Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sing Out, Ring In

Here we are again at the end of the day, the week (by coincidence of the calendar), the month, the year.  A time for reminiscing and celebrating.  The slate is wiped clean; the canvas is blank.  Come, hear fresh the words of the Scottish poet Robert Burns:
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne? 
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne. 
And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne. 
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne. 
We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wandered mony a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne. 
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne. 
We twa hae paidled i' the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne. 
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne. 
And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
For auld lang syne. 
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
May God, to Whom time and eternity are one in the same, grant us abundant blessings in the coming year.  May His grace guide us to what is true, good, and beautiful.  May He keep us steadfast in faith, hope, and love.

Happy New Year!

Janus Speaks

I called 2010 the "Year of Chant".

I would have to call 2011 the "Year of Disenchantment".

I can recall a 13 month period in my life which was the most depressing (I'll spare you the details).  The memory of nearly being evicted in 2006 still takes up residence in my mind.  But, outside a couple of events, the past 12 months have not been enjoyable.

Yes, it revolves around my (lack of) economic status.  The doubts about finding any kind of employment grow larger, even if they are barely noticeable.  The little disappointments have become a little more frustrating.  Minor stumbling blocks are seemingly becoming major hurdles.  In wanting to "Go Forward", I seem to have lost a lot of ground.

This guy has nothing on me in the worry department.

While I don't consider myself a pessimist, it is becoming harder to be optimistic.  I feel more like Jeremiah than Job.  The words of the prophet seem more like an empty promise right now:
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.  When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you.  When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me—oracle of the LORD—and I will change your lot; I will gather you together from all the nations and all the places to which I have banished you—oracle of the LORD—and bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you.
Jeremiah 29:11-14

But, as St. Paul reminds us, God answers in his own time; "delay" is not in His vocabulary, but ours.  Of course, questions are begging.  Am I seeking Him wholeheartedly? Am I calling and looking for Him sincerely? Is this a battle of wills (one which I can't "win")? What grain of wheat needs to be planted? Is the soil ready for it? Am I truly ready to serve Him as He sees fit?

I had a priest tell me once my honesty would be my salvation.  Now, I don't ever think I will ever be ready to tackle the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola (although the Jesuit ideal of seeking and finding God in all things does play a very small part of my spirituality).  But the soul searching continues and I don't think I am the one doing the majority of it.

An acquaintance of mine asked me a few days ago if I had made any New Year's resolutions.  I responded I hadn't thought about it too much.  With the installation of a new calendar only a few hours away, I have decided I will not make any new ones.  I have too many which have not come to fruition; there is plenty of pruning in this vineyard to do first before planting new vines.

It is still summarized in what has become my motto.

Go Forward.

Let's just say the next 366 days will have their own theme.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

'Net Working

As you can see in the sidebar, I have installed the widget to NetworkedBlogs.

Granted, I don't have a large readership, but I would be interested in seeing who visits this infinitesimal corner of the universe on a regular basis.

Be my guest; register.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Another Christmas Announcement

Blessed Pope John XXIII, three months into his pontificate, had already made his intentions known.

On this day, fifty years ago, he made it official.

The Apostolic Constitution Humanae Salutis, issued December 25, 1961 formally summoned the next ecumenical council, to be held in Vatican City beginning some time next year.

Quite the Christmas present to the Church.

Half a century later, we are still unwrapping it.

2011 Christmas Card

As we, like the shepherds, "... go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us” (Luke 2:15b), may also, like them, glorify and praise God for what we have seen.  May the Christ Child, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, bless us and all we hold dear in our hearts.  May there be joy to the world, for the Lord has come!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011 Christmas Eve Reflection

Vigils in the Catholic Church are wonderful things.  While they are celebrated the evening before the actual feast, liturgically speaking we have arrived at the day in question, as a nod to the Creation Story in the first chapter of Genesis (And the evening and the morning were  In a sense, it is hodie; in another, it is a foreshadowing of eternity.

And yet, we are still waiting, like the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, like the shepherds, like the rest of the world.  This theme is reflected throughout the Vigil Mass of the Feast of the Incarnation:  Today and still waiting for tomorrow.  We are still traveling to Bethlehem, still anticipating the great event, still awaiting our deliverance.

This tension between "here and now" and "not yet" readily appears in the Propers for this Mass.  If you recall from last year's reflection, they are antiphons used as select points of the Mass.  And like last year, they will be the focal points for my thoughts this December 24.  Once again, I will provide an English translation.

Today you will know that the Lord is coming to save us; and tomorrow you will see his glory.

Cf. Exodus 16:6,7; Isaiah 35:4

These passages are the text for both the Introit and the Gradual.  In their respective Gregorian Chant settings, the latter is more elaborately set than the former as befits their roles.  The Introit prepares the way and establishes the theme for the Mass as we take our final steps toward the House of Bread; the Gradual allows reflection upon not only the First Reading but also our journey this past Advent.

Almost, but not quite there.  The First and Second Readings make that clear.  Isaiah speaks of vindication, victory, and valor, as does St. Paul in this account from the Acts of the Apostles.  But while both were speaking in their "todays", they both referred to something "not yet".  If you get a moment (or if you are assisting at this Mass), take a look at both passages in this light.

Tomorrow the sin of the land will be destroyed, and the Savior of the world will establish over us his kingdom.

This Alleluia is one of the rare times where the Bible is not the source of the text.  But its words are still in concourse with the rest of the Propers.  It is a precursor to the second part (better known as the Short Form) of the first chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, where St. Joseph is receiving his marching orders.  The event for which we have been waiting the past four weeks is not quite accomplished.

Anticipation.  The hopefulness in the build up.  To prepare ourselves for the moment where our joy will be complete.  The feeling that something is within our reach, but we still must wait for it.  Isn't this one of the great moods of Christmas, and why we have Advent?

O Princes, lift up your gates; be lifted high, O eternal gates, and the King of Glory shall make his entry.

Psalm 24:7

How appropriate are these words for the Offertory this night.  Again, we are waiting for the King of Glory to make His entry.  Here is more anticipation.  He is coming, but in a guise we do not recognize unless with Faith.

How ready are we? What is standing in the way of the Way, the Truth, and the Life? What darkness in us still wants to overshadow the Light? How silent is our soul so the Word can be clearly heard? While more focus in recent times has been placed on Advent being a time of preparation, have we heeded the call of St. John the Baptist and continued on our journey of repentance? Have we decreased so He may increase? While conversion begins with a single event, a "now" moment, it is a process of continual renewal, reminding us it it is still "not yet".

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see the salvation which comes from our God.

Cf. Isaiah 40:5 

If the Psalmist's words are ideal for the Offertory this night, how even more so the prophet's words for the Communion.  And not just for this Mass, but for every Mass.  The glory of the Lord is revealed at every Holy Sacrifice; remember, we are not at our own churches, but also the Upper Room and Calvary.  We hear and see our salvation at the words of Institution and the elevation of the Sacred Species.

In the Real Presence, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the form of bread and wine, do we find what we are seeking.  His Glory is finally revealed.  Our salvation is seen at last.

Emmanuel.  God is with us.  His birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, played out in so many "todays", are "here" and "now".  The culmination of our longing and watching are complete.  Our Advent is finished.  Let Christmas begin in earnest.

Ero cras.  Tomorrow, I come.

The "here and now" and the "not yet" are reconciled.

Hodie Christus natus est.

Seeking Royalty

Like Mary, the time of confinement is nearly complete.

Our seeking and waiting is near an end.

New royalty, an heir to the throne of David, shall grace us, in more ways than one, with His presence.

The time is drawing near, as the following Advent hymn suggests.


The King shall come when morning dawns
and light triumphant breaks;
when beauty gilds the eastern hills
and life to joy awakes.

Not, as of old, a little child,
to bear and fight and die,
but crowned with glory like the sun
that lights the morning sky.

The King shall come when morning dawns
and earth's dark night is past;
O haste the rising of that morn,
the day that e'er shall last;

And let the endless bliss begin,
by weary saints foretold,
when right shall triumph over wrong,
and truth shall be extolled.

The King shall come when morning dawns
and light and beauty brings:
Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray,
come quickly, King of kings.


Ero Cras.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Antiphonal Echo

Once again, we enter into the homestretch of Advent.

Once again, we begin our final preparations for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Once again, we meditate on His coming into the world.

With that in mind, I humbly present once again my series of meditations on the "O" Antiphons.  Along with my meager thoughts, I will once again be linking to posts by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf of "What Does The Prayer Really Say" and Fr. Mark Kirby, OSB of "Vultus Christi", who, each in their own wonderful ways, will expound on these short verses found in the Liturgy of the Hours.  In fact, Fr. Zuhlsdorf has a short primer on these simple yet profound phrases.

My posts on these are arguably the most popular among my readers, judging by the increase in traffic during this time.

Once again, I hope you enjoy them.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Ora Pro Nobis

From Immaculate Conception Church; Marrero, Louisiana

As patroness of the United States of America under this title, we are under her care. On this feast day, let us pray for the welfare of our country, that we may continue to be "one nation, under God".
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone that fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you, O virgin of virgins, my mother; to you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer them. Amen.
St. Bernard
Originally posted 12/8/2005.
Re-posted 12/8/2009.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Gone Before Me

The house where I live is only two blocks away from the city-owned cemetery. It serves as a good reminder to watch and be ready, for one doesn't know the hour of death. I exercise the seventh Spiritual Work of Mercy nearly every time I pass it.

Today, it also reminds me of another soul who needs my prayers. It is now twenty years to the day since the passing of my father. The story of his death and funeral are still to this day the saddest in my life. The only other detail I can add is the citation of the First Reading for his Funeral Mass--Isaiah 55:6-9.

Kindly say prayer for the repose of his soul, as well as those who dwell in Purgatory.

Take comfort in these words.

I still do.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Awaiting A Savior

Happy New Liturgical Year, from this infinitesimal corner of the universe.

A full four weeks this calendar year to prepare ourselves to celebrate the mystery of the Incarnation. All 28 days to reflect on these events in our salvation history. We once again will hear the prophets announce His coming into the world, the Blessed Virgin Mary bearing Him so tenderly in her womb, all the ends of the earth anticipating His arrival.

We cannot have a Resurrection without a Death. We cannot have a Death without a Birth.

Advent is here! Prepare the way of the Lord! Maranatha!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

2011 Thanksgiving Day Card

While we should count our blessings every day and thank God for them, it is nice to have a day set aside to remember and be grateful for what we have. To "give thanks" is also an act of humility, as what we have is really not from our hands. May God continue to abundantly bless us and give us the grace to see those blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cecilia: Virgin & Martyr

Martyrdom of St. Cecilia (1600) , by Stephano Maderno

The Catholic Encyclopedia brings us the details about this most popular saint.

Listen to your favorite piece of music today.

Pray for those who are musicians, especially those who labor in the vineyards of our parishes today.

May those efforts always strive to give, as Johann Sebastian Bach would write in a abbreviated manner upon his scores (without the Protestant connotation), this ultimate expression:

Soli Deo gloria!

Glory to God alone!


My other posts about this day:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Until The End

From the Huffington Post, a story which does witness to the power of the Sacrament of Marriage.

Talk about the complete fulfillment of the vow "for as long as you both shall live."

The ideal perfectly realized.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Indefinite Intermission

I am still digesting some rather unsettling news.

At our weekly church choir rehearsal at St. Olaf last night, we were informed by our music director that he had been laid off by the parish due to budget cuts.

The choir's last formal appearance will be this Sunday at the 11:15 AM Mass.

This is not to say there will be no music at St. Olaf. There is a staff of volunteer accompanists and singers (myself included) that assist the congregation at other Masses when the choir was not scheduled. Who will schedule them now is also a concern, as the wife of our music director (and also a choir member) handled that duty on a monthly basis.

Stunned is a very accurate word to use right now. Granted, nothing is sacrosanct; but why do you gut what is considered by many parishioners a significant and appreciated part of their parish life, not to mention an important asset in the liturgy? Our new priest has a very fine singing voice; in fact, in his first Mass here, he chanted the Opening and Closing Prayers as well as most of Eucharistic Prayer II. I had a glimmer of hope of the possibility of "singing the Mass" could have been done. It's still there; it's now been clouded by this.

I am not going to make it any more of a problem than it could be. Musical life at St. Olaf will continue, but it will be diminished.

Am I going to be part of the problem or part of the solution?

I'm leaning toward "B", but I need to discern my role.

(UPDATE): Please note this is only a part-time position.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

112 Years Of Harmony

One of my fondest memories of my undergraduate days at Morningside College (Sioux City, IA) was my involvement with Gamma Xi Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America.

Today the organization celebrates the 112th. anniversary of its founding at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA.

It has undergone lots of growth and development during its existence, not without some growing pains.

But its commitment to its ideals make it what it is today.

The Fraternity's current National President, John Alan Mongiovi, is marking the day with the following announcement:

Having been a voting delegate at the 1988 National Convention in Kansas City, MO and given the recent success of past Conventions, it looks to be another promising assembly.

Even though it has been over twenty years since my last involvement, I can still say with pride, "Once a Sinfonian, Always a Sinfonian. Long live Sinfonia!"

Come, Brothers, Hail!

(UPDATE: 10/6/2011): Whoops! I can't subtract. 2011 is the 113th. anniversary of the Fraternity. I have changed the title of the post and properly edited it to reflect that correction.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I've Got Six

Today marks my sixth anniversary as a 'blogger, the day when this "infinitesimal corner of the universe" came upon the scene.

For better or worse (and at times it's been one or the other), I'm still standing, having neither been swallowed by the vastness of the infinity know as the World Wide Web nor growing to become a significant force on it.

This entity, like most of us in this mortal plane, lives and moves and has its being.

But we just don't "exist". Believe me, I am not an existentialist in any way, shape, form, or regard. "I think; therefore, I am not" just doesn't fly in my life.

I belong to Jesus Christ, however imperfectly I have returned what little I have been given over to Him. His claim on my being is still captivating; my complete response is still forthcoming. Conversion is not a "one and done" deal; the resurrection cycle is about maturation and surrender. A soul rarely becomes perfect here on earth, but here it must start.

I am reminded of the words of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, words I used in one of my very earliest posts:
God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission -- I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good. I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it -- if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore I will trust in Him. Whatever, wherever I am. I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me -- still He knows what He is about.
And this 'blog, I hope is part of that.

So, what's the plan for the next twelve months?

More of the same, only better.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Images Of Hope

There are a myrriad of images surrounding the events of 9/11. I chose these four because, while it is important to remember the past, it is just as important to visualize the future.

Who could not forget this act of reclaiming the area as our own? To me, it was symbolic of getting back to one's feet, bloodied but unbroken.

I lift up my eyes toward the mountains; whence shall help come to me. My help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

The Lord will guard you from all evil; he will guard your life. The Lord will guard your coming and your going, both now and forever.

Psalm 121:7-8

It was a simple yet dramatic memorial. Light overcoming darkness. A statement saying this will be done.


Originally posted 9/11/2006.


Yesterday's ceremony in Shanksville, PA set the tone.

Today will be a somber day.

We as a nation and a world will relive the events of a Tuesday morning history will not forget.

We remember those who were the victims and share their grief.

We continue to struggle with how this has affected our lives, whether we want to admit it or not.

There are still many unanswered questions, most of them beginning with "Why".

Other people will write more eloquent words or have more elegant memorials than I. Do search for them. It will be worth your time.

How interesting it is two readings for this particular Sunday, the Twenty-Fourth in Ordinary Time in Lectionary Cycle A, stress forgiveness. Yes, while we still cry for justice, we also must show mercy. God does.

We still do not know "the peace which surpasses all understanding." There is a hole in the world the size of the footprints of where the Twin Towers stood, despite the reconstruction. There is an even larger hole in the heart of the world which seeks wholeness. It is a restlessness St. Augustine describes so well.

In some ways, we have moved on. In some ways, we are stuck. In some ways, we have regressed. Yet we know this world still groans under the weight of Original Sin. While Jesus Christ has redeemed humanity and the world by His Cross and Resurrection, we still must cooperate with God's Grace to see "a new heaven and a new earth" come forth, where there are no more divisions and even Death has been overcome.

So, let us continue to seek the face of God. Let us continue our own personal conversions so the world may eventually be converted. Let us continue down "the narrow way", the path which leads to life.


As I suggested before, let us pray for the following:
1. The souls of all who died.
2. Those who still mourn.
3. Those who seek a just solution.
4. Forgiveness toward our enemies.
5. Our enemies (didn't Someone command us to do this?).
6. The courage to continue the fight.
7. Peace.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Visit With Zeros

This "infinitesimal corner of the universe" passed another milestone in its benign history.

Visitor #40,000 made a brief stop on Thursday at 12:27 PM.

With the information from Sitemeter, my guess would be that some kind of information was being sought.

No matter how long they stay, I am always glad for the hits.

I realize I have a very small audience.

Sometimes, they even like what I write.

That should be my encouragement.

It is.

Thanks to all who come.

Hurry back.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Labor Unrest

This is not encouraging news concerning the job front and people like me.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offer their assessment, courtesy of their Labor Day statement (PDF File) issued by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Stephen E. Blaire, Bishop of Stockton, CA and the Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

So. like the Psalmist, I have to find more help here.

As a side note, isn't it interesting the United States has created a holiday which seemingly mirrors a feast day of the Church (Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, May 1)?

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Talking Point

Dr. Philip Blosser is the 'blogmaster at "Musings of Pertinacioius Papist", a 'blog I first read as I was starting and now am happy to have rediscovered.

His latest post is a reprint of an article from the July/August issue of the New Oxford Review.

That article was authored by Dr. Lucy E. Carroll, the organist/director at the Carmelite Monastery in Philadelphia and an adjunct associate professor at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton.

It is a summation of what has happened to music in the Mass in the past 40+ years and how, with the implementation of the revised Roman Missal, it can be changed.

Just more food for thought.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The "Spanish Palestrina"

Today marks the 400th. anniversary of the death of Spanish Renaissance composer Tomas Luis de Victoria. A contemporary of Giovanni Palestrina and Orlando Lasso, his sacred music is of the highest quality and beauty.

How fitting, then, to share with you the Introit to his Missa Pro Defunctis, a Requiem Mass in honor of the Empress Maria.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nunc Dimittis

After over 57 years serving as a priest in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, the last 24 as pastor of St. Olaf Parish in Bountiful, the Very Reverend Rudolph A. Daz celebrated his last Sunday Masses this past weekend. On August 1, he will retire from active priestly duties. Fr Reynato T. Rodillas, SVD, has been named as Parish Administrator.

While the parish knew this day would eventually come, it was still a surprise when the announcement was made this past March. A retirement party was held for him on June 5 to a gym full of well-wishers (including myself). A true man of God, he is well-loved by those he has guided and will be greatly missed.

"Well done, good and faithful servant."

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Perfectly Squared Day

As the Barry Manilow song goes, "Looks like we made it."

I speak, of course, of my "coming out" party 49 years ago.

The most significant milestone in my life is once again being acknowledged; because without this one, there would not be any at all.

First, foremost, and always, I am thankful for being. Existing is a good thing; the first option of Hamlet's question is the right answer. God knows I should be more grateful for that, considering how things could be going.

Yet God knows how much of an Augustinian heart I have. I find it so ironic the number of years I have been alive is now the same as the number of full months I have been without a job. I know Jesus said to only worry about today, but it is so hard when the few bills I have can't be paid. And the Devil knows of that insecurity all too well. Thank God there is more than enough grace to overcome being hopelessly despondent.

The motto of this 'blog and its owner has been "Go Forward." There are days when I think I do; there are days when I just hold my ground; there are days when reverse seems to be the direction. At times the cross you carry is an easy yoke; at times you have Simeon along; at times it fells you. Yet, it is with you always.

Such is each individual's via crucis, this experience called life. There is no living without dying, but there is no dying without rising. Is this not the true meaning of being an "Easter people," in the words of Blessed John Paul II? Is this not what we are called to do according to the prayer ascribed to St. Francis of Assisi? How can we be fruitful unless we become a seed scattered and sown?
"Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, "A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!'"
Robert Browning
I pray the best is yet to come.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wrongly Titled Post

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf is the 'blogmaster of one of the best Catholic 'blogs on the internet, "What Does The Prayer Really Say."

He calls his latest post a rant.

I call it a much needed sermon.

A Priest Forever

Today marks the 60th. anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of Joseph Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI.

Keep all priests in your prayers. You never know where their calling takes them.

Double Praise

The Apostle to the Jews and the Apostle to the Gentiles.

He upon whom the Church is built and he who was one of Her busiest missionaries and eloquent preachers.

Both came to Christ from different paths, both endured their hardships, but both ran the race to the end.

Once upon a time, their respective feast days were separate. Now, they are celebrated together.

We are blessed to have such great teachers and leaders of the Faith.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chant Comes Here

The Church Music Association of America has announced the site for Colloquium XXII, to be held June 25-July 1, 2012.

Their next "seven days of musical heaven" will be here.

Once again, a significant liturgical practicum will be in my backyard.

I have already offered to help.

365 days and counting.

I can't wait.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Missing Links

My 2010 St. Cecilia's Day post mentions a litany to the patron saint of music used by members of the Church Music Association of America. This prayer is used as a novena beginning the 22nd. of each month. The forum post has links to both a recited and chant form, the chant having been composed by a member of the CMAA.

There has been a small problem. The links to copies of each form have been unavailable for quite a while now. No one wanting copies have been able to secure any.

Until now.

Via Google Docs, here are new links to the recited (Word) and chant (PDF) form.

For now, I hope this will be useful. I would eventually like to link to the originals, but I will need help with that.

You're welcome.

(UPDATE) The forum actually allows me to attach my copies to the post. So I did. The offer to link them still stands.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Here In This Place

And so it has begun.

I wish I could be there, but my wallet said, "No way." The spirit is willing; the cash is non-existent.

I shouldn't be too disappointed. I have actually attended what I consider to be the last four of the last five "major" events sponsored by the Church Music Association of America--
  1. January,2010: Winter Chant Intensive; Charleston, SC.
  2. June, 2010: CMAA Colloquium XX; Pittsburgh, PA.
  3. October, 2010: Fall Practicum; Houston, TX.
  4. January, 2011: Winter Chant Intensive; New Orleans, LA.
It is a very educational as well as spiritually uplifting time. It is truly, as they like to promote, "Seven Days of Musical Heaven."

One of the more recent forums at the CMAA website was a roll call of attendees. While I made my regrets, I also said I would keep them in my prayers this week.

St. Gregory the Great, St. Cecilia, St, John the Baptist, and all you heavenly angelic choirs--pray for them and all church musicians. May God renew these servants in body, mind, heart, and soul. May He bless them abundantly.

Think of me kindly, those who are there and know of me.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Dog, Gone

When I moved to Farmington, not only would I be sharing living quarters with other humans, but for the first time since I was growing up, I also had to deal with household pets; specifically, two German Shepherds: Eugene and Josephine, named after the maternal grandfather and great aunt of Catherine Garcia. (There are now a few more four-legged, furry creatures running around the place, but that's another story.) The dogs were purchased by Catherine's late husband, Luis, almost eleven years ago and have been a part of the home ever since.

Since Easter weekend, everybody had noticed Gene was becoming more listless. We thought it was more a reaction to his lack of enthusiasm for a different kind of dog food, a "hunger strike" as it were. Even when returning to the normal kibble, he still wouldn't eat or drink. One could noticeably tell he had lost weight. This weekend I noticed he had a bloated stomach, but I thought it was from the lack of nutrition, as though he was in starvation mode.

I was dead wrong.

Somewhere in Gene's abdomen, unbeknownst to anybody, a cancerous tumor had grown and burst. The bleeding worked through his digestive system, causing vomiting and bloody diarrhea. (My apologies if this is too graphic.)

Late yesterday afternoon, a neighbor helped Catherine take Gene to a veterinarian, as I was officiating high school soccer matches. The vet confirmed the worse. He offered the possibility of surgery, but with only a 20% chance of survival and another six months of living at the most.

The choice was made. It wasn't easy, but it was the best. Around 6:00 PM, half-time of the junior varsity game, I read the messages from my cell phone.

Catherine had Eugene euthanized.

Pets, in their own unique way, provide so much enjoyment. So it was with Gene. What will be missed is a very good natured dog with all his amusing mannerisms. A tail wag so enthusiastic one could get hurt if he made contact. The range of his vocalizations, from nuisance barkings to a low growl reminiscent of a motorcycle to a whine which resembled a chihuahua to his snoring. His enjoyment of chicken, cheese, and chocolate among the people food he was given at times. The way he very quickly lapped water, at though he just got back from the Great Salt Lake Desert. The ways he would lie down in the most inconvenient of places, making him a "speed bump" at times, a dog rug at others. Perhaps his most enduring manner was, at times he was sleeping, he would roll over on his back, all four legs in the air, and, you would swear, the biggest grin you had ever seen on a dog.

He was happy. He was secure. He was loved.

St. Francis of Assisi, do us a favor.

When you see Eugene in Heaven, tell him he will be missed.

He looks like this:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

2011 Easter Card

"Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around God's throne!...Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,...Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!"

"Jesus Christ, our King is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!"

May you, as you join in this great celebration, be blessed with much joy, peace, and love. May God bestow upon you every grace and blessing.

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Swan Chant

Tonight, once again, I will have the privilege to chant the Exsultet, the Easter Vigil's beautiful hymn of praise and joy. This, however, will be the last time this English version will be use, as a corrected translation will come into play with the advent of the 3rd. Roman Missal:


(If chanted by someone other than a priest or deacon, the words in brackets are omitted.)

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes forever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

[My dearest friends, standing with me in this holy light, join me in asking God for mercy, that he may give his unworthy minister grace to sing his Easter praises.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.]
V. Lift up your hearts.
R. We lift them up to the Lord.
V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R. It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father, and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood, and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast, when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain, whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night when first you saved our fathers: you free the people of Israel from their slavery and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night when Christians everywhere, washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us, had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says: "The night will be as clear as day; it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy; it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and we are reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night, receive our evening sacrifice of praise, your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle, a flame divided but undimmed, a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning: Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on us all, your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

R. Amen.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Reminded Of Mercy

Today begins the Novina of Divine Mercy. A relatively new devotion promoted by Venerable John Paul II during his pontificate (and how appropriate his Mass of Beatification will take place on Divine Mercy Sunday), its prayers are a repetitive call to God to spare His people.

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is simple to pray (information courtesy of the Catholic Company):

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
(For recitation on a chaplet or ordinary rosary beads)

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Continue by saying one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Apostles Creed.

Then on the OUR FATHER BEAD you will say the following words:
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
On the 10 HAIL MARY BEADS you will say the following words:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Continue in this pattern four more times as you go around the chaplet or rosary.

In conclusion THREE TIMES you will recite these words:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and
on the whole world.
End with the Sign of the Cross.
During the Novena, there are these special intentions:

Good Friday - All mankind, especially sinners.
Holy Saturday - The souls of priests and religious.
Easter Sunday - All devout and faithful souls.
Easter Monday - Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him.
Easter Tuesday - The souls of separated brethren.
Easter Wednesday - The meek and humble souls and the souls of children.
Easter Thursday - The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus' mercy.
Easter Friday - The souls who are detained in purgatory.
Easter Saturday - The souls who have become lukewarm.Link
For more information, go here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Ultimate Journey

And so it begins.

The most solemn and mysterious, yet joyful and majestic three days in the Church year.

We take a journey not to just our own parishes during the Sacred Triduum.

We become, even more so than any other time, a transcendent being.

We are in Jerusalem.

We are in the Upper Room.

We are in the Garden of Gethsemane in the Kidron Valley.

We are amongst the assembled with the Sanhedrin.

We are outside the praetorium of Pontius Pilate.

We are in the crowd, affirming our assent, concurring with the sentence.

We are traveling the "Via Dolorosa".

We are at Calvary.

We are at the tomb.

Now, more than ever, we actively participate in the first Mass.

Now, more than ever, we see a glimpse of Heaven even while it seems Hell is here on Earth.

Are you there?

Are you ready?

"Ecce homo."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Repetitious "Words"

It it once again time to begin another of what is becoming an annual ritual on this 'blog.

You know it is Holy Week in this infinitesimal corner of the universe when I re-post my series of meditation upon the Seven Last Words, the sentences pronounced by Jesus as He hung upon the Cross.

As with my meditations on the "O" Antiphons, it is something my readership seems to enjoy, even though I make little if any changes to these posts.

But, as I was reminded once about my Advent series, that I am able to bring from my store both old and new is a good thing.

We enter "the week that changed the world."

Hear the words of the Word Who made it happen.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

No Chicken Littles

I have to admit there are times when it seems Christ's assurance of the gates of Hell not prevailing is nothing more than a hollow promise instead of a hallow promise. It does challenge my faith when all the assaults and allegations just seem to amass all at once; especially as Christmas and Easter come near. Satan and his cohorts are working overtime (all the more amazing since we are talking about eternal things).

Sometimes you need an honest perspective. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence, RI (how about that for reassurance of His care), gives us that in the "Rhode Island Catholic" (the diocesan newspaper). His article in his bi-weekly column, "Without A Doubt", rings of the phrase from "Desiderata": With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

As he refutes the article's title, "The Sky Is Falling! Really?", he could easily be saying, "In spite of all its trials, tribulations, and worldly worries, it is still a beautiful Church." Yes, despite the fact it is full of sinners, She is still holy and strong. It is all Grace.

This does help, after falling to one's knees, to keep them strong while they sometimes still shake.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Aristotle A. Esguerra, the "Recovering Choir Director ", posted this in 2005.

The money quote:
No, it’s not a Holy Day of Obligation. However, consider that without the Annunciation, there would be no Christmas. It’s not as simple as that, but it is as simple as that. The obligation is on your hearts, not on paper. Do with it as you wish.
Yes, God could have chosen another way for His Son to come into this fallen world. But He willed for us to be saved by Someone like us in all things except sin. To paraphrase St. Augustine, while we were created without our permission, we cannot be saved but with our permission.

So Mary's "yes" to God is our example, the penultimate expression of "Thy will be done," the first instance of her leading us to Him.

We would do very well to emulate her.

Prayer Of The Day

The Angelus, by Jean Francois Millet (1857)

Traditionally, the Angelus is prayed three times a day, when one hears the church bells peel in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. Invoked for peace and the safety of all Christians, it recalls a most familiar story in the Gospel of St. Luke. It is to be recited every day except during the Easter Season, where the Regina Coeli take its place.


V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary,
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

(Hail Mary, full of grace....)

V. Behold, the handmaid of the Lord;
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.

(Hail Mary, full of grace....)

V. And the Word was made flesh,
R. And dwelt amongst us.

(Hail Mary, full of grace....)

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made know by the message of an angel, may, by His Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His Resurrection; through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


Originally posted (without print) 3/25/2006.
Re-posted 3/25/2009

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Flash Mob" Dance

From a Facebook post from Mary Jane Ballou, musician extraordinaire and 'blogmistress at Sacred Miscellany, come this:

My original reactions to it are in red (probably as was my face when I viewed it); additional comments are in black:
I do understand "flash mobs" require some planning to pull off the desired effect. The surprise is not in the "spontaneity" but rather in the execution. This is nothing more than liturgical abuse barely disguised as a pop culture phenomena.
And why was the local TV station brought into play? As Mary Jane pointed out, "...And I always notify the media before I do something liturgically spontaneous." You can't convince me this was not more deliberate that just what was claimed. If you listen to the adult interviewed, her justification for bringing it to Mass is lame.
And the pastor didn't know this was coming? Whether he did or didn't, this should have been halted in its tracks.
They must be auditioning for a spot at the Los Angeles Religious Education Convention. Any bets you see that there in some form?

It was wonderful in its rightful spot, a talent show.

It is abhorrent during worship.

Another example of what someone has rightly labeled these kinds of abuses: "liturgitainment".

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Other Purple Season

And so ends the beginning of the first day of Lent.

It is time for the Church and Her faithful to be repentant and renewed in preparation for the climax of The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Many have received their ashen cross upon their forehead.

Many will make the extra effort of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting.

This annual forty day retreat is a sign the seed must die before it can be fruitful.

The Holy Spirit is our Retreat Master Who leads us into the core of our being, our heart, our desert.

There the Word will speak again of the Father's love.

There the call to conversion will be heard.

There will the task of obedience be undertaken.

May this be a profitable time for your soul.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Prep Work

My interest in liturgy will be taking a more formal route for the rest of the week.

I will be attending this.

This year's focus:
As the English translation of Missale Romanum is nearing completion, Study Week 2011 will present a broad perspective on the celebration of the mass with the revised text. General session and workshop topics will crosscut all areas of Roman Catholic worship and the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy with the revised Roman Missal.
With this being in my back yard, how could I not go? Besides, bus fare is cheaper than all day parking.

I won't be live 'blogging from the event, but I might have some posts next week related to the workshops I will attend.

We shall see what we shall see.

Friday, January 28, 2011

73 Seconds

Do you remember these people?

It was 25 years ago today when this crew boarded the space shuttle Challenger on what was to be another in the series of scheduled missions for this space program.

It was to last 7 days.

It never saw the 74th. second.

The President of the United States at that time, long having earned the nickname "The Great Communicator," spoke to a stunned country later that day:

The poem to which he referred was written by a RCAF pilot:


Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

They certainly did.

May they have eternal rest.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Two Rulings And A Judgment

Saturday marked the 38th. anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the two landmark Supreme Court decisions which allow unrestricted abortions to be legally performed in this country. This weekend, the usual annual demonstrations around the country took place, with the march in Washington, DC happening today. So let history note these events.

It is my custom to make some kind of remark about the gravity of this remembrance. This year, I will let someone else speak in my place. Fedora doff to the Recovering Choir Director, Aristotle A. Esguerra, via a post on his Facebook page, for the information.

No matter which side of the debate one takes, events in Philadelphia, PA have cast a large shadow over this weekend. A grand jury in the City of Brotherly Love has indicted a doctor with eight counts of murder: seven babies killed after they were delivered live and a female patient who sought his abortion service. (Note: PDF file containing 281 pages; graphic details are in the indictment.) The gentleman who 'blogs at Fallen Sparrow has his take on the proceedings.

This is a very sobering situation. It makes one wonder if this is only the tip of the iceberg. Will it serve as a wake-up call to all involved in this on whatever level? Will the nations' eyes now become perfectly wide open at this glimpse of hell created by us? Do we as a country start regretting this?

William Shakespeare through his character Hamlet asks if we wish to exist. In the content of the play, he is speaking of suicide. I extend this metaphor to all of humanity.

Why is humanity choosing the second option?