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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Liturgical Orphans

One untoward effect of a good retreat, or a sacred music colloquium, or even a serendipitous stumbling upon the Divine Office being prayed solemnly and corporately and beautifully, (am I remembering correctly, was there some question on the 900-Pound Catholic Blog as to whether one was actually joined to the Church's liturgical life when one prayed the L ot H alone? I digress...) all three of which I have had the great blessing to experience in the past two months, is that it takes real, conscious effort not to subsequently sit... er... kneel in judgment when one finds oneself in less... carefully prepared liturgies.

Even when one is not annoyed, one can hardly help but be distracted when a presider greets the Faithful with "The Lord IS with you...", and then gives what amounts to a long homily betwixt the greeting and the penitential rite; when an, admittedly lovely-voiced, cantatrix croons suggestively into the console-mounted mic'; when a phalanx of seven extraordinary ministers routinely marches on the sanctuary to help the shepherd feed his flock of, I-am-not-making-this-up-I-counted-the-second-day-of-the-routine-mea-culpa, THIRTY-something, (when is someone in charge going to notice that more time is spent singling the ems out with a specially choreographed Communion than is saved by having them then administer the Sacrament to the rest of the assembly; when not one, not two, but THREE different individuals open for the Main Event, each welcoming us, each introducing themselves, (in one case also naming "my partner in proclaiming the Word,") and each reminding us what day it was; an adult server whose alb is so tightly cinched and so snugly fitted that I was reminded of Joan on Mad Men; loopy General Intercessions...

On this house-hunting expedition, I am feeling, (and Himself shares this,) most homeless on Sunday mornings.
And who would have imagined it? but the fact that it is out of season has meant being not so much deprived as spared as we seek a parish. "Dry" masses are preferable, for the most part, to those with music, (which tend to the insipidly moist...)

So it is with great joy, (and not a little shame for my pessimism, O Me, of little faith!) that I say that Mass on Sunday was very well prepared and conducted indeed.
I had only half-jokingly said the day before that my major goal was simply to avoid Hail Mary Gentle Woman, but that I had no expectation of being able to do so.
Well! three sturdy hymns, a nice little responsorial Magnificat during the Communion procession, the correct lectionary psalm, a decent Ordinary, superbly played and sufficiently assertive and vigorous organ accompaniments, excellent organ pre- and postludes and interesting improvs, (though I might question the Music From the Hearts of Space registration on one of the latter...;oD); a suitably talented yet even more suitably diffident cantor; a wide ranging homily that utilized the readings AND practical application AND pertinent personal anecdotes AND doctrine and dogma AND Catholic identity...

Anyway, I don't know to whom to be grateful, the cathedral rector, or the diocesan O of W, or the Bishop -- but thank you, thank you, thank you.

Come to think of it, who am I, (is the accepted term Left-foot Lucy, or One-foot Wanda?) to question anyone's registration?

It is probably too far away to make it my parish when the dust settles on our domestic arrangements, but it's a great comfort to know it's there.

Incidentally, the aforementioned serendipitous L ot H? an errand in Chicago last month finished early, Himself dropped me off at St John Cantius en route to another errand. I figured I could pray quietly until Vespers, (it wasn't actually the Vespers themselves upon which I stumbled, I knew about them...) and instead was uplifted by what I can only suppose was a bit of practice for an upcoming organ recital by Br Jonathan Ryan. Passion Symphony by Marcel Dupré?
Glorious, thrilling. (And talk about "Christmas in July"...)
I am frankly envious of anyone who can attend.
But I shouldn't feel too deprived, I shall keep my eye out for what Adam Brakel (sp?) is accomplishing at the cathedral here.


Daniel Mitsui said...


Jonathan Ryan's recital was indeed wonderful (even though I missed the Passion Symphony portion; the Mrs. and I took turns watching the toddler)...

However, it was bittersweet, as Mr. Ryan decided to leave the religious order a few days earlier; this was his last performance at St. John's.

Anonymous said...

Oh no.
That is really terrible news - actually leave the order, or just decide not to follow the path to ordination?
How upsetting, how really upsetting.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

Daniel Mitsui said...

I mean that he is no longer a member of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius.