Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Entrance Antiphon for Thanksgiving

I wish I knew who originally created this! In any case, enjoy the laugh, and have a good thanksgiving with your families tomorrow. Let us never forget to thank the one to whom we owe all thanks.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The End of Magnificat Monday... and the Start of Te Deum Tuesday!

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the end (for now) of Magnificat Monday. However, we will be moving on to something almost as exciting: Te Deum TuesdaySend me an email to suggest Te Deum recordings for future Tuesday posts!

To start us off, I'll include one of my favorite recordings, the alternatim Te Deum with Pierre Cochereau at the console at Notre Dame.

"The priest should be exclusively a man of God."

"This is why the priest should be exclusively a man of God, a saint or a man who aspires to sanctity, daily given to prayer, to thanksgiving and praise, and refusing to shine in the areas where other Christians have no need of him. The priest is not a psychologist, nor a sociologist, nor an anthropologist, nor a researcher in a nuclear reactor, nor a politician. He is another Christ, and I repeat: he is truly “Ipse Christus, Christ himself,” destined to support and illuminate the souls of his brothers and sisters, to guide men to God and open to them the spiritual treasures of which they are terribly deprived today. You are priests to reveal the God of Love who has revealed himself on the cross and to kindle, thanks to your prayers, faith, love, and the return of sinful man to God." 
--Robert Cardinal Sarah

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thoughts on the Parish

Yesterday I attended the 100th anniversary celebration of St. Thomas Apostle Parish in Washington, DC. The parish is home to the St. Philip Neri Oratory-in-Formation, headed by Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Director of ICEL.

During his homily, Cardinal Wuerl spoke beautifully about the local parish as the place where the real work of the Church happens. Drawing from the prescribed second reading from the Acts of the Apostles for the Solemnity of Christ the King, he spoke about the four activities of the Church: communion, teaching, the Eucharist, and the prayers, and how these are embodied in the activities of the local parish.

The Pastor of St. Thomas Apostle, Fr. Richard Mullins, echoed the Cardinal's homily in his closing remarks, using the words of Blessed Pope Paul VI.

The idea of the territorial parish is one of the beauties of canon law, assembling the entire surface of the globe as family units that form the terrestrial portion of the Kingdom.

New CDW prefect announced today

I was delighted to see that the Holy Father has appointed Cardinal Robert Sarah as Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship.

Cardinal Sarah is an experienced local bishop with long time curial experience an a history of meaningful reform, as well as sophisticated, thoughtful views on inculturation.

Update: Here is some background reading on Cardinal Sarah.

Reflection on Pope Benedict's Lenten Message in 2011

Ordination homily

Address to Caritas Internationalis General Assembly

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Encountering Our Past Through Music

Just a quick quote from Thomas Forrest Kelly of Harvard University. In the Winter 2014 edition of EMAg, he writes:

For me, one of the special joys is holding in my hands a thousand-year-old book and singing from the same music that fellow musicians sang a millennium ago....And sometimes you open a music book to the feast of Candlemas and see a spot of centuries-old wax on the page, or turn to the Rogation days, when monks went out in procession to bless the fields, and you just might see a thousand-year-old raindrop. It's a way of taking a time trip, of being in touch, literally, with my fellow human beings from a long time ago.
The title of his essay is "Chants Encounters."  If you have the opportunity, read the whole piece.  If you do or don't, take a few minutes to find a favorite chant and sing it mindful of the "cloud of witnesses" who have sung it before.

St. Dominic Church in DC Hosts Advent Stations


The Dominican Parish of St. Dominic in Washington, DC is having its first annual Advent Stations on Saturday, December 13, at 7:00pm. Similar to an evening of lessons and carols, the night of Advent Stations will include both songs and scriptural readings relevant to Christ’s coming.

Br. Athanasius Murphy, OP, who is helping initiate this seasonal celebration, commented on the event: “This is one attempt to help Christians participate in the Church’s celebration of the Lord’s coming at a local level. We hope the night helps to prepare those coming for their celebration of Christmas.”

The setting of the Advent Stations will be in a dark church with many candles near the sanctuary. Readings and short preaching will alternate with hymns, chant, and polyphony music traditional to the Advent season. The night will conclude with a candlelit procession to a Marian altar in the church to venerate a piece of the original manger of Christ’s nativity in Bethlehem.

For a night of light
With wax candles all burning
For types and figures of Christ
Worth their lessons in learning

Come to St. Dominic's
On the thirteenth of December
To hear songs and short readings
That tie the Season together

If you will be in the DC area on the 13th, don't miss the opportunity to prepare for Christmas with the Dominicans...

Here is a sneak preview of one of the "O" antiphons that will be used:

Friday, November 21, 2014

It's certainly not a job or adventure. Maybe a calling...

These thoughts have weighed heavily on my mind for years, particularly since I've hitched my philosophical wagon to CMAA. However, what follows may affirm the suspicions that I've remained a stealth outlier since my joining up. Well, to thy own self....

*Future DM's who wish to be effective will have to commit to being both multi-dimensional in their philosophies regarding sacred and liturgical music AND in their personal musical skill sets. This doesn't mean some sort of dilineation between the DM as "guitarist....organist....pianist.....solo vocalist......choir master......schola master.....etc." This means that the functionally successful DM will have a thorough understanding of the modus operandi of "all of the above" and be able to implement, encourage and further the development of their cohorts' skill sets.

*Future DM's who wish to further the re-alignment of solid liturgical praxis in both ideal and hostile environs will have to develope the best charismatic aspects of their communication skills in order to represent all the values that the traditions, documents and (Lord help us) spirit of the "times" to clerics, other church functionaries, their own staff and personnel, and the Faithful aggregate and individual. Being a DM who will effect growth and positive reformation will preclude those who prefer to sit on fences, prefer confrontation and combat over long-haul collaboration, collegiality, consensus and sometimes compromise.

*Future DM's must, despite any mis-connotations of above statements, hold and defend, and when asked, identify, core convictions to which they personally adhere, and have the persuasive skills to defend those without causing defensive reactions and any potential divisiveness. They must seize opportunities and then risk (to a calculated degree) some personal capital in order to influence small to seismic shifts in a parish's liturgical scenario. This basically means that a DM must understand the Church's traditions in the macro-sense, know them as intimately as possible, and then advocate for them by whatever means and ways at any and every opportunity.

*Future DM's must accept that cultural infusion is actually a traditional and normative aspect that complicates, at first, then confuses, then complicates by accretion the "purity" of the liturgical processes in any given parish/cathedral scenario. How that will affect the DM's effectiveness will depend upon circumstances more often out of the DM's control and certainly in relationship, fealty and humility to the disciplines that authorities and the Church traditions and magisterial documents articulate, either by law or fiat.

That's enough for now. Think away or not. But, we must face the reality that though we are all equal in God's eyes at conception, we are not all equally gifted, and the times? They're still a-changin' and we shouldn't have any expectation that such temporal concerns will be eventually excised from consideration when we discuss how we choose to instrumentally worship the Creator of all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Open Metrical Psalm project and Beginners Guide to GitHub

It has been a little too long since I launched CMAA's GitHub presence, and since then there has not been as much activity as I would have hoped. We're all busy people, and I know it isn't exactly apparent to everyone why or how GitHub (specifically) or an Open Source approach to the creation music and liturgy resources (generally) could be used.

To remedy that, I have created a new project I hope at least some of you will contribute to: The Open Metrical Psalm project.

(Please, please, please, spare us all the negative comments about metrical psalms as a genre.)

Of the infinite number of good ideas available, this has been chosen because it is easy to think about, finite in scope, and doesn't require understanding or dealing with some of the more complex technologies for Open Source music creation (like Lilypond or Gregorio).

This is a TEXT BASED PROJECT, which I hope will provide a platform for the following:

  • Giving non-tech people a way to learn about and interact with GitHub
  • Demonstrating the techniques and philosophy of Open Source content creation
  • Providing an example of "Open Source as Infrastructure"
  • Encouraging ecumenical and inter-association community work
Additionally, if we create something really useful, and have the opportunity to practice our hymn-writing skills, that would be even better.

Monday, November 17, 2014

“Simply Catholicism in All Its Fullness”


The answer is simply Catholicism, in all its fullness and depth, a faith able to distinguish itself from any cultures and yet able to engage and transform them all, a faith joyful in all the gifts Christ wants to give us and open to the whole world he died to save. The Catholic faith shapes a church with a lot of room for differences in pastoral approach, for discussion and debate, for initiatives as various as the peoples whom God loves. But, more profoundly, the faith shapes a church which knows her Lord and knows her own identity, a church able to distinguish between what fits into the tradition that unites her to Christ and what is a false start or a distorting thesis, a church united here and now because she is always one with the church throughout the ages and with the saints in heaven. 
Francis Cardinal George

Friday, November 14, 2014

Organists: The Next Generation

An article about the Church's young organists.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Event Announcement: Monteverdi 1610 Vespers in DC

Next Saturday, November 15, Third Practice will perform Claudio Monteverdi’s exquisite 1610 Vespro della Beata Vergine in the context of the sacred liturgy in Washington, D.C.. The work will be performed alongside a new setting of the Litany of the Saints by Baltimore-based composer, Joshua Bornfield. This rare liturgical celebration of Monteverdi’s epic work has been made possible by a recent Kickstarter campaign.

Solemn Vespers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be celebrated at 7.00 p.m. at Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian, 1357 East Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. Free parking is available at Public Charter School, 1503 East Capitol Street SE. A retiring collection will be taken.

More information is available at the Facebook event here.