Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I had not thought that having a permanent Adoration Chapel in our own parish would be any different from our weekly Adoration. But when I settled in for my holy hour and looked at the monstrance, I realized that I could visit Our Lord throughout the week whenever I needed or wanted to. My heart felt like it would burst with joy unspeakable.

The past week was especially difficult with funerals and attacks which came from the enemy. There was a peace that overcame me in that hour and all the words which were waiting to flow out in supplication were stilled.

The thought that came to mind was this:
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple...Thou hast said, "Seek ye my face." My heart says to thee, "Thy face, Lord, do I seek." Hide not thy face from me.~Psalm 27
And there was Our Lord. I felt an immense warmth surround me. And I wept. It's hard to put into words what it is like to be in a permanent place to adore Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament.

The words of O Sacrum Convivium come to mind:
O sacrum convivium! in quo Christus sumitur: recolitur memoria passionis ejus: mens impletur gratia: et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur. Alleluia.

O sacred banquet! in which Christ is received, the memory of his Passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory to us is given. Alleluia.
Christ's humility in giving himself as our Sacred Food continues in that place called the Adoration Chapel. I was on my face literally because what other thing could I give in return. It felt right to be prostrate in front of the Blessed Sacrament, no feelings of self-consciousness. I understood how little I am and I was consumed with utter love.

Media's Election Bias

~Well, d'oh. From ABC News by Michael epiphany
The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game -- with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun -- for the first time in my adult life -- to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was "a writer," because I couldn't bring myself to admit to a stranger that I'm a journalist....

...Now, of course, there's always been bias in the media. Human beings are biased, so the work they do, including reporting, is inevitably colored. Hell, I can show you 10 different ways to color variations of the word "said" -- muttered, shouted, announced, reluctantly replied, responded, etc. -- to influence the way a reader will comprehend exactly the same quote. We all learn that in Reporting 101, or at least in the first few weeks working in a newsroom.

But what we are also supposed to learn during that same apprenticeship is to recognize the dangerous power of that technique, and many others, and develop built-in alarms against them.

But even more important, we are also supposed to be taught that even though there is no such thing as pure, Platonic objectivity in reporting, we are to spend our careers struggling to approach that ideal as closely as possible.

That means constantly challenging our own prejudices, systematically presenting opposing views and never, ever burying stories that contradict our own world views or challenge people or institutions we admire. If we can't achieve Olympian detachment, than at least we can recognize human frailty -- especially in ourselves.
Read more

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hearts of stone

...must be or else why keep insisting this is just a blob of tissue? An economic burden? An inconvenience? A woman's choice? (To which I ask, what choice exactly?)

A baby at 8 weeks. Just about the same stage as most of the women whom I see go into "abortion clinics" for a "procedure".

How do people who have to "count parts" in abortuaries to make sure that "it's all there" shut out the images?

48 million of these small, defenceless, voiceless babies. Dying at the altar of convenience, the Rite of Choice. Imagine this statement:
"The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do."
Oh, wait, I don't have to imagine it. It's on the record.

What FOCA will do:

This bill would effectively cancel every state, federal, and local regulation of abortion, no matter how modest or reasonable. It would even, according to the National Organization of Women, abolish all state restrictions on government funding for abortions. If Obama becomes president and lives up to this promise, then everyone who pays income tax will be paying an abortionist to perform an abortion. (source: David Feddoso).

Furthermore, said candidate promises:
* to abolish state laws that protect doctors and nurses from losing their jobs if they refuse to participate in abortions
* to abolish requirements for parental notification and informed consent for mothers who consider the procedure
I was speaking with a friend this weekend whose sister worked for an abortuary. My friend asked her what happens when one is delivered alive? Her sister said, "Oh, we just leave it on the counter to kick until it stops."

Still, I hear Catholics say there is a larger picture out there. The economy is more important. And, please, Argent, get real. This one-track mind is so tiresome. We've got to get the economy and universal health care in place.

Health care? So the justification for voting thus is health care. What an irony.

One Ring to Rule Them All

~from First Things by Kurt Luchs: Frodo in a World of Boromirs
It is no longer shameful to lust after power so long as one lusts for the good of the people. In the words of Boromir, speaking of the One Ring, “For you seem to think of its power only in the hands of the enemy: of its evil uses not of its good.” The only rejoinder, in Frodo’s words to Boromir, is that “we cannot use it, and what is done with it turns to evil.” Yes, it’s that simple. And as you ascend the levels of authority, from city to state to nation, it only becomes more true.

There are several reasons. One, already alluded to, is the corruption of power. No matter for what noble ends power may be sought, at some point it always becomes an end in itself, and then the jig is up . . . but the power and its abuses live on. This is why even the most flagrantly failed government programs are nearly impossible to kill...

...Still, some might counter, our modern world is so much more complex than the ones the early Christians or America’s founders inhabited. Surely the unique challenges of these complicated times require more government mediation? Actually, no. And modern science helps explain why. Complexity theory teaches that as systems become more complex, they become more inherently unpredictable and uncontrollable. Happily, they also become self-organizing. But complex systems like economies are extremely sensitive to initial conditions. Because control is not a realistic option, all government can or should do is set and enforce some of those initial conditions, or ground rules, not try to predetermine outcomes. Discouraging fraud at the outset is possible. Achieving fairness on some glorious tomorrow (in other words, by incentivizing or even forcing banks to make bad loans to the underprivileged until the nation is bankrupt) is not.

One final point: The Bible often tells us to pray for our leaders, and to pray for our enemies. But where does it ever say that those are two separate prayers? Recall that one leader the early Church was called to pray for was their own persecutor, the sadistic and mentally unstable Nero, who “fiddled while Rome burned” and eventually did everyone a huge favor by committing suicide. If only all politicians passed such accurate judgment upon themselves.

The pull of liberty is strong, but only for those who know it and treasure it. After decades of public education designed more to produce compliant subjects and beneficiaries than thinking, self-reliant citizens, there are precious few among us who can even articulate, let alone defend, the principles for which our founders bled and died. There are far more (and especially the well-meaning religious) who say, as Gandalf says of the One Ring, “Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good.” In their pity and all too sincere desire to do good, they do not see the end of that road as Gandalf does: “With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.”

Is there hope? Yes. There is always hope. Whatever its imperfections and excesses and absurdities, liberty is always better than coercion. Sooner or later this always seems to become apparent. When it does, men and women ready to take a stand for liberty always seem to spring from the earth. Perhaps that moment is again near. If so, it will not be the last. There is no final battle for liberty in a fallen world. As Tolkien reminds us (again in the words of Gandalf), “Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gregorian Chant Organ Accompaniment

~Jeff Ostrowski of Chabanel Psalms, an associate ministry of Corpus Christi Watershed, brings to us the Nova Organi Harmonia. It is an eight-volume series that includes propers of the time, propers of the saints, common of the saints, and Kyriale and Missa pro defunctis.

This is a wonderful gift to the Church as the downloads are free. Please consider making a donation to help with future projects. Those of us who are privileged to play for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass greatly appreciate these treasures being unearthed to help us in providing for a more beautiful celebration of the Mass. Thanks to Corpus Christi Watershed for their commitment to Beauty in the sacred art.

Miserere Nostri by Thomas Tallis

Wasting Time is the designated time-waster day. Occasionally, especially after weeks of relentless work (working until past midnight every night after working 12-hour workdays, qualifies, no?) it's good to do something that qualifies as nothing particularly productive.

....for example, spending the day catching up with Facebook friends...and creating fluff like Flair buttons:

A dear friend lovingly called me a Eucharistic Procession junkie. I'll accept that.

From the monstrance on display at Sant'Andrea in Amalfi, Italy. Why is it behind glass?

I promised a friend that I'd create a new header for his new 'blog digs. So maybe today won't be such a time waster after all.

Music to soothe

St. Mary's, Norwalk

Load the page and the music automatically begins.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Father is back from his pilgrimage. The afternoon of his return, I was up in the choir loft practicing on the organ when I heard his characteristic footfall. I turned from the console to look over the loft rail and he waved at me saying softly, "Mass at 4:45." Then he turned back toward the altar, genuflected, and knelt to pray. There was no need for effusive greetings. That was all the greeting that I desired.

Practice time was over, but I didn't mind. Mass was in the traditional form that afternoon. All the stewing and fuming that I had done over Father Hip melted away as he began with the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar...."Introibo ad altare Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam."

The weekend Masses were particularly poignant as an era has ended in our parish and a new one has begun. All-day Friday Adoration has ended to be superseded by our Adoration Chapel. After the Vigil Mass on Saturday, a Eucharistic Procession took place around our church block. The torrential rain had just ended. Father and I had had no time to plan it, but since the Family Schola was the choir, Latin hymns were naturally sung. The boys' strong baritone voices and sure Latin accompanied Jesus as he was processed in the monstrance held aloft by Father, a canopy protecting them both from the mist and stray raindrops.

The dogs in the neighborhood were unusually quiet as the boys chanted "O salutaris hostia...."

As the procession ended back in the church, the boys chanted "Adoro te devote", the incense smoke was heavy. One of the boys' friends was the thurifer facing Jesus at all times walking backwards and sending up billows of smoke with each swing of the thurible. A phalanx of altar boys in their cassocks and surplices walked in solemn pace. It was an unforgettable weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bless me, Father, for others have sinned

...In the fast-track RCIA class (those who have lived active Christian lives and have seriously studied the Catholic Faith before joining RCIA and have different needs than those who've not been catechized or baptized. No, they don't have to go through a whole year of RCIA.), we have been talking about the Sacrament of Confession, aka Reconciliation (curiously, I can't seem to call it that...hmmmm..."reconciliation rooms" blech! I digress). In another parish, I actually got into trouble for giving a comprehensive examination of conscience to the class ("I don't want to have to sit there with every person and have to listen to three hours of their confession," said the priest.) But in my new parish, you can't avoid it as there's a stack of the same publication on the lectern in the center of the vestibule on Saturdays.

In First Things
, here's Amanda Shaw talking about a curious development in confessions:
I’ve heard priests remark about the disconcerting tendency of penitents to confess other people’s sins. “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My spouse got angry because I misplaced the car keys . . . ” Then, there’s our curious compulsion to confess offenses that are long past–the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Columbus and Cortez. It’s a way of acknowledging the sins of our heritage, atoning for the atrocities of our unenlightened ancestors.

And yet, like the words of the finger-pointing penitent, there’s something decidedly imperfect about these comfortably distanced acts of contrition. “False Apology Syndrome,” Theodore Dalrymple calls it in the Templeton Foundation’s In Character journal. Under the guise of assuming the guilt of the past, it sets the righteous present apart in self-congratulatory humility:
Read more.


...from Jezebel why Sarah Palin causes heads to explode with incoherent rage.
And the question now is why? Why does this particular pitbull in lipstick infuriate — and scare us — so viscerally? Why does her very existence make us feel — and act — so ugly? New York Times columnist Judith Warner calls Palin's nomination a "thoroughgoing humiliation for America’s women," because "Palin’s not intimidating, and makes it clear that she’s subordinate to a great man." Palin, who obviously is incredibly ambitious, masks that ambition behind her PTA placard and "folksy" talk. In the oft-replayed tape from earlier this summer, when asked about the Vice Presidency, Palin notoriously said, '“I’m used to bein’ very productive and workin’ real hard in an administration and we want to make sure that that ‘V.P.’ slot would be a fruitful type of position.”

I think what Ms. Warner is dancing around, but not saying outright, is that for a certain kind of feminist, Palin is a symbol for everything we hoped was not true in the world anymore. We hoped that we didn't have to hide our ambition or pretend that our goals were effortlessly achieved ("I never really set out to be in public affairs, much less to run for this office," the Governor has said.) We hoped that we could be mothers without having our motherhood be our defining characteristic, as it seems to be for Palin. We hoped that we did not have to be perfect beauty queens to get to where we wanted to be in life, that our looks, good or bad, wouldn't matter. Whether or not you think it's appropriate to comment on Palin's appearance, the fact of her attractiveness exists, and is being used to her advantage by Republican sloganeers ("the hottest Governor in the coldest state," et. al).

Keith Olbermann called Sarah Palin "Tracy Flick" after her speech on Wednesday, and I think that's not a perfect parallel. Tracy, while completely ruthless (as Palin has shown herself to be so far with that nasty community organizer comment), never hid her ambition behind a polished veneer — it was as plain as the bows in her hair. No, I think the correct high school stereotype is of the homecoming queen. For many of us looking back at high school, we can now feel a smug superiority towards the homecoming queen. Sure, she was pretty and popular in high school, catering to the whims of boys and cheering on their hockey games, but what happened to her after high school? Often, she popped out some kids and ended up toiling in some not particularly impressive job. We can look back and say, we might have been ambitious nerds in high school, but it ultimately paid off. What's infuriating, and perhaps rage-inducing, about Palin, is that she has always embodied that perfectly pleasing female archetype, playing by the boys' game with her big guns and moose-murdering, and that she keeps being rewarded for it. Our schadenfreude for the homecoming queen's mediocrity has turned into white hot anger at her continued dominance.
Who's mediocre here? The premise that these women are normally normal is one which I disagree with. Anyone who touts "choice", that is the tearing of babies from limb to limb all in the name of sovereignty over one's body, is not normal. Still this post had a moment of clarity in recognizing the intense jealousy toward a real woman who is not afraid of being a woman.

Convert or Flee

~from The New York Times.
“ ‘Embrace Hinduism, and your house will not be demolished,’ ” Mr. Digal recalled being told on that Wednesday afternoon in September. “ ‘Otherwise, you will be killed, or you will be thrown out of the village.’ ”

India, the world’s most populous democracy and officially a secular nation, is today haunted by a stark assault on one of its fundamental freedoms. Here in eastern Orissa State, riven by six weeks of religious clashes, Christian families like the Digals say they are being forced to abandon their faith in exchange for their safety.

The forced conversions come amid widening attacks on Christians here and in at least five other states across the country, as India prepares for national elections next spring.

The clash of faiths has cut a wide swath of panic and destruction through these once quiet hamlets fed by paddy fields and jackfruit trees. Here in Kandhamal, the district that has seen the greatest violence, more than 30 people have been killed, 3,000 homes burned and over 130 churches destroyed, including the tin-roofed Baptist prayer hall where the Digals worshiped. Today it is a heap of rubble on an empty field, where cows blithely graze.

Across this ghastly terrain lie the singed remains of mud-and-thatch homes. Christian-owned businesses have been systematically attacked. Orange flags (orange is the sacred color of Hinduism) flutter triumphantly above the rooftops of houses and storefronts.
Read the rest of the article. And pray for our brothers and sisters in the faith who are persecuted.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wacky Episcopalians

...via Midwest Conservative Journal. Remember the motto "No Creed but Christ"?....Here's the latest permutation courtesy of Episcopagans. They earn that name. Seriously.
From Letters to the Editor:

The Rev. John Beverley Butcher ("Creeds are lacking") is not alone in sensing the creed's complete exclusion of Jesus' life and ministry, mentioning only his birth and death and nothing in between. In the flow of the liturgy, Scripture, passing the peace, prayers of the people, the sermon and the Eucharist, Jesus Christ's ministry and gospel are present. The creed, instituted by Roman decree more than three centuries after the Resurrection, leaves out both entirely. The Council of Nicea's purpose was to institutionalize Roman power and authority.
We are Episcopalians and have been open to the Holy Spirit to help us in the evolution of our worship from the beginning. In the Nag Hammadi discoveries, we are now fortunate to have the gospels of Thomas, Philip and Mary Magdalene to read. None of the four original Gospels nor these new findings contain the creed.

Women also have sensed the irony of referring to the Holy Spirit as "he" when it is a feminine word in both Hebrew and Greek and would best be translated as "she." Patriarchal language is problematic in a church with a woman presiding bishop.
The Council of Nicea was hegemonic, got that? So you thought it was in answer to some heresy, boy, are you behind the times. More...
Grateful thanks to the Rev. John B. Butcher's ("Creeds Are Lacking" comments. The creeds are metaphysical abstract statements, probably relevant in the fourth century to philosophical arguing, but not understandable for Christian living or to anything Jesus lived and taught. What really does any of that speculative conjecture loved by theologians mean to the average person, those to whom Jesus ministered then and now?

If the creeds are sacrosanct and cannot be replaced, could an alternative be given as an option? Jesus' summary of the law to love God and love your neighbor is mentioned several times in Scripture, the Old and New Testaments. Why isn't that our creed, easily understood and a guide for living? It also seems to me to be truly the Great Commission from Jesus, not Matthew 28:19, which is mentioned only once and never was called the great commission by Jesus; that probably was the label put on by some Bible scholar when the Bible was able to be printed.
Truly, I'm dazzled by such deep theological thinking. Just in case you were interested in what spurred such incisive treatises, take note:
Perhaps you have noticed that the creeds speak of the birth of Jesus and then of his death. There is no mention of the life of Jesus, no mention of the teachings of Jesus, no mention of the healing power of Jesus.

The heart of the gospel is missing. The creeds are defective and need to be taken out of service. Instead, let us proclaim clearly the gospel of the Resurrected Jesus, "The seed of true humanity is within you. Follow it!" Gospel of Mary (Magdalene) 4:5.

The Rev. John Beverley Butcher
Pescadero, California
Gospel of Mary know, trumps all of Scripture handed down to us by the patriarchal, power-hungry, and oppressive Catholic Church so we have a right to claim our own authority. Follow it!

Field trip

Just lovely. Words fail me.

Rallying the Poncho Ladies?

~from The Wall Street Journal. Were you scandalized by what Fr. Hesburgh said in such a casual way? I'm just now catching up on the news and there is nothing that gets me in a caffeine-like psychosis than the subject of the women and Holy Orders. This from the former president of Notre Dame University Read:
Is the lack of leadership why the Church ended up in the priests' scandal?

Father Hesburgh: Everything is part of an organic whole, and the scandal is one aspect. I wouldn't want to be personally buffaloed about whether there was a scandal, because there is no question there was. The answer is to find a different caliber of training and of selection and of inspiration of young men going into priesthood. And I think, more and more, women have to be involved in this, and I suspect that in the long run, married people are going to be a lot more involved in this whole problem than we have today.

It has to evolve over time. I have no problem with females or married people as priests, but I realize that the majority of the leadership in the Church would. But what's important is that people get the sacraments.
You have to remember, there were married priests, even married popes, in the first 1,000 years of the church.
*slaps forehead* He has no problem but the majority of the leadership does. Well, they're just positively medieval, eh? The question beforehand was about whether the Church had any leaders at present like Archbishop Fulton Sheen and Father Drinan. Fr. Hesburgh said:
I think somehow, either in the educational system for clergy or in the kind of people we attract to the clergy, we are going to have to take a very close look at that, because whatever we're doing, let's say it's not working...The number of Catholic clergymen is going down, and the same is probably true of many other churches. It's one of the key problems that exists in our country, and we ought to find a way of getting at that problem.

The Catholic Church, like any other human organization, depends on leadership, and leadership depends on performance. If you look for leaders in a given group and you don't find them, something is wrong.
Performance? Where's the Holy Spirit here, prayers for vocations, holy priests, virtues, discipline? Oh, I forgot, that's the old ecclesiology. I'm sure Sister Joan is just crowing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Father Hip

Yesterday, we had a visiting priest whom I shall dub Father "Good-morning-VietNam!- How-many-here-want-to-get-to-heaven-raise-your-hand!!". Hoot, hoot, hoot. "What, those of you who didn't raise your hands, are you waiting for a better offer?" After a five-minute monologue, Father Hip decided to finally begin Mass, "In the name of the Father...."

Father "It's all about me" went on and on in his homily, "Work with me here, people." And wow, look at the time! So consecration was rushed. But by golly, everyone thought the homily was funny (a regular laugh-in, yuk, yuk) and the normally well-disciplined congregation filed out of church with hardly a genuflection and noise level to rival Walmart on a Friday night after payday.

During the postlude, I pushed the crescendo pedal waaaaay up to drown out the noise. Did people get it? No, they merely talked even louder.

My normally tranquil weekends were spent in the near occasion of sin, thinking evil thoughts and indulging in a bit of mimicking of Father Hip.

Amazing how one "with-it" priest can undo so much of the work of reverence during Mass as this priest did. When our pastor returns from pilgrimage, I will tell him that he's not allowed to be away any more.

That's confessional time for me when he returns.

Taking the day off

...the last couple of months have been non-stop stress. So, today, I'm wishing to be in Tuscany. But since that's not going to happen until next summer, here's Andrea Boccelli singing Resta Qui

I do have a romantic bone in my body...shhhhh.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Lord of History

It's so easy to fall into despair when one sees the world around assisted by the media that is hell-bent on the destruction of virtues and the redefinition of what virtues are. Up is down, down is up, right is wrong, wrong is right. What do we base our Christian hope on as we live out the historicity of the moment?

From Cardinal Danielou's The Lord of History, it's good to wake up each morning and affirm this:
In the Epistle to the Hebrews, Christ is said to have entered once into the holy place, that is, when he ascended into God's heaven: something was then irrevocably gained. Nothing can ever again divide human nature from the Divinity; there is no possibility of relapse; mankind is essentially saved. All that remains is that business of extednign to the individual members of the species that which has been secured for all humanity. The event, then, has finally effected a qualitative change at a given moment in time, so that things can never be the same again...It is this belief in the irreversibility of salvation that gives rise to the Christian virtue of hope...the end of history has already taken place, because the Incarnation and the Ascension of Christ fulfill its purpose...

...The Christian mission is what gives substance and consistency to the history of our era. It is the intrinsic reality underlying the phenomena of secular history. It means the progressive building-up in love of the incorruptible body of Christ which shall go through the fire of judgement. Being the work of the Holy Ghost, the mission continues the mighty works, the mirabilia Dei, recorded in the two Testaments: the chosen people were brought out of Egypt, Christ was brought back from the dead, in the power of the self-same Spirit through whom the souls of men are saved in baptism...

...[T]he interaction of sacred and secular history is an established fact. The Christian outlook embraces the whole field of historical reality. St. Irenaeus, in primitive times, saw that universal history was all part of the Divine dispensation...

We should meditate on the mysteries of salvation

~by St. Bernard

The child to be born of you will be called holy, the Son of God, the fountain of wisdom, the Word of the Father on high. Through you, blessed Virgin, this Word will become flesh, so that even though, as he says: I am in the Father and the Father is in me, it is still true for him to say: “I came forth from God and am here”.

In the beginning was the Word. The spring was gushing forth, yet still within himself. Indeed, the Word was with God, truly dwelling in inaccessible light. And the Lord said from the beginning: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. Yet your thought was locked within you, and whatever you thought, we did not know; for who knew the mind of the Lord, or who was his counsellor?

And so the idea of peace came down to do the work of peace: The Word was made flesh and even now dwells among us. It is by faith that he dwells in our hearts, in our memory, our intellect and penetrates even into our imagination. What concept could man have of God if he did not first fashion an image of him in his heart? By nature incomprehensible and inaccessible, he was invisible and unthinkable, but now he wished to be understood, to be seen and thought of.

But how, you ask, was this done? He lay in a manger and rested on a virgin’s breast, preached on a mountain, and spent the night in prayer. He hung on a cross, grew pale in death, and roamed free among the dead and ruled over those in hell. He rose again on the third day, and showed the apostles the wounds of the nails, the signs of victory; and finally in their presence he ascended to the sanctuary of heaven.

How can we not contemplate this story in truth, piety and holiness? Whatever of all this I consider, it is God I am considering; in all this he is my God. I have said it is wise to meditate on these truths, and I have thought it right to recall the abundant sweetness, given by the fruits of this priestly root; and Mary, drawing abundantly from heaven, has caused this sweetness to overflow for us.

Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

The original title of the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary. On Sunday 7 October 1571 combined Christian fleets under Don John of Austria achieved a significant naval victory over the Turks in the Straits of Lepanto. Thousands of Christians were liberated, the Turkish fleet was destroyed, and they suffered their first great defeat at sea. In gratitude to God and Our Lady, Pope Saint Pius V ordered an annual commemoration to be made of Our Lady of Victory. Pope Gregory XIII transferred the feast to the first Sunday of October with the title Most Holy Rosary since it victory was won through invocation of Our Lady of the Rosary In the reform of the liturgy the feast was returned to its original day.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The staggering statistic

Last Friday night, my husband and I went to our diocesan benefit for the pro-life agencies: Birthchoice, Gabriel Project, Family Honor, and Project Rachel. Their combined annual budget is minuscule compared to the behemoth of Planned Parenthood.

Our guest speaker was Fr. Scott Newman of St. Mary's in Greenville, South Carolina. To put the abstract number of nearly 48 million babies aborted since Roe v Wade he said this: Take the deaths of September 11th. You would need a September 11th every day for the next 43 years to equal the present numbers.

Stop and pray where you are for an end to the slaughter.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Closing Mass for the Youth Retreat

Last Sunday's Closing Mass. All the Propers were in place.

Processional hymn: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven
Introit (while altar is censed): (Tone VII) At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and of things in earth and things under the earth: for that the Lord became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross: wherefore Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Gloria from Missa de Angelis
Psalm (from Chabanel Psalms)
Alleluia: Mode VI
Gospel Verse: (Tone VIII) My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. (Gospel book is censed)
Offertory Antiphon: (Tone III) By the streams of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.
Offertory hymn: The King of Love My Shepherd Is
Preface chanted
Sanctus XVIII
Memorial from 1974 Sacramentary
Our Father chanted
Agnus Dei XVIII
Communion Antiphon: (Tone VII) This is how we know what love is: Christ gave up his life for us; and we too must give up our lives for our brothers.
Communion hymns: Lord of All Hopefulness (Slane); I Come with Joy to Meet My Lord (Land of Rest); Ubi Caritas; Adoro te devote; Ave Verum Corpus
Post-communion prayer chanted
Post-communion hymn: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

As a clarification, my responsibility was for the liturgical music. Other music segments were done by our house band. I know that some attendees were not necessarily comfortable with this kind of liturgical music. I liked how we did not feel like we had to go into a long discourse about why we chose what we chose. We simply let the Mass be its glorious transcendent self, as solemn as we could make it. The schola was a real pleasure to work with, young as they are, they gave witness to the timelessness of the Mass. Its relevance lies in our salvation, not the emotions that it evokes in us. It was beautiful to see young women scattered here and there wearing chapel veils. Do you know how powerful that is? Anyway, I'm still reflecting on all the graces that flowed during the weekend...and yes, it rained on our Eucharistic Procession, a gentle, warm rain. Two lines of youth shielding their candlelight from the rain as the Bishop held Christ in the monstrance aloft under the canopy. The moment the monstrance was laid on the altar in the new Perpetual Adoration Chapel, the rain stopped.

TLM Wedding excerpt from the movie True Confessions. Thanks to Msgr. Charles Pope of St. Cyprian Church, Washington, DC for sending the link:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


.....I'm still recovering from the weekend youth retreat. I came home to several crises, so instead of taking the day off on Monday, the tyranny of the urgent reigned. Today, I am resolved to try to catch up with ordinary life, whatever that means, checking e-mails and staying away from news channels which all seem to deliver dire news that the world is about to end. Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus!

Anyway, I thought I'd post what the music was for the Masses at the retreat. It was lovely to be able to plan it without any conflict. We all seemed to be one in mind and spirit and the schola was very easygoing. They'd remind me that I had forgotten to give them an Alleluia Verse, so I'd hurriedly scribble one using Tone IV or V.

To reiterate, the organizers were firm about the Mass music being as traditional as we could make it and the liturgy to be as solemn as it could be done. Which meant bells, incense, chant, organ music, and no EHMCs. Well, with all those priests, both religious and diocesan there, we had no need for them. I'm sure the heavy inundation of Latin caused a great deal of consternation. But we all knew that this retreat was one of those rare occasions that the youth would ever encounter a solemn Mass. We pulled out all the stops.

Friday's Mass:

Processional hymn: Alleluia, Sing to Jesus (Hyfrydol)
Kyrie from Missa de angelis
Gloria from Missa de angelis
Psalm Responsory: Blessed be the Lord, my Rock (Tone III)
Alleluia: Mode II
Offertory hymn: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
Preface chanted
Sanctus from Missa de angelis
Memorial Acclamation: chanted, 1974 Sacramentary
Pater Noster chanted
Agnus Dei from Missa de angelis
Communion hymns: Pange lingua gloriosi; Adoro te devote; Jesus, Jesus, Come to Me (St. Gregory hymnal); Salve Regina
Recessional hymn: What Wondrous Love is This

Nothing earth shattering.