Sunday, March 30, 2008


Third Sunday of Easter - April 6, 2008

Next Sunday I'm filling in for a fellow Catholic blogger for two Masses. I'll protect the identity by not revealing the name (real OR screen) or the parish or the blog (s)he writes (unless said blogger says otherwise). I will say it's NOT the church I attended this morning. I will also say that the selections for these Masses, compared to what I endured this morning, are the light at the end of the tunnel, the heaven after enduring hell. I didn't pick these either.

The hymnal is GIA's Catholic Community Hymnal.

Here's the music list:

Sing with all the saints in glory..."Hymn to Joy"
Lord, you will show us the path of life...Alstott
Alleluia from O Filii et Filiae...Mode II
O sons and daughters, let us sing..."O Filii et Filiae"
Sanctus from People's Mass...Vermulst
Christ Has Died and Amen...Danish
Agnus Dei XVIII, adapted in English
Alleluia! sing to Jesus..."Hyfrydol"
The strife is o'er, the battle done..."Victory"



I won't mention the name of the church I attended Mass at today, for the sake of humiliation. I will tell you it is in the Diocese of Fall River, though less than five minutes from my home (driving) which sits in the Diocese of Providence.

The church itself is a good-looking traditionally built church. Not very big, not very elaborate, but definitely decent-looking. The pews are in a traditional style. There is a choir loft, from which the choir "sang". The choir was accompanied by an "organ".

OK - you're probably wondering why I put the words "sang" and "organ" in quotation marks.

The 9:00 AM Mass I attended was a total freakin' nightmare - ranging from community room entertainment (aka "geriatric glee club" with a borderline tone deaf cantor) to an all-out love fest. Let's start from the beginning.

I arrived about twenty minutes early. You could easily hear the conversation between the music director and the organist (yes, two different people), arguing about the condition of the organ. It turns out that it's one of those so-called "church Hammonds". The only difference between this Hammond and your typical Hammond is that this Hammond uses actual stop tabs instead of drawbars. The sound is still the same - crappy. I've heard better sounding organs in ballparks.

The pew books were the OCP Missal and Music Issue, plus the maroon-cover Gory and Puke. The Gory and Puke, thankfully, wasn't used. But the music selected from the OCP Missal and Music Issue was (on the most part) bad enough. In fact, the only decent selections (despite the fact that they were horribly played) were the Psalm setting and the recessional. NONE of the selections even remotely related with today's Mass.

Here is the order of events that passed for Mass this morning at this church:

In lieu of prelude, the organist practiced his hymn playing.
Entrance hymn was Blest be the Lord (blech!)
The pastor begins Mass by saying that he was in conversation with his sister outside before Mass, when suddenly she told him "hurry up, you're late".
The Gloria was recited, and probably better off. I'd hate to imagine the setting.
The Psalm was the Alstott setting (Give thanks to the Lord for he is good...) from the missalette, which, as it is, is fine. The cantor, however, was borderline tone deaf, missing as many passing tones as possible, not to mention being underneath her notes by AT LEAST a quarter tone.
The Boston Celtics Alleluia was bellowed (big stress on the word "bellowed")
The homily wasn't too bad. I'll give credit where it was due. He did quite well on the Divine Mercy.
The Creed was skipped. :-(
The offertory was Amazing Grace (played with a hacked gospel revival feel), but not before the pastor's big announcement calling for more "eucharistic ministers" (you mean, "extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion", Father) and that there was a class for them at a church a couple of towns north, followed by his other big announcement that he recently acquired a "new pet" - a "robot puppy".
Sanctus, Christ Has Died, and Amen were from the St. Louis Jesuits Mass. The "sopranos" that bellowed the descants were way flat, as much as a half step.
The worst of it (IMO) was the rite of peace. After what looked like a typical "offering of the sign of peace", the pastor, accompanied by the choir's bellowing of John Foley's Peace Prayer, went up and down the entire center aisle shaking hands and giving hugs (big Barney-like hugs to the kiddies - scary).
The Communion hymn was One Bread, One Body (blech!)
WHILE purifying the Chalice, the pastor proceeded to crack jokes about coffee and donuts after Mass.
The recessional was Now thank we all our God. Finally, a good solid traditional hymn, though botched up badly by the organist.
The choir geriatric glee club decided to follow that up with their own community room-like rendition of Let there be peas and carrots on earth. So much for a good ending.

Next week's experience will be much better. I guarantee it. Details to follow.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

THE NEW HOUSTON CO-CATHEDRAL finished, and will be dedicated next week.

Video footage can be seen on Houston's Channel 13 (KTRK-TV).
RSCT to Gerald.

After seeing enough of the Los Angeles eyesore that passes for a cathedral and that giant Super Bowl trophy in Oakland (that Bp. Vigneron had the misfortune of inheriting from his predecessor), Houston's Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is a breath of fresh air. It's gorgeous. It's actually prayerful. It doesn't look like a glass concert hall, or a giant trophy, or a subsidized housing project. It actually looks like a beautiful house of worship, inside and out.

The faithful in Houston have a marvelous new Cathedral. Kudos to Cardinal DiNardo.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Pennington, Q.C.

I haven’t posted much lately because, you see, this past week I was summoned to do my civic duty. Jury duty, that is. It’s over now, so I can talk about it. I had to report to the Lafayette Parish Court House at 10:00am on Monday. Sixth floor Jury Assembly Room. It was much more than I was expecting, going on the descriptions of the place by friends of mine who had been previously called. I was expecting a dark, purgatorial holding tank in which 200 wretched souls singing Amazing Grace stared at each other waiting to be sprung to salvation when a distant judge somewhere dropped the proper number of gold coins into the machine (isn’t that how the real Purgatory works?). On the contrary, the assembly room was a light, airy space with a drink machine and a junk food automat, as well as an enormous zillion-inch wide screen television. Chairs were arranged in rows with a central aisle.
First thing on the agenda: fill a profile form. Name, rank and serial number; Religion? Are you a felon? Boxers or briefs? Loafers or oxfords? Sports or under wire? We were to arrive by 10, however, this meant the show didn’t start till 10:30. I claimed my pew at 9:15, well before the prelude. The court apparently realized that not all people traveled according to the standard time zone, so Justitia set an early time as a psych-out to combat the snooze button. We were handed a nifty booklet that explained to us in simple, straight-forward terms what it meant to be a prospective juror and what all the jargon meant that we would soon be hearing, especially if we were selected to serve on an actual jury. We were sworn in by the gate keeper and issued our numbers. I would be for the next 48 hours or so, number 143. I would have preferred number 99, vintage “Get Smart” fan that I am. After the preliminaries, the instruction was hurry up and wait. No one I ever knew (except for a family friend back in Little Rock who had an insider connection and always seemed to be appearing in court as a juror...) had ever been picked from the assembly room, so I figured Fortuna would smile on me too: I’d just sit for a couple days, then go home. The only lottery I seemed to win repeatedly was the Nigerian one. I was safe. At 11:00am, dismissal for lunch. Two hours. I went to a café downtown (Café Bonjour, who name in English sounds silly, “café ‘hello’”), bought a club sandwich and a venti Americano and resumed what I had been doing in the assembly room. I took with me a novel I had purchased about a decade and a half ago but never read. The two criteria for my novel selection for jury duty: 1) long and 2) interesting. So, I chose the novel Sarum, which recounts the history of England from prehistoric times to the present. It fulfilled both criteria. I was immediately engrossed. The novel also provided a stable writing surface on which to fill my profile form, and its thickness (about 2.5 inches) was just right to serve as a filing cabinet for my jury member’s handbook and officious parking pass (to be used later upon exiting the city parking garage).
We were issued yellow clip-on badges that identified us as numbered jurors. Instead of the typical church potluck adhesive labels with the standard “Hello My Name Is” printed across the top under which the bearer should scribble his first name with a parish-owned sharpie pen, these were high-class name tags for serious, important work. They were laminated. When on the courthouse grounds, the badges not only helped jury workers identify us, they also served as our scarlet A’s. To maintain our anonymity and impartiality, random lawyers scampering about would know to turn tail if they detected a squad of yellow tags approaching. We weren’t offered carte blanche to explore the courthouse. Except for designated 15 minute “smoke breaks”, we were confined and forced into contentment singing “Summertime” in the easy living of our 5-star jury assembly lounge. All that was missing here was Community coffee on I.V. drip. We had to get up and walk the 2.5 miles to the far side of the room to pump a few draughts of viscous Mello Joy coffee into styro cups. The walk offered a perfect opportunity to stake out who else shared the same week’s schedule. No one I knew.
People-watching bonanza! We were all utterly random. More than likely some of the folks knew each other, but the majority, from our demeanors, didn’t have a clue who each other was: short, tall, portly, slim, slouchy, upright, butch, nelly, self-conscious, confident, white hair, black hair, brown, hair, pink hair, orange hair, jogging suit, t-shirt, jeans, shorts, brown plaid wool trousers, 100% cotton neatly ironed, starched and creased Land’s End button down, Ralph Lauren full-toe brogues, socks matching pants, belt matching shoes (that’s me, as if you hadn’t guessed). It was interesting looking up from my reading from time to time to survey the squad. What were they doing? How did the react to their having to wait. Who was prepared to wait? Those who brought a single magazine or who held nothing were not prepared. They obviously hadn’t questioned friends on what to expect. Some folks had cards. No poker games that I saw. Maybe there was another room somewhere else with a raucous high-stakes table, but this wasn’t it (I did hear something recently about Louisiana ethics reform – not sure if that meant it was now more ethical to store one’s stolen cash in the frig instead of in the freezer). We all had numbers. No names. So I’d imagine names for people as they glided along to the coffee table or bought a Hershey Bar. “That’s Flo”, I’d imagine. She’s 68 and has had the same high piled brown perm for the past 40 years. She’s from Dallas and smokes Saratoga 120’s, stogies as long as a pool cue. Flo drives a dooly. She’s a Baptist, but drinks Jack on Friday nights on the sly. Then there’s Judy. She’s a school teacher wasting her spring break in the palace of justice. She’s brought along her John Grisham novel tucked to her chest like Lady Liberty’s tablet. Judy has short salt and pepper hair and favors pants suits and mules. She teaches 5th grade science and has excellent diction. She’s a democrat and prefers Hillary Clinton. In the middle of the room is Larry. Interior designer, Buddhist. He dreams of the 1980’s, but tolerates the 21st century. Blond hair gelled and molded into a feathered coif, each wing meeting exactly in the middle of the back of his head. He’s in a blousy silk shirt, ironed jeans and high top converse chucks. Larry is now 39, divorced with a 5 year old daughter, is bored and tired of drinking coffee. He paces the floor. Monday ends. No dice. One group had been called early on, but most of them returned. Now, we all deposited our I.D. badges in the gatekeeper’s shoebox. Exiting the packed elevator cab, we waved bye to the Security X-ray and walked to the garage. “See you tomorrow”, the attendant there told me.
Next morning: replay. Judy was there, so was Larry. Flo was enjoying her mid-morning Hershey bar and dealing herself in. A quarter to eleven: lunch. Two hours. Club sandwich and venti Americano. Back. Read. Watch. Larry’s ticked off. Judy’s almost finished her Grisham. She reads fast. The rest of her teacher friends from the faculty lounge sipping mai-tais beachside. Judy’s reading about the beach in a jury room. That’s alright. Hillary will be elected soon. Announcement: 10 people. There had been a group called from the room in the morning. No one returned. Now we learn that this most recent jury had only 11. Two more were needed: number 12 and an alternate (the unseen ones had been picking a number of juries from panels drawn from the big pool, in which we all were seated). Number 143. Cool! Out in the hall to await further direction. Down two floors to the court room. Into the jury box. Who are you? How old are you? Married? Children? I kept being eyed by the lawyers while they questioned. Ok out into the hall. Back into the court room. One name was called and then….Mr. Pennington. The rest are dismissed. The two will remain. Next day, 9:00am. Jury room. Coffee and donuts will be provided, according to the judge. We were sprung from Purgatory and had arrived at the next level. Not only coffee, but donuts too. Beatific Vision.
Next morning. The side doors to the courtroom stood open. The Courthouse in Lafayette is a 1970’s explosion. From the interior décor, you expect to see flanks of citizens in peasant shirts and bell bottoms, loud polyester pants suits, wide ties and belted sport coats with broad lapels (this is where you cue the “Mary Tyler Moore” theme in you head). Creative wall treatments involving wooden slats. The jury room was nothing but flat wood paneling, floor to ceiling. Two ladies were already in the jury room when I arrived. No donuts. Damn it! The remaining jurors observed likewise: donuts? No. Paradise lost. We were to listen to testimony in an armed robbery case. We were ready to see video and hear arguments. No donuts. Community coffee though. The better coffee went along with the elevated status, I suppose. We exited and stood in the jury box. The swear-in. The dismissal. Back to the paneled conference room. An hour later, back into the box. The defendant entered his plea: guilty. No trial, no video, no testimony, no donuts. We were done.
When I explained I had been summoned for jury duty, the most frequent response was “Oh, man, you need to get out of that.” I didn’t mind. It was interesting to meet random people whom I would more than likely never have encountered otherwise, and then to be selected among the entire set of random people to be part of a group of 12 to collaborate on a task and to reach a consensus. Although it turned out that we didn’t need to do the collaboration part, we could have done if we needed to. By the end of the hour in the jury room as the defendant was pleading guilty, we all knew each other fairly well, and got a very good idea of the personalities in the room. By then, it wasn’t so much a group of random people but a group of friends. It’s fascinating to me how that happens.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


With a little help from Ken Lee

Over the last few years that American Idol (often referred to here as American Idiot) has been on, I've seen some pretty strange acts pass. Of course I've seen some acts that were just plain awful get put to justice by my hero, Simon Cowell.

On what appears to be another topic, an old deacon friend of mine from my Holy Name days once told me that "you could sing the Latin Mass in Swahili and people wouldn't know the difference".

Now, let's go to Bulgaria, where they have the Bulgarian equivalent to American Idol, called Music Idol. Where my deacon friend thinks that Swahili can pass for Latin, you should see what the Bulgarians pass as English. Mind you, Paula Abdul (fluent in English) is on this panel.

If you think the song's funny, you should see the last few seconds when Paula asks this contestant what language she sang in.

Apparently it passed, as this lady got to sing it again in front of an audience.

A somewhat improved version of the same song, I'll say. I do, however, give her credit for trying her hand at English. It could be a lot worse --- like William Hung, who didn't make the show, but somehow managed to get a record deal (one would hope for the comedy shelves and not the music shelves).


Tuesday, March 25, 2008




Two prelates, one from either side of the country, have taken their baseball teams to the other side of the world. Today those teams opened up the regular season at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. Those teams are the O'Malley Red Sox and the Vigneron Athletics.

The Sox have the pleasure of having two Japanese players (Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima), thus having the ability to turn Tokyo into an extension of Red Sox Nation. Not a bad thing!

At 6 AM Eastern time this morning, the Sox and A's faced off. The Sox came from behind twice to win in 10 innings, 6-5. Manny Ramirez hit two 2-run doubles, one of them the game winner. Rookie Brandon Moss hit an RBI single and a ninth inning game-tying homer.

SOX ROCK - even in Japan!


The NEW Three Tenors try to sing Danny Boy.

Brother of the deceased: Can you sing Danny Boy at me lad's funeral?
Snarky organist: I can't but these three guys would be more than happy to sing it at the wake.

RSCT to Dale at Dyspeptic Mutterings.


Monday, March 24, 2008


And we snarks have been nominated for Best Snark Blog! WOOHOO!

Sequel to this post.

Click here and go to the combox to nominate. No voting yet - just nominations.



Click here and scroll to see our 2008 Catholic Blog Awards Nominee Buttons!

Sunday, March 23, 2008


St. John the Baptist Church, Pawtucket, RI
Easter Sunday - March 23, 2008

Back to my usual stomping grounds when I'm not at the console. On the most part, a very good hymn selection.

Jesus Christ is ris'n today..."Easter Hymn"
This is the day the Lord has made...Alstott
(Somehow the sequence got skipped.)
Celtic Alleluia...O'Carroll/Walker
Join in the dance...Schutte (Not the greatest piece, but Paul did a good job of making it sound like a hymn)
Sanctus/Memorial/Amen...Haugen/Creation (Paul busted my chops after Mass, saying "I was thinking of you when I played the Holy. I know how you just LOVE Mass of Cremation." I then corrected him and said, "No, Paul. It's MASSIVE Creamation." Both of us had a good laugh.)
Agnus XVIII (a cappella) - I was pleasantly surprised to hear this there.
Three Days..."Thaxted"
Jesus is risen..."Lasst uns Erfreuen"


HAPPY AND BLESSED AND EASTER all our readers here, and to all our listeners at Christus Vincit ANYWHERE! and to our viewers at Christus Vincit TV.

Now, of course we know the true meaning of Easter is our Lord and Savior, who willingly died for us, taking the fall for the sin of mankind, rising on the third day.

On a note from the secular side, here's a video of some egg abuse. My wife sent me this one. You'll have to click the link for this one. I didn't see any "embed" code anywhere on this one. Stupid Yahoo Tricks, I guess. :)

UPDATE 3/23/08: If you go on that screen and scroll down a little bit, you'll find one called Los Angeles in 3 Minutes. As this particular video seemingly promotes the beauty of Los Angeles, you'll notice that the TajMahony was not included here.


Saturday, March 22, 2008


I've gotten into a few really cool groups on Facebook over the past week, in addition to Fans of CVA, all Catholic liturgy-, music-, and even architecture-related.

I'm Fed Up with Bad Church Music (I'd call this a viable sequel to the famous Moratorium, with OVER 1200 MEMBERS - WOW!)
Rosary Army Soldiers (a fan club similar to ours, but for Rosary Army)
Catholics Against Un-Sacred Architecture (The title picture is a true example: the TajMahony, er, LA Cathedral)
Supporters of Benedict XVI and Catholic Orthodoxy

If you haven't gotten into any of these groups yet, I encourage you to click on any of the above links and join up.


Food Stories

It has become somewhat a tradition in my house to serve as the salad course on Easter a tomato aspic. To mold the aspic, I use a form meant to produce round individual bunt cakes. The pan has six forms, exactly enough to make six personal tomato aspics. These I present with appropriate garnish on a salad plate. It's a very simple, rather pedestrian salad, I know, but quite tasty and rich in history. My tomato aspic, as do many of my recipes, has a story attached. Tomato gelatin is not something I remember eating as a child, really. I had eaten it in restaurants before and at church potlucks, but had never even thought of wanting to produce it at home, until my penultimate employer requested it for a luncheon one day. His cooks went to work, yet I had warned that the gelatin would not set properly in only a few hours, that it would be better to let it set over night. They didn't have over night, and the aspic was runny. I suggested that the salad should receive a couple squirts of hot sauce and should be announced not as aspic but as "Louisiana Tomato Compote". That worked. The next time, I made the aspic myself, with the disclaimer that aspic is a food that must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance. Otherwise, the result is "Louisiana Tomato Compote". The kitchen staff were wonderful and very good and inventive cooks. It was always fun working with them on projects like this. And it was even more fun coming up for a solution for what may have gone wrong somewhere in the experiment -- that's when the inventive part came in. Some weeks after the second go-round with the aspic, which I produced in my mini bunt cake form, each guest receiving his own gelatinized bloody mary, we got word at around 8:00 in the morning that luncheon that day would be started off with a tomato aspic. There were to be three guests. Barbara called me on my cell as I was driving to the church. "Jason, he has three for lunch. We need aspic." There's no time for aspic, I replied. The voice on the other end of the phone rewound its tape and replayed, this time with more urgency: "Jason, he has three for lunch. We need aspic." By the grace of God, my own Sunday lunch had included tomato aspic. Four of the little molds had been consumed. I still had two in my frig at home. I told this to Barbara. "Bring 'em!" she declared. I reversed the land yacht and snatched my chilled aspics from the ice box and set them on the passenger seat. When I reached the church, I unloaded the goods. The sight of two whole tomato aspics was cause for rejoicing! The cooks had been sweating bullets watching the minute hand make its course around the clock face. We were safe. Here's what we did to multiply the fishes: I unmolded the two aspics and cut each in half. Two become four. Three guests and one host. The flat side of the mold where the cut was made was set onto the plate, molded ornamental side up. Lettuce was arranged around the aspic half to make it look like the salad was meant to be that way. It was, after all, aspic, and not the Louisiana Tomato Compote. A little went a long way. Here's how to make it:

4 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup onion
2 Tbl. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp (or more) minced garlic
2 packets unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water

In the food processor, puree 1 cup of the tomatoes, the celery and the onion. In a sauce pan, combine the puree with the remaining diced tomatoes and the water. Simmer 10 minutes. Add Worcestershire and garlic.

Dissolve gelatin in 3 Tbl. water and add to tomotoes. Simmer until gelatin is completely dissolved.

Pour into molds. Chill OVER NIGHT!


Friday, March 21, 2008


My area made the top ten!

RSCT to Rich at Catholic Light. His city is there too!

Bert Sperling's Top 10 Most Difficult Cities to Navigate
1. Boston, MA
2. Washington, DC
3. San Francisco, CA
4. Baltimore, MD
5. New York, NY-Northeastern NJ
6. Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood-Pompano Beach, FL
7. Los Angeles, CA
8. Seattle-Everett, WA
9. Providence, Pawtucket RI-MA
10. Norfolk-Newport News-Virginia Beach, VA



The Crescat, like us, didn't win on the Catholic Blog Awards this (or any other) year. So, she creatively made the best of it by creating her own categories for nomination.

So, in the same good humor, I came up with some that would suit Christus Vincit quite well:

Best Snark Blog
Best Blog by a Snark Team
Best Blog by a pair of sacked music directors (Jason in January, yours truly in November)
Best Blog with offices in the North AND South (Rhode Island and Louisiana)
Best Blog in the same network as an equally snarky podcast
Blog most likely to piss off some NaPalM top brass
Blog most likely to scare away the Poncho Ladies™
Best Blog protected by a Catholic K9 (remember Canis?)

Jason, if you can think of any more, feel free to edit this post. Anyone else, feel free to make use our combox.



From the desk of Catholic Blog Awards 2008 Overall Champeen (and deservedly so), Father Z, who has the perfect solution to anger... FUN!

Two great parodies on the Mandatum - one that teaches the good, and the other that goofs on the bad. Both are written by the "official WDTPRS parodohymnologist", Tim Ferguson. The first is set to the tune of "Don't sit under the apple tree".

Don’t go washing those women’s feet; the Latin is plain to me:
“selecti” should be “viri.” The rubrics are clear you see. No, no, no,
Don’t go washing those women’s feet at Thursday night’s liturgy,
Thus says the Pope of Rome.

Don’t go altering rubrics now, no matter who you may be,
Or where you got your degree in Scripture and Liturgy. No, no, no,
Don’t go altering rubrics now, this calls for humility:
You’re not the Pope of Rome.

I just got word that Ranjith has heard,
‘n put the Vicar in a jam,
Seems some priest here, washing feet last year,
Scrubbed a nylon-covered gam.
So, don’t go washing those women’s feet at Thursday night’s liturgy,
Or feel the wrath of Rome.

The second is set to the tune of "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" (from "Fiddler on the Roof", though the first time I heard it was on "Mrs. Doubtfire")

Yenta: Modernist Liturgist, Please wash my feet,
I’m not wearing sox, And I’ll be discrete,
Inculturate the American Way,
And please wash my feet Thursday….

Fr. Lovebeads: I am the Liturgist, Take off your shoes!
Women and men, There’s no need to choose!
“Viri selecti,” is just not too clear,
I’ll wash all your feet this year…

Fr. Lovebeads: For me now, It signals inclusion!

Yenta: For me now, It’s my chance to shine!

Congregation: For us, well, It doesn’t matter,
As long as we’re leaving for home by nine!

Congregaton: Modernist Liturgist, Give us a break!
Follow the red words For pity’s sake.
Mass after Mass we feel under attack,
Please, just say the words in black!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Holy Week, 2008

It was always my practice to provide the congregation with a lengthy booklet which contained the complete texts of all the hymns, chants and motets used from Maundy Thursday until the High Mass of Easter Sunday. The book was lengthy, yes and very detailed, containing all the sung portions of four complex services. Since so much goes on during the Triduum that doesn’t during other times of the year, the book made things easy for the faithful and allowed them to keep track of the liturgical action. The music, of course, during this time was always without accompaniment, according to the long-standing Christian tradition. The first page of each year’s booklet had the following devotional preparation to be used before each service by members of the congregation as part of their private prayers. These little prayers I translated and adapted from a German Lutheran hymnal I own. I like these prayers, especially for Holy Week, when we see the core of Salvation History unfold before us. It often goes unnoticed that this selfsame history also unfolds before us each Sunday in the Divine Service, and that our churches are so arranged that through prayer, even outside of the liturgy, we may enter into it. I am reminded of a sign I saw years ago posted in the Frauenkirche in Munich as a reprimand to tourists: “Dies ist keine Wanderhalle. Dies ist kein Museum. Dies ist ein Gotteshaus!”: This is no excerise hall. This is no museum. This is a house of God!”. If you like these prayers, feel free to print them out and place them in your prayerbook to use in the next days (and every Sunday, for that matter!) in preparation for worship:

Remember that Christendom has long likened the House of God to a ship, in which we are held safe from the storms of time. Pray therefore:
+ Lord my God, I come to you from the stress of my day. Keep me safe in your protection. Let me find peace in your presence, and help me do that which is right. Amen.

