Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Friday, 30 September 2011

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A Byzantine "Requiem"

This looks compelling, wish I were in the Chicago are so I could go. Perhaps one of my 2.6 regular readers is interested?

Lincoln Chamber Productions



Music of the Byzantine Funeral Rite

harmonized by Timothy Woods

Sung by the Ecclesia Choirs

Sunday November 6


St. John Cantius Roman Catholic Church

825 N. Carpenter

Chicago, IL 60622

Sunday November 13


Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church

14610 S. Will-Cook Rd.

Homer Glen, IL 60491

Sunday November 20


Rockefeller Chapel, University of Chicago

5850 S. Woodlawn Ave.

Chicago, IL 60637

For tickets, call 815-806-0066

or click on our "Ticket" page

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

So much for leaving the critic hat behind...

(And that is NOT a criticism.
I find it hard.
I am finding it VERY hard, lately.
Sometimes, I think mine's out in the car, or even that I left it home and then some "lector" or priest jams one on my head.)

(I digress.)

Amy Welborn, whom I just do not have the opportunity to read often enough had this to say recently:
this Mass was a great example of how the purported intentions of the post-V2 reforms went horribly wrong because they failed to take Ego into account. Years of tradition and development and more organic-like stuff know about the Ego. Quick fixes forget.

Which means quite simply: When you declare that “the local community” should in some way shape the liturgy, what will often happen is that the only “community” shaping the liturgy will be the musicians and the priest. Ipso facto, untethered from rubric or the specter of sin and set loose by the fateful phrase “in these or similar words” - the liturgy will reflect the egos of both.

So at the beginning we were instructed to “turn and greet Father with our opening song.”

The celebrant ad-libbed much of the Mass (not the Eucharistic prayer, though) and spoke for five minutes after the Greeting – about Hosea, which was the source of the (Weston Priory, of course) processional hymn, but not the First Reading (which was from Ezekiel), preached a thirty-minute terrifically disjointed homily that barely alluded to any of the three Scripture readings (but did make ample reference to Hosea) , and then spent another five minutes at the end of Mass selling the parish golf tournament.

The priest became the center of the Mass – and not in the alter Christus offering sacrifice mode he’s supposed to - and for the rest of us, there was no escaping him.

But I’ve gone over that before in this space. Here’s what struck me this time.

The parish has a special intention for which they are praying to the Virgin.

So after Mass the priest led the people in this prayer to the Virgin for this special intention.

He turned around. Away from the congregation. With them.

He recited the words of this prayer to the Virgin, on his knees facing her statue – which stood in the sanctuary.

He turned , he faced the statue, he prayed.

With us.

I could not help but wonder why embracing this stance and this mode of praying which did not deviate from the given, “rote,” prayer one bit - leading us, but in the same direction – was acceptable now, but not during Mass.
I'm noticing more and more how we have been forced to reinvent the wheel, how someone will suddenly discover, "Oh! if I bow my head at every iteration of the Holy Name of Jesus, the entire ritual is enhanced, the tempo of the prayers becomes perfect...." or, "Wow, the thoughts in the words of these antiphons really are richer and more appropriate to the day than random beloved songs,"... or "Gee, if I say these prayers I just found, effectively banning the mosh pit that is the Gathering of the EMs in the sacristy before Mass, Mass begins on a more prayerful note for all of us!"

Yeah, facing East? it says we're all in this together, (rather than one of us being, say, a beloved bartender, swabbin' out highball glasses leanin' on the zinc, as he tells the rest of us, the seated customers, about a few fun things goin' on in the neighborhood over the next week that we might want to know about.)

Monday, 12 September 2011

The "Inventor of the e-Book," May He Rest in Peace,

I have had so much good from Project Gutenberg, I am very grateful, (as I believe many of us should be,) to Michael Hart, who passed away last week.

I find out now, that there was much for me, at least, to admire about him besides the founding of the Project:
Michael prided himself on being unreasonable, and only in the later years of life did he mellow sufficiently to occasionally refrain from debate. Yet, his passion for life, and all the things in it, never abated.

Frugal to a fault, Michael glided through life with many possessions and friends, but very few expenses. He used home remedies rather than seeing doctors. He fixed his own house and car. He built many computers, stereos, and other gear, often from discarded components.
A great man, who performed a great service to us all.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

How About Zacheus as Patron of the CMAA? he also was "small but loud"

One peculiarity of being almost off grid is getting het up about things long after others have vented and moved on.
I read CNS "news" in someone esle's diocesan paper, a week late or so, you see.

So, a representative of one arm of the Liturgical-Industrial Complex characterizes the Church Music Association of America as "small but loud."

I'd like to think CNS misquoted the fellow, or by neglecting context, implied he meant something he did not.

After all, their selective quoting of the director of the US bishops CDW equivalent makes him sound ignorant as all get out
Chant has a legitimate place in Catholic worship, Father Hilgartner said, but "there's room for other legitimate cultural adaptations, which includes the form that music for liturgy takes."
Chant's place is only "legitimate"? really? Is that what "pride of place" means, legitimate, but no more or less privileged than anything else?

Fr Hilgartner is surely not so ill-informed.

I mean, he couldn't be, right?

And back to the company man,
"There's a camp that's becoming entrenched, (saying) that the proper antiphons that are found in the missal are as essential to the liturgy as the reading, and no one would ever replace the proper antiphons with something else."

Aside from the question of whether that is a fair characterization of anyone's position, --- for a representative of a faction that is "entrenched" in the liturgy as business, and "entrenched" in a position whereby they profit from the sale of those hymns, (take the term to mean text or tune,) that usurp the place of the propers, and has been so "entrenched" for nigh on four decades, to describe someone else as "entrenched" -- well, it's rich.