Saturday, February 28, 2009


Thursday morning, an airbag saved my mother's life.

I was in for a big scare that morning on my way to work. I usually pass by my mother's church on my way to work each morning. She usually goes there for daily Mass. Last Thursday, as she pulled out of the parking lot of the church, her car was slammed in the nose - hard. The vehicle that hit her had to be flying because this car was CRUSHED in the front. Though I didn't see the crash happen, I drove my usual route to work, only to see a fire truck, a rescue unit, a tow truck, and a cop off to the side. I saw the license plate on the crushed Buick Century and pulled into the parking lot. Thankfully, my mother was standing and talking and not in the rescue. I was actually able to take her home. The worst she got was a slight gash in the chin. God was surely with us that day!

Thank you, Lord, for giving my mother more time on earth.
Peace from your humble snark,

Saturday, February 21, 2009


AND, the accusations sound familiar!

Photo courtesy of Fr. Tim Finigan
"This Is Not My Mass", OR "This Is My Dance Space, This Is Your Dance Space" (from the movie "Dirty Dancing")

Check out Fr. Tim Finigan's response to a slam written by Elena Curti of The Tablet, a UK periodical often referred to as The Bitter Pill. I tell you, you CANNOT get any more diplomatic than this (except maybe for Fr. Z), not to mention that Fr. Finigan's work in his parish in Blackfen is second to none up there! Keep up the great work, Father.

I really don't know whether to write a slam myself or what. I won't copy the whole article (click on one of the above links for that). I will say that this one particular nutcase apparently has nothing better to do than to try to split the parish herself. She accuses Fr. Finigan of doing that - singlehandedly - for simply trying to celebrate Mass the way the Church instructs us to. Sounds very familiar, you see. I can remember being accused by a parishioner via e-mail of singlehandedly splitting a parish merely as a musician, for simply teaching Gloria VIII to the parish that I last served as music director. That in itself is a nasty allegation for simply trying to do the Church's work.

Even worse is the financial accusations in the article. You see, this nutcase at the Bitter Pill (yes, I'll steal the nickname from Fr. Z) apparently knows that what Fr. Finigan is doing is right, so in a move to intimidate, or even attempt to oust, she starts accusing the priest of bad financial practices. Also very familiar. When my last parish purchased a Rodgers organ to replace the crappy Kurzweil keyboard that was in the church (yes, at one time the Kurzweil was the ONLY instrument there - for over a decade in a half, so though a pipe organ would have been the ideal, it was definitely a giant step up from the Kurzweil), it was done so courtesy of an anonymous donor who earmarked his/her donation for the purchase of a new organ (I still don't know who the donor was; it's none of my business). In turn, someone had spread a blatant lie around that the pastor had used parish money to purchase the organ, when in all actuality, the "restricted donation", something earmarked for a specific purpose according to state law, was used for THAT specific purpose.

One can only wonder: Did Mizz Curti (or the accusers at my former parish) go to confession lately? Or at least get her conscience examined? Because last I remember, one of the commandments is Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

As for Fr. Finigan and other priests like him, keep up the good work!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


This kid gets it. Check out the speech that she wrote on abortion for her class in school.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


This story, sent to me by my wife Ann, can hit home in so many ways, especially out in this region, where you're bound to get stopped for some petty motor vehicle infraction a hell of a lot quicker than you would for drunk driving, or for B and E for that matter.

Check this one out from Vancouver...


George Phillips, an elderly man, from Vancouver, B.C., was going up to bed, when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window. George opened the back door to go turn off the light, but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.

He phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?" He said "No," but some people are breaking into my garden shed and stealing from me. Then the police dispatcher said "All patrols are busy. You should lock your doors and an officer will be along when one is available."

George said, "Okay." He hung up the phone and counted to 30. Then he phoned the police again.

"Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I just shot them." and he hung up.

Within five minutes, six Police Cars, a SWAT Team, a Helicopter, two Fire Trucks, a Paramedic, and an Ambulance showed up at the Phillips' residence, and caught the burglars red-handed. One of the Policemen said to George, "I thought you said that you'd shot them!"

George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!"

(True Story) I LOVE IT! Don't mess with old people.