In the House of God, our eyes are drawn to the altar. It is the place of Holy Sacrifice and Prayer. It calls you also to prayer and thanksgiving. Pray therefore:
+ Lord Jesus Christ, you are the bread of life. Feed me with eternal food. You are the holy grapevine: let me remain in you, grow and bring forth fruit, which shall endure to eternal life. Renew my spirit both body and soul as a dwelling place for you. Amen.

Above the altar you see the image of the cross. It reminds you of the sin of the world, which is also your own. Remember, that on the cross of the Lord, God’s Love opens his arms for you. Rejoice before it with all the redeemed:
+ Your battle is my victory, your death is my life. By your stripes is won my freedom. Your cross is my consolation, your wounds my cure, your blood, the price of my redemption. Amen.

The candles on the altar remind you of the Lord, the Light of the world. He shines in our darkness, that we may have the light of Life. He desires that you also shine as a light in the world. Pray therefore:
+ Lord, Jesus Christ, illuminate my night. Let me walk comforted and glad in the beams of your light, and make me, your child, a messenger of your light. Amen.

In the House of God stands the pulpit from which the Word of God is preached. Praise God for the blessing of his Word, and ask, that his Gospel continue to guide you:
+ May your word, O Lord, always be a lamp to my feet. May it remain brilliant and pure. Help me, that from it, I may draw strength, council, and comfort in hard times, and that I trust in it always both in life and in death. Amen.

Look at the Baptismal font! In Holy Baptism, the triune God made you his own and assures you: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; You are mine.” Pray therefore:
+ Praise and thanksgiving be yours, O Lord, for you have made me your child and have called me to inherit the kingdom with your Saints. Strengthened by Holy Baptism may I fight the good fight and attain the crown of Life. Amen.

When you leave the church, keep in mind: the House of God awaits your return. Pray therefore:
+ Even one day in your forecourts is better even than one thousand. I would rather stand outside the door of God’s house than to live in the houses of the Godless. For God, the Lord, is Sun and Shield. Grace and virtue come from the Lord. He provides the faithful all they need. Lord, Sabaoth, it benefits him much, who puts his trust in you. Amen.

Today is Maundy Thursday

Today is the Thursday of Holy Week, the day on which according to Holy Scripture, Christ instituted the Sacrament of the Altar, the Lord’s Supper. It is also the day on which he gave his “new commandment” to love others as he has loved us. Review the words of one of the Latin antiphons (or translations) sung during the washing of the feet at services this evening: Mandatum novum do vobis: ut diligatis invicem, sicut dilexi vos dicit Dominus. I give you a new commandment, that you should love one another just as I have loved you, says the Lord. The operative word in this phrase is “Mandatum”, command. Thus, the action of washing the feet and hearing the descriptive texts from the Gospel of St. John is referred to generally as “The Mandatum”. Hence one of the Latin names for the day: Dies Mandati, “The day of the commandment”. This Latin word Mandatum, Anglicized, becomes “Maundy”. So comes to us the English name for today: Maundy Thursday, “Thursday of the commandment”. Therefore it is truly meet, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places refer to this day as Maundy Thursday when speaking English. The Liber Usualis also terms the chants for this day as belonging to the liturgies of Maundy Thursday. “Holy Thursday” is fine too, of course, but the real impact comes with the term Maundy Thursday. In this term, we have contained one of the important messages of the day. Using the term Maundy Thursday does not make one more or less Catholic, of course, and neither does it make one more or less Protestant.
Now, I’ll burden you with the German name for this day, which is, to say the least, quite odd. We (and I mean both Catholics and Protestants) refer to this week as “Karwoche”. The syllable “Kar” comes from an Old German word Kara, which means “complaint” or “mourning”. So, we have Complaint Week, or Mourning Week (refer to my post on Luther’s Good Friday sermon to understand whom we’re mourning and why). The days of the week are the regular day names with the syllable “kar” placed before them: Karmontag, Kardienstag, Karmittwoch, Karfreitag, Karsamstag. I omitted the Thursday, obvious, because this day we call Gründonnerstag. It’s the oddity in the week-day names. Literally, today is “Green Thursday”. Why? Well, we’re not sure, but I’ve heard a couple reasons. One, because before the 16th century, the laws regarding the liturgical colors were not as strict as they are now, and regional differences may have been the norm, and green colored vestments may have been in use in German-speaking areas. There is also a connection with the season change (which certainly holds true this year, since today on Green Thursday, we have the vernal equinox): green, spring, re-birth, etc. Linked to the spring notion is the concept of confession today: that the soul enjoys a new springtime having confessed its sins.
At any rate, we enter today the Sacred Triduum, the “Holy Three Days”. Attend the Maundy Thursday service in your parish this evening!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Best Designed Catholic Blog: one vote (same as last year)
winner, and still champeen: The New Liturgical Movement

Best Group Blog: eight votes (same as last year)
winner: The New Liturgical Movement

Best Overall Catholic Blog: two votes (down one from last year)
winner: Father Z

Best Political/Social Commentary: a whole vote (down two from last year)
winner: American Papist

Best Written Catholic Blog: another whole vote (also down two from last year)
winner: Father Z

Funniest Catholic Blog: three votes (half of last year's count)
winner, and still champeen: The Curt Jester

Most Informative and Insightful Catholic Blog: two votes (first time in category)
winner: Father Z

Smartest Catholic Blog: three votes (UP one from last year, WOOHOO!)
winner: Father Z

Thank you to all who voted.
Your Christus Vincit Snark Team


Out there in the west, they want to buy your ugly church.

And guess what: Cathedrals are apparently no exception.

They may turn it into a subsidized housing project and really make some dough!

RSCT to the Crescat.



Ah yes, the compulsory Happy Spy Wednesday post, following suit with similar previous posts of 2006 and 2007.

Here we remember that Jesus DID have a spy working against him. One of his own disciples - Judas Iscariot.

In the Extraordinary Form of Mass, the Passion according to Luke is read today.

In the Ordinary Form, we read the clip from the early part of the Passion according to Matthew where Judas receives the thirty pieces of silver from the chief priests to look for that "opportune moment" to hand Jesus over.

Make your friends scratch their heads. Wish them a Happy Spy Wednesday, too.


Post number 1900!

Gotta love it. This librarian gets a guy arrested for downloading child pornography from a library's computer and her boss fires her. I got a better idea. Why not have her boss picked up for obstruction of justice charges as well?

Story and video at Roman Catholic Blog. I tried to embed the video here using the code given but it came up empty.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Good Friday: Think Outside The Box

A number of years ago I attended a talk given by a local priest at a training session for a social outreach ministry. I’ve always enjoyed this priest’s sermons when I played at his Masses from time to time for various occasions. He tends to be very matter of fact and often thinks outside the box (obviously a trait I admire). His portion of the training was integral to the day’s session, as we would be working with persons in Lafayette who were living with a terminal illness. Needless to say, the preparation and the work required a spiritual component, and this was it.
At some point in the talk, Father B. started talking about sacrifice, and naturally mentioned the typical sacrifices associated with Lent: giving up something, usually a favorite food, sometimes a favorite activity or hobby, maybe a bad habit. His sacrifice was rather different, though. At the time, was shocked by his charge to go ahead and eat meat on Friday, eat whatever you want! Think about a different sacrifice, he suggested. Try to live the Our Father. Do it every day, not just on Fridays. Interesting twist, isn’t it? Something actually a lot harder to do than to forgo that bologna sandwich. Father B. was wise to the situation: usually we just don’t eat the meat off the buffet, but pile our plates with more of the meat-less sides. No steak means three potatoes instead, and veggies, etc. No dessert usually means having a couple melon balls or an apple. But this task: live the Our Father. Mean what we pray and, the hard part, pray what we mean. In other words, going meatless for 5 days isn’t much a sacrifice to us moderns. Rendering praise to God may very well be. Forgiving others most definitely is a challenge most times. How can God’s kingdom be arranged here on earth? What can we do? Can we conform to God’s will? What can we do to avoid temptation? It might not always be possible, but we can think about it, perhaps. How often do we call upon the Lord in difficult times? Depending on the person, some or all of these tasks would rank on various difficulty levels.
Usually, preparing the chants for Holy Week and studying their texts is my spiritual preparation for the Triduum. This Holy Week, I have no need to do that, since I will not be chanting them nor will I be singing the part of John the Evangelist in the Good Friday passion Gospel. So this year, I pulled down my volume of Martin Luther’s Sermons off my study book shelf. It’s an antique 1902 edition, written in the old German Fraktur script, and contains one or more sermons for each Sunday of the year, including holy days. This would be my Triduum preparation. Read and ponder the words of Luther regarding the passion and the resurrection. Like Father B.’s Lenten challenge, Luther proposes an interesting Good Friday charge, one I had never considered, but which makes complete sense. When celebrated properly, the Good Friday service is packed with emotion, as we know, however this emotion is the problem: it’s misleading, and Luther tells us this flat out. We get caught up in the sufferings of Christ and mourn for him: we are moved to tears that an innocent man is judged, convicted and executed. Instead, we should indeed be rightly moved to tears, but we should mourn and weep not for Christ, but for ourselves “like with women who followed Christ from Jerusalem and were admonished by him that they should weep for themselves and for their children”, for it is our own fault that Christ shed his blood.
I’ve often been asked as a choir director why the text of the Passion Chorale (O Sacred Head) is so gory. Many hymnals clean up the text a bit, but my choice is always the old translation that spares none of the blood and pain. It’s the edition most like the original German text. The text isn’t meant to make you physically ill, but it is meant to make real the scene of the passion, to remove the sterility and present the reality. This makes perfect sense when we read Luther’s observation in his Good Friday sermon. Here’s my translation of a particularly pertinent passage: “To ponder the suffering of Christ correctly, to really behold it, is to be profoundly horrified and that the conscience likewise sinks into despair. You experience the horror in that you behold the grave anger and immutable seriousness of God regarding sins and sinners, because he did not want to give the sinners’ lot to his most beloved son, but through it, he would do such a great and heavy penance. So he speaks through Isaiah (53,8): Because of my people’s sin, have I slain him. What could come against the sinner, if the most beloved child is slain? It must be an unspeakable, unbearable seriousness, when for the sinner such a greatly immeasurable person steps in, suffers and dies. And if you ponder it quite deeply that God’s son, the eternal wisdom of the Father, himself suffers, so you should be horrified, the more, the deeper. And further you must realize and never doubt it, that you are the one who puts Christ to death. For your sins have surely done it. In this way St. Peter (Acts 2, 36,37) horrified the Jews as if with a clap of thunder when he told them: You have crucified him. And then it happened that three thousand, horrified and quaking, said to the apostles on the same day: O dear brothers, what should we do? Therefore, when you see the nails of Christ piercing through his hands, believe firmly that they are your works. Look upon the crown of thorns and believe: these are your thoughts. And understand this: where a thorn pricks Christ, there should easily more than one hundred thousand thorns have pricked you, and that eternally and with even more violence. Where a nail was driven through the hands and feet of Christ, you should have been made to endure even more violent nails…For this serious mirror, Christ, neither lies nor complains.”
Thinking about the passion of Christ in this way makes that fish order seem pretty inconsequential, doesn’t it? Christ was pierced for our offenses, and as recompense, we dutifully order the halibut. Heretic! Blasphemer you say I am! You rend your garments! Calm down, Pharisee! I’m just turning up the heat a bit on the sacrifice scale, just like Father B. did. Entering the passion of Christ means a little more than going through the motions. Luther charges us to stop and take notice. Gaze upon the crucifix and at least attempt to magnify Christ’s sufferings a thousand fold, and the result is what we ourselves merit. Ponder it. Hagios ho Theos!

Monday, March 17, 2008


Have you cast your vote yet?

(We're Brian Michael Page and Jason Alexander Pennington,
and we approve this message!)

After Noon CST today (1 PM here on the east coast), the voting for the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards will close. If you haven't voted yet, please take the liberty of doing so. Christus Vincit has been nominated in a few different categories. I can't exactly remember which ones. Most have the name "Christus Vincit", and a couple have the name "Christus Vincit - the BLOG!" As you probably know, they're both us.
We may not be able to offer our voters a coffee (or a beer or a martini), but we can offer you our continued snarky service as a blog - swift snarky missives on liturgy, music, and fun, when one least expects. So, please, cast your vote today, and help us fill up our trophy room!

Thank you for your support!
Your Christus Vincit Snark Team


One gets it (NYC), one doesn't (DC).

This is the alleged list of music being performed at the Papal Mass in Washington, DC on April 17:

Plenty Good Room-------------------------------Spiritual
Come, O Spirit of God---------------------------Manolo
Sing Aloud Unto God our Strength------------Nelson
Go Up To The Altar Of God--------------------Chepponis
Ave Verum Corpus-------------------------------Mozart
Spirit of God---------------------------------------LeBlanc
Concertato On Grosser GottHoly God, We Praise Thy Name
O Spirit All-Embracing--------------------------Holst/Proulx
Ave Maria-----------------------------------------Dett
O Holy Spirit By Whose Breath----------------Latona
Gloria – Mass of the Angels---------------------Proulx
Lord, Send Out Your Spirit----------------------Peloquin
Easter Gospel Acclamation----------------------Luckner
Trilingual Intercessions--------------------------Hay
Let All the World in every Corner Sing-------Argento
Ven Espiritu Sancto
Sanctus - Mass of Creation----------------------Haugen
Memorial Acclamation – Mass of Creation---Haugen
Fraction Rite---------------------------------------Honoré
The Lord’s Prayer
Psalm 100 – All the Earth-----------------------Deiss/Proulx
Jesus Is Here Right Now------------------------ Roberts
Ubi Caritas---------------------------------------- Hurd
Pange Lingua-------------------------------------Manolo
My God and My All-----------------------------Zaragoza
Love’s Redeeming Work Is Done-------------Ogden

The titles I did NOT highlight in bold are either fine, or titles I don't know of. For the Pope to have to hear these would be downright horrible. Though, maybe if he did hear these, he'd get a good example of what the typical American liturgeist is about and declare that this crap MUST stop.

Not listed above is the following (emphasis mine):

Tom Stehle, who is in charge of music for the D.C. Mass told me that the liturgy will contain many familiar pieces. The opening hymn, for example, will speak of the Holy Spirit, but with a familiar tune – “All Creatures of Our God and King.” (This is fine) The Mass, recall, is a votive Mass of the Holy Spirit with Pentecost readings.
The closing hymn will be “Alleluia, Sing to Jesus,” but with text about the Holy Spirit and being Christ’s presence in the world. (In other words, they've bastardized the hymn to utilize a "praise us" text??? WTF???)
"The most important thing to me is that everyone present is fully engaged," he said. "The music is aimed at allowing the assembly to take up its role and not just be spectators, but full participants in the celebration, no matter where they are sitting." (Spoken like a TRUE liturgeist!)

RSCT to Jeffrey Tucker at NLM, who rightfully says:

Do the organizers of this Mass care at all about the cause to which this Pope is so obviously dedicated? Are they seeking to say: your cause is not our cause?

This isn't responsible liturgical planning. This is an insult. American Catholics should be deeply embarrassed and outraged.

Meanwhile, in another NLM post, at least Dr. Jennifer Pascual (music director at St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC), who is directing the Pope's Mass in New York City, gets it. This list is impressive.

Yankee Stadium – Celebration of the Eucharist: April 20, 2008
Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of Music/ Mass Conductor
New York Archdiocesan Festival Chorale
Cathedral of St. Patrick Choir
Ulster County Vicariate Choir, Michael Sweeney, Director of Music
Donald Dumler, Organist
John Des Marias, Cantor
Joe Simmons, Psalmist
Entrance of concelebrants:
Symphony No. 9 in D minor – Ludwig van Beethoven
I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
II. Molto vivace
Entrance of the Holy Father:
Hymnus Pontificius – Charles Gounod, arr. Alberico Vitalini
Dixit from Vesperae Solennes de Confessore – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Music for Mass:
Jesus is Risen/ Cristo Jesús Resucitó – arr. John Rutter
Tu es Petrus – Dom Lorenzo Perosi
Kyrie – from Litany of the Saints, adapt. Richard Proulx
Gloria from Missa O Magnum Mysterium – Tomás Luis da Victoria
Psalm – Dr. Jennifer Pascual
Alleluia (VICTORY) arr. Wm. Glenn Osborne
Credo III
Trilingual Intercessions – Michael Hay, orch. Wm. Glenn Osborne
How Lovely is thy Dwelling Place – Johannes Brahms
Sanctus from German Mass – Franz Schubert, adapt. Richard Proulx
Christ Has Died/ Amen - Franz Schubert, adapt. Richard Proulx
Agnus Dei from Missa O Magnum Mysterium – Tomás Luis da Victoria
Panis Angelicus – Cesár Franck, Marcello Giordani, Tenor, Metropolitan Opera
Sicut Cervus – Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Ave Verum – Alexandre Guilmant, orch. Deborah Jamini
Amén. El Cuerpo de Cristo - John Schiavonne, orch. Carl MaultsBy
Let Us Break Bread Together – arr. Carl MaultsBy
This is the Feast – Richard Hillert, arr. Richard Kidd
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee/ Jubilosos te Adoramos – from Hymn to Joy
Fantasy – Bruce Saylor
Symphony No. 9 in D minor – Ludwig van Beethoven
IV. Presto

With the exception of the two I highlighted, excellent!


