Monday, June 29, 2009

Music for Confirmation and the death of a parish

My confirmation was in the Spring of 1963. Yeah, just before all hell REALLY began to spew from the pews and the sanctuary.

My class was FURIOUS when we were told that we might have to sing in English (what a bunch of dolts, lol). We were the class that was willing to sing Onward, Christian Soldiers in Latin.... we asked Msgr. to help us how to do that - he was perplexed because even in Latin that old piece would never have been allowed in the church. We told him it was so we could sing it on the playground.... when in fact what we did was to tell our protest ant friends that it was originally a Roman Catholic hymn. When they didn't believe us, we sang it in Latin....

I don't recall everything that was sung that day in 1963, but much of it came from the St. Gregory Hymnal. Or, all of it did. In those days, Bishop John King Mussio still slapped our faces a little - you know, knocking the s***ty ol' devil out of us. He knew me well, and my family (my grandparents, not Catholic, lived next door to a wonderful Lebanese family), so he actually slapped me a bit harder. Damn!!!! My best friend of the day gave me a huge, toothy smile after that happened. Bishop turned and said to him, "You want me to give you one too? Is the devil still in there?" Of course, we almost all got in trouble then...Sister Paulette was NOT happy. We heard the sound of death almost immediately: THE HOLY CLICKER...THREE TIMES QUICKLY. And we knew we were toast - or that our souls would be soon.

Thanks be to God, the hocuspocusbogus stuff which was later called music, was not in our church. That day.

Yesterday, 6/28, Holy Trinity celebrated its last Mass as a parish, 104 years old. And what music did they have? ALL FRICKING GEEEEETAR stuff. Three organists from the parish history offered to come back and assist with the music. We were shot down in order to let the young couple who had moved to town two years earlier and not left them, do all the stuff. Will be interesting to get the booklet soon - Mom is sending it to me.

God's blessings,

Sunday, June 28, 2009


On June 18, my nephew Christian and his eighth grade class graduated from a Catholic school in Woonsocket. I didn't go (I had to work), but my mother did, and she gave me a copy of the program. She did alert me that there was no organ. It was a choir, piano, and the gee-tar. So, yeah, pretty much the same goofy type of set-up that ran the music when he made his First Communion a few years back.

The opening "hymn" (if you want to call it that) was Here me is, Lard.
The "Gospel Acclamation" was Sing all sing. (Last I remember, the Gospel Acclamation at Holy Mass is supposed to be Alleluia, except during Lent.)
The offertory was some ditty called We offer gifts. (Is this supposed to be an eighth grade graduation or kindergarten graduation?)
The "Holy", "Acclamation", "Amen", and "Lamb of God" (exactly how these are written in the program) are listed merely as "sung". So I have no clue what settings were used, but can imagine.
The Communion ditties were My voice is thirsting (Does this title make any sense? I guess the opposite of this is My stomach is mute) and Open the eyes. And to add more crap to the crap, there was a "meditation hymn", With one voice.
The recessional was How great is our God. (If this is the one I think it is, which came from a 70's book called Songs of Praise, published by Servant Music, I haven't heard this one since my last nightmare.)

Whoever wrote out the program even went as far as thanking the eighth graders for choosing the music. I highly doubt that the eighth graders would have chosen this dreck on their own. I'm guessing they weren't given much to choose from. Awful stuff!



13th Sunday of Ordinary Time - June 28, 2009, 9:30 AM
St. Joan of Arc Church, Cumberland, RI

No cantor today. The organist sang alone from the console, something I haven't seen in quite some time ANYWHERE. Believe me, it's NOT a bad thing when your organist can sing. I actually went to an interview at a church in North Kingstown about a year and a half ago (about a month after I was sacked from the ghosthouse), which was run by a bunch of nutcase lefty ladies who said to me "you sing from the console?!" like it was a bad thing. It's not.

Anyhoo, here's the list:

"Lauda Anima"...Praise, my soul, the King of heaven (nice!)
Alstott...I will praise you, Lord / Alleluia (both from Respond and Acclaim) / Heritage Mass (except Agnus Dei)
Mass XVIII...Agnus Dei
Quaker...How can I keep from singing
- (or from the Titanic, "How can I keep from sinking", or from the guy with the nasty B.O. problem, "How can I keep from stinking")

The offertory and communion were instrumentals.


This one takes place on the Interstate...

What the hell is up lately with people traveling the center lane of a three-lane Interstate doing 5-10 MPH UNDER the speed limit when there is no traffic jam and the road is dry? If you're gonna go that slow, move to the freakin' right lane where you belong, or perhaps to the breakdown lane.

Thecladome move over

Brian's recent posting....reminded me of a "grand" building in the south of Miami. (that's meeeeeeee-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh-meeeeeee to those not from Cuba)..... here's the link for you. You just gotta see it.

Inside, the building is deceptive, the seating area is huge but it still appears small. The organ is an 18-23 rank Moller, and it's loud because of the huge space it must fill.....but that's the price to be paid for putting it in a far corner of a space shi I mean unusual room.

This post brought to you by Christus Spohn Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX, current temporary home of SteveO.......seems the heat and terrible humidity really messes up things for people with congestive heart failure issues......and I was doing so well for 18months!!!!


