Jul 082014
 

This looks pretty cool.

The Ignatius Pew Missal is an annual subscription-based worship aid intended for Roman Catholic parishes. Available to pre-order now for a special introductory price of $3.50 when you order 50+ missals!

Its purpose is simple: to provide worshipers with a liturgical resource that is consistent with the directives of the Church and accessible to the average parishioner, especially in regards to music.

This is done in two ways: by using simple plainsong melodies for the Entrance and Communion antiphons, so that a cantor, choir, and even a congregation can easily sing them, and by selecting hymns and songs which, combined, provide a repertoire of sacred songs that is fitting for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, yet accessible for the average parish.

Visit www.PewMissal.com to see samples and learn more about the Ignatius Pew Missal.


Still there is something wrong with the cover art. Don’t they know that for parish missal’s that the cover art is suppose to be abstract and barely recognizable as representing religious themes. They really need to take the Draw Me! course.

Mar 052014
 

Not sure what I am going to do this Lent.  Last year during Lent I nailed humility and it gets harder each year finding something to perfect.

The capybara kap-i-’bar-uh, hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, is a semi-aquatic rodent of South and Central America. It is the only species in its genus, which belongs to the family Hydrochoeridae, order Rodentia.

Feb 272014
 

If you own or have heard either of the two albums by “Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles” then all you need to know is that Lent at Ephesus is now available.

Otherwise if you are unaware of their recordings it is certainly time to acquaint yourself with them. At the end of 2012 they released Advent at Ephesus and in 2013 Angels and Saints at Ephesus. These two albums both spent some time at the top of Billboard traditional classical albums chart. They were the first order of nuns to win an award in the history of Billboard magazine.

That gives some background. Their first album Advent at Ephesus became an instant favorite of mine. I am sure I have listened to it over a 100 times during Advent. I had been purposely growing my Advent hymn collection, but this album is the crowning jewel of it despite having access to so much music via a paid streaming service. I just love everything about this album. The song selection, the production quality, and the pureness of the voices. I wish I had the vocabulary and knowledge of the Classical music connoisseur to explain just how good this album is. I love that all this applies to Lent at Ephesus.

What I especially love about their releases it that it fills a void. If you want recordings of high quality Christmas carols you have such a large selection. That their first recording focused on Advent was such a great choice and now Lent gets some attention. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be listening to this album over and over again throughout this Lent and Lent’s to come. This is 1:18:14 minutes of pure beauty and the perfect soundtrack for Lent.

  • Jesus, My Love
  • Christus factus est
  • God of Mercy and Compassion
  • Hosanna to the Son of David
  • Jesu dulcis amor meus
  • Jesu salvator mundi
  • Popule meus
  • On the Way of the Cross
  • Pueri Hebraeorum
  • O Sacred Head Surrounded
  • Adoramus te Christe
  • Stabat Mater
  • Divine Physician
  • Vexilla regis
  • Mother of Sorrows
  • Vere languores nostros
  • Tenebrae factae sunt
  • O Come and Mourn
  • Adoramus te Christe
  • Crux fidelis
  • All Glory, Laud and Honor
  • Ave Regina caelorum
  • My Mercy

Their discography so far:

Feb 102014
 

Roto Reuters – Today the little known federal agency the United States Fisheaters and Worshiplife Service (FWS) acted in accordance with section Sec.3.6, Sec.4.a of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Secretary Mortain announced that male altar servers would now be protected by the ESA. The Secretary said “While sightings of male altar servers continue to be reported that in many parishes they are being overwhelmed by populations of female altar servers.”

The FWS has previously setup safe harbor agreements in some areas. This policy’s main purpose is to promote voluntary management for listed species on non-Federal property while giving assurances to participating diocese that no additional future regulatory restrictions will be imposed. The agreements benefit endangered and threatened species. The safe harbor agreement with Bishop Bruskewitz the previous bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln have been fruitful where male altar servers were in their native habitat and protected from competing populations.

Secretary Mortain noted the previous safe harbor agreements, but said “While there are thriving male altar server populations in some parishes or even some diocese it is also evident that the species is threatened in the large majority of parishes. We must act now so that future generations will not be deprived of this species and the related endangered species the parish priest.”

News of the FWS decision caused an outcry from many groups within an outside the government. The common thread of these complaints is that male altar servers should just be allowed to die out naturally and replaced. A spokesperson for Greenpax protested “Where will this end? If we start to protest such naturally declining populations will we then also have to protect Catholic men because of their declining populations at Mass compared to Catholic women?”

historic picture of altar servers

Historic picture showing a time when male altar servers were not endangered and could be found in any parish.

 

Photo credit: Gora Gray via photopin cc

Aug 162013
 

Immaculate Conception, Jacksonville

The oldest Catholic church in Jacksonville, and one of downtown’s most historic structures, now has a new designation coming straight from Pope Francis in Rome.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, begun in 1853, has been named a Minor Basilica due to its unique historical, artistic and religious importance to its community. It becomes one of 77 Catholic churches in the United States and six in Florida to be honored with the designation.

