Tomorrow evening at 6 p.m., Cantorae St. Augustine will launch its spring series of Choral Vespers at the Shrine of La Leche. We hope that all who can will join us for this first evening, as well as taking note of the dates for the months ahead. Always on a Friday and always starting at 6 p.m., here’s the rest of the schedule:
February 14th (Why not bring your Valentine?)
Again, all are invited for these vespers that combine Latin and English to provide a time for prayer and reflection in the oldest Marian shrine in what later became the United States of America.
Cantorae’s autumn always begins with Founders Day, the annual commemoration of Pedro Menendez de Aviles’ landing on September 8, 1565. This year the event will be on Saturday, September 7th, starting at 10 a.m. There will be reenactors, Continue reading →
Sacred Miscellany had its origins almost 10 years ago – in the early age of blogging. And I’ve enjoyed it – the postings, the comments, the spam. But it’s time for something new. And while Continue reading →
This video was made to promote the Sony CD of chant by the monks of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in New Mexico. The chant is lovely – and even better is the chance to tour the Continue reading →
This morning I saw a resplendent peacock on the wall at the Fountain of Youth, home to a sizable number of peacocks and peahens. This peacock was obviously looking for “companionship,” but there was just one problem. He was facing the street. And the chances of an interested peahen driving by were about nil. The peahens were behind him. (And probably too busy looking for bugs to notice.) He needed to turn around.
How often is that the case with us? There we are – with all our beautiful music, art, poetry, projects, whatever. And no one seems interested. So we sing louder, use brighter colors, etc. in hopes of a response. Still nothing. Maybe we need to turn around. Maybe 180 degrees, maybe only 90 degrees. Perhaps our audience is behind our backs or over to the side, but we’ve been so focused on the audience we decided should want our work that we never thought someone else, not necessarily of our choosing, might be wanting and waiting for it.
So I think I’ll look outside the box, under the fence, over my shoulder – you get the drift. Just thinking.
In response to Pope Francis’ statement on wanting a church which is poor and for the poor. You can read all of it here.
“I trust that as we get to know Francis better he will make this clearer. That he has a preferential option for the poor is already clear and admirable and inspiring, but I thought we already are for the poor and always have been, although — of course — there is always more to do. But by “a Church which is poor” does he means humble? Poor in spirit? Is he talking about dispensing with what is beautiful in the church, because it is somehow insulting for the poor? I have a hard time believing this because we have heard that Pope Francis’ favorite author is Dostoyevsky and he therefore must have some appreciation of “the world will be saved by beauty” and the transcendent beauty — both material and interior — that the church offers the world. Shared and instructive, it is all meant to better access the different routes to knowing God.
Moreover, we should not be ashamed of the beauty of the Bride of Christ and his Mystical Body. I have a cousin who is a Capuchin, like Cardinal O’Malley, and he has worked with very poor people living in destitute and often violent areas. He’s told me more than once that the poor feel condescended to when they are served the Holy Eucharist from ceramic chalices and straw baskets. “The want the beautiful things,” he says, “because God should have beautiful things and they should be able to share in that.” Beauty is evangelical.”
Like many, I have been astonished at the vitriolic diatribes that poured forth after the Pope’s election. I wonder how many people who might have been interested in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass have had that interest extinguished. How many pastors and priests have thought, “Gee, I sure hope I don’t run into those folks.” And how many with an interest and knowledge of more traditional liturgical music, art, and architecture will find themselves dismissed out of hand as “probably pretty unpleasant crazies.”
Thanks so much, guys! I miss Pope Benedict XVI too, but acting like hysterical children won’t bring him back. Or advance the cause of true liturgical restoration.
May God grant the Holy Father all the blessings and strength he will need to rebuild the Church!
Occasionally, you read something that stays with you, that continues to influence your thinking, that crystallizes an issue or fact. The so-called “seminal essay.”
For me, “Gothic Pillars and Blue Notes: Art as a Reflection of the Conflict of Religions” by Quentin Faulkner has been one of these. Originally published in The American Organist in 1998, this three-part essay is available at the digital archive of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Go find it and read it.
One quote: “Whatever a society’s actual religion is – whatever mixture of adherence to revealed and codified religious doctrine and practice, or to human personalities and ideologies, or to superstition, or to human selfishness – that religion will be faithfully embodied in its culture and its art. To the degree and at the rate the religion changes, so will its accompanying culture and art.”
In 2000, I was lucky enough to hear Faulkner on this topic at a conference at St. Johns University. I’ll never forget the two opening slides. The first was a sloppy liturgy in an ugly modern church. The second showed the highly-choreographed opening of a major college football game. There was no mistaking what really mattered in contemporary American culture. Obviously, this was an attention-getting ploy. Well, you’ll just have to take my word that it only got better from there.
At the time, I was just considering “re-involving” myself in sacred music. Now, it seems that hardly a day goes by without some aspect of Faulkner’s essay coming to mind. Check it out!
Occasionally I find myself at Masses where Gregorian chant makes an appearance as “dress-up music.” It may be tossed in as a prelude or perhaps as an addition to the music at Communion time. Now I’m not Continue reading →