BMP adds on: Here it is...the LOUIEDOME!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


at the Westminster Cathedral

Some great news in the UK, compliments of Damian Thompson (click on his name to read the full story):

The big free-standing altar that cluttered up the sanctuary of Westminster Cathedral has gone for good, it seems - with the full approval of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, who is happy to celebrate Mass at the proper altar at the back of the sanctuary, under the baldacchino.
Not only has the new altar (above) gone, but the hideous wooden platform on which it stood is now firmly locked away in a warehouse, never to return. And its location is being kept a secret, lest Tabletistas steal it back and try to restore what they imagine is "Vatican II worship".

I like Abp. Nichols already!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


From Houston, TX, the original home of the Astros, the Astrodome.

From Seattle, WA, the original home of the Mariners, the Kingdome.

From Minneapolis, MN, still home to the Minnesota Twins, the Metrodome.

Finally, from Pembroke, MA, home to St. Thecla Roman Catholic Parish, the Thecladome.


ON THE WAY HOME... mom was telling my wife and me a couple of things that have happened recently at her home parish.

First of all, let's explain. My mom has not had a car since her wreck a few months ago. Given her age (she'll be 77 in less than a month), I highly doubt she'll drive again. From then until about a month or so ago, a neighbor was taking her to Holy Mass. That neighbor recently moved to Virginia. So, I started taking her. I won't go to her regular home parish for one reason --- THEY'VE GOT A GEE-TAR! So, we've been going to St. Joan of Arc.

Anyhoo, on the way home, my mom was telling me that the pastor at her home parish brought to their attention an abuse which I think is just downright low. Apparently there are people there who would receive Holy Communion, then go outside and spit it out. Seriously, if you're just going to spit Jesus out, why receive Him in the first place? That, to me, is even worse than when the people spit at Jesus and taunted him just before his death!

On a funnier note, though also true, there have been people there who actually have the gall to ask the usher for change at the collection. Yes, people would put, let's say, a $10 bill in the collection plate and ask for $5 back.

Nice parish, eh?! But then, THEY'VE GOT A GEE-TAR!

On a side note, at a parish that I once worked, Precious Blood Church in Woonsocket, there was a guy who would strut into church with an old guitar on his back. He would put money from board games (Monopoly, Masterpiece, etc.) into the basket.



5 PM - Saturday, June 20, 2009
Anticipated Mass for the Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time
St. Joan of Arc Church, Cumberland, RI

On the most part, not bad. A couple of pieces from my If You Must Use Hymns suggestions for Ordinary Time XII were used this afternoon. Those were I sing the mighty pow'r of God, and a setting of the 27th Psalm. They weren't in the places I suggested, but they were there.

Entrance hymn: "Ellacombe"...I sing the mighty pow'r of God
Psalm 107 (Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting) and Alleluia: both by Owen Alstott from OCP's Respond and Acclaim
Offertory: Walker...The Lord is my light
- (Not the setting I had in mind. Text was fine. Melody was mediocre at best. It was kinda like the St. Louis Jesuits trying to do Early American hymnody.)
Sanctus, Memorial, and Amen: Alstott...Heritage Mass
- (I may have said this before: probably THE best Mass setting that has an OCP copyright to it. Bob Hurd's Missa Ubi Caritas may run a close second.)
Agnus Dei: Mass XVIII
Communion: (two pieces)
- (1) B. Hurd...Taste and see
- - (personally, for a contemporary Taste and see, I like James Moore's setting better)
- (2) Malotte...The Lord's Prayer
- - (Bad move this time. I have to say it, for multiple reasons. First of all, I can see why many frown on this setting, but that is usually assuming that this is sung at the time when the Pater Noster is sung. Today it was towards the end of Communion. My mom simply knows this setting as "the Our Father that Perry Como sings". I'm assuming that this was sung in honor of Father's Day, which is tomorrow. Again, a bad move, which I equate to programming a patriotic hymn every time Memorial Day or Independence Day comes around, or an Ave Maria just because it's Mother's Day. Further, the glissando that the cantor (a male) used to howl that "for EEEEEHHHHH-ver" towards the end was just awful. Even my wife, a non-musician who still appreciates good music, said to me after,"I didn't like it one bit!")
Recessional hymn: "St. Catherine"...Faith of our fathers, living still
- (again, probably for the same reason as the Malotte Lord's Prayer, but at least Faith of our fathers is a decent hymn.)



10 steps as told by Fr. Erik.

1. Supress the non-confiteor options for the penitential rite. They do not adequately express a personal acknowledgement of sin. (One of the great needs in the Church is for a recovered sense of personal sin.) (The little-used second option isn't bad either. "Lord, we have sinned against you. Lord have mercy. Lord, show us your mercy and love. And grant us your salvation.")

2. Re-examine the lectionary and restore the 'downer' passages that are left out. (Like the ones used on the last Sundays after Pentecost in the Extraordinary Form)

3. Make the Nicene Creed the only one usable at Mass. (Unfortunately, it looks like the new missal will allow the use of the Apostles' Creed.)

4. Restore the offertory prayers from the EF in their entirety. (These profound prayers really focus the intent of the celebrant and are much better than the table prayers we have now.)

5. Suppress the Children's Eucharistic Prayers and also the ones for Reconcilliation. Face it folks, these are banal beyond belief. (I cannot agree enough here! They're as dumbed down as a bad OCP/GIA song!) Yes, they are valid, but I have yet to meet children who are stupid enough to need these. While we are at it, II-IV should also go. (Eucharistic Prayer II, ah yes! The official Eucharistic Prayer of Father LaQuickie!) If we need more anaphorae, why not look to the Eastern Rites. The Maronite anaphorae are particularly good.

6. Restore the old rubrics for the Roman Canon. The multiple genuflections and blessing were not mindless repetitions but ceremonial reinforcement of important points. (Let's also restore the stress on "Nobis quoque peccatoribus".)

7. Move or better eliminate the sign of peace. (Eliminate it. That was an abuse waiting to happen in a number of cases. "Peace be with you" becomes "Hi, how are ya? How's the wife and kids?", and a handshake has been known to become a big wet kiss.)

8. Restore the option of the recitation of the Last Gospel. We can't hear St. John 1 too often. (Think of it as an epilogue to the Mass.) (Excellent idea, but Fr. LaQuickie might not like it.)

9. Mandate that the Liturgy of the Eucharist be said facing the same direction as the people. (We could, and should, add to this mandate other elements where dialog is directed to God or Christ, like the Confiteor, Gloria, Collect, and Credo, turning to the people only when the priest is in dialog with them.)

10. Restoration of sacred vestments. Can we honestly say that the liturgy is better off without amices, cinctures, and maniples and with the cheap modern one that look like they were made and designed by myopic hippies. (...or resembling the poncho lady vestments.)


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Taking the Plunge...(into the dunking booth?)

Well, the plunge has been agreed upon earlier than I expected! We had been planning on having the congregation chant the single verse introit and the communion antiphon at the daily Masses when the new school session begins. However, we've scrapped that idea and moved the schedule up a THIS WEEKEND.....

In place of the Introit at the weekend Masses, we'll be singing the hymns from the Introit Hymns collection, published by WLM. Although there are a few hymns wherein the texts are not very elegant, for the most part, everything is singable, and makes sense verbally. There are a few tunes that we will probably bypass, as well.

We are going to have the congregation chant the communion antiphon to Tone VIII, which is the most familiar one in this parish. (Years and years ago, I heard an entire parish sing the liturgy (Introit, Gloria, Psalm, Alleluia, Memorial) to Tone VIII!

So here's how things will be around here at CTK in CC TX.

Organ, Prelude on Kingsfold - Proulx, I think, is the composer....
Introit Hymn, The Lord is the Strength of His People - St. Denio
Gloria, Mass XVIII
Psalm, Tone II
Alleluia, A. Gregory Murray, SJ (vs. Tone VIII)
Offertory, I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say - Kingsfold
Sanctus/Memorial/Agnus Dei - Mass XVIII
Communion Antiphon - Tone VIII
Marian Antiphon - Salve Regina, Mode V
Recessional, I Sing the Mighty Power of God - Ellacombe
Organ, Festive Trumpet Tune - David German

We still have a huge problem with the loud, falling kneelers immediately after the Sanctus. Our priests continue with the Eucharistic Prayer immediately upon the conclusion of the Sanctus, and several sentences are lost mid-air, due to the noisiness. So this week, I decided to make an attempt to rectify the situation. Here's the blurb printed in the music bulletin:

Regarding the kneelers: as yo know, we are supposed to kneel immediately after singing the Sanctus. The priest begins the prayer immediately. Unfortunately, it is difficult to kneel so quickly. It is suggested that the kneelers be quietly put down during the time of the collection. It's just a suggestion, but it might be worth trying.

In the order of Mass, under the line "Presentation of the Gifts", I inserted: (This is a good time to lower the kneelers). Time will tell if this works.

Progress often happens at a snail's pace. With the constant ringing of cell phones one weekend (four times at ONE Mass), I decided to be assertive --- no, make that agressive!!!!! My announcement (a rare thing): I know that most of us have cell phones, and I'd like to encourage everyone to take your phones out, and turn them off, or at least to the silent mode. It really gets very embarrassing when the phone rings during Mass, and it's not God calling!. Believe it or not, there were a large number of chuckles. Yet not one single cell-phone went off at that particular Mass. At one of the other Masses, I heard a very, very quiet ring....and saw a few people turn around. The intrusion into the Sacred by the mundane, profane & secular, is still difficult to deal with. Have you all noticed the sense of "self-importance" that is displayed in public when a person's cell phone rings?

The facial expressions, the vocalisations, etc....although eyes may roll, the person truly gets a blast out of feeling so needed. 'Tis a shame, because for our self worth, we need only Jesus, and he comes to us, hidden, yet manifest, body and blood, soul and divinity, under the form of a piece of bread.

May God bless all of you this coming weekend.


There now. Doesn't that feel better....... (Excedrin Headache #57)


Monday, June 15, 2009

Can you believe this guy?

After saying that I remember too many hymns, I hit post... then realized that I FORGOT to tell you what we're doing for the rest of the liturgy!!!! It's hitting. Or maybe, it's just getting to be late on Monday evening....

Gloria, Sanctus, Mortem, Agnus Dei - - - all chanted
Alleluia by A. Gregory Murray.


Thus endeth the snarkth.


A Village Can't do this....

It takes me HOURS to choose the hymns for Mass.

I'm not talking about a single day, either. Me esteemed snark, Brian, has been showing an excellent way to "figure out" how to choose the liturgical music of the day. It makes a huge amount of difference in the choices that are made, when compared to the choices made simply by looking at the Scriptures assigned through the lectionary.

For the next six weeks, we're embarking on a new music journey here at CTK-CC,TX.....

