Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category
It has been ages since last this blog has been updated. All I will say is that 2010 was a challenging year, however, I hope to write more in 2011. Part of that, will be to make some updates to this blog, but I also want to branch out a bit and allow myself a little more freedom in the type of posts. In particular, I want to focus on some of my own creative writing.
With that in mind, I’ve created a new space for this endeavour. It is not a replacement for this blog, but a complementary one. Here I can continue to discuss Catholic Art, and there I can perchance create some new, if quite small, contributions to that art.
Please take the time to peruse: informal letters.
What the iPad was truly meant for:
Thanks to musicasacra.com for their online PDFs of the Liber Usualis and the Parish Book of Chant (as well as many other Chant and polyphony resources).
Tradition and ritual can help us to create new roots in a new place. One of the great joys of being Catholic is the ability to walk into a parish in almost any place in the world, and even if the liturgy is not quite what one would like, it matters not, for there is the Body and Blood of Christ.
Every Easter, it is a Polish tradition to bless the food for the first meal of Easter on Holy Saturday. While growing up in the Chicago area, the largest speaking Polish population outside of Warsaw, it was not difficult to find a number of times and churches that would offer this special blessing.
Out here on the west coast, things are a bit more complicated. My wife and I have found the one Polish Deli in San Francisco (Seakor’s), and last weekend we went there to buy all the necessities: kielbasa, pierogi, chrzan (horseradish), and rye bread.
On Good Friday, we prepared additional foods like kolachy and made our own horseradish for the first time. My mother gave us this recipe, which is very simple, but includes the warning: “Please Note: When grinding horseradish the aroma is very strong and takes your breath away so you might have to run in another room for awhile.” I couldn’t help but thinking during these preparations about the women preparing Jesus’ body for the tomb.
And today, we trotted off early this morning to St. Dominic’s for a Tenebrae service, with our basket in hand. We had not gone two blocks, when a car pulled over by us. The young woman in the car jumped out, hurried to us and said “This is going to sound crazy, but are you taking that basket to be blessed? What parish are you going to?”
She went on to explain that she was from back East and this was the first time she had spent Easter in San Francisco. Her parents were in town and her father kept asking where they were going to go to bless their food, but she couldn’t find any parishes that were doing it.
We told her we were headed to St. Dominic’s. They didn’t have a special celebration for the blessing of baskets, but we had asked a priest the week before if we could bring a basket and have it blessed. The kind Dominican had suggested we come to the Tenebrae service on Holy Saturday, and that many priests would be around and it would be no problem.
She was thankful and excited that she had found a church, and St. Dominic’s actually happened to be her parish. We didn’t see her or her family at the service, but I hope that they came and were able to get their food blessed.
We did, and are now awaiting the dawn of our Redemption to take part in the Easter banquet. We are far from family, friends, and fellow Poles, but God touches us in these small things, and helps us to grow these new roots in a faraway place.
San Francisco - It is a city of fog and a city of food, and a strange place for a midwesterner to find himself.
My wife and I made the move about four months ago, and while the city has much to offer, we still feel somewhat out of joint here.
One gem we have found, however, is a parish called St. Dominic’s. It is, of course, run by Dominicans, and where there are Dominicans, beautiful music can usually be found. This is true of the parish, which has an 11:30 am Solemn Mass, with Gregorian propers and sacred polyphony. The church is gothic in design and includes flying buttresses added in the 80s for ‘seismic retrofitting.’ I laud the architect who decided to keep such retrofitting in the spirit of the building.
The parish seems to have a diverse set of liturgies. There is a 5:30 pm mass that is labeled as “contemporary.” My wife and I have not had the courage to attend said liturgy. They also have a Taize style candlelight mass at 9:00 pm. In having spent some time around the Catholic blogosphere, I’m amazed that the contemporary and solemn mass communities can coexist in the same parish!
And while it has been an adjustment to be in a new city, my wife and I have found much hope from this place, and much comfort from Christ’s presence there. On our first weekend at St. Dominic’s, the mass setting was Palestrina’s Missa Aeterna Christi Munera, which just happened to be the mass setting we chose for our nuptial mass. In a new place, in a strange city, we felt God’s comforting embrace.
My wife and I have been relocated to San Francisco and we’ve just recently arrived to this city of fog. Needless to say, this has been at least one reason this blog has not seen an update in quite some time.
I’m hoping to start up again here; and in general, am trying to make a commitment to myself to write more. I’m also trying to convince my wife that I need a Macbook to help me in this endeavour. I’ll let you know how both of these goals progress…
for the repose of the soul of Michael Dubruiel, husband of Amy Welborn. And pray for Amy and her children.
