“Hey, that was kinda cool….” Coolness and the Stabat Mater

Not a great Sunday school class.
By five minutes until dismissal, I was thinking maybe one of the worst ever.
We would be discussing the difference between obligatory and optional, sacraments and sacramentals, public (official) and private, Liturgy and devotions.
So, it being Lent, I thought we could do a modified, very truncated Stations, the Catholic devotion equivalent of speed dating.
The class would consist of a little discussion of how everyones week had been, a little coloring, a little reading of scripture, a little practicing of liturgical postures, a little early Church history, a little map reading, a little music, a little explanation of the Via Crucis.
We only sang 4 verses of the Stabat Mater, one after each of the 1st, 5th, 11th and final Stations.

Well, it was horrible.
Ghastly, I thought.
I’m going to have to spend a half hour this weekend scraping crushed crayons off the floor. The boy given the 12th station to color made the entire page a solid and undecipherable spot of blue. One reader thought “Simon the Siren” was the best joke anyone had every come up with. Another made the entire devotion into a math problem, shouting out things like, “Nine? com’on, we got six more to go, folks!!!!” The crucifer used the crucifix to scratch her shoulders when she got bored. The challenge of genuflection inspired remarkable gymnastic feats. Some were just too tired to walk the five or six feet to the next Station each time, and scooted across the linoleum on their bottoms.

But when we finished, one said, surprised, Hey, that was kinda cool.
Another, but sad.
Several, nodding, yeah, sad. Really sad.
The first, but cool. And the song.
Some others, yeah, the song.
One, hopefully, are we gonna sing it again?

And as they left, one was humming the ancient chant.

Image result for stabat mater chant

Solemn Mass at Seminary

The blogging priest at WDTPRS has a post with pictures from a Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Philadelphia’s seminary.
It seems,

The seminarians have been asking the rector for a TLM, so he agreed!

 Anyone recognize the celebrant?

 Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 19.49.57

Anyway, the rector at Charles Borromeo, who was asked and acquiesced to the seminarians’ rightful aspirations, the Most Rev Timothy Senior, “is a classically trained pianist.”

Anyone else wonder if these things might be related?
Experiencing Beauty gives us a taste for Truth, experiencing Truth gives us a longing for Beauty.

‘Stop Asking “Is the music religious?” Ask Rather, “Is the music liturgical?”

A column by Hilary Cesare at Ignitum Today about what so many Catholic are missing in their worship, (hint, it begins with “prop” and ends with “ers,”) and some suggestions about how they might get started.

Have You Been Missing Out on a Centuries-Old Catholic Musical Tradition?
Some of the most divisive conversations amongst Catholics today arise over music at Mass. Most arguments revolve around the style of music or the instrumentation. However, these arguments generally don’t focus much on the texts of the music. The majority of us have grown up in parishes that are unaware of or lacking an essential part of Church’s musical heritage: The Propers. We should stop asking “Is the music religious?” but rather, “Is the music (and its text) liturgical?” The Church assigns specific chants/texts to each day of the liturgical year, just as she assigns certain readings & psalms to each day of the year. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says that these scriptural, liturgical texts (called “the Propers”) are the ideal and most desirable thing to be sung at Mass.
We are accustomed to the readings, responsorial psalm, and Alleluia verse changing each week in the Missalette. The scriptural texts of the Mass Propers also change daily and allow us to more fully participate in the liturgical day being celebrated. There are three times when the Propers are sung at a Novus Ordo Mass

(A little quibble, the Gradual can be sung, of course.)
(Oh, and I don’t know Hilary but I’ve chosen, among other labels, “youth” because… well, to me everyone is.)

Read “Go Set a Watchman” Yet?

Who knew that Harper Lee’s characters had entered the fray regarding how the Almighty should be worshipped in song!
I’m not sure if this flouts copyright law, so rather than post the entire section that tickled me, I link

she went down the aisle to corner Herbert, who had remained behind to shut the windows. Dr. Finch was faster on the draw:
“—shouldn’t sing it like that, Herbert,” he was saying. “We are Methodists after all, D.V.”
“Don’t look at me, Dr. Finch.” Herbert threw up his hands as if to ward off whatever was coming. “It’s the way they told us to sing it at Camp Charles Wesley….The music instructor… taught a course in what was wrong with Southern church music. He was from New Jersey,” said Herbert….
“He said we might as well be singing ‘Stick your snout under the spout where the Gospel comes out’ as most of the hymns we sing. Said they ought to ban Fanny Crosby by church law and that Rock of Ages was an abomination unto the Lord….He said we ought to pep up the Doxology.”


“What Has Happened to Sacred Catholic Music?”

An article in the Catholic Stand, (a new-to-me website, but I’m always the last to know….) which includes an interview with our Kathy Reinheimer. (Many of the Chant Cafe’s readers will know her from Colloquia.)

Go read it all, but this struck me, what with all the conversation of late about church musicians abruptly fired/forced out.

[Kathy:] “I am seeing bright spots of scholae popping up all over the country.”

HL: “It still depends on the local bishop.”

Kathy: “My choir… operates at the pleasure of the bishop even though we are an independent 501c3, all he would have to do is send out a notice to all the parishes that Regina Pacis is no longer welcome and we would be done, just like that.  Bless his heart he has chosen to not do that, but there are other places that have not been as fortunate.

We must remember to count our blessings, making our prayers of thanksgiving not just petition, (I am speaking to myself here…)

Sacred Music Workshop in Georgia

News of this  in my inbox this a.m.

A One-day Experience of Gregorian Chant and Polyphony

The Summer Sacred Music Workshop is a one-day workshop where you will learn about the Ancient Gregorian Chant and other forms of Catholic Liturgical Music. The workshop is open to all who have an interest in the history and application of music in the liturgy; Catholics, non-Catholics, priests, deacons, religious, choir directors, singers, etc.
Workshop Highlights:

  • Training in Gregorian Chant under professional church musicians, with choices of a chant class for beginners, and courses for advanced men or women.
  • Keynote lecture by Rev. David Carter, JCL, entitled: Re-discovery of the Church’s Sacred Tradition: II Kings 22
  • A panel discussion on the Liturgy and Sacred Music
  • Choral experience with one of the two choirs; a beginning polyphony choir or a choir for more experienced singers.
  • A Sung Mass in the Novus Ordo where you can apply what you learn.
  • A music packet including all the chants, motets and other helpful resources.

August 15, 2015
Our Lady of the Mountains Roman Catholic Church

“Banished Repertoire: Sequences”

Dr Jennifer Donelson’s presentation, during a break-out session, was, as one would expect from her, enlightening, thought provoking and, well… just plain fun.

She is a delightful and engaging teacher.

I was not the only one charmed by the sequence for St Nicholas’ feast day, (“…Who, whilst in his cradle lying, by observing duly fast/ Heavenly joys began to merit even at his mother’s breast.”* Who would NOT be?!!?? Imagine it, no, thanks Mom, it’s Lent, ya know, as he gently nudges away the proffered nourishment…)

But I was also not the only one disappointed that his rumoured pasting of Arius at the council of Nicea was not mentioned in the lyric, so I offer my humble contribution to the literature. (The meter, I’ve chosen, 10 10 11, is not one I associate with any tune I’ve ever heard, but the meter of the translation in the hand-out seemed to vary quite widely, so forgive me…)

Champion of orthodoxy, vying,
‘Gainst those foes, who, Christ’s Godhead denying,
Boldly, blindly followed errant Arius.

Nicholas in council was defending
Truth, with many heretics contending,
Landing blows with his fists and words, various.

*Digby S Wrangham’s englishing of the sequence.