Saturday, December 31, 2016

Latin in the Liturgy

Favstvm Annvm MMXVII!

Pro Gratiarum Actione In Fine Anni Civilis

Happy Feast of St. Sylvester!

He sure built great churches!

High Altar vs. Picnic Table Altar

Image from Facebook.

Actually, there is a lot to be said for this. One-hundred years from now the next generation will have to sort this all out. At least things will be clearer then, for many. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year's Hymn of Catholic People: Te Deum

1947 version: Guy Lombardo - Auld Lang Syne

Happy New Year Anno Domini 2017

Deadline for Registration is Now: Contact Me ASAP for Details

Don't miss out on this opportunity to visit Fatima, Lourdes and Santiago on one extraordinary spiritual journey: May 1 - 13, 2017.  

100th Anniversary of the Coronation of the Last Catholic King, in the Truest Sense

Dec. 30, 1916.  

I was privileged to sip wine with the boy, Otto, at a reception in Rome.  Fr. Z was there as well and mentioned to Otto his trip to Saint Agnes in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  

We had a fascinating conversation.  Otto had the mind of a rapier, a genius in the truest sense, he spoke all the languages of the Empire: Hungarian, Croatian, German, Italian, English, etc. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Rose Kennedy: Portrait of Cardinal Pacelli on the Piano

Teach Your Kids Classical Music

Pray for Fr. Tom and His Safe Release!

Nativity Church (Saint Paul, Minnesota) Facade

Restorations by Conrad Schmitt Studios: Conservation and Restoration

Since 1889.  

Teaching Sacred Liturgy: Nova et Vetera

First New Altar Facing the People: Nativity Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota

The first known permanent altar constructed "facing the people" in the United States is believed to have been here.   

In 1938, an unthinkable thing was done in this crypt chapel, located in the basement of the newly constructed Nativity Church in St. Paul, Minnesota.  A new altar was constructed and consecrated in 1939 during the April church dedication.  It was built "facing the people."

The Archbishop who permitted this, John Gregory Murray, sometimes celebrated Mass facing the people on a table altar placed in the sanctuary of the chapel of Thomas Aquinas, located on the campus of the College of St. Thomas and St. Thomas Military Academy.  This is evidenced in old yearbook photos from the period.   

In the top photo you can see how the lower chapel at Nativity appears today.  In the lower photo, is the original architectural print, today hanging in the upstairs (former) baptistry of the church.

Sometime in the 1970s, the chapel was totally wreckovated,  no doubt "in the name of Vatican II," or some such rubbish.  It would be nice to see the chapel restored.  In the 1950s, this parish was so bursting with families that Midnight Mass was celebrated simultaneously in the upstairs and downstairs church.

I would urge the current pastor to put the word out seeking old wedding photographs from aging parishioners, in the hopes of putting together the missing pieces of the puzzle, before even those photos are dispersed and gone forever.   

Nativity was ahead of its time.  Here is an article which appeared in the 1939 church dedication booklet, explaining the arrangement of the lower altar facing the people.  I suspect this was penned by a Benedictine from St. John's Abbey in Minnesota; not everything it says is exactly correct.  It reads:

"Parishioners will probably be surprised when they see the altar in the downstairs church.  There is nothing unusual about it except that it faces in a direction exactly opposite to that which we are accustomed to.  When Mass is said the priest faces the congregation all the time instead of only at intervals, as is the usual case.

There really is nothing very unusual about it, however.  In any church the altar may be made to face in either direction.  It may be so placed that the priest has his back to the faithful and must, therefore, turn about when he says Dominus vobiscum, Oratre fratres and other similar prayers; or it may be placed so that he has no need ever to turn about, as is the case in the downstairs church.

The first manner is the usual practice throughout the western Catholic world today.  The oldest manner, however, was to place the altar free from the wall and facing the congregation.  That custom, it must be said, was not absolutely universal in the early Church, because sometimes circumstances demanded another, as when there was not sufficient room for the priest to stand behind the altar; such frequently happened in the catacombs and more frequently with chapel altars.

That is the usual custom for a great many centuries is evident from several things.  First, that the bishop has his throne in the apse where the altar now commonly stands; second, that the rubrics for incensing the altar supposed that the priest walked completely around it; and third, that the place where the subdeacon stood at a solemn Mass was on the other side of the altar, facing the celebrant, and not behind the deacon as is the case today.

