Let Us Together, Attempt To Transcend the Ordinary in Our Liturgies, So That The Poem May Come Alive!

The Wedding Party and Ministers

The Wedding Party and Ministers

“In courtship rituals, a gentleman might give flowers to his beloved as a token of his love; in church, Catholics genuflect or bow before the tabernacle as a sign of their faith. These gestures are completely unnecesary (some would call them artificial) but, like poetry, they are attempts to transcend the ordinary. The male suitor could have sent his beloved a note to the effect that certain biological and socially conditioned response had produced in him a feeling that is generally classified as affection; the Catholic could have quite simply stated that he believed in a divine presence then walked past the tabernacle. But in both cases the emotions spill over; ordinary language and actions cannot contatin the feelings; there is a need to break the restraints out of the practical, to “lose control,” and the result is an irrational, out of the ordinary, poetic gesture.” – Why Catholics Can’t Sing by: Thomas Day

“The Latin Church, has always kept clearly before it the fact that religion is not a syllogism but a poem.” – H. L. Mencken

Brass Quartet

Brass Quartet

This past weekend (Now two weekends ago) I was blessed to be able to attend the Nuptial Mass of two of my friends from school: Michael and Emily (Bockweg) Haley. The weekend was full of adventure, from staying at our former classmate Ben’s funeral home. But, I digress…

Procession of priests and Bishop

Procession of priests and Bishop

The first quote, listed above comes from a book that I am reading for my Senior “Thesis” paper. I am trying to discuss how we discern whether a song (or hymn) is aesthetically pleasing and appropriate for usage at Mass. Before I entered seminary I had a huge love of Liturgy. I still have a huge love of it. But, since being in seminary and joining the Schola and finally having a chance to take organ lessons I have fallen deeply in love with the life of music in the church. There is such an amazing wealth in our historic tradition of music as Catholics, things I never knew existed until coming to seminary and taking some of the classes I have on music in worship.

The Schola Cantorum

The Schola Cantorum

At the wedding this past weekend, (now two weekends ago) I was blest to be part of a 8-person Schola Cantorum, accompanied by a Brass Quartet and Organist. My classmate and dear friend Aaron Hess, conducted the group. The music was absolutley glorious. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, IL and concelebrated by 6 priests, including our seminary rector and a priest MC. There was incense, torches, seminarians, a deacon. If it could be done, it was almost probably done. Everyone after the Mass commented on how absolutley beautiful it was. In fact, as we were singing the Recessional: O God Beyond All Praising, several of those around me in the choir loft (including myself) just started having tears come to our eyes. You see, we had worked on the music for this Mass for almost a year. We had poured sweat, tears, laughs, and time…lots of time into these pieces. Our hearts came out when we sung the texts or played the instruments.

We had invested not only time, but most importantly ourselves into the music, into the prayers of the Mass.

Charity & Rose singing the Ave Maria

Charity & Rose singing the Ave Maria

From the reading I have done on the Liturgical Renewal in America for some of my classes I believe that many of those calling for and starting the renewal invested themselves into it. Justine Ward, one of my personal favorites, developed a methodology of teaching chant to children so that they would be able to sing the prayers of the Mass. Ward, invested herself in these children because of her love of the texts, because of her love of the Mass. Thanks to her and others we now have what is commonly called: The Dialogue Mass. A Mass in which the people and the priest share in singing, in praying the Mass.

The Schola Cantorum for the Haley Nuptials, the brass quartet and organist, all of us loved the Mass. We loved  the prayers. We loved what we were singing/playing. There’s an importance to that. When we invest ourselves in something, we find that we end up leaving a little bit of us there in it. As Mencken stated: “religion is … a poem.” The ways in which we encoutner the divine, can be simple, as Day states, they can be someone acknolwedging God’s existence in the Divine substance of the Eucharist with their voice, but as humans there is an importance to our rituals. When we genuflect we enter into that poem, we enter into the love relationship of God and Man. The Constant wooing, if you will of God and Humanity.

The Bishop sealing their love with his stole, the sign of his office.

The Bishop sealing their love with his stole, the sign of his office.

These ritualistic gestures, like when Michael prayed Evening Prayer with Emily on the side of her family’s lake and popped the question of “Will you marry me?”  or when the congregation at the Nuptial Mass knelt for the Eucharistic Prayer helps us to enter into  and invest in what we are doing. As Day states: “They are attempts to transcend the ordinary.”

The music which we sang for the Haley Wedding included beautiful pieces from our heritage as Catholics. There was the words of Thomas Aquinas for the Thanksgiving piece after Communion: Adoro Te Devote,  Devoutly, we adore you… As the bride, Emily walked down the aisle there was Brewer’s Magnificat in D, speaking of Mary saying yes to the Lord’s will and now Emily giving herself to her new vocation of marriage. After communion, during the devotion times, we sang Schubert’s Ave Maria  and a Litany to St. Joseph, as Emily and Michael placed flowers on Mary and Joseph’s altars asking them to intercede for them in their new life together. Finally the recessional was O God Beyond All Praising, singing worship and praise to God as we joined the happy couple in thanksgiving for their marriage.

The entire wedding was absolutley beautiful. Watching Bishop Paprocki, place his stole on their hands and say: “What God has joined, let no man seperate” left chills with all of us. As we sang the final verses of O God Beyond All Praising, I couldn’t help but to glance and smile at the other members of the choir. The hard work we has placed into the music for this beautiful ocasion had blossomed and come finally to completion. I glanced at Rose, one of my former classmates before she transfered and we both had tears coming down our faces. Our prayer was our singing. Our prayer for Michael and Emily was the gift of our voice. Our words helped to write the poem of this Liturgy and to assist each of those gathered and participating to transcend the ordinary, to lose control and to worship the God we all love in the best and most perfect way, we imperfect

Our organist, Mrs. Jamison

Our organist, Mrs. Jamison

people know how.

Let us together seek to, transcend the ordinary in the way we celebrate the beautiful Liturgies of our Roman Rite, so that this poem of the Paschal Mystery may come alive! Let us Walk this Way of Beauty together!




Wedding Party

Wedding Party

Oh Holy Family of Nazareth, pray for Michael and Emily Haley and help their family to be like thine!

Here’s the Video link to listen to the music from the Nuptial Mass:

“Random Organ piece??” 0:00
“Trumpet Voluntary” 2:38
“Let All Mortal Flesh” 4:06
“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” 7:38

“Introit chant (Latin)” 13:36 (Ministers, Groomsmen, and Groom)
“Canon in D” 19:37 (Bridesmaids)
“Magnificat in D Brewer” 27:14 (Bride)

“Gloria from the Mass of Wisdom” 31:05
“Responsorial Psalm” 33:17
“Festival Alleluia” 36:07

“The Servant Song” 40:16

Mass Parts were chanted simple in Latin

“”Where Charity & Love Prevail 46:17
“Adoro Te Devote” 55″05

“Ave Maria” (Schubert) 56:56
“Hymn to St. Joseph” 59:16

“O God Beyond All Praising ” 1:01:54

Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today, in the liturgical year, we as a church celebrate the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Since Sunday’s have the ranking of a Solemnity, we do not celebrate the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. Just, because we don’t celebrate it within the liturgy today, doesn’t mean that we should forget it though. There are many great saint’s feasts that do not get celebrated during  the Liturgical year, just because they fall on a Sunday of the secular calendar. (Exception discussed here)

Our Lady of Sorrows or in latin: Beata Maria Virgo Perdolens, is also sometimes known as:

The Sorrowful Mother

Mother of Sorrows (latin: Mater dolorosa)

Our Lady of Piety

Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows

Our Lady of the Seven Dolours

Regardless of under what title you call her, Our Lady of Sorrows is an important image of the Blessed Virgin used in the church. In Luke 2:25, Simeon meets Joseph, & Mary as they take Jesus into the temple to present him to the lord after his birth. Luke 2:35 states that Simeon told Mary: “(and you yourself a sword will pierce) – so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  Mary, through her life on earth with Jesus suffered much. The church attributes seven primary sufferings to her though, which help us to come closer to Christ and share in his passion and our Blessed Mother’s anguish at seeing her son treated this way.

1.) The prophecy of Simeon.

“And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.’” (Luke 2: 34-35)

2.) The flight into Egypt.

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’  And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod.”  (Matthew 2: 13-15)

3.) The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple.

“And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem.  His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him.” (Luke 2: 43-45)

4.) The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross.

“And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him.” (Luke 23: 27)

5.) The Crucifixion.

“When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!”  Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’” (John 19: 26-27)

6.) The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross.

“And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.  And Pilate wondered if he were already dead.  And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph.  And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud…” (Mark 15: 42-46)

7.) The burial of Jesus.

“Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid.  So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.” (John 19: 41-42)


This beautiful tradition of honoring Mary as the Mother of Sorrows can be done in many different ways. You can meditate on her sorrows, pray the chaplet of the seven sorrows, or pray the servite rosary. One of the men here at Bishop Bruté, who blogs here, has a strong devotion to Our Mother of Sorrows. After making my Marian Consecration in June on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart I try to celebrate the various Marian feasts that pop up and take them as a time to ask for her intercession in my life. Today, though has special significance to me, as Our Mother of Sorrows and the Immaculate Heart are commonly used interchangeably. (The Immaculate Heart is that which Simeon prophesied to be pierced by a sword.)

Whatever image of the Blessed Mother you find yourself with a particular devotion to, it is important to remember the reason behind our devotion and reverence for Mary. As the Mother of God, she gave her “Fiat” to the angel Gabriel when he appeared to her and told her that she would give birth to Jesus the Christ. Mary said yes to God; she became the first disciple of Jesus, and she dedicated her life to caring for him, protecting him, watching and weeping as he was hung upon a cross and crucified for the sins of the world. Mary constantly through it all pointed to Him, she always directed those around her to her son, and it is with that same spirit that we ask for Mary’s intercession in our lives. We ask her to help us to grow closer to that “bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh.” We ask for Mary to watch over us, shield us with her mantle, and shower us with grace so that we may constantly strive for Christ and may one day rejoice with him in Heaven.

Our Lady of Sorrows, whose immaculate heart was pierced for love of thy son, pray for us!


The above video is of the beautiful hymn: Stabat Mater Dolorosa, written by: Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.

Stabat Mater Dolorosa is translated as: “The Sorrowful Mother Stood. The hymn sung when processing from each of the Station of the Cross: At the Cross her station keeping comes from a translation of this hymn.

Welcome to the world of Catholic blogging Aaron Hess!

Welcome to the world of Catholic blogging Aaron Hess!

As is my custom, whenever I hear that a friend has a blog or website, I make a post about it and share it, so that they can gain followers. This time, it falls on my classmate Aaron Hess. Aaron is a first-year college seminarian from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He is very musically talented and directs our Schola Cantorum, here at the seminary. Aaron comes from somewhat of an agriculture-based background and decent-sized family. Aaron loves to sing and listen to Taylor Swift, but only after she has been auto-tuned. Like myself, Aaron is appreciative of a wide range of musical genres and loves musicals. He is currently reading Gaston Leroux’s “The Phantom of the Opera” (A fantastic book!). Aaron helped me outside last weekend when we cleaned the inner courtyard of leaves and cleaned flower beds. All in all, he is a fantastic guy and I am proud to call him a friend. Welcome to the world of Catholic blogging Aaron! And “May the odds be ever in your favor!”

Click the link above to access his blog!

601222_3613246669934_1214488844_nThis picture is of Aaron next to the High Altar at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. Taken by Arch-Louisville Seminarian Tony Cecil at the March for Life 2013.


The Chair of St Peter


Let us pray for our Holy Father Benedict XVI, in his final days as the reigning Roman Pontiff. Especially on tomorrow’s feast of the Chair of St. Peter. History and hymns from the celebration at Bruté follow:

Here is some history for the Feast today:

The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter celebrates the papacy and St. Peter as the first bishop of Rome. St. Peter’s original name was Simon. He was living and working in Capernaum as a fisherman when Jesus called him to be one of the Twelve Apostles.

Jesus bestowed to Peter a special place among the Apostles. He was one of the three who were with Christ on special occasions, such as the Transfiguration of Christ and the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemani. He was the only Apostle to whom Christ appeared on the first day after the Resurrection. Peter, in turn, often spoke on behalf of the Apostles.

When Jesus asked the Apostles: “Whom do men say that the Son of Man is?”

Simon replied: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

And Jesus said: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood have not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to you: That you are Peter [Cephas, a rock], and upon this rock [Cephas] I will build my Church [ekklesian], and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven”. (Mt 16:13-20)

In saying this Jesus made St. Peter the head of the entire community of believers and placed the spiritual guidance of the faithful in St. Peter’s hands.

However, St. Peter was not without faults. He was rash and reproached often by Christ. He had fallen asleep in the Garden of Gethsemani instead of praying, as Jesus had asked him to do. He also denied knowing Jesus three times after Christ’s arrest.

Peter delivered the first public sermon after the Pentecost and won a large number of converts. He also performed many miracles and defended the freedom of the Apostles to preach the Gospels. He preached in Jerusalem, Judaea, and as far north as Syria.

He was arrested in Jerusalem under Herod Agrippa I, but miraculously escaped execution. He left Jerusalem and eventually went to Rome, where he preached during the last portion of his life. He was crucified there, head downwards, as he had desired to suffer, saying that he did not deserve to die as Christ had died.

The date of St. Peter’s death is not clear. Historians estimate he was executed between the years 64 and 68. His remains now rest beneath the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

From my parish website: http://www.st-annrcc.com/index.cfm?load=event&event=295


I had to end up switching with Aaron Hess on Cantoring for this feast, so he will sing on campus for me sometime soon. Tomorrow we will be singing:

By All Your Saints Still Striving – “Feast of the Chair of St. Peter version” – Bruté Sacred Schola Cantorum (I will put the new version on here later)

Gloria: Storrington Mass

Responsorial Psalm: The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.

Gospel Acclamation: “Praise to You Lord, Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory”

Latin Mass Responses

Offertory Hymn: Tu Es Petrus

Communion Hymn: Jesus Remember Me

Organist: Declan McNicholas