Friday, December 15, 2006

Liturgy Alert - Gaudete Sunday!

This Sunday, the Third Sunday of Lent, is Gaudete Sunday. This Sunday gets its name from the Latin word for "Rejoice!", which figures prominently in the Introit for the Mass:

Gaudete in Domino semper, iterum dico, gaudete!

Rejoice in the Lord always, I say again, Rejoice!

This is a quote from St. Paul's Letter to the Phillipians, chapter 4, which is also the second reading for the Mass.

The proper chants for this Mass speak of and, it seems to me, embody the joyful expectation we have in this season of preparation for the Lord's coming. The communion antiphon says "Take courage, you who are fainthearted, and do not fear: behold, our God will come and He wil save us".

Rejoice! Take heart! Our salvation is at hand! That's what this Sunday is all about.

Once again, here at St. Stanislaus, we will be blessed to have with us our Gregorian Chant Schola-in-Residence, the Schola of the Chair of St. Peter, at our 11:00 AM Mass. I introduced the Schola in my post for All Souls Day. They will sing the Gregorian propers for this Sunday, and we will use the Ordinary of Mass XVIII. And, for the first time at a Sunday Mass here in at least 25 years, I will be using the Roman Canon in Latin.

One of the signs of the special joy of this day is that the priest may wear rose colored vestments, one of the two occasions during the church year where this may be done. Here's a photo of me (at my previous parish) wearing my rose vestments:

I will, of course, be making use of them this Sunday.

If you can, please join us! And if St. Stanislaus parish is too far away for you to come here, please join with us in spirit as we offer this sacrifice of praise to the Father.

Deal Hudson Has a Blog!

Deal Hudson, the former publisher of Crisis magazine, and executive director of the Morley Institute for Church and Culture, started blogging about a month ago.

The Deal Hudson blog has self-confessed "theocon" commentary on issues of Catholic faith and culture. Marjorie Campbell is another contributor.

Marjorie relates, in a post yesterday, her participation in a Jesuit high-school's "sex pow-wow" for juniors and seniors, who, she wrote, "proceeded to share their sex stories." She then described her response:
By the time the students finished painfully detailed descriptions of  their sexual challenges, fears, anxieties, worries, confusions and defeats, my job became simple.  I apologized.  I apologized on behalf of an entire generation that spun the Big Lie that sex has no rules or consequences. 

Take a look at this blog - it's well worth reading.

My Parish Music Director Has a Blog!

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been working to make our liturgical life at my parish more fully and authentically Catholic, and to make our liturgies more solemn and beautiful. So I began introducing Gregorian Chant into our liturgies, have been trying to encourage the development of the musical resources of the parish.

One big part of making that happen was the hiring of St. Stanislaus' new music director last summer. His name is Gavin: he's a young guy, just 22 years old. He's already a gifted organist and, I think, is rapidly becoming a talented choir director. He takes the Church's musical tradition seriously and wants to bring excellence to our liturgical celebrations. He's a little bit lacking in experience, but more than makes up for that in zeal and energy.

I'm also very pleased that he has taken the time to actually read church documents on liturgy and music that I've suggested, and even some others of his own accord!

Gavin, being young and full of opinions, has a blog, called Laudamus Te. One of his recent posts is the text of a memo he recently distributed to the members of our parish choir. Among other things, he writes:
In my time as music director for your parish, I have made many changes to the music done at Mass both for the congregation and the choir. Be assured, these are no trite novelties. The introduction of quality choral music and the giving of a higher place to the choir in the Mass has doubtlessly been beneficial to the worship of the congregation we serve. The use of “traditional” hymnody has broadened the horizons of many in the parish beyond the “top 50” of most parishes. These changes have not simply been a matter of the personal taste of myself or Fr. Johansen, these have been to restore reverence to the Mass and to bring the celebration of Mass at St. Stanislaus Parish closer to what the Church desires. Starting next year, I endeavor to enact another round of changes at the late Mass which will be a large step in fidelity for the music ministry.

It is my intention to begin making use of what are known as “the Mass propers” on the Sunday after Epiphany. Although I have spoken on these before, I will define them once more. The Mass carries with it readings. We do not use the same readings every week, as that would be tedious and imprudent. Rather, we use the readings which are appointed to the day by the Church. The Church also appoints songs for the Entrance, Offertory, and Communion. These are known as the proper antiphons, and typically consist of a verse of psalmody. The most well-known settings of these are the chants found in the corpus of Gregorian chant...We have been honing our skills at the Gregorian chants with great success.

Please go read the whole thing - it's quite well thought out and written.

While Gavin's opinions are his own, and I don't agree with all of them, nonetheless he and I are very much "on the same wavelength". His understanding of sacred music, and what the Church asks of us in the liturgy, are quite sound. Which, of course, is why I hired him.