Maybe I should try that!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ave atque Vale

Well, folks, this is it. My final post on Christus Vincit. After a long while of commenting on the blog, I've decided to retire from the church politics scene, and close a life chapter. It's been an interesting ride since the mid 1990's when I became a "convert", but I never really achieved becoming a "catholic". I was always just a convert. This, I attribute to my strict Lutheran upbringing. All those years, I was really still a Protestant who happened to go to mass. I was still a Protestant organist who played the Roman liturgy like a Lutheran -- with vigor and worshipful leadership. My views were informed, like it or not, by how I was raised, and bolstered by an in-born Prussian obstinance. As a result, I was always a square peg as a catholic, too tolerant, yet too conservative at the same time. I confess that I'm happier now than ever having found my new/old church home. I don't regret going through the "conversion" process way back when -- it was a delightful experience growing from the rebellious and outrageous phase of a zealous 20-something. It wasn't a mistake. Just a "happy fault". With that, I bid you all a hearty "ave atque vale". Keep reading your Herodotus and your Pliny. There is much to discover in them.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


First, this one, which the Carolina Cannonball dubbed "The Glory Tambourine":

Then the fish shaker, sent to me by Rich (of Catholic Light fame) via e-mail:

I can distinctly remember such a fish design on a blue Chevy van (similar to the typical non-denominational "church bus") back in the 70's, owned by a heavily "charismatic" family who made it a point to attend the 7 PM folk Mass every Saturday evening. True story.

Of both these tambourines, I offer you another image of something I used to see prancing up Massachusetts Avenue in Boston during my Berklee days - people with bald heads wearing white togas (who were NOT members of the Delta Tau Xi fraternity of Animal House fame, I might add!).


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


...goes jointly to those professors at Boston College, a Catholic college run by the Society of Jesus, aka "the Jesuits" (and where the late Alexander Peloquin was a composer in residence), who are protesting the addition of crucifixes to the classrooms at the college.

After all, it IS a Catholic college for cripes sakes. Shouldn't a Catholic atmosphere exist there? I DO think SO!

RSCT to Jeff Miller, who also reports that Hans Kung claims that the Obaminator would make a better pope than Pope Benedict XVI. Screw Hans Kung!


Sunday, February 8, 2009


I stole this quiz from Ann Nichols, a member of the Fans of Christus Vincit ANYWHERE! Facebook group.


Rules: It's harder than it looks! Copy to your own note, erase my answers, enter yours, and tag 10 people. Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real. . .nothing made up! If the person before you had the same first initial, you must use different answers. You cannot use any word twice and you can't use your name for the boy/girl name question.

1. What is your name: Brian
2. A four Letter Word: boot
3. A boy's Name: Bruce
4. A girl's Name: Brittany
5. An occupation: Bartender
6. A color: black
7. Something you wear: boots
8. A food: bananas
9. Something found in the bathroom: buttwipe
10. A place: Boston
11. A reason for being late: blowout
12. Something you shout: Banzai!
13. A movie title: BASEketball
14. Something you drink: Blue juice
15. A musical group: Beach Boys
16. An animal: bunny
17. A street name: Baxter Street
18. A type of car: bomber (as in a synonym for "klunker")

For anyone who wants to take this on, TAG! YOU'RE IT!



Apparently somewhere in Japan (Japanese subtitles at the beginning give it away).

Here Virgil Fox plays J.S. Bach's Prelude and Fugue in D Major (BWV 532) on a five-manual organ with about the funkiest set of stopknobs I've seen since Estey's four-manual "luminous console" below...

Estey "Luminous Console", circa 1923 (Source: Estey Organs)

OK, so without further ado, here's Virgil on the other funky organ...



Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Anticipated Mass) - February 7, 2008
St. John the Baptist Church, Pawtucket, RI

THAXTED...O God, beyond all praising
Alstott...Praise the Lord who heals the brokenhearted and Alleluia
- (After Mass I got to show Paul my knack for reharmonizing Psalm settings in the key of D whose melodies end in F-sharp, thus resulting in the Phrygian mode.)
Galliard...The Servant Song
- (This one isn't bad at all. Actually sounds like a hymn.)
Vermulst...Sanctus and Agnus Dei from "People's Mass"
Danish...Christ Has Died and Amen
Haas...You Are Mine
- (Blech! Although I have to say Paul did the tune some justice by accompanying much less legato - it sounded more like an organ accompaniment than one of those arpeggiated piano accompaniments often seen by the "big three".)
Haas/DeYoung...We are called
- (As a favor I promised to my good friend Paul, no comment. Just refer to any previous remarks I made, OK?)


Saturday, February 7, 2009


Michael Dubruiel, husband of well-known Catholic blogger Amy Welborn, died February 3, 2009. He was 50.

Sorry I caught this late, but my condolences and prayers are with Amy and her family.


RSCT to Jeffrey Tucker.

Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB, one of the best (actually one of the very small handful of decent) composers to have works published by the big three has undergone an excellent chant project, dubbed The Sacred Music Project. The project utilizes the propers in English from the Roman Missal and the Lectionary for Mass. Only the antiphons are set to music here, not the verses. One could always use a Gregorian Psalm Tone for verses.

Excerpt from the description of the project:
Because a Gregorian melody is so closely linked to its text it is impossible (with a few exceptions) to effectively insert an English text into an already composed Gregorian melody. The St. Meinrad Chant melodies have been freshly composed for their English texts, emulating the way that Gregorian melodies match their Latin text. This compositional craft is the fruit of a lifetime of intimacy with the Gregorian repertoire. The English chants draw their inspiration from their Gregorian counterparts where applicable. The Introits match the modality of the settings of the Graduale Romanum, as do the Gospel Acclamations to the Alleluias and Tracts. The Communions and Responsorial Psalms, although their texts vary greatly from those of the Graduale, reflect a simpler style, similar to the compositional style of the Gregorian office antiphons.

Excellent new source!

Thursday, February 5, 2009


RSCT to Dymphna.


PS: If the women don't find ya handsome, they should at least find ya handy!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Did you know?

Did you know that at my shop we make handmade lace mantillas for traditional Catholics? We will also prepare quantities of lace for altar linens and liturgical vesture. Lace can be made from practically any fiber: wool, cotton, silk, etc. If you order a lace item, it takes a bit of time to make it -- hand-made is not machine made -- so depending upon how long the queue is of custom knitted/crocheted/or Belgian Lace items, is the time line you may be looking at before delivery. Just stop in or email me for info. Smaller lace items (like mantillas) have a quicker turn-around, of course. If you have a daughter/grand-daughter, family friend making First Communion in May, order pretty soon. We can also knit lace gloves for the ceremony as well as socks -- I know at least one parish here in town requires its girls to wear bobby socks and Mary Janes. Can't help with the MJ's, but we surely can produce a pair of fine silk socks knit specifically for your first communicant. Baptismal gowns for babies are also popular -- paired with a cap and booties, or just the gown, or simply a lace edging for a fabric gown.

Of course, we can make any knitted or crocheted item you might want to be handmade: sweaters, hats, scarves, as well as lace pieces for home decor.

All Things Wise and Wonderful

Howdy, fans! I haven't posted much in a very, very LOOONNNGGG time -- for the same reason that Brian doesn't comment as much: I've been extremely busy with the shop, which is now up and running quite nicely. My organ subbing also fills my time. I find that I'm much busier now as a substitute organist than I ever was as a full time music person (but without the staff meeting on monday morning!). Also, I actually get to meet my colleagues from other churches with whom I had formerly only spoken over the phone, or, regarding my friends working at Protestant churches, whom I had never met at all. A few months ago, I played my first Presbyterian service. Somehow in 26 years, I had never played for the Presbyterians, if you can believe it. Good folks. When I'm not subbing, I am one of 9 basses in the choir at Ascension Episcopal. I must say, it's great singing in a choir with such strong men's sections. There are about just as many tenors as there are basses -- and of course a goodly supply of female voices too (don't want to slight the ladies!). On tap currently: the Tallis "If Ye Love Me" (SATB edition), the Vaughan Williams "O Taste and See", the Mueller "Create in Me", the Mozart "Ave Verum", a wealth of good newly composed anthems, and my personal favorite in preparation now: the Lacrymosa from the Mozart Requiem. Around Christmas, we sang a Mozart Gloria for Christmas Eve as well as the Glory to God from Messiah. The congregation at Ascension are good singers too -- and without a cantor singing over them. I remember way back when I taught the Apostles' Creed to high schoolers, having quoted a concept stated by St. Augustine that evil exists so that God can make his own glory shine forth more brilliantly. This past year has proven that again and again. The old saying goes that "when a window is shut, a door is opened". In this case, when a porthole was shut, a gate was opened. I bear witness to the fact that the working of the Holy Spirit is truly amazing. I also owe much to the powerful intercessions of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, who has never failed to support me with her prayers. As an act of thanksgiving for her assistance, I hung her icon in my shop as a perpetual reminder of her goodness and faithfulness.

Although I'm rather out of the loop with some of the Roman church politics, I do hear about the major points from the customary news outlets but either have had no interest to comment on them or simply little time to sit down to compose an essay regarding them. Obviously, given the bumper crop of my commentaries lately, I've commented more on ecclesial goings-on, in conversations with friends and in real life public fora than online, so don't think that certain topics don't go unseen or uncommented. I'ved just not written them out here. I came very close to pointing out the irony of Benedict's "wound to humanity" comment from his statements around Christmas time, but just sighed then giggled to myself. The best comment would be a cartoon with the caption "sine verbis".

I recently found an antique altar card from the Latin Rite at a flea market. Bought it for a nickel! A nickel! Vintage 1950's. It wasn't in a complete set, just the central frame with the lesson prayers and bits of the Roman Canon. Pretty cool item. We moved the print of Oak Alley Plantation from over the toilet tank in the bathroom and hung the altar card in its place. Wonderful conversation piece when guests come over. It gets far more attention and reading there than it has in over 40 years! Pretty neat to have the first thing you read each morning be the Munda cor meum! Evangelization takes place everywhere, folks!

Have a great week!


...the Poncho Ladies™ want theirs lifted, too!

They are just too funny! Story and commentary over at Fr. Z's. He's a lot more diplomatic than I am. I'm too busy LMAO! :-)


Sunday, February 1, 2009


Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time - 10 AM - February 1, 2009
St. Mary's Church, Seekonk, MA

This is a program that (IMO) is an exception in my area - that is - it actually has more ups than downs! The church is a somewhat small colonial-style ediface. The organ is in the loft - an old Allen (with the infamous "diapasons become strings" stops, etc.). Unfortunately, on the most part, it sounded more like a Hammond than even an Allen of that time (the registration was rather tiercey in much of the music - I almost NEVER use mutation stops in chorus). The up-side is that most of the selections made were quality selections. There was NO Massive Cremation or St. Louis Jesuits at all - thank God! The church uses WLP's Seasonal Missalette, which, to me, is an upgrade from the Music Issue they had a couple of years ago. The WLP missalette does have its share of garbage, too, but in a lesser quantity.

Anyhoo, here's the list...

LOBE DEN HERREN...Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
- (nice hymn, but it was rather rushed, and only ONE verse)
Honore...If today you hear his voice
- (wasn't a fan of this one --- didn't like the repeats in the text. Verses were said, not sung.)
Alstott...Alleluia (the one in 2/4 time, key of D / fine)
NEW BRITAIN...Amazing grace! how sweet the sound
- (she played the first verse in C, then went to F - don't know why!)
Vermulst...Sanctus from People's Mass (good - and played rather well)
Deiss...Keep in mind
- (nice piece, but not as a memorial acclamation)
Danish Amen
Olawski...that thing that passes for an Agnus Dei
- (I often wonder where the hell this thing comes from. In many parishes, sadly, it's all they know. Yet it's not in any hymnal or missalette published in this country. I found it once on a piece of sheet music - probably illegally copied like in almost any typical parish - when I was organist at Sacred Heart in West Warwick, RI. Thankfully, things have gotten much better at Sacred Heart since Fr. Bucci became pastor and my good friend Dave Sylvester became organist.)
LOURDES HYMN...Immaculate Mary
- (Nice hymn, but why would we go with a Marian hymn here?)



Damian Thompson has posted a liturgy video - pretty much the UK version of those liturgies at the infamous Los Ahn-ga-leeze Religious Mis-edu-ma-cation Congress (aka "MahonyFest" - btw, the 2009 version should be coming to Anaheim pretty soon - brace yourselves!).

In the same post, Damian mentioned that Bobbie Mickens expressed his tears of disappointment when he learned that Cdl. Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI nearly four years ago. He's now crying foul at the Holy Father's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, something he predicted at the beginning of Pope Benedict's papacy.

Similarly, when Summorum Pontificum was released, you might remember than an Italian prelate also shed tears of sadness, saying that all of Abp. Bunigni's work is "cancelled". In light of that, as part of CVA #88 (for you rookies, that's episode 88 of Christus Vincit ANYWHERE!, posted on July 13, 2007), I had included a three-minute clip called Liturgy 911, where our distinguished liturgy cops Papa Joe Ratzi and Frank A. Rinze cheer up the distraught bishop.

Listen to that three-minute clip here!