Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Yes, chant camp - for the kids! David Hughes at St. Mary's in Norwalk, CT held one of those. That's about as ingenious as they come! Big time kudos. This is excellent!

Pictures here. RSCT to Jeffrey Tucker.

PS: Think someone in my diocese or its neighbors to the north or east will follow suit? Or perhaps NaPalM?

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time
St. John the Baptist Church, Pawtucket, RI

ST. THOMAS...O bless the Lord, my soul
Alstott...Remember your mercies, O Lord, Alleluia, and To you, O Lord
(The third title, which was the offertory, is not one of Owen Alstott's better works. The melody sounds more like something you'd hear at a 1971 folk Mass.)
Proulx...Sanctus, Christ has died, and Amen from Community Mass
Isele...Agnus Dei from Holy Cross Mass
Farrell...Christ, be our light
(On the other hand, this piece, by Bernadette Farrell, who is also MRS. Owen Alstott, IS one of her better works - if you compare it to stuff like God has chosen me, God beyond all names and that hideous Mass of Hope.)
NUN DANKET...Now thank we all our God


PS: I have a copy of the 2009 Music Issue. I'll be reviewing it soon.


Taken from the website of St. Cecilia Church in Pawtucket, just a block away from St. Leo's where I play the monthly Extraordinary Form Mass - a story on a Kimball pipe organ that went south in the 1980's (again - the '80's), only to have a Hammond take its place. In recent years, the parish has been looking to raise funds to have the Kimball organ restored.



Mozart proclaimed the pipe organ the “King of Instruments.” For centuries it has been the chosen means of musical support and inspiration for the church. It is the largest of all musical instruments and can speak with a whisper or a roar. The organ alone can produce both the highest and lowest pitches perceptible by the human ear.

The St. Cecilia historic pipe organ was built in the theatre-organ style and began life accompanying silent movies or for musical entertainment at a private residence. It was built by the Kimball Piano and Organ Company which was founded in Chicago in 1857 and is well known for its organs in St. Patrick's Cathedral NYC, the Atlantic City Boardwalk Ballroom, and the Mormon Tabernacle. The Kimball company's work was famous for its dedication to quality. In the words of one organ builder "Where others used four screws, Kimball used eight. They used silver on their key contacts and high tin content in their pipework. "

Kimball most likely built this organ in the in the early twentieth century. In the 20's as "talking pictures" were developed, many theaters sold their organs to churches and funeral homes. Many of the instruments did not survive.

Employed by Kimball as a sales associate was George Stanley, whose summer home in Bristol was neighbor to another belonging to the St. Cecilia's pastor at the time, Rev. Mathias A. Hebert. Reverend Hebert was the second pastor of St. Cecilia's, but was the first pastor of the 1935 church which exists today. When the organ was acquired circa 1950 Rev. Hebert hired organ builder Raymond Whalon to install the organ and transform it from theatre to church organ. As early as the 15th century liturgical pipe organs have specific ranks (sets of different sounding pipes) which combine together to create the unique organ timbre everyone recognizes.

Raymond Whalon had a long history in the profession. He studied voicing techniques with the pipe voicer of one the greatest organ builders of all time, Aristide Cavaille-Coll of Paris, France. Cavaille-Coll was the Antonio Stradivarius of organ builders. Whalon and his wife Marthe co-founded the the Welte-Whalon organ company of Portsmouth, RI. To complete the transformation, Whalon added almost 400 new pipes in three ranks of diapason (8', 4' and 2'), a four rank mixture, a bourdon, and string pipes. This addition to the existing pipework put the total number of pipes over 1,250. The console too was in the theatre style with a Wurlitzer-like wrap-around bolster. Whalon re-built the mahogany case to a traditional console design. The keyboard layout was changed from four manuals (keyboards) to three that correspond to the pipework organization familiar to church organists.

Following the installation, masses were played by Sisters Jeanne and Rose Soline until a permanent organist could be found. Reverend Hebert and Raymond Whalon were champions of the organ and saw to the organ's tuning and upkeep. So protective of the pipe organ was Rev. Hebert that he forbade budding organist Betrand Massé from using the organ until he completed organ lessons with C. Alexander Peloquin. Bertrand Massé fulfilled the requirement and became the titular organist at St. Cecilia's where he excelled in the position for 39 years.

Bertrand Massé brought the church's music program to the height of its glory. In the years following his arrival, the choir grew to an unsurpassed size. The pipe organ was the largest in the area and together they touched parishioner's spirits while accompanying countless masses, confirmations, weddings and funerals.

The technology of organ building was fairly advanced at the time. The console and organ use electro-pneumatic. The unit windchests use pitman stop action. As technology progressed some parts of the instrument have not changed. Better quality materials are available today, but the base materials themselves are metal, wood and leather. Every space-age substitute has been put to the test but these basic durable materials have stood the test of time. With climate conditions and low pollution, the leather used in the reservoirs and pallets of an organ can last for several generations. The leather on the St. Cecilia organ would be at least 60 years old. Dry leather, dust accumulation and the settling of the softer lead pipes are side effects of the aging process normally handled by routine maintenance.

Rev. Hebert left his post in 1967 and his stewardship of the organ had no successor. This left Whalon without an ally in the church administration. The maintenance cycle eventually came to a halt. The organ first showed serious signs of aging in the 80's. Stuck notes (ciphers) and silent pipes became a problem. The parish was growing in new ways and the care of the instrument was put on hold. In the late 1980's an organ student was allowed to enter the organ chambers for the purpose of maintenance. The student did more harm than good, leaving the organ in a barely playable state and making it clear that the upkeep was too difficult for an amateur to handle. It was shortly after this event that the choir was for the future accompanied by a small, electronic substitute organ.

Between the years 1997 and 2003 an organ fund was initiated and many parishioners contributed. The future looked promising again but was short lived. The fund was appropriated for other uses. In 2006 Bertrand Massé passed away after a 39 year tenure at the church. His loss was devastating to many, and the St. Cecilia's choir dwindled to a minimal size. Tragically, Raymond Whalon died later the same year— only months after he happily accepted an invitation to revisit the St. Cecilia organ. Interest in the pipe organ again was rekindled by several church and community individuals as a memorial to Bert Massé. A preliminary inspection of the organ by an established organist and former organ builder from Providence. The console and pipework were surveyed by Henri St. Louis and documented by a member of the Organ Historical Society. A replacement blower was found and purchased with funds given by a private donor. The original blower was located in a special room in the church hall and was able to quietly push wind up to the pipes two floors above. The original blower was discarded to enlarge the men's restroom in the church hall. The new blower can be directly connected to the ductwork in the organ chamber. Once the blower is reinstalled a more detailed assessment will be possible.

Pipe organs have a long life span of music making when cared for as evidenced by instruments in Europe dating 300-400 years old in perfect playable condition. The condition of St. Cecilia's pipe organ is far from terminal. The historic instrument has weathered neglect and a little misuse, but is intact and whole— nothing compared to the damage suffered by French and English churches bombed during World War II. Some of these organs are still play today. It is evident when visiting Europe that it places a high value on history. Works of art are cherished and the people take an active role in preserving them.

With the help and dedication of caring people, the St. Cecilia organ can once again be returned to its former glory. It is a sleeping beauty awaiting only an awakening kiss.

A PS from BMP: Here's a link to the stoplist. It doesn't include the pedal, however.


Lyn the Organ-ic Chemist has recently been attending a workshop called Do-It-Yourself Theology: Hymns. The description for the workshop is this (taken from Lyn's blog):

The aim of this series of adult classes will be to make the process both somewhat clearer and somewhat less individual; engaging in joint, do-it-ourselves, theology may help to enhance and deepen the place of hymns in our lives as Christians. During each of the four sessions several hymns will be looked at, primarily, as sources for theological reflection. At the same time, we shall try to remember that hymns are instruments of worship, and to that end we’ll consider the role of the tunes to which they are set – not by musical analysis but by singing through them ourselves. No musical ability is required or even expected.

At this workshop, one older gentleman was fearing that the hymn Now My Tongue the Mystery Telling, a translation of Pange Lingua Gloriosi set to the Mode III tune that most of us know, will disappear from the next hymnal revision, while a younger gentleman noted that chant and polyphony was making a resurgance. (I forgot to mention - this workshop is in an Episcopalian context).

Picture a version of Do-It-Yourself Theology in a stereotypical Catholic parish setting - if you dare! Picture your stereotypical CCD directors and teachers still hung up in the 1980's as they discuss their favorites from Gory and Puke and Gather Apprehensive. Picture that older gentleman who would love to see his favorite chant hymn retained in the next hymnal and get verbally abused by the "ladies of the '80's". Picture these same "ladies of the '80's" as they continue to ask the liturgical question, "What's in it for me?" "How can we entertain ourselves and each other?"

Speaking of those "ladies of the '80's", one CCD director I worked with in the early to mid '80's left the Catholic Church to become a minister who, along with one other woman, specializes in performing wedding ceremonies. It's amazing she didn't become a Poncho Lady (for you new people to the blogosphere, that's our trade name for a so-called "Roman Catholic Womynpryst") and try to claim she's still Catholic.

Getting back to "What's in it for me?" - What's in it for me is that my hunger has been spiritually satisfied by the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, that is, our Lord Jesus Christ. Good sung prayer (a la Worship and Adoremus), not music that is entertaining (a la Gory and Gather), enhances that.



Here's a video created by the Curt Jester himself and later played on Fr. Roderick's podcast, The Daily Breakfast. Also, click here for a screenshot of Fr. Roderick playing Jeff's video (Jeff got it by watching Fr. Roderick record via UStream).


Monday, September 22, 2008


On sale from your Schwan's driver
from September 22-October 4, 2008:

NEW! Flatbread Melts! 1-2 minutes in the nuke'em-up box (that's "microwave" to most of you), fold'em up and munch!

Pictured below are our two flavors:

Ham and Turkey Melt, #653

Chicken Bacon Ranch Melt, #654

Both of these come in a six-pack (er, box of six melts) for just $7.99. But for these next two weeks, you can get two of them for $15.00, saving yourself a buck (give or take my 2¢).
Also, remember that if you order online, you get an ADDITIONAL 5% OFF!

At Schwan's, we're PREPARED TO SERVE!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Just when you think you've seen everything...

Rich can vouch for me. He heard the whole conversation. Buckle up folks!

A gentleman came upstairs to the choir loft just as the Extraordinary Form Mass was ready to start. Father rang the bell outside the sacristy - the signal to begin. So as I'm hastening to get to the organ console for the opening hymn, this guy kept babbling despite my giving him the one-minute finger (no, I didn't flip him the bird) about how this Mass was being offered for a recently-buried relative. He wanted to know (reminder: this was an Extraordinary Form Low Mass) if we could squeeze in Eagle's Wings. I had to get started, so I gave him a quick reply: "Not at this Mass," then I got the hymn going.

After we finished the hymn, Rich and I couldn't stop laughing for a good five minutes. I think we finally got our composures back just before the Gospel reading. A more fitting reaction that went through my head was similar to the scenario from the movie Animal House where the Delta pledges are being introduced on a slide show, and Flounder's face was the next slide. They all started laughing and jeering and tossing beer cans at the screen.

I'm sure this guy didn't know any better. But it was just enough to warrant my issuing of the September 2008 WTF Award! Congratulations!

UPDATE: Rich just posted his side of the story!


Sunday, September 14, 2008


RSCT to our UK buddy Damian Thompson, who understands that this piece of music "is being circulated as an example of 'liturgical best practice'". Well, I do know that it's God-awful and probably the goofiest thing I've heard passed as church music since the Alleluia Chee-Chee.

Even the Chee-Chee monkey thinks it's funny. Just look at him laugh for cripes sakes!

What next? The #$*^*!% wiggles?


This is the blog's version of a segment I did for a few weeks before being sacked from the ghost house last fall. The segment was called "In what we have done, and in what we're going to do". In this segment, we would feature the music we played the previous Sunday, and preview the music the for following Sunday.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Ordinary Form)
September 14, 2008
St. John the Baptist Church, Pawtucket, RI

Today I attended 9:30 Mass at my usual stomping grounds, St. John's. I should have brought my DS-30 recorder with me and recorded the Communion anthem. Anyhoo, this is what Paul and friends did...

Lift high the cross..."Crucifer"
Do not forget the works of the Lord...Alstott
Alleluia...Alstott (the 3/4 setting in C)
God who created hearts to love..."Lasst uns erfreuen"
- (there was a renewal of vows after the homily)
Sanctus and Amen...Proulx; "Community Mass"
Lord, by your cross and resurrection...Kraehenbeuhl/Frischmann; adapt. from "Danish Amen"
Agnus Dei...Isele; "Holy Cross Mass"
Adoramus Te, Christe...Dubois; from "Seven Last Words of Christ"
- (Paul, plus one soprano and one alto, did this in Latin and in English)
Crown him with many crowns..."Diademata"

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Rite II)
September 21, 2008 - 10 AM
All Saints Memorial Church (Episcopal), Providence, RI

This coming Sunday, I'll be filling in for an organist who doubles as an organ builder. He's heading off to Kansas to pick up an entire Bombarde rank (I love a good bombarde). This will be the first time I've done an Eucharist at an Episcopal church in 25 years (and my first ever with a choir). The organ at this church is a three-manual Austin of over 40 ranks.

The Kyrie, Sanctus, and Fraction Anthem (Jesus, Lamb of God) are from the Deutsche Messe by Schubert (adapted by Proulx)

Glorious things of thee are spoken..."Austria"
Singing songs of expectation..."Ton-y-botel"
- (This is the "sequence hymn" that is sung where we Catholics would normally sing the alleluia.)
Ave Verum...Mozart
- (followed by a brief improv, and then the procession of gifts is accompanied by "Praise God from whom all blessings flow"/Old 100th - one verse)
Come, labor on..."Ora labora"
O bless the Lord, my soul..."St. Thomas"; Williams

I didn't pick any of these, but I'll gladly play these tunes ANYTIME!

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Extraordinary Form Low Mass)
September 21, 2008 - 5 PM
St. Leo the Great Church, Pawtucket RI

Let all mortal flesh keep silence..."Picardy"
Magnificat...Tone 8 (simple tone)
Verbum Supernum Prodiens...Mode VIII
Now thank we all our God...Nun Danket


Thursday, September 11, 2008


News at the Door from the Schwan's Snark!
A new feature on Christus Vincit - the BLOG!