It is impossible to say just how many churches in the early centuries had their altars like the one in our downstairs church.  It is possible, according to the great work of Joseph Braun, Der Christliche Altar, to say that in the three cases it always faced the people.  First, in cathedrals where the throne of the bishop made it necessary.  Second, in those churches where relics of saints were kept in the altar front.  In this case the altar was placed so the faithful could venerate the relics without entering the sanctuary and, therefore, the altar had to be close to the communion railing and to face the people in church.  Third, when the church itself faced west, then the priest must face east and so the altar would have to be placed as it is in our downstairs church.

It was in the ninth century that the custom of placing the altar facing the far wall began to be popular.  In northern countries it became rarer to place relics in the altar and the throne of the bishop got moved around to the side of the sanctuary, where it is now.

Amalar of Metz, writing in the middle of the ninth century, takes this position for granted: "When we say Pax vobiscum or Dominus vobiscum, which is a salutation, we turn towards the people.  We face those whom we salute, except in the case of the salutations before the preface."  After the year 1000 the general rule was to have the altar facing the wall of the sanctuary, as we have it in the upstairs church.

We have, then, in Nativity Church an altar placed facing the people as was quite common for the first thousand years of Christianity and one placed as has become the fashion in the second thousand years of the Church.

Except for Rome and a few places in Germany, and perhaps a few in other countries, altars placed as ours is in the downstairs church are not to be seen.  Rome, which clings so tenaciously to custom, has kept them.  The one on which the Holy Father says Mass in the greatest church in all Christendom, St. Peter's, is placed just as is ours in Nativity Parish; and it is so placed in fourteen other churches in the city of Rome.

The reason for placing it as it is, is clear.  Such direction serves to unite the faithful and the priest more closely in offering the Sacrifice of the Mass.  Recent years have seen great progress made towards the ideal.  Catholics know, today, that they should assist at Mass by following the priest's actions and by associating themselves in the prayers he says.  They know that they are standing about the altar, intimately concerned in all he does and says, and that they are never there merely as bystanders.

In order to hasten such assistance it has often been urged that Massgoers provide themselves with a missal so that they can follow in English what the priest says in Latin.

In addition, it is hoped that the Missa Recitata in the downstairs church will provide us with an object lesson, and that adults will learn from school children how to assist at Mass better.

Members of Nativity Parish should feel proud that they have the first (in these second thousand years) altar facing the people in the United States.  They should also be grateful to their Most Reverend Archbishop, who has granted them permission to have their altar so, and to have the recited Mass.  Without doubt, there is no better way to show gratitude than by actually assisting at Mass more perfectly."

Church of Saint Agnes in Saint Paul, Minnesota

The historic chandeliers are from the former Minnesota State Capitol, completed in 1883.

The precious mosaics are from the Vatican Mosaic Studios.   

RIP Debbie Reynolds (the 'Singing Nun')

Happy Feast of St Thomas à Becket

Saint Stanislaus: 150

St. Stanislaus Church: The Restoration

Restoration of ICK Church in Milwaukee (USA)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas in Calgary

Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Anthony's in Calgary was splendid!

The church was overflowing, the flowers were arranged beautifully, the choir sang superbly, the sanctuary was full with a very large complement of altar servers.  Holiday joy was in the air.    

All visitors were very impressed with the devotion and fervor of the faithful.   I have to say it was  most edifying! 

Calgary is today a melting pot and Latin is the concord of peoples.  Worshipers came from every corner of the globe, including Romania, Lebanon, the Czech Republic, Vietnam, the U.S., Russia and so many other countries!  The unity of the Latin language - uniting the people of Babel - is seen as most edifying in a global world. English hegemony takes a back seat. 

The festive carols before Mass included Adeste Fideles by J.F. Wade, In Dulci Jubilio (organ) by M. Reger, Silent Night by F. Gruber, Lo How a Rose, Psallite by M. Praetorius, Gesu Bambino (organ solo), and Hodie Apparuit by O. Lasso.

The music of the Mass was stellar, including O Magnum Mysterium by Victoria, Mass for Three Voices by Byrd, Verbum Caro Factum Est by Compere, Credo III, Variations of Divinum Mysterium, Mirabile Mysterium by Victoria, Resonet in Laudibus, Angels We Have Heard On High, as well as Notel X (organ solo) by Daquin. 

Calgary is greatly in need of a personal parish for the Extraordinary Form.  Dear Bishop McGrattan, if you read this, please be generous this Christmas season.  And welcome to Calgary!    

