In caelesti collegio

This is my translation of a 15th century hymn to St. Francis, In caelesti collegio.

The hymn points out St. Francis’ resemblances to Jesus Christ and to groups of His saints, showing how he belongs among them: apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and angels.

St. Francis shines in glorious light
Among the heav’nly college bright,
For by a grace of special kind
Christ’s marks are on St. Francis signed.

He lived with friends in poverty,
An apostolic company,
And bears the cross that signals peace,
The covenant that shall not cease.

A martyr by desire, he bears
The cross of Christ, whose sign he wears,
So in the heav’ns Christ makes him be
One with the martyr’s company.

He always bore the cross of Christ.
Through abstinence he sacrificed.
So with confessors now he reigns
And with them their reward he gains.

In gleaming robes as white as snow
He follows where Christ’s footsteps go,
And joys in chastity’s great prize
In angel choirs above the skies.

O Father, Son, and Spirit, by
The wounds of Francis purify
Your servants who these gifts implore
Forever and forevermore.



Dr. Horst Buchholz’ Mass of St. Francis

This morning I had the joy of cantoring the Mass of St Francis for the first time.

There’s always a learning curve with a new ordinary, but this one was actually easy to learn and very rewarding. At the same time simple and sophisticated, it followed the contours and complexities of the texts beautifully. The Gloria in particular was impressive, climbing the iterations of praise. Praise, bless, and the second syllable of adore are each held for a dotted quarter, and then at the high point, the first syllable of glorify is held for a full half note. It’s a subtle but very effective climax.

When singing of the Second Person of the Trinity, the setting drops to the relative minor. This happens in both in the Lord Jesus Christ section of the Gloria and the Blessed is He section of the Holy, Holy, Holy. The effect is a solemn recollection of the wonders of the Word made flesh.

It’s a great pleasure to sing liturgical music that is so thoughtfully crafted!

The “Extraordinary Music Workshop”: day one

Assumption Day and the Extraordinary Music Workshop offered by the Dominican Fathers in Kraków coincided with a major Dominican celebration of the Polish province’s 800th anniversary. Today’s Mass, therefore, was the first of a triduum leading to the feast of the province’s founder, St. Jacek Odrowąż, better known in English-speaking countries as St. Hyacinth.

Basilica of the Holy Trinity
Basilica of the Holy Trinity (interior)
Assumption Day Mass at the Basilica

The Mass was offered in Polish, and the church was filled with the generally young participants in the EMW.

Here is a sample of some of the music sung today. I think even the hymns with recently composed melodies have an impressive depth.

  • Już się anieli wiesielą (“Let angels rejoice”), a 15th-century hymn in a setting by present-day composer Paweł Bębanek
  • Kyrie VIII
  • Błogosławiona jesteś, Maryjo (“Blessed are you, O Mary”), a hymn written in 2004 by Fr. W. Kądziela
  • the Our Father
  • Bądźże pozdrowiona (“Hail, O living Host”), which augments a classic and familiar Christmas refrain with new verses to make it a Eucharistic hymn for any season

The “Extraordinary Music Workshop”: the day before

It is Assumption Eve here in Kraków, and the city is busy with the three-day weekend. For us, there is even a festival of sacred music concerts, Cracovia Sacra, underway tonight, with events starting as late as 10:15 p.m. at the city’s wonderful churches, museums, and religious houses.

On Sunday afternoon, participants checked in for the Dominican Fathers’ week-long sacred music event in Kraków, the “Extraordinary Music Workshop“, and the events of the program start Monday morning: that is, on Assumption Day.

This will be the seventh edition of the event, but the first with a track of sessions conducted in English. I don’t know what the final attendance will be, but a volunteer told me the count of registrations was over 320, a figure that shows the vigorous interest in sacred music in Poland. Most of that attendance by far is by Polish participants, who know that life in Kraków is basically normal despite the war in Ukraine, whose border is 150 miles away.

All that I can show so far to give a hint of the week to come is in a couple of pictures; first, the main image for this post (above), showing the wonderful St. Ann’s University Church, where some of the liturgies will take place; and a snapshot to show the nice work that has gone into preparing the songbooks for the program:

Plus a little sample of the sound of the organ at St. Ann’s, made a few Sundays ago:

SCSM Call for Papers


Annual Meeting of the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music

Deadline for proposals, October 1, 2022
Conference dates: March 2–4, 2023
Conference web site:
Conference venue: Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC

Individual papers, research posters, panels, and lecture recitals on any topic related to the study of music and Christianity are welcome. We invite submissions representing a variety of approaches and perspectives, including ethnomusicology, historical musicology, theory and analysis, philosophy, theology, liturgy, congregational music, as well as other methodologies. All submissions should have a clear title. Lecture-recital proposals should contain the list of pieces with approximate timings.

SCSM encourages submissions from current graduate students. A $250 prize will be awarded for the best paper presented by a graduate student at the meeting. In addition, graduate students whose proposals are accepted are eligible to apply for travel assistance from the SCSM Graduate Student Travel Fund.

Note: We are planning on an in-person meeting, along with some online offerings. When submitting a proposal, please indicate whether you intend to present in person or via online. (Changes in presentation format may be possible, but only up to a deadline to be determined by the program committee.) Regardless, all conference participants need to be available during the days of the conference for synchronous sessions.

Please visit the conference website for proposal details. Please send submissions or questions to Mark Peters, program committee chair, at