Then you'll LOVE our new pizzaria style pizzas at Schwans. These pizzas are our "News at the Door", aka our "featured product" until September 20. These are 13-inch pizzas, pre-sliced, and they come with their own baking tray. That makes for less trays to wash after you're done cooking. Put one in the oven for 20 minutes and you have a pizza that's just as good as any pizzaria or Italian restaurant!

At left is our Six Cheese Pizza, #833. At right is our Ultimate Pepperoni Pizza, #834.
You can get these for $7.49 each from your Schwan's driver, or by ordering online. But until the end of next week, we have a special deal: If you buy three of these, you get $3 off. Yup - that's $6.49 each if you buy three. Order these online and not only will you get them on your driver's next scheduled route day, but you'll get another 5% off! Of course, if you order them from your driver at your doorstep, chances are excellent that they're in your driver's truck waiting to enter your freezer at that very minute!

At Schwan's, we're prepared to serve!


...is up and running at the Organ-ic Chemist.

I couldn't think of which post to send, so Lyn picked out the "bench pressus" neum that I got from Jeffrey Tucker, who found it on Aristotle's clothing line.



Here's one my wife passed on to me. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


There is NO SUCH THING as a "gathering song". Jeffrey Tucker just reiterated it.

I wish I knew where the phrase came from. Perhaps it came from the impulse that many people have that musicians should give people a kick when they get in the door, let them know that Church is a fun and happy place, make people glad that they are together with each other.

I wish I knew too, but my speculation is a little different. I think it might have been those same AA meetings from which hand-holding during the Lord's Prayer originated.

The phrase "gathering song" really must be completely retired from use. "Gathering song" implies that Mass is something like a family reunion, a dinner party, a staff meeting, or some other people-center event in which people just sort of show up and enjoy each other's company. This is decidedly what Mass is not. The Mass is the great miracle. As a symbol of what is taking place, the position of the people is in procession as led by the priest to the altar and toward the East of the risen Christ. We are not "gathering" but spiritually processing toward the focal point at the center.

Mr. Tucker says it best, doesn't he? Another thing I've said many times before, on the blog and on the CVA cast - If you're singing while you're gathering, you're probably late for Mass.

The Roman Rite is not structured to have two bookends on either side, one called the gathering song and the other called the "Sending Forth" (to bring up yet another absurd phrase that has entered into our liturgical language).

Another thing I've said before: the "sending forth" is the "Ite, Missa Est" (proper word, "dismissal"). Any singing after that, hey... the Mass is ended!

When I did substitute work in Cranston on Corpus Christi day, the Saturday cantor announced "gathering" and "preparation" hymns (she DID say "recessional" at the end - far better than "sending forth"). The next morning, a young choir member, I'm guessing no more than 18 years old, asked if she could sing with me at the 8:30 Mass. And just to show how a little catechesis goes a long way... I asked her if she wanted to announce. She said sure. I pointed out (politely) the benefits of "entrance" and "offertory" and the "malefits" of "gathering" and "preparation" and she did VERY well. At the 10:45 choir Mass, at which both the Saturday and 8:30 cantors were present, the 8:30 cantor announced (I asked her if she wanted to before the Saturday cantor showed up).

Bob Glassmeyer noted in the combox another pet peeve - the term "presider" when they really mean "celebrant":

We also don't have a "presider."
We have a CELEBRANT.

When I think of "presider", I think of a courtroom judge presiding over a trial. I think of Judge Judy dissing the daylights out of a litigant who thinks he/she knows it all. Or even better --- if Father is a "presider", shouldn't he bring a gavel to the altar (or to the pulpit)?

As I crack on the petty stuff (the petty person that I am, ha ha!), Jeffrey also makes excellent points supporting use of the actual Introit of the day instead of this "gaaaaaaaaaaathering" crap.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Last Saturday, I did my first solo run in a Schwan's truck - two stops (almost two hours from the first stop to the second stop - Westerly, RI, to Plymouth, MA). These were merely orders that were already taken and just needed to be delivered, so my boss trusted me to drive alone. I got to both stops and made both deliveries flawlessly in that nice big truck.

Anyhoo, most of us CSM's/CSMT's rely on this nifty technology called GPS. Don't ask me what the sam hell it stands for, but it walks you from point A to point B as you drive.


You get the picture.

Anyhoo, of course, technology needs regular updating. This particular GPS, a company issue, is a freakin' dinosaur. It's like me sitting here using Windows 3.1 in a world that's "upgraded" to Windows Vista. New roads get built.

What made me laugh is my return trip from Plymouth, MA, back to the depot in Rhode Island. It predicted I'd be at the depot at 2:35. The GPS wanted me to go back down Route 3 south, towards the Sagamore Bridge (going into Cape Cod), west towards the Bourne Bridge, onto Route 25 north, which goes into I-495 north, etc.

Instead of doing all that, I went Route 3 north, hopped onto the new US-44 freeway westbound that runs from Plymouth to Carver, then changes to a two-lane highway the rest of the way to I-495. The GPS isn't updated for this new highway, and it quit timing its course. The map showed this arrow (indicating my company truck) driving through a blank region, though crossing all the right junctions.

To sum it up, including a quick stop to a Dunkin Donuts to go to the can, wash my paws, and grab a quick bite for the road, I got back to the depot by 2:20 - 15 minutes sooner than the GPS originally charted.


It did my heart good to beat the GPS.

PS: When someone tries to give directions to my wife, she tells them, "Talk to my husband. He's a walking road map."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Random Information. Take notes.

1. What is your occupation?
Entrepreneur and substitute organist.

2. What color are your socks right now?
White puma ankle socks.

3. What are you listening to right now?
The a/c blowing through the intake vent.

4. What was the last thing that you ate?
Pasta salad last night while watching the finale of Ice Road Truckers.

5. Can you drive a stick shift?
Sure can. My car has a standard transmission. Wouldn’t want it any other way. Automatics are for sissies! LOL!

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
The Democrat Party. They agreed to shake a finger at Hurricane Ike by arranging with 25 Catholic Bishops with sizable Service Appeal balances for a 10 million dollar welfare package to help keep the storm from entering the Gulf.

8. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
It wasn’t really sent. Brian had posted it. I like Brian. He’s groovy cool.

9. How old are you today?
38 and holding.

10. Favorite drink?
Non-alcoholic: Mineral water with fizz; Alcoholic: Dirty Martini with bleu cheese olives

11. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Foil fencing

12. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Never have, never will.

13. Pets?
One orange cat named Stuart. He doesn’t dye his hair either.

14. Favorite ethnic food?
Blutwurst und Sauerkohl mit ‘ner dicken Scheibe Roggenbrot und ein Maß Helles.

15. Last movie you watched?
Gravedancers on Scifi.

16. Favorite Day of the year?
My birthday. Loads of stuff happened in German history on that day, including my birth. In real Catholic churches, the gradual (note the use of the language of Catholicism!) is the Locus Iste on my birthday. I prefer the Bruckner setting.

17. What do you do to vent anger?
Vent anger? That’s what Germans usually call “getting even”. Forgiving is easy. Forgetting is stupid.

18. What was your favorite toy as a child?
My Xylophone.

19. What is your favorite season?

20. Hugs or kisses?
I prefer a jovial hand shake with most people.

21. Cherry or Blueberry?

22. Do you want your friends to email you back?
That depends on whether the email warrants a reply.

23. Who is most likely to respond?
To this? You never know.

24. Who is least likely to respond?
The Bishop of Rome.

25. What happened to the good ol' days?
The Versailles Treaty is what happened.

26. When was the last time you cried?
At Princess Grace’s funeral. Oh, and when Charlotte’s baby spiders took flight and she croaked.

27. What is on the floor of your closet?

28. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to?
I’m not sending it to anyone.

29. Who is the friend you have had the shortest that you are sending this to?
See #28

30. Favorite smells?
The vinegar brine for Sauerbraten.

31. Favorite sounds?
A Silbermann organ playing Bach. Second runner up: a good Lutheran chorale. Third runner up: The Dies Irae sung by a German choir. I far more prefer the masculine German pronunciation of Latin to the prissy Italianate version.


RSCT to Jeffrey Tucker. This actually appears on a work-out shirt and other cool accessories, available from The Recovering Choir Director.


Sunday, September 7, 2008


...and ad orientem worship

In a letter written to Fr. Z:

BTW, people loved the analogy of the airplane pilot and the bus driver. [Good tip for priests.] Are they turning their backs on the passengers OR are they facing the same direction as everyone else in the hope of arriving at the same destination?
(The red is added by Fr. Z.)

I like it!

Another reason why the driver/pilot would face the same direction is that if they faced the people (the passengers), they're very likely to crash. By facing the same direction as the people while saying Mass, the liturgy is being steered in the right direction.



Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time
St. John the Baptist Church, Pawtucket, RI

Paul (the organist) is feeling much better this week, thankfully!

For the beauty of the earth..."Dix"
If today you hear his voice...Alstott
Alleluia...Alstott; from R&A
- (this one is rather nice - it's the one that ends on the third.)
There is a longing...Quigley
Sanctus, Memorial A, and Amen...Proulx; Community Mass
- (I may have mentioned here before: this is my favorite congregational setting in English!)
Agnus...Isele; Holy Cross Mass
- (I would have preferred to stick with Community Mass, but this one is also good.)
Ubi Caritas...Hurd
- (one of Bob Hurd's far better pieces.)
For the fruits of this creation..."Ar hyd y nos"

After Mass, I went upstairs to say hi to Paul, and I got to play two little known gems from Holy Cross Mass that (unfortunately) didn't make its way to any hymnals - the Memorial (Christ Has Died) and the Amen. Like Community Mass and the Danish tones, the Memorial and Amen have identical tunes...

B AG E_ / D. E G A / B. c d BA / G.

I also took the liberty of reaquainting him with the Agnus from Community Mass.


Saturday, September 6, 2008


It used to be that when I read the obituaries in the local paper, the obituary would announce that someone died. Now when I read the obituaries in the same paper, that person no longer died. He/she "passed away", or was "born into eternal life".

One obituary I read recently mentioned someone who "completed her life". WTF???

Now, if a paper's going to write an obituary about someone "passing away", or "completing his/her life", or "entering eternal life", how about writing an obituary about someone who "croaked" or "expired" or "kicked the bucket" or "bit the dust"? Or maybe someone who "took one for the team"?

When I hear the words "passed away", I think of someone floating away in mid air right past me.


Stolen from Lyn the Organ-ic Chemist.

To answer the tag (btw, anyone who wants to play, you're it!), simply copy and paste the whole thing and change the answers so that they're YOUR answers.

1. What is your occupation?
Customer Service Manager Trainee (for five more weeks, then the word "trainee" gets removed), Schwans Home Food Service / Organist for monthly extraordinary form Mass, St. Leo the Great Church.

2. What color are your socks right now?
Basic black

3. What are you listening to right now?
A stand-up comic, Brian Regan, on Comedy Central.

4. What was the last thing that you ate?
A freeze pop - you know, the ones that come in a box of 100, non-frozen, you have to freeze them overnight to enjoy the full effect.

5. Can you drive a stick shift?
Yes. In fact, when I took my first driver's job (in 1984), the secretary asked me if I could drive a stick. I quickly told her yes (in illo tempore I had never driven one), got the job, and taught myself quickly.

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Black (for my choir cassock).

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
My wife's friend (Hello, is your wife there? / Sorry, she's sleeping. She's not feeling too good...)

8. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
Yes. But she didn't send it. I stole it. LOL!

9. How old are you today?

10. Favorite drink?
Lately, grape soda

11. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Red Sox baseball

12. Have you ever dyed your hair?

13. Pets?
My wife and daughter have a cat. I won't admit to owning the little ^!+$&.

14. Favorite ethnic food?
Golabki, after I remove the cabbage, and add either ketchup OR salt and pepper.

15. Last movie you watched?

16. Favorite Day of the year?
December 26, the Feast of St. Stephen. Also, the first day of relief after having to endure the most banal "holiday favorites" played on radio 24/7 for six weeks before that.

17. What do you do to vent anger?
Hand out a WTF award...

18. What was your favorite toy as a child?
My first record player.

19. What is your favorite season?
Summer (when it's not raining three days a week like it often does here)

20. Hugs or kisses?
I'm a bit reserved in that category. I will offer a hug here and there, but I save the kisses for the wife, kids, and my mom.

21. Cherry or Blueberry?

22. Do you want your friends to email you back?
Sure, why not?

23. Who is most likely to respond?
Whomever wishes to waste time answering these silly questions.

24. Who is least likely to respond?
Whomever is smart enough not to spend time answering these silly questions.

(Note: the answers to #23 and #24 are Lyn's, but since I fully agree, I left them there.)

25. What happened to the good ol' days?
That era expired. Why do you think they call them "the good ol' days"? They were good, and they're old.

26. When was the last time you cried?
I don't remember.

27. What is on the floor of your closet?
Broom, rake, bags, dustpan and brush

28. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to?
Whoever reads it here.

29. Who is the friend you have had the shortest that you are sending this to?
See #28

30. Favorite smells?
Campfires, wood stoves, cookouts

31. Favorite sounds?



Kevin V. sent me this link where you can listen to midis of hymns from the St. Michael Hymnal. In addition to the midis themselves, originally geared for the choir of St. Philomena Church in Des Moines, Washington, a link to Anvil Studio, a freeware midi composer/player that will allow you to control the volume on the individual parts (for example, if you wanted to listen particularly to the tenor part, you can turn the tenor volume up and/or turn the other volumes down).

Kudos to St. Philomena Church for going with the St. Michael Hymnal, one of the better American Catholic hymnals.



...in the Catholic Church


Snarks stand up to Gustav. Vienna Sausage and Batteries are in the Bag.

A week ago today, we were watching the local news and the general reportage of the Weather Channel. Just a reminder: I live in Lafayette which is to the EAST of Lake Charles. One national news service reported that Laf was to the south of Lake Chuck. No dice. Atlantis lies to the South. Around 4pm, the SUV was fired up for a journey to the Walmart on Pinhook Road for junk food, D batteries and gallons of water. Collectively, these items are officially termed “hurricane provisions” or “hurricane supplies”. Other than the sheer terror involved in riding out a storm, hoping the neighbor’s bird bath which he failed to secure doesn’t come crashing into the dinning room to destroy the Thomasville Bogart bar and break the martini glasses and spill the absinthe, hurricanes are good for one thing: 12 hours of unabashed, relentless, and wanton eating.
The Walmart was packed with people pushing shopping carts brimming with Little Debbies, Ding Dongs, Doritos, Ruffles, pork rinds, Cheetos, cheese-n-crackers, #10 cans of cashews and peanuts, flats of sodas and boxes of bottled water. Floating atop almost everyone’s cart (replete with chattering right front wheel): a giant 8-roll Bounty and a Family size 24-roll toilet paper with the happy bear cartoon emblazoned on the package. During a binge-fest, you know someone will spill a coke on the rug, and at some point, all those tasty eats have to escape.
The Little Debbie display had been plundered. All that was left were boxes of weight watchers penny-sized muffins and other dietetic dessert-like items. Stress eating requires high suger, high carb. The only points we’re counting now is the hurricane categories, while the weather men count Haitian corpses in hopes of higher ratings to scare their viewing audience shitless to ensure their faithful viewership.
By the time we reached the middle of the grocery section of super Wally, the cart was already over half full of diet-breaking munchies and 5 flats of Dasani. I had one thing in mind: Vienna sausages and herring steaks. I love my Viennas. I love my herring. Always have since I was a kid. I don’t buy them usually, unless for a hurricane. No one does, I think. Potted meat is another fav of mine: ground tripe and pig lips suspended in gelatin. Enough salt in one tiny can to make your fingers swell up into the Graf Zeppelin. Take with a warm coke chaser to swell the bladder for a matching set. Spam, the original canned meat product, is never on our list. Was once, not any more. The gag-factor is simply too high. That sucking noise the amalgamated hunk of pork makes against the can-snot upon opening and turning out mystically enables even the hungriest of starvation victims to offer up his growling stomach in sacrifice.
We heaved the rattling cart into the canned meat aisle: Rome after the Huns. Enormous jars of pickled pigs’ feet dominated the empty shelves. No Viennas, no potted meat (didn’t need the PM anyway – had enough left over from Rita: canned meat doesn’t have a shelf life. It has a half life). Gelatinous meat is alright, but not gelatinous hooves. I was crestfallen. They did have my herring steaks, however. Just 7 left. I got ‘em all. They were on the top shelf and hiding in the back. The little round short stop shoppers missed them. I’m 6’3 and spotted them straight off. They were mine.
Walmart had only C batteries. Flats and flats of them. And double A’s. The maglights required D’s, and so did the back-up set for the boom box. The quest for provisions would not end here. It was off to Albertson’s on Kaliste Saloom and Ambassador.
At Al’s we hit the mother load. Everyone had descended upon Wally’s and stripped them clean. Al’s was moving at a slow, dignified pace with packed shelves and bins right at the entrance filled with D-sized Energizers. Bingo! We bought 16. Al’s also had several flats of my Vienna sausages, and the zip lock bags we needed to pack documents and such and a giant jar of Jiff peanut butter. Self check out. The standard nosey checker lanes had lines to the meat department – in an attempt to be friendly and interactive, checkers will often ask pointless questions: “You like Vienna sausages?”, “Getting ready for the storm?”, “Batteries low?” Self check: no waiting, no inquiries. Clicking off the potted meat, the computer froze. Always happens here. Either it protests when you take the bag away, or it freezes when you’re scanning multiples. We had multiples. With assistance from a helpful clerk, we were out relatively quickly to get home and start securing the courtyard furniture, the fountain, the potted plants, and anything else that could make our insurance go up if it took flight without a permit.
The day of the storm was rather uneventful, until the wind started picking up. And that’s about all the storm was here for us: wind, stronger wind, major wind. Not much rain at all. Wind. The power left several hours into the storm, and returned the next morning around 9:00. We had the fountain up and running in the courtyard by 10, taking breaks between cloud bursts, that continued for the following couple days. Rainwise, the days after the storm were more eventful. Tornadoes touched down frequently the day after, as the “east side” of the storm swept across the state. By the time the eye had approached, the storm had weakened enough that there wasn’t really a “second act” to the show – after the quiet of the “eye”, the winds reverse and all hell breaks loose again, but in the opposite direction as the bottom half of the rotation passes over. That never happened, and the birds returned. No trees snapped in our neighborhood, just a load of leaves and tiny twigs combed from the branches.
Now, pretty much everything around here in this area is back to normal. Many regions were much harder hit, since the storm had not weakened yet, or because they had been hit by tornadoes. For many, the power is scheduled to be out for almost a month. By the time their electricity comes back, we will have eaten through the Doritos, spilled our way through the Bounty, and wiped our way through the Charmin.
I wonder what it would take for people to buy those jars of pigs’ feet?

Friday, September 5, 2008


Sounds almost like the Who, What, or Where Game from the early 1970's (Art James was host).

Taken from the Catholic Caveman.

What were you doing when these things happened?

1. President Kennedy's Assassination - 22 November 1963
In illo tempore, I was almost two months in my birth-mother's womb (I was adopted at five months old).

2. England's World Cup Semi Final v Germany - 4 July 1990
I really can't remember exactly, but probably watching the fireworks at McCoy Stadium. We had just ordered Worship II at Precious Blood Church in Woonsocket that week, not long before they were put out of print. The guy I had talked to at GIA had tried to push Worship III, but I insisted (as did my boss at the time, the late Fr. Gagne) on II.

3. Margaret Thatcher's resignation - 22 November 1990
(Ah yes, the 27th anniversary of JFK's death) I really can't remember. I can tell you where I was organist/music director then... (still) Precious Blood Church.

4. Princess Diana's death - 31 August 1997
I was just a couple of months into my new job at St. Benedict's in Warwick. I left Precious Blood about a year and a half after Fr. Gagne retired. The new administrator (who was a pastor elsewhere in the city) put the Worship II hymnals "in storage", in favor of the Music Issue. His new music director: a guitarist! What a waste of a beautiful Aeolian-Skinner organ! Ironically, he's now a monsignor (he got the title just a couple of months before I left). In the parish bulletin, he wrote, "People are wondering what to call me. Please continue to call me 'Father John'". True story.

5. Attack on the twin towers - 11 September 2001
I had just gotten home from work about an hour before. I was working third shift at a courier depot with my brother Glen (his shift started about 5 AM, mine ended about 7 or 8 AM) to supplement my income at Holy Name (not that Holy Name paid poorly - Fr. Fisette really did the best he possibly could; the working conditions were impeccable - pipe organs in both church and chapel, Worship III in the pews after just a year (with Fr. Santos now pastor, they're STILL there, they didn't get put into storage like the W2's did at the other parish). At the same time, my wife was at her mother's helping her sister make candles for her family's candle business. It was shortly after - about 9:00-ish - when she came home with the news.

6. The election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy - 19 April 2005
I remember this one perfectly. I was sitting in my parlor, and when I heard the phrases "Habemus Papam", "Josephum Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Ratzinger", and "Benedicti Decimi-Sexti" in a two-minute span, I was cheering as if the Red Sox had won ANOTHER World Series. My wife was in the kitchen at the time and didn't know what to make of it.

Incidentally, on the day of Pope John Paul II's death - 2 April 2005 - I was getting rolled out of my hospital room on my way to the OR to have my gall bladder removed.

TAG YOU'RE IT: anyone who wants in!



I had this nasty dream early this morning that one of the two pastors that fired me chased me down a parking lot to ask ME for advice, and my response was "you had all the right catechesis going when you hired me, and before, then you blew it right out the door by sacking me."

Then I woke up.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Chris Sedlak, a good friend of the snark team, is music director and organist for an FSSP (Extraordinary Form) parish in Indiana. He asked if we could post an announcement about a Mass of Thanksgiving taking place at his church.

One word about the girls schola that he mentions: I got word that they can chant better than most adult choirs, and NO attitudes. Why am I NOT surprised?

The announcement appears below.


Dear Friends,

On Friday, September 5th, at 7pm there will be a Latin Solemn High Mass (Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart) and Benediction in Thanksgiving for the complete restoration of Ss. Philomena & Cecilia Church in Oak Forest, Indiana. This will be Father Saguto's last Solemn High Mass in the church as he is being transferred to Seattle, Washington. As you may know, Father has worked tirelessly since his arrival to make the church a fitting place for Catholic worship. Now with the final painting completed and the restored stained glass windows in place, we offer thanks to God for all that has been accomplished in the past three years.

The Solemn High Mass will be celebrated by Fr. Gerard Saguto, FSSP, with Fr. Michael Magiera, FSSP and Fr. Christian Kappes assisting as Deacon and Subdeacon. The Homilist will be Msgr. Joseph Schaedel, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and Pastor of Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Other priests from the area are also expected to be on hand.

Music for the Mass will be sung by the St. Cecilia Girl's Schola under the direction of Mr. Christopher Sedlak, Organist & Choirmaster of Ss. Philomena & Cecilia Catholic Church. The Schola will sing the Mass Missa Simplex Brevisque by A.L. Zamocki as well as the motets Laudate Dominum and Ave Maria by Perosi. Organ music will include three works by Dominico Zipoli. Hymns selected for this special Mass are Christ is Made the Sure Foundation (Tune: WESTMINSTER ABBEY) and Holy God we Praise thy Name (Tune: GROSSER GOTT)

There will be a dessert social immediately following the Mass and Benediction. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please forward this to anyone you know who might be interested.

Ss. Philomena & Cecilia is located apx. seven miles from Brookville, Indiana on St. Mary's Road. Complete directions may be obtained from the parish website at http://spcfssp.org/directions.html. For more information or further directions, you may call the parish office at 765-647-0310.

In Christ,

Christopher M. Sedlak
Organist & Choirmaster
Ss. Philomena & Cecilia Catholic Church