138-412-0), $17.95/£14.50 paper (ISBN 978-1-62138-411-3). 214 pp. (Amazon USA, UK)

    For readers of New Liturgical Movement who, like me, had previously heard that an English translation of this very important book was in the works, the wait is finally over. What are you waiting for? Go get a copy and read it!

    For everyone else, I hope that the following review spurs you to obtain a copy of Yves Chiron’s Annibale Bugnini: Reformer of the Liturgy. It is a vital contribution to liturgical studies, and one of the best introductions to the history of the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms I have read.

    It may surprise some people to learn that, aside from his own autobiographical works, at the time of writing, this is the only full-length biography of Annibale Bugnini to have ever been published. [1] This timely work of Yves Chiron, which extensively utilises many sources not well-known by most people, therefore fills a large gap in the history of the Church in the 20th century. 

    In Chapter 1, Chiron gives a brief insight into Bugnini’s childhood, then his life as a young priest who was gradually drawn into the liturgical movement of the 1940s. Chiron notes the beginnings of Bugnini’s liturgical experimentation, quite radical for the time, and quotes Bugnini’s own recollections of assisting the priests in charge of a Roman suburban neighbourhood around the year 1943:
    I suddenly wondered: how could I have this people, with their elementary religious instruction, participate in the Mass? Above all, how could I make the children participate? I started out by painting big signboards with the easier responses for the people to say in Latin… Then I did the same with signposts in Italian… I knew that I had found the formula: the people willingly followed the Mass. The “inert and mute” assembly had been transformed into a living and prayerful assembly. (p. 25)
    Chapters 2 and 3 detail encounters that Bugnini had with some of those who he would later collaborate with in the work of liturgical reform, such as Dom Bernard Capelle, O.S.B., Dom Bernard Botte, O.S.B., and Fr Aimé-Georges Martimort, as well as his meetings with organisations such as the French CPL (Centre de pastorale liturgique) and the Italian CAL (Centro di Azione Liturgica). His role in the liturgical reforms of Pope Pius XII, as secretary of the Commissio Piana, is also briefly examined. Chiron proceeds to demonstrate that:
    whereas he [Bugnini] played a decisive role in the preparatory commission and in the Consilium, he did not have a leading role on the Commissio Piana. He was an invaluable worker and rarely intervened in the discussions. He learned and observed much, probably became aware of certain problems, but never exerted a decisive influence. (p. 41)
    In chapters 4, 5 and 6, Chiron looks at some of Bugnini’s initiatives as editor of the journal Ephemerides Liturgicae, his involvement in the various liturgical congresses of the 1950s, and his work as secretary of the Preparatory Liturgical Commission for Vatican II. All of this practical and administrative experience crystallises in the preparation for the Council, in what Chiron terms “the Bugnini method”:
    On the one hand, it [the method] consists in having groups of experts work separately on restricted subjects and having the members vote during very few plenary meetings (the Committee had only three…) On the other hand, it also consists in refraining at the outset from excessively bold proposals [for liturgical reform] that might be rejected at the Council and putting certain questions and reforms off until later… Remittatur quaestio post Concilium (“Let the question be postponed until after the Council”) is a recurring note during the preparation of the preconciliar commission. (p. 81)
    Bugnini’s “first exile” during the Council itself, where, contrary to his own expectations, he was not made secretary of the Conciliar Commission on the Liturgy, and also withdrawn from his position teaching ‘pastoral liturgy’ at the Pontifical Lateran University, is covered as well.

    In chapter 7, Chiron goes into some detail about Bugnini’s “rehabilitation” by Pope Paul VI, and his role as secretary of the Consilium. The chapter covers the period from 1964 to 1967 in some detail, making clear that, along with his almost daily access to the Pope, Bugnini “embodied a perfect mix of know-how and communication skills” (p. 109), which was the driving force behind the breakneck speed the Consilium worked at.

    Chapters 8 and 9 are given over to the reform of the Mass (chapter 8) and some of the other liturgical reforms such as the Divine Office and liturgical music (chapter 9), ending with Bugnini being consecrated titular Archbishop of Diocletiana, and at the height of his influence. 

    In chapters 10 and 11, Chiron briefly details Archbishop Bugnini’s “fall from grace” and his assignment as Apostolic Nuncio in Iran. Chiron does deal with the rumours of Bugnini’s involvement in Freemasonry, but comes to the conclusion that this accusation
    was not the determining factor in Archbishop Bugnini’s dismissal… there was opposition from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, from the International Theological Commission, and from the Secretariat of State… There is also the fact that Paul VI progressively withdrew his trust from Archbishop Bugnini, as Fr [Pierre-Marie] Gy, who knew both men quite well, pointed out no less than thirty years ago. (p. 174)
    Chiron also relates a very interesting detail from Bugnini’s time in Iran, regarding the Society of Saint Pius X and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. In 1976, Bugnini personally suggested that, under certain conditions, the celebration of the traditional Mass might once more be authorised by the Pope (pp. 178-180). In our times, the issue of whether or not the traditional Mass had ever been abrogated has, of course, been definitively settled. Still, it is worth taking note of this surprising intervention from a man whose own, clearly complex motivations regarding the liturgical reform he organised have often been over-simplified by both his critics and his supporters.

    Finally, both a bibliography and index, always very handy things in any book, are provided. 

    Weighing in at around 200 pages, this biography is a veritable tour de force of one of the most controversial figures in the 20th century Catholic Church. As Archbishop Bugnini’s personal papers are evidently still being kept under lock and key by Fr Gottardo Pasqualetti [2], Chiron’s book is not a complete history, but it makes for an excellent starting point for those who are after an objective and fair treatment of one of the key figures in the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms. I should also point out that, as Bugnini’s own memoirs remain only in Italian, and the English translation of his La riforma liturgica remains out of print [3], Chiron’s book is one of the very few English-language works devoted to Bugnini. Many thanks are due to the translator, Dr John Pepino, and Angelico Press for their sterling work in making this wonderful book much more accessible to the English-speaking world.

    In conclusion, I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Annibale Bugnini: Reformer of the Liturgy to not only liturgists and historians, but everyone who is even remotely interested in the Catholic liturgy. Yves Chiron's important contribution to liturgical studies would certainly make a suitable Christmas or Epiphany gift for your parish Priest, or your friends and family—or if you just wanted to treat yourself!


    [1] Though in 2012, on the 30th anniversary of his death, Bugnini's autobiographical memoirs were published as “Liturgiae Cultor et Amator, Servì la Chiesa.” Memorie Autobiografiche (Rome: Edizioni Liturgiche, 2012). As Chiron points out in his preface (p. 10), however, this manuscript, completed in 1977, was clearly written in self-defence, and cannot be relied upon in isolation.

    [2] As noted in Dom Alcuin Reid’s Foreword to Chiron’s book (p. 5). Fr Pasqualetti became one of Bugnini’s closest collaborators, along with Fr Carlo Braga, during the early phases of the Consilium ad exsequendam.

    [3] Namely The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975 (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990), a book that commands pretty high prices on the secondhand book market. I live in hope (but not expectation!) that Liturgical Press will eventually bring this book back into print, with the additions made in the Italian 2nd edition.

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    We continue with your photos of Gaudete Sunday liturgies and Rorate Masses, which are still coming in! Yesterday’s post was mostly the latter, today, we have several more rose-colored vestments. There will be another of these, so once again, if you sent photos in and don’t see them here, they will be included in the next one. Thank you all once again!

    St Francis de Sales - Benedict, Maryland
    Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12

    St Lucy, December 13
    Gaudete Sunday
    Cathedral of St Paul - Birmingham, Alabama
    Rorate Mass celebrated by the rector of the cathedral, Fr Bryan Jerabek, which seems to be the first ever in Birmingham. The photo of the elevation shows nicely how the sun was beginning to rise as the Mass proceeded. (Courtesy of Mary Dillard.)

    St Therese of Lisieux Church, Belfast, Northern Ireland

    St Mary’s Parish - Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Ordinary Form

    Extraordinary Form

    Prince of Peace - Taylors, South Carolina
    This church customarily celebrates the churching of recent mothers on Gaudete Sunday.
    St Mary, Star of the Sea - Jackson, Michigan
    National Shrine of St Alphonsus - Baltimore, Maryland
    Photos by Amy Proctor (

    St Peter - Steubenville, Ohio
    Photo by Allison Girone
    St Patrick - New Orleans, Louisiana
    St Joan of Arc - Oberlin, Louisiana

    St Martin of Tours - Louisville, Kentucky
    Rorate Mass celebrated by the Personal Ordinariate Community of Our Lady and St John

    Oratory of Ss Gregory and Augustine - St Louis, Missouri

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    The Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco will have the Midnight Mass of Christmas at the church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Belmont, California, (on the San Francisco peninsula) located at 1040 Alameda de las Pulgas. The traditional proclamation of the Birth of Christ (the Martyrology entry for Christmas day) will be chanted, followed by a procession with a statue of the Christ Child around the church.

    The Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Manhattan will open at 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, with Confessions starting at 11:00, the Proclamation of the Nativity of the Lord at 11:50, followed by the Midnight Mass in the Extraordinary Form. The Missa in Aurora will be celebrated as a Low Mass at 1:30 a.m., followed by a Mass in English at 9:15, an EF High Mass of Christmas Day at 10:30, and a Mass in Spanish at 11:45. The church is located at 448 East 116th Street.

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    Our third and final post of your photos of Gaudete Sunday liturgies and Rorate Masses; once again, our thanks to all those who sent them in. Our next set of photoposts will be for Christmas and its octave; a reminder will be posted during the coming week.

    St Stephen - Portland, Oregon
    Pontifical Mass celebrated by His Excellency Alexander Sample, Archishop of Portland (Photos couresty of Michelle Ivezic)

    Tradition is for the young!
    St Mary of Perpetual Help - Chiacgo, Illinois

    Kościół NMP na Piasku (Church of Our Lady on the Sand)  - Wrocław, Poland

    Cathedral of St Eugene - Santa Rosa, California
    Rorate Mass


    Gaudete Sunday

    St Augustine of Canterbury (Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter) - San Diego, California
    Mass of Gaudete Sunday, with a Baptism

    St John Vianney Chapel - Maple Hill, Kansas (FSSP)

    St Joseph Chapel - San Antonio, Texas

    Old St Patrick Oratory - Kansas City, Missouri (ICKSP)
    Sacred Heart - Copenhagen, Denmark
    Mass of Ember Saturday, celebrated by candlelight like a Rorate Mass

    Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia - Ciudad Colonial, Santo Domingo. Dominican Republic

    Ecce quam bonum et quam jucundum habitare fratres in unum,
    St Mary’s Parish - Kalamazoo, Michigan


    St Paul - Birkirkara, Malta

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    The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him: to all that call upon him in truth. V. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless thy holy name. (The Gradual of the Fourth Sunday of Advent.)

    Prope est Dóminus ómnibus invocántibus eum: ómnibus, qui ínvocant eum in veritáte. V. Laudem Dómini loquétur os meum: et benedícat omnis caro nomen sanctum ejus.

    The Journey to Bethlehem - mosaic in the Chora Monasstery in Constantinople, 1320 (Public domainimage from Wikipemia Commons)

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    Our next major photopost will be for the liturgies of Christmas, whether in the OF or the EF, or any of the Eastern Rites, Ordinariate Use, etc.; as always, we will also be very glad to include other liturgical ceremonies, such as Prime on Christmas Eve, Vespers, the vigil Masses, and any liturgies celebrated during the Octave. Please send your pictures to, and don’t forget to include the name of the church and its location, and any other information which you think worth noting. Evangelize through beauty!

    From last year’s first Christmas photopost, the church of St Anthony of Padua in Jersey City, New Jersey 
    From the second post, the Gospel book at St Peter Eastern Catholic Church in Ukiah, California 
    From the third post, Mass of the patronal feast day at Holy Innocents in New York City

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    Exactly 200 years ago today, on December 24, 1818, the beloved Christmas carol “Silent Night” (Stille Nacht), with words by the priest Josef Mohr, set to music by organist Franz Xaver Gruber, was given its first performance at St. Nikolaus Parish Church, in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria.

    It may come as a surprise to learn that the original carol featured a guitar accompaniment. The Wyoming Catholic College Choir recorded this version (taken from The New Oxford Book of Carols) on its Christmas in God's Country CD in 2008. One senses immediately the music's kinship with the charming folksongs of the Austrian countryside:

    Partly from affection for the lovely tune, and partly from a desire to give the piece a somewhat darker complexion, I made my own arrangement of it in 2010, for SATB choir, with a double descant on the second verse and an optional flute accompaniment on the third verse. For anyone who might be interested in singing it, I have placed the score (which is contained in my book Sacred Choral Works) at the foot of this article. The following rendition, sung by the St. Mary’s Oratory Choir under the direction of Patrick Burkhart, uses the SATB setting for all three verses, without descant or flute:

    There is an emotional power and spiritual force in certain Advent and Christmas carols that never fades, even as so much else changes in the Church and in the world. “Silent Night” is a particularly fine example: for all its simplicity and even, in a way, its sentimentality, in lands where the carol has taken root Christmas would somehow seem incomplete without it. “Adeste, Fideles” is another such, and many more could be cited.

    In a book called The Ministry of Catechising, which originally appeared in French in 1868 (an English translation appeared in 1890 in London), Bishop Felix Dupanloup recalled memories of his First Communion:

    We were delighted with the hymns. We sung them with all our heart, and gradually, by the sweetness or the energy of the singing, the thoughts and maxims of the faith were grafted in our souls. To say the truth, it was the life of the Catechism. Without the hymns, it would all have been very cold. For me, it was the hymns more than anything which converted me and bound me forever to religion.

    While we know that the Mass itself is not the optimal place for hymns, which belong more correctly in the Divine Office (with the exception of the Gloria and, if one considers it a hymn, the Sanctus), nevertheless there is an important truth to which Dupanloup bears witness: the value of singing together beautiful vernacular religious songs that have the power to shape the senses, imagination, and memory, and through them, to shape the heart and mind.

    We are so blessed with a rich repertoire of famous Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany carols, hymns, and songs, and we should use them abundantly in our homes, in youth groups, in prayer meetings or Adoration, when caroling in the neighborhood, visiting a nursing home or prison, or any other appropriate setting. Let us not surrender the world of sound to secular content, but fill it with joyful singing! It is, in more ways than one, a corporal and spiritual work of mercy.

    Children, especially, deserve to have glowing memories of carols, just as Dupanloup recounts. This is a preaching of the Gospel “before the age of reason,” a preaching to all the powers of the soul, not just to the intellect, which has been excessively emphasized in recent decades. Catechesis begins with the senses and the imagination.

    In their memoirs, the Ratzinger brothers Joseph and Georg recount how their family circle was often enlivened by the sound of singing and instruments, and how their earliest memories are bound up with music and Christian songs. One of these men went on to become an eminent musician and choral director, while the other went on to become Pope Benedict XVI. While I can’t promise that your boys will have such illustrious careers, there is no question that part of the restoration of Catholic culture is a robust culture of family and community singing.

    Visit for information, articles, sacred music, and Os Justi Press.

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    I recently interviewed the accomplished artist and teacher of icon carving, Jonathan Pageau. He is also one of the co-founders of the excellent Orthodox Arts Journal. Some will be aware that he has been gaining an increasingly high profile in social media - it doesn’t do any harm when Jordan Peterson regular retweets you! He has been posting movie reviews and talks on his YouTube channel, and they are gaining interest from a wide and increasing audience that includes many non-Christians and even atheists.

    I wanted to know why.

    What he is doing, he told me, is analyzing the culture, and especially movies, in terms of the symbols of the Christian faith. As an iconographer, he is conversant in traditional symbolism, a field that is called “iconology” (in contrast to “iconography”, the creation of the images.) He explains in the interview that his analyses are based on the premise that traditional Christian symbolism is not arbitrary, but appeals to something that is part of our nature, and which is placed there by God, so that we might have faith and see Him in all that is beautiful and good around us, especially in creation. The interconnectedness of all things forms a network of relationships in the cosmos; this allows us to make the mental leap to grasp the truth that all the created order relates to something greater and uncreated, but invisible, which is, of course, God.

    Christian symbolism powerfully stimulates this facility in us, precisely because it participates in the natural symbolism of creation, perceived at the very least as its beauty.

    Many successful filmmakers use it, often unknowingly and instinctively, to make a connection with their audiences. If he is right (and I think he is) then what he is explaining is something that could be used consciously and, if done well, even more successfully, both to increase viewing figures for films and to evangelize the culture. While it might be possible to do this cynically, the more that it is distorted or used for wrong purposes, the more its power is undermined. It is like a charism; as soon as we try to misuse it, it disappears. The reason that Jonathan’s message resonates with atheist and believer alike is that they recognize the pattern of interconnectivity as something that reflects an underlying truth. Jonathan’s YouTube channel, called The Symbolic World, is here; I encourage you to investigate.

    Two points that will be of interest to NLM readers: he graciously told me that we were the first to feature his work anywhere, and as a result, eight years ago, he obtained a commission from a bishop which was the endorsement that launched his career as an artist. Furthermore, he explained that the inspiration for the Orthodox Arts Journal was the approach to writing about Catholic culture and the liturgy that was being used by the New Liturgical Movement!

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  • 12/25/18--06:36: Merry Christmas!
  • What may we bring Thee, o Christ, since Thou hast appeared upon the earth as man for our sake? For each of the creatures made by Thee bringeth its thanksgiving to Thee: the Angels bring a hymn, the heavens a star, the wise men their gifts, the shepherds their amazement, the earth a cave, the desert a manger; and we, the Virgin Mother. O God before the ages, have mercy on us! (A hymn for Vespers of Christmas in the Byzantine Rite.)

    On behalf of the publisher and writers of New Liturgical Movement, I wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas, and every blessing from the Child that is born unto us! By the prayers of the Holy Mother of God and all the Saints, may God grant the world peace in the coming year.

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  • 12/26/18--06:45: St Stephen the First Martyr
  • The gates of heaven were laid open to Christ’s blessed martyr Stephen, who was the first found in the company of the martyrs; * and therefore he triumpheth crowned in heaven. V. For he was the first to render back to the Savior the death which He deigned to suffer death for us. And therefore he triumpheth crowned in heaven. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. And therefore he triumpheth crowned in heaven. (The eighth responsory of Matins of St Stephen)

    The martyrdom of St Stephen, from the Bedford Hours, ca. 1430
    R. Patefactae sunt januae caeli Christi Martyri beato Stephano, qui in numero Martyrum inventus est primus: * Et ideo triumphat in caelis coronatus. V. Mortem enim, quam Salvator noster dignatus est pro nobis pati, hanc ille primus reddidit Salvatori. Et ideo triumphat in caelis coronatus. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Et ideo triumphat in caelis coronatus.

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    In the Roman Rite, the Gospel of the feast of St Stephen is traditionally St Matthew 23, 34-39, as attested in the very oldest surviving lectionaries.

