Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Bishop with Backbone

Bishop Roger Joseph Foys of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, is working actively to promote a reverent and abuse-free liturgy in his diocese. In a November 11th letter, he writes:
For the last year, we have been engaged in a major catechetical effort, organized through the diocesan Office of Worship and Liturgy, to introduce the Revised Roman Missal to the people of the Diocese of Covington and to emphasize that which the Church has always taught concerning Her Sacred Liturgy. Conferences for our priests, deacons, religious, school teachers, and various other parish leaders, as well as articles published in our diocesan newspaper, The Messenger, on the revised translation and other aspects of the Sacred Liturgy, have been provided to help catechize the faithful. I am grateful for the dedication and cooperation of so many who have assisted in these efforts, as well as to those who have been laboring in our parishes.
(Oh, if only we had had such an on-going program in the Diocese of Baker for the past year!)
Bishop Foys has issued a decree which mandates that:
·         The text of the Roman Missal be used exactly as written

·         The music in the liturgy be theologically sound and in keeping with the teaching of the Church on Sacred Music

·         Only three designated Mass settings be used for a particular period of time

·         GIRM guidelines must be followed with regard to the Responsorial Psalm (songs or hymns may not replace the psalm)

The decree also says:
Special note should also be made concerning the gesture for the Our Father. Only
the priest is given the instruction to “extend” his hands. Neither the deacon nor the
lay faithful are instructed to do this. No gesture is prescribed for the lay faithful in
the Roman Missal; nor the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, therefore the
extending or holding of hands by the faithful should not be performed.

Finally, he indicates that the choir should use the choir loft if there is one, and that the sanctuary is reserved for priests, deacons, and altar servers.

All in all, Bishop Foys is simply stating that the mandates of the GIRM should be followed. It is, after all, an Instruction, not a suggestion!

Bishop Vasa did this same thing, essentially, about 6 years ago, when he issued his pastoral letter Servant of the Sacred Liturgy. He simply re-stated what the GIRM already has to say about how the liturgy, and urged that the Mass be conducted in accordance with the rubrics. Bishop Vasa also brought up the point about “hand-holding” and outstretched arms at the Our Father. His directive was met with criticism, rude comments, and outright rebellion at the Cathedral.

The bottom line is that no bishop should have to issue a decree like Bishop Foys’, or write a pastoral letter like Bishop Vasa’s. The GIRM is there as a standard, as a directive. It’s not rocket science!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Words Are Sacramental: The New Translation

Re-posting from Philothea on Phire blog:

I visited the Huffington Post website at the suggestion of Fr. Z to participate in their poll (“Which Catholic Mass Language Do You Prefer?”), and stumbled upon this quote from a parishioner:
"It's not shaking my church experience," said McCormack, as she handed out church bulletins. "You have the spirit between you and God and the words are insignificant."
The words are insignificant? Wrong! The words are very significant. And that is precisely why we have a new translation.
In fact, the words of the liturgy are a most significant sign – a sacrament. The words of the liturgy are sacramental in themselves. This is an important idea behind the Mystical Body, Mystical Voice presentation developed by Fr. Douglas Martis and Mr. Christopher Carstens of The Liturgical Institute in Chicago; this presentation is the foundation of the “new translation” workshop which our local Society of St. Gregory the Great has conducted in two locations in our diocese (look around that blog for a couple of posts on the MBMV workshops).
Jesus is not only the Son of the Father; He is also the Word of the Father. He is THE Word! The Church has developed a liturgical language which “sacramentalizes” and makes present the Word. Our choice of words for liturgical prayer is critical because language itself is sacramental. There are realities in the liturgy that our language communicates and makes present. Therefore we must find the best words – the ones that express faithfully and beautifully the unseen realities celebrated in our worship.
When the Church uses certain words, She expects certain images to be evoked from Scripture. For instance, if we hear “water” in the liturgy, we should immediately be thinking about baptism;  about the blood and water flowing from the side of Jesus; about the crossing of the Red Sea; about Moses striking the stone with his staff so that water would gush out; the “living water”; and so on. When the Church uses the word “sin” in our prayers, She really does want us to think about our sin – not about the fact that, hey, nobody’s perfect and God will forgive us anyway. No: She means sin. That’s why we are to strike our breast at the words “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” – we’re supposed to really be grieved by our sins!
The type of language we use also indicates the relationship between ourselves and others – this is the notion of “register”. For example, we generally speak to our boss at work in a different register than the one we use for our children. Similarly, the language we use to address the King of the Universe really ought to have a little different “flavor” than that which we use to address the plumber or others we meet in our everyday life.
Along this line of thinking, Stacy Trasancos has a post on her blog entitle “Liturgy and High Words” – go, read it! It’s very good. She quotes Frank Sheed, who in his book Theology and Sanity (1946),wrote:
That is the way of advance for the mind. Human language is not adequate to utter God, but it is the highest we have, and we should use its highest words. The highest words in human speech are not high enough, but what do you gain by using lower words? Or no words? It is for us to use the highest words we have, recognize that they are not high enough, try to strain upward from them, not to dredge human speech for something lower." (emphasis added)
That said…I will lament that at the Mass I attended yesterday, it was painfully clear that the priest, whose first language is not English, was not overly familiar with the new words he was to pray in the Mass. His stumbling and hesitation distracted from the beauty of the words, but I’m sure he will improve! And I hope the people who hear him will gain an appreciation of the changes in the language we use to worship God.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The New Translation: NCReporter Has It Backwards

This article appears on Philothea On Phire blog, and is reposted here...because I can!

I try not to even think the words “National Catholic Reporter” (a newspaper which practically admits these days that it is an enemy of the Church), so I wouldn’t have seen this article had it not been for Jeffrey Tucker posting about it on The Chant CafĂ©. Thanks, Jeffrey…I…guess.
Anyway, it would be a funny article if they weren’t serious. I’m not going to reproduce the entire article here, so go to the link and read it yourself if you’re so inclined. First of all, look at the title of this NcR article: “Making Do with a Faulty Translation”. Okay! This must be about the times that are about to be “the past” – the trial we’ve been through as we have endured the translation of the 2nd edition of the Roman Missal! Yes! Go for it!
Wait…what?! It’s about the NEW translation?! Well…the new translation is not perfect, I’m sure of that. But it is immeasurably better than the translation that’s being shown the door as of November 27. And anyone who doesn’t like it is welcome (as Fr. Z has indicated repeatedly) to use the Latin from which the debated translations spring.
Moving on…Here are things that I find slightly (ahem) ridiculous:
First, there’s this image they present of “the big tent we like to believe the church is”. “Big tent”?! OMG. Okay, whatever. I just don’t see our beloved Mass as a revival meeting. And why does the Fishwrap (thanks again, Fr. Z) not use a capital “C” when speaking about the Roman Catholic Church?
But worse, there’s this:
Yet this Sunday, Nov. 27, the first Sunday in Advent, when we are gathered around the eucharistic table -- what should be the greatest sign of our unity -- many of us will feel depressed. We will feel like losers when we hear not the words that Jesus’ blood “will be shed for you and for all” but that Jesus’ blood “will be shed for you and for many.” (emphasis added)
Ah, yes. The Mass is a “gathering” of all the family…like the big Thanksgiving meal many of us just celebrated. Not. The Mass is our public worship of God. It’s not a “gathering” – not just a collection of individuals who happened to end up in the same place on Sunday morning, each doing his…er…his/her/its own thing. And we’re not “gathered around the table”; we are all supposed to be turned to the Lord as the priest leads us in worshiping God.  
We are the Body of Christ, and the Fishwrap is correct in saying that this “should be the greatest sign of our unity”. This idea of unity is reflected in the fact that those receiving Holy Communion are actually supposed to be in communion with the Church. The Fishwrap has printed plenty of articles and editorials that admit that its staff is not there. The editors obviously disagree with many core teachings of the Church. Core teaching. Doctrine. Things we are required to believe in order to be Catholics in good standing.
And then the old refrain, “We should say ‘for all’, not ‘for many’.” Why? Because “all are welcome at the table of the Lord?” Because God wants all men sorry, persons to be saved? Because we don’t want to admit that objective truth, objective right and wrong, actually exist? Because we don’t want to think about such unpleasant “myths” as purgatory and (gasp) hell? Because there’s no such thing as sin really…it’s all personal preference, ya know.
Yeah, right. So…go with the Latin then! The priest will say “pro multis” and it’s really clear that that means “for all”, right? Sure…
That particular change in the language of the Mass, of course,
…is just one example of a multitude of changes we will hear and cringe at as we pray our way through this new liturgical year. The absence of even an attempt at inclusive language will hurt many in the congregation. Many of us will feel like a battle has been lost. (emphasis added)
Puh-leeeeze. I’ve been cringing for a long time. “Inclusive language”? Yeah, that makes it all so much better. Not. It just happens that “inclusive language”, while a welcome, self-serving balm to some, is in itself a “hurtful” thing to others. So how do we decide which is correct? How about if we go with what the Latin says? How about if we admit that the “masculine” pronoun has traditionally been used and interpreted in an “inclusive” way in the English language, and that people really can understand that…if they want to.
And “cringe”?!? Holy smokes. What do you think many of us on the other side of the issue have been doing for decades? Okay, not me, because I’ve only been Catholic for 9 years; but others have endured the dumbed-down and inane translation for much longer than that.
Then they tell us that Benedictine Fr. Anthony Ruff wrote:
The forthcoming missal is but a part of a larger pattern of top-down impositions by a central authority that does not consider itself accountable to the larger church. When I think of how secretive the translation process was, how little consultation was done with priests or laity, how the Holy See allowed a small group to hijack the translation at the final stage, how unsatisfactory the final text is, how this text was imposed on national conferences of bishops in violation of their legitimate episcopal authority, how much deception and mischief have marked this process -- and then when I think of Our Lord’s teachings on service and love and unity ... I weep. (emphasis added)

There is so much to laugh at in this paragraph that I also weep – because it’s so ridiculous it becomes tragic. Let me just make a couple of points:

     1. The Church is not a democracy, and there actually is a hierarchy. We don’t get to vote on stuff like this!

     2. The phrases “a small group hijacking the process”, and “deception and mischief”, quite accurately describe the whole process behind the creation  of the Novus Ordo (yes, creation of a new Mass, not reform or renewal of the old Mass). There’s plenty of documentation of that. Read one of these books to get the picture: Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI, by Rev. Anthony Cekada; The Ottaviani Intervention: Short Critical Study of the New Order Mass, by Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, et al.; The Bugnini Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform, by Laszlo Dobszay.

     3. In my humble opinion, when “liberals” like those at the Fishwrap use terms like “love and unity”, they really mean “love of uniformity”. They would love to put us all into the straitjacket of liberal, feel-good “theology”, and make us all circle the altar while holding hands and chanting Kum-Ba-Ya during the consecration.

It seems to me that the NcR says the right things about the wrong translation, and the wrong things about the right translation.

But then…maybe it’s just me…

Friday, November 25, 2011

Glimpses of Glory (or the best we can do, anyway)

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Bend, 2009

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Bend, 2009

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Bend, 2009

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Bend, 2009

The old high altar at Our Lady of the Valley in La Grande

The altar vested for Advent at Our Lady of the Valley in La Grande

Easter 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Tidbits from the Workshop: Liturgical Renewal is Nothing New

As we prepare to experience the first official use of the “new translation” this coming Sunday, it might be helpful to consider the general concept of liturgical renewal (including translation of the texts). This theme is explored in the second session of the Mystical Body, Mystical Voice workshop (MBMV).
Liturgical renewal is nothing new; it has been going on, in fact, for over one hundred years. The Church has been moving in the direction of “actual participation” since Pope St. Pius X first espoused that notion in 1903. In the opening paragraphs of his motu proprio Tra le Sollecitudine (Instruction on Sacred Music), he noted that the primary purpose for the faithful to assemble “in the temple” is
... for no other object than that of acquiring this [true Christian] spirit from its foremost and indispensable font, which is the active participation in the most holy mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church. (emphasis added)
By “active participation”, Pope St. Pius X did not mean singing in the choir, being an usher, or serving as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion!
Throughout the past century, many fine minds have reflected on the liturgy, and worked at reforming and renewing it. For instance, there was Dom Prosper Gueranger, who re-founded the Solesmes Monastery, of Gregorian chant fame, in the late 19th century. Observing that less than ideal relations existed between Rome and the Church in France, he worked to improve those relations. To this end, he fought heresies, and launched a liturgical movement that he hoped would restore the unity of the Church.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Dom Lambert Beaudin, a Belgian monk, launched his own liturgical renewal. He saw that the life of monks led them to understand more completely than the laity the meaning of sacramental signs in the liturgy; they were better equipped to see how the relationship of those signs to Church doctrine and Scripture passages was woven together in prayer. His program for liturgical renewal included the notion that it was imperative “to have the Christian people all live the same spiritual life, to have them all nourished by the official worship of holy Mother Church”. In order to achieve that end, he said, there must be “active participation of the Christian people in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass by means of understanding and following the liturgical rites and texts.” (See more here.) So again we see the term “active participation” – and again, it is not referring to being an usher or a reader or an extraordinary minister!
Another important liturgical thinker was Fr. Virgil Michel of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. He linked participation in the Mass with understanding of the Mystical Body, which he maintained would then lead to correct Christian social action. Again, we see an emphasis on “participation”, but it is not a mechanical participatory action; it is an interior movement and understanding.
Fr. Romano Guardini authored The Spirit of the Liturgy, a book which inspired then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to write a book with the same title. Guardini’s work was influential in Germany, and subsequently influenced the liturgical reforms recommended by the Second Vatican Council.
Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) outlined several principles for the reform of the Sacred Liturgy. Some of the most important are unity, traditional restoration, modern adaptation, and noble simplicity. In the workshop, these principles are explained and illustrated, but I will leave them in abbreviated form here. Suffice it to say that over the years since the Council, these principles have developed, and essentially, all of them have come into play in the translation of the various editions of the Roman Missal.
Finding English words and expressions that maintain the dignity, beauty, and doctrinal precision of the Latin is a very complex task. As the principles mentioned above developed, so also did principles more specifically related to the translation of Latin into the vernacular - principles involved in the process that led to the creation of the new translation (3rd edition) of the Missale Romanum – the Roman Missal. The aim has been to create a translation of the text that is easily understandable and fosters actual participation, while simultaneously remaining elegant, noble, and sacred.
While it is almost certainly not perfect, the new translation certainly appears to be a major improvement over the previous edition.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Collect for First Sunday of Advent

This is from a post on Dignum Et Iustum Est blog by Monsignor James P. Moroney.

Next Sunday, we will pray the following freshly translated Collect, or opening prayer, at Mass:

Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, 
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ 
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom. 

This first Collect of Advent is at least 1100 years old and is first used as an Advent post communion prayer in the old Gelasian Sacramentary. The prayer is in two acts, each inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25.
Msgr. Moroney goes on to describe and explain the story of the ten virgins going out to meet the Bridegroom, and the story of the sheep and the goats, showing how the parables are reflected in the prayer. He adds a story of his own childhood as well, to complete the illustration. It’s worth taking a few minutes to read it.
There is so much in the prayers of the Mass! They are little nuggets filled with the treasures of our faith – only we must know how to mine them. The new translation opens up these riches much more than the old, and with just a little effort, our own spiritual development may be enhanced as we read, listen, and contemplate their meaning for our daily lives.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Some More, Some More, Summorum Pontificum"

Check this out - it's about the only time I've been able to listen to guitar music in a long time!

Go here for the video and to hear it sung.

(For those are asking "What the heck is Summorum Pontificum?"...well, read the lyrics and you'll get a hint. It's Pope Benedict XVI's document that resulted in essentially a re-validation of the "Traditional Latin Mass",which is a misnomer, but gives you the general idea anyway).

Here are the lyrics:

The Ballad of Summorum Pontificum

It was the 7th July 2007
“The most beautiful day
This side of Heaven”

A treasure was released
The Mass of all Ages
The Missal was closed
Now a Priest turns the pages

So we kneel down and pray the Confiteor
Now he’s facing the right way, towards the Lord
Ad Deum quit laetificat juvemtutem meum
He turns around and the people say give us some more!

For over 50 years
A Mass that lay hidden
Came out of the closet
No moth there had bitten

No dust was upon it
For this Mass is timeless
You can tell when you walk through the door!

You can hear the bells ring out thrice at the Sanctus
He turns around and he says "Oratre Fratres"
Priest and people pray Domine non sum dignus
And the people say give us some more

Some more
Summorum Pontificum!
Gimme some more, some more
Gimme some more
Some more
Summorum Pontificum!
Gimme some more, some more, give us some more!

Ecce Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi
Now we can hear the words ring out
Every Sunday
The Latin Mass is back
Put your guitars on the floor
We have Communion kneeling and on the tongue

All ages they pass
All ages they vary
The Mass of Ages belongs
In our seminaries

Our Bishops they don’t want it
Oh if only they could
Say “God bless our Pope
The great and the good!”

Some more
Summorum Pontificum!
Gimme some more, some more
Gimme some more
Some more
Summorum Pontificum!
Gimme some more, some more
Gimme some more!

The Mass that brings sinners
To the Fountain of grace
The Mass that made martyrs
Embrace their pains
The Mass that brought hope
To the poor and abandoned
Finding in Jesus (bow head)
The perfect Companion
But that Mass is back (back)
To liberal dismay
That Mass is back (back)
To liberal dismay
That Mass is back (back)
To liberal dismay
That Mass is back (back)
You might find one today!

Some more
Summorum Pontificum!
Gimme some more, some more
Gimme some more
Some more
Summorum Pontificum!
Gimme some more, some more
Gimme some more!
(Repeat x 2)

It was the 7th July 2007
“The most beautiful day
This side of Heaven”

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Vatican II Never Mandated That!"

"Vatican II never mandated that!" says Michael Voris. He's talking about things like:
  • the priest facing the people
  • dismantling communion rails
  • receiving Holy Communion standing and in the hand
  • stripping away Latin and Gregorian chant
  • altar girls
  • and more!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hold the Applause, Please

Advent is almost upon us, and Christmas will be here before we know it.

How many "family" and "children's" Masses will there be across the Diocese of Baker on Christmas Eve? More than a few, I'll bet. Unfortunately, people get some misguided notions about such Masses and take all kinds of liturgical liberties, usually in the interest of "cute".

And "cute" often leads to applause.

Listen to our Holy Father!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"The Church Sings to Her Bridegroom"

Following are the concluding paragraphs from "The Spirituality of Sacred Music", by  Rev. Scott A. Haynes, SJC, in the Adoremus Bulletin on-line edition, Oct. 2008.

This nicely sums up why it is good to "sing the Mass" rather than just "sing AT Mass".

The Church Sings to Her Bridegroom
The axiom lex orandi, lex credendi (the law of prayer is the law of belief) should be expanded to include lex cantandi, lex amandi — the law of singing is the law of loving. As Saint Augustine said: “For he that sings praise, not only praises, but only praises with gladness: he that sings praise, not only sings, but also loves Him of whom he sings. In praise, there is the speaking forth of one confessing; in singing, the affection of one loving”.
Music is the language of love. Hence the Church, as the Bride of Christ, has always sung the praises of her Divine Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Her praises, in turn, are the echo of that ineffable canticle sung in the Godhead from all ages. For the Eternal Word, Jesus Christ, is a divine canticle singing the Father’s praise.
This is the infinite hymn that forever sounds in the “bosom of the Father” (Jn 1:18). It is the canticle that rises up from the depths of the Divinity, the Living Canticle wherein God eternally delights, because it is the infinite expression of His perfection.
Thus the Church is filled with the songs of the angels. When the Sanctus passes through the lips of the Church she is echoing the joyous praise of the cherubim and seraphim, who adore our Triune God in ceaseless adoration.
Because one who loves is wont to sing — Cantare amantis est, as Saint Augustine says — then the Church must sing God’s praises with knowledge, with understanding and with love.
Our voices, filled with such love and understanding, will not be silenced, but rather, with all the saints and angels, our songs of praise will echo through all eternity in the halls of heaven.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tidbits from the Workshop

Here’s a taste of some of the points made in the “Mystical Body, Mystical Voice” workshop. These points are from Session I: The Word Made Flesh:
The Mass is Essentially Sacramental
In other words, external and perceptible signs and symbols in the Mass make present some internal and otherwise undetectable realities. This is why we take a sacramental approach to the liturgy: the words themselves are sacramental.
What is a sacrament? “An outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.” The words of the liturgy carry a reality: Christ. In him and in his Mystical Body, the restored dialogue of love resonates in the world today. The ultimate reality of the Mass is Jesus himself. Jesus is not only the Son of the Father, but is his Word.
The words of the liturgy are sacramental signs of the Word. To speak, hear, sing, and pray the words of the Mass is to encounter the Word, Jesus Christ.
In his book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, Romano Guardini notes that:
The liturgy wishes to teach, but not by means of an artificial system of aim-conscious educational influences; it simply creates an entire spiritual world in which the soul can live according to the requirements of its nature. The difference resembles that which exists between a gymnasium, in which every detail of apparatus and every exercise aims at a calculated effect, and the open woods and fields. In the first everything is consciously directed towards discipline and development, in the second life is lived with Nature, and internal growth takes placed in her. The liturgy creates a universe brimming with fruitful spiritual life, and allows the soul to wander about in it at will and to develop itself there. (p 66)
The liturgy has much to teach us about Jesus, and the words that we use in the liturgy are very important in conveying the “hidden” meaning of the Mass. Sacramental language comes to “say” this reality not by virtue of committee decisions, but from the sources of creation, human culture, the Old Covenant, the Person and work of Christ, and Heaven.
The Church has developed a liturgical language able to “sacramentalize” and make present the Word. 
There is much to be said on this topic! If you are interested in learning more, ask your pastor to schedule a “Mystical Body, Mystical Voice” workshop for your parish. Contact Stephanie Swee at 541-550-0832, or email her at

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mystical Body, Mystical Voice in Bend = Success!

What does the opening scene of the movie The Voyage of the Dawntreader have to do with the new translation (3rd edition) of the Roman Missal? A group of parishioners from the Bend area can probably explain it after their participation in a workshop sponsored by the Society of St. Gregory the Great on Friday and Saturday, November 11-12.
The workshop concerned the changes in the Mass that will be evident starting the first Sunday of Advent when the third edition of the Roman Missal is formally and officially put into use. Pastors of many parishes in the Diocese of Baker have begun to use at least some of the revised responses of the people. Changes in the priest’s prayers won’t be heard till November 27.
The USCCB has said:
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…Musicians and parishioners alike should soon be learning the various new and revised musical settings of the Order of Mass.
People will be paying more attention to the Mass because of the changes – that’s what gives us the opportunity to deepen our understanding of the liturgy. There’s something to talk about: why have these changes been made?  But if we simply take a utilitarian, mechanical attitude toward it, we’ll just say, “Let’s just learn the new words and get on with it.”
There’s much more to it than that!  And that’s what this workshop is about.
This workshop is based on a program is called Mystical Body, Mystical Voice, which was created by a priest and a layman with extensive education in the liturgy; it’s produced by the Liturgical Institute. Based on sacramental theology and the liturgical rites of the Church, it’s not just a mechanical instruction in what’s changing and how we “do” it; it’s also about understanding the beauty of what the new translation has to offer. It’s about enriching our knowledge of and participation in the Mass. And we’re talking about participation in a deeper sense than simply being a part of the choir, or serving as a lay minister, or usher, etc.
The facilitator for the presentation was Dr. Judith (Jay) Boyd, who also serves as vice-president of the Society of St. Gregory the Great. The workshop included both video segments of dynamic speakers addressing the issues, as well as comments by Dr. Boyd, and discussion amongst the attendees. Participants were reminded of the rich Catholic heritage that lies beneath the surface of the Liturgy, building on 2000 years of Christianity as well as several thousand years more of our roots in Judaism. The Mass is more than it appears on the surface, and participants were led into a renewal of their understanding of the liturgy's spiritual depths and its true meaning.
Another important focus of the workshop in Bend – as well as the one given recently in The Dalles - was the value and beauty of a "sung" Mass. The new edition of the Missal contains more music than previous editions, and the USCCB is encouraging priests and the faithful to reclaim some of the lost traditions of the Church by singing the Mass from start to finish. Participants at the Bend workshop practiced singing the responses, and saw the way the simply chant melodies draw one into the liturgical celebration and move one’s heart and mind toward God.
So, what does The Voyage of the Dawntreader have to do with all of this? It's worth your time to attend a workshop and find out! To schedule one in your parish, contact Stephanie Swee at 541-550-0832, or email her at

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Black Vestments

There's an interesting article entitled "Black Must Come Back (in the Liturgy)" at The New Theological Movement. It worth reading the entire essay.

In this excerpt, the author, Fr. Ryan Erlenbush, makes some excellent points about the confusion caused to the faithful when the priest wears exactly the same vestments for the All Saints' Mass as he does for the All Souls' Mass.

The theology of a Requiem Mass for the dead
Black signifies mourning, but not simply mourning in general. Rather, black directs us in a particular way to mourn and pray for the dead. While white is a color of festivity and rejoicing, violet is the color which signifies penance and sorrow for sin.
However, violet directs us more to mourning for our own sins, and to performing penance for our own wretchedness. Black, on the other hand, helps to direct us to mourn not for ourselves but for the deceased. This is why black is so fitting for the funeral Mass (as well as Requiems and All Souls’): The color reminds us to pray for the dead.
The funeral Mass is not really about the family – though there are certainly many prayers for the consolation of those who mourn. Rather, the funeral Mass is primarily for him who has died: Nearly every prayer is for the forgiveness of his sin (i.e. of the temporal punishment of sin). Funerals are not primarily for the living, they are for the dead – whatever anyone (even if he be a priest) may tell you! This is why it makes no sense – theologically – to wear either white or even purple for a funeral Mass or Requiem.
A test case: All Saints’ and All Souls’
Consider, as a test case, the recent feasts of All Saints’ and All Souls’ days. In many (perhaps most) parishes throughout the USA, the faithful saw the priest wear the very same vestment for All Souls’ day as he did for All Saints’. What sort of theology does this communicate to the people?
On All Saints’, the priest is directed to wear white vestments because the saints are already in heaven and enjoy the vision of God. They are perfectly happy and have no need of our prayers. All Souls’, however, is the Mass offered for the holy souls in purgatory – it is offered as a prayer in their behalf, for the remission of the temporal punishment they bear for their sins.
Now, if the priest wears white vestments on All Souls’ day, can he be the least bit surprised that his faithful have ceased to believe in the reality of purgatory? If the priest wears the color of festivity, rather than the color of prayerful mourning, who will ever believe that there are any souls who suffer purgation after death?
Considering the essential difference in the character of the Masses of All Saints’ and All Souls’, it is a scandal (yes, a scandal) that white is the most common color de facto for All Soul’s day. However, sadly, the use of white is by no means a liturgical or rubrical violation.
Be sure to read the entire article!

The New Translation...Coming Soon to a Parish Near You!

Michael Voris makes some very good points about the new translation, countering some of the objections of nay-sayers. As usual, he doesn't pull any punches!

Join us to learn more about the new translation and
"singing the Mass" this weekend!

Where: Bend Armory, 875 SW Simpson Ave., Bend

When: Friday, November 11, 6:30-9pm
Saturday, November 12, 9am-4pm

Contact: Stephanie Swee, 541-550-0832
or email

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Treasures of Our Catholic Faith

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

...I have acquired a copy of the Baronius Press daily missal of 1962 (reprinted in 2004). Included in its title are the words “liturgical manual” – and so it is. It includes a section called “The most necessary Prayers”. I found the wording quaint, but what immediately struck me was the difference in attitude such a title suggests in comparison to today’s attitude toward formal prayers. Today, I joked to a friend, we would not say “the most necessary prayers” for fear of offending someone whose favorite devotion was not included. We would be afraid to judge some prayers more “necessary” than others. We would not want to suggest that there are any “necessary” prayers; instead, we would say, “Here are some prayers that you might want to pray…if you feel like it…once in awhile, anyway…but we’re not trying to say that you should pray these prayers…if there are some others that you prefer…”

Scanning the table of contents of this volume, I also noticed an entry for “the seven deadly sins”! My goodness! Do we even mention such things any more? Not only that, but there is an entry for “Sins crying to Heaven for Vengeance”! Oh my! We’re so beyond that, aren’t we?! How judgmental! How about this one: “
Nine Ways
of Being Accessory to Another’s Sin”. What?! Am I my brother’s keeper?!

Once again, the thought hits me: we’ve been robbed. We’ve had some priceless treasures taken from us: a language (Latin) that adds beauty and a sense of history to our liturgy; music (Gregorian chant) that does the same; a sense of the a sense of the hierarchical nature of the Church (cf. Lumen gentium, §18-29; Sacrosanctum concilium, §26-32); a sense of the Real Presence of Jesus; a sense of reverence, awe, and wonder associated with the mysteries of the liturgy; a sense of right and wrong; a sense of the power of God; a sense of the importance of our choice of words in speaking to Him; a sense of sin.

But the thief did leave something behind to replace some of the treasures lost: humanity has replaced divinity; “egalitarianism” has replaced the hierarchy; familiarity and contempt have been substituted for reverence, awe, and wonder; “innovation” has replaced tradition; “relevance” has replaced the essential mystery of the liturgy; “tolerance” has replaced our sense of right and wrong; moral relativism has replaced our sense of sin.

We’ve been robbed. But, thanks be to God, we have a Pope who apparently plans to restore those treasures to the whole Church.

In the letter to bishops accompanying the motu proprio, the Holy Father points out that “this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted,” and makes it clear that:

What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.

Ad multos annos, Pope Benedict XVI!

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Translation Workshop Next Week!

Please email this page to anyone you think might be interested in attending. In fact, forward it to anyone, period! It's worth attending, no matter who you are!

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!

Where: Bend Armory, 875 SW Simpson Ave., Bend

When: Friday, November 11, 6:30-9pm
Saturday, November 12, 9am-4pm

Contact: Stephanie Swee, 541-550-0832
or email

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why I Love the Liturgy

Here are some quotes which sum up the reasons why I love the liturgy…as well as telling us what the liturgy should be (all emphases added).

From The Spirit of the Liturgy by Romano Guardini:

P. 66: “The liturgy wishes to teach, but not by means of an artificial system of aim-conscious educational influences; it simply creates an entire spiritual world in which the soul can live according to the requirements of its nature. The difference resembles that which exists between a gymnasium, in which every detail of apparatus and every exercise aims at a calculated effect, and the open woods and fields. In the first everything is consciously directed towards discipline and development, in the second life is lived with Nature, and internal growth takes placed in her. The liturgy creates a universe brimming with fruitful spiritual life, and allows the soul to wander about in it at will and to develop itself there.”

p. 67 [commenting on Proverbs 8:30-31]  It is the delight of the Eternal Father that Wisdom (the Son, the perfect Fullness of Truth) should pour out Its eternal essence before Him in all Its ineffable splendor, without any ‘purpose’ – for what purpose should It have? – but full of decisive meaning, in pure and vocal happiness; the Son ‘plays’ before the Father.
     “Such is the life of the highest beings, the angels, who, without a purpose and as the Spirit stirs them, move before God, and are a mystic diversion and a living song before Him.”

From The Spirit of the Liturgy by Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI):

p. 18: “Ultimately, it is the very life of man, man himself as living righteously, that is the true worship of God, but life only becomes real life when it receives its form from looking toward God. Cult exists in order to communicate this vision and to give life in such a way that glory is given to God.”

p. 21: “Worship, that is, the right kind of cult, of relationship with God, is essential for the right kind of human existence in the world. It is so precisely because it reaches beyond everyday life. Worship gives us a share in heaven’s mode of existence, in the world of God, and allows light to fall from that divine world into ours…”

p. 22: “But real liturgy implies that God responds and reveals how we can worship him. In any form, liturgy includes some kind of ‘institution’. It cannot spring from imagination, our own creativity – then it would remain just a cry in the dark or mere self-affirmation. Liturgy implies a real relationship with Another, who reveals himself to us and gives our existence a new direction.”

p. 22: [He comments on the story of the golden calf to make the point that] “…the liturgy is not a matter of ‘what you please’.” [When “creativity” happens, people are worshiping an image.] “The people cannot cope with the invisible, remote, and mysterious God. They want to bring him down into their own world, into what they can see and understand. Worship is no longer going up to God, but drawing God down into one’s own world…Worship becomes a feast that the community gives itself, a festival of self-affirmation. Instead of being worship of God, it becomes a circle closed in on itself: eating, drinking, and making merry. The dance around the golden calf is an image of this self-seeking worship.”

p. 60: “Past, present, and future interpenetrate and touch upon eternity.”