The Rev. Ed Murphy announced the honor during Thursday’s noon Mass in the towering white Kentucky limestone church. The church’s last pastor, the late Rev. Antonio Leon, had first requested the designation eight years ago, but the paperwork had been lost, Murphy said.

Current Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine Bishop Felipe Estevez renewed the request in May with Rome’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The official letter from the apostolic office in Rome arrived recently confirming the honor.

“The comments I have gotten is it was long in coming and this is a great compliment to this great parish,” Murphy said. (source)

This is so cool, especially since this is the parish I came into the Church in.

I remember the late Fr. Leon telling me that reporters often assumed that this downtown church was the Cathedral for the diocese. The beauty of this church is evident to all.

This parish could easily have become just another downtown Catholic parish forced to close because of demographic shifts. Instead Fr. Leon in his 25 years of devotion and sacrifice to his flock in this parish prevented such an outcome. Part of his stewardship included providing a soup kitchen, book store, a major restoration of the church that enhanced its beauty, the TLM back to time of the initial indult, confession before every Mass, active third-order communities, just to name of few.

Thankfully Fr. Murphy is continuing in Fr. Leon’s footsteps along with adding a Courage chapter.

Dating back to the late 1700s, St. Augustine’s cathedral was designated a Minor Basilica on Dec. 4, 1976, by Pope Paul VI, at the time the 27th American church honored with the designation.

Immaculate Conception began as a small wooden church that became a victim of the Civil War in 1863 when Union soldiers looted and torched the building. A second church built at the same site was dedicated in 1871. But when the 1901 fire destroyed much of downtown Jacksonville, it also gutted the second church.

The current church, with stained-glass windows made in Munich, Germany, was opened in 1910. At the time the tallest building in downtown, about 800 registered families attend services there now.

To receive the designation of a minor basilica, a church must be a center of active and pastoral liturgy with a vibrant Catholic community. In a news release issued Thursday, Estevez said Immaculate Conception was granted this designation because of its “historical and spiritual significance to the Diocese of St. Augustine and its worthiness of art and architecture.”

Jun 042013
 

From a priest:

Last Sunday at the end of Mass the musicians chose a song that just wasn’t striking a chord with me. I couldn’t muster the energy required to pretend to be gleeful and sing along. As I looked at the congregation I noticed only a handful were joining in the song. Most looked irritated and bored. I know the GIRM does not require a recessional hymn (90), but and I’m wondering if it’s time for my parish to change our thinking about the “closing” hymn. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

It seems to me that a lot depends on the hymn. Holy God We Praise Thy Name always gets people going. On the other hand, perhaps ACDC’s Highway To Hell isn’t such a good idea. It is nice to have a Marian antiphon appropriate to the season, followed by an organ piece.

What do you think?

(Father Z)

I do wonder what would be the ideal recessional hymn for most parishes?

Judging by what I have seen the ideal recessional hymn would:

  • Be rather short, perhaps only one stanza, and just long enough for the priest to leave the Sanctuary and get close enough to the Narthex.
  • The hymn should not require much breathing to sing properly so that parishioners are not out-of-breath when making the mad-dash to the parking lot.
  • Be rather vague about the Catholic faith. You don’t want anybody to be interrupted with the idea of love of God and neighbor as they cut you off in the parking lot.

“Ite, missa est”, now gentleman start your race cars.

Plus isn’t it nice of so many people to leave before the end of Mass to free up congestion? Maybe we should start giving out ribbons for first, second, and third place in the Nave to Narthex sprint.

I remember being “shocked” in one parish where we got to the end of the second stanza of the recessional hymn and everybody was still there. I was even more surprised at the end of four stanzas people were still there.

May 072013
 

DERBY, Conn. (RNS) The Rev. Janusz Kukulka can’t say for sure that his parishioners are sinning more, but they sure are lining up at the new confessional booth to tell him about it.

The new confessional at St. Mary the Immaculate Conception Church in Derby, Conn. RNS photo by Ann Marie Somma/Hartford Faith & Values

For years, Kukulka, was content with absolving sins in a private room marked by an exit sign to the right of the altar St. Mary the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

But something happened during Lent this year. For the first time, Kukulka really noticed the two confessionals missing from the rear of his church. They’d been gone for four decades, ripped out during the 1970s to make room for air conditioning units during a renovation inspired by the Second Vatican Council.

They must have been a thing of beauty, Kukulka thought. He imagined their dark oak paneled doors and arched moldings to match the Gothic architecture of the church designed by renowned 19th-century architect Patrick Keely.

Their absence was striking, especially when the Archdiocese of Hartford had asked parishes to extend their confession hours during Lent, part of a public relations campaign to get Catholics to return to the sacrament of reconciliation.

So, one Sunday Kukulka announced his desire to the congregation. “I told them I wanted a visible confessional,” he said.

He got one within a week.

Patrick Knott, who had never confessed in the private room, said a long line formed in February when Kukulka held the first confession in the booth. He was the first to try it out.

“I got celebrity status,” he said. “It wasn’t bad.”

Kukulka said confessions have been up ever since at the church.

Nicely positive story so of course they needed a killjoy.

But Thomas Groome, professor of theology and religious education at Boston College, doubts that an old-school confessional will be enough to keep the momentum going.

At the parish I came into the Church in they have two sets of the old style confessional and they have confession before every single Mass. There is always some kind of line.

I really think it is quite important to have confession “front and center” even if really it is back and center location wise. I love seeing people in line and I wonder how many people this encourages to also subsequently go to confession?

Frankly the “reconciliation rooms” kind of freak me out at some level. Whenever I see one of them I can hardly imagine wanting to go to confession there. The ones I have seen are so blasé that they could easily be converted to a janitors closet, if that is what they weren’t before. While certainly the location does not affect the sacrament, it does affect how we perceive the sacrament. Add the fact that these rooms are often apart from the main church (in my experience).

I do wonder what would happen if confession was available before every Mass everywhere?

Article via Da Mihi Animas

Apr 282013
 

Something occurred at Mass today that I found to be indicative of the mistaken view that occurs in music during Mass.

First off I already think of the music ministry of this particular parish to be rather painful. Any Mass with a full drum kit that gets used during the Gloria and Agnus Dei and pretty much every hymn does not score high on my scale. Little Drummer Boy – fine. Full grown man banging away during hymns – not so much. I kept expecting a drum solo.

Still this is not what surprised me at Mass. Towards the end they had the children come up to the altar to donate money that had raised for the homebound. While this was happening the pianist started playing “Linus and Lucy” – yes the Peanuts theme song. If my jaw had been physically capable of dropping to the floor, it would have. At first I thought “That hymn they are playing sound vaguely familiar” until I realized what is was with certainty. Thankfully Snoopy did not come out to dance on the ambo.

This flows from the idea of providing a soundtrack for the Mass. That silence must never occur and that constantly something must be playing. At least that is the only explanation that comes to mind for me that cold lead to playing the Peanuts theme. The four-hymn sandwich was not enough so a bunch of musical Hors d’oeuvre must be added. Next we will get background music for the “Liturgy of the Bulletin” which occurs at the end of many Masses.

Thankfully the Church restricts any musical instruments during the Eucharistic Prayer. While this is occasionally abused in some places, luckily it is one area where we still have silence in the Mass. Otherwise I could easily imagine Drum Kit Guy percussion crescendo leading up to the consecration. Although I do love to have the bells rung at the consecration (which strangely is the one thing fill-up-the-Mass-with-music don’t do).

Also for some strange reason I thought we were still in the liturgical season of Easter. Evidentially this is not so since thematic Easter songs seemed to have ended on Easter. We went back to the rather ordinary dreck right after Easter.

Apr 122013
 

Atlanta, GA, April 9, 2013 – As a follow-up to their chart-topping first release with the Decca Label Group, The Benedictines of Mary unite their voices once more in ANGELS AND SAINTS AT EPHESUS. This second album, a year round collection, will entertain and inspire, featuring 17 English and Latin pieces sung a cappella for the feasts of the holy Saints and angels. Recorded once again at their Priory in the heartland of America, this new album is a dynamic yet pure fusion of their contemplative sound. The Sisters call to mind the glory of the future vision of God in the company of all of His angels and Saints.

I got a lot of airplay out of their first album and I will again when Advent rolls around again.

  1. Dear Angel Ever At My Side
  2. Ave Regina Cælorum
  3. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
  4. Christe Sanctorum
  5. Duo Seraphim
  6. Virgin Wholly Marvellous
  7. Est Secretum
  8. Lorica of St. Patrick
  9. O Deus Ego Amo Te
  10. Emicat Meridies
  11. O God of Loveliness
  12. Læta Quies
  13. A Rose Unpetalled
  14. Jesu Dulcis Memoria
  15. 15.Te Joseph Celebrent
  16. Jesu Corona Virginum
  17. Veritas Mea
Apr 012013
 

One of the nice things about praying the Liturgy of the Hours it that it helps you to remember that some solemnities don’t just end when the day is over. Christmas and Easter both have octaves and you are reminded of that as the prayers repeat during that time. Easter as the greatest feast in the Christian life is special in that each day of the Easter Octave is a solemnity.

So what we really have is a form of liturgical Groundhog’s Day. Each day in the Octave we once again celebrate the Solemnity of Easter. Yet we won’t be tempted to smash our alarm clocks despite the psalms being played are the same each day. Unlike Bill Murray’s character we know when the repeating day in the octave is going to end.

Lent also provided us an opportunity as in the movie Groundhog’s Day as to refocus our priorities avoiding those nihilistic paths that might seem to lead to pleasure, but not the ultimate joy of Easter.

So truly celebrate this Octave of Easter and the fact that Friday during the octave is not a day of penance.