A giving opportunity

Among the many causes worthy of end of the year giving, one of the groups that seems likely to make the greatest difference in this world and the next is the Dominican Province of St. Joseph.

I first became acquainted with the friars in 1999, when two eminent Dominican philosophy professors said Mass at Catholic University’s Campus Ministry–a ministry which the province has just this year taken over as its own. This was just before things began snowballing, as remarkable numbers of young men attracted to the life of prayer, study, community, and preaching flocked to their novitiate. Soon large classes of well-fostered vocations were professing obedience until death and receiving ordination.

To support their vocations boom, the province currently has a matching grant for vocations just till the end of 2022.

It would be impossible to mention all the great initiatives that members of the province have accomplished over the years. Their preaching has a truly international reach, with an East African Vicariate and academic/administrative presence outside the province in Jerusalem, Rome, and California. This personal leadership presence is in addition to the astonishingly creative range of online ministries that spread the Gospel to every corner of the world.

Meanwhile the friars’ on-the-ground ministries closer to home include parish life, academic and pastoral support of Dominican nuns, sisters, and third orders, chaplaincies of all kinds, and countless others, including liturgical music.

I’ll post a few media items below the fold that give just a hint of what our support for these friars through their years of formation can bring to the Church and the world.

Continue reading “A giving opportunity”


St. John of the Cross on the Eucharist

For I know well the spring that flows and runs,
although it is night.

That eternal spring is hidden,
for I know well where it has its
although it is night.

I do not know its origin, nor has it one,
but I know that every origin has come from it,
although it is night.

I know that nothing else is so beautiful,
and that the heavens and the earth drink there,
although it is night.

I know well that it is bottomless
and no one is able to cross it,
although it is night.

Its clarity is never darkened,
and I know that every light has
come from it,
although it is night.

I know that its streams are so brimming
they water the lands of hell, the heavens, and earth,
although it is night.

I know well the stream that flows from this spring
is mighty in compass and power,
although it is night.

I know the stream proceeding from these two,
that neither of them in fact precedes it,
although it is night.

This eternal spring is hidden
in this living bread for our life’s sake,
although it is night.

It is here calling out to creatures;
and they satisfy their thirst, although in darkness,
because it is night.

This living spring that I long for,
I see in this bread of life,
although it is night.

Saint John of the Cross
Translators: Kieran Kavanaugh & Otilio Rodriguez


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!

Verbum supernum prodiens

The Word, come forth from heaven’s height,
Yet leaving not the Father’s right,
And going out in working strength,
To His life’s evening comes at length.

His rivals have His death trap laid—
For His disciple has betrayed—
But first, the Food of life, Himself,
He handed over to the Twelve.

He gave Himself to them as Food
In twofold form of Flesh and Blood,
That He might meet their total need:
Their human twofold substance feed.

When born, He gave Himself as Friend;
As Food, when dining at the end;
As Ransom in His sacrifice;
As King, He gives Himself as prize.

O Victim, Who by dying saves,
Who paths through heaven’s portals paves,
Our enemies are close arrayed:
Give us Your strength and timely aid

Eternal glory ever be
To You, O One and Trinity,
And give us life that has no end
When to our homeland we ascend. Amen.

An office hymn for Palm Sunday

Celsae salutis gaudia

The joy of heaven’s saving ways
Let faithful earth its anthems raise,
For Jesus, Ransomer of all,
Now holds the prince of death in thrall.

The young of palm and olive trees,
The people pave the road with these.
Their voices jubilantly grow:
“Hosanna David filio!”

Then let us all with running feet
Make haste our high great Prince to meet,
And melodies of glory sing,
Our palms of gladness offering.

By blessed gifts may He upraise
Our walking over slip’ry ways,
Our journeys safe, that all our ranks
May pay to Him our debt of thanks.

Be glory to the Father done,
And likewise to His only Son,
And to the Holy Spirit praise
Forever, unto endless days. Amen.

Translation c. 2021 Kathleen Pluth