A basketball star, and a nun

As a parish music director, I was able to accomplish many things that should have been impossible, given the limits of my abilities. I knew that the real powerhouse behind our parish programs was the Poor Clares monastery within our parish boundaries, where our priests said Mass.

On the occasion of her 25th jubilee, ESPN celebrates the life of one of the monastery’s nuns, a former basketball star.

But Pennefather did have the most beautiful shooting touch in all of women’s basketball. She scored 2,408 points, breaking Villanova’s all-time record for women and men. She did it without the benefit of the 3-point shot, and the record still stands today.

Much more here.


A Marian Mass in Spanish (Colloquium Mass audio)

Again this year the Sacred Music Colloquium included a Mass celebrated in Spanish: this time a votive Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with wonderful music of the Spanish Renaissance, on Thursday, July 4.

The Mass setting was La misa Caça by Cristobal de Morales, and the Mass included motets by Guerrero and de la Torre.  The propers were sung in new plainchant adaptations by Janet Gorbitz and Jennifer Donelson.  Music for the Mass can be viewed in the colloquium repertoire book at pages 103-134, except for a motet by Cornelius Verdonck of the Spanish Netherlands, which was a late substitution.

Photos by Charles Cole are on-line at New Liturgical Movement, and here are audio excerpts:

    1. Prelude: Bach, Fantasia super “Komm, heiliger Geist” (BWV 651)
    2. Processional interlude
    3. Introit: Un gran señal
    4. Kyrie: Morales: La misa Caça
    5. Gloria: Morales, La misa Caça
    6. Psalm: Tú eres la honra de nuestro pueblo (Mahrt/Cabezon)
    7. Alleluia, Dichosa tu
    8. Offertory: Dios te salve, Maria
    9. Interlude
    10. Motet: Verdonck, Ave gratia plena
    11. Interlude
    12. Sanctus/Benedictus: Morales, La misa Caça
    13. Padre nuestro
    14. Agnus Dei: Morales, La misa Caça
    15. Communion: Nos ha hecho
    16. Interlude
    17. Motet: Guerrero, O celestial medicina!
    18. Interlude
    19. De la Torre: Adoremoste, Señor
    20. Vierne: Toccata from Suite Nr. 2, op. 53:

Thanks to the anonymous attendee who posted a video of portions of the Mass on-line; the above image is a screenshot from it.


Hymn to St. Anne

The morning star is on the rise
And soon the dawn will fill the skies,
Foretelling of the coming Sun
Whose light will shine on everyone.

The Sun of justice, Christ, true Light,
And Mary, grace’s dawning bright,
And Anna, reddening the sky,
Have caused the night of Law to fly.

O mother Anna, fruitful root,
From you came your salvation’s shoot,
For you brought forth the flow’ring rod
That bore for us the Christ of God.

Christ’s mother’s mother, by the grace
Your daughter’s birth brought to our race,
And by her merits and her prayer
May we her favors come to share.

O Jesus, Virgin-born, to You
All glory is forever due.
To Father and the Spirit, praise
Be sung through everlasting days.

trans. c. 2009 Kathleen Pluth. This text may be used freely on July 25-26, 2019. All other rights reserved.

Latin original:

Nocti succedit lucifer,
Quem mox aurora sequitur,
Solis ortum praenuntians
Mundum lustrantis lumine

Christus sol est iustitiae,
Aurora Mater gratiae,
Quam, Anna, praeis rutilans
Legis propellens tenebras

Anna, radix uberrima,
Arbor tu salutifera
Virgam producens floridam
Quae Christum nobis attulit

O matris Christi genetrix
Tuque parens sanctissime
Natae favente merito
Nobis rogate veniam.

Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus est de Virgine,
Cum patre et almo Spiritu,
In sempiterna saecula


Clericalism and preaching

Apparently there is one of those tired ole envelope-pushing debates going on about women and preaching.

Apparently some would like women to preach at Mass. And I can only wonder why.

It seems the height of clericalism to suggest that preaching at Mass, which is reserved to the ordained, is a role to be coveted by those who are not ordained.

What is at stake? Doesn’t a lay person have many opportunities for preaching in daily life? Evangelization is not reserved to Mass, is it?

But perhaps this is not about evangelization. Quite possibly it is political.  It is most likely about making incremental changes leading to the toppling of structures. In which case it’s an anti-clerical cleralism, ironically devaluing the real accomplishments of lay people in the name of iconoclasm.

Personally I find Mass refreshing because it’s one of the few hours of the day when I can’t preach. There is so much to do for the Church and the world that one could preach all day and never fulfill the task. I find it’s helpful and rejuvenating to take that little break of listening, so beautifully tied to the Eucharist, because faith comes through hearing.





I have gone round, and have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation: I will sing, and recite a psalm to the Lord.

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?


Colloquium Mass Audio: July 3: Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle

On the third day of the CMAA Sacred Music Colloquium, Fr. James Richardson offered Mass in the Ordinary Form on the feast of St Thomas the Apostle, at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. The Latin propers were sung with Gregorian Mass IV; among the the motets sung were Quia vidisti me, Thoma by Hassler, Mitte manum by Isaac and O salutaris hostia by Anerio. Organist Michael Garrepy performed works by Mendelssohn and Bach. Photos by Charles Cole are on-line at New Liturgical Movement, and here are audio excerpts:

1. Prelude: Mendelssohn: Op. 37, Nr. 2 (partial recording)

2. Processional

3. Introit: Mihi autem

4. Kyrie, Mass IV (Cunctipotens genitor Deus)

5. Gloria IV

6. Gradual: Nimis honorati sunt

7. Alleluia: Gaudete justi

8. Credo III

9. Offertory: In omnem terram

10. Hassler: Quia vidisti me

11. Sanctus IV

12. Pater noster

13. Agnus Dei IV

14. Communio: Isaac: Mitte manum tuam

15. Anerio: O salutaris hostia

16. Bach: Kyrie (Gott Heiliger Geist), BWV 671


Dom Alcuin Reid on “liturgical integrity”

On Wednesday, July 3, liturgical scholar Dom Alcuin Reid, prior of the Monastère Saint-Benoît in the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France, gave the second plenary lecture at CMAA’s Sacred Music Colloquium, at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. His talk on authority in liturgy recalls the teaching of Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei that

“Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition.” The liturgy, the liturgical rites themselves, are an intrinsic part of the handing on of the faith received from the apostles. They are not mere decoration or ornament. The rites and prayers that have developed in the life of the Church are sacred vessels which bring apostolic tradition to us. Thus they are privileged sacramentals worthy of profound respect.

That is why Catholic liturgy is sacred. That is why Catholic liturgy is not that which any individual or group ‘likes’ to do, but is what we do ecclesially, in accordance with what is handed on to us in tradition. That is why the Sacred Liturgy enjoys a theological objectivity and cannot be altered without the greatest of prudence and due proportionality.

Against a subjectivism that would make the liturgy depend on “whatever the priest wants” or whatever this or that particular pope wants, according to personal opinions, Reid proposes principles of “liturgical integrity”. A text of his lecture appears in Catholic World Report.