Archive: The Liturgy

June 30, 2008

St. Peter and St. Paul

Here is my homily from Sunday. You may notice we had another hiccup with our "new" sound system.

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June 25, 2008

The Eucharist is not a meal among friends

Pope Benedict XVI, Homily at the Statio Orbis Mass, at the conclusion of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress:

Lord Cardinals,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

While you are gathered for the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, I am happy to join you through the medium of satellite and thus unite myself to your prayer. I would like first of all to greet the Lord Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec, and the Lord Cardinal Jozef Tomko, special envoy for the congress, as well as all the cardinals and bishops present. I also address my cordial greetings to the personalities of civil society who decided to take part in the liturgy. My affectionate thought goes to the priests, deacons and all the faithful present, as well as to all Catholics of Quebec, of the whole of Canada and of other continents. I do not forget that your country celebrates this year the 400th anniversary of its foundation. It is an occasion for each one of you to recall the values that animated the pioneers and missionaries in your country.

"The Eucharist, gift of God for the Life of the World," this is the theme chosen for this latest International Eucharistic Congress. The Eucharist is our most beautiful treasure. It is the sacrament par excellence; it introduces us early into eternal life; it contains the whole mystery of our salvation; it is the source and summit of the action and of the life of the Church, as the Second Vatican Council recalled ("Sacrosanctum Concilium," No. 8).

It is, therefore, particularly important that pastors and faithful dedicate themselves permanently to furthering their knowledge of this great sacrament. Each one will thus be able to affirm his faith and fulfill ever better his mission in the Church and in the world, recalling that there is a fruitfulness of the Eucharist in his personal life, in the life of the Church and of the world. The Spirit of truth gives witness in your hearts; you also must give witness to Christ before men, as the antiphon states in the alleluia of this Mass. Participation in the Eucharist, then, does not distance us from our contemporaries; on the contrary, because it is the expression par excellence of the love of God, it calls us to be involved with all our brothers to address the present challenges and to make the planet a place where it is good to live.

To accomplish this, it is necessary to struggle ceaselessly so that every person will be respected from his conception until his natural death; that our rich societies welcome the poorest and allow them their dignity; that all persons be able to find nourishment and enable their families to live; that peace and justice may shine in all continents. These are some of the challenges that must mobilize all our contemporaries and for which Christians must draw their strength in the Eucharistic mystery.

"The Mystery of Faith": this is what we proclaim at every Mass. I would like everyone to make a commitment to study this great mystery, especially by revisiting and exploring, individually and in groups, the Council's text on the Liturgy, "Sacrosanctum Concilium," so as to bear witness courageously to the mystery. In this way, each person will arrive at a better grasp of the meaning of every aspect of the Eucharist, understanding its depth and living it with greater intensity. Every sentence, every gesture has its own meaning and conceals a mystery. I sincerely hope that this Congress will serve as an appeal to all the faithful to make a similar commitment to a renewal of Eucharistic catechesis, so that they themselves will gain a genuine Eucharistic awareness and will in turn teach children and young people to recognize the central mystery of faith and build their lives around it. I urge priests especially to give due honor to the Eucharistic rite, and I ask all the faithful to respect the role of each individual, both priest and lay, in the Eucharistic action. The liturgy does not belong to us: it is the Church's treasure.

Reception of the Eucharist, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament -- by this we mean deepening our communion, preparing for it and prolonging it -- is also about allowing ourselves to enter into communion with Christ, and through him with the whole of the Trinity, so as to become what we receive and to live in communion with the Church. It is by receiving the Body of Christ that we receive the strength "of unity with God and with one another" (Saint Cyril of Alexandria, In Ioannis Evangelium, 11:11; cf. Saint Augustine, Sermo 577).

We must never forget that the Church is built around Christ and that, as Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Albert the Great have all said, following Saint Paul (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:17), the Eucharist is the sacrament of the Church's unity, because we all form one single body of which the Lord is the head. We must go back again and again to the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, where we were given a pledge of the mystery of our redemption on the Cross. The Last Supper is the locus of the nascent Church, the womb containing the Church of every age. In the Eucharist, Christ's sacrifice is constantly renewed, Pentecost is constantly renewed. May all of you become ever more deeply aware of the importance of the Sunday Eucharist, because Sunday, the first day of the week, is the day when we honor Christ, the day when we receive the strength to live each day the gift of God.

I would also like to invite the pastors and faithful to a renewed care in their preparation for reception of the Eucharist. Despite our weakness and our sin, Christ wills to make his dwelling in us, asking him for healing. To bring this about, we must do everything that is in our power to receive him with a pure heart, ceaselessly rediscovering, through the sacrament of penance, the purity that sin has stained, "putting our soul and our voice in accord," according to the invitation of the Council (cf. "Sacrosanctum Concilium," No.11). In fact, sin, especially grave sin, is opposed to the action of Eucharistic grace in us. However, those who cannot go to communion because of their situation, will find nevertheless in a communion of desire and in participation in the Mass saving strength and efficacy.

The Eucharist had an altogether special place in the lives of saints. Let us thank God for the history of holiness of Quebec and Canada, which contributed to the missionary life of the Church. Your country honors especially its Canadian martyrs, Jean de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and their companions, who were able to give up their lives for Christ, thus uniting themselves to his sacrifice on the Cross.

They belong to the generation of men and women who founded and developed the Church of Canada, with Marguerite Bourgeoys, Marguerite d'Youville, Marie of the Incarnation, Marie-Catherine of Saint Augustine, Mgr Francis of Laval, founder of the first diocese in North America, Dina Belanger and Kateri Tekakwitha. Put yourselves in their school; like them, be without fear; God accompanies you and protects you; make of each day an offering to the glory of God the Father and take your part in the building of the world, remembering with pride your religious heritage and its social and cultural brilliance, and taking care to spread around you the moral and spiritual values that come to us from the Lord.

The Eucharist is not a meal among friends. It is a mystery of covenant. "The prayers and the rites of the Eucharistic sacrifice make the whole history of salvation revive ceaselessly before the eyes of our soul, in the course of the liturgical cycle, and make us penetrate ever more its significance" (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, [Edith Stein], Wege zur inneren Stille Aschaffenburg, 1987, p. 67). We are called to enter into this mystery of covenant by conforming our life increasingly every day to the gift received in the Eucharist. It has a sacred character, as Vatican Council II reminds: "Every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree " ("Sacrosanctum Concilium," No. 7). In a certain way, it is a "heavenly liturgy," anticipation of the banquet in the eternal Kingdom, proclaiming the death and resurrection of Christ, until he comes (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:26).

In order that the People of God never lack ministers to give them the Body of Christ, we must ask the Lord to make the gift of new priests to his Church. I also invite you to transmit the call to the priesthood to young men, so that they will accept with joy and without fear to respond to Christ. They will not be disappointed. May families be the primordial place and the cradle of vocations.

Before ending, it is with joy that I announce to you the meeting of the next International Eucharistic Congress. It will be held in Dublin, in Ireland, in 2012. I ask the Lord to make each one of you discover the depth and grandeur of the mystery of faith. May Christ, present in the Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit, invoked over the bread and wine, accompany you on your daily way and in your mission. May you, in the image of the Virgin Mary, be open to the work of God in you. Entrusting you to the intercession of Our Lady, of Saint Anne, patroness of Quebec, and of all the saints of your land, I impart to all of you an affectionate Apostolic Blessing, as well as to all the persons present, who have come from different countries of the world.
Dear friends, as this significant event in the life of the Church draws to a conclusion I invite you all to join me in praying for the success of the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2012 in the city of Dublin! I take this opportunity to greet warmly the people of Ireland, as they prepare to host this ecclesial gathering. I am confident that they, together with all the participants at the next Congress, will find it a source of lasting spiritual renewal.

[Translation of the French portions by ZENIT]

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May 5, 2008

The first Sunday of May



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An Inclusive Flock

Hat tip to Fr. Loren, I found this wonderful little parody over at Fr. John's blog in Australia.
Sometimes I have been heard to say that our Precious Blood "Spirituality" is so inclusive it can be made to include error. It is one reason why I never use the words "spirituality" or "inclusive" anymore. It has been demonstrated to me time and again how inclusive language excludes a whole bunch of people.

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March 7, 2008

First Friday at St. Edward

This is what we use to have for First Friday at St. Edward:


I had wanted to do more but our tabernacle was inadequate. The cost of a new tabernacle was prohibitive.


But we have some marvelous wood-workers in the parish. Thanks, Ken and Cruz. This is what we now have:




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February 3, 2008

This morning's homily...

...on the Beatitudes.

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February 2, 2008

More Pics from Midnight Mass

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Antiphon for Psalm 146 this Sunday


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January 11, 2008

Still Composing Psalms

And now they are available on the Chabanel Psalm Project site. Just look for the psalms that are called a version in honor of St. Gaspar. Here is this week's psalm.

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January 5, 2008

Blessed Epiphany!


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December 28, 2007

Music for Midnight Mass

Before the Mass began, the choir sang “The Prophecies: The Lord our Coming King” in Latin from the Roman Gradual, followed by “Ave Maria” by Victoria and then the Hymn, “Lo How a Rose.” Then I sang the “Kalenda,” the great announcement of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the center aisle flanked by acolytes carrying candles and incense. From there we proceed to the crèche. I chanted the blessing prayer from the Book of Blessings. Then the procession to the altar began accompanied by the Choir singing the Introit for Mass at Midnight.

Procession to the Crèche: Adeste Fideles
Introit: Dominus Dixit ad me, mode II
Signum Crucis: chanted, Latin
Greeting: Chanted, Latin
Confiteor: chanted recto tono, English
Kyrie, Mass VIII
Gloria: Mass VIII
Collect: chanted in English
Readings, Mass at Midnight
Psalm: Psalm 96, Today is Born our Savior, Chant, Mode II
Alleluia, Chepponis Christmastime Alleluia
Creed: recited
Intercession, Te Rogamus
Offertorium: Laetentur Caeli, Mode IV
Gesu Bambino
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
Oratre Fratres, chanted in English
Prayer over the Gifts, chanted in English
Sanctus, Mass VIII
Eucharistic Prayer I, chanted, Solemn Tone, in English
Mysterium Fidei, Solemn Tone
Our Father, chanted, English
Agnus Dei, Mass VIII
Ecce Agnus Dei, chanted in English
Communio: In Splendoribus, Mode VI
Sleeps Judea Fair
Child of Mercy (Haas)
Silent Night
Closing: Joy To the World

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New Candlesticks

Following the example set by Pope Benedict in November:


and then seeing the candlesticks available on the New Liturgical Movement Blog,

I undertook several days of bidding, and having been sucessful, we began at Midnight Mass a new tradition for the Solemn Masses at St. Edward



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November 10, 2007

Ten Unknown Truths about Sacred Music

Now, Jeffrey, how should I communicate this to the people in the pews?

This morning I was asked to preside for a Mass of the Deacon Candidates and their wives, and the students of the Pastoral School. The liturgy was in the chapel at Holy Names University.

We bagan with the requisite grip and grin, say "hi" to your neighbor, as if we are here to meet one another instead of the Lord.

Introit: Table of Plenty
Psalm: I Will Praise Your Name, heavily paraphrased Psalm 145, further butchered with inclusive language.
Celtic Alleluia
"We Remember" ok, I forget, was this offertory or Communion?
Mass of Glory
I forget what we closed with, but the Mass did not include one song we might sing here at St. Edward

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September 20, 2007

More Psalms

Aside from preparing psalms for the Mass, most of my time has been spent over the last few years creating psalms for my own use in the Liturgy of Hours. That work is far from complete.

I tried out the Mundelein psalter for a while, but I have determined that, aside from the hymns, that book is of little help. It is based on gregorian modes, but it does not use the actual modes for the psalms.

I have finished creating the psalms for Compline. So I have created my own Compline book for my personal use and I can now sing compline every night.

One of these days I may typeset the Salve or other Marian antiphons and add them to the book. Other than that, the book is usable.

Click here for my Compline book. I would love to hear what you think of the melodies for the antiphons.

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September 12, 2007

From Vienna, a Lesson on How to Sing the Mass

Read the article here.

The best part was this:

"In the beauty of the liturgy, [...] wherever we join in singing, praising, exalting and worshipping God, a little bit of heaven will become present on earth. Truly it would not be presumptuous to say that, in a liturgy completely centred on God, we can see, in its rituals and chant, an image of eternity. [...] In all our efforts on behalf of the liturgy, the determining factor must always be our looking to God. We stand before God – he speaks to us and we speak to him. Whenever in our thinking we are only concerned about making the liturgy attractive, interesting and beautiful, the battle is already lost. Either it is Opus Dei, with God as its specific subject, or it is not. In the light of this, I ask you to celebrate the sacred liturgy with your gaze fixed on God within the communion of saints, the living Church of every time and place, so that it will truly be an expression of the sublime beauty of the God who has called men and women to be his friends."

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September 1, 2007

Lectionary Psalms

Ever since a marvelous presentation on the Responsorial Psalm given by Dr. Mahrt at the CMAA Colloquium, I have been wrestling with ideas about what to do here at St. Edward.

For the past few years we have had a steady diet of Respond and Acclaim psalms by Owen Alstott. To be fair, his psalm refrains are singable. They are functional and accessible for the assembly. Our choir has done a marvelous job with the verses at the choir Mass, yet still, for me, they lack a certain beauty. And beauty is the point Dr. Mahrt was trying to make.

Still, the Graduals from each Sunday are a bit beyond the expertise of the local musicians. So what do we find that is somewhere in between the Roman Gradual and the tired old Respond and Acclaim?

Well, one morning, while I was chanting Morning Prayer, I came upon an idea. Often I will chant the psalms from Lauds using the antiphons and the Gregorian tones from the Psalterium Monasticum from Solesmes. Occasionally I can make the English text (my own translation) fit the music.

So, I wondered if some of the lectionary texts could be made to fit the tones associated with those psalms in the Psalterium. Then, later that morning, I was concelebrating Mass at St. Mary's in Norwalk, CT, and their marvelous musician, David Hughes, chanted a capella the Responsorial Psalm to a simple Gregorian tone. It was beautiful!

So I was inspired and off to work. So, here is the result. I would love to see what fellow musicans out there think of these. Some are better than others, and in one you will see I got a bit adventurous and then thought better of it. Comments most appreciated.

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August 28, 2007

CMAA Video

Very nice video. And, of course I am delighted they included footage of the Requiem Mass where I had the honor and privilege of presiding.

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July 9, 2007

These times....

I think Gaspar would have said something like, "God has reserved for us these terrible times." Really, I think there are a whole generation of priests who have the bad habit of simply not listening to the church, but they have been trained to follow their own lights. They are sincere in their belief that this is appropriate and even more pastoral.

What I said to the visiting priest this weekend:

If it is in black, say it, and if it is in red, do it. If it is not in black, do not say it, and if it is in not red, do not do it.

What the visiting priest did at his first Mass:

ad-libbed the Eucharistic Prayer.

These priests would be deeply offended to be called "clerical." But is there anything more clerical than thinking you know better than the Church? But then the response would be, "We are the Church." And the conversation goes on ...

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July 7, 2007

This Morning's Reading

Here is the new Moto Proprio.

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June 28, 2007

More from CMAA

Here are the rest of my pictures.

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April 10, 2007

Presenting the Neophytes


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Chanting the Exsultet


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March 13, 2007


From Sacramentum Caritatis

42. In the ars celebrandi, liturgical song has a pre-eminent place. Saint Augustine rightly says in a famous sermon that "the new man sings a new song. Singing is an expression of joy and, if we consider the matter, an expression of love.". The People of God assembled for the liturgy sings the praises of God. In the course of her two-thousand-year history, the Church has created, and still creates, music and songs which represent a rich patrimony of faith and love. This heritage must not be lost. Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another. Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided. As an element of the liturgy, song should be well integrated into the overall celebration. Consequently everything – texts, music, execution – ought to correspond to the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, the structure of the rite and the liturgical seasons. Finally, while respecting various styles and different and highly praiseworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the request advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy....

62. ... I am thinking here particularly of celebrations at international gatherings, which nowadays are held with greater frequency. The most should be made of these occasions. In order to express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church, I wish to endorse the proposal made by the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin. Similarly, the better-known prayers of the Church's tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung. Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant.

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Required Reading Today

Pope Benedict XVI's new Apostolic Exhortation

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December 26, 2006

More on Midnight Mass

Mainly since Matthew asked, here is the Music from Midnight Mass at St. Edward.


"Premiere Suite de Noels" Balbastre (1727-1799)
"The Proclamation of the Prophecies" Vatican Chant Modes V-VII
"Ave Maria" Victoria (1548-1611)
"Lo How A Rose" Praetorius (1571-1621)
"Kalenda" The great announcement of the Birth of Christ

Entrance Procession: Adeste Fideles, O Come, All Ye Faithful
Incensation of the Altar, Introit, "Dominus dixit ad me" mode 2
Sign of the Cross: chanted in Latin
Greeting: Chanted in Latin
Introduction to the Penitential Rite: chanted in English
Confiteor: recited in English
Kyrie: Cum Jubilo, Proulx
Gloria: "Christmas Gloria" Laginya, GIA
Psalm: "Today is Born Our Savior" Alstott
Alleluia: "Christmastime Alleluia" Chepponis
Gospel: Luke 2:1-14, chanted
Preparation of the Altar and Gifts: "Stille Nacht" in German
"The Glory of the Father" Hovland
Eucharistic Acclamations: Community Mass, Proulx
Eucharistic Prayer I, chanted
Memorial Acclamation: "Mortem Tuam" chant
Our Father: chanted in English
Agnus Dei, Mass XVIII
Communion Procession: "In Splendoribus" chant mode 6
"Sleeps Judea Fair" MacKinnon
"Silent Night" in English
Recessional: "Joy To The World"
Postlude: "Noel X" d'Aquin (1694-1772)

The Choir sang the Mass at Day and it was much the same order except for the Inroit, "Puer Natus" (mode VII) and the Communio, "Viderunt Omnes" (mode 1). We also heard "Of The Father's Love Begotten" at the Preparation of the Altar, and Palestrina's "Alma Redemptoris Mater" after Communion.

Among the ladies counting the collection this morning only one adjective was used to describe the liturgy, "beautiful."

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November 6, 2006


From Musicam Sacram

emphasis added

15. The faithful fulfil their liturgical role by making that full, conscious and active participation which is demanded by the nature of the Liturgy itself and which is, by reason of baptism, the right and duty of the Christian people.13 This participation

(a) Should be above all internal, in the sense that by it the faithful join their mind to what they pronounce or hear, and cooperate with heavenly grace,14

(b) Must be, on the other hand, external also, that is, such as to show the internal participation by gestures and bodily attitudes, by the acclamations, responses and singing.15

The faithful should also be taught to unite themselves interiorly to what the ministers or choir sing, so that by listening to them they may raise their minds to God.

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November 3, 2006

Getting noticed

It is not everyday that one gets noticed by the New Liturgical Movement. Thanks.

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November 1, 2006

All Saints

At St Edward Catholic Church, Newark, CA

Introit: Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, Mode VIII, chanted in Latin
Sign of the Cross, chanted in Latin
Greeting: chanted in Latin
Introduction: Chanted in English
Confiteor: recited in English
Kyrie: Mass VIII, de angelis
Gloria: Mass VIII, de angelis
Opening prayer, chanted in English
First reading proclaimed in Spanish
Gradual: Timete Dominum, Mode I, chanted in Latin
Second reading proclaimed in Portuguese
Alleluia: Venite ad me, Mode VIII,
Gospel proclaimed in English
Homily in English and Spanish
Credo III, chanted in Latin
Interecessions, Te Rogamus, chanted in Latin with petitions in six languages
Offertory: Justorum animae, chanted in Latin, Mode VIII
Motet: Justorum Animae, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, (1852-1924)
Prayer over the gifts: chanted in English
Eucharistic Prayer I, The Roman Canon, Preface of All Saints, chanted in English
Sanctus: Mass VIII, chanted in Latin
Mysterium Fidei, chanted in Latin
Pater Noster: chanted in English
Sign of Peace: chanted in Latin
Agnus Dei: Missa O Quam Gloriosum, Victoria, 1548-1611
Communion: Motet, O Quam Gloriosum, Victoria
Communio: Beati mundo corde, Mode I, chanted in Latin
Post communion prayer: chanted in English
Finbal Blessing: chanted in English
Dismissal: chanted in Latin
Hymn: For All The Saints, Sine Nomine

The Choir was the Schola Cantorum of San Francisco under the direction of John Renke

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Next Summer

Looks like it is time to begin thinking about next summer.

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August 20, 2006

The Weight of One Holy Mass

A miracle and a great experience for the Faith. What a cool story.

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August 15, 2006

The Assumption of Mary


Luke 1:39-56
1 Corinthians 15:20-26
Psalm 44:10-12.16
Apocalypse 11:19; 12:1-6.10

August 15, 2005
Monastery of the Glorious Cross, O.S.B.
Branford, Connecticut

Today’s festival, the Pascha of summer, signals the beginning of the final phase of the liturgical year. The Church enters into the splendours of her harvest time. With the feasts of late summer and autumn, the Church turns the shimmering pages of the book of the Apocalypse and draws us into their mystery. “Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, writes the Apostle, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near? (Ap 1:3).

On August 6th, precisely forty days before the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we celebrated the Transfiguration of the Lord, a mystery of heavenly glory, a foretaste of the apocalyptic brightness of the Kingdom. “I saw one like a son of man . . . And his face was like the sun shining in full strength (Ap 1:16). Having contemplated the glory of the Father shining on the face of the transfigured Christ (2 Cor 4:6), in another month we will celebrate his Glorious Cross, the Tree of Life with leaves “for the healing of the nations? (Ap 22:2).

On November 1st, the immense mosaic of all the saints will be unveiled before our wondering eyes in a liturgy scintillating with images from the book of the Apocalypse and echoing with “the voice of a great multitude like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying, ‘Alleluia’? (Ap 19:6).

On November 9th, the liturgy of the feast of the Dedication of Saint John Lateran will point to “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride, adorned for her husband? (Ap 21:2). As Mother Church approaches holy Advent, the end of her yearly cycle, the sacred liturgy seems to increase its momentum. Soon the last cry of the book of the Apocalypse will be ceaselessly in our hearts and on our lips, “‘Surely. I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus? (Ap 22:20).

Today, on this solemnity of the Assumption of the all-holy Mother of God and Blessed Virgin Mary, we enter into the phase described by Saint Paul in the second reading, “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ? (1 Cor 15:22).

Today, she who “belongs to Christ? by a unique, abiding, and unrepeatable privilege, the most holy Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary follows where he has gone, “through the greater and more perfect tent not made by human hands, that is, not of this creation . . . into the Holy Place? (Heb 9:11).

An antiphon of today’s Office makes us sing: “Draw us in your footsteps, O Mary, hidden with Christ in God! Your paths are sown with delights; exquisite the fragrance of your perfumes.? True devotion to the Mother of God consists in allowing oneself to be drawn after her. He who walks in the footprints of Mary inhales the mysterious fragrance of her holiness, a fragrance known to all the saints.

An old custom would have us bless fragrant herbs and flowers on the festival of the Assumption; according to legend the tomb of the Mother of God was found to be full of fragrant herbs and flowers after her body had been assumed into glory. Assumed body and soul into heaven, Mary leaves behind a lingering fragrance. It is subtle, not overpowering, but unmistakable. It is the fragrance of purity, of humility, and of adoration. Inhale it, and you will be drawn in her footsteps, even to the feet of the risen and ascended Christ, hidden in glory.

The ancient gospel for the Assumption, Luke 10:38-42, still used in the Cistercian Order, is that of another Mary — Mary of Bethany — seated in sweet repose at the feet of Jesus, listening to his word (Lk 10:39). “Mary has chosen the best part, which shall not be taken from her? (Lk 10:42). With eyes illumined by the Holy Spirit, the Church discerned in the familiar figure of Mary of Bethany an icon of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, assumed into heaven. There, in the presence of her Son, she enjoys the rest promised by God, the Sabbath that will have no end (cf. Heb 4:1-10).

“Draw me after you, let us make haste? (Ct 1:4), was the longing and desire of her heart. Now, to us, she says, “The king has brought me into his chambers? (Ct 1:4). The Assumption of the Mother of God is a signal to the entire cosmos that the divine economy is indeed entering into its final and glorious phase. “Then, says Saint Paul, comes the end, when he (Christ) delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies beneath his feet? (1 Cor 15:24-25).

In the first reading from the book of the Apocalypse, “God’s temple in heaven was opened? (Ap 11:19). The Church, like Saint Stephen her proto-martyr, “full of the Holy Spirit, gazes into heaven and sees the glory of God? (Ac 7:55). The whole array of theophanic signs seen once on Sinai’s heights is deployed again: “flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder? (Ap 11:19). And then, in the heavens appears the great portent: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars? (Ap 12:1). The Woman is the bride of the Lamb adorned for her spouse (Ap 21:2); the Woman is the Church presented “in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing . . . holy and without blemish? (Eph 5:27); the Woman is the Virgin Mother of Nazareth, Bethlehem, Cana, Calvary, and the Mount of Olives. “Mary is assumed into heaven; the angels rejoice, and praising, bless the Lord? (Antiphon of Vespers). Behold the Woman of the psalm, the queen whose beauty the king desires, standing at his right, arrayed in gold (Ps 45: 9b-15).

The liturgy is not content with exalting the great apocalyptic icon before our eyes; the liturgy would have us hear the woman’s song for her heart overflows with a goodly theme (Ps 45:1). This, of course, is the reason for today’s jubilant gospel. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour? (Lk 1:46). This is the song of the Bride of the Lamb; this is the song of the Church in every age; this is the song of the Holy Mother of God in the midst of the angels.

If the apocalyptic phase of the liturgical year teaches us anything, it is that, in the end, the praise of God, and adoration, will have the final word. The glorious Assumption of the Mother of God points to the immense and ceaseless liturgy of heaven, to the fullness of that doxological and eucharistic life that begins for us here and now. Those who go in search of the Lamb will find him in the company of Mary his Mother. “We have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him? (Mt 2:2).

For us, Mary is that star. “Look to the star,? says Saint Bernard, “and call upon Mary.? Already, the “voice of the great multitude, like the sound of many waters? (Ap 19:6) begins to swell. It is the voice of those who look to the star, and follow her to the marriage supper of the Lamb. A new song rises in the heart of a Church that is alive and young: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come’? (Ap 22:17). Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

© 2005, D. Mark Daniel Kirby, O.Cist.

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August 10, 2006

Option #4

From the GIRM, Paragraph 48:

In the dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for the cantus ad introitum: (1) the antiphon and Psalm from the Roman Missal as set to music by the Roman Gradual or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the USCCB or the diocesan bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms, (4) a suitable liturgical song chosen in accord with GIRM, no. 47.

It seems to me that option #4 is the universal option, the one that is used most often in the United States.

My question is: Is there a parish in the US that regularly uses Options 1, 2, or 3 and what has your experience of it been?

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To Defend The Liturgy

Often posts from this blog have been copied off and sent anonymously and cowardly to the Bishop or to the Diocesan School department to complain about my defense of the liturgy or to object to my defense of decorum and proper dress for the Liturgy.

My complaint has never been against any person, but against actions or dress that are deemed inappropriate by official offices in the local and universal church.

The one thing that amazes me is that several women, people with official roles in leadership, often think that my criticism is inappropriate. In other words, brides who wear strapless gowns should be allowed to do so. This is the culture, they say. This is what everyone does, they say. You would be the only one to object, they say. The Bishop, on the other hand, likes to come here because we do the liturgy well. It is always amusing to see a complaint sent to him about something he asked me to do.

The culture does not determine the liturgy. I am increasing amused by people who ask for upbeat songs. There are some who think I do not listen. Yes, I listen. The answer is "no." From now on the conversation is on the text, or the conversation is over.

There is a new book by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus called "Catholic Matters." In it he talks about the groups who believe that Vatican II was a movement in discontinuity from what went before, as if there was a pre-Vatican II church and a post-Vatican II church. What most people think is a Vatican II Liturgy is nothing of what was intended by Vatican II. I would recommend this book for anyone who struggles to defend the liturgy today. It is a very affirming and supportive book.

I am the pastor. I am not a talk-show host or a choreographer. I am the one responsible for the liturgy at this parish and I take my responsibility seriously. We are not putting on a show here. People who come for the music or for the decoration or for the community are missing the point. The purpose of our singing is not to enable us to feel the Spirit. The purpose of our music is to give us the vehicle to enter into the word of God, to give ourselves to the Word of God, and pray that we may become the work of God. People will be taught to come here for Jesus, and for nothing else.

How we dress for the liturgy indicates our reverence and our readiness. As always, people who dress inappropriately will be welcomed in our church and treated with great hospitality. However, they will not be lector, Eucharistic minister, or in any leadership or ministerial role.

The Liturgy has become a place for groups and organizations to strut their stuff and look good. The recent support from the Diocese has been very affirming and has given me much support. Count me as part of the Reform of the Reform. The Liturgy, the Eucharist, the Lord's Supper, the Communio with the Lord and all the Saints; it is the center of the universe, it is the center that holds, it is everything that gives us life or directs who we are to be.

There are many who wonder how long they have to put up with me. The most telling day was when someone complained and said they wanted their church back. That very day another thanked me for bringing back reverence and beauty and they ended by saying, "thank you for giving us our church back."

Ministry is not decided by opinion polls or what anyone may think about what I am doing. It is the Lord's ministry and the Church is the one who determines the validity of ministry. To be Catholic is to believe in the Church and to think with the Church and to seek to be and do what the Church does.

I remember a conversation where I said that we needed to begin to look at the liturgy from the Church's perspective. The answer came back, "we are the Church." Nope, sorry, we are not individually or collectively the church. We do not get to decide what is right or wrong or what the truth is. Truth is not based on what we might feel about something or what we might like. Jesus himself is the truth and our task is to listen, to learn and to receive his grace.

So go ahead, copy this off and send it to whomever you like. It is the Church's Liturgy, and I will continue to defend it.

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July 5, 2006

Photos from the Colloquium

taken by yours truly.

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July 3, 2006

July 1, 2006

from Don Marco again

Don Marco certainly has a way with words. I think he should have been a CPPS instead of an O. Cist. Or maybe he would be able to help me begin a refounding of the CPPS.

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June 27, 2006

Preparing for the Solemnity of the Precious Blood

Almighty and ever-living God
by whose will the Most Precious Blood of your only-begotten Son
was formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
and poured out for the salvation of the world on the altar of the Cross;
mercifully grant, through her intercession,
that we who partake of the Chalice of the New and Eternal Covenant,
may so adore the Mystery of Faith
as to experience within ourselves
the fruit of that Redeeming Blood.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God forever and ever.

Prayer by Father Mark Daniel Kirby, O.Cist.

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June 26, 2006

Colloquium 2006


Reflections on the Colloquium can be found at the sites of fellow bloggers who were present. I will have more to say next week when my vacation is over.

See The Blogs from:
Jenny in Nebraska
Fr. Fox in Ohio
Jeffrey and Arlene in Alabama
The Team Blog at CMAA

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June 18, 2006

Solemnity of Corpus et Sanguis Christi

I think Don Marco should be given a round of applause for all the good things he is doing on this feast. I think his homily today outshines mine, and it will take a while just to digest all the images he presents. Give it a good read.

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June 17, 2006

From Don Marco for the Feast


In his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II drew the eyes of the Church to the Face of Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist. He coined a new phrase, one not encountered before in his writings or in the teachings of his predecessors, “the Eucharistic Face of Christ.? Thus did Pope John Paul II share with the Church his own experience of seeking, finding, and adoring the Face of Christ in the Eucharist.

To contemplate the face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the “programme? which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium, summoning her to put out into the deep on the sea of history with the enthusiasm of the new evangelization. To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize him wherever he manifests himself, in his many forms of presence, but above all in the living sacrament of his Body and Blood. The Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist; by him she is fed and by him she is enlightened. The Eucharist is both a mystery of faith and a “mystery of light.? Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the faithful can in some way relive the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “their eyes were opened and they recognized him? (Lk 24:31). . . . I cannot let this Holy Thursday 2003 pass without halting before the “Eucharistic face? of Christ and pointing out with new force to the Church the centrality of the Eucharist. (1)
This text, among others of Pope John Paul II, inspired the new icon of the Mother of God, Adorer of the Eucharistic Face of Christ. The icon was written by the hand of Charlotte Lauzon in preparation for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ 2006.

The icon depicts the Mother of God as she is shown in the familiar icon of the Sign. The icon of the Sign is among the most venerated icons of the Mother of God. The ancient gesture of praying with upraised hands is seen in frescoes in the catacombs. It evokes the mystery of the Ecclesia Orans, the Praying Church, personified here in the Mother of God. The same ancient gesture of intercession became, in the late Middle Ages, a popular expression of adoration at the elevation or showing of the Sacred Host.

Whereas in icons of the Sign, Christ is depicted enclosed in a mandorla or nimbus of divine light on the Virgin’s breast, in this icon the Eucharistic Face of Christ shines from the Sacred Host suspended above the Holy Chalice on the altar. The Mother of God stands at the altar presenting the Eucharistic Face of her Son to the Eternal Father, saying, “Behold, O God our Protector; look upon the face of your Christ? (Ps 83:10). At the same time she presents the Eucharistic Face of her Son to the eyes of all who seek Him in the Holy Mysteries. Looking out towards us, she calls us to the contemplation and adoration of the Face of Christ at once concealed and revealed in the Sacrament of the Altar.

“The contemplation of Christ has an incomparable model in Mary. In a unique way the Face of the Son belongs to Mary. It was in her womb that Christ was formed, receiving from her a human resemblance which points to an even greater spiritual closeness. No one has ever devoted himself to the contemplation of the Face of Christ as faithfully as Mary.? (2)

The blood-red mantle of the Virgin frames the Body and Blood of Christ, recalling that she “became in some way a tabernacle — the first tabernacle in history — in which the Son of God, still invisible to our human gaze, allowed himself to be adored.? (3) “Mary is a woman of the Eucharist in her whole life. The Church, which looks to Mary as a model, is also called to imitate her in her relationship with this most holy mystery.? (4)

Above the uplifted hands of the Mother of God is inscribed the prayer of the disciples to the Wayfarer on the on the road to Emmaus: Mane nobiscum, Domine, “Stay with us, Lord? (Lk 24:29). This is the phrase that Pope John Paul II gave the Church at the beginning of the Year of the Eucharist in 2004. The same inscription is found on the medal of the Holy Face of Jesus diffused by the Servants of God, Mother Maria-Pierina De Micheli and Abbot Ildebrando Gregori. The Mother of God sustains the Church in praying, Mane nobiscum, Domine, and teaches the Church to treasure in her heart the promise of Christ’s abiding presence in the Eucharist: “Behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age? (Mt 28:20).

The altar in the icon represents every altar in the world where the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ are offered in the Holy Sacrifice and given in Communion. The words, Illumina, Domine, vultum tuum super nos, “Lift up, O Lord, the light of your face upon us? (Ps 66:1), also inscribed on the medal of the Holy Face of Jesus, appear on the front of the altar. In this Eucharistic context, the ancient prayer of the psalmist is wondrously fulfilled. The altar is the place from which the Eucharistic Face of Christ shines with a divine radiance that penetrates every darkness.

The experience of the disciples on the road to Emmaus culminated in their eyes being opened to see the Eucharistic Face of Christ. “When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight? (Lk 24:30-31). Christ vanished from the sight of the disciples, leaving in their hearts a mysterious burning (cf. Lk 24:32), and the broken Bread that reveals his Eucharistic Face, that is to say, His Eucharistic Presence. In the Eucharist the Face of Christ is turned toward us. The Eucharistic Face of Christ waits to meet the gaze of our faith, waits to be sought and recognized, adored and implored. “We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known? (1 Cor 13:12). Sanctissima Facies Iesu, sub sacramento abscondita, respice in nos et miserere nostri. (5)

The Face of Christ shines through the veil of the Sacred Species to illumine those who seek it there. The radiance of the Eucharistic Face of Christ heals and repairs the disfiguration of sin; it restores beauty to the face of the soul and likeness to the image of God obscured by sin. It is in the Eucharist that the prayer of the psalmist is wonderfully fulfilled: “The light of your face, O Lord, is signed upon us: you have given gladness in my heart? (Ps 4:7). Again, it is the psalmist who says, “Look to him and be radiant, and your faces shall not be put to shame? (Ps 33:6). The adorer who seeks the Eucharistic Face will experience that in its light there is the healing of brokenness and the beginning of transfiguration. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit? (2 Cor 3:18).

The Eucharistic Face of Christ is veiled beneath the humble species of bread lest we be blinded by its glory. “His face,? says Saint John, “was like the sun shining in full strength? (Rev 1:16). The rays of that Sun reach us nonetheless through the appearance of bread that conceals it; its healing effects are not in any way diminished, nor is the splendour of its glory. “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen? (2 Cor 4:18). “For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Eucharistic face of Christ? (cf. 2 Cor 4:6).

The sentiments of every human heart find expression on the face even before they are communicated in words. So too are the secrets of the Sacred Heart revealed on the Face of the Word made Flesh and communicated to those who seek that Face in the mystery of the Eucharist. One who seeks the Face of Christ will be led surely, inexorably, to the inexhaustible riches of his Heart.

The Face of Christ is “the brightness of the Father’s glory and the figure of his substance? (cf. Heb 1:3). To Philip wanting to see the Father, Jesus replied, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?? (Jn 14:9-10). The Face of Christ, “full of grace and truth? (Jn 1:14), reveals the Father. Those who seek the Eucharistic Face of Christ can in truth say with Saint John, “We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father? (Jn 1:14), and again, “No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known? (Jn 1:18).

“To look upon the face of Christ, to recognize its mystery amid the daily events and the sufferings of his human life, and then to grasp the divine splendour definitively revealed in the Risen Lord, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father: this is the task of every follower of Christ and therefore the task of each one of us. In contemplating Christ's face we become open to receiving the mystery of Trinitarian life, experiencing ever anew the love of the Father and delighting in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul's words can then be applied to us: “Beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being changed into his likeness, from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit? (2Cor 3:18).? (6)

He who is from all eternity “in the bosom of the Father? (Jn 1:18) is also, “in these last days? (Heb 1:2), sacramentally present in the heart of the Church, abiding there as “the living Bread which came down from heaven? (Jn 6:51). It is in adoring him there that we become “the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob? (Ps 23:6).

This splendid new icon of the Mother of God, Adorer of the Eucharistic Face of Christ is the fruit of Pope John Paul II’s spiritual legacy to the Church. I confidently ask his intercession for Charlotte by whose hand the icon was written, and for her family. I invite all who rejoice with me in the realization of this icon to enter through it, as through a door, into the adoration of the Eucharistic Face of Christ,

Father Mark Daniel Kirby, O.Cist.
18 June 2006
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

1 John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, art. 6 and 7.
2 John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginia Mariae (16 October 2002), art. 10.
3 Ecclesia de Eucharistia, art. 55.
4 Ibid., art. 53.
5 “Most Holy Face of Jesus, hidden beneath the sacramental veils, look upon us and have mercy.? Litany of the Holy Face of the Congregation of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified.
6 Rosarium Virginis Mariae, art. 9.

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June 15, 2006

For Corpus et Sanguis Christi

Adoro te devote

Yearning, I adore you, wondrous hidden God,
Living Bread by bread concealed, speaking heart to heart.
Give me now the faith that sees darkly through the veil,
Let your presence draw me in where my senses fail.

Seeing, touching, tasting, fail to grasp you, Lord.
Hearing only stirs up faith; faith clings to your word.
This is truth enough for me: all that you have said.
Faith alone discerns your Face, radiant, Living Bread.

Seeing you upon the Cross, flesh and blood I find;
Here your flesh and blood are hid, leaving only signs.
Trusting in your mercy, like the dying thief,
I confess you, God and Man; this is my belief.

Unlike Thomas touching, probing hands and side,
I see not but name you still God and Prince of Life.
Draw me to your presence, stronger make my faith,
Bolder make my hope in you, fire me with Love’s flame.

Wonderful memorial of the Crucified!
Sacred Banquet, Living Bread, Wellspring gushing light!
Let your life be life to me, feed and feast my mind,
Be to me the sweetness I was meant to find.

In the wounded Pelican, faith sees something more.
She with blood sustains her young; you your blood outpoured
All the world to cleanse of sin. Bathe me in that tide,
Though a single drop makes pure those drawn to your side.

Jesus, here your Face is hid, from my sight concealed,
How I thirst to meet your gaze gloriously revealed!
After life’s obscurity, let me wake to see
Beauty shining from your Face for eternity. Amen.

Original Latin text: Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
English translation: Father Mark Daniel. Kirby, O.Cist., 2004

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June 5, 2006

Very Important Perspective

I normally do not pay much attention to Catholic (only our small part of the)World News, but someone sent me this link which I think contains a very interesting and important perspective on the liturgy.

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April 29, 2006

St. Catherine of Siena

Fr. Mark Daniel Kirby, O.Cist sends me his marvelous homily for the Feast of St. Catherine.

It is evident, I think, that today’s feast of Saint Catherine of Siena is a further invitation, a pressing exhortation, to fix our gaze on the Blood of the Lamb, to adore that Precious Blood, to yield every impurity and sin of ours to the torrent that gushes from Christ’s pierced side, and to drink of the Chalice of Salvation.

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April 20, 2006

What the prayer really says

I think, next year, I want to sing the Exsultet in Latin.

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March 27, 2006

Music again

Not too long ago I mention to someone that the congregation is growing and that the collection is up this year.

Her reply was basically, "You mean there are people who like what you are doing?"

Yes, there are people who are leaving because we are now being faithful to the liturgy, but there are many more who are coming back.

Actually my DRE has accused me a being one step ahead of the Pope.

Well, now the USCCB chimes in.

I am sure there will be people resistant to the idea.

Thanks to the Cafeteria is Closed and Argent on the Tiber for the link.

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March 11, 2006

What the Council actually intended.

The Closed Cafeteria has a great post about a Bishop in Oklahoma.

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March 4, 2006


The ten step Marty Haugen song writing program The former choir members would love it.

Today is Army Day: March forth!

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What can be done about Liturgical Abuse?

Excellent article by a Jesuit, no less. Different names, different places, different community, same problem.

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December 26, 2005

The Incarnation and the Mass

An excellent article found on ZENIT. Thanks to The New Liturgical Movement for pointing it out.

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December 6, 2005

Heresy makes the top 25

The NPM report is found here.

This is actually one of the greatest pastoral challenges today, when a faithful Catholic hungers to sing a song that is heterodox, when they find great meaning and hope in a song that points us in a wrong direction.

We have to be pastoral and gentle and non-judgemental, but here we are not going to sing "Voices that Challenge," unless it it becomes a song about the voice of God. It is not someones condition that challenges me to respond, it is the voice of the Blood of Jesus that challenges me to respond.

He, himself, he alone is our peace. Here we shall never sing "...let peace begin with me." It may be someone's sentimental favorite, but the purpose of Music in Liturgy is to bear the word of God, not to confirm my sentiments.

Actually there are some pretty good songs among the top 25.

On another note, other Bloggers have noted that Dan Schutte has composed a keeper, "Christ, Circle Round Us." Sr. Mary Mark shared the song with me this morning. It is delightful.

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November 29, 2005

Stones Instead of Bread

Reflections on Contemporary Hymns

hat tip to the New Liturgical Movement for the link.

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Great advice

found here.

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November 13, 2005

Music travels

I worked in Music ministry from 1971 to 1988. During that time I wrote a lot of music, and published nine cassettes of Liturgical music. Actually I would only admit to writing about one third of it. Some of the older stuff is really not very good music. But there are a few pieces I wrote that I would not mind praying again as part of the liturgy, especially some of my psalm settings.

But it is amazing how music travels. I just recieved this email:

Hello Fr Keyes from Papua New Guinea.

I am sure you are amazed that an email is coming from a place that is probably unknown to you. The reason I am emailing to you is because we usually sing a Lord's Prayer Hymn (Our Father) that is composed by you.

I would like to know if there is a recording of this song, and under what album it was recorded under, and if it is sold anywhere in Australian Catholic shops.

Thank you and God Bless.

The piece in question took an Honorable Mention at an NPM composition competition in 1979. It is not a song that I would use anymore simply because I am not sure the refrain format works liturgically. However, I would be most interested in hearing hgow a song I wrote in the '70s now translates into another culture. I may send them my recording in exchange for a recording of their choir doing in.

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October 30, 2005

Afraid of the Blood

How many out there have Communion under both kinds? It really bothers me that so many are afraid of the Precious Blood. It bothers me more when they refer to it as wine. I once did a mission in Texas and reacted with a bit a shock when one of the Eucharistic ministers introduced herself to me as one of the "wine ministers."

Anyway, we have a new "Ask Father" feature on our parish website (parishioners only, please) The first question was about the "wine." Here is my answer below:

Here is the Question:

Do I have to drink the wine, too, or can I just take the host. It just seems like there are too many germs to drink out of the same cup as everyone else.
Here is my answer:
Catholics believe that the Real Presence of the Lord Jesus is present, whole and entire in the Host. It is the Body, Blood, soul and Divinity of Jesus present to us. The same Real Presence is available in the cup, in the Precious Blood. It also is the same Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

So the short answer is: No, you do not “have? to drink from the cup. There is no diminishment in Grace if you only receive the Host.

However, it is certainly preferable to drink from the Cup. It is what Jesus intended when he said, “take and eat, take and drink.?

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says the following:

281. Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it is received under both kinds. For in this manner of reception the sign of the Eucharistic banquet shines forth more completely and the divine will by which the new and everlasting covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord is more clearly expressed, together with the relationship of the Eucharistic banquet to the eschatological banquet in the Father’s Kingdom.
Now, about the germs:

It is nearly impossible to catch any disease from participating in Holy Communion. The Centers for Disease Control have repeatedly said this.

These are a few things that kill whatever germs may be present

  • the alcohol content of the wine
  • the temperature of the metal, it is too cold for any germs to live.
  • The wiping of the cup with a purificator
  • The turning of the cup for the next communicant

There may be some good reasons for not receiving from the cup, for example, alcoholics may wish to avoid receiving communion in this way.

Avoiding germs is not a good reason for staying away from the Cup. There are more opportunities to share germs in shaking hands than there are in receiving the cup. So, if you are afraid of germs, you would never pet a dog or participate in the sign of peace.

Also, it seems, there is a growing practice of referring to this as “the wine.? I would appreciate it very much if we would never refer to it in this way.

It is the Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who by his Blood has set us free and saved us from death. For more reflection on the Precious Blood, you may refer to my article here that I wrote for the magazine “Precious Blood Family.?

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September 30, 2005

The Intoit

Very nice article, Mary Jane.

Mary Jane is a classmate from the Chant Institute last summer.

Back in my music days I used all sort of music from many styles. I am a composer and I composed music in many forms and genres. But I always used the psalms and the scriptures. I am curious as to when everthing turned around and the texts became so self-centered. It was not Vatican II that geve us permission for these texts.

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August 10, 2005

St. Lawrence, the Deacon and Martyr

From Don Marco:

Don Marco Kirby, O.Cist and I chanted the liturgy with the Sisters. We used the propers from the Graduale and for the Ordinary we used Mas VIII. All in all this is an excellent retreat and a beautiful spot on earth. I am trying to teach blogging to Don Marco so he has a place to publish his beautiful homilies.

August 10
Saint Laurence, Deacon and Martyr
2 Corinthians 9:6-10
Psalm 111: 1-2, 5-6, 7-8, 9
John 12:24-26

August 10, 2005
Convent of Saint Birgitta,, O.SS.S.
Darien, Connecticut

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City there is a small round glass medallion dating from the fourth century that depicts Saint Laurence. The medallion bears the simple inscription: “Live with Christ and Laurence.? What some would see as a simple cultural artifact is for us a witness to the unchanging faith of the Church. The saints are those who have passed into eternal life with Christ. “Live with Christ and Laurence.? To live with Christ is to live in the society of the saints of Christ. Not only do we remember each year the anniversary of their birthday into the life of heaven; we seek their intercession and rely on it. We make our pilgrimage through this life in their company, having “over our head,? as the Letter to the Hebrews says, “so great a cloud of witnesses? (Heb 12:1).

In the year 1450 Blessed Fra Angelico painted a series of frescoes showing the life of Saint Laurence. This in itself is remarkable: a saint painting a saint. In one scene he shows Saint Laurence, coming out of a basilica to meet the poor who are waiting for him. Laurence is youthful; he is dressed as a deacon for the liturgy. His dalmatic is deep rose in colour, suggesting joy. and trimmed in gold, hinting at the glory that is already transforming him. On the ground in front of him is a crippled man holding out his hand and begging for alms. To his right is an old man with a white beard, quite bent over, and leaning on his walking stick; he too is asking for alms. To Laurence’s left stands an impoverished widow in a dark dress and, just behind her, a young mother with a baby in her arms. Again to his left, is a man in need of medicine, pointing to a wound in his knee. On both sides of Laurence are little children; two of them, having already received their alms, are walking away, while a third is still waiting to receive something.

The fresco is a kind of homily on today’s first reading and responsorial psalm. Laurence is the cheerful giver, beloved of God (cf. 2 Cor 9: 7). “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever? (2 Cor 9:9, Ps 111:9). Blessed Fra Angelico painted theology: by showing the open basilica in the background, he is indicating that the Church is the servant of the hospitality of God, that her doors are open to all. By painting Saint Laurence in his dalmatic, he is suggesting that Laurence has just come from Mass where it is the deacon’s function to sing the dismissal, “Ite, missa est,? “Go, the Mass is ended,? or “Go, it is the sending forth.? The mission of the Church begins at the altar; leaving the altar, Laurence goes straight out the front door of the church to the poor who wait for him. He goes from Christ to Christ.

In yet another fresco, Fra Angelico shows Saint Laurence kneeling before Pope Saint Sixtus the Second whose feast we remembered last Saturday. The scene takes places shortly before the martyrdom of Pope Sixtus together with four of his deacons on August 6, 458. Laurence’s death followed four days later. The bishop of Rome and his faithful deacon are looking at one another; both understand what is to come. They will both fall into the earth like grains of wheat (cf. Jn 12:24) to produce a harvest for Christ and for the Church. Saint Sixtus is handing over a chalice and paten to Saint Laurence. Laurence, clothed in his rose dalmatic, extends his hands to receive the sacred vessels; they are the sign of Christ’s sacrifice. It is as if the Pope is saying to his deacon, “Receive these sacred vessels and become what they are destined to contained: the Body and Blood of Christ offered in sacrifice and given for the life of the world, All around Saints Sixtus and Laurence, Fra Angelico shows the clergy of Rome; they are grave and engaged in serious conversation. All seem to be aware of the drama that is about to unfold. Here again, Fra Angelico is preaching, not merely painting. He is showing that what is made present in the Eucharist must unfold in all of life.

Finally, in a third fresco, Fra Angelico shows Saint Laurence standing before the Roman Emperor Valerian. The Emperor is crowned and seated on his throne in an apse. The hands of Laurence are bound and he is surrounded by soldiers. Laurence is dressed in the same rose-coloured dalmatic. He appears before the Emperor as a deacon of Christ, consecrated for the service of Christ’s altar and Christ’s poor. Laurence looks at Valerian with a pure and steady gaze; he is not intimidated. He reminds us of that other deacon, Saint Stephen, of whom it is written that “all who sat in council saw that his face was like that of an angel? (Ac 6:15). The Emperor cannot look Laurence in the face; he lowers his eyes. The servant of Christ is possessed of a majesty that the world cannot give and the majesty of this world fades and shrinks before it. “If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him? (Jn 12:26).

I thought that by considering with you today the message of the little medallion conserved in the Metropolitan Museum, and by looking at the frescoes of Blessed Fra Angelico, we might enter more deeply into the Word of God given us by Mother Church for this feast of Saint Laurence. May it be given us to pass from holy images into the holy mysteries.

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July 26, 2005

Recommended Reading

From a classmate...

I could not have said it better than this and, indeed, I have been thinking along the same lines.

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July 22, 2005


From Don Marco:

Canticle 3:1-4b
Psalm 62: 2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
John 20: 1-2, 11-18

July 22, 2005
Monastery of the Glorious Cross, O.S.B.
Branford, Connecticut

Woman of fire,
woman of desire,
woman of great passions
woman of the lavish gesture,
Mary of Magdala!

The icons show you robed in red,
covered in the blood of the Lamb,
a living flame, a soul set afire.
You are there at the foot of the Cross:
kneeling, bending low, crushed by sorrow,
your face in the dust.

You love,
but in that hour of darkness,
dare not look on the disfigured Face of Love.
It is enough that you are there,
brought low with him,
Enough for you
the Blood dripping from his wounded feet,
Blood seeping into the earth
to mingle with your tears.

You seek him on your bed at night,
Him whom your heart loves.
David’s song is on your lips:
“Of you my heart has spoken: Seek his face.
It is your face, O Lord, that I seek;
hide not your face from me? (Ps 26:8-9).

His silence speaks.
His absence is a presence.
And so you rise to go about the city,
drawn out, drawn on by Love’s lingering fragrance.
“Draw me, we will run after you, in the odour of your ointments? (Ct 1:3).

You seek Him by night
in the streets and broadways;
you seek Him whom your soul loves;
with nought but your heart’s desire for compass.
You seek Him but do not find him.

In this, Mary, you are friend to every seeker.
In this you are a sister to every lover.
In this you are close to us who walk in darkness
and wait in the shadows,
and ask of every watchman,
“Have you seen him whom my soul loves??

Guide us, Mary, to the garden of new beginnings.
Let us follow you in the night.
Wake our souls before the rising of the sun.
Weep that we may weep
and in weeping become penetrable to joy.

The Gardener waits,
the earth beneath his feet watered by your tears.
Turn, Mary, that with you we may turn
and, being converted,
behold his Face
and hear his voice
and, like you, be sent to say only this:
“I have seen the Lord? (Jn 20:18).

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July 21, 2005

New Schola

It is time. I have been thinking about this for a while, so must do it while the iron is hot. With all the musical experience I have, especially the last two summers sitting literally at the feet of one of the great modern masters, I propose to begin a west coast version of Fr. Heiman's Schola Speciale. We shall study the Messine neums in the Graduale Triplex and sing them accordingly. This will not be an academic exercise, per se. The purpose is to learn to pray these chants in the liturgy.

Gregorian Chant is supposed to have pride of place in the Liturgy. It seems a struggle just to provide it a place.

Anyway, five men are expected tonight to begin the enterprise. If there is sufficient interest we shall also begin one for women.

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July 10, 2005

Resurrexit sicut dixit

Ah, the choir today was absolutely fabulous. It is everthing that I had hoped for in the past year. More than just singing something at the liturgy, this time they brought life and excitement to the music throughout the entire mass.

They took a break from their summer vacation to come back and sing the Mass where we honored Fr. Steven Lopes on his new appoinment to the CDF. Our new music director is doing a fabulous job. All this time when wanting more from the choir, they had been led to believe I wanted less and even considered them unimportant. Nothing could be further from the truth. With Sam at the helm, there is a great deal of hope for the next choir year, and many of the choir members have expressed thanks and support for the new director.

It was only about 15 members from the choir, but they sounded better and larger than they had all year. The descants were well placed, and the choir involvement in the Gloria and in the Psalm brought a freshness and vitality to the Liturgy. The other two choir selections were beautifully executed and very prayerful. What a grace!

All Creatures of Our God and King
Kyrie Cum Jubilo
Melodic Gloria, James Chepponis
The Seed that Falls on Good Ground, Psalm 65 from the Gelineau Psalter
Paschal Alleluia, Tone VI with verse
Tu Es Sacerdos, Robert Kreutz
The Community Mass Acclamations and Agnus Dei, Proulx
In Memory of You/Ave Verum, Peloquin
Ave Verum Corpus, Saint-Saens
Holy, Holy, Holy

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July 8, 2005

Synod Instrumentum Laboris

Zenit has the text of the Instrumentum Laboris for the Synod on the Eucharist on its site. This is the working document for the meeting. I found the section on Liturgical Music very supportive of recent moves we have made here at the parish in that area.

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June 27, 2005


...on the Gospel of this morning. It is easy to get bound up in where we are going and what we are doing. Jesus calls us to himself, and the one we are with is more important than anything else.

As St. Gaspar wrote from prison, the greatest consolation is in knowing that wherever we are with are with our greatest desire. I am going to have to go find that passage today.

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CD Recording

Today: Rehearsal
Tomorrow: Recording

This year we are recording selected chants from Advent and Christmas. I has been wonderful celebrating the Christmas season here in sweltering Indiana, in June. I have have been sweating over the Gradual, Tecum Principium, from Midnight Mass. I will be the cantor for that piece and it is the most daunting piece of music I have ever attempted.

One correspondant inquired about my times posted on this blog. The blog is still set for Pacific Daylight time, so my actual times posting are two hours later.

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June 23, 2005

The Psalms

Bill White has updated his site on the Psalms. This is a great resource and wonderful reflections on the daily prayers of the Church. I receive a great benefit reflecting on the Words of John Paul on these psalms and I am grateful that Benedict XVI intends on completing the work.

Thanks, Bill, for keeping the links up to date.

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Returning the Compliment

It seems only fitting to return the compliment. It is always a joy to share the company of this family of musicians. It was a privilege to celebrate the Eucharist for them this evening. Mary Jane is a wonderful new acquaintance from Florida and she shares many of the joys and frustrations of the Church musician. It is always a pleasure to find people of similar mind and outlook when it comes to the liturgy and its music. I think that she out does me in the wit department though.

Another joy is to reconnect with the members of the Gregorian Chant Choir from the University of Chicago, a choir I directed for two years. Four of their members are attending the institute.

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March 29, 2005

Liturgical Ambiance

Just because Andrew asked, here is how our church looked during the last two weeks:

The last two weeks of Lent

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion


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March 21, 2005

Easter Broadcast

On Easter Sunday at 2 p.m. Radio FM Station KEDM (90.3 on the radio dial) in Monroe, Louisiana will air an hour-long program entitled "Memories," hosted by Bernadette Cahill and featuring the Schola Speciale. Members of the Schola Speciale were selected from the participants in Gregorian Chant Institute 2004. Host for the broadcast will be Bernadette Cahill.

The Schola Speciale, conducted by Fr. Larry Heiman, C.PP.S., will be heard in three selections:

1. Scapulis suis (Communio for the First Sunday of Lent) with Michael Olbash as Cantor

2. Judica me (Introit for the Fifth Sunday of Lent) with Karen Eagle as Cantor

3. Pueri Hebraeorum (Antiphon for Palm Sunday Procession) with Fr. Jeff Keyes, C.PP.S. as Cantor

Schola Speciale selections will be heard during the final fifteen minutes of the radio broadcast.

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December 1, 2004

Real Liturgy, Real Worship

In spirit and in truth: it means that what we use for liturgy should have a certain dignity. My predessors had different gifts. Liturgy was not something they paid a lot of attention to.

Some of the things that have disappeared recently:

1. fake lectionary, we have real books now.
2. fake trees, statues stand there now.
3. fake altar candles
3. fake advent wreath
4. fake advent candles

Blue banners and vestments, with a horrid pink trim, remain in the closets. One regular commenter here will probably criticize the fact that I have a simple violet chasuble with elegant violet and gold overstole. Vestments are a future project. I spent a great deal of money on those vestments several years ago and they are still in beautiful condition.

The Church now has a crucifix. The processional crucifix which is used every Sunday had its stand fixed and it now stands in the sanctuary during liturgy.

In the closets we had some old chalices and ciboria badly in need of refinishing. They all left last Sunday to be refinished. A parishioner is donating the work.

So, progress is being made, and we are not spending a great deal of money yet. I am still in the process of wrestling the budget to the ground. Pray that we get it balanced by Saturday. That, at least, is the current goal.

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Who is right?

"I want to remind you of the meaning of blue in Advent. Blue is the color of Advent, not purple-even though it was used instead of blue, for many generations. Purple is penitential and belongs to Lent. The deep blue of Advent reminds us of the night sky and the contrasting light shining in the darkness."
-Fr. George Wertin

You can find pictures of his "church" here.

On the other hand we have this educated opinion:

Several people have written to us inquiring whether blue is an approved color for liturgical vestments in Advent. It is not.

You can find their documentation here.

I went looking for resources today because of the experience of an irate parishioner, angry that the sanctuary was no longer Blue.

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June 30, 2004

Laon 239

These are samples of manuscripts of chant we learned to read this summer. I found a facsimile of the Laon 239 manuscript on sale on the Solemnes website so I ordered it. My Graduale is now filled with pencil markings where the later Solemnes notation differs from the 10th century manuscript

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A Musician's Lament

As much as I mistrust CWN normally I really appreciated reading Michael Obash's description of the state of Catholic Church Music. (Thanks, RC, for the link). I heard a fuller description this yesterday on the ride down to Lafayette for the recording. Michael and I were both cantors on the recording, and he stands next to me, on my left, in the picture of the schola.

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June 22, 2004

Chant Institute 2004

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June 12, 2004


I decided for youth, inexperience, and evident talent. I also hired a team.

Allen del Rosario is the new Director of Music Ministry for St. Eward Parish.
Alexander Katsman will remain as assistant director and will conduct the choir.

Alex is an accomplished Vocal Coach working in local Musical Theater, San Francisco and San Jose. He has been assistant director and principal accompanist here at St. Edward for fourteen years. He was the choir's choice because they know and love him. He has limited experience with liturgical repertoire but he is willing to learn.

Allen is an organ student and a third years student at San Jose State University in Choral Conducting. He is a part time music minister at another parish at the moment. In the interview, when I asked him about his experience with Gregorian Chant, he said it was not permitted at his current position. Allen was strongly recommended by the current pastor.

In the choice between experience or potential, I decided for potential. Music ministers at the parish who have spoken with me are delighted with the choices as both of these men are well known to them.

The new music ministry team begins with me on August 1st.

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Year of the Eucharist

The Holy Father has announced a Year of the Eucharist.

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June 10, 2004


My prayer journal this morning has the following question:

Experience or potential?

I have whittled the the list down to five, and I hope to appoint a music director by Monday.

People with great experience and talent seem to come with a lot of baggage, an agenda they wish to impose, and a negative experience from a former employment. I have some compassion for this perspective simply because I have some negative experiences from past employments, and of course, I have a vision and some hope for the future of music ministry here. The problem is that I do not detect in these people a desire to become a part of the community and get to know the people before making huge changes.

On the other hand there are two applicants who have no experience, some evident talent, and indication of great potential. They are both in their early 20s.

I discovered a new blog today He has not sent his resume, but seems to be tempted by the prospect. It is getting late and if the interview and audition does not happen before Monday, there is no chance to become part of the process.

Prayers appreciated.

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June 2, 2004

Chant this summer

Fr. Larry Heiman has announced the list of the chants for the summer recording of the Schola Speciale. All the selections are from the Graduale Triplex

Invocabit me
Scapulis suis
Tibi dixit
Oculi mei
Qui biberit
Iudica me
Nemo te condemnavit
In nomine
Gloria, laus
Christus factus est
Nos autem l
Ubi caritas l
Pange lingua
Ecce lignum
Popule meus

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May 30, 2004

Pentecost At Bond

Calvert House
The Catholic Center at the University of Chicago
May 30, 2004, 11:00am, Bond Chapel
Pentecost Sunday(C) Domenica Pentecostes

Antiphonum ad Introitum, When The Day of Pentecost, BFW 184, Psalm 104, Grail Text
Sprinkling Rite, Springs of Water, BFW 144, Dan 3:77-79, NAB
Gloria, De Angelis
Psalmus, Lord Send Out Your Spirit, BFW 131, Psalm 104, Lectionary 63
Sequentia, Veni Sancte Spiritus, Graduale Simplex`
Antiphona ad Acclamationis, Triple Alleluia, BFW 142
Antiphona ad offertorium, Alleluia Psalm I, BFW 186, Psalm 68
Sanctus, De Angelis
Post Consecrationem, Mortem tuam
Agnus Dei , De Angelis
ad Communionem, Spiritus qui a Patre procedit, alleluia, Graduale Simplex, Psalm 78, Grail Text
Ite missa est, O Holy Spirit, By Whose Breath, RS 616

BFW= By Flowing Waters
RS= Ritual Song, GIA

I would like to pay tribute to the singers, the schola that has dedicated themselves to the 11:00am Mass these past two years. It has been an honor to sing and to pray with them. It was a pleasure to hear how well the congregation has progressed. They filled the chapel with their song, and even followed the lead of the choir, observing the dynamics set by the antiphon at the Offertory. The choir picture above was take last winter when Cardinal George came to celebrate with the Calvert House Community.

It is been a great joy. I will miss this part of Chicago. Thanks especially to Ann and Dawn who led the choir in my absences. Dawn will be continuing with the choir in the coming year.

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May 27, 2004

Journal Entry

It was 1985. I was director of Music at St. Edward Catholic Church. Doing packing today I came across one of my old journals. This entry was dated January 21, 1985:

The challenge of the pastoral musician and liturgist is not to come up with new songs and new forms all of the time, but to do what you have with great care and beauty.

Last week in my journal I was developing some other thoughts about liturgical music in the context of interviewing possible music directors.

It is occurring to me that liturgical music seems to be practiced in parishes in our country in two main categories.

The first category: Music is chosen to please us. It is supposed to make us happy, to make us comfortable. It confirms us in our current state. It fulfills us. It may even confirm us in some of our prejudices. It entertains us, it tickles our fancy. It appeals to something deep in our emotions, brings a lump to our throat, or a tear to our eyes. It pleases us and makes us feel at home.

The second category: This music is designed to take us somewhere else, to lift us from our present state and give us a taste of another world. It is supposed to challenge us and convict us. It is supposed to be a vehicle whereby we might give ourselves. This music puts us in relationship, not just with the people in the room, but with the people of the world and with all the cloud of witnesses throughout the ages who have gone before us marked with the sign of the cross.

This is rough thinking. The thesis has not been developed enough. I have only begun chewing on this. The categories seem a bit too black and white. Things are not all that clear. For example, Holy God, We Praise Thy Name may fit into both categories. Examining individual songs may not be the way to go, but it may be best to look at the whole parish repertoire and approach to worship in general.

In general, it is my opinion that most parishes in this country are more comfortable with the first category.

Any thoughts?

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Turn off the Mic

I was pleased to find this article via other bloggers. Thanks to Rex Olandi, and Aris.

It has some interesting suggestions. One that resonated well with me was the very first suggestion to turn down the volume.

The Microphone has done more damage than good to parish worship. This is a realization that came to me slowly over the years, but I am firmly convinced now. It the parish where I was pastor for seven years we eliminated the cantor for everything but the psalm and the communion. Everything else was led by the organ. Of course that all changed after I left.

At St. Edward I had an experience that confirmed this. Last Christmas I presided at two masses there. The music and the liturgy were beautiful. After communion there was a meditation sung in the choir loft by the choir and two vocalists. It was too loud and even distorted coming through the microphones. It was jarring. It destroyed everthing they had done so far. Why did they even need microphones in the loft?

This is what makes it so difficult in choosing a music director. How do I find someone who is competant in organ and voice who also has a care for the volunteers in the choir, and also has a care and concern for the community at worship and has no need to entertain them?

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May 11, 2004

A unique experience

I am still amazed that I was there. It was a fascinating experience and an incredible conversation. There were about 15 of us around the table in the hotel conference room for most of the day yesterday. The meeting was held in Chicago and it seems I was invited simply because I direct the Gregorian Chant Choir at the University of Chicago. It was a Consultation on Chants for the New Roman Missal conducted by the Secretariat for the Liturgy of the USCCB. Msgr Moroney conducted the meeting, and Fr. Bruce Harbert, the executive Director of ICEL was present. Cathedral Music Directors from Chicago, Seattle and St. Louis were present as well as the Directors from GIA, OCP and WLP. NPM was represented by its president, and then seminary musicians and chant directors from St. John, St. Meinrad, Sacred Heart in Detroit and St. Joseph, Rensselaer were there.

The Translations of the new texts will undergo many transformations in the next few months. There are, after all, eleven Bishops Conferences commenting on them at the moment, but there are already musicians around the country that are developing the principles by which they will be chanted. One thing is sure, the next edition of the Roman Missal for use in English will have a greater emphasis placed on presider chant.

[UPDATE: comments closed]

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May 9, 2004


Guess who was at Mass this morning.

Have a safe trip down to Texas, Aris.

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May 3, 2004

Liturgy Discussion

The recent liturgy document has fostered a great deal of discussion among Catholic Blogs, and even in this household. In many places there are some who take issue with the church's right to "meddle" in the liturgical affairs of the local assembly.

I have no desire to be a slave to rubrics. I simply wish to celebrate the Eucharist in a community that is focused, not on me and not on themselves, but on Christ. Too often I have seen the discussion develop into an apologia for what the presider or parishioner has a "right" to change or do with the liturgy.

I, for one, am happy with the document. There are a few things about it I question, and there are places to take those questions. Simply dismissing the rules as unreasonable does not serve the people well. The new GIRM and this new instruction seem to be calling for a greater reverence in and for the liturgy. I think this is a good thing, and I am more than willing to study the liturgy a little closer, and to make an effort for greater reverence in and for the Eucharist.

One Catholic Blog talked about this as receiving a document without theological justification. I do not want to quarrel with his experience, so much as to provide a different perspective.

He said, Good liturgy is not only faithful to the structure and rubrics of the Roman rite, but is also an artistic endeavor.

I wish to gently take issue with the idea that the liturgy is an artistic endeavor. Please do not take anything I say to mean that the liturgy should not be done well. But who is the artist? If the liturgy is a place for me to display MY art, then I am not serving the liturgy but using the liturgy as a way to serve me. At liturgy, I am not the artist. Jesus is.

I think the church has a perfect right to govern the course of the liturgy and how it is celebrated.

If how creative and artistic I can be takes priority over matter, form, structure and rubrics, then I have formed a plan to change the liturgy and not allow the liturgy to change me. It then becomes the liturgy of Jeffrey Keyes, not the liturgy of Jesus Christ.

American culture has not served the liturgy well because artistic forms are mostly based in entertainment values. The church is helping us rediscover some worship values.

The liturgy is not a set of rubrics or a recipe to follow. It is a home, a place to meet the one who hase loved me and poured out his last drop of blood for us. It is where I meet him.

We are to do the liturgy well. It is the center. It is the most precious event of any day. We are to provide our best. (Often this is quite difficult in the morning.) But evn if I have failed to cast off the sleep from my eyes, it is stilll a call to a relationship with another, and not an expression or exercise of my art.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 6:46 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

April 30, 2004

Bond Chapel This Sunday

I will hand the choir direction duties off to one of the able students who pitch in when I am gone, yet this time I will remain and preside and preach at the Eucharist. And yes, I will sing everything.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 4:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 29, 2004

Gregorian Chant

Fr. Larry Heiman, C.PP.S. is a treasure. I studied music under him back in the '80s and for the last several years have attempted to participate in his Chant Institute.

It is now or never. With the fact that I am taking on the pastorate of a parish on August 1st I may never have the opportunity again. Fr. Heiman isn't getting any younger either.

So it starts on June 19th and our Assembly out in California ends on the 18th. I will do my best. Now I have recieved the highest honor. As I am sitting here listing to Fr. Heiman's last chant CD, I recieve an email from him asking me to serve on the next one to be recorded June 30th. Cool!!!

There goes vacation, but when would I have a chance to do that again? Stay tuned for information about the Chant CD of Lent and Triduum chants that will be recorded.

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April 28, 2004

Draft Translation

I have been waiting to see these. I think at first glance they are pretty wonderful. I especially like the Eucharistic Prayers.

Thanks to Aris for the link.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 10:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 23, 2004

Redemptionis Sacramentum

I printed it out and will take it on the airline for some reading. It's a four hour flight so it should be no problem to get the whole thing read. Maybe I will have some comments tomorrow.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 8:53 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack


I have enough to do at the moment, but added to the mix is the search for a music minister for the parish. The Current director gave Fr. Finley two weeks notice after Easter. He has taken a job closer to home. I already have one blogger out there applying for the job. I hope to have someone in place by June. I become pastor on August 1st.


Active parish in San Francisco Bay Area seeks competent, collaborative musician, pastoral minister, as member of Pastoral Team. 5000 family parish, 300+ parish school, Adult and children's choirs, seven weekend masses; pipe organ; masses celebrated in English, vibrant ethnic mix in parish; Cultural understanding essential; Chant, Traditional and Contemporary repertoire, Organ skills, knowledge of liturgy, experience preferred. Competitive salary and benefits. Send resume to Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, CPPS, e-mail to (click the link in the side bar)

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 7:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 22, 2004

Redemptionis Sacramentum

A new instruction on the Eucharist will be released by the Vatican tomorrow.

I have noticed a so-called Catholic news service article that bemoans the fact that it took more than a year and will probably be a disappointment. Unfortunately I am coming to my own conclusion that not all Catholic News Services are created equally and the buyer must beware.

I especially appreciate the measures approach that this blogger is taking.

I would encourage all to read the document, to check your expectations at the door, and to recieve the teaching with an open and humble heart. I will try to do the same.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 12:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 21, 2004


I have enjoyed reading John Paul II's commentaries on the psalms for some time. His comments on some of my favorite psalms and canticles have been inspirational. It was a treat to find that Bill White has organized the links to the commentaries for Morning Prayer into a marvelous little resource. I will include the link on my sidebar too.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 10:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 20, 2004

Easter Crowds

St. Anne Parish in Gilbert, AZ had an interesting problem at Easter Sunday.

You may remember that I preached a parish mission there recently. There is even a Catholic Blogger in the pews there.

[update: the link to that Phoenix newspaper may not work. It only works for me half the time. You can try it again, or go to the Blogger's website and try the link from there. Blogger's links are not working so scroll down to "Parish Profile"]

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 9:37 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 15, 2004

Easter II

The homily is not done. I will not put the finishing touches on it until Sunday, after I have worked with these couples for a few days. But here is the outline I am taking with me. See 'ya Monday.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 11:11 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 14, 2004

Sedes Sapientiae

Here is a sign of a vibrant community. They have been spending a year building a small chapel for adoration. The new monstrance, donated by a friend of the community, arrived recently. The Calvert House Community at the University of Chicago is truly blessed. It is one of the places I will miss here in Chicago.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 6:35 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 13, 2004

Fifty Days

Easter lasts for 50 days. Lent seems to have captured the imagination more than the Easter Season has. The fasting and works of charity of Lent seem to take center stage more readily than Easter practices. I am curious what readers out there are doing to observe the Easter Season. Leave your comments and suggestions in the comments box.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 3:37 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Becker or Chant

There is a neat little Liturgical Music Grudge Match going on over at Catholic Light.

I have been in many liturgical settings where the Becker Litany was used. It has always been very confusing and artificial sounding to get in extra saints, like Saint Gaspar del Bufalo and Saint Maria de Mattias in the Becker Litany, and I have never seen it prayed successfully.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 1:29 PM | TrackBack

Triduum Highlights

a great choir to work with chanting the Exsultet Victimae Paschali Laudes, That is Patrick to my right. Victimae Paschali Laudes Dinner for 150. This year I roasted six legs of lamb, Fr. Mike had the pork, the Lituanian and Polish Sausages, and the Ham. The Jesuits brought the vegetables. My sister visiting for Easter

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 1:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Liturgical Vesture

It seems the the most comments on the Good Friday post were about the vesture. I got this wonderful email from Br. Michael who has chanted the speaker parts these past two years"

....your "blog friend" Maureen is a tough liturgical cookie. I was amused by her comments on the vesture for Good Friday. I believe "choir dress" is the proper vestment for Good Friday. The Ceremonial of Bishops #66 states "Presbyters who take part in a liturgical service but not as concelebrants are to wear choir dress if they are prelates or canons, cassock and surplice if they are not." Regarding "choir dress," found in #1206-1210 of the same Ceremonial, "regular clergy" wear their religious habit in accord with their own traditions. Finally, the Ceremonial says in #65, "Acolytes, readers, and other ministers may wear other lawfully approved vesture in place of the vestments already mentions" (thus, my religious habit is most appropriate for such a ministry).

Next year, as pastor I will inevitably be presiding and I will be in red Chasuble so it will not be a question. The other two singers, since St. Edward Choir does not wear robes, will probably be in suit and tie. (Hey, Dan, start practicing that Narratiion part)

Although, for Stations I may choose to wear the Cassock, cross and chain since that is distinctive for my community. I'm sure Maureen will have an opinion.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 10:33 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 10, 2004

Homily Notes

There were a couple of students who asked me if they could have copies of my homily last night. Well, all I had was a small piece of paper with a bunch of notes and an outhline crowded on to it. I promised I would type up the notes and make them available.

A written text is never the same as the public proclamation. Words on a page generally do not have the same power as hearing the spoken word. This is just a bare outline. On my notes they were just titles and words. Here I put them into complete sentences.

Also I included a few background notes from the writings of St. Gaspar

The homily Notes can be found here. You will need a free acrobat reader.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 12:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 9, 2004

Music for the Sacred Triduum

Here is a listing of the music selection for Sacred Paschal Triduum celebrated this year at Calvert House. The Liturgies are celebrated at Bond Chapel on the Campus of the the University of Chicago.


Holy Thursday
Introit: Lift High the Cross
Kyrie: de Angelis
Gloria: de Angelis
Psalm: Our Blessing Cup (Keyes)
Acclamation: Glory to you, O Word of God
Mandatum: Jesu, Jesu(Ghana) and Mandatum(GS)
Preparation: Ubi Caritas (GS)
Eucharistic Acclamations: Proulx, Community Mass
Agnus Dei: XVIII
Communion: Take and Eat (Joncas) RS910
Procession: Pange Lingua

Good Friday
Entrance in Silence
Psalm: Father, Into your hands I commend my spirit (H. Hughes)
No Gospel Acclamation
The Passion, Chanted
General Intercessions: chanted from Sacramentary, with Kyrie
Music for the Veneration:
This is the Wood, Sacramentary
Reproaches from Sacramentary, response from Graduale Romanum, and Graduale Simplex
Crux Fidelis (Graduale Romanum)
Communion Hymn: Take and Eat
Silence for Recessional

Easter Vigil
Liturgy of the Easter Fire: Exsultet
Liturgy of the Word
Psalm 104: BFW 131
Psalm 16: WIII, 903 Joncas
Exodus 15: BFW 134
Psalm 30: GC41 by Paul Inwood
Isaiah 12: GC148 by Marty Haugen
Psalm 19: BFW 138
Psalm 42: BFW 140
Gloria: De Angelis
Gospel Acclamation:Psalm 118: BFW 142
Liturgy of Baptism and Reception
Litany of Saints, BFW 143
Springs of Water BFW 144
Confirmation: Veni Sancte (Taize)
Liturgy of the Eucharist
Preparation of Gifts: Ye Sons and Daughters
Eucharistic Acclamations: Proulx
Agnus Dei XVIII
Communion: Take and Eat
Closing: Jesus Christ is Risen Today

Easter Sunday
Introit: This is the Day the Lord Has Made, BFW 148
Kyrie de Angelis
Gloria de Angelis
Psalm: Today is the Day the Lord has made BFW149
Alleluia: from Easter Vigil
Preparation: Terra Tremuit, GS 161
Eucharistic Acclamations: de Angelis
Agnus Dei de Angelis
Communion: Mozarabic Alleluia, GS 454
Closing: Jesus Christ Is Risen Today, RS 593

RS=Ritual Song
GC=Gather Comprehensive
GS=Graduale Simplex
BFW=By Flowing Waters
WIII=Worship, Third Edition

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 10:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Chanting the Passion

It will be the same three chanters again this year

Brother Michael Berry, OCD, Fr. Michael Yakaitis, Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S.

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Good Friday

Mission Cross, St. John The Baptist, Whiting, IN

St. Maria de Mattias
"By silence and prayer we will come to understand much better the preciousness of the cross, made sacred by the precious blood of Cross." 1863

"The Cross is always dear to those who truly love Jesus. Whoever love the Cross gives a sure sign that she holds in her heart a genuine love for Jesus. My dear, let us never move away from the Cross, for this is the key to the treasures of heaven. This is the gate of Paradise." 1847

From St. Gaspar
Where the Cross is, there also is the mercy of God. St. Vincent de Paul used to say: my Congregation would cease to be if a single day would go by without crosses. Jesus was tempted to come down from the cross: " If you are the son of God ...", but, for our instruction, he taught us to remain with the cross and to die on the cross.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 6:04 AM | TrackBack

April 8, 2004

Holy Thursday

What a great thing it is that the blood of Jesus is even our drink in the Eucharist and how, finally, through the merits of the blood of Jesus Christ we shall arrive in paradise. With your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation]. You made them a kingdom. . . .

Herein lies the glory of the priesthood, instituted for applying the price of redemption to souls, so that the divine Blood will not have been shed in vain, due to our own fault, as we note in the Holy Scriptures: Quae utilitas in Sanguine meo? ... Sanguis Jesu Christi emendabit conscientias nostras ab operibus mortuis. (What gain would my blood be? The Blood of Christ Jesus cleanses our conciences from the dead works.)

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 3:57 PM | TrackBack

April 7, 2004

To Priests

...from Pope John Paul II, 2004

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 8:08 AM | TrackBack

April 4, 2004

Psalm 116

We are going to have somewhat limited resources musically for the Triduum at Calvert House this year. This is ok for the chant choir because we are used to doing everything acappella anyway. The Hymnal resources at Calvert House are Gather Comprehensive at Calvert House and Ritual Song at Bond Chapel. The Choir uses the Graduale Simplex for most of their chants, and the stuff in English is put in the program. I print out the grail psalms and point them for the choir.

I was not happy with the available choices for the psalm for Holy Thursday. The choices for the GIA books have never been satisfactory for me, and the Graduale and By Flowing Waters simply does not have the text.

In the old days I was a composer and when in this situation I would just write something. So that is what I did today. I took some motif from a Holy Thursday hymn, chose a chant pattern from the Graduale and hopefully I have fashioned a prayer.

All of you musicians out there can provide some critique of my psalm composing.

Here is a sound recording:

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UPDATE: The PDF file and the sound recording are new. This is now draft three of the psalm. Thanks to Aristotle and to RC for the constructive suggestions.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 6:20 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Palm Crosses

I have always wanted to know how to make the little crosses I see people make with their palms. Well Mary over at Ever New has a link that shows how to make them. It is very easy. I made three of them this afternoon. Thanks, Mary.

[Update] Link deleted as Mary's blog has been taken over by someone else.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 3:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 3, 2004

"Ashes" again

NCR reports that the Bishops are beginning to take a look at our hymns

I know the song, "Ashes," has become my favorite whipping boy for all my ire on some of these hymns but I found it oddly affirming that it was the first one mentioned in the article. Thanks RC for the link. Ok, Todd, should it still be in a parish repertoire?

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 10:18 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 29, 2004


I was ordained in 1991. At that time a new sacramentary was on the horizon. I am in my 13th year of priesthood. The more I have studied the latin I know how poorly we have been served by our current sacramentary. Most egregious has been the prefaces, especially the seasonal ones. Some of the images of these prayers have made it into homilies, but sadly have not been supported by the text of the mass.

Not everyone will be happy with the new book, but I am sure that in many ways it will be a vast improvement. Maybe it will encourage more priests to pray the mass rather than preach it.

Interesting article.

One interesting text is the prayer after the "Our Father."

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that with the help of your mercy
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all disquiet
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.

I am not sure that "disquiet" is a word we use in common English, and it happens in a place where many priests have been tempted to change or explain the "anxiety" that we are trying to avoid. One hope I have is that there will be less temptation to over-psychologize the Mass.

It has been more than four years since the GIRM was released. It is about time we had a new book to use for prayer for the next generation. I am getting tired of waiting. Lent is one of those times where this wait becomes painful. I have Fr. Marvin Steffes' translations of the Lenten Prefaces. The differences are incredible and the images from the Latin prefaces and prayers are so much more inspirational and instructive.

God, help our Bishops to make a decision quickly and to get these prayers into our hands as soon as possible.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at 10:16 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack