Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Children of the Madeleine Choir School in the Studio

Children of the Madeleine Choir School in Salt Lake City spent time earlier this week lending their voices to a new CD that will accompany Words With Wings.  The CMAA thanks the children, their parents, Gregory Glenn, and especially director Melanie Malinka, who you can see working her magic in some videos we took in the studio.  The CD will be available by Advent.

English Propers, All Souls

English Propers, All Saints

Liszt's Totentanz and Dies Irae

Roma Locuta Est discusses the relationship between Liszt's Totentanz and the Gregorian Dies Irae.

Good material here.

Here's the Liszt piece:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lumen Christi Cantor Scores: All Saints, All Souls

Cantor scores for the Lumen Christi Missal have now been posted for free download for the feasts of All Saints and All Souls:

These editions include all five propers (Entrance Antiphon, Responsorial Psalm, Alleluia and Verse, Offertory Antiphon, and Communion Antiphon) in simple settings that are intended to be sung by average parish choirs, cantors, and congregations. 

Some might ask: Aren't some of these settings, such as the Entrance Antiphon for All Saints, a bit too challenging for congregations to sing? I would answer this question with another question: How long did it take your congregation to learn "For All the Saints", which will be sung as the Entrance Chant this Thursday in parishes across the English speaking world? 

The answer, of course, is that it takes years. And still, I'm not sure that I've ever heard a congregation sing the line "Your name, O Jesus, be forever blest..." correctly. 

How much better would it be to invest in teaching your parish the Entrance Antiphon text that has been sung by the Church on this Feast Day since time immemorial? Why not teach them the antiphon that is right in the Roman Missal and Graduale Romanum alike? 

Let us all rejoice in the Lord, 
as we celebrate the feast day 
in honor of all the Saints, 
at whose festival the Angels rejoice 
and praise the Son of God.

The Lumen Christi Missal can help you do this. It can equip your parish with the tools needed to begin "singing the Mass" more and more, bit by bit.

Many parishes are now ordering the Lumen Christi Missal for their pews with plans to introduce it on the First Sunday of Advent, with proper catechesis and an opportunity for a fresh start.

This Year of Faith presents a great opportunity to build upon the momentum that was begun with the new translation of the Roman Missal and to further renew the liturgical and musical life of your parish. There couldn't be a better time to update the resources in your pews.

Please visit Illuminare Publications or contact us if you'd like to learn more about bringing the Lumen Christi Missal to your parish.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pontique Mitescunt Freta--The Troubled Seas are Calmed

From St. Ambrose's Aeterne Rerum Conditor

Hoc nauta vires colligit
pontique mitescunt freta,
hoc ipsa petra ecclesiae
canente culpam diluit.

The sailor hears and he is brave;
The sea becomes a gentle wave.
The rooster's call reached Peter's ears:
He washed away his sins in tears.

Stunning, just stunning: Abbaye Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Closing Mass for the Synod of Bishops

Music That Keeps Moving

This week I'm in Salt Lake City, where Melanie Malinka, some of the choristers from the Madeleine Choir School, and I will be meeting up in a recording studio to lay down new tracks for a CD to accompany Words With Wings.  Because some other plans I had for Sunday fell through, I had the great fortune of making it to the Cathedral of the Madeleine for the 11:00am Mass. Melanie had told me that the kids would be singing the entire Mass, so I'm secretly pleased my other plans didn't pan out.

A cursory look at the program before Mass showed me there was a lot to look forward to.  The children would sing the Gregorian Introit, Laetetur cor and the Communion antiphon, Laetabimur.  The ordinary consisted in Credo III, a Proulx Sanctus, and the Gloria and Agnus from the Rheinberger Mass in A major. The program was rounded out by Doug O'Neill on the organ playing a Bach Prelude, a Postlude by Kenneth Leighton, and the children singing motets by Faure and Leighton.

I had been at the Cathedral for the 11:00am Mass before, but this was in the summer time, when school is not in session.  So I wasn't fully prepared, intellectually, and most surprisingly, spiritually, for what happened during Mass.  The children's Introit, under the direction of Madeline Choir School director, Melanie Malinka, was exquisitely crafted.  Moreover, it set the tone that would be carried through all the of the music I experienced this morning:  the music moved.  It was never stationary. It always moved forward, like time itself; yet each note, each word, was carefully placed, pure, and eternal.  It was breathtaking. 

I was fully expecting it to be outstanding - despite their tender ages, these are some of the most well trained singers in the country.  Ms. Malinka, as teacher and conductor, is precise and driven.  The Rheinberger Mass, and the Faure and Leighton, as sung by children's voices, were sung with enviable  volume, control, intonation. and sensitivity.  Beautiful and pure, the repertoire selected was perfectly suited to serve at an OF Sunday morning Mass.  The Gregorian Communio, Laetabimur, was just as spectacular and moving as the Introit.  It accompanied almost all of the Communion procession with numerous repetitions and Psalm Verses.  What a privilege it was to hear these children sing in Liturgy, or, in other words, to sing when and where it really matters.

It wasn't just the children's singing or Ms. Malinka's direction that made the experience so amazing.   The celebrant, the Rev. Msgr. Joseph M. Mayo, did his share of singing his parts of the Mass.  The cantor did a fabulous job of leading the congregation, again, in a way that kept things moving forward through time.  Doug O'Neill is also to thank for his confident and masterful treatment of all things organ - from his solo performances before and after Mass, to his improvisations on the chant, to his accompaniment of choir and congregational singing.  The organ added to the musical progress of the Mass in the most delightful and fundamental way.  Beware anyone who thinks the organ slows things down or makes things stodgy or inaccessible...go listen to Mr. O'Neill.

The Mass I attended this morning was, in my estimation, as close as it comes to what the the second Vatican council intended.  People's parts were important, and integrated perfectly with the roles of celebrant and choir at Mass.   Timing was impeccable: you often see choral Masses slowing things down to a halt - with the celebrant patiently, and sometimes painfully, waiting until the music was over  to resume his part.  This didn't happen.  Organ, choir, people, celebrant, people, cantor, choir, organ - sometimes alone, and sometimes layered - all came together in a  Mass that was solemn, inclusive, riveting...and above all, joyous.

The Gospel we heard this morning (Mark 10: 46-52) reads: Jesus said to him in reply, "What do you want me to do for you? The blind man replied to him, "Master, I want to see. Jesus told him, "Go your way; your faith has saved you."

As a musician attending a Mass that seemed like a modern day miracle, I paid special attention to Christ's words this morning.   What do we want Him to do for us?  As musicians, what would he like Him to help us do or see? If we open our eyes and look around, we will find beauty everywhere...but mostly in examples of unshaken faith, like that of the blind man. We spend a lot of time lamenting the sorry state of music in parishes, and yes, even at some Cathedrals...but are we stepping off of our soapboxes long enough to look around and see Christ's love working through those whose faith knows no soapboxes, and remains constant?

Gregory Glenn, founder and director of the choir school, and all who work with him - Ms. Malinka, Mr. O'Neill, cantors and staff, and of course the children - are wonderful examples.  It is because of their faith and dogged perseverance that they have achieved what they have.  It is through their hard work and fidelity that visitors and parishioners of the Cathedral of the Madeleine can come together on a Sunday and worship as the Church - and Christ - desire.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Colloquium Schedule 2013

Here's the lineup for Sacred Music Colloquium XXIII, June 17-13, 2013 in SLC:


Monday, June 17
 3:00 – 5:00 pm: Registration (Little America Hotel)
5:00 pm.: Cocktails (Cash bar; Hotel ballroom)
6:00 pm.: Dinner  and Welcome
8:00 pm.: Compline (Hotel Ballroom)
Tuesday, June 18
Breakfast on your own
8:30 am: Morning prayer (Choir School Oratory)
9:15 – 10:45am: Chant sessions
11:00 – 12:00pm:  Morning breakout sessions
12:00pm– 1:30 pm: Catered lunch at Choir School
1:30pm – 2:30pm: Lecture (Cathedral)
2:45pm–  4:15 Ppm Polyphony Rehearsals
5:15 pm: Mass, 11th Sunday of the Year (English)
Missal Chants (Prayers of Faithful and Sign of Peace)
Introit: Hearken, O Lord, Unto My Voice (SEP)
Psalm: Praise the Lord, My Soul
Offertory: I Will Bless the Lord
Motet: Honour and Majesty (Greene).
Communion: One Thing I Have Asked
O For a Closer Walk with God (Stanford) (everyone)
Recessional: When in Our Music God Is Glorified
6:30pm: Dinner on Cathedral grounds
7:30pm: Organ Recital ; Compline

Wednesday, June 19
Breakfast on your own
8:30 am: Morning prayer (Oratory)
9:15 – 10:45am: Chant sessions
11:00 – 12:00pm:  Morning breakout sessions
12:00pm– 1:30 pm: Catered lunch at Choir School
1:30pm – 2:30pm: Lecture (Cathedral)
2:45pm–  4:15 Ppm Polyphony Rehearsals
5:15 pm: Mass (11th Sunday; OF, English, Latin and Weber propers)
Mass XII
Introit: Hearken to My Voice O Lord (Bruce Ford)
Gradual: Behold O God
Offertory: I Will Bless the Lord
Motet: Behold, O God, Our Defender (Howells).
Communion: One thing have I asked of the Lord
Motet: O Quam Suavis Est (Byrd).
Recessional: Organ
Dinner on your own

Thursday, June 20
Breakfast on your own
8:30 am: Morning prayer (Oratory)
9:15 – 10:45am: Chant sessions
11:00 – 12:00pm:  Morning breakout sessions
12:00pm– 1:30 pm: Catered lunch at Choir School
1:30pm – 2:30pm: Lecture
2:45pm–  4:15 Ppm Polyphony Rehearsals
5:15 pm: Mass (EF Polyphonic Solemn Requiem)
Introit: Requiem aeternam (Guerrero)
Kyrie (Guerrero)
Gradual: Requiem aeternam (Guerrero)
Tract: Absolve Domine (Guerrero)
Sequence: Dies irae (mode i)
Offertory: Domine Jesu Christe (Guerrero)
Sanctus (Guerrero)
Agnus Dei (Guerrero)
Communion: Lux aeterna (Guerrero)
Motet at the Communion: O Salutaris (La Rue)
At the absolution: Libera me (Guerrero)
7:00pm: cocktails (cash bar), followed by Gala dinner and Follies at Grand America ballroom

Friday, June 21
Breakfast on your own
8:30 am: Morning prayer (Oratory)
9:15 – 10:45am: Chant sessions
11:00 – 12:00pm:  Morning breakout sessions
12:00pm– 1:30 pm: Catered lunch at Choir School
1:30pm – 2:30pm: Lecture (Cathedral)
2:45pm–  4:15 Ppm Polyphony Rehearsals
5:15 pm: Mass (EF Missa Cantata, St. Aloysius, chant with organ improv)
St. Aloysius Gonzaga (EF)
Mass VII
Introit: Minuisti eum (mode iii)
Gradual: Domine spes mea (mode v)
Alleluia: Beatus quem elegisti (mode iii)
Offertory: Quis ascendet (mode iii)
Communion: Panem caeli (mode viii)
Dinner on Cathedral grounds

8:00pm Vespers (psalmody of Friday; chapter, hymn, Mag. antiphon from Common of Confessor not a Bishop
Iste confessor (Victoria)
Magnificat octavi toni (Mouton)
Salve Regina (mode i)

Saturday, June 22
Breakfast on your own
8:30 a.m.: Morning prayer (Oratory)
9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. – Chant rehearsals and seminars
11:00 a.m. – 12:00am - morning breakouts
12:00-1:15 - Catered lunch on Cathedral grounds
1:30 - 2:30pm- polyphony rehearsals
3:00 p.m. – Mass (Solemn OF, Latin)
Votive of the BMV (OF)
Kyrie: Missa Osculetor Me (Di Lasso)
Gloria: Missa Osculetor Me (Di Lasso)
Introit: Salve Sancta Parens (mode ii)
Gradual: Benedicta (mode iv)
Alleluia: Post partum (mode iv)
Credo: Missa Osculetor Me (Di Lasso)
Offertory: Ave Maria (with verses; mode viii)
Sanctus: Missa Osculetor Me (Di Lasso)
Agnus Dei: Missa Osculetor Me (Di Lasso)
Communion: Beata viscera (mode i)
Motet: Ave Maria: Sergei Rachmaninoff
Recessional: Ave Maris Stella (chant)
5:00pm CMAA Member meeting
Dinner on your own

Sunday, June 23
Breakfast on your own
10:00am  Lauds (Cathedral; optional)
or 10:00am  rehearsal (polyphony for Mass) 
11:00 a.m.: Mass (OF, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Mass of the English Martyrs (Ostrowski)
Credo III
Introit: Dominus fortitudo plebis suae (mode ii)
Gradual: Convertere Domine (mode v)
Alleluia: In te Domine speravi (mode iii)
Offertory: Perfice gressus meos (mode iv)
Motet: Ave Maria … benedicta tu (Josquin)
Communion: Qui vult venire post me (mode i)
Motet: TBD
Motet: O sacrum convivium (Marenzio)
Recessional: Laudate Dominum - new composition 

1:00 p.m.  - Closing brunch (Little America Hotel ballroom; cash bar)
2:30pm.  - adjourn

Colloquium plans revealed...

I'm in a plane somewhere over of Memphis, TN and working on details of Sacred Music Colloquium XXIII. Thanks to the wonder of in-flight internet I'm able to give you a first look at what's in store. This is going to be such a thrilling year: sublime repertoire, a stellar faculty lineup, more English Masses and resources than ever before...and the return of the Follies! Preliminary schedule (really want to get that posted - think I  can do it before this plane lands?) and registration form forthcoming.

Complete Ostrowskii Psalm Book in Print

Jeffrey Ostrowski has been the great pioneer of alternative Responsorial Psalms for Mass, and now his complete collection for all three years is in print. Go here to learn more and listen to samples.

Worthy celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is the primary and most powerful expression of the new evangelization.

(This really deserves a thread of its own)

Proposition 35 : LITURGY

The worthy celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, God’s most treasured gift to us, is the source of the highest expression of our life in Christ (cf. Sacrosanctum concilium, 10).  It is, therefore, the primary and most powerful expression of the new evangelization. God desires to manifest the incomparable beauty of his immeasurable and unceasing love for us through the Sacred Liturgy, and we, for our part, desire to employ what is most beautiful in our worship of God in response to his gift. In the marvelous exchange of the Sacred Liturgy, by which heaven descends to earth, salvation is at hand, calling forth repentance and conversion of heart (cf. Mt 4:17; Mk 1:15).

Evangelization in the Church calls for a liturgy that lifts the hearts of men and women to God. The liturgy is not just a human action but an encounter with God which leads to contemplation and deepening friendship with God. In this sense, the liturgy of the Church is the best school of the faith.

Excerpts from the "Final List of Propositions" from the Synod on the New Evangelization


In the New Evangelization, there should be a particular attention paid to the way of beauty: Christ, the “Good Shepherd” (cf. Jn 10:11) is the Truth in person, the beautiful revelation in sign, pouring himself out without measure. It is important to give testimony to the young who follow Jesus, not only of his goodness and truth, but also of the fullness of his beauty. As Augustine affirmed, “it is not possible to love what is not beautiful” (Confessions, Bk IV, 13.20). Beauty attracts us to love, through which God reveals to us his face in which we believe. In this light artists feel themselves both spoken to and privileged communicators of the New Evangelization.
In the formation of seminarians, education in beauty should not be neglected nor education in the sacred arts as we are reminded in the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (cf. Sacrosanctum concilium, 129). Beauty should always be a special dimension of the new evangelization.
It is necessary that the Church be vigilant in caring for and promoting the quality of the art that is permitted in the sacred spaces reserved for liturgical celebrations, guarding both its beauty and the truthfulness of its expression.
It is important for the New Evangelization that the Church be present in all fields of art, so as to support with her spiritual and pastoral presence the artists in their search for creativity and to foster a living and true spiritual experience of salvation that becomes present in their work.


The bishops gathered in Synod affirm that the parish continues to be the primary presence of the Church in neighborhoods, the place and instrument of Christian life, which is able to offer opportunities for dialogue among men, for listening to and announcing the Word of God, for organic catechesis, for training in charity, for prayer, adoration and joyous eucharistic celebrations. In addition the Synod Fathers would like to encourage parishes to find ways to orient themselves to a greater emphasis on evangelization which could include parish missions, parish renewal programs and parish retreats. The presence and evangelizing action of associations, movements and of other ecclesial realities are useful stimuli for the realization of this pastoral conversion. Parishes as well as traditional and new ecclesial realities are called to make visible together the communion of the particular Church united around the Bishop.
In order to bring to all people the Good News of Jesus, as required by a New Evangelization, all the parishes and their small communities should be living cells, places to promote the personal and communitarian encounter with Christ, experience the richness of liturgy, to give initial and permanent Christian formation, and to educate all the faithful in fraternity and charity especially towards the poor.


The Eucharist must be the source and summit of the New Evangelization. The Synod Fathers urge all Christ’s faithful to renew their understanding and love for the Eucharistic celebration, in which their lives are transformed and joined to Christ’s offering of his own life to the glory of God the Father for the salvation of the whole world.
Even though there is a tension between the Christian Sunday and the secular Sunday, Sunday needs to be recovered for the New Evangelization according to Blessed John Paul II’s teaching in “Dies Domini”. Sunday with its sacred and special character together with Sunday Mass should be the center of Catholic life. Full, active and conscious participation in the liturgy on the part of the whole community is the goal. The liturgical year with its feasts should be followed by a true program of evangelization, especially at Christmas and Easter.

Proposition 35 : LITURGY

The worthy celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, God’s most treasured gift to us, is the source of the highest expression of our life in Christ (cf. Sacrosanctum concilium, 10). It is, therefore, the primary and most powerful expression of the new evangelization. God desires to manifest the incomparable beauty of his immeasurable and unceasing love for us through the Sacred Liturgy, and we, for our part, desire to employ what is most beautiful in our worship of God in response to his gift. In the marvelous exchange of the Sacred Liturgy, by which heaven descends to earth, salvation is at hand, calling forth repentance and conversion of heart (cf. Mt 4:17; Mk 1:15).
Evangelization in the Church calls for a liturgy that lifts the hearts of men and women to God. The liturgy is not just a human action but an encounter with God which leads to contemplation and deepening friendship with God. In this sense, the liturgy of the Church is the best school of the faith.


The principal agent of evangelization is the Holy Spirit, who opens hearts and converts them to God. The experience of encountering the Lord Jesus, made possible by the Spirit, which introduces one into the Trinitarian life, welcomed in a spirit of adoration, supplication and of praise, must be fundamental to every aspect of the New Evangelization. This is the “contemplative dimension” of the New Evangelization which is nourished continually through prayer, beginning with the liturgy, especially the Eucharist, source and summit of the life of the Church.
Therefore, we propose that prayer be encouraged and taught from infancy. Children and youth should be educated in the family and in schools to recognize the presence of God in their lives, to praise Him, to give thanks for the gifts received from Him, and to ask that the Holy Spirit guide them.

The full unofficial English translation is here. As so often, h/t Rocco Palmo.

English Propers, 30th Sunday

Declaration of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”

In a statement released this morning, the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" states the following:

The Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” takes this occasion to announce that, in its most recent official communication (6 September 2012), the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X has indicated that additional time for reflection and study is needed on their part as they prepare their response to the Holy See’s latest initiatives. The current stage in the ongoing discussions between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity follows three years of doctrinal and theological dialogues during which a joint commission met eight times to study and discuss, among other matters, some disputed issues in the interpretation of certain documents of Vatican Council II. Once these doctrinal dialogues were concluded, it became possible to proceed to a phase of discussion more directly focused on the greatly desired reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter. Other critical steps in this positive process of gradual reintegration had already been taken by the Holy See in 2007 with the extension of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to the Universal Church by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and in 2009 with the lifting of the excommunications. Just a few months ago, a culminating point along this difficult path was reached when, on 13 June 2012, the Pontifical Commission presented to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X a doctrinal declaration together with a proposal for the canonical normalization of its status within the Catholic Church. At the present time, the Holy See is awaiting the official response of the superiors of the Priestly Fraternity to these two documents. After thirty years of separation, it is understandable that time is needed to absorb the significance of these recent developments. As Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI seeks to foster and preserve the unity of the Church by realizing the long hoped-for reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter – a dramatic manifestation of the munus Petrinum in action – patience, serenity, perseverance and trust are needed.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Organ: A Reminder of Its Power and Majesty

Images for Liturgy Programs (no copyright)

How to Preach

A question that has arisen recently in these pages concerns the way a hymn might convince the faithful to believe or to act.

Fr. Michael O'Connor, the music editor of the St. Michael Hymnal and a priest of the Order of Preachers, has investigated St. Augustine's rhetoric of preaching here.  He writes:

Augustine understood well that preaching is ultimately about persuading; about moving a person to act, or rather, to respond to God’s action. But, he also understood that persuasion is not a simple, one-step process. The wisdom of the classical, rhetorical tradition taught him that the art of persuasion includes three elements: teaching, delighting and swaying. Effective preaching, then, is preaching which is aimed at the whole human person: preaching which appeals to the mind through teaching, exposing, correcting and explaining; preaching which captures the imagination, adding delight to the presentation of the truth and making it memorable; and preaching which prods the will with words that implore, rebuke and stir into action. This classical, tripartite schema offers a firm foundation for all preaching, because what has been true, for centuries upon centuries, about the art of persuading the human person, continues to be true today.

The rhetorical powers that often go missing in hymn texts that are deliberately didactic are those of teaching and delighting. Take this example from the wondrously prolific American hymn writer Fanny Crosby:

Blessèd Bible, Book of Gold,
Precious truths thy pages hold,
Truths to lead me day by day
All along my pilgrim way.
Blessèd Bible, pure and true,
Guide me all my journey through;
Heav’nly light within me shine,
Help me make thy precepts mine!
Even young children will see through this hymn and realize that it is a lesson with a moral, a reminder of an obligation and a call to duty, rather than a real, full-bodied hymn. The moral is a good one, but risks being glossed over by those who encounter it. Because of Fr. O'Connor's analysis--and St. Augustine's--we can see why. Some of the rhetorician's tools are missing.These verses do not change the mind by teaching, nor reach the interior by delight.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Try singing this to JERUSALEM

 Let everyone give praise to God
Who made the heavens and the earth
He lit the stars and spread the skies
And brought the shining worlds to birth.
He sets the limits of the seas.
He calls the sun and stars by name,
And when the times had been fulfilled
Into the earth He made, He came.
 Let every heart give thanks to God
Whose Christ for us became a slave
And to their Holy Spirit blest
Whose might can raise us from the grave;
Who sent the Twelve throughout the world
To bear the water and the word
Bend every knee at Jesus' name.
Let every tongue proclaim Him Lord.

The Lumen Christi Missal: Bold, Brave, Brilliant

Musician Adam Bartlett has been super busy for the last twelve months on a project I suspected was extremely important to the future of Catholic liturgy. He tried many times to engage me and talk to me about what he was doing, but I had a hard time keeping up with his plans and ideas. He admits now that he found this fact very frustrating since we had been close collaborators on his book Simple English Propers. I had finally resolved that I would wait until the product appeared on my doorstep to begin to make sense of it.

I’ve now had this book in front of me for two days. Initially, I found myself tongue-tied, nearly speechless about what to say. Having now spent two days with the book, I do know this: this book has an amazing future. If I were a parish priest, regardless of the parish’s history of demographic, I wouldn’t hesitate to put it in the pew racks. The money spent is pure investment in the knowledge of the parishioners and the savings from having to buy any more throw-away materials, ever.

The book is not what I had expected at all, which was an expansion of the Simple English Propers with lectionary texts. No, this goes far beyond that. It is a reworking of the entire liturgical experience for the average person in the pew. And somehow this book manages this seemingly impossible feat without creating a book that is forbidding or alarming or requires a risky leap into a new conception of the ordinary form of the Mass. Somehow, Adam’s clarity of mind has produced that singular thing, and at long last, a resource that exudes clarity of purpose even within a Catholic liturgical culture too often characterized by directionless confusion.

Perhaps the most thrilling single fact I’ve found about the Lumen Christi Missal: it is a book that could right now be put in the pews of any parish and make everyone extremely happy. It doesn’t matter what the outlook or traditions of the parish or the parish priest are or have been. This book is a viable replacement for, and an upgrade to, all the seasonal missalettes and resources that parishes pay for now. It is the one book that a parish would need. If the pastor bought it and left for another parish, his successor would thank his predecessor for years to come. And I really mean that it could go into any parish, without shock or alarm but rather great relief.

The book is itself beautiful, like it was meant to exist. The printing is gold and the cover red, and it has two ribbons so you can mark the day and the Mass setting you are using. It is one thousand pages, but the book is not too thick. In fact, it is thinner than the Worship Hymbook. But keep in mind: this is not a hymnbook. In fact, once you see it, you begin to understand that a hymbook is not really what needs to be in the pews, since hymns are not really part of liturgy. The liturgy is part of liturgy, and that’s what you will find in here: the parts of the Mass that pertain to the people. That means readings, ordinary chants, propers of the Mass, and extra material for Benediction, Stations, and other matters.

Let me explain the structure here. For daily Mass throughout the year, it has the entrance and communion antiphons with the mode marked. The last page of the Missal contains the tones that pertain so that they can easily be sung. The text is pointed for singing. It also contains an original but very simple antiphon for the Responsorial Psalm. This is what is necessary for daily Mass.

Then Sunday comes on the next page. We have the entrance antiphon in text and the music for this appears in the back in an incredibly economical Gradual for the entire year. The antiphon is in English and Latin so that we don’t lose sight of our heritage. “Cantate Domino Sunday” will mean something again. If the parish starts singing the Graduale Romanum, the translations are there for everyone.

Then we have the full first and second readings in English plus the Gospel. The Responsorial Psalm and the Alleluia is here, beautiful compositions that are just slightly more complex than the settings for daily Mass.

Sundays include the offertory antiphon. This is a huge benefit. This does not appear in the altar Missal, a fact I very much regret. But it is here printed so that it is obvious that the offertory is something more than an intermission with a money collection. This addition will subtly shift attitudes. The offertory is of course takent from the Roman Gradual. Then Sundays finish with a communion antiphon. Again, all the music is in the back for these.

All three years are covered.

The next section is the Order of Mass. This is from the Missal and offers the music in easy-to-sing four-line staffs. It contains all forms and prayers. The pages are shaded at the edge so that users can quickly find where they need to be. It also contains guidelines for receiving communion. This is the ultimate section for the sung Mass. If you can do this in your parish, you have what you need. This section also contains excellent English and Latin versions of the sprinkling rite for Easter and the the rest of the year.

The next section is amazing. It has Mass settings in English and Latin, fully 18 of them. Some are newly composed, and these are wonderful. Some come from the Graduale Romanum and some are from the Graduale Simplex (which might be the most overlooked official liturgical book of the Church). The notation is outstanding in every way. This section alone makes the entire book worth owning even as an individual, but remember: this book is for the pew, not the altar or loft or the bookshelf. That’s what makes it distinctive.

The "Simple Gradual" is next. I don’t know how Adam did this but it has entrance, offertory, and communion antiphons for the entire year, not just words but music too. It excludes the Psalms for each because those belong to the choir. The Simple Gradual herein also covers votive Masses, Ritual Masses, and common Responsorial Psalms for the entire year. There is also a long list of alternate Alleluias.

Then we move to the devotional section: preparation for Mass, thanksgiving after Mass, prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the sacrament of penance, forumas of Catholic doctrine, prayers before confession, prayers after confession, common prayers, the rosary, the Memorare, and much more. It has the Rosary, Stations, and a full service of Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction with the correct chants for these (it might be the only book in print that has these correct).

Finally, we have Te Deum. Bring it back!

The indexes are complete. The back page has the entire lectionary cycle table and the antiphon tones for daily and Sunday Psalms.

This book is a triumph. It is a treasure. It belongs in every pew.

If you have read carefully, this fact stands out: it contains no hymns of the sort that we are used to singing. You might think that this would kill this product. On the contrary, I’m convinced that this enhances its value. The hymn repertoire is too broad and diverse, and parishes tend to land again and again on 15 to 20 hymns (in my experience) aside from seasonal standards. What’s the point in printing 500 hymns to cover every possible use? Regardless, hymns aren’t even part of the official liturgy. If you want to sing them, nothing prevents a parish from making its own little book or getting some small hymn supplement from its favorite publisher. This sends a message: these hymns are not part of the official liturgy. They might be important, they might meet certain pastoral needs, and they might be perfectly appropriate, but they are external to the liturgical word itself.

Even if you parish doesn’t use sung propers, even not one person in the pew has a consciousness about the new changes in the liturgy, even if the pastor has no interest whatever in doing the liturgy the way it is intended, this book will be immediately useful. It is just dazzling and beautiful in every way. It is a book for the universal Church in the English speaking world. It really lifts the spirits. And it will gradually lead the congregation toward a better and better understand of the liturgy.

The Lumen Christi Missal is bold, brave, brilliant, and paradigm changing. This might be the first word you have heard about it but it won’t be the last. This book will have a very long life in the annals of Church history. You can find out more at Illuminare Publications.

CRUCIAL CODA: No licensing fees. None. Ever.

Beethoven's Pange Lingua?

It is apparently newly discovered. Article here.

Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles: Amazing Music

Contemplative Nuns Secure Worldwide Distribution with Decca Classics through De Montfort Music for Advent Album

16-track CD available Nov. 20

ATLANTA, OCT. XX, 2012 – They are young. They are hidden. They are extremely musical. And now they have a worldwide album distribution deal. But they don’t set foot beyond Northwest Missouri’s rolling farmland. Why? Because they are contemplative sisters who live an austere yet joyful life set apart from the world.

But on Nov. 20, Decca and De Montfort Music will release their voices to the world in ADVENT AT EPHESUS. The album features 16 tracks – a dynamic variety of traditional English and Latin hymns, polyphony, Gregorian chants and medieval harmonies. The album also includes Adjuvabit Eam, an original work of the sisters.

The order’s Prioress, Mother Cecilia, is a graduate of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice and vacated her seat in the horn section with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in Ohio to enter religious life. She has arranged the songs on ADVENT AT EPHESUS.

“We are delighted to be a part of this collaboration with De Montfort Music and Decca,” she said. “From the very beginning, we knew that if the venture was pleasing to God, it would be made clear. And so it was, especially in the unheard of ease with which everything was carried out to make this CD possible.”

De Montfort enlisted Grammy® and Oscar® winning producer Glenn Rosenstein, who traveled to America’s heartland; set up a mobile recording studio on the 260-acre property the sisters call home; and captured all of ADVENT AT EPHESUS in only three days. Rosenstein, who has worked with a host of international stars and whose projects have generated sales well in excess of 250 million units (with artists from U2 to New York Philharmonic) calls this one of his 10 all-time-favorite recordings.

The album is engineered and co-mixed by David Schober (Handel’s Messiah, John Rutter, Cambridge Singers, Royal Philharmonic and countless other great works).

“From the very first note we heard from The Benedictines of Mary – through the recording of their first major international release – we believed in their captivating musical talents,” said De Montfort Music CEO Kevin Fitzgibbons. “It is representative of artistic beauty and truth across the ages. This music is timeless.”

“It is an honor and a blessing to have the sisters signed to De Montfort Music,” Fitzgibbons added, “and in turn, we are excited for the opportunity Decca has provided us to help release this music, a hidden gem, to a broader audience.”

Decca Records has a long tradition of supporting sacred music and vocal artists, so ADVENT AT EPHESUS is a natural fit. “We are thrilled to be distributing De Montfort Music,” said Decca General Manager Paul Foley. “Our first collaboration will be with The Benedictines of Mary, a young order of (U.S.) Benedictine contemplative nuns whose bell-like singing and sophisticated harmonies – combined with an impeccable selection of ancient pieces – is in keeping with Decca’s rich, longstanding tradition of vocal artistic greatness.”

“Though we did not go in search of big distribution,” Mother Cecilia said, “we are thrilled that providentially we ended up with Decca, who has distributed music from The Holy Father as well as other great works of chant and sacred music.

“We only desire the salvation of souls, and that all be done for His greater glory and the honor of Our Lady.”

ADVENT AT EPHESUS also represents a rare approach – one that focuses on music celebrating the quiet, introspective anticipation of the Nativity that is the foundation of the Advent season. Here is the full track list for the album; including their original composition Adjuvabit Eam:

1. Come Thou Redeemer of the Earth
2. Angelus ad Virginem
3. Regnantem Sempiterna
4. Gabriel's Message
5. Creator Alme Siderum
6. Hayl, Mary
7. Rorate Caeli
8. Praeparate Corda Vestra
9. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
10. Benedixisti Domime
11. Maria Walks Amid the Thorn
12. Alma Redemptoris Mater
13. Adjuvabit Eam*
14 O Come Divine Messiah
15 Vox Clara
16 Like the Dawning
* Original composition

About the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles

Founded in 1995, The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, are a young, monastic order of Sisters. United with Our Lady at the foot of the Cross; the sisters seek, above all else, a life of union with God in prayer as guided by the Rule of St. Benedict. They pray and sacrifice especially for the sanctification of priests. The Sisters sing together eight times a day as they chant the Divine Office in Latin. Along with the making of priestly vestments and sacred linens, The Benedictines of Mary also take care of gardens, an orchard and a small farm.

About De Montfort Music

De Montfort Music is a division of AimHigherMedia – both founded by music-industry veterans Kevin and Monica Fitzgibbons. Its special mission is to sign, develop, produce and bring to market the very best in Sacred Music. The label is an ambassador to the world of the true and the beautiful. The Benedictines of Mary are signed to De Montfort Music, which is distributed worldwide through Decca/Universal.

About DECCA/Universal

Decca Records is part of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s largest music content company with market-leading positions in recorded music, music publishing, and merchandising. The name "Decca" dates back to a portable gramophone called the “Decca Dulcephone” patented in 1914 by musical instrument makers Barnett Samuel and Sons. That company was eventually renamed The Decca Gramophone Co. Ltd. and then sold to former stockbroker Edward Lewis in 1929. Within years Decca Records Ltd. was the second largest record label in the world, calling itself “The Supreme Record Company.” Today, Decca thrives on discovering talent in new areas ranging from pop, rock, folk and Americana, and takes pride in strengthening its classical and jazz heritage with consistent benchmark recordings from some of the world’s greatest musicians.

For more information on De Montfort Music or ADVENT AT EPHESUS, to request a review copy of the album, or to schedule interviews with Mother Cecilia or Kevin Fitzgibbons, please contact Kevin Wandra (678-990-9032 or; Alexis Walkenstein (561-445-5409 or; or Lisa Wheeler (678-990-9032 or of The Maximus Group.

Folk Mass Band Upset Over Masses Interrupting Their Concerts

Kill the Organ?

Well, The Boston Globe has done it, run a piece by Jennifer Graham calling for an organ drop to destroy them all and end to the noise.

She writes: "I cringe at the Responsorial Psalm, ancient and lovely words bleated in call-and-repeat fashion with all the auditory appeal of an electronic can opener in full swing."

Before lighting the torches and grabbing the pitchforks, consider a few points. Her description is not entirely inaccurate. The mix of bad 1970s sacro-pop and organ doesn't work, and yet that is extremely common. Many organs do in fact sound terrible especially in bad acoustic environments. The voice should be primary in liturgy, not the organ, and yet amateur organists do not often understand this, but neither do guitar players and pianists. I might suggest that the organ is more often played badly with regrettable repertoire, and so too are all the other instruments, so I can follow what she is saying here.

Still, the blame is misplaced. The organ can be amazing, especially as a solo instrument. The real problem with Catholic music in the average parish lies elsewhere. It comes down the fact that most musicians performing in parishes have no real clarity about their liturgical role. They have the impression that they are supposed to knock out four random religious songs, plus a bit of service music, and go home.

This is the core of the problem. So long as the musical structure of the Roman Rite is not understood, all musicians will be implicated in doing damage to the liturgy, and that goes for singers and players of all sorts.

Hymn Tune Introit, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Let hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.

O turn to Him and heed His voice.

Turn to the Lord, for strong is He.

O seek His face unceasingly.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Lumen Christi Missal Arrives!

My Lumen Christi Missal arrived. It took me half an hour to wrap my brain around this visionary book and its implications for the future of the Catholic Mass. It's strange to see such a new book that seems so solid and thorough and ready for a permanent place in any parish. More on that in a bit.

For now, images!

Music for All Souls in St. Augustine

Hey Paul Inwood

The Simple English Propers uses the Solesmes translation of the antiphons and the Revised Grail for Psalms, contrary to what you claim with great authority here. I have no idea what is an is not approved in your neck of the woods (except that I'm sure all your copyrighted compositions are wholly approved!) but there is no authorized/mandated translation of the sung propers anywhere in the English-speaking world.

Please check your facts before you jump on people for singing what the Church is calling for people to sing.

Church-Dividing Hymnody

James Frazier clarifies:

...Every serious musician must lay the cause of justice before his or her congregation through the use of hymn texts that reinforce the lectionary on that subject. Few hymn texts written in earlier centuries measure up to this matter in our day. That is one reason that modern hymn texts are so important. The conclusion to my three reviews did indeed take a sharp turn to the left...

Frazier has put his finger on the most important consideration hymnal editors face today: how to respond to the leftist pressure to politicize Christianity.

Pigorian Chant

Can't believe that I'm only now seeing this. Apparently, this is the stuff of legend. Click for the book preview.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Blessed of the Day

During the mourning period for Blessed Pope John Paul II, I wrote this hymn text, which can be sung to Rendez a Dieu (most commonly used for Father, We Thank Thee Who Hast Planted).
Staff of a shepherd for the faithful; heart of a father for the poor
Jesus was in him, and the Spirit, for the uplifting of the world
“Be not afraid!” a voice was calling, “Lay down your lives in sacrifice!”
“Be not afraid!” the sound re-echoes, “Open the doors to Jesus Christ!”

Long may his legacy of courage guide us in paths of good and right.
Angels of God, come forth to lead him into the mysteries of light.
There Mary reigns, the Queen of Heaven; there Lazarus is poor no more.
Be not afraid, O Holy Father! Enter the mercy of the Lord.

Scott Turkington kindly set it in staves last year for the use of his cathedral parish of St. John the Baptist in Charleston, South Carolina. Today is our dear Holy Father's feast day.