Thursday, December 31, 2009


...on Fox

Who will last the longest in making a jackass of him-/herself this year?
And what's the latest from William Hung?



Happy and Blessed 2010 to all our readers! Haven't thought of a resolution yet. Last year's resolution didn't work out the way I was hoping. So, I just might go back to the previous resolution, not to make any New Year's resolutions.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Anyone having a hard time buying/receiving that "perfect Christmas gift"?

Well, Fr. Erik got the ultimate gift, made in an attempt to revive the Chia Pet industry...

Saith Fr. Erik:
I will water him and fertilize him… and put him in the sun....and name him Barry! Then at a time of my own choosing, he will go in a dry, dark closet. And I will repeat the process! Muahahahaha!

Now we need the "Pissed Off Chia Obama", for those days he's foaming at the mouth after learning that someone he just bailed out with our tax dollars just allegedly misspent the money.

Now for something even more frightening... the ChiaPelosi:

Chia Kennedy (Patrick, that is) coming soon.

BTW, Where's OUR bail out?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Et Incarnatus est

God's love is purveyed to each of us in the minutiae of our lives as much as in the major events. Maybe God's brilliance in this is the fact that we are able to survive His Grace more easily. Our minds are perhaps not fully capable in this earthly life, to be able to embrace all his goodness and love without exploding.

And perhaps it is thusly (oh, please forgive my use of that dreadful word), that we are always astonished at the birth of a boy, whose birthingplace was made known by the explosion of a star thousands of years before our earthly presence was graced with his.

As we encounter family and friends, and others, I pray that you will have a momentary explosion of thankfulness at the Incarnation of the one who has loved us more than all others combined.

Et incarnatus est.


Thursday, December 24, 2009


I just got a call from my good friend Dave Sylvester this morning, and we're out to see who's doing any of the following selections for any of the Christmas Masses this year:

- Laetentur Caeli (Carlo Carturan)
- Tollite Hostias (Camille Saint-Saens)
- Mass of the Shepherds (Pietro A. Yon) in Latin

Dave's doing all three! Anyone else?

Anyone who wants to hear these great works should visit Sacred Heart Church, Providence Street, West Warwick, RI. Mind you - the Mass is in the Ordinary Form.

(You certainly don't think those brainwashed by NaPalM would be doing these, do you?)

In the meantime, in case I forget tomorrow morning, Merry and Blessed Christmas from our families to your families!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Freakingly Stupid and Totally Iggerent Priests and Music teachers

There are, within the life of any given church organist/choirmaster, a finite number of times wherein a priest of low degree may enter into his/her space. Why is it, then, that oftentimes these priests linger in our lives just because of the stupid things they do - or DON'T do.

Case in point: when I wanted desparately to work out the situation with a recently acquainted priest, he refused to do it. We have standards, he said. Well, he certainly did - does - have standards. And they have plummeted to lower than any lifeform should allow. So my plan for the students' Christmas program this year (would have happened tonight, by the way), would have been on the order of Lessons and Carols. Carols included would have been German, French, Spanish and English. Among them, the original tune and German text of Stille Nacht, the lovely and familiar Il le ne le Divin Enfant, and others. So do you know what my "successor" is doing? somewhere, I think they are doing Go, tell it on the Mountain. Okay, so that's not so bad. But the children in Grades 1 and under will be doing hand motions. So, okay, I could even tolerate that, if mandated to do so. BUT. THEY ARE DOING ALL THIS ON THE STEPS OF THE SANCTUARY, facing an "audience". But had I suggested any such thing there would have been hell to pay (but rest assured, I would NEVER EVER EVER EVEN THINK ABOUT EVER EVER doing such a thing!!!!!!).

Oh, they are doing one piece in Latin. (That's all???). The priest stopped by and insisted that the kids skip out on phys ed so that they could more properly learn their Latin. Now, if the music teacher really knew what she was doing, she would have had this taught well before tonight........

So if errant clergy and totally inbecilic music teachers care to read this blog, there are lessons that they should learn:

1. Just because you are a priest, you don't have what it takes to lead. You must lead by example, not by order. If you expect one music teacher to work far beyond what is truly necessary, then you must expect any other music teacher to do likewise. Plain and simple, the old adage that an ass is always an ass, should be well understood.

2 If you are a music teacher, whether permanent or interim, following someone who totally knows what they are doing, then you should always be nice to your students, because the teacher in the front of the class and minds is the previous music teacher. And you must always strive to learn and stay ahead of your own game. And if you are going to use a curriculum of any sort, then you really ought to be in full knowledge of that curriculum. A curriculum devised for use in the Catholic Schools early in the previous century helped many students to be able to read music - including Gregorian Chant (in Gregorian Chant notation) - is not going to work for someone not from our faith tradition, and who would easily twang the geetar to Bringing in the Sheaves and We've a story to tell to the Nations, instead of playing the organ for improvisations on the truest music of the Roman Catholic Church. And making an effort to sing more loudly than anyone else in the nave at Mass does not bring about compliments of highest praise. It brings about smirks, scowls and honest feelings that would acknowledge the phoniness of such actions.

A reminder that the old adage attributed to St. Augustine is Qui bene cantat bis orat. The one who sings WELL prays twice. (Not he who sings prays twice). No sir indeedy. Even the ancients one knew that God, who is perfect, expects excellence.

Long-sleeved, button-downed collar and necktie not necessary.

Non nobis Domine.


Saturday, December 12, 2009


Clockwise from top left: Dave Sylvester, yours truly, Reuel Gifford, and Joe Gama - the Rhode Island Snark Quartet, or the cast of a remake of the flick "Going in Style".

We had a nice little get-together tonight at St. William's Church in Warwick, RI - a ceremony of Nine Lessons and Carols. Music was provided by the Rhode Island College Chamber Singers, directed by Teresa Coffmann, and Pro Cantare and the St. William's Choir, both directed by the parish music director (and good friend and mentor) Reuel Gifford. Sitting behind yours truly, my wife and my daughter were two other good friends of mine - Dave Sylvester and Joe Gama.

Like anything typical of Reuel, the music program he presented was nothing short of excellent. In fact, he's one of a small handful of organists in this neck of the woods who has successfully rescued a parish's music ministry from hootenannydom (the aforementioned Dave Sylvester is another). Here's the list:

Palestrina: Advent Responsory
HYMN: O come, O come, Emmanuel (vv. 1-4) (Mode I)
Opening Prayer
Lesson I (Gen. 3:9-15)
Setchell: Adam lay ybounden
Victoria: O magnum mysterium
Lesson II (Is. 9:1-6)
Reger: Behold the days come, saith the Lord
Lesson III (Is. 11:1-9)
HYMN: Lo, how a rose e'er blooming ("Es ist ein ros'")
Nelson: O magnum mysterium
Lesson IV (Mk. 1:1-8)
HYMN: On Jordan's bank ("Winchester New")
Lesson V (Jas. 5:1-11)
Brahms: O Savior, open heaven's height
Lesson VI (Lk. 1:26-38)
Kulia: Ave Maria
(Wexford Carol was originally slated, but was replaced with a piece whose title eludes me at the moment.)
Lesson VII (Lk. 2:1-7)
HYMN: O little town of Bethlehem ("St. Louis")
Scheidt: A Child is born in Bethlehem
Lesson VIII (Lk. 2:8-20)
Away in a manger (by a composer whose name eludes me at the moment, but the setting was gorgeous!)
HYMN: Angels we have heard on high ("Gloria")
Lesson IX (Mt. 2:1-12)
Walton: All this time this song is best
17th c. German: While by my sheep (I sang this in high school chorus! Happy memories there!)
Vetter: Choral Prelude on Nun komm der heiden heiland
Responsory, Closing Prayer, and Blessing
HYMN: O come, O come, Emmanuel (vv. 5-7)


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On the Road for IC

My wife and I have been working toward moving back to our old haunts in TN - and it has taken us several weeks, it seems, to get from Corpus Christi to TN, but we arrived tonight - 12/8, at 12.30....after driving for hours through driving rain.....yeah, bad pun, but it was soooo nasty.

Tomorrow we begin house hunting. Dooley is thrilled to not be in the car (his 30lb bod is tired of all the vibs from riding in the Stratus for a zillion miles).

