Saturday, October 31, 2009

Implementing the Vatican II Reform: The Cathedral Chant School

Another Diocese in a full swing for the 'reform' of the Vatican II and 'continuing' the Church's tradition

Implementing the Vatican II Reform: The Cathedral Chant School
by Angela Manney

“There should be choirs, or Capellae, or scholae cantorum, especially in cathedrals and other major churches, in seminaries and religious houses of studies, and they should be carefully encouraged.” Musicam Sacram, 19(a)

A sea of priests in flowing white chasubles circled around the marble sanctuary of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, each taking a moment to shake the anointed hands of the newly ordained ministers of God. An ancient Gregorian chant wafted from the third-story balcony, which was packed tightly with the bodies of three choirs and a brass quintet. Surprisingly, this description befits a ceremony which is not yet relegated to the musty records of posterity. Rather, it describes the priestly ordinations of the diocese of Peoria, Illinois on May 23, 2009. That morning, two men were ordained to the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ; and that morning the Cathedral Chant School sang for the first time to parishioners across the diocese and beyond.

The Cathedral Chant School, on the cutting edge of the liturgical reform, was founded in October 2008 due directly to the desires of our Bishop Daniel Jenky. Bishop Jenky envisions the Cathedral to be a mother in many respects, and in accord with the Vatican II document Musicam Sacram to be an exemplar of good sacred music. He requested that the Diocese of Peoria be taught about our sacred heritage of Gregorian chant. “We Catholics are suffering from liturgical amnesia,” he remarked informally to the schola. “It is as though we have whitewashed the paintings of the Sistine Chapel. You are doing a very important work.”

The Cathedral Chant School provides beautiful chant for the Cathedral's Latin Saturday Vigil Masses and other special occasions. It has a secondary purpose as well. In teaching musicians throughout the diocese how to sing Gregorian chant, it prepares those musicians to take Gregorian chant back to their own parishes and to continue the liturgical reform there. The school is currently provided to its participants at only the cost of materials, and convenes at times which strive not to conflict with the times of other parish music program schedules. The base of participants has remained consistently around the number of ten, and they come from all different musical backgrounds.

Since its inception, the school has already distinguished itself in hosting Master Class workshops by Dr. Jenny Donelson, in singing many of the Gregorian propers once a month at the Cathedral's Saturday Vigil Masses, in featuring the Te Deum and Alleluia Iuravit Dominus at our diocesan priestly ordinations, and this August in singing the Solemn First Vespers of the Assumption. In the same spirit the Cathedral has also adopted a newly published Latin Mass Hymnal designed specifically for the Novus Ordo Mass, and uses this hymnal for its Saturday Vigil Masses (please see details on this special hymnal below).

As co-founder of the Cathedral Chant School, I hope that my own personal journey will inspire others. I knew nothing about our heritage of early sacred music until my first visit to the tiny chapel of my alma mater, Thomas Aquinas College. I did not know how to sing, or to read a note of music. When I heard the unassuming melodies of Gregorian Chant and the subtle harmonies of sacred polyphony entwine their silky strains with the Liturgy, I was moved toward contemplation in a way that was new to me. Since then I have seized every opportunity to learn and sing this music.

Although I do not have a degree in music, or a previous background in directing a chant schola, I was still chosen to co-found the Cathedral Chant School. What I do have to offer is a strong background in cantoring (especially at the Cathedral), ten years of chanting experience, some semiological studies under a previous schola director, and attendance at the Sacred Music Colloquium and at an advanced Gregorian chant study week in Solesmes, France. And, of course, I bring a strong passion for what I do.

Just as in the case of Moses, God chooses as instruments people who least expect it. Slow of speech and slow of tongue, Moses was called by God to free His people from the shackles and miseries of the land of Egypt. Through the grace of God, Moses succeeded in his task, and freed God's people to worship their Maker in a more befitting way. Today we musicians are called as Moses was called. The People of God need to be freed for contemplation of the heart of God, and our ancient musical heritage is uniquely capable of leading us toward this encounter with the divine.

For updates on the Cathedral Chant School, please visit our Facebook fan page, or email to be added to our email list.

A binder which provides an overview of the development, structure, and curriculum of the Cathedral Chant School is now available. Included are a copy of the Latin Mass Hymnal, our starter folder, and 100 highly organized pages of proposals, fliers, schedules, class handouts, and lesson plans. If you are interested in a copy, please send a $30 check payable to Angela Manney, Office of Sacred Music, 613 NE Jefferson, Peoria, IL 61603.

The Latin Mass Hymnal: A Concise Guide to the Novus Ordo Mass for Catholic Parishes is now available for use. This hymnal was developed by volunteers dedicated to providing a low cost, educational tool for parishes that are re-introducing Latin and Gregorian chant. The current version has several features that aid and encourage congregational participation including (a) side by side Latin and English translations for the Order of the Mass, (b) chant in modified standard notation for all responses and ordinaries, (c) 35 chants in both Gregorian and standard notation along with guides to Gregorian chant notation and Latin pronunciation, and (e) literal translations directly below music text. A compact disc with recordings by a cantor is also available for parishioners interested in learning at home. Approximate cost is $3.00 per copy. Contact Candy Bartoldus ( or Fr. Paul Dudzinski (540-675-3432).

Friday, October 30, 2009

Schola: November Calendar

At OLPH (practice on Mondays at 7:30)
Saturday Mass (8:15AM) (Warm - up starts at 7:40)
Nov. 7, 21

Kyrie XI
Sanctus XVIII
Mysterium Fidei and Amen
Agnus Dei XVIII
Gustate et Videte
Salve Regina

At St. Martin's (Little Sisters of the Poor)
Nov.8, Sunday, 10:30 (warm-up at 10AM)

Ave Maria(Prelude)
Praise to the Lord (203)
Gloria VIII
RP. Priase the Lord, My Soul!
Offertory Proper (schola)
Sanctus XVIII
Mysterium Fidei and Amen
Agnus Dei XVIII
Communion Proper (schola)
Beautiful Savior (206)
Now Thanks We all Our God (204)

At Resurrection Church (practice on Tuesdays at 7:30 PM)
Satruday Mass (9AM) (Warm-up starts at 8:30)
Nov.14, 28

Kyrie XVI
Sanctus VIII
Mysterium Fidei and Amen
Agnus Dei IV
Gustate et Videte
Salve Regina

Children's schola (practice on Mondays at 1:30 at OLPH)
First Friday Mass, Nov.6
OLPH 8:15 AM (warm up starts at 7:45 AM)

Ave Maria (prelude)
Kyrie XVI
Ubi Caritas
Sanctus XVIII
Mysterium Fidei and Amen
Agnus Dei XVIII
Anima Christi
Ecclesia Semper Reformanda (The Church is Always in Need of Renewal)

A Pastoral Letter on the Future of the Church in the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa
To the Priests, Deacons, Consecrated persons and all the Lay Faithfulof the Diocese of Sioux City

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Greetings of peace and joy to you and all your families. By God’s providence we are privileged to live in northwest Iowa and practice our faith in the Diocese of Sioux City. I am honored to serve you as your Bishop.

The primary purpose of all liturgy, and especially of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, is the worship of God. We sometimes forget this. We go to Mass to worship God, simply because He deserves to be worshiped, and we, his creatures, ought to worship him. Too often we forget that God is transcendent and ineffable, incomprehensibly greater than we can imagine. He is infinite truth and goodness shining forth in radiant beauty. He has created us, keeps us in existence, and redeems us from our sins. In short, He is worthy of our worship. He comes to us at Mass as a Father through His Son in the power of the Holy Spirit. He makes Himself tangibly present to us in the assembly, the ordained ministers, and the proclaimed Word of God. He is also present most especially and immediately in the Eucharist, which has a perfect and infinite value before His eyes. He graciously comes to us, not only to be with us, but also to raise us up to Heaven, to the Heavenly liturgy, where we worship in union with all the angels and saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the eternal offering of Jesus Christ to the Father on our behalf. Thus we enter the heavenly sanctuary while still on earth, and worship God in the full manner that He laid out for us!
When we worship God in this way, He sanctifies us, that is, He makes us holy. This is the second purpose of the Liturgy. We are made holy by Jesus when we participate in His divine Sonship, becoming adopted sons and daughters of the Father. We are changed, transformed from the inside out. This comes about through hearing and acting on His Word and by being strengthened and steadily sanctified by a worthy reception of Holy Communion. This in turn leads to a true communion of saints within the local and universal Church. Too often, the purposes of our participation in the liturgy, worship and sanctification, are passed over in a misplaced attempt to “create community,” rather than to receive it as a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s activity within us.
Since, in the Church’s liturgy, we meet God in a unique way, how we worship – the external rites, gestures, vessels, music, indeed, the building itself – should reflect the grandeur of the Heavenly liturgy. Liturgy is mystical; it is our mysterious encounter with the transcendent God, who comes to sanctify us through the sacrifice of Christ made present in the Eucharist and received in Holy Communion. It should radiate Heavenly truth and goodness. This radiance, the splendor of truth, is called beauty. Our liturgy should radiate true beauty, reflecting the beauty of God Himself and what He does for us in Christ Jesus. It should lift up our soul—first through our intellect and will, but also through our senses and emotions—to adore God as we share already in Heaven’s eternal worship. In this vale of tears, the liturgy should be a lodestar, a transcending place of wonder and comfort in the midst of our day-to-day lives, a place of light and high beauty beyond the reach of worldly shadows.13 So many people only connect with the Church, and sometimes with prayer and God, through Sunday Mass. Should we not offer an experience of beauty and transcendence, compellingly different from our day-to-day lives? Should not every facet of our offering be proportionate to the divine reality?
Many small details can make liturgy either beautiful or banal. In recent decades, in place of beauty and “noble simplicity,”14 our main principle for discerning and choosing the “little things” has tended toward utility, ease, and even cheapness. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, before his election as Bishop of Rome, wrote the following about Church music, that is easily applicable to all parts of the liturgy:
A Church which only makes use of “utility” music has fallen for what is, in fact, useless. She [the Church] too becomes ineffectual. For her mission is a far higher one. As the Old Testament speaks of the Temple, the Church is to be the place of “glory,” and as such, too, the place where mankind’s cry of distress is brought to the ear of God. The Church must not settle down with what is merely comfortable and serviceable at the parish level; she must arouse the voice of the cosmos, and by glorifying the Creator, elicit the glory of the cosmos itself, making it also glorious, beautiful, habitable and beloved…. The Church is to transform, improve, “humanize” the world - but how can she do that if at the same time she turns her back on beauty, which is so closely allied to love? For together beauty and love form the true consolation in this world, bringing it as near as possible to the world of the resurrection.15
Pope John Paul the Great, addressing some bishops of the United States on October 9, 1998, recognized the same urgent spiritual needs:To look back over what has been done in the field of liturgical renewal in the years since the Council is, first, to see many reasons for giving heartfelt thanks and praise to the Most Holy Trinity for the marvelous awareness which has developed among the faithful of their role and responsibility in this priestly work of Christ and his Church. It is also to realize that not all changes have always and everywhere been accompanied by the necessary explanation and catechesis; as a result, in some cases there has been a misunderstanding of the very nature of the liturgy, leading to abuses, polarization, and sometimes even grave scandal. ... The challenge now is to move beyond whatever misunderstandings there have been . . . by entering more deeply into the contemplative dimension of worship, which includes the sense of awe, reverence and adoration which are fundamental attitudes in our relationship with God.16
It is imperative that we recover this wonder, awe, reverence and love for the liturgy and the Eucharist. To do this, we must feel and think with the whole Church in “reforming the reform” of the Second Vatican Council. We must accept and implement the current stream of magisterial liturgical documents coming from the Holy See: Liturgiam Authenticam (2001), the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal, and its new General Instruction on the Roman Missal (2002), Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2002), Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003), Spiritus et Sponsa (2003), Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004), Sacramentum Caritatis (2007), and Summorum Pontificum (2007).
It seems that all is not well with the Liturgy, and the Church is trying to help us. The pendulum swings, the hermeneutic of discontinuity, and the divisions within our Church have been seen and felt in the Liturgy more than anywhere.
The Church’s Magisterium, not our private opinions, is our authoritative guide in this ressourcement. The liturgy belongs to the entire Church, and in a special way to the faithful – not to a particular Diocese or parish, and certainly not to individual priests. I exhort everyone, especially our priests, to keep up with the Church. I expect them to read, study, and understand the above documents and their inner logic and place within the ongoing reform of the Church. It is vitally important that we offer resplendent worship to God alone, with understanding and excellence, obedient to the Church. My own liturgies at the Cathedral, though imperfect, are also meant to be exemplary for the whole Diocese. It is a grave error and a form of clericalism, whether by clergy or lay ministers, to change the liturgy, or even to choose ungenerously among legitimate options, to suit only our own preferences and opinions. This respect for the whole of Tradition is not simply for the sake of “rules and regulations”; this is not legalism, as some have said, but our love for Christ, so that from His Eucharist with all its preeminent beauty and sanctity, He can shine forth for all to see and love.
The Council’s goal in reforming liturgy was, of course, to facilitate the “fully active and conscious participation”17 of all the faithful. We have made great strides in this area. In the same address to bishops cited above, the Holy Father said:
Full participation certainly means that every member of the community has a part to play in the liturgy; and in this respect a great deal has been achieved in parishes and communities across your land. But full participation does not mean that everyone does everything, since this would lead to a clericalizing of the laity and a laicizing of the priesthood; and this was not what the Council had in mind. The liturgy, like the Church, is intended to be hierarchical and polyphonic, respecting the different roles assigned by Christ and allowing all the different voices to blend in one great hymn of praise.
Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshippers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy. These are experiences of silence and stillness, but they are in their own way profoundly active. In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural.
Conscious participation calls for the entire community to be properly instructed in the mysteries of the liturgy, lest the experience of worship degenerate into a form of ritualism. But it does not mean a constant attempt within the liturgy itself to make the implicit explicit, since this often leads to a verbosity and informality which are alien to the Roman Rite and end by trivializing the act of worship. Nor does it mean the suppression of all subconscious experience, which is vital in a liturgy which thrives on symbols that speak to the subconscious just as they speak to the conscious. The use of the vernacular has certainly opened up the treasures of the liturgy to all who take part, but this does not mean that the Latin language, and especially the chants which are so superbly adapted to the genius of the Roman Rite, should be wholly abandoned. If subconscious experience is ignored in worship, an affective and devotional vacuum is created and the liturgy can become not only too verbal but also too cerebral.18
Full, active and conscious participation: we have made great strides in this over the years. But often this has happened in a superficial, partial way resulting from a narrow and truncated interpretation of these terms. It is time to dig deeper, “to put out into the deep,”19 into a new and authentic liturgical spirituality that is both old and new, active and contemplative, historical and mystical, Roman and Iowan, familiar and challenging. All of this also applies to our “fully active and conscious participation” in liturgy outside the Holy Mass, especially in Eucharistic Adoration, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Marian devotions, and the Liturgy of the Hours.

CommentTime1 hour ago
Thanks, Noel. Speechless. This is the most compelling and concrete explanation of all the things we are about on the 'reform of the reform' that I ever read. I am printing out and handing it out to everyone I know, including the priests I care the most and pray for.

CommentAuthorfrogman noel jones
CommentTime1 hour ago

This is the first statement that I recall seeing by a US Bishop that lays out what Benedict has been talking about.
Make sure that your Bishop gets is a link to the site with the entire document:
And the document:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Video Clips of Chant Pilgrimage Mass

After the organ prelude, there's a beautiful solemn procession where the faithful witness the priests intentionally walking towards the Holy of Holies and leading our faith journey. As our fellow chanter remarked, we would have missed this solemn procession if we had to bury our heads to the hymnals, also she couldn't 'participate' in the Mass more deeply if she had to sing all the songs in the Mass.

A robust singing of the congregation singing their parts of Ordinaries.

These can be also veiwed from in the front page.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Reflection on the Pilgrimage at the National Shrine in DC

Fall Pilgrimage: Church Music Association of America
Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
September 26, 2009

Following the Extraordinary Form of the Mass celebrated today, a lay reflection is offered to preserve as much of this day’s holy blessing as permitted, so that it might be touched anew, when necessary, as nourishment on our devotion path. After witnessing and living the soul-shaking majesty of the Roman Rite, there is inspiration to take best-possible care of the precious gift given through this pilgrimage of prayer, so that it might not be lost, nor to forget to give out the love we have just been generously given. At the same time, with trepidation is this done, mindful not to mar in any way, even unintentionally, what belongs only to that sacred hour and holy place.

Dear Lord, help us to remember and wisely use all the nourishment you have given us:

The Mass offered was the Common of The Feasts of The Blessed Virgin Mary, whose brief gospel (Luke 11: 27-28), was concluded by our Lord’s words “Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.” Starting from the Epistle (Ecclesiastes 24: 14-16) Father Franklin McAfee’s homily spoke entirely about the beauty of the liturgy. The Epistle enclosed these words: “From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before Him. And so was I established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an honorable people, and in the portion of my God his inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of Saints”.

These immediately recognizable words came, eternally true, yet rarely heard: the Liturgy itself is Beautiful. By the implications, Fr. McAfee reminded us, God is, among His many perfect attributes, beauty. God is indeed beautiful! Praise Him who showers His people gifts of beauty!

In our time, the offering of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, a Mass sung completely in Latin, has become rarer occurrence, but one that was more regular in the past. Fr McAfee explained how its beauty has been present in liturgical celebration all along, throughout catholic history, and is not some reality disappeared. It is alive. We are in the very midst of it this day. The renaissance bud sprung by the words of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI now shows color! The homily proclaimed: the proof is all around us, become generously silent and still, listen observe watch open receive, God is with us, God grants life-sustaining splendors in His holy place.

In this place, coming as pilgrims from as far away as Oregon, Florida, Minnesota, with hours and years of preparation, and prayers and hopes for our Church and all intentions, where to begin to enumerate all the beauty in which the gathered became immersed. Just being at the National Shrine by itself was a touchstone of wonder and awe, glimpsing its monumentality. But down in its Crypt Church, surrounded by floor and walls and ceiling feet-thick of rock and polished stone, more immovable and weighty than can be grasped, was God’s sign, of His mighty hand and powerful protection. Being in a sacred place whose reverb took our human offering and turned it into angelic substance. What was more transfixing than solemn procession of priest and deacon, displaying patience; careful measured strides fitting to His presence and greatness? And adoring incense making mystic offering and homage in the beauty of silent rising smoke?

What could be more beautiful than hundreds of voices singing as one voice, the Gregorian Mass IX settings, with such affection and reverence? What beauty could exceed the artistic excellence of the schola and the chamber choir, summoning the labors of servants Palestrina and Byrd and anonymous monks from centuries ago? Who takes His children’s very supplications, and turns them into a blessing that returns immediately, filling us with healing raptures?

What is more beautiful? What is most beautiful? Fr. McAfee revealed ultimately: Christ alone.

Christ the center, the all, the everything. The Christ who, through years of devotion his people give Him as they are called to, has given Himself, given His merciful repair of our minds bodies and souls, and has prepared and called those to receive with open person the divine Beauty gift of this day. Who alone has made it possible for his brothers and sisters, to be overwhelmed in quiet ecstasy, in the presence of all that enveloped us - our day’s pilgrim yearning fulfilled? Christ! who perfects everything He touches. Christ in the perfect silent heart of this Eucharist, caressed ardently in attendant Gregorian love, Him that does not ever stop giving, because His nature is love and He is Love itself.

The Extraordinary Form of the Latin Mass in this blessed temple, is a sign of poetic grandeur to which nothing in this world is close. It is a grandeur that is transcendent and yet intimate. The mystery of the Latin language’s radically concise syntax, is it not also a sign of the sublime? What person could want more than all these savors of heaven? But does not God the Only Poet humble us completely by showing the immensity of all of this, and yet remind His children: we little ones are still on earth!

With first the Blessed Sacrament, Fr McAfee’s panoramic homily on holy beauty was enjoined as a dove, and its wings all of the Liturgy, stretching from Introit and to Recessional, a whole - chanted prayer and silence, praising God, blessing God, thanking God, through the hands of our Mother. And the Holy Spirit, pressing firmly into the midst and speaking without words: make good, you who receive this reappearing, renewing gift of Beauty, who is Christ.

The Hand of God feeds us, heals us, filling us to overflowing with Himself, with Beauty of many orders, a mountain of beauty! deep in our city yet! but upon whose summit stands Jesus. Receiving His bestowal of beauty is but the meal, the beginning of the day. It is food for journey, food for service, beauty meant to be poured out again in new ways upon others not yet so blessed. “Blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.”

S. Taylor