Assumption Schola/Choir

In support of the Southwest Virginia Latin Mass, a schola/choir is forming.  Our goal is to be able to sing at Mass beginning sometime in 2011, at the Mass in the Extraordinary Form which is celebrated at 3pm on the 1st Sundays of the month at Our Lady of Peace in Appomattox, VA. We practice on 1st and next to last Sundays in Lynchburg, 11:30-1:30pm (our next practice will be March 20th). Tutorial materials (CD and book) will be provided.

We will be starting from the beginning and will first learn the ordinaries for Missa XI (and Credo III), in preparation for a Missa Cantata in July. We will be using The Parish Book of Chant and, for the Propers, Solesmes’ Gregorian Missal (but with MEF choice of texts, where different).

As Jeffrey Tucker writes in What Vatican Singing Norms Imply :

And what should the choir sing? It is not complicated:

Sundays of Advent: Missa XVII Credo IV
Sundays of Christmas: Missa IX Credo IV
Sundays of Lent: Missa XVII Credo IV
Sundays of Easter: Missa I Credo III
Sundays of Ordinary Time: Missa XI Credo I
Feasts of Ordinary Time: Missa VIII Credo III
Feasts of the B.V. Mary: Missa IX Credo IV
Feasts of the Apostles: Missa IV Credo III


Recordings of the Mass Propers:
Corpus Christi Watershed

Recordings of the Mass Ordinary:
Corpus Christi Watershed (free recordings..lots of stuff here, browse around the Other Recordings too)
Chants of the Ordinary, St George Cathedral, London.
(the best tutorial CD available for the ordinaries).

The Corpus Christi Watershed site also has some very useful resources for beginning polyphony.

CMAA (Church Music Association of America) has made a massive amount of text freely available online, see:

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On Small Faithfulness

In a post at the New Liturgical Movement blog,
Claudio Salvucci

It may surprise Anglicans–it certainly surprised me–at how numerically negligible some of the existing ethnic enclaves within Holy Mother Church really are.

The Annuario of Eastern Churches states that as of 2010, the Albanian Byzantine Catholic Church had 3845 members, 9 parishes, and 1 bishop. The Greek Byzantine Catholic Church had 2525 members, 4 parishes, and 1 bishop. The Bulgarian Catholic Church, 10,000 members, 21 parishes, 1 bishop. These are sui juris churches; there are also other Eastern communities without a hierarchy that are even smaller. Georgian Byzantine-Rite Catholics number perhaps only 500.

In the Western Church, only a handful of churches in Spain regularly offer the venerable Mozarabic Rite. There are about 6 parishes and as many priests in the Hebrew-speaking Catholic vicariate–headed by a patriarchal vicar, not a dedicated bishop. There are three American Indian missions along the St. Lawrence that preserve a 300-year old tradition of Iroquois plainchant and hymnody that dates from the North American martyrs. They have no dedicated priests or religious, no dedicated bishop, no formal recognition above the parish level. In the 1930s they were justly proud to have a native Mohawk priest–but that was about the extent of it.

Being faithful in small things extends from the individual all the way to the entire Church.

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Verbum Domini


70. As part of the enhancement of the word of God in the liturgy, attention should also be paid to the use of song at the times called for by the particular rite. Preference should be given to songs which are of clear biblical inspiration and which express, through the harmony of music and words, the beauty of God’s word. We would do well to make the most of those songs handed down to us by the Church’s tradition which respect this criterion. I think in particular of the importance of Gregorian chant.

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 30 September, the Memorial of Saint Jerome, in the year 2010, the sixth of my Pontificate.

Verbum Domini: Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church (September 30, 2010) [EnglishFrenchItalianLatinPolishPortugueseSpanish,German]

another excerpt:

Letting the Bible inspire pastoral activity

Along these lines the Synod called for a particular pastoral commitment to emphasizing the centrality of the word of God in the Church’s life, and recommended a greater “biblical apostolate”, not alongside other forms of pastoral work, but as a means of letting the Bible inspire all pastoral work”.[254] This does not mean adding a meeting here or there in parishes or dioceses, but rather of examining the ordinary activities of Christian communities, in parishes, associations and movements, to see if they are truly concerned with fostering a personal encounter with Christ, who gives himself to us in his word. Since “ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ”,[255] making the Bible the inspiration of every ordinary and extraordinary pastoral outreach will lead to a greater awareness of the person of Christ, who reveals the Father and is the fullness of divine revelation.

For this reason I encourage pastors and the faithful to recognize the importance of this emphasis on the Bible: it will also be the best way to deal with certain pastoral problems which were discussed at the Synod and have to do, for example, with the proliferation of sects which spread a distorted and manipulative reading of sacred Scripture. Where the faithful are not helped to know the Bible in accordance with the Church’s faith and based on her living Tradition, this pastoral vacuum becomes fertile ground for realities like the sects to take root. Provision must also be made for the suitable preparation of priests and lay persons who can instruct the People of God in the genuine approach to Scripture.

Furthermore, as was brought out during the Synod sessions, it is good that pastoral activity also favour the growth of small communities, “formed by families or based in parishes or linked to the different ecclesial movements and new communities”,[256] which can help to promote formation, prayer and knowledge of the Bible in accordance with the Church’s faith.


Posted in Gregorian Chant, Pope Benedict XVI, Word of God | 1 Comment

Representing the soul of a people

from Pope Benedict XVI’s homily at the DEDICATION OF THE EXPIATORY TEMPLE OF SAGRADA FAMILIA, BARCELONA (full text translation at Whispers from the Loggia website)

….What do we do when we dedicate this church? In the heart of the world, placed before God and mankind, with a humble and joyful act of faith, we raise up this massive material structure, fruit of nature and an immense achievement of human intelligence which gave birth to this work of art. It stands as a visible sign of the invisible God, to whose glory these spires rise like arrows pointing towards absolute light and to the One who is Light, Height and Beauty itself.

In this place, Gaudí desired to unify that inspiration which came to him from the three books which nourished him as a man, as a believer and as an architect: the book of nature, the book of sacred Scripture and the book of the liturgy. In this way he brought together the reality of the world and the history of salvation, as recounted in the Bible and made present in the liturgy. He made stones, trees and human life part of the church so that all creation might come together in praise of God, but at the same time he brought the sacred images outside so as to place before people the mystery of God revealed in the birth, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this way, he brilliantly helped to build our human consciousness, anchored in the world yet open to God, enlightened and sanctified by Christ. In this he accomplished one of the most important tasks of our times: overcoming the division between human consciousness and Christian consciousness, between living in this temporal world and being open to eternal life, between the beauty of things and God as beauty. Antoni Gaudí did this not with words but with stones, lines, planes, and points. Indeed, beauty is one of mankind’s greatest needs; it is the root from which the branches of our peace and the fruits of our hope come forth. Beauty also reveals God because, like him, a work of beauty is pure gratuity; it calls us to freedom and draws us away from selfishness.

We have dedicated this sacred space to God, who revealed and gave himself to us in Christ so as to be definitively God among men. The revealed Word, the humanity of Christ and his Church are the three supreme expressions of his self-manifestation and self-giving to mankind. As says Saint Paul in the second reading: “Let each man take care how he builds. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:10-11). The Lord Jesus is the stone which supports the weight of the world, which maintains the cohesion of the Church and brings together in ultimate unity all the achievements of mankind. In him, we have God’s word and presence and from him the Church receives her life, her teaching and her mission. The Church of herself is nothing; she is called to be the sign and instrument of Christ, in pure docility to his authority and in total service to his mandate. The one Christ is the foundation of the one Church. He is the rock on which our faith is built. Building on this faith, let us strive together to show the world the face of God who is love and the only one who can respond to our yearning for fulfillment. This is the great task before us: to show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord. In this sense, I consider that the dedication of this church of the Sagrada Familia is an event of great importance, at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him. In this masterpiece, Gaudí shows us that God is the true measure of man; that the secret of authentic originality consists, as he himself said, in returning to one’s origin which is God. Gaudí, by opening his spirit to God, was capable of creating in this city a space of beauty, faith and hope which leads man to an encounter with him who is truth and beauty itself. The architect expressed his sentiments in the following words: “A church [is] the only thing worthy of representing the soul of a people, for religion is the most elevated reality in man”. …

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Praying Twice

Now that the SWVa Latin Mass is getting on the ground, so to speak, it would be great if some sort of “Gregorian Chant workshop for the Appalachians” could be held somewhere in Southwest Virginia, say at the Jubilee House Retreat Center in Abingdon. That’s a location in the heart of SWVA and within travelling distance for folks from the Knoxville Latin Mass community (see link at blogroll) and also from the northwest part of the Charlotte Diocese. 

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