Monday, December 31, 2007


Dr. Paul Ford, whose work for the Church I greatly admire, posted an "emendation" to a couple of sections of the most recent General Instruction of the Roman Missal submitted by the U.S. Bishops. This is in light of concerns about the Entrance and Communion antiphons as provided in the Roman Missal. It turns out that...

Recent research, confirmed by unofficial discussions with officials of the Holy See during the past several years, has made clear that the antiphons of the Order of Mass were never intended to be sung, but are provided without notation to be recited whenever the Graduale Romanum or another song is not sung. The antiphons of the Missale Romanum, which differ substantially from the sung antiphons of the Roman Gradual, were never intended to be sung.

I remember this coming up in conversation somewhere, but I forget where. Even most missalettes knew enough to print under "Entrance Antiphon" and "Communion Antiphon" that "when a processional chant or hymn is sung, the antiphon of the day is omitted."

On the Musica Sacra message board thread on which Dr. Ford posted the .pdf, I took the liberty of asking him:,

Would one still be free to use the Graduale propers or even a translation thereof? I would at least hope anyways.
And what about the priority of Lectionary vs. Graduale when singing the "intervening chants" during the Liturgy of the Word?

I got this reply from Dr. Ford, which I found very helpful and thank him for:

Yes, Brian, one would be free to use the Graduale propers or even a translation thereof. That is what we in the Collegeville Composers Group did in our Psallite project for The Liturgical Press.
It seems to be, however, that the Lectionary has priority over Graduale when singing the "intervening chants" during the Liturgy of the Word. This is because the Lectionary of the Mass of Paul VI was composed on a different principle than was the lectionary of the Mass of Saint Pius V.

This will help me greatly in compositional endeavors in the very near future.


Well, folks, here's what's been happening --- my cat chorale has been expanding! I've been putting them through a rigorous training camp. However, they can be about as mischievous as, let's say, Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Here are some samples of what a cat choir camp is like:

If anyone says "You stink!" after Mass, here's why.

This cat is studying organ repair, and is practicing the art of contortionism. You have to be a professional contortionist to get into some of those cases.

The all-new meaning to "It ain't over till the fat lady sings!"

The "sing on your back" exercise to help hit certain notes.

Stretching and singing, warming up for a certain religious misedumacation congress performance.

Trying to stay dry from the rain during outdoor activity. (OR: Finding a place to hide while cutting liturgical dance class)

This guy wasn't so lucky.

No, that is not Lucy Carroll's Churchmouse on this cat's head. Churchmouse knows better.

Perhaps a good scream for help would expand this cat's soprano range.

All are welllllllllllllcome, ALL are welllllllllllllllcome... Hold on, let me call my friend. RAAAAAAAALPH!

Happy, blessed, and snarky New Year to all our readers, listeners, viewers, etc.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


brought to you by "O Come, Let Us Adore Him"

For some reason, up in these parts, many parishes still have a tendency of using O come, let us adore him / Venite, Adoremus as a memorial acclamation. Now, I must say that the ditty in question is, well, not really a ditty, but the refrain of a beautifully-written Christmas carol. However, it is NOT a memorial acclamation.

Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.

The "mystery of faith", mysterium fidei, is not the Lord's birth, though we are in the season to celebrate such. The mystery of faith is what we recall every time we come to Mass - the Eucharist, our Lord's Holy Sacrifice of His Body and Blood, his passion, death, and resurrection.

- Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life; Lord Jesus, come in glory.
- When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.
- Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free; you are the Savior of the world.

(and I guess the add-on, Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.)

Don't get me wrong - I love the hymn Adeste Fideles, but in its rightful place.


St. John the Baptist, Pawtucket, RI
Feast of the Holy Family, December 30, 2007

I went to the 9:30 Mass again this morning. Paul can really get some nice sounds out of that organ!

O come, all ye faithful..."Adeste Fideles"
- (I don't know where he got the intro from, but it was gorgeous!)
Blessed are those who fear the Lord...Alstott
- (the chant-like one in A-flat. Of all the Alleluias usually included in that Respond and Acclaim book, apart from the O Filii et Filiae alleluia, which is always good, especially at Easter, this one is by far the best!)
Away in a Manger...Mueller
- (I still think Kirkpatrick's Cradle Song is better, but Murray's Mueller is a fine tune as well. BTW, don't forget to check out the poll I have on the CVA Message Boards - it's in the CVA #113 thread.)
Mass of Creation...Haugen
What Child is this..."Greensleeves"
Angels we have heard on high..."Gloria"


Friday, December 28, 2007


OK - any of you West Coast folk ever listen to Bob Rivers on the radio? Bob's been in Seattle for a bit now - KZOK 102.5 FM is his station. I remember him when he did the Bob and Zip Show here in southern New England a couple of decades back (107.3 FM WAAF Worcester/Boston, or as they pronounce it here, "Wistah/Bahstin"). Of course, when Bob went west, he took his "Twisted Tunes" with him (we still have Tom Doyle's "Tom's Townie Tunes" - just as funny).

I stumbled on to this one, pretty much sounds like my current work status. I found this one quite funny (well, not my current work status, but the song).

For the sake of copyright respect for Bob Rivers and KZOK-FM, I'll leave only links...

Lyrics / Audio


Thursday, December 27, 2007


An excellent post on the secularism and consumerism that has eaten up Christmas and simply written it off as "holiday" comes from Dymphna's Well.

I shudder to think what our more "modern" Christmas songs are telling us. "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer"? "Santa Baby"? Christmas, like Christianity in general is now something to be put down and made fun of, like the picked-on kid at school.

As Boniface says, "this secular Christmas music exposes how bankrupt our culture is..."


No wonder we're depressed. If we don't celebrate the birth of Christ, we are forced to celebrate "Blatant Consumer Day", or perhaps, "Depressing Nostalgia Day", by shopping until we drop and then running to the stores the next day to take it all back, because its not what we wanted.

Boniface, btw, has an excellent post in his blog, Unam Sanctam Catholicam, which Dymphna's post attributes.

All this pretty much sums up much of what I've been trying to say all along.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Since I was impressed enough with last Sunday's music at St. John the Baptist, I figured I'd go there for Midnight Mass as well (my daughter Jessica came with me this time). When we got into the church, Jessie said to me, "Now THIS is what a church should look like!" (Description of the church here) There was the organist, a trumpet, a flute, and a couple of singers. We got there about "twenty of" (and yes, Midnight Mass was at MIDNIGHT, not 11 PM, not 10 PM --- MIDNIGHT, where it belongs!). I didn't recognize all of the pre-Mass recital, but did manage to catch such titles as Of the Father's Love Begotten (a 3/4 metrical arrangement), Il Est Ne, le Divin Enfant (good choice, especially since there's still some French Canadian blood still looming there), Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella, Ding Dong! Merrily on High, and O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (which was the very last). All of these sounded great, especially in a beautiful edifice like St. John's.

At midnight came the 12 bell tolls, followed by the reading (chanting would have really been cool) of the Christmas Proclamation, neither of which I've experienced before, but it was really cool. Procession included a pit stop to the manger to place the Newborn King. Mass music went thus:

Cantique de Noel (one verse each, French, then English)...Adam
O come, all ye faithful..."Adeste Fideles"
Gloria...Schutte/"Mass of God's Promise" (the verses were ok, but since the refrain was an altered text, I wasn't too impressed)
Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord...Alstott
Celtic Alleluia...Walker/O'Carroll (I'm not a fan of the Celtic Alleluia, but at least Paul made it actually sound decent)
The First Nowell...Trad. English
Mass of Creation...Haugen (Paul and I got talking after Mass and he had found out that I saw the cantor Sunday and told her "excellent selections, except for Mass of Creation, of course", so he said "I hear you don't like Mass of Creation". I then went and told him how I successfully weaned Holy Name out of it, and the interview/audition at Holy Ghost in '04 where the pastor said "If I hear "Mass of Creation" one more time so help me..." - all in fun friendly fire)
It came upon a midnight clear..."Carol"
Silent night, holy night..."Stille Nacht"
Hark! the herald angels sing..."Mendelssohn" (he played it in G - YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!)

Overall, NICE!

In the peace of the newborn King,

Monday, December 24, 2007


Now, what good would Christmas be without a snarky greeting?! :))

Merry and blessed Christmas to all our readers, listeners, viewers, etc.
BMP (away from the console for the first Christmas in 26 years)

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Religious Mis-Edumacation Congress approved! Enjoy!
(PHT to Fr. Richtsteig)



St. John the Baptist, Pawtucket, RI

St. John the Baptist Church, though not the mother church of the city of Pawtucket, nor the most active, but I would say is the most prominent of Pawtucket's twelve Roman Catholic churches.

St. John's was originally built for French Canadians, and for the longest time the church was known by its French name, St. Jean-Baptiste. Many of the cityfolk would simply call it "St. Jean's" (pronouncing "Jean's" in English, like "blue jeans"). With a massive change in demographics in that section of the city, however, the church is known more now by its Spanish name, San Juan el Bautista.

The Romanesque style church is beautiful inside and out. You climb NINE steps to get to the sanctuary. Guest choirs and chori that would perform in concert at the church would use the steps as risers. The Latin inscription down one side of the church and up the other side reads thus (using classical Roman lettering - "V" for "U"):

(Praise the Lord, O children, Praise the name of the Lord, -- Psalm 113(112))
(Praise the Lord from the heavens, Praise Him in the highest. -- Psalm 148)

Another inscription above the high altar, contouring the apse:

ECCE AGNVS DEI (Behold the Lamb of God)

Typical Sunday Mass schedule:
Saturday 5:00 PM (English) / 6:30 PM (Spanish)
Sunday 9:30 AM (English) / 11:30 AM (Spanish)

The music, overall, was quite good. Paul Martin has been organist there for quite some time and is quite good. His music selections are primarily in the traditional style, whether it be hymns that have stood the test of time for centuries or modern day music actually geared for organ accompaniment, despite Today's Missal (with Spanish Insert) and Music Issue being the pew book. Today I attended the 9:30 Mass which was no exception.

Here's the music list:

The Advent of our King..."St. Thomas" (Aaron Williams)
Let the Lord enter, he is king of glory...Alstott
- (not one of the best of the Respond and Acclaim Psalm settings, but definitely not one of the worst either)
Advent/Christmas Alleluia...Haas
- (Probably the first, if not only, GOOD work of Haas' I've ever run into. The refrain, anyways. I would have rather used the verse of the day, however, for the verse.)
Lo! how a rose e'er blooming...Es ist ein' ros entsprungen
Mass of Creation...Haugen - (the only blech of the day)
O Holy Mary...Alstott - (by far his BEST work; very nice!)
O come, O come, Emmanuel..."Veni, Veni, Emmanuel" (vv. 7 and 1)

The only thing I would have done differently is extend the intros on the hymns. One short line just isn't enough, IMO. For the opening hymn, which is only short meter (66 86), I would have used a whole verse for an intro. Give the people a chance to hear the tune and open the book. Otherwise, very good!

The organ is a three-manual, 31-rank instrument built by Compagnie Orgues Canadiennes (you guessed it - Canadian Organ Company). I diddled on this organ once a few years back. It's actually an offshoot of Casavant Freres, so I was once told. Dave Sylvester, a good friend of mine, is a former organist there.

Overall, I was very pleased. Musically, it's probably the best that any Pawtucket Catholic parish has!


PS: After Mass, I introduced myself to the curate and gave him the link to a certain podcast. (Ain't I a snark?! tee hee!)


...if it's not happening at Mass

For those on a certain message board I once frequented, here's the skinny on liturgical dance. (PHT to the Catholic Caveman) The first, dated 1975, comes from the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship, which is now known as the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship

Dancing and Worship

The dance has never been made an integral part of the official worship of the Latin Church.

If local churches have accepted the dance, sometimes even in the church building, that was on the occasion of feasts in order to manifest sentiments of joy and devotion. But that always took place outside of liturgical services.

Conciliar decisions have often condemned the religious dance because it conduces little to worship and because it could degenerate into disorders.

However, the same criterion and judgment [that apply to the Eastern Rites] cannot be applied in the western culture.Here dancing is tied with love, with diversion, with profaneness, with unbridling of the senses: such dancing, in general, is not pure.

For that reason it cannot be introduced into liturgical celebrations of any kind whatever: that would be to inject into the liturgy one of the most desacralized and desacralizing elements; and so it would be equivalent to creating an atmosphere of profaneness which would easily recall to those present and to the participants in the celebration worldly places and situations.

Neither can acceptance be had of the proposal to introduce into the liturgy the so-called artistic ballet because there would be presentation here also of a spectacle at which one would assist, while in the liturgy one of the norms from which one cannot prescind is that of participation.

If the proposal of the religious dance in the West is really to be made welcome, care will have to be taken that in its regard a place be found outside of the liturgy, in assembly areas which are not strictly liturgical. Moreover, the priests must always be excluded from the dance.

Second, this, from Francis Cardinal Arinze, whom people from said message board had once referred to the good Cardinal as "clueless".

Has liturgical dance been approved for Masses by your office?

There has never been a document from our Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments saying that dance is approved in the Mass.The question of dance is difficult and delicate. However, it is good to know that the tradition of the Latin Church has not known the dance. It is something that people are introducing in the last ten years -- or twenty years. It was not always so. Now it is spreading like wildfire, one can say, in all the continents -- some more than others. In my own continent, Africa, it is spreading. In Asia, it is spreading.

Now, some priests and lay people think that Mass is never complete without dance. The difficulty is this: we come to Mass primarily to adore God -- what we call the vertical dimension. We do not come to Mass to entertain one another. That's not the purpose of Mass. The parish hall is for that.

So all those that want to entertain us -- after Mass, let us go to the parish hall and then you can dance. And then we clap. But when we come to Mass we don't come to clap. We don't come to watch people, to admire people. We want to adore God, to thank Him, to ask Him pardon for our sins, and to ask Him for what we need.

Most dances that are staged during Mass should have been done in the parish hall. And some of them are not even suitable for the parish hall.

I saw in one place -- I will not tell you where -- where they staged a dance during Mass, and that dance was offensive. It broke the rules of moral theology and modesty. Those who arranged it -- they should have had their heads washed with a bucket of holy water! [laughter]

Doesn't sound like someone clueless to me. I'm sure there will be another Religious Mis-edu-ma-cation Congress coming to L.A. pretty soon. Perhaps we should put these two statements from the Vatican and from Cdl. Arinze in a pamphlet and circulate, let's say, truckloads of these, between Los Angeles and Anaheim (the Religious Misedumacation Congress usually has their convention in Anaheim, if I'm not mistaken). Maybe the message board that booted me after I told them off for calling the Cardinal "clueless" (and the national organization that runs said message board) could use such a pamphlet too.


Saturday, December 22, 2007


Rudolphus Rubrinasus returns for a visit!

First a link to the text.

Now a link to the mp3 in Latin (by the choir of St. Bart's NYC),
and the mp3 in Latin and English (by the same choir).


PS: here's a link to the Latin text for Jingle Bells and Silent Night.


Post number 1700!

In true Drew Carey style, I award a million points to Bass Pro Shops for using the word CHRISTMAS in its latest commercial, as they promote their "Countdown to Christmas" sale on TV. Too bad I don't know any Bass Pro Shops around this neck of the woods. However, I do see the gift cards for them being sold in the friendly neighborhood Cumby's. (Oh, I did find one BPS in Springfield, MO, about three years ago when auditioning in a church there - with a really cool wildlife museum next to it.)



Since when did Let There Be Peas and Carrots on Earth and My Favorite Things become Christmas songs? Suddenly I hear these on the radio along with the mix of so-called "holiday favorites". I don't mind so much the latter, but it's by no means a Christmas song, simply a song from a big hit musical (The Sound of Music). The former: well, barf-o-rama!


Friday, December 21, 2007

THE "LEGEND" OF THE THREE WISE MEN told by someone not so wise.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday that the Christmas story of the Three Wise Men was nothing but a 'legend'.

Dr Rowan Williams has claimed there was little evidence that the Magi even existed and there was certainly nothing to prove there were three of them or that they were kings.

Dr Williams said: "Matthew's gospel says they are astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire, that's all we're really told. It works quite well as legend."

Let's see - Saint Matthew writes:
...behold, Wise Men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying "Where is he who has been born the king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him."

Sounds to me like those Wise Men were real and not just "ZZ Top doing a FarmAid concert" (apologies to Jeff Foxworthy). But then, that's why the Archbishop of Canterbury is not of the One True Church.


Thursday, December 20, 2007


I'm usually not a fan of surveys, but my wife sent me this one and I couldn't resist...

The question is: Is it okay for a candidate to wish voters Merry Christmas?

After I clicked my "yes" vote, the up-to-the-minute results came up:
Yes: 29,977 / No: 54

So, should we be "politically correct" for the sake of a measly 54? I think not!


These days there's an "i" for everything. There's the iPod and iTunes. My former boss is the iPadre. Frigidaire has a washer and dryer called iWash and iDry respectively (I yahooed "iWash" and found there's also a car wash system by the same name). So, my wife and my daughter check out the Chipmunks official website, and what do they discover?

You guessed it!

Coming soon: the iSnark! (That'll be the guy who, on the end of each of my CVA/CVTV shows, yells out "Made on a crappy PC!")


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


There's a little Polish market just a few blocks from me. They've been open about a year, but just last week I was brave enough to step foot inside.

When I was a teenager, my parents would stop at Central Falls Provision Company in Central Falls, RI, to get most, if not all, of their deli meats. Being a Polish run store (I'm a half-a-Polock, the Polish is on my mom's side, btw), you'd run into such meats as what you see on the left.

As a teen, I simply called it "kielbasa loaf". I figured, "hey, it looks like salami crossed with Canadian bacon, but it tastes like kielbasa." Its true name is Kielbasa Krakowska. Yesterday, I bought the stuff for the first time in twenty-some years, at the little store I mentioned in my opening paragraph. And unlike my peers when I was in junior high and high school who were driven nuts by the smell (they could smell kielbasa a mile away -- HEY PAGE, WHAT IS THAT $&!+???!!!), my wife (French Canadian by blood) and kids (only quarter-Polocks) love it! I have to buy it in two-pound increments when I go get it.

Dare to ask someone in an ordinary supermarket deli in the USA for Kielbasa Krakowska (btw, fellow Polocks around here simply call it "Krako", or perhaps "Krakow", after the city in Poland, for short).

"Krakow" rocks!


Jeffrey Tucker at NLM finds'em all. Click here for an excellent article on good and bad hymnody by Todd Aglioloro. He REALLY gets it!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007


You can listen below, or save the file by clicking here. (13:44/12.5 MB)
At 13:44, this is the shortest audio episode in Christus Vincit history (up to now anyways).

Today's brief episode includes a Suggestion Box, a Don't Do This at Church scenario, and a reflection on the second of seven "O Antiphons".

Today's antiphon: O Adonai

Suggestion Box: Christmas - Vigil Mass.
More information: CanticaNOVA Planning Page for Christmas - Vigil Mass

Music: O Adonai (Chant, Mode II); Veni, Veni, Adonai (from Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, Chant, Mode I)

CVA Interactive Corner

Monday, December 17, 2007


You can listen below, or save the file by clicking here. (35:32/32.5 MB)
Special thanks to the Garrepy boys for their musical help!

The first in a seven-part series. We will be reflecting on each of the "O" Antiphons as they fall on their respective dates. Though today's show is of regular length, most of the next few shows will be mini-episodes.

Today's antiphon: O Sapientia

On Jordan's Bank (tune: Winchester New); Magnificat (Psalm Tone 8G, simple form)
Rejoice! the Lord Is King (tune: Darwall's 148th); O Sapientia (Chant, Mode II)
Veni O Sapientia (from Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, Chant, Mode I)
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Chant, Mode I), by Fugli, courtesy of Podsafe.

Feasts for the Week: St. Thomas the Apostle; St. Peter Canisius.
For more information, check out the New Advent Website.

Suggestion Box: Fourth Sunday of Advent
Hymnody in Inflationary Language: Shamus O'Reilly recites the "O" Antiphons in Latin and English, brought to you by The Cat Chorale.
Additional Links: CanticaNOVA Planning Pages for IV Advent, St. Leo the Great Church (Pawtucket, RI)

CVA Interactive Corner

Saturday, December 15, 2007


OK - one of my pet peeves around Christmas, as many of our readers know, is the trashy (or tacky at best) Christmas songs that get played on the radio these days. I've always said that if you're going to trash a Christmas song, at least be FUNNY about it, which explains why I mentioned earlier as my favorite secular Christmas song, Ding Fries Are Done!

Last night I discovered my new favorite Christmas song, right here. Hilarious!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Here's part of it right here. (PHT to Jeffrey Tucker at NLM)

After all this time, I just found out by reading this article what "FEL" stands for in Ray Repp's old publishing outlet --- "Friends of English Liturgy". Friends like that, who needs enemies?!

Keep a barf bag by your side while reading.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


In the December 2007/January 2008 edition of the Adoremus Bulletin, there is an article contrasting two different speeches to the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) - one by former BCL head Bp. Trautman, and one by Msgr. Anthony Moroney, who was honored for 20 years of service to the FDLC and the USCCB's Secretariat for Liturgy.

“There should be no backsliding”

We all know we're not backsliding. We're just trying to correct our wrongs. Once we do that, then a-forward we shall go. :)

“our dream” is “to bring heaven to earth: to experience a glimpse of the heavenly Jerusalem in the Sacred Liturgy”

In other words, restoring the "Holy" in "Holy Mass".

Although Msgr. Moroney has stepped down as BCL Secretariat, he continues to serve on the Vox Clara committee, as well as serve as consultant for the new BCDW.

Read the whole article at Adoremus.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


In an interview with Zenit, the Cardinal from Houston had this to say:

With regard to the liturgy, I think we can take a cue from the liturgical piety of the Church Fathers. In the Fathers, you see an emphasis not only on the words said at Mass, but also the importance of the gestures of the liturgy. In other words, say the black, do the red.

All the makings of a cardinal who gets it!

PHT (Patriots Helmet Tip) to the great Father Z.


Could be. Domini Sumus makes the following observations while watching Frosty the Snowman - and it's quite interesting (I've probably seen it on an average once a year since 1969 - I was five then, so that's at least 38 times, PLUS, since the advent of the VCR video and the DVD, tack on dozens of times a year for the past 10 years).
Frosty is born at Christmas.
Frosty gives his life to save Karen.
Santa allows the cold wind (Holy Spirit) to come into the greenhouse and
Frosty comes back to life.
Frosty goes to the North Pole with Santa.
Frosty promises to return

There it is - Nativity, Passion/Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and the Promise of a Second Coming!



OK - sorry for the delay. Before we continue, I feel the need to point out something Mike O'Connor mentioned in the combox for Part 4 today, and I feel this highly supports my gripe about the now-former BCL decrying cassock and surplice for choir/director/cantor/psalmist/etc.

Actually Pius X did state in Tra le sollicitudine that cassock and surplice should be worn by choirs when singing in the sanctuary BECAUSE they were exercising a clerical role. Since women were not allowed to participate in a choir in the sanctuary, they could not wear cassock and surplice since that would be the only time they could.

Thank you much for that, Mike!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming - - - Today we continue our Sing to the Lord series, that alleged "sequel" to Music in Catholic Worship. The section we'll be covering today is "Leadership and Formation". Here goes.

48. The whole assembly is actively involved in the music of the Liturgy. Some members of the community, however, are recognized for the special gifts they exhibit in leading the musical praise and thanksgiving of Christian assemblies. These are the liturgical musicians, as described in section E, above, and their ministry is especially cherished by the Church.

First of all, kudos for not using (or misusing) the term "pastoral musicians". They used the term "liturgical musicians", instead. I don't know about the average Catholic, but I tend to define "liturgical musician" as a musician who plays truly liturgical music, and not just plop together four of the "greatest hits" along with a Mass setting that has a plethora of alterations in the text.

49. Liturgical musicians are first of all disciples, and only then are they ministers. Joined to Christ through the Sacraments of Initiation, musicians belong to the assembly of the baptized faithful; they are worshipers above all else. Like other baptized members of the assembly, pastoral musicians need to hear the Gospel, experience conversion, profess faith in Christ, and so proclaim the praise of God. Thus, musicians who serve the Church at prayer are not merely employees or volunteers. They are ministers who share the faith, serve the community, and express the love of God and neighbor through music.

OH CRAP! Too good to be true, I guess. They said "pastoral musicians" after all. But like I said before, I know a couple of Anglicans who do just as well with the liturgy as (if not better than) most Catholics. One of them may have converted. I'm not exactly sure.

50. All pastoral musicians—professional or volunteer, full-time or part-time, director or choir member, cantor or instrumentalist—exercise a genuine liturgical ministry. The community of the faithful has a right to expect that this service will be provided competently. Pastoral musicians should receive appropriate formation that is based on their baptismal call to discipleship; that grounds them in a love for and knowledge of Scripture, Catholic teaching, Liturgy, and music; and that equips them with the musical, liturgical, and pastoral skills to serve the Church at prayer.

I'll agree to that. Can we "form" new musicians to undo the mess-ups of the last 40 years?

51. Preparation for music ministry should include appropriate human formation, spiritual formation, intellectual formation, and pastoral formation. Bishops and pastors should encourage liturgical musicians to take part in ministerial formation opportunities offered by universities, colleges, seminaries, ministry formation programs, dioceses, and national ministry associations. Parishes and dioceses should provide the financial support needed to ensure competent liturgical musical leadership.

The CMAA would be an excellent place to start (in terms of national ministry associations).

52. The service of pastoral musicians should be recognized as a valued and integral part of the overall pastoral ministry of the parish or diocese; provision should be made for just compensation. Professional directors of music ministries and part-time pastoral music ministers should each receive appropriate wages and benefits that affirm the dignity of their work.

Yes - thank you!

53. Liturgical music ministers should be provided with the proper resources to carry out
their administrative functions in a professional manner.


So, we have one section anyways that (overall) I can rate as quite good. Next post will be "Music in Catholic Schools". Rave or rant? Stay tuned.



OK - I've been out of work for about nearly four weeks now, but here is the new choir I get to direct in order to stay in practice for the next job I get.

This cat is a former lounge singer at St. Joan's and is now the soprano section leader in our Cat Chorale.

This soprano may look and act like Paris Hilton, but she's brought the roof down at Lincoln Center, so she likes to think.

One of our altos, this cat is an accomplished blues singer down at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, while doubling as a section leader at my former roundhouse church.

Pinky here was once a liturgical dance choreographer for a certain west coast religious misedumacation congress, until she found the knack for singing and joined last year's congress choir.

Finally, the founding member of the Cat Chorale, and one of the first parish folk group members. She even tried to start a folk group while the 1962 Roman Missal was still in force as the Ordinary Form of worship.

Think they can sing Gregorian Chant?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


You can listen below, or save the file by clicking here. (30:41/28.0 MB)
Don't let the title fool you. I did not use the "Wingdings" font. It is really seven O's. That's because today we're going to talk about the "O" Antiphons, and there are seven of them.

Feasts for the Week:
St. Melchiades; St. Damasus I; Our Lady of Guadalupe;
St. Lucy; St. John of the Cross.
For more information: New Advent Website.

Suggestion Box: Third Sunday of Advent

Veni, Veni, Emmanuel (Verse 1/Chant, Mode I), by the Four Bitmaps (Just who in tarnation ARE those guys?)
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (tune: Picardy), by Fugli, courtesy of Podsafe.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Advent Edition, brought to you by the Talking Confessional Box.

Additional Links:, CanticaNOVA Publications Planning Pages, Liturgical Press,
St. Michael Hymnal, "O" Antiphons on Wikipedia

CVA Interactive Corner


Intercepted from Dymphna's Well.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
For me, I'd prefer a grocery store bag. I'm just not fancy when it comes to that stuff (I for one don't care about how it's wrapped, just what's in it, tee hee), but my wife would rather wrap, so I let her wrap. (Wife says "wrap", of course)

2. Real tree or artificial?
Fake. Saves a lot of $$$. At least you don't have to toss it out and chase a new one each year. Hey, I'm on my fourth year on this tree. (Wife agrees)

3. When do you put up the tree?
Usually on the First Sunday of Advent (not my choice - if it were my choice it would be Gaudete Sunday at the absolute soonest). (Wife confirms)

4. When do you take the tree down?
If it were my choice, January 7 (the day after the traditional date of Epiphany). However, it lands up coming down a day or two after New Year's Day. (Wife again confirms)

5. Do you like eggnog?
Yes, but not spiked (I don't drink). (Wife agrees, and she only has a couple of drinks a year)

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
A stack of 45's - one of them being Go All the Way by Raspberries. (Wife can't recall)

7. Do you have a Nativity scene?
We have a couple of different scenes going here - the one in the kitchen is more of the Lego type; the one in the parlor has the fancier figures. (Wife agrees)

8. Hardest person to buy for?
Me (just kidding). The relatives outside of immediate family are easy. Until the advent of the Gift Card, I'd say the opposite. I'd have to say the young'uns. They have the longest lists. (Wife says "my husband; I never know what to get him").

9. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I can't say I've ever really received a bad gift. I really don't know. (Wife: a candle - hint: her late father owned a candle store)

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Both (Wife says "mail")

11. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Does it have to be a full-blown movie? They're either too "touching" or there's too much whining. I'd have to say "A Christmas Story" despite all the whining (You'll shoot your eye out, neener neener neener!) As for TV shows, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" all the way, especially where Schroeder tries to please Lucy with his playing of "Jingle Bells". (Wife loves all those classic clay-mation shows).

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
This year it was the Monday AFTER Black Friday. I flatly REFUSE to touch ANY retail venue on Black Friday. My wife and her sister went to a WalMart on Black Friday a few years back - getting there for like 5 AM. My wife regrets it to this day. Those people are NASTY! She was getting pegged in the head by doll boxes thrown by other customers (Wife says "sometimes two days before Christmas")

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
No, but thanks for the idea! Ho ho ho! (Wife did, though)

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
The Oreos that were "left on the coffee table for Santa". I'm also notorious for helping Santa write the note ("thanks for the cookies", "hope you enjoy your presents", etc.), and usually add some off-the-wall stuff that has the kids laughing their tushies off that morning. (Wife says ham)

15. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Colored, of course. I wouldn't have it any other way. And when we're on the road, my younger daughter and I devised a "point system" for house scenes. 2 points for all white/clear lights, 5 for colored, 10 if the scene has Santa, 20 if it has Jesus. Stores and other businesses get half credit. And if we're on the road before Thanksgiving, any scenes put up then get "penalty points" (unless it's Jesus - you can NEVER penalize Him). (Wife can't stand clear. Must go colored)

16. Favorite Christmas song.
Sacred: Of the Father's Love Begotten. Secular: Ding! Fries are Done! (What can I say? I love a good parody!) (Wife says anything by Burl Ives)
(UPDATE 12/15/07 9 AM: Here's my new favorite!)

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
We don't go far. The farthest is usually my brother about a half hour north of us. Otherwise, my mom lives about 15 minutes north, my mother in law is just around the block. (Wife says "stay home")

18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer.
Yes - Dasher, Vixen, Chewy, Tabo (wait, that's the Cheech and Chong version). Seriously - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and of course Rudolph. (Wife just did too)

19. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Star (though I wouldn't mind an angel) (Wife agrees)

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
If we're at the relatives' house on Christmas Eve, we open 'em then. The stuff under our own tree - Christmas morning, and not a minute before. (Wife agrees)

21. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Traffic, pushy/arrogant people (in the store AND on the road), having to endure the trashiest Christmas music (Santa Baby, Silver Bells, Grown-up Christmas List, Most Wonderful Time of the Year, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, and Baby It's Cold Outside are just the top six worst, IMO), especially from those radio stations that have been playing them 24/7 for the past six weeks, and people who deliberately substitute the word "holiday" just to avoid "Christmas". Nothing pisses me off more than someone on TV that doesn't have enough backbone to call Christmas by its name. All the other holidays and holy days, even Easter, get called by name for cripes sakes. Why not Christmas?! (Wife agrees on my first two)

TAG YOU'RE IT, anyone who wants to pick it off.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Gaudete Sunday / December 16, 2007 / 5 PM
Saint Leo the Great Church, Pawtucket, RI
Holy Mass in Extraordinary Form

Low Mass
On Jordan's bank the baptist's cry..."Winchester New"
Magnificat...Tone 8 (Simple)
- (If I had more voices, I'd use the solemn tone in the Pius X Hymnal)
Veni, Veni, Emmanuel...Mode I
Rejoice! the Lord is King (vv. 1, 2, and 4)..."Darwall's 148th"



Today I attended Mass a parish church in North Providence, RI. Before I start with the music list, I have to tell you for a church with a cornerstone dated 1963, it's not a bad looking church at all. There is a high altar there. No fancy reredos, but kind of a "semi-baldacchino" (with no supporting pillars) that extends almost to the ceiling. The Tabernacle is centered on the high altar. There is still about two thirds of the altar rail left. The seating is in the traditional style. The pipe organ, a three-manual Wicks, rebuilt by Peragallo (as I learned after Mass), is up in the choir loft, where the choir also sang from. Further, ALL the music was played on the organ. The organ playing wasn't "great", but was "decent", though I think there was a transposer set on the organ that was a half step flat (I say that because - one: I have perfect pitch and music normally played in G sounded like it was in G-flat, a key hardly anyone uses anymore, same for its enharmonic, F-sharp; two: I've learned not too long ago that modern technology has allowed even the pipe organ to transpose). There is absolutely no carpeting, thus, the acoustics are resounding!

So far, so good! However, let's now look at the music selected (ruh roh!)

In a mix of mostly trashy selections, the opening hymn was one I was very elated to hear, and the ONLY thing I sang from the pew:
On Jordan's bank the baptist's cry...Winchester New
To you, O Lord, I lift my soul...the composer eludes me. Wasn't all that great of a setting. Plus, I would have used the proper (Justice shall flourish...) instead. However, seasonal Psalms (Ps. 25 for Advent is one of them) are still allowed.
Alleluia...Jesuits Mass (blech!)
Offertory: A voice cries out...Joncas (Fr. Joncas has a few good pieces to his credit. This is not one of them. Sounds like typical Roc O'Connor fare from the 70's)
Sanctus, Memorial A, Amen...Janco (Mass of Redemption) (not so hot!)
Agnus...Olawski (blech!)
Communion: Come, O Lord...Dameans (absolute trash! The song itself sounds like a ripoff of the theme from Room 222 - remember that one from the early 70's?)
Recessional: City of God...Schutte (also absolute garbage! Has that quick 3 "bar song tempo" and trashy self-praising "we are sons of the morning, we are daughters of day" text.)

Despite the excellent acoustics, the choir and the organist was heavily miked. They really did not need the mics.

Was my first time at this church. Overall, I was disappointed.


Continuing our little series on the USCCB document, Sing to the Lord, the supposed successor to Music in Catholic Worship...

The Organist and Other Instrumentalists

41. The primary role of the organist, other instrumentalists, or instrumental ensemble is to lead and sustain the singing of the assembly and of the choir, cantor, and psalmist, without dominating or overpowering them.

42. The many voices of the organ and of instrumental ensembles, with their great range of expression, add varied and colorful dimensions to the song of the assembly, especially with the addition of harmonization.

What ever happened to "the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem"??? Now it's "the organ and instrumental ensembles", with many, I'm sure, getting the impression that "instrumental ensembles" may consist of a few guitars, piano, an electric bass guitar, possibly drums, bongos, and let's not forget that tambourine and those maraccas, as opposed to the instruments used in orchestras in such places as St. Agnes, Assumption Grotto, and St. John Cantius. These three parishes are amongst the models of sacred liturgy.

43. Those with the requisite talent and training should be encouraged to continue the musical tradition of improvisation. The liturgical action may call for improvisation, for example, when a congregational hymn or choral piece concludes before the ritual action is completed. The art of improvisation requires its own special talent and training. More than mere background sound is called for. When worthy improvisation is not possible, it is recommended that musicians play quality published literature, which is available at all levels of difficulty.

I do a lot of improv myself, sometimes even just before the last verse (and some those may include a modulation up a half or whole step).

44. There are also times when the organ or other instruments may be played alone, such as a prelude before the Mass, an instrumental piece during the Preparation of the Gifts, a recessional if there is no closing song, or a postlude following a closing song.

OK - good.

The Director of Music Ministries

45. A professional director of music ministries, or music director, provides a major service by working with the bishop or pastor to oversee the planning, coordination, and ministries of the parish or diocesan liturgical music program. The director of music ministries fosters the active participation of the liturgical assembly in singing; coordinates the preparation of music to be sung at various liturgical celebrations; and promotes the ministries of choirs, psalmists, cantors, organists, and all who play instruments that serve the Liturgy. In the present day, many potential directors of music are not of our faith tradition. It is significant as we go forward that directors of music are properly trained to express our faith traditions effectively and with pastoral sensitivity.

The music director often doubles as the organist and/or choir director. To boot, I do have a couple of friends who are very well-versed in Catholic liturgy/music, but yet are either converts to the Catholic faith, or still practicing (personally) the Anglican and Lutheran faiths. I am a cradle Catholic, but one of my best mentors in Catholic music is Anglican.

46. Since every ministry is rooted in the Sacraments of Initiation, which form the People of God into “a community of disciples formed by and for the mission of Christ,” the director of music ministries has a role that “finds its place within the communion of the Church and serves the mission of Christ in the Spirit.”

47. Directors of music ministries and other lay ecclesial ministers exercise their role in relation both to the ordained and to the community of the faithful. Directors are collaborators with bishops, priests, and deacons, who exercise a pastoral ministry based on the Sacrament of Holy Orders, which configures them to Christ the Head and consecrates them for a role that is unique and necessary for the communion of the Church. At the same time, lay ecclesial ministers are members of the lay faithful, “sharing in the common priesthood of all the baptized” and “called to discipleship.”

They should at least appreciate the Catholic faith of which we celebrate.

On our next post, we will go into the section marked "Leadership and Formation". I've noticed that no one uses the word "Education" anymore in terms of teaching within the Catholic capacities, but "Formation". Sounds like some kind of military term, kind of like, We're gonna make Catholics out of alla you! substituting the word "Catholics" for "soldiers".


Saturday, December 8, 2007


Here we go - the chapter we've all been waiting for in Sing to the Lord: "Ministers of Liturgical Music".

The Choir

28. The Second Vatican Council stated emphatically that choirs must be diligently promoted while ensuring that “the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightly theirs. . . .” The choir must not minimize the musical participation of the faithful. The congregation commonly sings unison melodies, which are more suitable for generally unrehearsed community singing. This is the primary song of the Liturgy. Choirs and ensembles, on the other hand, comprise persons drawn from the community who possess the requisite musical skills and a commitment to the established schedule of rehearsals and Liturgies. Thus, they are able to enrich the celebration by adding musical elements beyond the capabilities of the congregation alone.

Remarks on the first emphasis: The primary song of the liturgy is the Mass itself. If these bishops are referring to hymnody, or those ditties that get passed as such, as these "unison melodies", they're sadly mistaken. (You can tell as we go deeper into this document, BTW, that this is really "Trautman's last dirty deed" before stepping down as BCL head. I can really see the Vatican saying, "OK, where is that directory of common repertoire that you were supposed to give us?")

Remarks on the second emphasis: I sure as hell hope that these "added musical elements" isn't limited to merely enhancing congregational song. Let's not forget that there are times when listening is a part of the real FCAP.

29. Choirs (and ensembles—another form of choir that commonly includes a combination of singers and instrumentalists) exercise their ministry in various ways. An important ministerial role of the choir or ensemble is to sing various parts of the Mass in dialogue or alternation with the congregation. Some parts of the Mass that have the character of a litany, such as the Kyrie and the Agnus Dei, are clearly intended to be sung in this manner. Other Mass parts may also be sung in dialogue or alternation, especially the Gloria, the Creed, and the three processional songs: the Entrance, the Preparation of the Gifts, and Communion. This approach often takes the form of a congregational refrain with verses sung by the choir. Choirs may also enrich congregational singing by adding harmonies and descants.

The Gloria was never intended to be sung responsorially ("congregational refrain with verses sung by the choir"). Also, the "Preparation of the Gifts" is the action taking place. The "Offertory" is the nomenclature for the hymn/antiphon being sung at that time. The GIRM says so. (You certainly don't think these guys were going to be faithful to what the GIRM says now, do you, except for the few things they really want you to know?)

30. At times, the choir performs its ministry by singing alone. The choir may draw on the treasury of sacred music, singing compositions by composers of various periods and in various musical styles, as well as music that expresses the faith of the various cultures that enrich the Church. Appropriate times where the choir might commonly sing alone include a prelude before Mass, the Entrance chant, the Preparation of the Gifts, during the Communion procession or after the reception of Communion, and the recessional. Other appropriate examples are given in the section of this document entitled “Music and the Structure of the Mass” (nos. 137-199). The music of the choir must always be appropriate to the Liturgy, either by being a proper liturgical text or by expressing themes appropriate to the Liturgy.

Now this emphasis is more correct! But instead they imply the exact opposite in paragraph 28, that the choir's role is limited to merely enhancing the congregation's song.

31. When the choir is not exercising its particular role, it joins the congregation in song. The choir’s role in this case is not to lead congregational singing, but to sing with the congregation, which sings on its own or under the leadership of the organ or other instruments.

Preferably the organ!

32. Choir members, like all liturgical ministers, should exercise their ministry with evident faith and should participate in the entire liturgical celebration, recognizing that they are servants of the Liturgy and members of the gathered assembly.

We are all servants of the Liturgy - from the faithful on up. The Liturgy should not "serve us".

33. Choir and ensemble members may dress in albs or choir robes, but always in clean, presentable, and modest clothing. Cassock and surplice, being clerical attire, are not recommended as choir vesture.

Cassock and surplice have been the traditional dress of choir for eons. It's NEVER been limited to only clerics as long as I've known. If this emphasis isn't hogwash, I don't know what is!

The Psalmist

34. The psalmist, or “cantor of the psalm,” proclaims the Psalm after the first reading and leads the gathered assembly in singing the refrain. The psalmist may also, when necessary, intone the Gospel Acclamation and verse. Although this ministry is distinct from the role of the cantor, the two ministries are often entrusted to the same person.


35. Persons designated for the ministry of psalmist should possess “the ability for singing and a facility in correct pronunciation and diction.” As one who proclaims the Word, the psalmist should be able to proclaim the text of the Psalm with clarity, conviction, and sensitivity to the text, the musical setting, and those who are listening.


36. The psalmist sings the verses of the Responsorial Psalm from the ambo or another suitable place. The psalmist may dress in an alb or choir robe, but always wears clean, presentable, and modest clothing. Cassock and surplice, being clerical attire, are not recommended as vesture for the psalmist.

First emphasis: In many cases, I prefer "another suitable place", like the choir loft of somewhere where the Psalmist is less tempted or prone to attract attention to himself/herself (like the good old fashioned flapping of the arms - human songbirds don't fly, sorry).
Second emphasis: refer to my remark on paragraph 33.

These last three paragraphs of the document given, one should remember that the Gradual and Alleluia (or Tract) from the Roman Gradual are also suitable options, according to the much more authoratative document, the GIRM, for the chants that follow their respective readings.

The Cantor

37. The cantor is both a singer and a leader of congregational song. Especially when no choir is present, the cantor may sing in alternation or dialogue with the assembly. For example, the cantor may sing the invocations of the Kyrie, intone the Gloria, lead the short acclamations at the end of the Scripture readings, intone and sing the verse of the Gospel Acclamation, sing the invocations of the Prayer of the Faithful, and lead the singing of the Agnus Dei. The cantor may also sing the verses of the psalm or song that accompany the Entrance, Preparation of the Gifts, and Communion. Finally, the cantor may serve as psalmist, leading and proclaiming the verses of the Responsorial Psalm.

Except for the Psalm (where a cantor would become the "Psalmist" for that moment) or anything else responsorial (like an Entrance or Communion), there really is no need for a cantor to stand at a mic and sing with the congregation when the choir is there to do the same thing. I have seen instances where the choir would sing a standard congregational hymn (For All the Saints and O God, Our Help in Ages Past both come to mind as examples I've actually seen - AND ON TV, one in a cathedral, another in a basilica!) and the cantor, or even TWO cantors (one male, one female) would flap their arms at the mic and put on a show of their own, often in an attempt to outblast a well-resounding choir and a well-played pipe organ. The cantors are totally needless in that capacity.

38. As a leader of congregational song, the cantor should take part in singing with the entire gathered assembly. In order to promote the singing of the liturgical assembly, the cantor’s voice should not be heard above the congregation. As a transitional practice, the voice of the cantor might need to be amplified to stimulate and lead congregational singing when this is still weak. However, as the congregation finds its voice and sings with increasing confidence, the cantor’s voice should correspondingly recede. At times, it may be appropriate to use a modest gesture that invites participation and clearly indicates when the congregation is to begin, but gestures should be used sparingly and only when genuinely needed.

So true. Yet, one of the pet peeves that people were complaining about at my now-former parish was that the cantor couldn't be heard (apparently they wanted her to stick out). This was more the case of, instead of singing, certain people opted to become busybodies in order to make life miserable for the rest of the parish.

39. Cantors should lead the assembly from a place where they can be seen by all without drawing attention from the liturgical action. When, however, a congregation is singing very familiar responses, acclamations, or songs that do not include verses for the cantor alone, the cantor need not be visible.

The emphasized is often easier said than done. The people really don't need to see arm flapping.

40. The cantor exercises his or her ministry from a conveniently located stand, but not from the ambo. The cantor may dress in an alb or choir robe, but always in clean, presentable, and modest clothing. Cassock and surplice, being clerical attire, are not recommended as vesture for the cantor.

Again, see my comment paragraph 33.

On the next post in this series, we'll cover the Organist and the "Director of Music Ministries".

Friday, December 7, 2007


As promised, the paragraph that is headed The Gathered Liturgical Assembly. Something about bishops, priests, publishers, musicians, and liturgeists in North America and that word "gather" and all of its grammatical forms that makes me want to reach for the Pepto Bismol - quickly!

24. "In the celebration of Mass the faithful form a holy people, a people whom God has made his own, a royal priesthood, so that they may give thanks to God and offer the spotless Victim not only through the hands of the priest but also together with him, and so that they may learn to offer themselves.” This is the basis for the “full, conscious and active participation” of the faithful demanded by the very nature of the Liturgy.

25. Because the gathered liturgical assembly forms one body, each of its members must shun “any appearance of individualism or division, keeping before their eyes that they have only one Father in heaven and accordingly are all brothers and sisters to each other.”

I firmly agree with this. However, in regards to where I placed emphases above, the problem lies, not in the faithful's "forming a holy people", yadda yadda yadda, but in many of the songs we sing at Mass, especially as the entrance hymn. These songs in question seem to focus on us instead of God the Father, or Our Lord Jesus Christ, or the Eucharist, or even the Blessed Virgin Mary. They often brag about us, lifting not only our hearts (lifting hearts is a good thing, yes), but our egos, nearly if not so to the point of conceit and/or hypocracy. Look at the 2008 Music Issue - #309 and #401 respectively, the latter being far more popular:

309. Now as we gather, God's chosen people, into one body, into one place...

401. We are a pilgrim people, we are the Church of God, a fam'ly of believers, disciples of the Lord. United in one spirit, ignited by the fire, still burning through the ages, still present in our lives...

Songs sung during Communion (as opposed to Communion songs, like those given to us by the Church already in the Roman Missal and the Graduale Romanum) often fall victim to similar story lines. Again... not good.

26. Singing is one of the primary ways that the assembly of the faithful participates actively in the Liturgy. The people are encouraged “to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalms, antiphons [and] hymns. . . .” The musical formation of the assembly must be a continuing concern in order to foster full, conscious, and active participation.

Yes, yes, and yes. Encourage them! Challenge them! Do not, however, baby them with dumbed-down music. Your average adult congregation CAN handle average adult words. They need not be brought down to kindergarten level.

27. So that the holy people may sing with one voice, the music must be within its members’ capability. Some congregations are able to learn more quickly and will desire more variety. Others will be more comfortable with a stable number of songs so that they can be at ease when they sing. Familiarity with a stable repertoire of liturgical songs rich in theological content can deepen the faith of the community through repetition and memorization. A pastoral judgment must be made in all cases.

The average standard hymn or sung Mass setting usually IS within its members' capability. If there is one thing that bugs me is when someone uses "these people know nothing about music" as a lame excuse to bring music down to the least common denominator. "Be not afraid" to challenge the people with a good solid Mass setting or a good solid Catholic hymn. Stick with it until they get it - and they will.

The next post will be on "Ministers of Liturgical Music". There's another one - everyone's a "minister" these days. Music ministers. Host ministers. Cup ministers. Now greeters in some places are called "hospitality ministers". Next thing you know, the sexton will be called the "minister of the physical plant" or even "interior minister". Maybe the town's garbagemen will be called "sanitation ministers" when they come to empty the parish dumpster. Who knows?