One of my other recent projects that has kept me from regular blogging was the organisation of a neighbourhood ‘chant’ group. Since attending the Sacred Music Colloquium 2008, I wanted to spread knowledge of chant to other Catholics. Thankfully, South Bend, IN is not wanting for Catholics, though it is wanting for chant opportunities.
Now, I’m talking very small steps here. I began simply by inviting some of my friends from my local parish, which would not traditionally be understood as traditional, as well as other friends near my neighbourhood. There are about twelve of us and we will soon be having our fourth meeting. The goals are small: to chant vespers prayerfully, praise God in doing so, and introduce more Catholics to an inestimable treasure of the church.
At our first gathering, we sang compline which, except for the Salve Regina, was entirely in English. I used a simple setting I received at the Sacred Music Colloquium. After that, I took some time to put together a ‘Vespers for the Pauline Year.’ The general format is of the new breviary, with three psalms and the hymn at the beginning. The antiphons are in Latin, and borrowed from the old calendar’s Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, as well as the Feast of St. Paul (which is the day immediately following Sts Peter and Paul in the old calendar). The psalms themselves are in English, the Our Father in English, and the Magnificat in Latin. For those interested, I would be happy to share this via e-mail, with the caveat that this is my first pointing of psalm texts (simply send me an e-mail request).
Compline, at our first meeting, went really well. The group is mixed musically – we’ll not be a schola anytime soon, but that’s not really the goal. One member has a degree in vocal performance, while most of the rest of us are really in various levels of the amateur category. None other than myself really knew how to read chant notation to begin with, so it is instructional as well.
Our next meeting which was our first attempt at the full Vespers was a bit more halting. But the session after that we definitely made significant progress. As anyone who has played or sung in an ensemble knows, there is such a difference in singing by oneself compared to lending your voice to the whole. And of course, the same can be said for praying where two or more are gathered.
And so in some small way, I hope, and hope that our little group, can contribute to the growing resurgence of chant. I will have more posts as our group continues.
One of my side projects…
The bead counters number less and less
On Sunday mornings, I would confess
A longing for the summer sun. Its light
On green gilded boughs encountered
We mark the seasons turn from green to gold
While rays, and leaves, and snow fall amongst us.
And when it all is done, it starts again
There is no death knell rung for nature’s end
Before the robin’s carillon call is sung
Again. For beauty is in eternity
And the memento mori of a leafless tree
Serves to remind us of the fruits to come
A spotless apple and a perfect plum
Dripping in a sun-tipped Tuscan dawn.
For in that ancient sacrifice is life,
Post-mortem, more eternal than summer’s day
In the even pulse of neume to neume
Beats the heart and breathes the lung of body
Resurrected. There is no beatification of
Death. No praise of this darkened end.
For there will be no end of Sunday morn
As the psalms are sung for eternal dawn.
See here for some context.
since my last post. Partially due to my work schedule, and to some other side projects I’ve been working on, I simply haven’t had the time to write any kind of meaningful posts. But I’m hoping to start back up again, with perhaps a slow and hopefully steady pace.
Upcoming posts will include some poetry, a look at Anne Rice’s Christ the Lord novels, and some detail about a chant project.
Additionally, I would like to say thanks to those who left some comments during my hiatus. Insight from readers is always very much appreciated.
Please check out the Address by the Holy Father to the world of Culture.
Here are some excerpts:
I would like to speak with you this evening of the origins of western theology and the roots of European culture. I began by recalling that the place in which we are gathered is in a certain way emblematic. It is in fact a placed tied to monastic culture, insofar as young monks came to live here in order to learn to understand their vocation more deeply and to be more faithful to their mission. We are in a place that is associated with the culture of monasticism. Does this still have something to say to us today, or are we merely encountering the world of the past? In order to answer this question, we must consider for a moment the nature of Western monasticism itself. What was it about? From the perspective of monasticism’s historical influence, we could say that, amid the great cultural upheaval resulting from migrations of peoples and the emerging new political configurations, the monasteries were the places where the treasures of ancient culture survived, and where at the same time a new culture slowly took shape out of the old. But how did it happen? What motivated men to come together to these places? What did they want? How did they live?
Our present situation differs in many respects from the one that Paul encountered in Athens, yet despite the difference, the two situations also have much in common. Our cities are no longer filled with altars and with images of multiple deities. God has truly become for many the great unknown. But just as in the past, when behind the many images of God the question concerning the unknown God was hidden and present, so too the present absence of God is silently besieged by the question concerning him. Quaerere Deum – to seek God and to let oneself be found by him, that is today no less necessary than in former times. A purely positivistic culture which tried to drive the question concerning God into the subjective realm, as being unscientific, would be the capitulation of reason, the renunciation of its highest possibilities, and hence a disaster for humanity, with very grave consequences. What gave Europe’s culture its foundation – the search for God and the readiness to listen to him – remains today the basis of any genuine culture.