Saturday, March 15, 2008


Poncho Ladies™ played pretend in the wrong archdiocese!

RSCT to Argent. People like these should know better than to screw around like that in St. Louis. Big time kudos for Abp. Burke for the action he took.



...finally! Someone wants to talk to me! WOOHOO!

It's at this church, on 3/25 - late morning, the Tuesday within the Easter Octave.

The pastor offered me three different time slots (he has three applicants), all morning times. I strategically took the last time slot, in hopes that the "save the best for last" theorem really works.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bishop Gerhard Müller: Long Finger, Big Broom

I was outraged and disgusted when I heard this latest story of a Catholic bishop resorting to finger pointing to divert blame, but not before having used the Church’s famous first defense: sweeping the dirt under the rug. The old rule must run something like this: as long as the people don’t know, then we’re safe. That reasoning might have washed back in the day, but we mortals have figured out since then that Galileo was right. This time the spotlight is on the diocese of Regensburg, Germany, a bishopric formerly known for its Catholic uprightness, and especially for exquisite liturgy and music. Now, it’s known for its pedophiles and its utterly stupid bishop whose index finger seems to have grown a few meters or so in recent days. The situation involves a priest, Peter K. (who is now going to the one rectory where he was really called to live: the prison), who had first been convicted in 2000 for his fond interest in altar boys. We all know the scenario: Bishop pulls out the broom, and priest gets moved. The bishop of Regensburg heard lots about Peter, and when Peter had gone through each confirmation class, the good bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller rewarded his faithful subject with a whole new crop of pubescent boys in another parish. Sick. According to the German news channel ZDF, Father Peter was accustomed to asking his 11-13 year old servers how their pubic hair was coming along and how their penises were growing. Sick. What sickens me more than what this lunatic was doing to children all over Müller’s little kingdom was that the bishop himself announced before the cameras that he had nothing at all to do with the case, and that he can not be held responsible for crimes priest’s commit. So what's Father Peter's excuse -- “The bishop gave me the apple, and I ate it!”? The ZDF commentator observed correctly that, in cases where a company has become involved in cases of neglect or poor workmanship, that immediately it is the upper administration who are questioned and who are ultimately held responsible. The announcer went on to suppose that such logic must not pertain to the Catholic Church. What’s even more interesting is this: according to the German bishops' conference, if a priest is found to be involved in pedophilia, he is not to be returned to a job involving minors. The esteemed Regensburg bishop must not have cared too much about that, or probably thought that his mitre was much taller and pointier than those of his confreres. After Peter’s 2000 conviction, he was allowed back to business as usual, organizing youth groups, youth outings, and overseeing the altar boys. Maybe, if Bishop Müller would close his eyes long enough and wish really hard, he’ll wake up in a world where he has some credibility left. But hey, if the cow dung splashes too severely across Müller’s ruby red piping, all is not lost: he could possibly run for governor of New York. That state just recently lost its hypocrite.

The Glove Project

My latest brain teaser is glove knitting. I've knit almost everything in my life from sweaters to socks, but I've never tackled making a pair of gloves. I have an ancient pattern leaflet from my grandmother...not really ancient: judging from the paper and the print, it's probably from the 1960's. Gloves are timeless, though, so there's no danger of "out of date" styling. As far as I know, humans through the ages have had the same 4 finger and thumb set-up (at least as long as they've known how to cover cold hands with knitted gloves). The leaflet pattern features three different kinds of handwear: a mitten, a glove with completed fingers, and a glove with half-fingers for the middle finger, index finger and thumb. I love wearing gloves when it's cold, but I hate loosing dexterity while wearing them. It's hard to work the car radio in thick gloves, it's weird operating the gear shift, and try to use and ATM with a gloved hand. Mittens were out of the questions. Mittens transform the human hand into a dog paw. So, I opted for the glove style with the exposed fingers. This way, the majority of the hand is covered and toasty, while the outer digits of two fingers and the thumb can still do work. Next step: raiding the yarn stash. I have a little bit of everything when it comes to yarn -- mostly left-over skeins from projects. I was sure that I had some sock yarn, but no dice. The pattern is knit over 68 stitches on size 2.5mm needles, with 33 stitches equaling 10cm. The best I could come up with was a skein of dark green Canadian synthetic yarn that at its best would knit 20 stitches to 10cm on American size 7 needles. I would be using American size 2's. Not the best match for a properly fitting finished glove. So, I decided this: make the glove with the fat yarn on the little needles just as a dry run to check out the geometry of the project, then go to the yarn shop and pick up a couple skeins of sock yarn to make the actual gloves knit to be worn by human hands. I took my bulky yarn and my little needles and started the right glove. No problems with the glove prototype. The pattern made complete sense (not all patterns do, and some are filled with mistakes). With the bulky weight yarn, the resulting item is big enough for Sasqwatch. On the other hand (pun!), knitting it allowed me a chance to investigate the concept of making the fingers and the thumb. All knitting patterns are basically different spins on the same concepts. So, doing this dry run put me in tune with the glove concept. Today, I'm going to pay a visit to our friendly local yarn shop in search of the right yarn. Here are two photos of the monster Sasqwatch glove. The first is the glove in progress, the second I took this morning after I finished it up. And no, I'm not hiding the strings on the finished glove -- no sense for that. It'll be stored away in the "sample" box along with swatches of celtic cable motifs and the like.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Not to be confused with Tucows, one of the 'Net's largest download stations.

I got this via e-mail from my longtime friend and mentor Reuel Gifford. Some may remember Reuel as my accompaninst for a couple of concerts we did at the ghosthouse. Not only is Reuel an excellent organist and choirmaster in his own right, but he can have you LYAO quite quickly.



The Cow Factor!
You Have Two Cows...

You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being successful. Barbara Streisand sings for you.

You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. So?

You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor. You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.

You have two cows. The government seizes both and provides you with milk. You wait in line for hours to get it. It is expensive and sour.

You round up everybody's cows and shoot all of them.

You have two cows. You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

You have two cows. Under the new farm program the government pays you to shoot one, milk the other, and then pour the milk down the drain.

You have two cows. You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the second one. You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when one cow drops dead. You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses. Your stock goes up.

You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows. You go to lunch and drink wine. Life is good.

You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains. Most are at the top of their class at cow school.

You have two cows. You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour. Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.

You have two cows but you don't know where they are. While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman. You break for lunch. Life is good.

You have two cows. You have some vodka. You count them and learn you have five cows. You have some more vodka. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.

You have all the cows in Afghanistan, which are two. You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's private parts.You get a $40 million grant from the US government to find alternatives to milk production but use the money to buy weapons.

You have two cows. They go into hiding. They send radio tapes of their mooing.

You have two bulls. Employees are regularly maimed and killed attempting to milk them.

You have one cow. The cow is schizophrenic. Sometimes the cow thinks he's French, other times he's Flemish. The Flemish cow won't share with the French cow. The French cow wants control ofthe Flemish cow's milk. The cow asks permission to be cut in half. The cow dies happy.

You have a black cow and a brown cow. Everyone votes for the best looking one. Some of the people who actually like the brown one best accidentally vote for the black one. Some people vote for both. Some people vote for neither. Some people can't figure out how to vote at all. Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which one you think is the best-looking cow.

You have millions of cows. They make real California cheese. Only five speak English. Many are illegals. Arnold likes the ones with the big udders.


Dominica Palmarum - March 16, 2008, 5 PM
Extraordinary Form, Ritus Simplex
Saint Leo the Great Church, Pawtucket, RI

As much as I would have loved to do a good High Mass for this day, we just don't have the choir to do it. So, this will be my first Palm Sunday Tridentine LOW Mass. The blessing of the palms will be done according to Ordo Hebdomadae Sancte Instauratus, Ritus Simplex, 1957, which deals with Holy Week in smaller churches and oratories and the like. Here it indicates that the Mass may be sung or low.

Hosanna Filio David...Mode VII
Pueri Hebraeorum (first antiphon only, no verses)...Mode I
- (possible second antiphon ONLY if time permits, which I doubt)
Gloria, Laus, et Honor...Mode I
Ingrediente, Domino...Tone 8G
- (if procession goes outside of the church, again, which I doubt, but if it does, the Ingrediente is for when we go back inside)
Adoramus te, Christe...Dubois (from his "Seven Last Words of Christ")
Pange lingua gloriosi...Mode III
O sacred head surrounded..."Passion Chorale"


Groovy organ

While browsing around the net for groovy organ facades, I found this interesting one, shaped like a hand. The instrument is found in the church of Notre Dame des Neiges, in Alpe d'Huez, France. The building is very curvy as you can see, and the organ sits in a cement shell. Actually, the sanctuary IS the cement shell. For concerts, they just move the altar table to the side. Interesting seating arrangements for the congregation, though. At any rate, the organ is very mod. I rather like it.

Church Organ

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Damned in a diocese AND an archdiocese, both in Missouri

Well, for Fr. Marek Bozek, it's about to happen very soon. He's already suspended by Bp. Liebrecht of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, MO, for leaving his assignment there against the Bishop's wishes to take an assignment at the (now suppressed) parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka in St. Louis, against the wishes of Abp. Burke. The board of directors at St. Stan's have been excommunicated (latae sentencae, meaning they really excommunicated themselves, all the Archbishop had to do was make it official) for hiring a suspended priest, despite pleas and warnings from the Archbishop.

Now the time has come.


It's a shame. St. Stan's is a beautiful looking church. Too bad the board of directors and Fr. Bozek screwed that up.



Would you like to see your neighborhood Polish deli or market promoted by Christus Vincit ANYWHERE!? All you have to do is e-mail me at bpage69 {shift+2} yahoo {period} com and let me know if they sell Krakowska Kielbasa and I will gladly send them a letter-size image just like the one you see above, but with the actual store name and its complete address. The store owner can then take the liberty of framing it up and hanging it in a prominent place in the store (next to the store license, or just above the Berkel slicer, or even above "der Kol"), or even making copies and passing them out to their neighbors or hang on a billboard, or whatever. Said store(s) will also get mentioned on the next CVA podcast.

This is a great way to promote a great podcast AND great food from a great deli!


PS: The first flyer just got hand delivered to POLONIA MARKET, 736 Broadway, Pawtucket, RI. All things Polish and then some! :)

Monday, March 10, 2008


Jeffrey Tucker has posted a true classic on the Musica Sacra forums:
Hallelujah! from Handel's Messiah - in LATIN! (pdf)



Another great comic by Paul Nichols!

BTW, as I told Paul in his combox, that clown WAS in LA on the weekend of Mahonyfest™ '08. One may ask how I know this. Well, being a clown (wannabe) myself at times, I rejected the offer that the above clown accepted.



Back in the middle of 2001, I had written a letter to the editor of the Providence Visitor (now The Rhode Island Catholic) in response to the infamous ongoing, growing-old, I-wish-the-hell-these-people-would-get-it Danny Boy debacle, er, debate. In that letter, I had basically said that liturgists and musicians in their right mind would refrain from programming Danny Boy at Mass. Of course, I managed to piss off a few people. One nutcase wrote in reply insisted that I apologize to the Irish-American population for offending them by simply pointing out a simple Mass rubric - that secular music of any kind, I don't care what ethnic group it comes from, does not belong at Mass. I even got a letter saying "This is 2001. Get a clue!" (It's not the first nutcase letter this nutcase in question has written.)

Well, guess what! This is 2008, I STILL have that clue, and the rules haven't changed for all of Christianity - no secular music at Mass. Don't even try to convince me that Danny Boy is sacred. It's not. And that line about "saying an Ave for me" is no more sacred than Dionne Warwick singing that she'll "say a little prayer for you".

Bear-i-tone points out that even a New York bar gets it, not to mention that the song isn't even Irish. (BTW, Bear is an Irish Canadian, and the bar owner in question is Irish-born).


Sunday, March 9, 2008


Training Workshop in Massachusetts for Priests and Altar Servers inthe Traditional Latin Mass, March 28, 2008

At the request of His Excellency, Bishop McManus, Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, Fr. Santos, pastor of Holy Name Church in Providence, Rhode Island will be conducting an introductory training workshop for priests and altar servers in the Traditional Latin Rite. There will also be some Latin language instruction.

Please call to Register.
Date: Friday, March 28, 2008
Time: 10 AM-4 PM, when a Traditional Latin Mass will begin
[Lunch will be provided]
Location: Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel
282 Still River Road
Still River, Massachusetts 01467
Cost: Thanks to the gracious hospitality of the Sisters and Brothers of Saint Benedict Center the workshop and lunch are provided at no cost.

RSCT to Fr. Z.

When Bp. McManus was Auxiliary Bishop of Providence, he had celebrated the Extraordinary Form of Mass a couple of times at Holy Name (while I was music director there). He did very well, too. It's great to see he's offering training for the same in Worcester.


CAN YOU COUNT TO 20... Lingua Latina?

Me did. So did Domini Sumus, who I got this from.

Click here to take the test. (BTW, I already know Jason can ace it!)



Saint Joseph Church, Attleboro MA

OVERALL - it wasn't bad at all. Better than what I'm used to seeing and hearing in most places.
...Yeah, but there was a guitar there too.
...Yes, but he didn't overshadow the organ, at least. The only REALLY crappy tunes were done by guitar and choir before Mass (one was Only a Shadow by Landry, which I can't stand; the other I didn't recognize but it sounded so..., so... um... seventies). But since the number board had all the music used DURING Mass (which was far better), I stayed around.

That and I wish the organist would lose the tremulant (which she used throughout except for the closing hymn). It makes that Casavant unit sound like a Hammond. That was really the little critiquing I had today.

The selection of hymns wasn't bad. Not one Haugen/Haas/Jesuits-type piece at all during Mass. The hymnal is We Celebrate. The guitar played with the organ at the Entrance and Communion only. The rest was with the organ only. Here's the list:

I am the Bread of life...Toolan (which, as I mentioned on CVA #123 last Monday, would be the popular choice for today)
With the Lord there is mercy...Bogdan (not bad at all)
Praise and honor to you...P. French (for once I didn't have to endure that Mary Had a Little Lamb version of Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ...)
The glory of these forty days..."Old Hundredth"
Sanctus, Memorial, Agnus...Jubilate Deo (a breath of fresh air! and a cappella)
The "Stations of the Cross"...Keil (a better than average Kevin Keil tune)
Lift high the cross..."Crucifer"



In a nation whose governments try to take all things Christian (especially Catholic) out of daily life, one fast food joint puts the Catholic back into it.

RSCT: Fr. Loren

I'm not a fan of Taco Bell food, but I LOVE what they're doing here!



After all, both major parties had questionable to lousy candidates, IMO.

RSCT to the Thorn in the Pew


Saturday, March 8, 2008


Fr. Martin Fox makes an excellent case for more regular use of the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation - especially for Lent, as it seems to prepare us for the Sacred Triduum.

As I was praying it the other day, I thought: when do we hear about Abraham's sacrifice--and I realized, at the Vigil! (At least we will, this year, as we will have all the readings for the first time.) And we hear about Melchizedek on Holy Thursday. I can't recall when Abel comes up, but perhaps one of the readers can fill that in.
Another reason to pray the Roman Canon is that it conveys a strong sense of the Real Presence. All the Eucharistic prayers convey the real presence and a sense of sacrifice--contrary to the allegations of some so-called traditionalists--but the Roman Canon expresses them rather strongly. (As does the fourth prayer, in my judgment.)
Some will be surprised by this, but--I think the Roman Canon makes sense for younger children. Here's why I say that. As far as the language of the prayers, they are all over the head of young children; and they are all "too long." But the Roman Canon has two features that would seem to appeal to younger children.

This goes to show there's more reasoning to the use of EP-I than just the fact that before the 1970 Missal the Roman Canon was THE Eucharistic Prayer.

Most priests I've worked with tend to use either EP-II or EP-III (EP-II prayed especially by those priests who want the people in and out). Out here the Roman Canon gets prayed at the "big Masses" only - you know, those "APEX Catholic" Masses. Remember the APEX Catholic? That stands for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Easter, and Xmas. You can add Holy Thursday to the list of Masses where the Roman Canon is usually prayed.

My most recent former pastor liked to mix things up. He used all of the four original Eucharistic Prayers and the two for Reconciliation. Of course, he always used EP-I for the "big Masses". And personally, I like EP-IV for that change of pace - especially with that John 3:16 connection (Father, you so loved the world that in the fullness of time you sent your only Son to be our Savior).

Fr. Fox mentions four additional prayers - well, four variations of what's known as the "Swiss Prayer". Anyone have a link to that?


The First Two Of The Season

A couple weeks ago I cleaned up the planting beds and cut back the roses. The shrub roses are full of new growth now but haven't progressed yet in producing buds. The climbers are also showing much new growth, the canes covered with dark red leaves. Last year, the canes were almost completely stripped by blackspot. The new mulch I spread in the beds was infected with the mess, which cut short the blooming season a bit. I've been spraying regularly this year with Ortho Rose Pride to inhibit the germination of the blackspot spores. I've found that the Rose Pride brought the disease under control last year, finally. The climber wall in the courtyard is starting to look great, and this past 1.5 weeks showed the first two blooms. My climbing wall features four trellises of roses, two Don Juans (a dark blood-red/black bloom) and two Joseph's Coats. The JC's bloom a varigated orange-yellow flower at first, and as it ages the petals turn mauve and end more towards a pink. My climbing wall is usually full of red, yellow, orange and mauve roses. In the beds opposite the climbing wall, I have Ingrid Bergman (light red), Sun Dance (dark yellow), and Queen Elizabeth II (pink). Betty White croaked last season from the blackspot, and her root stock took over, creating an ugly thorny flowerless climbing monster. Betty bloomed white, naturally. But I dug her rotting roots out when I cleaned up the beds and amputated her mutant root stock. She will be replaced by my Hoochy-Coochy Hibiscus (yes, folks, that IS its real species name) that my mom gave me last Easter. The Hooch has been root-bound in a pot, but he can take the cold, since his pot was outside all winter. Here's a shot of the Joseph's Coat blooms. The orange one is recent, the big mauve one is just about to loose its petals.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Meet Bishop Robert Zollitsch

The following article, entitled “I Would Like To Have Been a Father” was written by Raimund Neuss and appeared in the February 18, 2008 edition of the Kölnische Rundschau. I printed the German text, then translated it. It’s an interesting article. I liked Bishop Mixa’s accurate warning against seeing women as “baby factories”. I’ve heard such statements from the pulpit on several occasions by a number of priests, that families should have as many kids as possible, since kids are gifts from God – such statements, I might add, fly in the face of Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae….but that’s another story altogether (my opinion: if humans were meant to have a zillion offspring, we’d be born in litters like cats). Zollitsch seems pretty “middle of the road”. Interesting comments regarding sacerdotal celibacy and regarding the gays in the Church. I think his stance on the Lutherans would make most any neo-trad cringe (if not wet his fiddle back)…not to mention the bishop’s willingness to accept divorcees actually as part of the Church. I would have also liked to have seen a statement about single Catholics. So frequently, singles are looked at as freaks who didn’t marry or become priests or religious, although the Catechism states that being single is perfectly fine. If there’s a program for singles in the Church, it’s a support group: “Hi, my name is Hank, and I’m a single…Hi Hank..” My observation: this bishop seems to acknowledge that the Catholics are actually “the good, the bad and the ugly”. So frequently we are mislead to believe that good Catholic families look just like the pictures in the old St. Joseph missals: Father in a sharp business suit, Mother in a neat dress with a perky cardigan and a hat, little son dressed just like dad in his lace-up oxfords, and daughter dressed like mom in white gloves, hat, and nicely polished Mary Janes and neatly folded ankle socks. At any rate, meet Bishop Zollitsch:

Freiburg - Deutliche Worte vor dem Amtsantritt: Von heute an ist der Freiburger Erzbischof Robert Zollitsch Vorsitzender der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, am Wochenende erregte er durch Interviewäußerungen Aufsehen. Zollitsch grenzte sich von Bischöfen wie Walter Mixa (Augsburg) ab, der im Streit um die Kinderbetreuung vor Frauen als „Gebärmaschinen“ gewarnt hatte. Sein Freund und Vorgänger Karl Kardinal Lehmann pflegte so etwas diplomatischer zu formulieren. Hat er sich auch zu Sachthemen ähnlich klar geäußert?
Freiburg – Meaning-filled words before taking office: From today on, the archbishop of Frieburg Robert Zollitsch is the head of the German Conference of Bishops. Over the weekend, his interview comments drew attention. Zollitsch drew away from Bishops like Walter Mixa of Augsburg, who in the child care debate had warned against seeing women as “baby factories”. Zollitsch’s friend and predecessor Karl Cardinal Lehmann was used to formulating such a statement with more diplomacy. Has Zollitsch expressed himself with similar clarity?
In der Frage der Ehelosigkeit der Priester legte er sich nicht fest, warnte aber vor Denkverboten. Einerseits sei der Zölibat ein „großes Geschenk“, andererseits theologisch nicht notwendig. Damit formulierte Zollitsch eine Tatsache: Schon heute gibt es in der katholischen Kirche Priester, die nicht zölibatär leben müssen - Priester ostkirchlicher Riten etwa und zum Katholizismus konvertierte einst anglikanische Geistliche.
Celibacy: Regarding the question of the unmarried status of priests, he gave no definitive stance, but he warned against closed mindedness. On the one hand, celibacy is a “great gift”, but on the other hand, it is theologically unnecessary. With that, Zollitsch presented a fact: Even today there are priests in the Catholic Church who must not live a celibate life: priests of eastern rites for example, and former Anglican clergy who converted to Catholicism.
Zollitsch wurde auf den Wunsch des - katholischen - niedersächsischen Ministerpräsidenten Christian Wulff angesprochen, nach seiner Scheidung wieder kirchlich heiraten zu können. Er bekräftigte die geltende Lehre: „Auch für Ministerpräsidenten gilt: Was Gott verbunden hat, darf der Mensch nicht trennen.“ Er äußerte Verständnis für das Leid geschiedener und wiederverheirateter Katholiken, denen nach wie vor die Seelsorge gelte - darüber habe er auch schon mit dem Papst gesprochen. Ein eindeutiger Reformappell war das nicht; Zollitsch ging weniger weit als etwa der Wiener Erzbischof Christoph Kardinal Schönborn, ein enger Vertrauter des heutigen Papstes. Der hatte 2004 in der Totenmesse für den geschiedenen und exkommunizierten Bundespräsidenten Thomas Klestil „Barmherzigkeit mit dem menschlichen Scheitern“ angemahnt.
Marriage: Zollitsch was approached by the Catholic minister president of Lower Saxony that he wanted to marry again in the Church after his divorce. Zollitsch reiterated the pertinent teaching: “It pertains also to minister presidents: What God has joined, men may not divide.” He expressed understanding for the pain of divorced and remarried Catholics, who as before were entitled to spiritual guidance – he even spoke about that with the Pope. This was not a specific plea for reform. Zollitsch went no farther than the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, a very close confidant of the current Pope. At the requiem Mass for the divorced and excommunicated federal president Thomas Klestil, he mentioned “Merciful charity in the case of human weakness”.
Zur Frage, ob sein Katholizismus für Homosexuelle offen sei, sagte Zollitsch, Homosexualität sei eine „gesellschaftliche Realität“. Er bekräftigte das Recht des Staates, rechtliche Regeln für ihre Lebensgemeinschaften aufzustellen; Ehen seien das nicht. Zollitsch distanziert sich so indirekt von Amtsbrüdern, die eine Gleichstellung homosexueller Partnerschaften mit der Ehe befürchten - die gebe es nicht.
Homosexuality: To the question whether his Catholicism is open to homosexuals, Zollitsch said that Homosexuality is a “social reality”. He supported the right of the state to make rules for its own life-partnerships, that these are not marriages. So Zollitsch distanced himself from his fellow bishops who fear that homosexual partnerships may be held equal to marriage – there is no homosexual marriage.
Gegenüber der evangelischen Kirche ging Zollitsch auf Distanz zur Wortwahl des Vatikan: Man könne ihr das Kirche-Sein nicht absprechen. „Sie ist Kirche, aber eine andere“, die nach katholischem Verständnis nicht im vollumfassenden Sinne Kirche sei. Diese Wortwahl kommt der nahe, die sich EKD-Chef Wolfgang Huber von der katholischen Seite wünscht.
Protestants: Regarding the Lutheran Church, Zollitsch tiptoed around the Vatican’s phrasing that one can not remove their claim from being a Church. “The Lutheran Church is a Church like any other”, which according to Catholic understanding is not a Church in the all-encompassing idea. This choice of words is close to that, which the head of the Lutheran Church, Wolfgang Huber, hopes to hear from the Catholic side.
Zollitsch hat mit einzelnen Aussagen große Erwartungen geweckt, sie aber teilweise im gleichen Atemzug wieder eingeschränkt.
Conclusion: Zollitsch wakened great expectations with some of his statements, but dashed them to some extent in the same breath.