    “Behold I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you will put to death and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city: That upon you may come all the just blood that hath been shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel the just, even unto the blood of Zacharias the son of Barachias, whom you killed between the temple and the altar. Amen I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not? Behold, your house shall be left to you, desolate. For I say to you, you shall not see me henceforth till you say: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

    This passage was perhaps chosen because of what St Jerome writes about it in his commentary on the Gospel of St Matthew, as read in the Breviary, that among the prophets, wise men and scribes named by Christ, “Stephen was stoned, Paul killed, Peter crucified, and the disciples scourged (as stated) in the Acts of the Apostles.” (Commentary on Matthew, book 4)

    In the Ambrosian liturgy, on the other hand, a completely different passage is used, Matthew 17, 23-26. This is the only Milanese Gospel of the Christmas octave which diverges completely from the Roman lectionary tradition. [1]

    “When they were come to Capharnaum, they that received the didrachmas, came to Peter and said to him: Doth not your master pay the didrachmas? He said: Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying: What is thy opinion, Simon? The kings of the earth, of whom do they receive tribute or custom? of their own children, or of strangers? And he said: Of strangers. Jesus said to him: Then the children are free. But that we may not scandalize them, go to the sea, and cast in a hook: and that fish which shall first come up, take: and when thou hast opened its mouth, thou shalt find a stater: take that, and give it to them for me and thee.”

    The Tribute Money, by Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone (1401-28), better known as Masaccio, 1425; in the Brancacci Chapel of the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence.
    St Hilary of Poitiers (ca. 310-365, bishop ca. 350) interpreted the fish in this episode as a figure of St Stephen, the first to be caught by the hook of St Peter’s preaching, (Commentary on Matthew, cap. 17, 13), who then “preached the glory of God, beholding the Lord Christ in his passion.” St Ambrose, who became bishop of Milan roughly a decade after St Hilary’s death, repeats this interpretation in three different places.

    “Therefore, he cast the nets, and seized hold of Stephen, who was the first to arise from the Gospel, having the stater of justice in his mouth.” (Hexameron, 5, 6, 16)

    “And perhaps this first fish is the first martyr, having the didrachma, that is, the price of the census, in his mouth. Christ is our didrachma. Therefore, the first martyr, Stephen, had in his mouth the treasure, when he spoke of Christ in his passion” (Exposition of the Gospel according to Luke, 4, 75)

    “In this ship, Peter is fishing, and is ordered to fish now with the net, now with a hook. A great mystery! For this seems to be a spiritual fishing, by which he is ordered to cast the hook of teaching into the world, so that he might raise up the first martyr, Stephen, from the sea, who contained the price of Christ within himself; for Christ’s martyr is the Church’s treasure. Therefore, that Martyr who was the first to come up to heaven from the sea, captured as a minister of the altar by Peter, is lifted up not with a net, but with a hook, so that by the stream of his blood he might be lifted up to heaven. And in his mouth was the treasure, when the spoke of Christ in his confession. (On Virginity 120)

    We see, therefore, that St Ambrose was well aware of the tradition that linked this Gospel to the passion of St Stephen. As in many other cases, he bears witness to the earliest stage of the codification of a liturgical tradition, which he receive from his predecessors, and from which he then draws inspiration for his own theological and catechetical reflections. And indeed, this tradition is also attested in the very oldest liturgical books of both the Ambrosian and Gallican rites, although they date from several centuries later.

    In yet another example of the false irenicism so predominant among the post-Conciliar reformers, the traditional Roman Gospel for St Stephen was not just changed on the feast itself, but deleted from the lectionary entirely. When the time comes to reform the liturgy correctly, and fix the innumerable mistakes of this sort which plague the new lectionary, we would do well the follow the example of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, who received what was passed on to them, and faithfully transmitted it to the generations that followed, rather than change liturgical tradition to chase after the approval of the passing age.

    The lighting of the “faro” at the parish church of Santo Stefano Ticino, in Milan earlier today.

    [1] At the three Masses of Christmas, the Ambrosian Rite reads the same Gospels as the Roman, but exchanges the places of those of the Midnight and Day Masses. At the Midnight Mass, the Prologue of St John is shortened to just five verses (9-14), but the complete passage is read at the Mass within the octave on December 31. The Ambrosian Gospel of St Thomas of Canterbury is longer by two verses (John 10, 11-18).

    This article is partly taken from an item written by Nicola de’ Grandi.

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    NLM is pleased to publish this reflection by Canon Aaron B. Huberfeld, Rector of St. Mary’s Oratory in Wausau, Wisconsin.

    When people pursuing the devout life first undertake to deepen their life in the liturgical year, they are often astonished by the feasts they encounter during what is known as the Octave of Christmas (“octave” means “series of eight”, which can also be confusing, since of course we speak of Twelve Days of Christmas — more on that later). No sooner do we conclude the office of Christmas Day than we celebrate the feast of the first Martyr. Why is this so? Does the feast of St Stephen just happen to fall on December 26? Why would the Church turn so quickly from the creche to consider the deacon who was stoned to death after Our Lord's Resurrection? And what about the feasts of the following days? What is their connection with Christmas?

    The first three feasts of the Christmas Octave have been observed since antiquity. They were always devoutly referred to as the Three Companions. We begin with St Stephen, murdered at the direction of Saul of Tarsus, whose conversion we shall celebrate one month later. Stephen was a martyr loquendo et moriendo, by his words and by his death. The next day we return to white vestments, for St John is the only Apostle not celebrated in red. He was the only Apostle who did not abandon his Savior at Calvary, and so God decreed that he should be a martyr loquendo sed non moriendo, by his words but not by his death, for he would be miraculously preserved from his execution and end his life in peace on the island of Patmos. Then on December 28 we celebrate Childermas, the feast of the Holy Innocents, those little ones of Bethlehem who, as we pray in the collect of their Mass, bore witness to Christ non loquendo, sed moriendo, not by their words, but by their deaths, for they were killed by raging Herod on the chance that one of them might be the newborn King.

    Herods are to be found in every age, for sinful rulers always view the kingdom of Christ as a threat to their earthly power. And so on December 29 we keep the feast of Thomas Becket, the holy bishop of Canterbury who upheld the freedom of the Church from the interference of the state and so was cut down by King Henry II’s men during Christmas Vespers.

    On December 30 we take up again the Mass and Office of Christmas, like a beautiful refrain, and then remain in white vestments for the conclusion of the Octave. December 31 is the feast of St Sylvester, celebrated in white because he is the first pope who was not a martyr, bringing the age of martyrs to a close with the peace of Constantine. On this Seventh Day of Christmas, the Church has emerged from the catacombs, and she brings with her the fullness of her sacramental life. She is mindful of the words of her greatest prophet which have been so wondrously fulfilled:
    There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. (Isa. 11, 1-3)
    These seven gifts of the Spirit of God which rest upon the Anointed One are given in turn to all those who are associated with His Passion by their reception of the Seven Sacraments:
    And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand the second time to possess the remnant of his people...And he shall set up a standard unto the nations, and shall assemble the fugitives of Israel, and shall gather together the dispersed of Juda from the four quarters of the earth...And the Lord shall lay waste the tongue of the sea of Egypt, and shall lift up his hand over the river in the strength of his spirit: and he shall strike it in the seven streams, so that men may pass through it in their shoes. (Isa. 11, 11-12, 15)
    The day after, on January 1st, this Son of David will submit to the Old Law by His circumcision—but only to bring the Old Covenant to fulfillment. Twelve days later, on the Octave of the Epiphany, we shall see Him fulfill all righteousness with His baptism in the Jordan. Righteousness comes from the wood of the Cross, at which we draw waters in joy from the seven sacramental founts of our Savior’s pierced Heart. (Isa. 12)

    Why, then, do we not conclude Christmas with its Octave day? Why count “Twelve Days of Christmas”? To find the answer, we must draw from the treasures of the Church’s full liturgical tradition during this season. If we look to the liturgy before the reforms of the mid-twentieth century, we find that the Three Companions have not left the Christ Child. Each in turn takes his bow as we celebrate the Octave days of St Stephen, St John, and Childermas on January 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively. And note the prayer for St Stephen’s Octave, which differs only in its opening words from that of December 26:
    Almighty and eternal God, who hast dedicated the first fruits of the martyrs in the blood of Blessed Stephen the Levite...
    And that of Twelfth Night, Eve of the Epiphany:
    Almighty and eternal God, direct our actions according to thy good pleasure, that in the Name of thy Son we may abound in good works.
    If the first seven days of Christmas bring us the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost, it is the Twelve Days as a whole that allow us to yield His Twelve Fruits in our moral and spiritual lives. (Gal. 5, 22-23, Apoc. 22, 2)

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    The Basilica of Ss Peter and Paul in Chatanooga, Tennessee (diocese of Knoxville), has recently completed a major restoration of its sanctuary, with the installation of three new altars and a reredos, the removal of the red carpeting from the sanctuary and nave, and the restoration of the original hard pine flooring in the nave. The Blessed Sacrament has been returned to the center of the church, behind the main altar; a new tabernacle will soon be installed. The traditional altar rail will also soon be put back. Here is an overview of the various changes made to the sanctuary over the years (click to enlarge):
    A closer view of the sanctuary before the most recent restoration.
    The project as it currently stands.
    A plan for the completed restoration, with the upcoming installation of the altar rail.

    All the altars have been replaced with newly carved wooden bases; the marble tops from the 1930s were retained in all but the new main altar. The stone for the new main altar, a beautiful blue sandstone, was quarried locally, in Morgan County, Tenn.; it now contains the original altar stone from the 1890 altar, with relics of Ss Peter and Paul within it. The electrical and lighting systems were upgraded, highlighting the beautiful artwork in the sanctuary and nave. During the renovation process, two historical alcoves were discovered behind walls in the vestibules. They have since been uncovered and restored to their former beauty. A restoration of the church’s pipe organ is due to be completed by Easter, with 122 additional pipes to form the two final ranks of its original design, the trompettes and clarinets.

    On Sunday, December 23rd, His Excellency Richard Stika, Bishop of Knoxville consecrated the new altar of renovated sanctuary. The Mass was sung by a combined choir from the English- and Spanish-speaking communities of the parish, including the youth schola, with Gregorian chant and polyphony, in keeping with the Basilica’s mission of preserving the traditional elements of Catholic worship. (Photos by Christina Bankson, reproduced by permission.)

    Members of the altar-guild wipe the oil off the newly-consecrated altar and cover it with the cloths.

    The vigil Mass of Christmas in the renovated basilica.

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  • 12/27/18--20:51: St John the Evangelist 2018
  • This is John, who at the supper rested upon the breast of the Lord; * blessed is the Apostle, to whom the secrets of heaven were revealed. V. He drank in the running waters of the Gospel directly from sacred fountain of the Lord’s breast. Blessed is the Apostle, to whom the secrets of heaven were revealed. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Blessed is the Apostle, to whom the secrets of heaven were revealed. (The eighth responsory of Matins of St John)

    St John on the island of Patmos, by the Flemish painters Tobias Verhaecht (1561-1631) and Gillis Coignet (1542-99), 1598; now in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.
    R. Iste est Joannes, qui supra pectus Domini in cena recubuit: * Beatus Apostolus, cui revelata sunt secreta caelestia. V. Fluenta Evangelii de ipso sacro Dominici pectoris fonte potavit. Beatus Apostolus, cui revelata sunt secreta caelestia. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Beatus Apostolus, cui revelata sunt secreta caelestia.

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