Saturday, December 28, 2002

It was just so beautiful....
I will be blogging on the ordination and Fr. Michael's First Mass later... probably Monday when I will have a bit more computer time available. The little bit of time I have this weekend just can't do it anywhere close to justice.
For now, here's the music list:
Processional Hymn: "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken"
Laying On of Hands: "Veni Creator Spiritus"- (of course !)
Offertory: "If Ye Love Me" - Thomas Tallis (1508-1585)
Communion: "Vox in Rama Audita Est"- Clemens non Papa (1510-1556) -(it is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, after all....)
Recessional Hymn: "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name"

Friday, December 27, 2002

It's the Feast of the Holy Innocents . It is also the day when Deacon Michael becomes Father Michael. Please pray for him and for the Pittsburgh Oratory on this important and wonderful occasion !
The Feast of St. John the Apostle
is today. More information on him can be found here .

Thursday, December 26, 2002

The Oratory's best "Christmas present"
"arrives" on Saturday, the Feast of the Holy Innocents.
I am, of course, talking about the ordination of Deacon Michael Darcy, C.O. to the priesthood. This means that while for other people things are winding down a bit after Christmas Day, my little corner of the world is still at a level of great excitement. This is particularly true for choir members, because we are singing at the ordination and Fr.'s First Mass on Sunday.
Prayers for our soon-to-be-priest would, of course, be appreciated.
The Feast of St. Stephen
is today. There is information on him here. Blessed nameday to Steve, our organist/choir director !
Christmas Eve Mass
was glorious.

Celebrant: Rev Drew Morgan. C.O.
Concelebrants: Very Rev. Bryan Summers, C.O.
Rev. David Abernethy, C.O.
Rev. Joseph Sioli, C.O.
Deacon: Rev. Mr. Michael Darcy, C.O.

Carols before Mass:
"Puer Natus in Bethlehem"- Gregorian Chant - Choir
"O Little Town of Bethlehem"- Congregation
"Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming"- M. Praetorius (1571-1621)- Choir
"In the Bleak Midwinter"- Gustav Holst (1874-1934)- Choir
"Coventry Carol"- English Carol- Choir
"It Came Upon the Midnight Clear"- Congregation
"Christmas Lullaby" - Robert Lord- Choir
"Still, Still, Still"- Austrian Carol- Choir
"Of the Father's Love Begotten"- Congregation
Processional Hymn: "O Come All Ye Faithful"- Congregation
Offertory: "Once in Royal David's City"- Congregation
Communion Motet: "O Magnum Mysterium"- Tomas Luis da Vittoria (1548-1611)- Choir
Communion Hymn: "Silent Night"- Congregation
Recessional Hymn: "Joy to the World"- Congregation

BTW, if anyone wonders why Robert Lord's dates aren't posted here, it's because he happens to be alive and well.....

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

No blogging tommorow
I may be back Thursday.
Blessed Christmas to all !
"Let us reflect that the Word left Heaven, and stooped to become man for us." - St. Philip Neri

"His condescension in coming down from heaven, in leaving His Father's glory and taking flesh, is so far beyond power of words or thought, that one might consider at first sight that it mattered little whether He came as a prince or a beggar. And yet after all, it is much more wonderful that He came in low estate, for this reason; because it might have been thought beforehand, that, though He condescended to come on earth, yet He would not submit to be overlooked and despised: now the rich are not despised by the world, and the poor are. If He had come as a great prince or noble, the world without knowing a whit more that He was God, yet would at least have looked up to Him and honoured Him, as being a prince; but when He came in a low estate, He took upon him one additional humiliation, contempt,—being contemned, scorned, rudely passed by, roughly profaned by His creatures.

What were the actual circumstances of His coming? His Mother is a poor woman; she comes to Bethlehem to be taxed, travelling, when her choice would have been to remain at home. She finds there is no room in the inn; she is obliged to betake herself to a stable; she brings forth her firstborn Son, and lays Him in a manger. That little babe, so born, so placed, is none other than the Creator of heaven and earth, the Eternal Son of God."- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

" ' Those of the Old Hope ?' said Finrod. 'Who are they ?'
'A few', she said; 'but their number has grown since we came to this land, and they see that the Nameless can (as they think) be defied. Yet that is no good reason. To defy him does not undo his work of old. And if the valour of the Eldar fails here, then their despair will be deeper. For it was not on the might of Men, or of any of the peoples of Arda, that the old hope was grounded.'
'What then was this hope, if you know ?' Finrod asked.
"They say,' answered Andreth: 'They say that the One will Himself enter Arda, and heal Men and all the Marring from the beginning to the end. ' "- J.R.R. Tolkien, Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth

Monday, December 23, 2002

Sad, sad, sad....
The Servants of the White Hand have got a terrible grip on The Church of England .

The Feast of St. John Cantius
is today. Click here for information. Monsignor Ronald Knox had a particular fondness for this saint, and mentioned him in several sermons. He was especially fond of one incident in the saint's life. On one of St. John's pilgrimages, he was attacked by brigands. He happily gave them what little money he had, and told the thieves that there was no more. After they had departed, he remembered that, upon the advice of friends, he had sewn some coins into his clothes. He did have more money, but he had forgotten ! So he charged after the astonished robbers, yelling, "Wait ! Wait ! I do have more !" The bandits were so embarrassed by his extraordinary generosity that they not only didn't take these coins, they even gave back what they had stolen from him. (The 'coals-of-fire' principle in action !)

On the folks who try to take Christ out of Christmas
I found this brilliant piece over at Removing All Doubt.
This sort of thing is older than many people suppose. I found this bit of verse by the great G.K. Chesterton a while ago. It was his comment on an incident he found in the news of his time....

by G.K. Chesterton

(The Chief Constable has issued a statement declaring that carol singing in the streets by children is illegal, and morally and physically injurious. He appeals to the public to discourage the practice. -Daily Paper )

God rest you merry gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay;
The Herald Angels cannot sing,
The cops arrest them on the wing,
And warn them of the docketing
Of anything they say.

God rest you merry gentlemen,
May nothing you dismay:
On your reposeful cities lie
Deep silence, broken only by
The motor-horn's melodious cry,
The hooter's happy bray.

So, when the song of children ceased,
And Herod was obeyed,
In his high hall Corinthian
With purple and with peacock fan,
Rested that merry gentleman;
And nothing him dismayed.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

When Venerable Newman became Catholic...
it was not the custom for Catholic priests to write out their sermons, while Anglican clergy did generally write down what they would preach. Therefore we have fewer sermons from the Venerable's Catholic period than his Anglican one. However, there is a volume of his sermon notes, dating from his Catholic years. While they are not complete, they are interesting nevertheless. Here is the set of notes from one sermon:
The Special Charm of Christmas
1. INTROD.—[The] two chief festivals [of the Church are] Easter and Christmas; [of these] Easter [is] the greater.

2. Yet somehow we adorn our churches more brightly and spontaneously, now than then. There is more of heart, apparently, in what we do. And there is an inexpressible charm over all. The midnight Mass, the three Masses. The special representations, whether the Stable or the Infant. [Again, the singing of] carols.

3. Why is this? Christmas is easier to understand to the mass of men; it comes home to them more readily, and imposes an easier duty on our worship.

4. It is the difference between coming and going. The apostles felt that sorrow filled their hearts [at the going of the Lord]. Mane nobiscum Domine.
Easter is the feast of the perfect. If we were perfect, we should rejoice in Easter the more [of the two festivals]. In the one Christ comes to us, in the other we go to Christ.

5. All our human feelings are soothed by Christmas— Abraham had to leave his country.—We naturally do not like to move. We are allowed to remain at home: Christ comes to us as our guest.

6. And coming, He brightens everything. He does not take away, He adds. He adds grace to Nature. If at any time we might love the world, it is now. If at any time, [it is when He is come to be our Emmanuel].

7. He makes the world our home, for he deigns to be the light of it. He sanctifies families with the image of Mary and Jesus. And where there is no home in a family, then He brings us all together in one family in church. The midnight Mass is our holy celebration [of Christmas], eclipsing the world's merrymaking.

8. And we think of Him who put off all His glory, of which our celebrations are but a type. The priestly vestments a type of His glory, [which He put off in order] to come into this bleak prison and suffer for us.

9. Let us rejoice in Him.

Nârwen is really getting excited now.
Christmas Eve Mass Tuesday. In the Bleak Midwinter. O Magnum Mysterium . The chanting of the Christmas Martyrology. Gloria in excelsis Deo !
And then on Saturday, the ordination, and Fr. Michael's First Mass. What an incredible week !
I post a Tolkien quote on Saturday and it gets quoted on two other blogs, one of which is in Spanish. The Blogosphere is amazing.
I would recommend The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien to anyone, of course. Not only do many have information on the Third Age of Middle-earth which is not contained elsewhere, but they reveal a man who had some interesting things to say about other subjects as well, from language to war to the Faith. To me, perhaps the most moving one is a letter he wrote to his son Christopher after the death of his wife Edith.
"I have at last got busy about Mummy's grave... The inscription I should like is :
; brief and jejune, except for Lúthien , which says more for me than a multitude of words; for she was (and knew she was) my Lúthien." J.R.R. Tolkien to Christopher Tolkien, July 11, 1972.

It was done , of course. (The emblems are those of Lúthien and Beren, and were placed there for a special occasion.)

Music for noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "The Advent of Our King"
Offertory: "Ave Maria"- Tomas Luis da Vittoria (1548-1611)
Communion: "Rorate Caeli"- Gregorian Chant
Recessional Hymn: "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus"