Sunday, September 25, 2011

The New Translation and Liturgical Chant

These paragraphs are exerpted from the following:

"The Agony and the Ecstasy: The Fundamental Importance of Liturgical Chant in the Roman Missal and Our Celebration of the Eucharistic Mystery," by Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth in Sacred Music, Vol. 138, number 2 (Summer 2011).

The implementation of the English translation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal later this year will be the biggest single moment of change for Catholics who worship in English in the forty years since the revisions of the liturgy which followed Vatican II. It is a moment of unparalleled significance, not least because it represents a natural opportunity to reassess all that we do when we celebrate the Mass. The new edition of the Missal contains more music than any of its predecessors and includes a complete set of chants for the principal parts of the Order of Mass. All the chants of the Latin original have been adapted to the English text.

...The elevated register of the language, the euphony of its phrases and the cadence of its orations have all been prepared with the thought that most of these texts are by nature sung. For that reason, and without wishing to exclude the use of ther genres where appropirate, the musical language of the missal is Gregorian Chant.
     The General Instruction of the Roman Missal echoes both Sacrasanctum Concilium and Musicam Sacram in proclaming that, "All other things being equal, Gregorian chant holds first place because it is proper to the Roman Liturgy. Other types of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in not way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participaion of all the faithful." (Sacrosanctum Concilium, paragraph 41). Attention to this latter quality in response to the implementation of the new translation should in due course bring about a general change in the culture of our liturgical music. If that is the case, then it is long overdue and will be greatly welcomed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mystical Body, Mystical Voice

Some of the prayers of the Mass are changing.
We invite you to learn more about it.

Mystical Body, Mystical Voice is a unique program based on an
appreciation of the sacramental nature of the liturgical rites.

This program will
     • let you know what changes are coming;
     • open you to the riches of the liturgy;
     • lead you to participation that is fuller, deeper,
         and more conscious.

Find out more! Come join us!
Place: St. Peter Church Parish Hall, 1111 Cherry Heights Road, The Dalles, Oregon
Date: Friday, October 7 and Saturday, October 8
Time:  Friday, 7-9pm; Saturday, 9:30-11:30am and 1-4pm
Contact: Stephanie Swee, 541-550-0832

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Altar

A Catholic church cannot be a church without an altar. This is where the Holy Sacrifice takes place. This is where the host is transubstantiated into the Real Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives as Christians, and it is at Mass where we see the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
What then should be the primary visual focal point in the sanctuary?  The altar!
Making the altar a dignified and awe-inspiring element of the sanctuary helps us to achieve a greater sense of reverence concerning the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
How should an altar be decorated? The answer, truly, is not at all. However, an altar may and should be “vested” just as the priest is vested appropriately for Mass. A traditional way of creating a “vestment” for the altar is the antependium or frontal.
For some very good commentary, photos, and explanations, see these links at The New Liturgical Movement blog:
Here are a few photos of antependia created by a non-professional.

At Our Lady of the Valley, in La Grande, Oregon:

At St. Anthony's in North Powder, Oregon

Here are some examples of inappropriate "vesting" of the altar.
In the first photo, we see the altar being used primarily as a backdrop for a nice floral arrangement. Which is more important: the altar or the flowers?! This treatment puts the altar in second place. 

This was a misguided attempt to create some sort of shrine for the feast of All Souls. It looks particularly incongruous with the reredoes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross! It is also the anniversary of Summorum Pontificum issued by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.

The faithful who desire the Mass in the extraordinary form (the 1962 Mass), have been given solid standing for making their desire known to their pastors. They also have been given the right to expect that desire to be met.

From the document:

Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 § 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".
Art. 8. A bishop who, desirous of satisfying such requests, but who for various reasons is unable to do so, may refer the problem to the Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to obtain counsel and assistance.
For a side-by-side Latin/English presentation of Summorum Pontificum, go here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The following is excerpted from "We've Been Robbed!" by Jay Boyd, Ph.D., published in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, May 2008

...The Asperges seems to me to be a wonderful preparation. It reminds us of our sinfulness and of God’s mercy in cleansing us of that sin. In fact, throughout the prayers of the Mass of the extraordinary form, I find this constant reminder of the tension between our sin and the mercy of the Father. Not only this, but the penitential rite of the forma extraordinaria continues this examination of conscience and petition for forgiveness in a more intense way than occurs in the Novus Ordo, or forma ordinaria.

Of course, the Novus Ordo also offers an opportunity to examine and confess our sins in a meaningful way. The problem is that liturgical abuses have so marred the ordinary form that the differences between it and the extraordinary form are exacerbated. The fault lies not in the Novus Ordo itself, but rather in its implementation, in the flagrant disregard for the norms set forth in the GIRM.

Returning to some of the differences between the two forms, let us examine, for example, the offertory prayer. From the forma ordinaria, we hear “Blessed are you, Lord God of all Creation; through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.”

But in the forma extraordinaria, we find a much richer prayer: “Accept, O Holy Father, Almighty and Everlasting God, this unspotted Host, which I, Thine unworthy servant, offer unto Thee, my living and true God, to atone for my countless sins, offenses, and negligences: on behalf of all here present and likewise for all faithful Christians, living and dead, that it may avail both me and them as a means of salvation, unto life everlasting.”

To me, the difference between the two prayers is like the difference between sending a text message on a cell phone, and having an actual face-to-face conversation with the Person. Have we reduced ourselves to prayers of the form “Tnx. Pls bless r gifts”?

For a copy of the entire article, send an email request to

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why Latin?

 “The use of the Latin to be preserved in the Latin rites.”
—Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy
(Vatican II)
“Since faithful from different countries come together ever more frequently, it is fitting that they know how to sing together at least some parts of the Mass in Latin, especially the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer…”
—General Instruction of the Roman Missal

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Great Resource

Here's a great resource for those who want to learn to sing the Mass according to the new missal.

The "New Translation"

"The entire Church in the United States has been blessed with this opportunity to deepen its understanding of the Sacred Liturgy, and to appreciate its meaning and importance in our lives. Parishes should now be in the planning process for the implementation, with a goal toward executing that plan in the coming months.  The parish’s leadership and various sectors of the parish community should be catechized to receive the new translation.  Musicians and parishioners alike should soon be learning the various new and revised musical settings of the Order of Mass." --USCCB

Is your parish in the "planning process"? How are the faithful being prepared for the new texts of the Mass?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mystical Body, Mystical Voice

The Pacific Gregorian Institute, our educational outreach initiative, offers a new workshop:

   Mystical Body, Mystical Voice is a comprehensive, on-site pro­gram which aims to prepare the Catholic Faithful to implement the new, corrected English translation of the Roman Missal. The six-hour program, designed by The Liturgical Institute, is grounded in sacramental theology and the liturgical rites of the Church.

This program not only informs participants about the whats and the whys of the upcoming translation of the new Missal. It also helps them to understand the beauty of what it offers for the enrichment of their knowledge and fruitful liturgical participation as members of the Mystical Body of Christ who hear and speak Christ’s Mystical Voice. Included is an introduction to the new English chants of the Order of Mass.

For more information, or to schedule a workshop, call 541-550-0832, or email