Wednesday, February 27, 2008

4 Lent A

Prelude: O Mensch (Bach)
Prelude (10:30 Mass): Voluntary on "When Jesus Wept," Thomas Bohlert
Open: O Sun of Justice (Jesu Dulcis)
Gifts: My Song is Love Unknown (Love Unknown)
Communion: Ierusalem, quae aedificatur
Softly and Tenderly (open to discussion. But we do have to please some of the people some of the time...)
Close: Again We Keep This Solemn Fast (Erhalt Uns Herr)

and...we have a bishop...

Of course, although none of this can fortell the future as it personally relates to me, I am of course interested in knowing where he stands on issues in general. After a quick google search, here's an excerpt he wrote from an article in First Things (referring to the questions of married priests, homosexuality, birth control, etc.) taken from

"Manifestly, the Church is not indifferent to these questions. At every level of the Church’s life, they are endlessly discussed. Just because the Church does not change its teachings or practices does not mean that such questions are being ignored. Might it not be at least seemly for those who agitate for change to entertain the possibility that the Magisterium understands the problems as well as they do, or even that the Magisterium is right and they are wrong about how these problems are to be understood and addressed? "

Just a sample for those who might care. It also appears that he has celebrated the Extraordinary Form of the Mass somewhere in Detroit in the past. interesting.

and to reward those who have read thus far, here is a funny story. Mara definitely tumbled down the steps this morning. I can't figure out if anyone saw, there were people in the parking lot, but I was waiting for them to be like, "hey are you ok?" but they didn't say anything so maybe the didn't see. which would be better for my pride, heh heh. The steps had that white ice-melty stuff on them, but, uh, not the edges of them, which is where I stepped. And oops, down I slipped, 3 or 4 steps. And of course the 4 books I was carrying flew everywhere. And my gloves and other parts of me got covered in the white goo from the ice-melt stuff. hmph. But it must have looked pretty funny. I just sat there on the steps, rather stunned, trying to decide if I was hurt or not. I think I might get a nice bruise on my arm, that'll be interesting. ow. But it's actually even more funny, with it being winter, and how we are all bundled up, so, like, it really doesnt even hurt when you fall. hehe.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

oh the places I'd go, the people I'd see...

If, (speaking theoretically of course,) I, for some strange reason had weeks and weeks in a row without having to be at a church job, what would I do?
Where would I go?
For the past 3 years, what have I done on my rare weekends off from my church jobs?
I've been to London for one of those weekends, D.C. for another weekend, (and I think one more. I just can't remember where...) and then I had one weekend off between jobs a year and a half ago.
Everyone besides music directors and priests just take it for granted that they can go to church wherever they want...
Of course everywhere I have been I have analyzed and critiqued the music at Sunday Mass.
So...IF I had the option, I'd first go to Assumption Grotto, then to St. Josaphat (in Detroit,) I think I'd go hear G play (although I'm not sure where he is now, nor if he still reads this. He hasn't commented in a while!) I would definitely also go to Detroit to hear Joe, I might critique the music/worship at "St. C," and just for curiosity I would go to the Cathedrals of the three closest dioceses (all about an hour away,) simply to hear what these supposed-to-be "good examples" of what the Church wants her music to be, actually sounds like!
What a luxury that would be. To hear the music of other churches on a weekly level!
(And of course I'd travel. I would love to hear first-hand what's going on in the Vatican! Assuming of course I didn't run out of money, heh.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Instrumental music

I feel like I've written about this before, but I really can't decide what I think (or more importantly, what the Church thinks,) about the playing of preludes during Lent.
Here's what Musicam Sacram says about "instruments as solos," (which I suppose would be what a prelude is.)
66. The playing of these same instruments as solos is not permitted in Advent, Lent, during the Sacred Triduum and in the Offices and Masses of the Dead.
Ok, fine.
So, does this prohibition against instrumental music only apply to during the Liturgy? I mean, obviously, the organist can still practice playing the organ by himself when no one is around during Lent and of course that is solo instrumental music, but of course that is very much outside of Mass. But if it's not just referring to during Mass, then what about an organ prelude? Is that allowed? Where would the line be drawn?
I think I'm revisiting this as a question because although I would guess that simply to contribute to the more...austere? nature of the Liturgy during these seasons, it is beneficial to refrain from playing the organ even as a prelude, but I don't believe that my boss agrees with me, based on pastoral reasons. That could be supported by the question of whether or not a prelude is "too close" to the Liturgy. But mainly I am continuing to ponder this because I see the wealth of fabulous organ music based on (all my favorite...) Lenten melodies. When will the average non-concert-going Catholic hear them if not at church during Lent?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

3 Lent A

Prelude: "O Sacred Head," Martha Sobaje
Entrance: From Ashes to the Living Font (St. Flavian)
Offertory: Sing My Tongue (Picardy)
Communion: Qui Biberit Aquam
I Heard the Voice of Jesus (Kingsfold)
Choir: Crown of Thorns (Morning Song, pub. St. James Music Press)
Close: My Song is Love Unknown (Love Unknown)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Missa Cantata

well, it appears that St. P. will be celebrating Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite sooner than I expected. Musica Sacra has some great guides about the rubrics of Low Mass compared to High Mass, but I still don't quite understand where "Missa Cantata" fits into this. This seems to say that High Mass is musically pretty much the same as Missa Cantata. So what does the priest do that is different between Solemn High Mass and Missa Cantata, or between Missa Cantata and Low Mass?

Monday, February 11, 2008

2 Lent A

pre-Mass: teach "My Song is Love Unknown" (Love Unknown)

Entrance: My Song is Love Unknown
Offertory: O Sun of Justice (Jesu Dulcis)
Communion: Parce Domine (Latin refrain, English verses)
Choir: Lord Who Throughout These Forty Days (Turtle Dove-I think, arr. by
Close: The Glory of These Forty Days (Erhalt)

Friday, February 08, 2008

(slightly off-topic.) Teaching piano and going to people's houses

One of the odd perks of the 5.5 hours per week that I spend teaching piano is that I get to go into the houses of several different families. Of course everybody visits other people at some point and sees different houses, usually just for a brief time (and of course the people they are visiting are able to be on their best behavior for those couple hours,) but when you teach piano, and you are there week after start to really see the daily lives of lots of different families. I get to see kids doing their chores (or evading their mothers,) dirty houses, clean houses, tidy houses, and messy houses, dogs that bark at me and well-behaved dogs, dinner cooking, sibling arguments, and of course, mothers yelling at their children! (always a delight. It helps remind me that really, maybe my family wasn't so abnormal after all!) I mean, how many people really get to see the daily, mundane lives of so many other families besides their own?

In addition to observing relational dynamics, I have found it interesting to observe home decor. As in, what works and what doesn't. Many of the houses I visit are rather large, and I have heard them accused (by someone who will remain nameless,) as being bland and impersonal. After I heard this, I started really observing different houses and trying to figure out what exactly makes a house cozy and well-decorated, but also having character and being welcoming. Interestingly, the one house that I believe I can hold up as a "standard" as receiving many compliments and admiration about the interior decorating and generally nice looking inside, is a rather small house. So, to continue my observations, I don't believe that larger houses can be criticized for any lack of nice furnishings-they all have plenty. But when I look at the smaller house, and wonder what exactly it is that makes it receive so many compliments, recently, my conclusion has basically been that it is because of the size. I think that less wall space requires less emptiness to fill. The large houses have SO much wall space, it would be ridiculous or impossible to try and fill to the point of having the same amount of empty wall space as the small house. (and even too much empty floor space begins to take away from character.) The proportion of windows/artwork/bookshelves to empty wall space is much higher in the small house. Wood floors with large area rugs and nice but stylish curtains are also essential.

so there you have it.
the interesting things I get to think about from going into lots of different houses!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I can't live without you...

Well, basically, I think that a Christian praise song or rock song is no good if you can't tell whether the song is about Jesus or the singer's lover.
(I'm going to try and not let this post get side-tracked about the difference between such rock/praise songs as being used in church as opposed to simply listening to them in the car or wherever. For the purposes of this post, let's treat them as just being listened to, but with the intent of praising God through them.)
ok, so, a song with a refrain that repeats over and over, "I can't live without you," actually doesn't really give any honor or glory whatsoever to Christ. It is so self-centered and egocentric. Whether or not you think you can live without God doesn't praise any of His attributes!
Even most of the contemporary Christian songs today (this is a generalization of course,) focus on "You died for ME," "I thank you for loving ME," "You'll never let ME go," "MY one desire is to be with you..." anyhow, you get the point. The theology is...elementary at best, or simply nonexistent.
Actually, as I think about it more, perhaps part of that reason is because that is basically what Protestant "non-denom" theology is, as in, just focused on the one time event of Jesus dying for ME, so that I could have the one-time experience of "being saved." (contrasted of course to solid Catholic theology which is so rich with praises and prayers of no-strings-attached-adoration to God.)
I'm not saying Protestant praise music has to be this way; I would love to see it become much richer and purer if it based its theology on the Psalms (think: pure and simple adoration and praise of God. There is the occasional, "I praise you for you drew me out of the pit," but in general the Psalms are mostly "Blessed be the Lord! Alleluia!" --and what's that say about ME?! Nothing!)
And of course let's not even go down the path comparing this to what most Catholic contemporary music has become!
So...can we just leave the me out of worship of God?

(I particularly liked my point about substituting a boyfriends name or whatever in for "Jesus." On most of the songs I'm referring to, they would make perfectly great love songs! And that, I believe is a flaw.)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

1 Lent A

Entrance: The Glory of These 40 Days (Erhalt Uns Herr)
Offertory: Lord Who Throughout (St. Flavian)
Communion: Scapulis Suis
Hear Us Almighty Lord (Attende Domine)
Closing: O God Our Help in Ages Past (St. Anne)

I'm quite proud of myself. I actually sat down and divided up and arranged all of the Lent-possible songs so they would be used and distributed well. (I don't always think this far in advance...)

Ash Wednesday A

Entrance: Again We Keep This Solemn Fast (Erhalt Uns Herr)
Dist. of Ashes: Hear Us Almighty Lord (Attende Domine)
Parce Domine (Latin refrain, English verses)
Offertory: (if needed-I'm not sure what happens between ashes and if there will be a collection) There's a Wideness (In Babilone)
Communion: Qui Meditabitur
Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling (yeah, that will be a bit of a stark contrast. Maybe I should figure out a way to transition...)
Closing: Lord Who Throughout These 40 Days (St. Flavian)

(hmmm...this looks remarkably similar to what I did last year...)

Monday, February 04, 2008

the reflection of the sacredness or banality of hymns from the rest of the Liturgy

I recently read (or skimmed) a book, "Brightest and Best-Stories of Hymns" by George Rutler. It was somewhat interesting, however I think that reading only one page (or less) about each hymn is too much to have a brief summary, but not enough to really say anything interesting. Or something like that made the book overall rather disappointing.

However, I found the preface to be the most interesting. Here are some pertinent excerpts:

"My purpose in writing this book was to restore attention to some of the finest hymns, in the hope that thye m ight replace the miserable afflictions that keep cropping up in the baleful "missalettes", which are tokens of failure by their very existence (the Liturgy is not a didactic exercise to be read like a theater program) and appearance (their disposable form reflects the transitory quality of the contents.)"

"I deliberately call these songs 'hymns' to distinguish them from run-of-the-mill songs. We do not make that distinction now. But there was a time when Catholics and Protestants alike understood the difference, which is why they did not impose secular idioms on music or text. When the distinction is blurred, the Church does not transfigure culture; the Church is usurped by culture. That is not a sacramental economy but its very opposite."

"Only because I was familiar with most of these hymns from an early age was I able years ago to take offense at their bowdlerization by clumsy editors and ideologues. I came to notice that, in almost every instance of 'updating', solid theology was the victim. References to sacrifice, grace, sin, spiritual combat, and Christ's blood were replaced by insistence on kindness, altruism, and social enlightment. The revisions of old hymns, and most of the inventions substituted for them, are uniformly sentimental: edifying in the worst condescending way, as well as redundant and gauche. This is to be expected of those who have been so unfeeling and rapacious in dismantling the fabric of our churches and the sacred texts used in them: for as selfish ambition has been called the lust of the cleric, so is sentimentalism the indulgence of the cruel.
Very often, people may sing a hymn without any clue as to how reduced the received version is. And, as hymns are poetry, it is decadent to alter their grammatical archaisms instead of rising up to them. We do not do it to Shakespeare, so neither should be do it to the friends of Shakespeare. Like children with sticky hands near fine furniture, a generation that has vandalized the sacred Liturgy should be prevented from laying hands on the great hymns."

"Hymns, when they are worthy and worthily understood, should enhance the classical Liturgy that, by God's grace, will soon rise from its aesthetic stupor. As right understanding of the hymn form means a right understanding of prayer, the psychology of collective song, and the integrity of the eucharistic action."


you know there is just something wacky about the way the liturgical year is falling this year when it's almost Ash Wednesday, and the poinsettas are still alive and looking good!

Friday, February 01, 2008

and this is amazing

Franck's E Major Chorale played on the...accordian. I guess I don't appreciate the accordian as much as I could!

4 OT A

I just love the liturgical year!

This Day God Gives Me (Bunessan)
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
(Communion Chant)
The King of Love
Joyful Joyful