Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gregorian Chant Workshop in New York

On February 7, from 9am-2pm, I will be giving a workshop entitled, “Introduction to Gregorian Chant: Spirituality, History, and the Basics of Reading.”

The workshop is sponsored by the Office of Liturgy of the Archdiocese of New York and St. Joseph’s Seminary.The cost of the workshop is $30 and includes lunch and a copy of Reflections on the Spirituality of Gregorian Chant by Dom Jacques Hourlier.

The workshop will be especially suited to those desirous of entering more deeply into the spiritual fruits offered by the chant, learning to pray along with the chants at Mass, as well as help others in their parishes do likewise.

To register for the workshop, visit this link.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Music for Rorate Masses - For the Ordinary Form!

This next Saturday is your last chance to celebrate Rorate Masses, but don't forget that these beautiful candlelit Masses are not only for the Extraordinary Form but also can be celebrated in the Ordinary Form! By making use of the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin which is found in the new Roman Missal. Below you can find all the music needed to celebrate this Mass!

All the texts of the Mass also found here!

Rorate Caeli Chant for before Mass
Sung in the style of a responsorial psalm
PDF | Recording

English proper chants for the choir or cantor
Simple English Propers (Bartlett) PDF | recordings: in, of, co
Communion Antiphon Project (Motyka) PDF | mp3

Latin proper chants
PDF | recordings: in, gr, al, of, co

Ring dem gongs, but don't ring dem Sanctus bells!

In the Catholic, Liturgical Music Blogosphere there's been a great deal of attention and amusement over a skit recently shown on the comedy show Saturday Night Live (NBC.) As it happens its satirical edge cut a little too close to the bone for many liturgy geeks on both sides of the worship wars, demonstrating that, no matter where your heart lies regarding ars celebrandi, contemporaneous Christian worship has finally devolved into literally desperate and disparate banality, hucksterism and meaningless gesticulations. And, as it seems, "our" reaction to the mockery that implies a total loss of respect, reverence and affection for centuries' of noble and enriched rituals is an impotent resignation to the vapid, vacant mentality of "going through the motions."

Last night I was channel surfing after a grandson's Winter Concert, and happened upon the remaining moments of a series on PBS-

SACRED JOURNEYS WITH BRUCE FEILER takes viewers on some of the most celebrated, challenging and spectacular religious pilgrimages on earth. In this landmark six-part series, we travel with American pilgrims looking to transform their lives as they visit places deeply meaningful to their faith. And our cameras gain privileged access to places rarely seen by viewers before.

A pilgrimage at its core is a gesture of action. Pilgrims feel a deeper connection to their faith. They feel closer to God. In a world in which more and more things are digital and ephemeral, a sacred journey gives the pilgrim the chance to experience something real.
Pilgrimage today is more alive than ever before. But you can't experience its wonders unless you go.

The profoundly striking difference between what I observed in those few moments and the SNL skit centers upon the absolutely sincere and total acceptance of virtually all aspects, great and small, of the American pilgrims for the arcane and ineffable protocols and actions of specific non-Christians religious practices, I believe in this case (Dec.15 airing) that were Buddhist. The producers ensure that the excerpts show not only the profound reverence of Buddhist believers and practicioners, but also how powerful these "other" liturgies have upon modern American pilgrims.

Hopefully (if you've read this far) you know where I'm going with this. I cannot compute how, on one hand, a large portion of Catholic professionals and faithful, show such disdain and revulsion for our own venerable rites to the point of mockery like SNL of the affects of the red shoes of Papa Ratzi or the Cappa Magna of Cdl. Burke (what our friend Paul Inwood recently caricatured as "prissy,") and on the other hand, those same intellects and we ever-so-tolerant Americans practically fawn and stumble over ourselves envying and emulating the worship cultures of "others." Those "others" often include our own: millions dedicated to devotional missions to venerate apparitions of the BVM at Gaudalupe or Lourdes, the popular sacral customs such as Dias de los Muertos which I just personally witnessed as not being confined to early November as I saw families decorating Christmas trees and holding picnics at the gravesites of relatives in a Long Beach RC cemetary.

But, if a soulful seeker delve into traditional catholic traditions to the point of arguing for the evangelical witness to Christ that is most evidently, obviously present in the Solemn High Mass or Requiem, friends who don't share this zeal are loathe to accept its credibility, its relevance, its anachronisms as having any intrinsic value or merit in guiding the flocks to transcendent, authentic worship experiences. We are, after all, "thinking Catholics," endowed with all the tools to set up our own alternate magisteriums and regimes that call into question any and all aspects of institutional Catholicism.
I mean to say, didn't even a Christopher Hitchens once declare that were he a believer, he'd opt for the high church "prissiness" of Anglo/Catholic liturgy?

In this little essay, I once again reiterate calling into question the very necessity of offensively-intended criticism that wishes to literally decimate the existence of what some claim are "former" rituals, AND the offensive and reactionary claims that the TLM is the sole salvation that, like the little engine that could, re-establish authentic Christianity to its muscular prominence again in the First World and thus save civilization. If we all so concerned with the meaning and effect of our corporate worship can acknowledge the intensity of the religious devotion of other traditions, and also languish or abandon "microwave" instant liturgy in St. Suburban's, can't we remember that within one of our own great prayers, the Anima Christi, we beg the Lord to inebriate us within the very language and measure of our prayer and praise. There is vitality aplenty in both forms of the Roman Catholic Mass. Arguing over that reality displays not only a deeply flawed mindset, but a hypocrisy that we would never display in the presence of another worship culture. Unless, of course, we behave like Westboro Baptist parishioners, who now number about forty people.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Te Deum Tuesday: Byrd

Monday, December 15, 2014

Coloring Pages for the O Antiphons

As someone who has a lot of younger siblings, I can appreciate these projects like this. Another great way to introduce kids to the liturgical year. Don't forget that the O Antiphons for vespers begin this Wednesday, and go up until the 23rd!

Thanks to Michele Quigley for creating and sharing these great coloring sheets! You can download these here. And don't forget, here is the schedule on when to use each one:

December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
December 18: O Adonai (O Lord)
December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
December 21: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
December 23: O Emmanuel (O With Us is God)

A New Song to the Lord

Here is one relatively new (c. 2005) hymn and two very old hymns with fresh translations, to round out your Christmas season.

Please feel free to use the translations freely this year. The Holy Family hymn may be used with the purchase of this collection.

A Solis Ortus Cardine
Christmastide Lauds

From east, where sunrise has its birth,
Across to western rims of earth,
Unto the Virgin-born they ring:
The Church’s songs to Christ, the King.

For He, the Lord of  ages blest
Is in a servile body dressed,
That flesh by flesh might be set free
that what he made to be would be.

The Mother’s inmost hidden place
is virginally reached by grace.
Within her virgin womb there grows
a secret that nobody knows

This chaste heart’s home has suddenly
The Lord’s own temple come to be.
Unknown by man, and not undone,
a word made her conceive the Son.

The One the Blessed Mother bore,
Whom Gabriel made known before,
In Whom, when hearing Mary’s voice,
before he saw Him, John rejoiced,

He let Himself be laid in hay;
He willed the manger where he lay;
and He who keeps the birds replete
has just a little milk to eat.

The chorus of the stars and skies
and angels sing with joyful cries:
to shepherds is their Maker shown,
and as a Shepherd he is known.

O Jesus, Virgin-born, to You
be glory as is ever due
whom with the Father we adore
and Spirit blest forevermore.


  Within the quiet of a home -- Kathleen Pluth

1. Within the quiet of a home
 Let no one but the angels come,
 Or travelers in their distress,
 Or friends in holy righteousness.
 Let every fam’ly live in peace
 And let the grace of God increase.
2. O Jesus, born on Christmas night,
 The Son of Mary, heaven's Light,
 Give us the grace we need each day
 To follow in Your Father's way:
 The heav'nly Father, quick to bless,
 Whose ev'ry act is faithfulness.

3. Then Father, bless each family
 With faith and hope and charity,
 That we may find our perfect Good
 Whose bed was only hay and wood.
 Saint Joseph, help all families stay
 With Him you sheltered Christmas day.

 Copyright © 2005 CanticaNOVA Publications. Duplication restricted.
Meter: D Suggested tune: Sussex Carol, or others:
 Angel’s Song Neumark (alt) Saint Petersburg
 Melita Saint Catherine Stella

A Patre Unigenite
Baptism Vespers
The one-begotten, Father’s Son,
Who through the Virgin towards us run,
Who consecrate us with Your dew:
Your baptism has made us new.
From highest heaven You proceed.
To take our nature You agreed,
Redeeming all created things,
And joy of life in fullness springs.
We ask, Redeemer, grace bestow:
And let Yourself into us flow.
May our most inward hearts be bright
With Your clear deifying light.
O Lord, with us, your servants, stay,
And cast the dark of night away,
And every sin of ours erase,
And bless us with your healing grace.
O Christ, the Life, the Truth, to You
Be glory as is ever due,
Whose Father and blest Spirit show
Your splendor high to us below.

Ushers and Blushers

This Christmas Eve, once again there will be many people coming to Mass who are currently outside of Catholic practice for one reason or another.

Most people are aware of Catholic sacramental discipline and wish to observe it.

But in many parishes, ushers make observation of sacramental discipline almost impossible. They come alongside of the pew and invite, if not coerce, every single person in the pew to join the Communion line.

Between the coats and the kneelers and the fancy dress, it is difficult to just sit in one's place and pray for a better future in which all will join together in the great Feast. But when an officially designated parish bouncer impels cooperation with the general flow, it would be an act of almost astounding courage to resist the tide.

We would be asking those without the benefit of grace to be much more concerned with the truth about the Eucharist than the jovial priest who invites everyone--everyone!--to come forward to the altar. More than the Music Director who programs All Are Welcome as the "gathering hymn" every. single. week. And more than this burly fellow in his suit and nametag who is standing there in this moment of decision at the end of the pew awaiting your compliance.

The problem with the programme that many professional liturgists call "Eucharistic Hospitality" is that it is really dangerously bad. It is hurtful. The Blessed Sacrament, true Food, true foretaste, which is the Bread of Life to those who are in Communion with the Lord in the Church, is judgment and condemnation to those who have chosen, for now, to be outside of that Communion. This is not a decision that canon lawyers make, but revealed truth in the Scriptures.

Who is the mother concerned for the life of her child? The mother who lets her child run into the street, or the one who holds her fast on the sidewalk until the way is safe?

Who is the Pharisee, and who is concerned with rules? It is the one who believes that the economy of salvation can be changed by personal judgment and fiat, rather than trusting the Lord, the Author and Revealer of scriptural truth.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why Chant is Fantastic

I recently came across this wonderful article on gregorian chant and it's beauty and power in Catholic Exchange. With us being the Chant Café, how couldn't I share it!
Gregorian chant inspires and instructs. It allows us to regain our strength, our clarity and our focus on what is truly important in life. In his letter read at the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, Emeritus Pope Benedict spoke about the vital role Gregorian chant has played in Church history along with countering the argument that Chant is a thing of the past. Instead he praised Gregorian chant as being “of huge value to the great ecclesial heritage of universal sacred music,” and that “Mass must convey a sense of prayer, dignity and beauty.” The Second Vatican Council also noted that Gregorian chant should be given “pride of place” in liturgical music. Unfortunately, finding a church where chant is still sung is a daunting task.
Continue here!

New York's New St. Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians - Masters-Level Spring Offerings in Sacred Music

How does one work for excellent music in the parish? One answer is to educate those working for the Church as musicians in the principles of sacred music and liturgy. 
A few months ago, I announced the inaugural academic year of the St. Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians, a new initiative of the Office of Liturgy in the Archdiocese of New York, offered through St. Joseph's Seminary (Dunwoodie) in Yonkers. The initiative, brought about through the work of the director of the Office of Liturgy, Fr. Matthew Ernest, is a
four-course, fully accredited program offered through St. Joseph’s Seminary in the field of liturgical music for the purpose of introducing musicians to the history, theology, and pastoral principles of liturgy and sacred music.
The new St. Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians is an ambitious program is aimed at “the troops in the trenches” — parish music directors.
The course offerings are: 
  • Introduction to Liturgy (3 credits)
  • Liturgical Music: History of Sacred Music, Principles of Sacred Music,Liturgical Music Planning (3 credits)
  • Liturgical Year/Art and Environment in Worship (3 credits)
  • Principles of Chant – Theory and Practicum (3 credits)
Courses are fully accredited Masters Level Courses and may be used toward the pursuit of the Master of Arts Degree in Theology or the Master of Arts Degree in Pastoral Studies from St. Joseph’s Seminary.

As the new Director of Sacred Music and associate professor at St. Joseph's, I'll be teaching the course this spring semester—Liturgical Music: History of Sacred Music, Principles of Sacred Music, Liturgical Music Planning. The course is offered on Monday nights at both the Yonkers location (Dunwoodie, in-person) and Huntington (Long Island, remote conferencing).

There is a 50% discount on seminary tuition for those music directors sponsored by their parishes.

Why does the Academy exist? Here's what Fr. Ernest had to say in his interview:
In the New York area, some parishes are able to hire trained musicians as parish music directors. Other parishes rely on dedicated volunteers to provide music ministry. While these individuals are talented musicians, they often come to these positions, both salaried and unsalaried, with limited or no formation in the principles of liturgy and sacred music. For many years, there has not been a comprehensive formation program for pastoral musicians offered in the greater New York area. Numerous requests have been made by pastors of the archdiocese for a program wherein musicians can receive the education they need to effectively serve as pastoral musicians. With the support of Cardinal Dolan, the staff of the archdiocese’s Office of Liturgy and the faculty of St. Joseph’s Seminary began to discuss ways in which this need could be met in our area. The result of these discussions is the St. Cecilia Academy.
While classes in the spring will be term-length, on-ground classes, the Academy is looking forward to diversifying its offerings and modes/formats of delivery/scheduling.
In the short term, I look forward to our summer chant intensive, which will offer a week-long, three-credit introduction to the history, spirituality, and reading of chant. Currently, we are looking to accommodate those interested students who live outside of our area and who may wish to travel to New York for this course. It is anticipated that this kind of outreach to musicians outside the tri-state area will continue through online offerings.

With respect to more long-range plans, I would like to see any expansion of the academy always retain a focus on educating and assisting parish musicians in their crucial work of leading the People of God in sung prayer. I believe that the academy’s success and future offerings should be evaluated primarily by the quality of sacred music and worship provided by our graduates in their parishes. With this in mind, it is my hope that the academy’s offerings can have a direct and positive impact on the life of the church in New York.

I am excited to begin my work at Dunwoodie and look forward to helping musicians offer their best work to the Church and to Our Lord through excellent and beautiful music for the liturgy. 

For more information about the St. Cecilia Academy, go to or send an email to

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Announcing Sacra Liturgia USA 2015! June 1-4 in New York

I am delighted to be able to announce the locations, speakers (among which are numbered several Chant Cafe contributors and CMAA colloquium speakers), topics, and liturgical plans for Sacra Liturgia USA 2015, to be held in New York June 1-4, 2015. The conference will include four liturgical celebrations (usus recentior, usus antiquior, and Dominican rite) which make rich use of the Church's treasury of sacred music, including some modern choral pieces, classical polyphony, organ masterworks, and Gregorian chant. Church musicians will find much to benefit them spiritually and professionally at this conference. 

From June 1-4, 2015, an international conference on liturgical formation in light of the new evangelization will be held in New York, under the title:


Continuing the initiative of Sacra Liturgia 2013, organized by Bishop Dominique Rey (Fréjus-Toulon, France) in Rome, this conference seeks to support the Church’s saving evangelistic and catechetical mission, as well as the continued revitalization of the liturgical life of the Church, especially in the United States. 

The sacred liturgy plays a central, vital role in the new evangelization, attracting souls to the heart of Christ and His Church. For the baptized, the sacred liturgy resides at the heart of the Christian faith and life — indeed it is the “source and summit of the life and mission of the Church.” As Bishop Rey stated at the opening of the 2013 conference in Rome, “The sacred liturgy is not a hobby for specialists. It is central to all our endeavors as disciples of Jesus Christ. This profound reality cannot be overemphasized. We must recognize the primacy of grace in our Christian life and work, and we must respect the reality that in this life the optimal encounter with Christ is in the Sacred Liturgy.”

The conference brings together a wide range of renowned international speakers including Raymond Cardinal Burke; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone (San Francisco); Dom Phillip Anderson, OSB (Abbot of Clear Creek Monastery); and Dom Alcuin Reid (Monastère Saint-Benoît, Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France); among others. See the appendix for a complete list of speakers and topics.

Topics addressed at the conference will range from broad subjects like the relationship between liturgy and culture, Catholic identity, youth, the arts, and Catholic education to specific questions like the mid-20th-century changes to Holy Week and the post-Vatican-II reform of the calendar and lectionary. Lectures will take place at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College (68th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues) which is conveniently located at a subway stop. 

The conference lectures will be augmented by working sessions for those in Catholic higher education. Sponsored by The Cardinal Newman Society, the sessions will facilitate a conversation about renewing the liturgical life of Catholic colleges and universities to support the intellectual and moral formation of students and faculty in the Faith. 

At the heart of the conference are the liturgical celebrations. There will be Solemn Vespers in the usus antiquior, a Sung Mass in the Dominican rite, and Solemn Pontifical Masses in the usus recentior and usus antiquior. The Solemn Pontifical Mass in the usus antiquior on the feast of Corpus Christi, celebrated on Thursday, June 4th, will be followed by a Eucharistic procession in the streets of New York. Liturgies will be held at the Church of Saint Catherine of Siena (411 E 68th Street), a beautiful Dominican parish on the Upper East Side.

With the prestigious lineup of speakers, as well as the beautiful liturgies planned, those attending the conference will come away with a rich experience of the intellectual heritage and liturgical life of the Catholic faith. The serious intellectual inquiry into the sacred liturgy will prove fruitful for both academics and laymen alike. Attendees will meet Catholics from all over the world, and be afforded the opportunity to build good working relationships with others of those seeking to deepen their love of Christ through the Church’s liturgy, and to continue their work for liturgical renewal.

Approximately 300 participants are expected. Registrations for the whole conference will open on January 1, 2015, and part-time registrations will be possible beginning at Easter. More information about registration, affordable housing, and locations is available at the conference website:

The conference is being organized by Rev. Richard Cipolla, Ph.D., D. Phil (Oxon.) and Jennifer Donelson, D.M.A. Media inquiries may be made to 

The organizers are grateful to His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan for his kind permission to hold this conference in the Archdiocese of New York, as well as the gracious welcome of the Dominican friars and staff at Saint Catherine of Siena Church. This event could not take place without the generous support of the conference sponsors: the Knights of Columbus, The Cardinal Newman Society, de Montfort Music, Regina Magazine, Granda, Cantica Nova Publications, the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny, and the Church of Saint Catherine of Siena. 

Speakers and Topics

Dom Phillip Anderson, OSB (Clear Creek Abbey)
Living the Liturgy: The Monastic Contribution to Liturgical Renewal

Raymond Cardinal Burke 
Beauty in the Sacred Liturgy and the Beauty of a Holy Life

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone (San Francisco)
Liturgical Leadership in a Secular Society: A Bishop’s Perspective

Rev. Dr. Richard Cipolla (St. Mary’s Church, Norwalk, Connecticut)
Liturgy as the Source of Priestly Identity

Dr. Jennifer Donelson (St. Joseph’s Seminary, New York)
Addressing the Triumph of Bad Taste: Church Patronage of Art, Architecture, and Music

Rev. Dr. Matthew Ernest (St. Joseph’s Seminary, New York)
The Formation of Priests in the “Spirit and Power of the Liturgy” (SC 14): An Assessment of the Implementation of the Constitution and Proposals for the Liturgical Formation of Priests in the 21st Century

Dr. Michael Foley (Baylor University, Waco, Texas)
The Reform of the Liturgical Calendar: The Reduction of Recapitulation

Mr. Gregory Glenn (Madeleine Choir School, Salt Lake City, Utah)
Liturgical Music is Non-negotiable

Dr. Margaret Hughes (Mount Saint Vincent University, New York)
Beauty as Educative?: Liturgy, Evangelization, and Catechesis

Rev. Thomas Kocik (St. Anne’s Parish, Fall River, Massachusetts)
The Reform of the Reform

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski (Wyoming Catholic College)
The Reform of the Lectionary

Mr. Matthew Menendez (Juventutem Boston)
Youth and the Liturgy

Dr. Lauren Pristas (Caldwell University, Caldwell, New Jersey)
The Reform of Liturgical Texts of Principal Feast Days (Collects)

Rev. Dr. Dom Alcuin Reid (Monastère Saint-Benoît, Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France)
Holy Week Reforms Revisited

Rev. Dr. Christopher Smith (Prince of Peace Parish, Taylors, South Carolina)
Liturgical Formation and Catholic Identity

Rev. Dr. Allan White, OP (Catholic Center at New York University)
Liturgical Preaching

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Te Deum Tuesday: Tallis

This week we have an English language Te Deum from Tallis!

The Dies Irae

Msgr. Charles Pope takes on the great hymn--of Advent.