The entrance hymns are all chosen from the collection Introit Hymns, published by WLP (which, by the way, USED to be known as WLSM, World Library of Sacred Music....kind of like GIA USED to be known as Gregorian Institute of America. So much lost in just a few initials now followed by periods.....

Because it's summer, I've asked the parish priests for just a tiny bit less singing: the Kyrie and the Lord's Prayer.

We'll be chanting the Communion antiphon to Tone VIII. The reason for doing this is because in the Fall season, M-Th, we'll be having the people chant the introit, instead of singing a hymn. This is done for several reasons, not necessarily in order of importance: we have to watch the time....the introit needs to be re-introduced to the people as a sung portion of the liturgy, and not something the priest says after his greeting. . .

The Psalms will be chanted to either Tone II, III or VIII, except on 7/13, when we'll be singing a setting of Psalm 23 which I composed just before being diagnosed with cancer in 2004. It's one of my favorite compositions (HEY! someone has to be my fan, and it might as well be

So, here's the lineup for June 21st:

Entrance - The Lord is the Strength of His People - St. Denio
Offertory - I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say - Kingsfold
Recessional - I Sing the Mighty Power of God - Ellacombe

After 42 years, it seems to become more challenging to choose the most appropriate music - I just remember way too many hymns and tunes! (Might as well enjoy this predicament while it lasts. Someday, I might not remember my name....)

Okay. It's off to see how I fared with Brian's list!!!

Make sure you get your snarkicillin shots. A very bad case of infectisnarkillillus is making the rounds.


Thus Endeth the Trinity Weekend....and I'm right poop-ed out...

Well, the marathon, as you all know, began with Pentecost, followed by Trinity, followed by VBS and its closing solemn Mass, followed by Corpus Christi, including First Holy Communion and the great Eucharistic Procession. Of the 80 kids at VBS, 20 or so received their FHC. There were an additional 20 or so who attended the 8am Mass in support of their friends, and to participate in the procession.

As you know, the kids learned the 10th Century chant (ref.) for All Glory, Laud and Honor. Dr. J. Michael Thompson wrote three new stanzas for us to use here at the parish - as we have three outdoor processions each year (Palm Sunday, Corpus Christi and Christ the King). To add a bit of flavoure to the processional, we added finger cymbals (bought two new sets of Zildjian!), tambour and tambourine. The procession was to make five stations, where a decade of the Rosary would be prayed. Two things happened. The first was the time schedule; things were running late, but that was the only bad thing. The second thing that happened was that the kids, God-bless-'em, you just gotta love 'em, NEVER EVEN ONCE stopped singing the refrain!!!!!!!! By the time the procession was ready to enter the nave for Benediction, EVERYONE was singing that little piece quite nicely!

Music for Corpus Christi: Latin, Novus Ordo

With all the Powers my poor soul Hath - Rockingham
(the text by St. Thomas Aquinas)

Kyrie and Gloria were chanted.
Psalm: a bit messed with at Noon and Sun. pm
Tone III for the refrain (and verses except the two mentioned above,
which were sung to Tone VIII by the young woman who has been teaching
music the past year)
Mode V, with verse to Tone VIII
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus - Hyfrydol (with mod. following stanza 3)
Communion: (solo at all Masses)
Panis Angelicus - Cesar Franck
Communion at 10am Spanish: (in addition)
Panis Angelicus - Louis Lambillotte
[sung by the two women who have been leading the music at that Mass]
All Glory, Laud and Honor - 10th C. Chant

The duet at 10am was stunning. These two women are close friends and have sung together for years. The solo increased in beauty and dignity (and confidence!) at each Mass. At the Sunday pm liturgy, she really opened up, especially on the final page. Wooohoooo!!!!!!!

Next post: The Sunday after......

God's blessings.
Keep on snarkin'!!!!!


Sunday, June 14, 2009


Brought to you by the School of Snark!

Kudos to Paul Breault and the St. Joan of Arc choir (Cumberland, RI - NOT Minneapolis, thank God!) for their use of the Lambillotte Panis Angelicus, one of my suggestions from the previous episode of If You Must Use Hymns.

So today I'm going to try this again...

Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B

Just as I'm not big on programming just any old Marian hymn on Mother's Day, the same goes with programming hymns addressing God as Father "just because it's Father's Day". It's only fair! :)

So, here goes...

Dominus fortitudo plebis suae, et protector salutarium Christi sui est : salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae, et rege eos usque in saeculum. / PS.: Ad te Domine clamabo, Deus meus ne sileas a me : nequando taceas a me, et assimilabor descendentibus in lacum.
The Lord is the strength of his people, and the guardian of salvation for his Anointed. Save your people, O Lord, and bless your inheritance; be their guide for ever. / PS.: Unto you, O Lord, will I cry; O my God, be not silent with me; if you remain silent, I will become like those who go down into the grave.

Probably God is my strong salvation (Tune: Christus, der ist my Leben, aka Christ, who is my life)

Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting. (Psalm 107 (106))
My pick for a setting: any of those from Chabanel.

Use as an extra hymn somewhere suitable (hymn of praise or recessional, but NEVER in place of the Psalm of the day) I sing the mighty power of God. Common tunes are "Ellacombe" and "Mozart".

A great prophet has risen in our midst. God has visited his people.

We're getting into summer mode now. When I'm running the music program, I revert to old favorites. For example, the old stand-by Mode VI Alleluia.

Convertere Domine aliquantulum, et deprecare super servos tuos. Domine refugium factus es nobis, a generatione et progenie.
Turn back, O Lord, ever so slightly, we beseech you, and consent to be entreated by your servants. Lord, you have been a refuge to us from age to age.

The last sentence (which actually shows as the verse in the Graduale Romanum) brings me to O God, our help in ages past. Perhaps not a bad closing hymn. Another idea is a decent setting of the Psalm In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge, maybe as a responsory during Communion somewhere?

In te Domine sperave, non confundar in aeternam : in tua justitia libera me, et eripe me : inclina ad me aurem tuam, accelera ut eripias me.
In you, O Lord, I trust, let me never be put to shame; in your justice deliver me and rescue me; lend your ear to me and hasten to help me.

This comes from Psalm 31 (30), which is the Psalm used on Good Friday.

Perfice gressus meos in semitis tuis, ut non moveantur vestigia mea: inclina aurem tuam, et exaudi verba mea: mirifica misericordias tuas, qui salvos facis sperantes in te, Domine.
Secure my footsteps in your paths so that my feet do not slip; incline your ear to me and hear my words; display your wonderful mercies, O Lord, Savior of those who place their hope in you.

This comes from Psalm 17 (16).

Circuibo, et immolabo in tabernaculo eius hostiam iubilationis: cantabo, et psalmum dicam Domino.
I shall walk around his sanctuary, offering a sacrifice of jubilation; I will sing and say a Psalm to the Lord.

This is extracted from Psalm 27 (26), which is one of the "seasonal Psalms" of Ordinary Time.

To round out the Mass, I recommend somewhere To Jesus Christ, Our Sov'reign King. Why? Let's remember the "salvation" cliche in our Introit. Verse two of To Jesus Christ... gives us this:
Thy reign extend, O King benign, to every land and nation;
For in thy kingdom, Lord divine, alone we find salvation.
Then our third verse, the "singing" and "jubilation" cliche in our Communion:
To thee and to thy Church, great King, we pledge our heart's oblation,
Until before thy throne we sing in endless jubilation.
So, let's see what I'd do for hymns if I was at the console:

Entrance hymn: To Jesus Christ, our sov'reign King
Psalm setting: Jeff Ostrowski's setting at Chabanel. Click here for the antiphon (seven different harmonies), and here for the verses.
Offertory hymn: Shelter me, O God (one of the few pieces of Bob Hurd's that I like) or a decent setting of the Psalm for the Thirty Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C (Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full), either from Chabanel, or from Worship II or III.
Communion: The Lord is my light Grail/Gelineau setting from Worship II/III along with the antiphon by Richard Proulx.
Hymn of praise: O God, our help in ages past
Recessional hymn: I sing the mighty pow'r of God



I can remember on the RPInet message boards a while back (probably about a year or so ago at least anyways) a discussion thread on the song Gather and Remember. The text was written by OCP's own Owen Alstott. The tune is the beloved "Finlandia" by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957).

This is one of three pieces that the choir at St. Joan's in Cumberland sang this morning.

If I remember correctly, some of us started looking at the text as a celebration of the so-called "spirit of Vatican II". It is for that reason that I feel that, though Mr. Alstott has written some very good works, this, I fear, is not one of them.

For copyright reasons, I will not post the text here. However, one can access it here. Check it out and let me know what you think. I for one don't think that celebrating the so-called "relief from the dark ages" via "the spirit of Vatican II" is something we should be singing about at Holy Mass.



Corpus Christi - 11:30 AM
St. Joan of Arc Church, Cumberland, Rhode Island

Most of the music was quite good. A couple of "blechs" along the way, however.

McAllister...This bread that we share (blech!)
Alstott...I will take the cup of salvation and Alleluia
Lambillotte...Panis angelicus
Rosania...The supper of the Lord (blech!)
Alstott...Sanctus, Memorial A, and Amen from "Heritage Mass"
Agnus Dei XVIII
In remembrance of me (I don't know who wrote this, but it sounded kind of goofy, IMO!)
Adoro te, O Panis caelice
- (Here's the text and melody. If anyone knows the composer, please combox me. Quite nice.)
"Finlandia"...Gather and remember (I'll be taking issue with this text shortly.)
"Old Hundredth"...Praise God, from whom all blessings flow


Saturday, June 13, 2009


Ordained to the Holy Priesthood 13 June 2009
at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Providence, Rhode Island

Story in the Rhode Island Catholic, issue 11 June 2009 (thus the references to "Deacon Marcello", which he then was).

It turns out that he was not only connected with Holy Name, but with another former parish of mine, Precious Blood in Woonsocket, RI. His spiritual advisor was my boss during most of my stay at Precious Blood, the late Fr. Rene Gagne.

Fr. Marcello's First Mass is tomorrow at 9 AM at Holy Name of Jesus Church, Providence, RI. I wish I could have attended, but my daughter is in a softball tournament - games today and tomorrow, so I'll have to attend a 5 PM Sunday afternoon Mass up in Cumberland. (Since I'll be transporting my mom, the church won't be far from her.)

Kudos to Fr. Marcello - I think you'll make a great HOLY priest!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Solemn Mass" at the close of VBS

Processional Hymn , Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence - Picardy
Alleluia, adpt. Exsultate, Jubilate - Mozart
Offertory, Praise to the Holiest in the Height - Newman
Sanctus, Memorial, Amen, Agnus Dei, Mass XVIII/Jubilate Deo/Sacramentary
Communion, Panis Angelicus - Cesar Franck (solo)
Recessional, All Glory, Laud, and Honor - chant
Organ, Basse et dessus de Trompette - L. N. Clerambault


I mean, REAL Catholic style. Not a bunch of protest ant bullspoooooopiedoo..... Check back several articles and you'll see the plans we had made here. Well, I'm here to tell you (and you must want to know, since you're reading on....), that it's been like going to minor seminary for a week!

Yeah, we have the superficial "warm-up" time at 0745 hours.... The "Hallelu" song (where different groups stand for different texts), This is the Day.... BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT....

Hang on ye snarkies all. The O broke with all tradition and TAUGHT a short excerpt (is that an oxymoron? ) of the Mozart Alleluia from the Exsultate Jubilate. Just the opening of it. And the kids (all 80 of them - and the teachers as well), sang it beautifully. We give them time to have their "Loud" time, but then we quickly return to our motto: "Beautifully sung" . The response that these kids have had sorta kinda makes me excited about being in the classroom again...after an absence of a whole lottabuncha years.

Since the VBS has focused on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, tomorrow (Friday), at 1045 hours, we're going to celebrate! Although we're doing a daily Mass, we're doing it in a solemn way.... Procession....incense......chanting.....LAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTIN (Go, God). I know the kids will sing gorgeously. What I really am waiting to see and hear, is just how my boss, the Pastor, Fr. Glen Mullan, is going to condense and expand on all the lessons of the week..... in a ten minute time span!!!!!!!!!!!!! He's good, but this is going to be a fun challenge to watch.

Wait, wait, there's more! Every day, our two priests have been "in costume".... yesterday, the kids were visited by a Rabbi from Old Testament times. Evidently, his name was Rabbi Gleniel. He didn't tell them what his name meant.... and I saw Fr. Glen giving me a "look" (a good one), shaking his head, no. I told them that the name Gleniel meant "the tall one".... Fr. Glen is right at 6', I think. The kids laughed. Today, however, we were in the outer chambers of Solomon's Temple, where they met Zadok the high priest. (I immediately was taken away to the opening of Handel's chorus by that name). Zadok was going through the final instructions with Eleazar, who was going to be high priest later on. Zadok told the kids that when he turned 50, he would have to retire. I have no idea why some of the kids started to turn and look at me.... mesmells something fishy here........

In their music seminars each day, the kids have all worked on vocal technique as well as music.... a short list of that would include....

1. Praise to the Holiest in the Height (the text by Cardinal Newman), and the tune, Newman.

2. All Glory, Laud, and Honor - the old chant. Accompanied variously with finger cymbals, tambourine, tambor AND the organ (registered as a sackbut with piccolo on one manual, and the stinking chimes on the other). An esteemed colleague has penned three new stanzas for our parish, which we can use on Corpus Christi and Christ the King. So now the parish has a hymn which can be sung on those festival days, and those days where we have outdoor processions. A dream come true for our Pastor.

3. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence - the tune, Picardy. Turns out that this is one of the kids' favorites! Am I blessed or what???????? With the older group, prior to their even knowing we would sing this, I had them shut their minds off, to modern things, and visit a time 3,000 years back - when Isaiah had his vision. Woe! The older kids really responded well, and I'm most humbled and thankful.

4. Sanctus, Mortem, Agnus Dei....the Mass XVIII chants (a.k.a., "Jubilate Deo" Mass)

We also sang several other hymn texts at the chapel services, to St. Flavian and St. Anne.

That is how Catholics should be doing VBS... in my mostnotsohumbleopinion. But it's the right opinion, of course. Thus saith the snarkikus coalition. Right? SPEAK UP!!!

More on all that later.

God's blessings.

Oh - and bad note.... when I arrived home last evening, there was a stinking FLYER stuck in the handle of the storm door. And just what is this, I asked???? a bill??? NOPE. A STINKING STUPID, IDIOTIC FLYER inviting me to attend the VBS at a neighboring heretic house. Some about Kingdom Kids..... yeah, another thing we can do to talk down to kids, dumb down to kids....

That you God, for the One, Holy, True, Apostolic Catholic Church.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Michael Tober at Sober Inebriation offers this:

An important liturgical message from Cardinal Ratzinger - now Pope Benedict XVI

"Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. " (Spirit of the Liturgy p. 198)

This message has been brought to you by Sober Inebriation Weblog.

If you should encounter applause during Mass in your parish do not panic. Immediately after Mass go out and get a copy of Pope Benedict's book "The Spirit of the Liturgy" by Ignatius Press and give it to your pastor as a gift. Be sure to highlight the above passage on page 198. Yellow highlighter works really, really well.

RSCT to Father Z.
I know a few parishes in my own neck of the woods that could use this book. Thanks for the idea, Michael, and welcome to the CV Definitive Blogroll!


Monday, June 8, 2009


Well, it's soon here. Trinity, followed by a week long, exhaustive VBS, Catholic Style. No chance for Poncho Ladies to survive here, Brian!!!!!!! Just let them try to show their faces here - some of our parishioners will escort them to the shark fest.....hahaha.


Entrance: Sing Praise to Our Creator
Gott Sei Gepriesen
Kyrie - Mass XVI
Gloria - Heritage
Psalm - Tone II
Alleluia - Murray
Offertory - Holy, Holy, Holy - Nicaea
Sanctus - Mass XVIII
Mortem - from Sacramentary
Pater Noster - Snow (in time, the REAL CHANT!)
Agnus Dei - Mass XVIII
Marian Chant - Salve Regina - Mode V
Recessional - Lord, You Give the Great Commission - Hymn to Joy
with text slightly adjusted for the sake of Scriptural accuracy
Organ - Voluntary Nr. 2 (Diapason/Trumpet) - William Boyce

The bulletin is a pdf available for viewing....if I can figure out how to make that link available.. . if you want to see it, beg Brian, and he can coach me through the process..... if you're brave enough.... (it's an eight page booger, complete with info on the Athanasian Creed, plus a few programmatic notes on the music)...

UPDATE 6/8/09: Click here for the .pdf --BMP.



There's no getting around it here. At least we're doing good hymns and not Mariachi stuff. That's all right at the Mexican Restaurants, but not for Mass.

My hymn choices focus on all the aspects of the liturgical texts - and for some reason, all texts fare equally in my planning. In part because I must build a solid repertoire. My predecessor did some good stuff, and I have to build on that, plus reteach proper "counting" in a few pieces.

Our Pastor loves the Introit and Comunion Antiphon. Today, I began doing something new....with the Associate Pastor, I chanted both those pieces. With the Pastor, well, he recited the Introit, but I actually chanted the Communion. It was strangely beautiful - the response, I mean. The people were absolutely silent during the Communion.

Of course, our Masses were ad orientem, and perhaps that influenced behavior. I was struck though, by my own response at the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It was very moving.

Next goal: always ad orientem.

Next goal after that: (don't tell the "boss"!!) monthly Mass in Latin - at all the Masses on a given weekend. Hopefully the first weekend of the month, since that is typically the week that a school class is visible at the Noon Mass. And I want them to always be able to experience that form of the Sacred.

Which reminds me - VBS will close with a SOLEMN Mass on Friday, instead of a chapel service. This is because the entire week focuses on THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS.

Which also reminds me: REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED!!!!!!! We are at capacity, with 80 kids registered. This number includes the First Holy Communion Class, which are required to attend, as this is sort of like a "retreat" for them. More on all this stuff next week...or later, after I recover!

Back to hymns: we use them. I told Fr. Glen before moving here, that if we use hymns, then we must allow them to be used as the liturgical music and art form which they are. We can't cut the entrance hymn short, simply because the ministers are in the sanctuary. Otherwise we teach the people that the show belongs to the ministers, and that it's not the Holy Mass.

Today, the first had interludes after each of the first two stanzas (incensing). The offertory hymn just made use of judicious registration, but the fun with the improvisation began immediately on the final chord of the hymn...because I needed a musical way to remind the people that we'd be singing the Sanctus from Mass XVIII. It worked!

NOW THE GOOD NEWS...... for "a nice, real, good-long-time" the Eucharistic acclamations will be in Latin. Including the Spanish Mass at 10am! They are not so eager to forget their guitars (the people, not the woman who leads the guitar section), but they'll come along, I think. The other music will be that which they are used to. . . for a while....

God is good.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


A new series for Christus Vincit - the BLOG!

This is the blog version of a segment called Liturgy 101 from the School of Snark that I was doing on Christus Vincit ANYWHERE! I'm sorry I haven't gotten a new episode up since February. I just haven't had the time. I land up getting a couple of segments together, but then I'm busy the rest of the weekend with my family. After all, it's about the only time I really get to spend with them with my crazy hours. I'm determined to get a new episode up; I just don't know when. :(

Anyhoo, here's the blog version, titled If You Must Use Hymns.

Today's focus will be on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (aka "Body and Blood of Christ"). Corpus Christi is also the patronal feast at SteveO's diocese in the big state of Tejas! :)

Unlike most parishes, which utilize publications like Today's Liturgy or GIA Quarterly, which focus mainly on the readings, I look at the Propers first - the Introit, Psalm/Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion, according to the Gregorian Missal for Sundays, whose source is the Graduale Romanum (ok, I do use the Lectionary primarily for the Psalm, but offer the Gradual as well). I then look to the readings afterwards, if I've run out of ideas, or perhaps for the unnecessary yet still highly demanded recessional hymn, to "round out the Mass".

Corpus Christi - Year B

Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, alleluia, et de petra, melle saturavit eos, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
PS: Exsultate Deo adjutorio nostro : jubilate Deo Jacob.

He fed them with finest wheat, alleluia, and with honey from the rock, he satisfied them, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. PS: Rejoice in honor of God our helper; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.

Some may cringe with the thought of this, but with this antiphon, I tend to open the Corpus Christi Mass with Gift of finest wheat (You satisfy the hungry heart with gift of finest wheat...). Shepherd of souls, refresh and bless is a nice choice as well. With the verse, another thought might be the Grail Psalm 81, with the Gelineau antiphon Ring out your joy, which can be found in Worship II at #236.

Responsorial Psalm:
I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. (Psalm 116)

Any of the settings at Chabanel are highly recommended. The Grail/Gelineau setting in Worship II and Worship III is also very good.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live for ever.

Maybe I am the bread of life as an extra hymn somewhere if you're brave (hymn of praise after Communion, or recessional). Even better would be O living Bread from heaven, a "lost 45" which I haven't seen in a Catholic worship aid since the early We Celebrate volumes. If you don't have an early We Celebrate handy, the text is available at Net Hymnal (formerly "Cyber Hymnal"). The tune is Aurelia, which is most often used with The Church's one foundation.
Let's not rule out Panis Angelicus either. I'd go with the Lambillotte if you're leading a congregation. However, the Franck would go fine for a soloist, or even a choir (yes, we did an octavo at Holy Name - I forgot the arranger - of the Franck for SATB and treble solo, in A-flat).

Oculi omnium in te sperant, Domine : et tu das illis escam in tempore opportuno. Aperis tu manum tuam : et imples omne animal benedictione.
The eyes of all look to you in hope, O Lord, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand and fill every living thing with blessings. (taken from Psalm 145 (144)).

This could refer back to the previously mentioned Gift of finest wheat as an entrance (not "gathering") hymn.

Caro mea vere est cibus, et sanguis meus vere est potus : qui manducat meam carnem, et bibit meum sanguinem, in me manet, et ego in eo.
My flesh is true food, and my blood is real drink; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

Like the Alleluia from the Lectionary, this is taken from John 6. One would be quick to think I am the bread of life or Eat this bread.

Lauda Sion salvatorem (Laud, O Sion, thy salvation), or the shorter version Ecce panis angelorum (Behold, the bread of angels).
The chant setting is always best for either version. I've also done the Ecce panis angelorum by G.B. Pulleri from the St. Gregory Hymnal, #317, as an anthem.

Portas caeli aperuit Dominus : et pluit illis manna, ut ederent : panem caeli dedit illis : panem angelorum manducavit homo, alleluia.
The Lord opened the doors of heaven and rained down manna upon them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven; man ate the bread of angels, alleluia.

In addition to Gift of Finest Wheat, Panis Angelicus, and O living bread from heaven, let's add a setting of Psalm 78 to the mix - perhaps the Responsorial Psalm for the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (The Lord gave them bread from heaven).

Qui manducat carnem meam, et bibit sanguinem meum, in me manet, et ego in eo, dicit Dominus.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him, says the Lord.

More John 6. See my remarks for the intervening chants.

SO - What would my final hymn plan look like if I had my way? It would look like this:

Entrance hymn: Gift of finest wheat
Psalm setting: Sam Schmitt's setting at Chabanel.
Offertory: Psalm 78 setting for the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B, as found in Worship II or Worship III.
Communion: I am the bread of life
Extra Communion piece as time permits, or the optional "hymn of praise" after Communion: Panis Angelicus (use the Franck - go all out!)
Recessional (if we must): O living bread from heaven

As for the Ordinary of the Mass, this is just as good a time as any to go with chant settings in Latin. SteveO's already doing it!

For extra suggestions, check out CanticaNOVA's planning page. The selections given there are top quality!



Trinity Sunday - June 7, 2009 - 9:30 AM
St. Joan of Arc Church, Cumberland, RI

I'm surprised that Paul B. didn't go with the old Trinity standbys (O God, Almighty Father or reasonable facsimile thereof, and Holy, Holy, Holy, especially when the refrain of the former does so well with the introit of the day). He did do well, however, in choosing All Hail, Adored Trinity.

Also, a familiar face from my Holy Name days assisted at Mass - the Rev. Mr. Al Marcello. Deacon Al is a transitional deacon who is being ordained to the priesthood next weekend. I'm very optimistic that he will make a very fine orthodox Roman Catholic priest.

I forgot to mention last week: the Tabernacle in this modern pagoda-like ediface is centered, where it belongs. Not hidden in another room, or thrown off to the side, as seems to be the trend in many parishes these days. The drapes over the altar and pulpit are far more classy than most. They are more in the style of traditional-type vestments, instead of cheap felt and kindergarten cutouts. I should also mention the candles, though shorter, are placed on the altar three on either side, somewhat similar to the preferred setup by our Holy Father. Now Father Bourdon just needs to add a crucifix to the center. I personally like the two-sided crucifix at Holy Name - you need not reposition it if you opt to go ad orientem.

Anyways, here's the music:

"Old Hundredth": All hail, adored Trinity
Alstott: Blessed the people the Lord has chosen and Alleluia
Vogt: Age to Age (the only really crappy piece in the mix)
Alstott: Sanctus, Memorial A, and Amen from "Heritage Mass"
Agnus Dei XVIII
Franck: Panis Angelicus
"Hyfrydol": Alleluia! sing to Jesus

Personally, I would have saved the last two for Corpus Christi (next Sunday) - but it still beats the hell out Table of Plenty, Song of the Body of Christ, and similar ilk.


Thursday, June 4, 2009


Yeah, like after all these years I'm supposed to be able to fend for myself. Sure. Even though I was a bachelor and didn't marry until age 37.... and now she decides to stay with her folks a few extra weeks (like until the end of Aug. when her father turns 93.....). So this means I get to move all the stuff into the house from storage, get it all set up for my bachelor time and then she'll come home and rearrange things while I'm at work....(it's a long, long joke with us.... quirky things that keep us laughing like fools).

So pray not for Katie. She will do well. After all, she has the REALLY, REALLY GREAT PHONE that has a qwerty keyboard, and she can text me at a zillion times faster than I can with having to press darn near every key three, four...times..... so much easier to hit speed dial #2 and hear the voice of my gorgeous wife. . . And I still get to walk the dog, clean the cat poop out of the box (oops, forgot to do that this week.... no wonder Guinivere (affectionally known as "G'vere") has been meeeeeooooowring at me even after she gets the dead stinky yucky cat food. - Don't tell Katie, or I'm in trouble!!!)