So we stopped at the Cathedral in Birmingham for the 12.10 Mass. Complete with cantor and 50 some rank Moller (one of their last). I think the people were singing, it's hard to tell in lively acoustics, and the organ was not a timid thing (yeahhhhh!). At communion, we sang a setting of the Magnificat to the tune, Jerusalem. The Hillert Lamb of God was very nice. The Kyrie was not familiar to me, and the music was not printed in the bulletin (all other music was). The music dir. for the Cathedral was at the console, subbing for the regular organist, and there was also a sub cantor; all things went well, though. I had the pleasure of meeting the dm and talking with him briefly, and then got to spend about 40 minutes playing - just tried the stops, then improvised on St. Elisabeth, Katie's favorite hymn. It wasn't my best, but I've not played for well, a long time - and I was wearing those huge shoes so my pedal work was sparce, but it had form. To my surprise there was another organist listening in (he had come to practice - a retired choral conductor, who was the nicest person in the field that I've met in ages). We had a great time, but had to leave. Had the Red Roof Inn at Knoxville not been so hugely expensive, we'd have spent the night there, but are in Johnson City at the RRI, one of our favorites and comfortable.

Gotta run. . . am tired. We giggled for several miles while I imagined my composition list to be printed in an upcoming recital bulletin (not scheduled...just dreaming here)..... Prelude, Fugue and 36 Variations on My Name is Leonardo; Flight of the Fly before getting eaten by Dooley; etc..... it must be late.



I can only hope that for the third week of Advent, we get the page in ROSE, Brian!!!!



Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Here it is, the annual Tossmas video. RSCT to the Curt Jester.


UPDATE 12/3/09: I've been seeing some improvement in the Christmas department as of late. WalMart and JC Penney actually say Christmas in their commercials. I've seen that same improvement in a few other commercials that I can't remember the source of at this point. Further, normally I land up boycotting two of my favorite radio stations as of All Saints' Day due to their overkill of 24/7 playing of Christmas muzak, you know, that stuff that passes for yuletide favorites, or as many of the radio stations call them, "holiday favorites". This year, two of those stations waited till 11/15 (whoopie!), and another actually waited until Thanksgiving. To boot, one of the stations that started with the crap on 11/15 actually calls it "Boston's Favorite Christmas Music", instead of all that "holiday" crap. That said, any 24/7 of nothing but Christmas tunes is overkill, at least until Christmas Eve. -BMP

Saturday, November 28, 2009


The letters I didn't print were the ones which told me about several closeby apartment complexes, etc.....

Something sounds fishy hear. But it's hard to um... tuna fish....



Night before Thanksgiving, I got this email: (copied and editing)

Dear Steve,
Thank you for your interest in the position as pastoral musician at St. Pius X. After talking to Bookkeeper Floy Roy, Sr. Bernadette and Deacon King, we evaluate and finalized that we can take you and offer you the job.
May you have a thanksgiving day and God's love in every endeavors that you are heading.
God bless,

So, I sent a letter of acceptance. Because I then went back to my room and got off the web, I didn't see the followup letter: again, cut/paste job here:

> Dear Steve,>> Thank you for your interest in the position as pastoral musician at St.> Pius X. After talking to Bookkeeper Floy Roy, Sr. Bernadette and Deacon
> King, we have evaluated and finalized that we cannot take you and offer you the
> job. This was given after prayer and discernment. We had offer the job to other candidate who came for the interview..>
> May you have a thanksgiving day and God's love in every endeavors that you> are heading.>>> God bless,>

So I should be??????

God is in charge....

AN APOLOGY TO ALL TURKEYS... thoughtfully composed by The Crescat:
Dear Turkeys;

I am sorry God made you inferior and flightless. Therefore it is your plight to suffer the fate of being devoured by millions of Americans tomorrow. I apologize in advance for the ravenous way in which myself, my family, and the citizens of this nation will masticate your tender juicy golden browned carcass.

Carnivore Kat
And just think, within my last three weeks as a Schwan's salesman I could have gone bowling with the truck on several occasions. But no, I resisted all temptations to mow down clusters of wild turkeys who wander (and I do mean "wander") the streets and yards of various towns in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts in groups of anywhere from six to as many as twenty. I mean, these gab-birds just walk through yards and streets like it's nothing. At least deer try to run when they see a moving vehicle. The biggest group I encountered had to be in Weymouth, Massachusetts, where there was a group of 20 turkeys just simply making off like a tourist attraction. DAMN IT, THEY COULD HAVE BEEN A FREE THANKSGIVING DINNER!

But no, I was nice. Instead I was fired last Monday for simply refusing a Saturday. Just as well, as I start a new job either Thursday or Friday of next week. I won't be selling anything, but I will be delivering parcels, at least until Christmas Eve. The hours will be a hell of a lot better than what I endured for Schwan's. At least I can come home in time to eat supper with my family, as opposed to leaving once my kids leave for school and getting home once everyone (including my wife) is in bed, which is exactly the hours I was keeping at Schwan's.

Hope your Thanksgiving was a great one. Mine was. My daughter Jessica cooked her first Thanksgiving dinner, and it was to die for. She did really well, and it reflected on my wife perfectly. She taught her well! ;)

BMP (the proud dad)

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Our two-dozen-hundredth post!

Click here for story and video from WLNE-TV Channel 6 (Providence, RI) in relation to this post. Of course, they spelled my frickin' name wrong in the caption as I appear with 22 seconds left in the video. My name is BRIAN, not BRAIN - I don't have one! (tee hee!) Although after seeing this video, one might think I actually have one after all. ;)

PS: (UPDATE): Better still, just watch below (Channel 6)

And below (Channel 10)


Yeah, baby! BTW, I might be on TV tonight. As I came out of 10:00 Mass at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul in Providence with my mother this morning, some reporters approached me and asked me how I felt about Bishop Thomas Tobin forbidding Patrick Kennedy from receiving Holy Communion. Some of my lines were (roughly):

"The Bishop is absolutely right!"
"To receive Holy Communion, you must be in the state of grace."
"If you favor abortion, you're not in the state of grace."

Below is the latest from the Providence Journal. Enjoy!



WASHINGTON — Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has forbidden Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy to receive the Roman Catholic sacrament of Holy Communion because of his advocacy of abortion rights, the Rhode Island Democrat said Friday.

“The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion,” Kennedy said in a telephone interview.

Kennedy said the bishop had explained the penalty by telling him “that I am not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that I’ve taken as a public official,” particularly on abortion. He declined to say when or how Bishop Tobin told him not to take the sacrament. And he declined to say whether he has obeyed the bishop’s injunction.

Bishop Tobin, through a spokesman, declined to address the question of whether he had told Kennedy not to receive Communion. But the bishop’s office moved quickly to cast doubt on Kennedy’s related assertion about instructions to the priests of Rhode Island.

“Bishop Tobin has never addressed matters relative to public officials receiving Holy Communion with pastors of the diocese,” spokesman Michael K. Guilfoyle said in an e-mailed statement.

This latest exchange between Bishop Tobin and Kennedy, the only remaining public official in the nation’s most prominent Catholic family, escalates their heated public debate over how the eight-term congressman’s work for abortion rights bears on his standing in the church.

Their dispute comes against the backdrop of the national debate about whether U.S. taxpayers should subsidize abortions in the new health-care system that President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress have labored for months to create.

The episode adds another volatile element to a highly emotional dispute that has complicated Mr. Obama’s pursuit of his top legislative priority.

For Catholics, the debate could scarcely be more visceral. The church holds that abortion is a taking of human life that is intrinsically evil. Exclusion from the Holy Eucharist — bread that the faithful believe to have been transformed into the body of Christ — is a rare and serious penalty to impose on any Catholic.

Over the past few weeks, Kennedy and Bishop Tobin have shown glimpses of their dealings in piecemeal fashion, revealing only a sketchy picture of the congressman’s status as a member of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence.

In an October interview about the opposition of the nation’s bishops to any health-care overhaul that did not include a strict ban on federal subsidies for abortion, Kennedy called into question the “pro-life” credentials of the churchmen. Health care for millions of uninsured is at stake, he said. Bishop Tobin shot back with a sharply worded statement, noting that the bishops are staunch and longtime supporters of reforming the health-care system. He said, however, that the bishops will not support a health-care bill that fails to include a ban on taxpayer subsidy of the procedure.

The exchange, via open letters and interviews, has continued, with Bishop Tobin pointedly suggesting that “obstinate” opposition to church doctrine on abortion should cause a Catholic public official to reconsider his membership in the church.

On Friday, in response to questions from a reporter, Kennedy asserted that Bishop Tobin had told him not to receive Communion. But like the bishop, Kennedy withheld key details about their discussions.

Asked how he reacted as a Catholic, Kennedy would say only that he has “personal feelings of disappointment” about the matter, but he declined to elaborate.

For his part, the bishop declined to be interviewed. Spokesman Guilfoyle said in an e-mail: “Bishop Tobin has nothing more to add to the current discussion for the time being. Any previous correspondence or conversations between the Bishop and the congressman is still considered private at this time.”

While the teachings of the church and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are clear on abortion, there is much disagreement on the issue of whether Catholic legislators should be penalized for action contrary to the doctrine.

“The vast majority of bishops don’t want people denied Communion” over the abortion issue, said Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit scholar at the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington. “But the problem is, every time an individual bishop does it — especially if the public official has a high-profile name like Kennedy — it’s going to make headlines across the country and every bishop is going to suffer because of it,” Father Reese said.

Because every bishop has wide latitude in his own diocese, the controversy between Kennedy and Bishop Tobin is likely to be greeted with silence from other bishops — even if most would disagree with action to deny Communion to a Catholic legislator, according to Father Reese.

“We don’t comment on the individual actions of bishops because they are authoritative in their own dioceses,” said Deirdre McQuade, of the bishops conference, when asked about the exchanges between Kennedy and Bishop Tobin.

For the policy of the bishops conference, McQuade referred to a 2006 writing on how a Catholic maintains his or her worthiness to take Communion. If a Catholic were “knowingly and obstinately to repudiate ... definitive teaching on moral issues,” the document says in part, then receiving Communion “would not accord with the nature of the Eucharistic celebration, so that he or she should refrain.”

Orders by bishops to deny Communion to Catholic public officials are very unusual but not unprecedented. In 2003, another prominent Catholic Democrat with a mixed voting record on abortion, Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, was admonished not to take Communion in his congressional district by Bishop Raymond Burke of LaCrosse.

Spokeswoman McQuade said the bishops conference could not give a count of how many times bishops have actually denied Communion to government officials. But a review of news accounts of the past two decades suggests that public impositions of the penalty are very uncommon. These are among the high-profile instances in contemporaneous news stories: a Sacramento bishop told Gray Davis not to take Communion when he was Democratic governor of California in 2003; in 2004, then-Gov. James McGreevey, of New Jersey, complied with the admonitions of three of the state’s bishops that he not take Communion.

Scholar Reese said the bishops have debated in previous years the issue of whether they should step beyond such appeals to the individual Catholic’s conscience. The context for the debate was the 2004 presidential candidacy of Sen. John F. Kerry, a Catholic Democrat from Massachusetts who supports abortion rights. Father Reese said fewer than 20 bishops supported a policy of denying Communion to such officials.

Early in that presidential campaign, Burke, who had become archbishop of St. Louis, told reporters that if Kerry were to approach him at a Mass in Missouri, “I would have to admonish him not to present himself for Communion.”

Last month, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Burke to the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops, a powerful body that helps the pontiff to select the world’s bishops. He also sits on the highest court of Catholic canon law.

According to the National Catholic Reporter, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, once urged Catholic officials who support abortion rights to refrain from Communion. But the newspaper said Cardinal O’Malley did not order Boston priests to deny them the sacrament. Kerry and the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Patrick Kennedy’s father and another supporter of abortion rights) both received Communion at Cardinal O’Malley’s installation as archbishop in 2003.

In 2004, a large majority of bishops “tried to persuade the minority not to do this — using Communion as a weapon,” Father Reese said, but the conference could not come to a consensus view on the issue.

Father Reese stressed that withholding Communion is not as grave a penalty as excommunication, which separates a Catholic from all the sacraments. If a bishop denies Communion to a Catholic, he or she “is still a Catholic,” Father Reese said. Indeed, he said “it would take a canon lawyer” to say whether a Catholic denied Communion in his own diocese would be free to receive Communion elsewhere.

Friday, November 20, 2009


A sneak preview iSNARK! Fun Fact

I DO have a favorite Kennedy.

Is it Ted?

Is it Patrick?
Hell no.

Is it even Bobby or Jack?
Nope. Although thankfully abortion was still illegal in their days.

Give up?

Yup - it's TOM Kennedy. Here he is above as he hosts one of my favorite 1970's game shows, Whew!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Yeah, Happy Veterans Day!

PS: Thanx much, guys, for defending our freedom!


These people might be of grand assistance to the Fishperson.
RSCT to Argent, via Facebook.


Audition and Interview

Keep the prayers going, folks. I just spent a weekend in several meetings and a brief audition for a position that is what is being advertised. So far, it goeth well.

And Remember, too, that Brian MUST MUST MUST MUST MUST MUST MUST MUST MUST MUST... did I say MUST MUST MUST MUST.... return to the bench soon and very soon (move over, Andre) and assist with the reform of the reform!!!




From Without a Doubt, the bi-weekly column by Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, as published in the Rhode Island Catholic.

The big question will be: How will Congressman Kennedy reply? Will his cronies do what Rudy Guliani's cronies did, that is, try to sick the IRS on the Most Reverend Bishop? Thankfully, those kind of childish games don't stop Bishop Tobin from teaching the truth.


Enjoy the article.


Dear Congressman Kennedy:

“The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.” (Congressman Patrick Kennedy)

Since our recent correspondence has been rather public, I hope you don’t mind if I share a few reflections about your practice of the faith in this public forum. I usually wouldn’t do that – that is speak about someone’s faith in a public setting – but in our well-documented exchange of letters about health care and abortion, it has emerged as an issue. I also share these words publicly with the thought that they might be instructive to other Catholics, including those in prominent positions of leadership.

For the moment I’d like to set aside the discussion of health care reform, as important and relevant as it is, and focus on one statement contained in your letter of October 29, 2009, in which you write, “The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.” That sentence certainly caught my attention and deserves a public response, lest it go unchallenged and lead others to believe it’s true. And it raises an important question: What does it mean to be a Catholic?

“The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.” Well, in fact, Congressman, in a way it does. Although I wouldn’t choose those particular words, when someone rejects the teachings of the Church, especially on a grave matter, a life-and-death issue like abortion, it certainly does diminish their ecclesial communion, their unity with the Church. This principle is based on the Sacred Scripture and Tradition of the Church and is made more explicit in recent documents.

For example, the “Code of Canon Law” says, “Lay persons are bound by an obligation and possess the right to acquire a knowledge of Christian doctrine adapted to their capacity and condition so that they can live in accord with that doctrine.” (Canon 229, #1)

The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” says this: “Mindful of Christ’s words to his apostles, ‘He who hears you, hears me,’ the faithful receive with docility the teaching and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.” (#87)

Or consider this statement of the Church: “It would be a mistake to confuse the proper autonomy exercised by Catholics in political life with the claim of a principle that prescinds from the moral and social teaching of the Church.” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 2002)

There’s lots of canonical and theological verbiage there, Congressman, but what it means is that if you don’t accept the teachings of the Church your communion with the Church is flawed, or in your own words, makes you “less of a Catholic.”

But let’s get down to a more practical question; let’s approach it this way: What does it mean, really, to be a Catholic? After all, being a Catholic has to mean something, right?

Well, in simple terms – and here I refer only to those more visible, structural elements of Church membership – being a Catholic means that you’re part of a faith community that possesses a clearly defined authority and doctrine, obligations and expectations. It means that you believe and accept the teachings of the Church, especially on essential matters of faith and morals; that you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish; that you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly; that you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially.

Congressman, I’m not sure whether or not you fulfill the basic requirements of being a Catholic, so let me ask: Do you accept the teachings of the Church on essential matters of faith and morals, including our stance on abortion? Do you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish? Do you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly? Do you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially?

In your letter you say that you “embrace your faith.” Terrific. But if you don’t fulfill the basic requirements of membership, what is it exactly that makes you a Catholic? Your baptism as an infant? Your family ties? Your cultural heritage?

Your letter also says that your faith “acknowledges the existence of an imperfect humanity.” Absolutely true. But in confronting your rejection of the Church’s teaching, we’re not dealing just with “an imperfect humanity” – as we do when we wrestle with sins such as anger, pride, greed, impurity or dishonesty. We all struggle with those things, and often fail.

Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category – it’s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you’ve re-affirmed on many occasions. Sorry, you can’t chalk it up to an “imperfect humanity.” Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church.

Congressman Kennedy, I write these words not to embarrass you or to judge the state of your conscience or soul. That’s ultimately between you and God. But your description of your relationship with the Church is now a matter of public record, and it needs to be challenged. I invite you, as your bishop and brother in Christ, to enter into a sincere process of discernment, conversion and repentance. It’s not too late for you to repair your relationship with the Church, redeem your public image, and emerge as an authentic “profile in courage,” especially by defending the sanctity of human life for all people, including unborn children. And if I can ever be of assistance as you travel the road of faith, I would be honored and happy to do so.

Sincerely yours,
Thomas J. Tobin
Bishop of Providence

Monday, November 9, 2009



Taking over where Christus Vincit ANYWHERE! abandoned you.

Check out the audio preview below. (Buckle up before doing so!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Abuse Cycle Continues

So my predecessor, who was also abused at CTK CC is now back on the bench. I feel sorry, most of the time, for the abused. It's a vicious cycle - especially when a person feels they have a cause ("I do it for the kids" or "who would walk the dog?"). So keep the abused in your prayers.

Abuse of any person by any other person for any reason is a SIN, people. When priests do it - well (I'm not talking about the sex), they deserve to be caned.

Enough for now..... I'm on a tirade - my dear wife's siblings have been acting as though they were spawned in some primordial grease hole. And their father is not even cold in the grave.

May all of us honor the memory of the meek, lowly, the great, the strong, the honorable.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ecclesiastical Humor and Justice

My wife's beloved Father, and my dear Father-in-law (literally - he was Lutheran Church, Missouri, died peacefully on the day he loved, Reformation. Re-formation, Schismatics Anonymous day... etc.

He was surrounded by his dear wife, Bette, with whom he had been married 66 years. Also surrounding him were four of his six children, including the one who truly loved him for the person he was and not the money he might leave them: my wife.

The funeral will be held tomorrow, November 2, the solemnity of All Souls' in the calendar of the One True Church. As I said in the header....ecclesiastical humor and Justice. But also said tongue-in-cheek. He loved Reformation and singing the metrical, rhythmical version of ein' Feste Burg ist Unser Gott. I love singing In Paradisum, deducant te angeli.

So tomorrow at the funeral, when another organist is playing (the "other" children....remember them....), at the conclusion of the liturgy, I'll be chanting away in my heart of hearts and feeble mind, the only piece that's really important: In Paradisum....

Unfortunately, but for Katie's sake, I'm going to be sitting with the family - not in the back, where I'd prefer to be. Keeping my wife comforted and happy are important to my own comfort and happiness.....

I'm thinking that some of the other hymns which might be sung tomorrow will be Oh, Worship the King (Hanover), Beautiful Savior (St. Elisabeth). There will probably be others, but I only saw the list from a distance (don't show it to the organist in the family, you know....)

I'm thrilled that the Colonel's earthly journey has ended. It was long. He was unusually healthy, had an active life, was kind and generous almost all the time (he was human, after all!). He showed his kids what it was to be a Christian gentleman. None of the boys ever caught on to that. None of the girls, except Katie, were able to translate that to Christian woman. Their mother, as well, has always given incredible examples of this way of life. As with their father, the kids, save Katie, have learned nothing from their mother, either. Katie and I will miss him incredibly.

I will also miss the great challenge of sitting next to him in the pew and following his version of the bass line of any hymn we were singing. His notes and rhythms were also good - but rarely were the ones in the hymnal. He was a true Lutheran.

After he finishes talking with Jesus and Martin Luther, I'm sure that they'll send him off to see Peter, who will in turn say, let me introduce you to our Mother - her name is Mary.

Requiescat in Pacem, Herr Colonel. Enjoy eternity 'round the throne!

your Son-in-law

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Colonel

He and his wife travelled from Charlottesville, VA, in 1987, to meet me. There was a purpose for the trip - to prove that they weren't going to like me, and that their daughter and I should end our relationship (the dating part, probably). So after the Ascension Day service (a Thursday - this was in the LCMS), Katie pointed me to her Father and off I went. With a hand outstretched, I said, "Hi, Colonel, I'm Steve. It's nice to meet you. I hope you and Mrs. Tucker had a great trip down."

To that day, no one had ever addressed Earle Tucker as "Colonel". He is a retired Lt. Col., in the Air Force. So I gave him a promotion (so court marshall me... it worked).

They liked me. They really liked me. That day. There were times over the years when they might have thought otherwise, but at the same time, "like" was just added to "love", and it was mutual.

The Colonel is a man of strong faith and values, even at age 93. Now, he is in the ICU, unconscious, with mimimal brain activity (responding to the ventilator which keeps him breathing and keeps him alive).

Katie and I have arrived at our old home in TN to say goodbye to this giant of a man (he was over 6'). Last evening I went to his unit in the ICU. The shell was there, and it had changed drastically in the six months since we had last seen each other. In the past month, speaking with him on the phone, his voice had begun the change that happens with the very elderly. The gravely-ness became more pronounced and the pronunciation less so. But the man was always there.

Now, I think he's wrestling with his angel - "No, let's stay here a little while longer. My kids are coming. And that son-in-law who plays the organ, he's coming too. Let's wait. This is eternity. I don't think the Lord will mind. Do you?" Saith the Angel, "Who has known the mind of God?" Says the Colonel, "His Word shows us His mind, His Way, His Truth, His Life". He's coming for me, and I'm coming to Him. But we can hold off just a few moments more. It might seem like a long time here, but in the whole of eternity, it's nothing."

Angel, "Oh, all right. But just for a moment."

So for a few moments in a special, purgatorial time, we are able to say those things we want to say. I only hope it's enough.

Auf Wiedersehen, Colonel.

Oh - evidently now, almost everyone calls him "The Colonel." How can you dislike someone who gives you a promotion and everyone acknowledges it?

Thank you, Lord. When the time comes for the wrestling with the angel to end, stretch out thine hand, and grasp firmly the hand of a man who has tried to serve you well.


Sine Musica Sine Labora Sine ME

It's over, of course. We all knew it was coming. The reason? Well, part of it, I understand, was non compliance. The real reason? Christus Vincit blog... well, more specifically, the things that I have written here. I was told that it was not a good thing for me to air the dirty laundry out here to the world. But the world knows there is plenty of dirty laundry. Often times, just airing the laundry helps to freshen it just a bit when you can't get down to just washing it. Get the analogy? Can't have a pastoral change, so air the grievances so that he will read them, and the comments, and hopefully begin to understand that no priest is a dictator. He is ordained, but not made dictator to micromanage the work of others who are called to serve Christ and His Church.

When I approached the boss with the mistrust issue, it was simply cast aside with the statement of "I trust you. You do a lot of things here. Micromanagement is my style, and it is how I get things done." In other words, he doesn't trust anyone, and basically doesn't give a crapload of crap about the Divine nature of the calling of people to service in the Church. His opinion is simply that since he wears the collar, all others should wear..... a dog collar. Heel. Sit. Attend extra meetings. Here, do this this way. Be more strict with your class - you're too friendly with the kids. Every class should be run like a liturgy, with the kids entering the classroom the same way every day, sitting in the same seat every day, having every part of the lesson at the same time every day. What a load of bullshi*. Sorry, folks, but I couldn't just say *hit and not have a guilty conscience. This is a man (the priest - not me, although I AM a man, of course) who has never spent time in a classroom, with kids. Especially in music. Music is not taught the same way as math, science, religion, language arts. Although music does incorporate all those other disciplines. What thepriest does do is have an "assembly" once each month, on Catholic Culture, where the older grades are lectured, in a quiet, low toned monologue, albeit including some questions. Of course the kids mostly behave there. He's a priest. He's not a real person. If he were to teach in the classroom without the collar, and without anyone knowing he's a priest, and had to be addressed simply as Mr. . . . , well, then, he might begin - MIGHT, I say, begin to have a tiny bit of respect for real teachers, and get off the glory horse of saving a dying school and parish (which is not the case).

My parting words, after I was told that it would take a long time to find a replacement for me, was "Well, keep reading the blogs." I hope he does. He's a nice guy, generally. Humility is not his suit, and there is this entire convoluted style of how people need to be managed. It's something I still find very distatesful. Especially after meeting the staff and faculty - all of whom (well, with the exception of one returning faculty, and two new ones) are exceptionally skilled and talented, and just downright lovely persons who regularly share and show the love of our Blessed Redeemer.

God's blessings to all.
SteveO. . . the unemployed


BWK to my wife Ann for this!


Friday, October 23, 2009

School Up, Parish Down, or Vice Versa?

My recent situation has been working in the crafted design of building a parish music by infiltrating the parish from the school. The concept could work, but not without huge difficulties.

Especially with only one music staff member. In such an environment, the musician will always lose. A person cannot work full time in a school and work full time (or 3/4 time) in the parish. One part of the position will always suffer.

Classroom preparation time, class planning time, meetings, extra mandatory appearance times, etc., all dig not only into the schedule of a human being, but also into the energy reserve.

Consider the K-1 group which I recently worked with. Delightful and beautiful children - oh, my. And they could be a bit rambunxious, as well (consider the age! Oh, to have that energy and wide eyes waiting to see what comes next). By the end of the first quarter, I discovered a way to have most control, keep the kids excited, and work their voices - simultaneously! Our entire class time was spent SINGING. Not vocalise as you might expect. Not hymns, pious ditties (although they got into the time on occasion), not how to read the music staff notes.... we sang everything - actually, I sang, the kids repeated. Doing this, we worked on intervals, both major and minor; their vocal ranges were strengthened, and in some cases, widened; their attention was more focused because they knew that if they didn't pay attention, they might lose out on the excitement. Then, one day, the boss showed up to finish working on my computer (he's the guru - wish I knew an iota of what he knows about the computer). His presence, during class time, was disruptive. It took a lot of hard work, and patience, to regain some of the momentum that was lost when he appeared. The kids were being natural - the boss thought they should have behaved better, because he's a priest. Au contraire, mon pere. The kids want to like you, and they want also to see what you are doing at their teacher's desk! This doesn't make them bad kids, nor does it make them a poorly behaved class (except for this occasion). And to suggest, later on, that those kids should not have received a satisfactory grade on their report cards??? It's a difference of perspective, perhaps. I don't view children, young or old, as adults or automatons. They're all free thinkers - sponges, too. The kids also knew something the two adults in the room didn't want to believe: there can only be one leader in the room at a time. Had another teacher been there, or a parent, or staff member, the situation probably would have been much different. But the other person was the boss, the pastor: a priest. Who do you think is going to "win" the attention contest?

So recently I was told that I'm not tough enough on the kids.

When the students come to my room:
K-1 is fresh from PE.
2-3 is fresh from their 20 minute lunch time
4-6 boys fresh from religion with the associate pastor
4-6 girls fresh from PE.

The kids cannot come into the music room like little soldiers marching to a beat, facing the same direction, holding their hands the same way, standing and sitting exactly the same way and on order, etc, etc., ad nauseum.

The academic program, while I may disagree with a few of the proponents, is tough. Many demands are made on the students and their home room teachers. Music is not a class in quantum mechanics, astrophysics, etc. (Although some of their questions can be "way out there" sometimes). Music is a gift of God to the human spirit (mind, soul, heart, intellect, emotion, sight, sound, touch). In time, kids mature and begin to grasp a few adult concepts for music. But they can't be kept to a rigid routine that sucks the very enjoyment, learning and excitement out of the art. That is why I allow the kids to wiggle a bit - so long as their wiggles are confined and not destructive of other people or property - or so outward that even I lose my concentration. And kids are more relaxed when they sing, if they are not in a tense position, either sitting or standing. And please, God, forgive us for expecting them to sing beautifully while kneeling.

When I'm teaching the kids to frame their phrases, we use the arms and hands to demonstrate the arch of the tune. We raise hands, stomp feet, etc., to demonstrate the rhythm, find the accents and pulse. A child doesn't learn that standing in formation that Sr. Mary Mean Jeans would appreciate, or Msgr. Dele Sade, as well.

So, the priest wants to build the parish music program through the school. It's an admirable concept and idea, but not imminently practical.

What could have worked here? (Aside from my being disrespectful even when being taken to the cleaners emotionally and time wise)....

Let the students be the various choirs of the parish. The format would need to change, but not so much as I might have thought:

Music classes/Choir classes, three days a week. Not four. Not five.

First two days, music for Mass, vocal technique, liturgy and theology all become entwined. This helps to bring about a well-educated chorister - one who knows the why's and how's of choral singing at whatever stage they are in. The third day, music theory, history, listening to all kinds of music, classical and contemporary. It's all available, and at very low cost, if any, thanks to the internet.

Each group of singers could then participate in one Mass each month. That eases the stress not only on the students, but on the parents, as well.

The kids would be prepared for their weekend Masses - and have time to be learning to be effective leaders in worship - without the stress of regular tests (like directors don't know what the kids don't know??? I always do.)

People in the parish see the choir as a parish choir and not an elite group singing from the school for a special occasion. This isn't worded exactly the way I want to do it - will work on that another time.....

This past week, I was told that the music room needed to be totally emptied so the youth group could turn it into a haunted house (the whole portable undergoes a transformation from the good, healthy and fun, to the dark world of demons and gore. . . which is why the teenagers love it...imagine what they'd think if they saw the real catecombs!). Anyway, I was ill - truly. You don't want to know so don't ask. . .

The newly appointed interim principal taught in that empty classroom two days (I think he only had the younger groups). This was the same room that I was not going to be allowed to teach in - my classes would have to have been held in the nave. And it became very obvious - what was happening. I was told several weeks ago, the date to have things cleared out. I negotiated a different date with the youth director, who wasn't going to really need the big room for two days early in the week - - - that would have been great. Two days in the classroom, a day off, then two days in the nave (without computer, desk, resources, etc). That date got changed back. Why? Because the mind was made up, the order given and the order would not be changed. Regardless. Still, I really want the kids to have great time tonight.

I've not been officially canned yet, and already I've heard from seven different sets of parents.


God's blessings! More to come (blessings and writings)

Probably jobless, but enjoying the 70 degree weather! Deo Gracias.

Don't Go, Sir! You Can't Leave, Sir!

So the newly assigned interim principal came to collect keys from me Thursday, following the Mass, and to tell me that I had a royal request to meet with him and the Pastor later that day. Told him I was busy - which I was. He also got told that what I was doing was not his business, which is wasn't. Principal was telling me that "we need your keys, sir." I guess he learned to talk like that in principal school at the Moody. I told him no keys until I had all my belongings. My belongings, which include an outstanding organ works library are more valuable than anything I own. Too many years working for all that to let it be held for ransom (which I doubt the Pastor would ever do, by the way).

The parish Fall festival is from 5.30-10.30 tonight. Hope they have a terrific crowd. The weather is absolutely marvelous for such an event (rain, rain, stay away).

But sometime Saturday I will meet with the Pastor. Firing a person is never easy. Quitting a position is never easy, either - even when you know the position is only meant for a stick puppet, or someone who doesn't mind being micromanaged.

So I think I've learned the lessons.... we can pray anyway... ;-)
1. When you see red flags quickly hoisted up the flagpole, be polite and run like hell in the opposite direction. The Holy Spirit gives us immediate insight into situations, but we have to be willing to see them, and act on them when we do.

2. Don't think that you can do something which is impossible. It ain't possible. Even for a puppet. A puppet will always have someone's hand where you don't want it - moving your body where it just ain't natural.

3. When you are told to be careful of whom you are able to trust, consider the source. There is always a reason for that. (As in the new series "V", when the vixon says to the interviewer, "Just try not to ask any questions that might put us in a bad light.".... (she'll probably eat him for dinner later....)

4. If a person won't compromise, then one of the two parties is probably not going to ever be able to make headway in a sacred music program.... Which means simply that when a person has their mind made up down to the nth detail, a real, creative and successful musician will never be happy, or stand a chance to be used by the Holy Spirit to bring about a wonderful music ministry.

In all, my experiences have been wonderful. I love the people of the parish. They are real, not phoniebalonies. The children? Their home life and situation is not the most important thing in the world when I teach. Each individual child is a gift from God to me as well as their families. Never have I had so many high-five's, hugs, kind emails, pictures drawn, etc. Even on the "dark days" they made life totally livable. Plus they sound very nice, considering they've not really had vocal training! And to think that about 85% of them make it into head tone in the early part of class, amazes me. The few who don't just need a bit more individual/small group attention.

So please keep everyone in your prayers. The pastor, the associate, the parents, the students, the teachers and other staff. They all need them.

In another post, I'll share how the situation could have been made wonderful - within the fine art of compromise (without anyone losing their dream of an outstanding final product).

God's blessings,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Get Real, Priestie

So Sunday was the school Mass: the usual fare for us, except that the kids (2-6 graders) were singing a tune which I composed in 1981: Christe qui Lux, sung to the text by Fred Pratt Green, Christ is the World's Light. They were nervous... our routine was totally obliterated.... my classroom has been totally emptied in preparation for the haunted house (and you don't want me to get started on that one).... so no classes in the classroom for one week, I was told. This also meant that there was no choir rehearsal, no planning work, no computer work.....nothing, nada, you get the idea.

So we had to do something none of us like to do: warm up in the nave. It was difficult to get the kids to up their volume, but they did - until more people started coming in.

The piece was to be sung at the offertory. The volume - quite low. But the tone, beautiful. All the kids, except one, in head tone (am I good or what? Or at least humble?)

At the announcement time after the post-communion prayer, the priest told how nice it was to see the students there... and thanked them for bringing the gifts forward, and reading, and serving. And the choir... "I heard you very well on the Agnus Dei, but it was very soft on the Christ is the World's Light."

One teacher came to me afterwards - FURRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEUS....and then she heard my take on it. Her furious was just pussyfutting around. I gave her the real anger story.... she agreed!!!!!!

How dare ANYONE, especially a priest, come down on the kids like that!!!! At Mass. In front of all the parents and parishioners. He's a balless, spineless wonder.

If I had a kid there and he did that, it would be the last time......

He thinks that because these people are not upper middle class hispanic folks, that they are somehow lacking good taste, excellent theology, good upbringing..... this priest is racist to the core, and a jackass to the end.

Have I spilled enough of my feelings, get the point across.

Fortunately, Katie will return home tomorrow afternoon, after a two month absence (taking care of her parents in TN)......

Dooley and I will be fine and happy! Tomorrow afternoon.

Gotta run. The stomach calls.

All this reminds me of the Carol Burnett take off years ago...... As the Stomach Turns.

And to all a good nunc dimit.


Meeting, Schmeeting, now kiss my ordained fanny

Well, he acted as though he were listening - taking notes, occasionally sitting farther back in the chair, those sort of things.

The incidents on how he treated my wife..... always an excuse....even when lies were caught and brought out.... he stuck to his guns.

Micromanagement.... that's "how I manage and I have to do it that way to make sure things go the way I want them to go." "It's not a sign of mistrust" (right. Bullshit.)

The lack of a bathroom in the portable building far, far away from the main potty place.... and even farther away from the one staff is supposed to use. I can't take my lasix if there's not a potty. Even if a volunteer was going to do all the installation work gratis! "There are other things that are higher on the priority list." "Period."

"And remember that you have to be present for the parish festival activities Friday evening... you won't have to man a booth for all 5 hours, but you need to be there."

To which I responded: I am not going to be there! There is no way that this can happen. I go home, take medicine and spend the rest the rest of the evening worshipping johnnie.....

He sat back. Then reiterated his remark, and I stood firm and said, "It's not going to happen. Period. I will not be here."

And on and on and on it went for 90 minutes, practically. And he wasn't willing to budge one inch.

This guy thinks that you sit on the bench for one hour and it takes no energy (physically, spiritual or mental) to play the liturgy...and that it takes no preparation.

He thinks that 12 hours of teaching takes no preparation - and that the kids must come in and out of the classroom in perfect formation ("like it's a liturgy"), totally coordinated postures, the same drills day in and day out.

He is, to put it mildly..... reminiscent of a person who is totally commited to himself and his ideals and goals ONLY. And that others are there only for him to do his thing.

No one else is to have a life.

There is much more to this, but..... we all know it ain't worth talking about.

However - there are two little issues he will soon have to deal with: Wage and Hour Board (since he docks salaries without people acknowledging it), and some attorney comments that were posted in the bitching section. Thanks, man! I needed this.

In the meantime, if you hear of a position.....

At the close of the school mass Friday, I had the kids sing "Glory and Praise to our God".... and sing it they did.... albeit under my direction, and bel canto.

Said pastor left the sanctuary and processed out very quickly before the second "verse" had gotten up and running well......

And Sunday....well, that's another post!

God's blessings to all of you.


Saturday, October 17, 2009


NFL Edition


At least after halftime, anyways!

In light of blowing a 17-7 halftime lead to the Denver Broncos, losing 20-17 in overtime, I figured that this might just be the new "fight song" of the Patriots. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Well, things just don't seem to be going well here, and the boss and I will have a sit down in a few hours to discuss it all. On the docket:

1. I think that playing 9 Masses each week is way too many. He thinks that 10 hours of my time for playing the 5 weekenders, along with "set up" is enough..... correct me if I'm wrong in thinking that it takes several hours to practice, and that happens AFTER spending several hours selecting, then reselecting, then finalizing the music, then putting the music bulletin together, printing and folding it. Yeah, the secretary could do that, but this would be an add on to her already heaping high plate full of things he has her doing already!

2. Extra required attendance: all home school ass. mtgs, and having a group of kids singing at each mtg.

3. playing weddings/funerals (if designated as "parish wide" whatever that means) for free; and only being able to charge a max of $50 (right...) for other weddings/funerals.... AND I must take care of seeing to it that all other musicians coming in to play for those events follow our rules....

4. the distinct impression that over 40 hours should be warmly welcomed because it's the nature of an ecclesiastical vocation (I've been at this 43 years. He's been a priest 15 years, which means that while he was still in heaven waiting for the creative juices to form him, I had already been sitting on the bench 28 years.....)

Is it just a shit*y attitude that I have? I mean, golly, Wally! I love this vocation, this profession.

It's always been my vocation! And in the number 1 spot, too. Until I had been playing 25 years and got married. Then being a husband took the number 1 spot.....!!!!!!! That is a vocation I'll never give up.

Comments, anyone? Anyone read this stuff??????


Monday, October 12, 2009


Anticipated Mass for Sunday XXIX - October 17, 2009
Chapel of Our Savior, Brockton, Massachusetts

The third of three Saturdays at the beloved mall Chapel...

Hymn numbers are in Breaking Bread (OCP).

In: HYMN 203 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty ("Lobe den Herren")
Gloria: Jesuits Mass (Foley)
Psalm and Alleluia of the day from Respond and Acclaim
$$: HYMN 420 There's a wideness in God's mercy ("In Babilone")
Sanctus and Agnus from Heritage Mass
Mysterium and Per Ipsum: Danish
+: HYMN 483 The King of love my Shepherd is ("St. Columba")
Marian Meditation: HYMN 702 Salve Regina (Mode V)
Out: HYMN 748 Alleluia! sing to Jesus ("Hyfrydol")


Sunday, October 11, 2009


BSHOBL got the Nobel Peace Prize? WTF? It definitely didn't take the powers that be that long to "think this through", as the man became President on January 20, 2009, and nominations had to be submitted on February 1, 2009, not even two weeks later. Who the hell paid who off?

So, while the Obaminaiton receives his Nobel Prize, I hand out my WTF award to the people who handed him the Prize.

UPDATE: I just got the latest reaction from Sesame Street's beloved Cookie Monster.

Also (RSCT and a big wet kiss to my wife Ann for this), this from Big Bird...


UPDATE 10/18/09: SteveO has informed me via e-mail that the Obamination has just received the Heisman Trophy after watching a college football game.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We'll still have Masses this week.....

So Sunday after the 10am Mass, I was sitting in the p.h. having breakfast - served and sold by the altar servers....the boss walks by and says, "We're still having masses this week. I'll be gone for a few days. Let's plan on meeting Thursday."

Well, it's a Catholic church, OF COURSE we're going to have Masses. The thing is.... IT'S FALL BREAK..... EVERY staff member, faculty, etc., of the school will be off from Saturday, 10/3 until Sunday 10/11, and report back to the school on 10/12. But he expects me to spend my time at the church playing Masses -

Needless to say, breakfast was spoiled by my totally rotten attitude. The good thing is that we had around 11 members of the youth group attend the rehearsal. We rehearse again next week and will sing the Wesley Lead Me, Lord during Holy Communion. We'll be doing that same piece on 10/18 with the upper grades of the school students, with the harmony being provided by as many adults as I can talk into singing!

The adult choir is not picking up very quickly, but those who do attend are absolutely wonderful people.

And Katie will be coming home (first time in nearly two months)!! this week - short stay of two weeks, but that's better than not at all.... her parents are disintigrating physiologically. Sad.

Funeral this morning (Monday) - 90 year old man much loved in the community. He truly lived the Beatitudes. His daughter and son-in-law are some of the kindest people I've ever met in my life (and of course, they love Katie - but you would, too, believe me!!).... Dooley will be thrilled to see his mommy again.

And maybe the pooping in the living room will come to an end.... he thinks it doesn't stink.

God bleshall

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Anticipated Mass for Sunday XXVIII (Ordinary Form)
October 10, 2009 - 5:30 and 7 PM
Chapel of Our Savior, Brockton, Massachusetts

The second of three weeks that I get to fill in while the regular organist enjoys her vacation. The Mass settings are those that the regular organist uses, except for the memorial acclamation. The hymns are of my own choosing. Numbers refer to Breaking Bread by OCP.

Entrance: HYMN 448 O God, our help in ages past..."St. Anne"
Gloria: from the "St. Louis Jesuits Mass"...Foley
- (the only bullet I have to bite.)
Psalm 90 ("Fill us with your love, O Lord") and Alleluia: from Respond and Acclaim...Alstott
Offertory: HYMN 643 This day God gives me..."Bunessan"
Sanctus and Agnus Dei: from "Heritage Mass"...Alstott
Memorial Acclamation ("Christ has died") and Amen: Danish
- (the original choice was "Keep in Mind", but I got Fr. Jerry to let me change it, as "Keep in Mind" is NOT a memorial acclamation).
Communion: HYMN 322 You satisfy the hungry heart..."Bicentennial"
Meditation: HYMN 702 Salve Regina...Mode V
- (after all, it's October!)
Recessional: HYMN 416 I sing the mighty pow'r of God..."Ellacombe"



I didn't post this last week, simply because the cantor at St. John's reads our snark blog regularly. But I can now say this...

I interviewed at the Church of St. Thomas Aquinas in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston on Monday of last week. The organ was an interesting sort - a three-manual E. and G.G. Hook tracker built in 1854, rebuilt by George Hutchings in 1892. This organ received a Historic Organ Citation from the Organ Historical Society in 2000. The attached console with very high seat and extra high pedal board made for some interesting posture while auditioning (I'm only 5'11", so it's not like I'm a man of NBA height).

The conversation with the pastor, Fr. Michael Harkins, went over very well, IMO. I like a lot of his liturgical outlook, and I like his desire for dialogue between music director and pastor. Further, a good friend of mine had attended Holy Mass there and gave me the music list for that day. On the most part, I thought it was very respectable, as did he. The only bullet bitten was Shepherd Me, O God by Marty Haugen.

However, all came to an end when I got an e-mail the following Thursday. The incumbent organist decided to stay on board. Truthfully, I have no problem with an incumbent having a change of heart. I'd be curious as to where he had originally intended to go. I might give THAT a shot. Hey, at least it wasn't "Thank you for your interest. However, we hired someone else."


To boot, just last Tuesday, Fr. Harbour at St. John's (where I had been filling in for the late Paul Martin) called me up. I didn't get that job either. The factor, of course, was the skills (or lack thereof) needed to take charge of the Spanish Masses. After all, the Spanish Mass crowds outnumbered the English Mass crowds by a 7:1 margin. So, there was a good idea where Fr. Harbour had to set his priorities.

There's something unique about this rejection, though. I give Fr. Harbour a load of respect, more than most, for the simple reason that he was man enough to actually give me a call, face up to letting me know of his decision, and even WHY he made his decision, as opposed to the typical chicken-shit rejection letter that I'm used to receiving elsewhere. I find Fr. Harbour to be a very holy man of God, I thank him for having me for the three months I was there, and I wish him and his parish well.


The last organist before Paul Martin was Dave Sylvester, another good friend of mine, who has been keeping me abreast of any job openings he may hear of. The two men ran neck-and-neck in terms of longevity at St. John's. Paul was there 19 years (1990 until his death in 2009). Dave was there 20 years (1970-1990). It was he that actually revived the organ at St. John's in many ways upon his arrival. He also let me in on the two reeds marked "Hautbois l'ouvres" and "Trompette l'ouvres". As I mentioned before, these two make great chorus reeds. In all actuality, these two reeds are simply loud Gambas. There was much more that he was telling me about the organ last night, but I didn't get to absorb it all (after all, it was 10:00 last night).

It was still a fun organ to play, and I felt like a pro playing it.


is when I got the e-mail from Fr. Jerry DiGiralmo, the director at the Chapel of Our Savior, asking me to fill in while their organist is away on vacation. I got a lot of compliments last night after both Masses. I'm looking forward to the next two Saturdays there. BTW, that same friend I mentioned that attended Mass at the Boston church where I interviewed/auditioned is the same friend who gave my name to one of the Brothers at the Chapel, who, in turn, gave it to Fr. Jerry. So I say, thank you Rich! ;)


PS: On Friday, October 9, the Chapel will be holding an Extraordinary Form Mass. Unfortunately my hours at the day job (that's another story - grrrr!) prevent me from getting there that night. It's understood that the choir that sings the Extraordinary Form Mass at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Church in Newton, MA, will provide the music that night. Should be really good!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi - 5:30 and 7 PM
October 3, 2009 (Anticipated for October 4)

Chapel of Our Savior, Brockton, Massachusetts

For the next three weekends, I'll be filling in for the two Saturday Masses at the Chapel of Our Savior in Brockton, MA. It's an interesting little chapel, located behind a mall. There are no Sunday Masses here. However, the Chapel celebrates two Saturday anticipated Masses. The Chapel is staffed by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. This will be my first time ever working FOR Franciscans (although I have had Franciscans as visiting priests before).

This weekend, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron (and founder) of the Franciscan order, will be celebrated at the Chapel. The readings will be taken from that Mass.

The musical settings of the Mass were the choice of the powers that be. The hymns were my choice. The numbers are in Breaking Bread.

Entrance: 548 All creatures of our God and King..."Lasst uns erfreuen"
Gloria: Celtic Mass...Walker
Psalm: You are my inheritance, O Lord...Tone 8G
Alleluia: Mode VI
Offertory: 479 I heard the voice of Jesus say..."Kingsfold"
Sanctus / Agnus: Heritage Mass...Alstott
Christ has died / Amen: Danish
Communion: 492 Make me a channel of your peace...Temple
Recessional: 730 Lift high the cross..."Crucifer"


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

10 4 at CTK CC TX

Is that a big 10-4 buddy?

Sorry, but I can't let St. Francis' Day go by without acknowledging the much loved saint and patron of our beloved adored and idolized pets..... even though the Temple piece is sort of trite, it's pretty enough and as we all know, people love it. Dealing with the fact that the poor saint probably never wrote a prayer like that is as tough to deal with as finding out from Holy Mother the Church that St. Christopher probably never existed. BUT I LIKED THE STORY ANYWAY!!!

So this week we begin singing the new Communion hymn - AT THE OFFERTORY... does this prove I'm a gnut case (g is silent).... or that I'm a flaming liberal????

Processional: For the Beauty of the Earth - Dix
Offertory: Deck Thyself, My Soul, With Gladness - Schmuecke Dich, o meine Seele
Recessional: Prayer of St. Francis - Temple

Other stuff is the typical: Tone II for the Introit and Communio
Psalm chanted antiphonally, to tone II
Kyrie, Gloria (Angeles), Sanctus, Mortem, Agnus - Jubilate Deo collection.

And our kids love the Latin chants.... go figure. (Is it because they're rebellious or just because they know God loves it, too?)


How Many More Hours must they suffer?

Last evening we had the pta... under a different set of initials, but basically the same thing.... all the school kids were required to be present - and their teachers, as well. This after having been in school since at least 7.45 in the morning.... so, after school, kids and teachers got a brief reprieve, but had to be back on property. The meeting was at 6.30. And I had to be there, too.... this stuff sucks and you'll soon know why:

The first hour was spent with adults gabbing about the upcoming fall festival (actually a fund raiser, but using God and the saints as the reason for dressing up in nasty outfits....I don't understand)... Then the kids FINALLY got to do their thing: AT 7 FREAKING THIRTY IN THE EVENING. Most of these kids are usually in bed by 8pm.... but Father wants...... (he doesn't have kids, doesn't spend hours with them in the classroom each day and doesn't have to feed a family and get them to and from....etc. - the problem?)

The kids were a delight, although extremely tired. Even my 4-6 graders who were present were exhausted.

So the older kids sang the weather report and information about pesky mosquitoes, to tone II. Then they educated the adults about fun use of Tone VIII, by invoking two lines from Supercalifragi.... Then, we played the game "Are you smarter than Mr. O's music students?" The kids won.

1. Who composed Mozart's 42nd Symphonie?
2. Why was Beethoven deaf?
3. What are the main parts of a hymn?
4. What is metre
5. How many syllables in LM?

1. WAM composed 41 symphonies.
2. Because he couldn't hear
3. text and tune
4. #syllables in a phrase/verse
5. 8888

Then the kids and I tore off property as quickly as possible..... except for my brief talk with two parents regarding the detention their 1st grader got for fighting in class.

Another fun day in the parochial school......

Monday, September 28, 2009

Angels, Therese and MORE angels!!!

So I stayed home this Monday morning - distress in the lower tract, they used to call it..... (remember the old tv commercials - the people standing at the bus stop in the rain - and a guy with an umbrella comes into view of the camera and he says, "I'd like to talk to you about diarrhea" - out pops the bottle of pink stuff....) but I digress..... made it to classes and then headed home, missing, thereby, the faculty meeting.... only to return to church for a choir rehearsal - with one other person managing to attend.....

Anyway, the list of music for our dailies is listed here (nothing for Wednesday, because that's my hallowed day off - and even though I've chosen music for it in the past, it seems that what I've chosen is summarily dismissed... so why spend - or waste - time on that day, then?)

Tuesday - St. Michael et al
Hymn - Angels and Ministers - Slane (from Hymnal 1940)
Introit and Communion to Tone II
Organ - Voluntary on Slane - Paul Manz

Thursday - St. Therese of the Child Jesus
Hymn - Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken - Austria
Introit and Communion to Tone II
Organ - Prelude to the little fugue in a - attr. to J. S. Bach

Friday - Guardian Angels (School Mass)
1. Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones - Lasst uns Erfreuen
2. Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken - Austria
3. Angels and Ministers - Slane
Organ - Praise to the Lord, the Almighty - Craig Phillips

Sunday, September 27, 2009


...and change your outlook on liturgy for good!

It's the amazing SNARK-O-PEDIC!

Listen to how this bed can help your inner nutcase. BTW, you'll hear a snippet of Salve Regina being chanted a cappella. See if you can guess which TWO BLOGGERS are chanting!

Friday, September 25, 2009

School Mass at CTK CC TX

No prelude - not allowed..... (but I did play through the hymn tunes to remind the kids...)

Processional - O Praise Ye the Lord - Laudate Dominum (from TH1982, with the free accompt by Parry) - the kids were phenomenal! And on pitch, too. That part was really nice.....when we got to the line about "loud organ....deep tone" the kids really punched the volume up, and the reeds came on! Hoooooooweeeeee

Introit - Tone II
Psalm - chanted in its entirety, in unison, Tone II (excellent work by the kids yet again)
Alleluia - we've started doing one by Theodore Marier, who should be sainted for just about single handedly keeping decent music going in Boston archd.

Offertory - The Call - R. V. Williams (the kids love knowing that his 1st name was pronounciated in Rafael. They think they're so smart. It's really funny watching them on this stuff (they also loved the GUS in Holsts first name...being born in England)....

Communion - Tone II

Hymn later in Communion - Let All Mortal Flesh - Picardy (a favorite of theirs, which meant I got to do some free accompt. work with them again)

Recessional - God, My King - Stuttgart. I thought the kids were Anglicans the way they sang this (they had learned it early last year).

Postlude: O That I Had a Thousand Voices - Ernst Pepping

The K5 & 1st graders could be heard going to town on the Snow diddly of the Lord's Prayer. This was the first time this year, that they really let loose (they're allowed to open up, so long as they follow the rule: Bel Canto).... they were sitting on the stoop outside the school office a few minutes ago, waiting for their teach, who had to do something in the... and they were like "Mr. Ohmer! Did you hear us sing today? Did we do good? Better than last time? Better than in class yesterday?

It's moments like this that cause me to allow moments like yesterday afternoon to sort of become foggy and hazy.....

Finally have full speed internet - I've had a poor wireless signal here in the remote wilderness on property, but yesterday the cable got plugged into my cpu and linked me to the rest of the bots.... wow. It's faster. Gotta like that. Now if they'd just get the dagnabbed bathroom in!


ps----sorry for all the cussin lately. As you can tell, I'm more than frustrated.......

Thursday, September 24, 2009


So this week, for the first time in my teaching career and in music ministry, I told a class of 2/3 graders to SHUT UP. They had been quietly told by me, for a minimum of ten minutes, to get ready to sing, turn around, face the front of the room.

Now, a father is pisssed that I did this. The asst. principal thinks I was totally wrong and should NEVER under any circumstances do this, because after all, the kids don't understand... what the fuck don't they understand? Obedience? I'm not a kissy assy sort of person and it's difficult for me to understand when any educator or their bosses (in any area or level) are petrified of parents. Especially in a parochial school. Kids need to behave.

So the fireworks went off. I was confronted by this issue without warning...which is not a good thing for me, because my mind tends to not respond well to this sort of thing. I need time to quiet my sorry ass down, and think of a civil response..... should there be one.

Other students in the class readily knew they had crossed the line - actually all of them did, and you could see it by the look on their faces and the wide open mouths....which very quickly closed. Within a few seconds of my saying the forbidden words (I'm now not allowed to say such things - the first time I've ever been censored).... the kids were having a wonderful time getting on with the music class. And the did wonderfully. At the end of the class, I asked them how they thought things went after the final quiet down. They all agreed that the class was fun. And it was.

But now it doesn't really matter because I'm never supposed to have said those shut up words in the first place. It's not like I said for them to shut the f up....which I never would have done, but probably a lot of parents have said that to their kids (unfortunately).... And I was not supported in my actions, but reprimanded without being "written up"....

If a few parents would smack the snot out of their kids butts once in a while, teachers wouldn't have to put up with the stuff that usually comes out.... and mostly from people who keep their tongues very firmly stuck in those places... Do you think I'm a tad bit upset?????

The sad irony is that I absolutely adore these kids. And they truly love me. I treat them fairly. I love them and show them the respect they deserve as children of God; the know that they are special to me - but they also know that if they cross the forbidden lines, they will have to pay a price. But I'm not a mean ol' sombitchgrouch. Ask any kid. It's only adults who ... well, what I've already said is enough......

I cut out all the faldorah with the odler kids. You know what happened? Their behavior improved over night. Their attitude toward their music improved and went on to the next higher level...... and THEY STILL HAD A FUN TIME IN MUSIC CLASS.......

But heaven forbid that i should tell them to shut up. I might get fired.

God, please send your Church on earth, priests and administrators with balls of steel, and full of love and a total knowledge and understanding of the necessary balance between law and Gospel.... and the common sense to know when they should themselves just SHUT UP!

Shutting up for now....I remain faithfully in Christ, a loudmouthedsombitch...


Sunday, September 20, 2009


My wife sent me this little ditty...

A little boy was waiting for his mother to come out of the grocery store. As he waited, he was approached by a man who asked, "Son, can you tell me where the Post Office is?"
The little boy replied, "Sure! Just go straight down this street a coupla blocks and turn to your right."
The man thanked the boy kindly and said, "I'm the new pastor in town. I'd like for you to come to church on Sunday. I'll show you how to get to Heaven."
The little boy replied with a chuckle. "Awww, come on... You don't even know the way to the Post Office."


Saturday, September 19, 2009


First, this YouTube video (RSCT to Damian Thompson):

Second, on a poster I couldn't help but notice at the house of my last customer of my Schwan's route from last Wednesday: