“That All Might Sing” – My Paper on Pope St. Pius X’ paper on Church Music and the Chant Method of Justine Ward

For the Feast of Pope St. Pius X:

Originally written for Dr. Katharine Harmon’s History of the Catholic Church in America Class on 11-21-14.

690_Justine_Ward_Gajard_1949I enjoyed writing this piece on how Pope St. Pius X’ document Tra Le Sollecitudini was interpreted and engaged here in America, specifically by Justine Ward, who founded an amazing way of teaching Gregorian Chant to children. Justine started and held the first Congress for Chant in America. “What she wants above all,” wrote Dom Augustine Gatard, O.S.B., Prior of Farnborough Abbey, England, who was at the Congress, “is to put the faithful, all the faithful, in the position to participate actively, as much as possible … in the liturgy and in the chant of the Catholic Church.” (2) She especially encouraged girls’ choirs. (3) In a private audience in 1924, Pope Pius XI gave his Apostolic blessing to her work. (4) Thanks be to God for Justine Ward and the many others who assisted in the beautiful Liturgical Renewal we have had in the Church. May it continue to be renewed and may Justine Ward and St. Pius X, help teach us a little bit about walking the Way of Beauty to Heaven, more specifically through the Heavenly Liturgy.

That All Might Sing: American Catholic Responses to Pope St. Pius X’ Tra le Sollecitudini

John Adams once wrote: “Went in the afternoon, to the Romish Chapel [in Philadelphia]. The scenery and the music are so calculated to take in mankind that I wonder the Reformation ever succeeded … the chanting is exquisitely soft and sweet.” (Chase, 61) While Adams witnessed the beauty of the proper execution of “Romish” chant in October 9, 1774 he never could have envisioned what would one day take place in the country soon to be founded in regards to the proper execution, teaching, and use of Gregorian chant. Throughout the early part of the 20th century a response to Pope St. Pius X’s 1903 Tra le Sollecitudini (Instruction on Sacred Music) was carried out across the globe by Catholic musicians in different ways. Some, embraced the changes wholeheartedly, others chose to implement parts of them with and without proper catechesis. In the United States of America Pius X’s Motu Proprio was embraced particularly by Justine Ward a woman with little musical instruction, but with a passion for music and her new faith. Across the board, the training of the young in the church’s tradition of music was seen as one of the most important responses to Pius X’s instruction on Sacred Music. Ward and others took this to heart in developing programs, which educated the young in methods of chanting and ensured that all might sing.

From 1903 on into the 1920’s and finishing up around the 1950’s what could be called as the last “traditional” Catholic music movement occurred in response to Pius X’s Motu Proprio Tra le Sollecitudini (hereafter referred to as “TLS”). TLS was written and promulgated by Pius X after a series of abuses in regards to music in the liturgy kept happening. Pius ordered that there be two particular types of music to be used in the Roman Liturgy. That is, Gregorian chant, which has been “inherited from the ancient fathers” (Pius X, II 3) and Classic Polyphony. The main reason for these abuses was that the music was becoming quite operatic and theatrical. Instead of being music, which by nature of its’ composition and execution lifted the congregation to God and was a prayer in itself; music in the Sacred Liturgy had become a show, detracting from the sacred action occurring.

As previously stated, throughout the early twentieth century there was a varied array of

Pope St. Pius X

Pope St. Pius X

responses to Pius X’s TLS, one of which was the action of Justine Ward. Ward, thought to have had no formal training in “vocal music, choral music, or pedagogy” (Brancaleone, 7) became known as one of the leading advocates of and promulgators of Gregorian chant in America. Due to her parent’s wishes for her to not pursue a musical degree in Europe, she was left with receiving private musical instruction. (Zuberbueler, 14) Ward, a Catholic convert started to fall in love with Gregorian chant due to her friendship with Fr. Thomas E. Shields and Fr. John B. Young SJ (Brancaleone, 8) and having attended a retreat given “at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattanville in Harlem” (Brancaleone, 8) by another Jesuit she began to learn the basics of pedagogy (the methods and concepts of teaching) and formulate ideas on how to teach Gregorian Chant to children.

America in the 20th century was still largely protestant, no doubt due to the large number of protestant immigrants who settled the country early on. One has to wonder as to why in 1903 a church, struggling to become better recognized and understood in the mainstream (and mostly protestant) culture would continue to push the use of a language (latin) which was no longer spoken conversationally, in not only their worship but especially in their music. Robert Holzmer S.M. wrote an article about the people not “liking” Gregorian chant in the then-popular Catholic Music journal: The Caecilia. In his article he discusses a few reasons of why Gregorian chant is not liked by the majority of Catholic congregations. Pius X and his Motu Proprio is one of the first “authorities” on the subject that he quotes. Holzmer argues partially that because the pope said it, it must be true, but also from an informed knowledge and understanding of Gregorian chant. “Gregorian Chant is Church music while the other forms are also church music” (241) Holzmer reconnects his future points back to Pius X, reaffirming what he stated of Gregorian chant as having pride of place in the Roman Liturgy, but also acknowledging that other types of music (classical polyphony) can be used as well. Holzmer goes on to state that there are several factors at play with why people don’t like Gregorian chant. Factors such as an ill-trained choir, poor musicianship on behalf of the choir, conductor, and organist, and the basic element of people not understanding the reasons for the use of Gregorian chant or the language it is in. Holzmer closes his article by stating: The most important of all, and, unfortunately, the most neglected. It is the training of the young in music…” (241) Like Ward, Holzmer recognized that without the training of the young in the music of the church, there would never be a hope for “this venerable music…to come back to its rightful domain, when it will be supreme again in fact as it has always been by right?”

Dom G Mercure, a Benedictine Monk of the Monastery of St. Benoit-du-Lac, Quebec wrote in a 1935 issue of The Caecilia: “one of the reasons why Gregorian Chant is not more widespread in ecclesiastical music circles is because the public expect to find in Gregorian chant, or plain chant, the same element of sensible pleasure that is found in profane music or even in religious music other than plain chant.” (213) Pius X in his Motu Proprio TLS knew well the state of music in the church and world. For instance throughout the War Between the States (1861) Union and Confederate Soldiers used hymns as a way of rallying the troops and bringing them comfort from home. Hymns such as the Battle Hymn of the Republic, or Dixie would be heard across the battlefields as soldiers marched. Still others such as Amazing Grace, or It Came Upon the Midnight Clear were sung in many protestant churches at their services. Hymns in the spoken language of the people gathered, tended to have more emotional and pleasurable connotations associated with them. As people heard these hymns full of poetic and beautiful language they were attracted to them more and more. The chants of the church in a language unknown seemed distant and did not stir the emotions of the musically untrained ear. How were the Catholic musicians in America supposed to combat these feelings, which could not be ignored?

Justine Ward in her article for the Atlantic Monthly published in 1906 The Reform in Church Music puts it well: “church music is made up of two elements, music and prayer, and it cannot be judged by the value of one of its elements tested as a separate entity . . . “Lex orandi lex cantandi”… Prayer and music must so combine as to make one art; the music must pray, the prayer-must sing…This, then, is the true test of a musical composition for the church: Does it conform to the law of prayer?” (455) According to Justine music should not be judged as solely inspiring emotion or being judged on the music alone, rather music for use in the Liturgy is interwoven with prayer in such a manner that the two cannot be separated. For to separate these two things, which in a way are one, is to tear that work of art apart. To Pius X, Gregorian Chant is the primary music of the church. Holzmer, Ward, and Mercure all agree that there are certain aspects of Gregorian Chant which must be met in order to ensure that it is sung properly and can truly be that unification of “music and prayer” (Ward 455) The promulgation of Gregorian chant in the church as well as to provide the means necessary for its’ survival relied upon the teaching and training of the young in chanting and the proper execution of this tradition. Ward, working with Fr. Shields, Fr. Young, and eventually Dom André Mocquereau (founder of the Solesmes method of Gregorian chant) created a program that would do just that.

Early in her career, after her conversion to the Catholic Church and divorce of her husband (which left her considerably wealthy) Ward started working with Fr. Shields and Young while assisting at the Catholic University of America. After a short period there “in the summer of 1916, Mother Georgia Stevens asked Ward to come to Manhattanville” (Brancaleone 10) In 1917, she with the help of Mother Stevens created the Pius X Institute of Liturgical Music, a school devoted to training teachers and students in not only what was becoming known as the “Ward Method,” but also in other forms of Liturgical Music in the Church. Ward’s method of teaching chant to the young was unique in that it used body movements as a way of understanding rhythm. Through the Pius X Institute and her newfound friendships with Dom Mocquereau, and others Ward began to share her method of teaching Gregorian chant with others in other countries. “In 1925, Ward brought her method to Holland…Belgium, France, England, Ireland, New Zealand, China, and Italy.” (Zuberbueler, 16) For Ward teaching and singing Gregorian chant was a chance at learning, singing, and praying. It was a way of living the liturgical life of the church in a new way.

While Ward worked on the teaching of Gregorian Chant others in America took a different approach to the Pius X’s TLS. According to Paul Hume’s Catholic Church Music, one of the ways in which the objectives of the Motu Proprio were enforced was through the creation of a “White List.” “The “White List” is a list of music approved for use in church by the St. Gregory Society of America. The idea of having a “white list” comes from Pius X: “Still, since modern music has risen mainly to serve profane uses, greater care must be taken with regard to it, in order that the musical compositions of modern style which are admitted in the Church may contain nothing profane, be free from reminiscences of motifs adopted in the theaters, and be not fashioned even in their external forms after the manner of profane pieces.” (Pius X, II 5) This movement in the church away from music of a secular nature was led by Pius X and joined by Ward, the St. Gregory Society of America and others. Ward and the St. Gregory Society of America published hymnals containing chants and hymns, which followed the “Classic Polyphony” called for by Pius X. Pope Pius XII later in 1955, published Musicae Sacrae Disciplina an instruction on the usage of hymns for the liturgy.

In Musicae Sacrae Disciplina, Pius XII says: “We must also hold in honor that music which is not primarily a part of the sacred liturgy, but which by its power and purpose greatly aids religion. This music is therefore rightly called religious music. The Church has possessed such music from the beginning and it has developed happily under the Church’s auspices. As experience shows, it can exercise great and salutary force and power on the souls of the faithful, both when it is used in churches during non-liturgical services and ceremonies, or when it is used outside churches at various solemnities and celebrations.” (Pius XII 36) Granted the usage of hymns was already something that was customary in the church at the time. With the stipulations imposed on music by Pius X, hymns (note: vernacular hymns) were not to be used in the Liturgy, but instead could be used for prayers, gatherings, processions, novenas, etc. In short, they could only be used for celebrations outside of the Liturgy. Gregorian Chant was still the official music of the church and remains so to this day.

For some 60ish years the stipulations imposed by TLS stood and the Ward Method helped ensure its’ future survival. Though as the Church drew closer and closer to the middle of the 20th century the advent of the Second Vatican Council appeared on the horizon. Up until this point Gregorian Chant and Classical Polyphony were the only types of music to be used in the Liturgy. Ward’s method seemed to prosper, for decades, being spread throughout the world. With the end of the 1950’s and the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in sight, church music in America was once again something talked about. Gregorian Chant was the norm for music in parishes; even the smallest tried to create a choir, which would be able to chant the Propers of the Mass. Hymns were sung by Catholics in the 20th century (including some protestant ones) as long as it was for worship outside of Solemn Liturgical Functions.  The renewal of Gregorian Chant in the church was almost complete and there were many to thank for it. The movement of 20th century Catholic Church Music in America was one that will forever define the history of the church here and around the world. The impact of one woman who embraced the call of the Holy Father to return to the sacred traditions of music in the church through the construction of her teaching methods ensured that all, whether young or old could chant with a little effort. For Justine Ward chant could not be “listened to as music” rather through the “ears of faith”(Ward, 460) To her “the music must pray and the prayer must sing” (455) “For the carrying-out of the full ideal demands the co-operation of the entire people, who will no longer assist at, but take part in, the liturgy. This may not be accomplished in a day, but the Church works for the future, and already she is sowing the seeds. The little Catholic school child is learning to pray, not only in words, but also in song; not only in the Church’s language, Latin, but in her musical language,

Chant; and when these children grow up, our choirs will be the whole Catholic world. While the variable and the more elaborate parts of the liturgy will demand the great genius, the great artist, the simpler parts will be taken up spontaneously by the entire congregation; producing the superb contrast of, on the one hand, the perfection of art, and on the other, the majesty of numbers. This is, indeed, nothing new: it is thus that the liturgy is intended to be rendered; it is thus that it has been rendered in the past, and is still rendered in a few centres of Catholic life. It is simply a return to the true ideal, a “renewing of all things in Christ,” a revitalizing, through art, of the spirit of Catholic democracy and universality.” (Ward 462-463)

Justine Ward and others worked tirelessly, embracing the call of the reforms instituted by Pius X and catered them specifically to children. They worked for an idea that would be largely envisioned in coming years by the Second Vatican Council. They worked to ensure that all might sing.

Work Cited

Brancaleone, Francis. “Justine Ward and the Fostering of an American Solesmes Chant Tradition” Sacred Music Fall 2009: 6-26. Print.

Chase, Gilbert. America’s Music New York: McGraw- Hill Book Company, Inc. 1995. Print

Holzmer, Robert. “People don’t Like Gregorian Chant” The Caecilia May 1935: 239-232. Print.

Hume, Paul. Catholic Church Music Binghamton: Vail-Ballou Pres, Inc. 1956. Print.

Mercure, Dom G. “True Church Music Should Calm the Mind Not Minister to the Senses” The Caecilia May 1936: 213-214. Print.

Pius X, Pope. Tra Le Sollecitudini, Vatican City: Vatican State, 1903. Vatican.va

Pius XII, Pope. Musicae Sacrae, Vatican City: Vatican State, 1955. Vatican.va

Ward, Justine B. “The Reform In Church Music” The Atlantic Monthly January 1907:455-463. Print.

Zuberbueler, Amy. “The Ward Method: Chant from the Ground Up” Sacred Music Spring 2006: 14-17. Print.

Avoiding Hypocrisy of Prayer in Seminary :: Reflections from praying Compline on Campus

Adoration & Compline on Campus

Adoration & Compline on Campus

Being in Seminary I tend to take things for granted. The beautiful liturgies, structured prayer time, community of men who all thirst for holiness, etc. Over time I think that it can become a sort of routine and we lose sight of what is really important and the focus of our prayer. This sense of “hypocrisy in prayer” can be looked at as being false piety, laziness in prayer, or just having no motivation to do anything spiritual or deepen our prayer life.

This evening I was invited to come to Night Prayer on campus and help teach everyone how to chant the Ave Regina Caelorum, which is the Marian Antiphon we sing from February 2 until Easter after Night Prayer. Now let me be frank with you all. Prayer opportunities on campus can sometimes challenge me. They can sometimes be deeply soaked in too much social justice and strange theological errors, or just be stuck a few decades behind. This causes problems because those present can lose sight of the need to focus on our own spiritual growth. Social Justice and music from the 70’s can be good, but as Aquinas said: “Moderation.” Not to mention that sometimes the community on campus can be seen as doing things in ways contrary to how we are being trained to do them at the seminary. This can cause pastoral situations which put men in formation in a bind as to what they should do. (Which, is actually good for Ministry, but enough of that.)

So basically, I was a little worried about this experience, but I should have remembered not to judge a book by its’ cover. Lesson learned. (Hey, I’m human and I make mistakes) When I got over to campus we all had to wait outside the door, since the electronic pass for our ID’s wouldn’t let us enter the building. A quick call to Daniel and we were let in. We headed to the chapel and after about 10 minutes of quiet prayer before the exposed Blessed Sacrament we began to pray Night Prayer.

Let me first speak of the quietness and reverence which existed in that small chapel. I was talking with a priest friend the other day who remarked that it was odd that on the weekends we had to stay at the seminary for Mass. In his mind, we should be out at the parishes, giving witness to vocations and gaining valuable experience. There is something to be said of this. Being stuck in the seminary we can get caught in the wake and lose sight of that vocation to service, which is the priesthood. Countless priests have remarked to me that: “You do not have a vocation to seminary, but priesthood.” When we have moments of service to others and experiences of encountering others in intimate ways it helps to refocus on what we are in seminary for.

The priest is first ordained a deacon, the ministry of service. As Christ served others, so we are called to serve. Kneeling and sitting in the chapel I was surrounded by quietness, and a wide range of postures. People kneeling without kneelers, making themselves as small as they could by lying prostrate, sitting in the pews, and a multitude of other movements. During adoration at the seminary we all kneel together, or sit. The routine-ness of our posture at times can make us forget what we are doing I think. Before we began to pray I sang the Ave Regina Caelorum one time through so that everyone sort of knew how it went, before we began to pray. Night Prayer at the seminary and really any prayer can seem rushed. Guys are so used to doing it and let’s face it it IS mandatory that we be there and do it, so it can be seen as something to just be gotten done with and over with. Fr. Joe commented the other day on how praying the Liturgy of the Hours is called the Work of the Church. We are called to make sacrifices when we pray it and to really work at it for the salvation of all of the people of God.

Sitting in the chapel as we began to pray there was a slow, even pace, with ample times of pause and silence between stanzas and parts for reflection and meditation. There was time to sit in the presence of Christ and just be. I was asked to read the reading, which surprised me but I appreciated the offer and the sense of want to include me as I technically was/am a bit of an outsider to the community gathered. We then chanted the Ave Regina Caelorum and sang Tantum Ergo before one of the students reposed the Blessed Sacrament. Even singing the Tantum Ergo was slow and thoughtful. Then we shared a Sign of Peace with each other and went our separate ways.

So in short, what am I thinking of?

Prayer is a labor of love. As Men in formation we are called to fall in love with Christ and develop a deep and intimate relationship with him. Overtime, the way we pray in the seminary can seem routine, and we can get stuck in the rut of praying, but really not being all there. I am calling this: The hypocrisy of prayer. How do we remedy it?

  • Get out of the seminary! Spend some time on a Saturday evening at a parish Mass in town. Meet some friends for prayer on campus throughout the day or go to Stations of the Cross at a parish nearby.
  • BE Active. Don’t wait for your prayer life to improve. MAKE it improve. Offer 110% to God and he will repay you tenfold. Make your prayer your work. Make it a labor of love.
  • Fall madly in love with Christ. Spend time with him. Change up your prayer habits. Whether it means kneeling or walking when praying the rosary or singing your office instead of reading it silently. Change it up every now and then to keep it fresh and new.
  • Pray INTENTLY and WITH MEANING. One of the things I love about praying with some of my priest friends back home is that we pray the LOTH as if it were a conversation. (And it is. We join Christ in offering it up to the Father.) Put emotion and emphasis behind it. Don’t just be monotone. Focus on what you say and pray.
  • Slow it down. Breath, relax, think about what you pray and take some time. Give to God your time and you will still get everything else in life done, usually easier than if you did it yourself.

I am going to try to avoid falling into the hypocrisy of prayer while I continue throughout Seminary. I encourage you to encourage/challenge me, and to strive to grow as well. Prayer is a beautiful thing. Let’s make it matter more to us. Don’t fall into the rut, but if you do, climb out and try again. Our Lord doesn’t demand our love. He invites us to give it to him. Fall in love. Pray like you mean it. Strive for holiness as we continue to walk this Way of Beauty together.

Notate Bene: Thanks so much to Fletcher, Connor, Billy, and everyone on campus who made tonight so special for me. Your sense of love and devotion to our Lord is so refreshing and has truly helped me to grow. Thank-you!

O Queen of the Holy Rosary!

Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.”~Blessed Pope Pius IX

Today we celebrate the Memorial of Our Lady Queen of the Holy Rosary!


Many Christians, even non-Catholic’s have some vague idea of what a Rosary is. The short, quick, and concise definition of one, incase you were wondering is: a meditative prayer done on Christ’s life, asking his Blessed Mother to help us to see her Son and become closer to him. It consists of praying 53 Hail Mary‘s, 6 Our Father’s, 1 Apostle’s Creed, 1 Hail Holy Queen, 5 Glory Be’s, 5 Fatima Prayers, and a closing prayer.

The rosary is an intercessory prayer, so when we pray it we offer it up for something or someone, asking our Blessed Mother to intercede on our behalf before God.

I ask that you pray a rosary today, in fact, every day of your life! Offer it up for your friends, family, vocations! And, since the men here at Bishop Bruté are starting Midterms this week, I ask that you would please consider offering one up for all of us!

If you want to go a heaven, pray the rosary! Pray it each day and ask for our Blessed Lady’s protection. She will not leave her children alone in their need. Ask her to draw you closer to her son and she will do it. Christ gave to her, who will crush Satan’s head, the gift of disposing his grace to his children. Ask for it! She’s waiting to give it to you!

Let us pray.

O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that by meditating on these mysteries of the most holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Pray one for me! I will pray one for you!

For more information on the history of the Rosary, please visit here.

Watch/listen the following hymn to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary!




Ave Maria – Sung by the Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary Schola Cantorum

Well, I had promised that I would post a copy of our seminary Schola Cantorum singing Ave Maria by Franz Biebel. Aaron Hess, who serves as our Co-Schola Director adapted it to our group, by cutting out some of the voices and the solos. We sang this during the Offertory at our Parents & Pastors Mass back in the first part of September.

Since, you’re listening to an Ave Maria, why don’t you say one for us and I will say one for all of you!

Enjoy and feel free to comment and let us know what you think!

A New Year…

Wow! My first full week of my Sophomore Year in College Seminary is complete and I am already back into the swing of things. After 3 days, it seemed as if I never left. It has just been a continuation of last year to some extent. I moved in 2 Thursday’s ago arriving in Indianapolis around 1pm. My car was unpacked and my room mostly set up by 5.

Now, over a week later, my room is finished, (Except for the fact that I still have to hang up my Sacred Heart & Immaculate Heart icons.) my classes are in full swing, Philosophy papers are starting to be due, Schola practice is  going well, and everything is looking like it will be a very good year.

My Class schedule this semester is interesting. I am taking Metaphysics (The Philosophy of Being), Augustine & Aquinas, Latin, Humanities, and College Algebra. Both of my Philosophy classes are already forcing me to ask questions and grow in knowledge. I am blessed to have two fantastic professors who are passionate about the material and really know their “stuff”. My humanities class is covering material that I already enjoy, and Latin is absolutely fantastic! My college algebra professor is new to Marian and teaching. It should be interesting as to how he changes throughout the year.

As a Seminary we will be celebrating our founding with Parent & Pastors Day on September the 7th. I am really looking forward to seeing my parents come up as well as some of the other men’s pastors from our Diocese. For Parent & Pastors the Bruté Schola is singing an Ave Maria written by Franz Biebel, though one of the Seminarians Aaron Hess rearranged it to fit our particular group. It is now a 4-part  hymn, without the solos at the beginning and in the middle. The Schola has pretty much learned the melody and our parts, now we are just working on making the intonations crisp and fluid with each other. I will post a video or audio of the piece here in two weeks when we sing it for the Mass.

I had mentioned that I was moved into my room now. I have moved upstairs at Bruté into my own single room, or should I say “cell”? My room is 6×8, with no air conditioning, a wardrobe, desk, bed, dresser, and my bookshelf. It is quaint and hot, but it is clean and I am happy in it.

Please pray for me as I begin this new year. I am praying for you!

+In His Mercy,


Photo courtesy: Tony Cecil

Photo courtesy: Tony Cecil


Prayer for National Vocations Awareness Week

Heavenly Father, Your divine Son taught us to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into His vineyard. We earnestly beg You to bless our Diocese with many holy priests, seminarians, religious, consecrated, deacons, marriages, men and women serving in ministry and all vocations, that they will love You fervently, gladly and courageously spend their lives in service to Your Son’s Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We pray that their lives may be always centered on our Eucharistic Lord; that they be always faithful to the Holy Father; and that they may be devoted sons and daughters of Mary, our Mother, in making You known and loved; and that all may attain Heaven. Bless our families and our children and choose from our homes those whom You desire for this holy work. We ask this in Jesus’ name.


Pray for Vocations!! nuff said!