Friday, July 31, 2009

Christmas gift idea

~from The Guardian. For all you early Christmas shoppers, here's a unique gift!
Geffen Records, whose roster of stars has included Guns n' Roses, Elton John, Donna Summer and Snoop Dogg, yesterday announced that it had signed a new artist: Pope Benedict XVI.

Rather disappointingly, the pope's album will not be cover versions – Summer's Heaven Knows, perhaps, or Dogg's Neva Have 2 Worry. It will, though, feature a singing pope for the first time on CD. His holiness will be singing a Marian prayer as well as speaking Lauretan Litanies in different languages – Italian, Portuguese, French and German – accompanied by eight original pieces of modern classical music. The album is called Alma Mater and will be released in time for the Christmas rush on 30 November. Some proceeds from sales will be used to provide musical education for underprivileged children across the world.

Details of the new compositions, by three as yet unnamed composers, will be announced at the Vatican in September. No names have been revealed although it is understood they are English, Italian and north African and not all are Catholic. What is known so far is that the pieces have been recorded this week by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road studios in London.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Missa Solemnis

Feast of the Transfiguration
August 6, 2009, 7 PM
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Rocky Mount, NC

Feast of the Assumption
August 15, 2009, 12 PM
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Dunn, NC

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Why is it that when I organize my desk, I can't seem to find anything afterwards?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Papal Picture of the Day

Look, it's a hovercraft!

Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges faithful after a Vesper prayer at the Aosta's Cathedral, northern Italy, Friday, July 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Worship Aids, Catholic Style

In response to a previous post on a local firm making worship films to aid worship services, here are some worship aids, Catholic style from my own photo library.

Apse, Basilica of San Clemente, Rome (my favorite non-patriarchal basilica). Ponder that! This is my computer wallpaper and it never loses its freshness. It was dark in the nave, so the ISO setting was high. I didn't have a tripod because a lot of the churches in Rome forbade tripods. A tube of lipstick came to my aid.

Apse, Santa Maria in Trastevere. Simply beautiful. Tube of lipstick again came in handy.

Mitre, Cathedral of Sant'Andrea, Amalfi, Italy (where St. Andrew is buried)

Chalice, Sant'Andrea, Amalfi

Incense boat, (get the pun?), Burgos Cathedral, Castile y León, Spain

Rose Window, León Cathedral, Castile y León, Spain

Side altar, Cathédral Notre-Dame des Doms, Avignon, France

Retablo, Mayor Capilla, Burgos Cathedral, Spain.

Melrose Abbey, Melrose, Scotland. Ruin of Cistercian Abbey founded by King David I. Greatly defaced during the ReDeformation

There's a lot more, but you get the idea. But I'm sure all this just goes to prove that Catholics are idolaters. (NOT!)


Many congratulations to Fr. Tim Finigan on his Silver Jubilee of his ordination! Ad multos annos, Fr. Finigan! Visit The Hermeneutic of Continuity and give him your congratulations!

Patriotic Americans

~From The Anchoress.

Related post: Propa-Bama-Ganda

Worship Aids

...from the local paper. Here's a story about a company that makes worship films to assist people in worship services. It's funny and sad what is the impetus for the making of these films: alter way of communication to make Jesus more relevant and to present Gospel in a more visual way. Heck, people, the Catholic Church has been doing this for 2,000's called The Mass.
Firm's items broaden events' appeal

Jesse and Pete Lewis don’t want to water down the gospel.

As co-owners of WorshipFilms in Rocky Mount, the brothers have spent the past six years helping churches share the message of Jesus Christ.

In an increasingly technology-driven and visual world, many churches have realized they need to alter the way they communicate with their congregations to stay relevant, Jesse Lewis said. WorshipFilms helps by providing video products they can use to enhance worship services.

“At one time, the majority of people learned more by the written word than anything else, but most people alive right now learn through visual images. ... People are used to learning, receiving and processing most of the things they take in that way. As a church, we have to look at that and say, ‘How do we need to change the way we are communicating with people so that we can effectively reach them?’” Jesse Lewis said.

WorshipFilms’ products include video sermon illustrators and background loops, Pete Lewis said. Serious or funny videos can be used to emphasize the theme a sermon explores. Background video loops and images, which appear behind song lyrics or announcements, are meant to inspire worship. The company also creates 5-minute countdowns, which can be used to warn people service is about to start.

“You take that song ‘God of Wonders.’ You have the option of having a black background, or you could have images of galaxies and the world up there instead. It adds a lot to the songs instead of just a plain static image,” Pete Lewis said.

Some people call such products distracting, but that only is true when they are used ineffectively, Jesse Lewis said. The videos and images are not there for entertainment. They can evoke certain emotions that enhance worship and help people focus on the message or a song.

“We could talk about tradition versus contemporary stuff, but the bottom line is: How is each individual church most effectively going to communicate with the people that are sitting in their pews on that particular Sunday? If video can help do that, then we need to use it. If it is going to be a hindrance, then we don’t,” Jesse Lewis said.
Read more

This goes to the heart of worship. Man has an irrepressible need to worship God in a way that elevates and transcends this physical existence. That is the brilliance of liturgy, the rites and prayers so carefully prescribed that don't just "evoke" memories and feelings. The need for man to participate in sacrifice and Sacrifice is all woven together in one whole. The closer we approach popular culture in our liturgy, the less relevant is Christ made, as worship is giving God his proper due. Evoking feelings is transitory.

I find it interesting that some of the local Baptist churches in the area have started following liturgical calendars. One of them contacted our church office this past Ash Wednesday asking if we had any extra ashes.

One other thing that struck me in this piece is the idea that Christian learned primarily through the written word in the past. I suppose the gentleman had never visited a Gothic cathedral, or seen icons. Ah, to the Divine.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Papa with Msgr. Georg Gaenswein, his personal secretary.
REUTERS/Osservatore Romano

Pray for Papa!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Basque Country

Beautiful, mysterious. I fell in love with the people, the landscape, the food. The language is inscrutable. If ever I needed to be in a witness protection program, this is where I'd get lost. The Basque were never conquered by the Romans, and the Visigoths left them alone. The Mohametans ignored them.

Did I say lush? Ferns carpeting the forest floor.

The coast is spectacularly breathtaking.

A roadside shrine. It was just after a series of white-knuckle hairpin twists on the coastal highway.

A hillside cemetery.

End of the road.

The casa rural where we stayed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


In thee, O Lord, do I seek refuge; let me never be put to shame; in thy righteousness deliver me! Incline thine ear to me, rescue me speedily! Be thou a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! Yea, thou art my rock and my fortress; for thy name's sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for thou art my refuge! Ps. 31

~outside the walled city of Ávila, Castile y León, Spain

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wings of the morning

Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me, thy right hand shall hold me. Ps. 139

~winding our way through the Sierra de Gredos, Spain

Life's Pilgrimage

A lonely highway through the Sierra de Gredos.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chant Champion on Catholic Radio

Tune in to Catholic Radio this afternoon at 1 PM. Jeffrey Tucker will be on live. From the radio website:
Jeffrey Tucker, managing editor of Sacred Music magazine and New Liturgical Movement blogger, discusses his crusade to promote chant in parishes and his recent copyright tussles with the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL).
Call in number: (347) 324-5467

Click on the button below:

Listen to Catholic Radio 2.0! on Blog Talk Radio

Friday, July 17, 2009


Here is Papa with a cast. Oh, and for the deathwatch crowd speculating on blackouts and such...a friend in her 30s tripped over her daughter's Barbie doll shoe, broke her leg and arm. Do you know how small Barbie shoes are? Okay, that was a nonsequitur, but it's Friday and I've been out in the garden in the heat.

Pray for Pope Benedict XVI. Long may he reign!

Chant Workshop

Chant Workshop Saturday, July 25th, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rocky Mount, NC. TLM Mass at 9 AM followed by the workshop from 10 AM to 2 PM. Dr. Patricia Warren, director of Schola Vox Clara, will be the workshop leader. It's free and lunch is provided. Come one and all!

Prayers for Pope Benedict

He fell and fractured his wrist at the chalet where he's vacationing. Read here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Burgos Cathedral III

The St. Anne's Chapel of Burgos Cathedral in Castile y León. The gilded retablo is by Gil de Siloé and Diego de la Cruz.

Sts. Joachim and Anna. Notice them standing above Jesse's Tree.

The Resurrection of Christ panel.

At the top of Jesse's Tree is the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus.

Some vestments on display in the chapel:

Monday, July 13, 2009

On the lighter side of things

...update on the Ugliest Church Art submissions.

Words fail...

A Study in Contrasts

We had two funerals in our parish in the past week which was a study in contrasts.

The first was of a gentleman who had a long time with cancer. In the last year, Father visited him frequently, prayed with him, anointed him, and gave him Eucharist. The family is close-knit and in the last days leading up to his death, they were with him surrounding him with their prayers and love. The Funeral Mass was a mere twelve hours after his passing, so before the Mass we prayed the Rosary. It was a rare sight to see that the whole family was Catholic. At the homily for the Funeral Mass, Father spoke at length of the Eucharist, the Bread of wayfarers traveling through this life. The last year was especially full of suffering for this gentleman, but the Eucharist strengthened him and in some way helped him to accept the redemptive side of the physical pain when united with the Passion of Christ. Though there was sorrow at his passing, the Mass was imbued with a deep sense of Christian Hope.

The second funeral was for a double murder, a mother and her son were killed by her husband. He then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. The mother and son lived with domestic violence for a long time, each time she remarried, it was with hope for a better life. But it was not to be as each marriage proved to be just a violent.

It's hard to understand the trap which people allow themselves to be ensnared in a cycle of violence. There is no one moment but a series of progressive slides into a cooperative assent to evil until it becomes familiar and so much easier to live through than to stand against the tide and renounce it.

The Funeral Mass was terribly sad. Not only for the violent loss of life, but also for the knowledge that the family had fallen away from the practice of the Faith. The various estranged segments of the extended family were not able to sit together, lingering bitterness a barrier to reconciliation, if just for the observance of this last rite of passage. The two urns filled with the ashes of mother and son were carried up by a cousin and his fiancee. The Church permits cremation, but I wonder if in this case, cremation was another symptom of despair. Perhaps it's judgmental of me to think such thoughts and my time would be better spent praying for the repose of their souls. The grandmother had asked that of me, to please pray for the peace of her daughter's and grandson's souls.

The church was full of young people, friends of the son. And here again was another moment of heaviness. So many of them were clearly unchurched. But perhaps in coming to the Mass a seed has been planted. Father's homily focused on the cross and the Death of Christ for the sin of the world. Grief added upon grief, when at the recitation of the Lord's Prayer, the young people did not know it. Has paganism really advanced that much that this simple yet profound prayer is no longer a point of shared culture at the very least?

Lots to ponder upon. Working for a parish is like a live psychological laboratory. We're dealing with human souls and the eternal destination for each. We battle with the forces seen and unseen hellbent on the diminution and outright destruction of the dignity of human life.

It's Monday morning and I'm tired. Six back-to-back Masses this past weekend have taxed me. I think I'll spend time in the garden and battle with yellowjackets and weeds. There's a lesson there in the spiritual life and the world to come.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Motu Proprio Ecclesiae Unitatem

Click here to read the whole thing in Latin.

1. Ecclesiae unitatem tueri, ut sollicite omnibus suppeditentur subsidia ad huic vocationi divinaeque gratiae consentaneis rationibus respondendum, peculiarem in modum Petri Apostoli Successoris est munus, qui perpetuum est et visibile principium fundamentumque unitatis tum Episcoporum tum fidelium [1]. Primum praecipuumque Ecclesiae officium omni tempore, id est homines ad Deum conveniendum perducere, iuvandum est per communem omnium christianorum fidei testificationem.

In Italian:
1. Il compito di custodire l'unità della Chiesa, con la sollecitudine di offrire a tutti gli aiuti per rispondere nei modi opportuni a questa vocazione e grazia divina, spetta in modo particolare al Successore dell'Apostolo Pietro, il quale è il perpetuo e visibile principio e fondamento dell'unità sia dei Vescovi che dei fedeli1. La priorità suprema e fondamentale della Chiesa, in ogni tempo, di condurre gli uomini verso l’incontro con Dio deve essere favorita mediante l'impegno di giungere alla comune testimonianza di fede di tutti i cristiani.

In English via Rorate Caeli:
1.The goal of guarding the UNITY OF THE CHURCH, with the solicitousness of offering to all the aid to responding in opportune manner to this vocation and divine grace, belongs in a particular way to the Successor of the Apostle Peter, who is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of the unity both of Bishops and of the faithful1. The supreme and fundamental priority of the Church, in every age, of leading men towards the encounter with God must be favored through the effort of uniting the common witness of faith of all Christians.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Monday Blues

This is an awesome way to get the work week going. Especially when one is feeling self-pity and engaging in too much introspection.

The 'Te Deum' sung by the Maîtrise de Notre-Dame-de-Paris led by Cantor Jehan Revert, in alternatim with Pierre Cochereau at the Grand Orgue of Notre-Dame.

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur. Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur. Tibi omnes Angeli, tibi Caeli et universae Potestates: Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant: Sanctus: Sanctus: Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


New at the Holy See's website:

Click on the picture to go to the Scavi.