Thursday, December 6, 2007


Quick Time and iTunes for XPSP2 and Vista

My experience with trying to install Kodak Easy Share Software last night (for the first time since the advent of my new hard drive) and this morning has given newfound strength in one of my favorite sayings:


Of course, EasyShare requires Quick Time (videos on my wife's digital camera, a Kodak, are saved in .mov format). So, I made the mistake of making sure my Quick Time and iTunes are up to date. The latest versions are iTunes 7.5 and Quick Time 7.3. However, these updates are not too friendly with Windows Vista, nor are they friendly with Windows XP/Service Pack 2, which I am running. iTunes 7.5 simply gives you the old boot (iTunes has encountered a problem and needs to close). Quick Time 7.3 boots you in a different way - via the infamous "buffer overrun".

A little cruising through Apple's support forums proved that I was not alone. I found, first, a few Vista users with the similar problem, and then a few of those who said, "I get that problem too, and I have XP Service Pack Deux". Apparently Apple has yet to develop a fix or patch for it (though I can picture some fellow Catholic podcasters saying "You should have bought a Mac"). A couple of people replied with outside links to "beat the buffer overrun".

My wife gave me a better solution - use the older version. So, she gave me the link to older versions of Quick Time. You pick the one you want to revert to. Then she gave me the link to older versions of iTunes. I haven't reverted my iTunes yet. I did, however, revert my Quick Time to 7.1 (if you do this, always make sure you uninstall the newest version COMPLETELY first), and it works like a charm. I'll take care of iTunes soon. But first, I have to finish this nice videocast I'm concocting.

Oh - here are the links for those XPSP2/Vista users who need a fix:

Quick Time:

I'll say it again - IF IT'S NOT BROKEN, DON'T FIX IT!


Wednesday, December 5, 2007


This one was handed to me via e-mail by Lyn, the Organ-ic Chemist. Here the organ playing is excellent. That homemade trumpet ("tromba") using heater hose and a car horn (revealed in the comments in YouTube) makes the whole thing just comical. I couldn't make out the description in YouTube, however, since I don't understand Italian. If anyone wants to translate for me, be my guest. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


This second part of my review of Sing to the Lord takes us through The Church at Prayer.

16. In his capacity as “the chief steward of the mysteries of God in the particular Church entrusted to his care,” the diocesan bishop is particularly concerned with the promotion of the dignity of liturgical celebrations, “the beauty of the sacred place, of music, and of art.” He carries out this duty through the example of his own celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, encouraging sung participation by his own example; by his attention to the practice of liturgical music in the parishes and communities of his diocese, especially in his own cathedral church; by his promotion of the continuing musical education and formation of clergy and musicians; and by his careful attention to the musical training of future priests and deacons.

17. The bishop is assisted in this role by his staff in the diocesan Office of Worship and/or the diocesan music or liturgical commission, which provides “valuable assistance in promoting sacred music together with pastoral liturgical action in the diocese.”

Are you sure? There are some bishops who are very good in implementing good liturgy. But there are some others, well.... not so good.

19. The importance of the priest’s participation in the Liturgy, especially by singing, cannot be overemphasized. The priest sings the presidential prayers and dialogues of the Liturgy according to his capabilities, and he encourages sung participation in the Liturgy by his own example, joining in the congregational song. “If, however. . . the priest or minister does not possess a voice suitable for the proper execution of the singing, he can render without singing one or more of the more difficult parts which concern him, reciting them in a loud and distinct voice. However, this must not be done merely for the convenience of the priest or minister.”

I've worked for my share of them in my day. I even once worked for a priest who opted to SAY the Exsultet at the Easter Vigil, instead of having a cantor chant it if he REALLY couldn't.

20. Seminaries and other programs of priestly formation should train priests to sing with confidence and to chant those parts of the Mass assigned to them. Those priests who are capable should be trained in the practice of chanting the Gospel on more solemn occasions when a deacon may not be present. At the very least, all priests should be comfortable singing those parts of the Eucharistic Prayer that are assigned to them for which musical notation is provided in the Roman Missal.

I've worked with only one deacon (no priests) who ever chanted the Gospel in the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Otherwise, the only time I've ever heard the Gospel chanted is in the Extraordinary Form.

21. The priest joins with the congregation in singing the acclamations, chants, hymns, and songs of the Liturgy. However, the priest does not join in the singing of the Memorial Acclamation or the Great Amen. To the greatest extent possible, he should use a congregational worship aid during the processions and other rituals of the Liturgy and should be attentive to the cantor and psalmist as they lead the gathered assembly in song. In order to promote the corporate voice of the assembly when it sings, the priest’s own voice should not be heard above the congregation, nor should he sing the congregational response of the dialogues. While the assembly sings, the priest should step back from a microphone, or, if he is using a wireless microphone, he should turn it off.

First emphasis: The priest doesn't join in singing the Memorial or Amen??? That's a first.
Dialogue emphasis: Highly agreed! That might give me a change of heart in the first emphasis above.
Microphone emphasis: Very highly agreed! As for the wireless mic, I'm not a big fan of those to begin with, especially when you start hearing enough static to fill three basilicas and a cathedral.

23. In accord with their abilities, deacons should be prepared to sing those parts of the Liturgy that belong to them. Deacons should receive training in singing the dialogues between deacon and people, such as those at the Gospel and at the dismissal. They should also learn to sing various invitations in the rites, the Exsultet, the third form of the Act of Penitence, and the Prayer of the Faithful. If they are capable, deacons should be trained in the practice of chanting the Gospel on more solemn occasions. Programs of diaconal preparation should include major and compulsory courses in the chant and song of the Liturgy.

Agreed. I have worked with some singing deacons. Although I must admit, the last deacon I worked with, an elderly gentleman -- very nice guy, he and I got along great, but hardly any voice, let alone a singing voice.

In my next post of this series, "The Gathered Liturgical Assembly". OMG! There's that word "Gathered" again! (OY VEY!)



Written by Georgeann Kovac, played by "Posaune16" on YouTube. Far better than what's often played today (namely the Celtic Alleluia). Though he only sang the Alleluia once the first time, I'm sure it could be intoned then repeated as well. What I really liked, besides the music being quite good (had a nice Richard Proulx flavor to it, I think), was that it was only one alleluia and not three-fold, or six-fold, or whatever. Though the word "alleluia" can be repeated multiple times, the single alleluia maintains faithfulness to both the Lectionary for Mass AND the Graduale Romanum. Anyhoo, nice work, and LMAO at how HP Photosmart is credited at the end!

PS: I subscribe to this guy's videos at YouTube!


Discovered by some colleagues at the Contemporary Catholic Music boards, we welcome to the CV Definitive Blogroll Sacred Music for the New Millenium, promoting the use of sacred music in Catholic liturgy. Enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2007


NaPalM has just opened its doors to the entire archive of back issues to its periodical, Pastoral Music. This could make for some interesting research.
As Jeffrey Tucker writes in NLM, "I'm grateful for these archives because a thorough understanding of what went wrong is an important component to having a clear view of the future."

Fully agreed, Jeffrey.
BMP (who will be checking out that archives after I finish combing through Sing to the Lord)