The truth about the crusades and Islam

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Favorite Italian Christmas Carol by St. Alfonso Maria de' Liguori - Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle

An Arabic Christmas Carol (Byzantine Hymn of the Nativity)

Jesse Tree

An old medieval tradition.  Great for kids to have a countdown for Christmas.

Make a Gingerbread House Manger Scene

Today we made this with the kids.  It is edible.  We added the little figures, which can be washed and reused every year. 

How Many Christmas Gifts to Give Your Kids?

I say a good number is three.  Christ got three from the Magi.  It works.  Some families get a bit carried away these days. 

Give a Christmas Gift to LifeSite News

Support them with a generous donation.

They are the #1 most read pro-life site on the Internet.

Where would we be without them?

They are often the only news outlet reporting on very important, breaking stories.

Linus Explains the Real Meaning of Christmas

Establish a New Christmas Tradition in Your Home: Recite the Kalenda

The deacon chants the Kalenda in Latin before Midnight Mass in the Vatican Basilica. 

Traditional Roman Catholic translation

The twenty-fifth day of December.

In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world
from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;
the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;
the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;
the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses
and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king;
in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;
the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
the whole world being at peace,
in the sixth age of the world,
Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and nine months having passed since his conception,
was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary,
being made flesh.
The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.[

A Blessed Christmas to All!

"Hail and blessed be the hour and moment when the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin in Bethlehem at midnight, in the piercing cold.  In that hour vouchsafe O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Virgin Mother.  Amen."

-Christmas Novena 

These candles, from the 1950s, have been used for over 60 Christmas seasons! 

Church of St. John the Evangelist in Calgary: A Beautiful Community of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

A great joy to attend Holy Mass here and to find a vibrant and unique community.

Please support their capital campaign and visit here when in Calgary!

Sacred liturgy is thriving in little pockets everywhere - it is always exciting to visit such places.

Laus Deo.   

Altar Card of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

Church of St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

Priests of the Personal Ordinariate celebrate Holy Mass with certain texts approved by the Holy See, or according to the Roman rite in either the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form.  

Our Lady of Walsingham, Pray for Us!

Church of St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

What a Rood Screen Looks Like

This is a rare example seen in Canada.  A noble work of art. 

Church of St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

Always admirable how the Anglicans have preserved this wonderful architectural element from the later medieval era.

Tabernacle Veil

Church of St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

Best Twin Cities Remodeling Company: BlueJack Builders

I highly recommend them!

For interiors with elegance:

'Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht' * Vienna Boys Choir

Rome Quotes

"Cardinal Pacelli's last Christmas as Secretary of State came.  He usually celebrated the three Holy Masses one after another, beginning at midnight.  His relatives were allowed to be present at them."

-Sr. Pascalina

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christ is Born: Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1

Christ Child from Nativity church in St. Paul. 

"Some say that ever ‘gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,
The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow’d and so gracious is the time."

Where Yours Truly Was Baptized

Church of the Nativity of Our Lord in the city named for the Apostle to the Gentiles, Saint Paul. 

Constructed in 1938.  Divine Providence led me here as an infant.  It is the first church I ever entered. Yours truly received, by God's grace, Baptism, First Penance, First Holy Communion and Confirmation at this altar.  

I was baptized here on Palm Sunday by Monsignor Clarence J. Steiner, who was appointed pastor in 1964.

In my youth, I was an active altar boy here, sometimes serving three Masses in one day.  Nativity was one of the first parishes in the nation to establish Perpetual Adoration, in the early 1990s. 

A very unique church - it even has something extremely rare in North America - a partial rood screen (located above, not seen in the photo).

It would be nice to see the tabernacle veil restored. 

Lair of Biretta John

The Leaflet Missal lair of the the mysterious Biretta John at of the church good department, made famous on the blog of Fr. Z.  Keep supporting the Biretta for Seminarians Project! 

Christmas Magic in Downtown Saint Paul

On the site of the first Cathedral of St. Paul, at St. Peter Street and 6th Street.  The Hamm Building is currently there, a Chicago style building constructed in 1919.  

A very Merry Christmas to all!

Teach Your Kids a Medieval Christmas Carol

Merry Christmas!

Catholic Culture: Family Manger Scene

It makes a great wedding gift.  Every Catholic household is to have a nice set.  This one is from Japan, circa 1960s. 

My parents purchased this the year they were married.  I have the fondest childhood memories playing with it!  Here it is.  Still here!  Blessed be the name of the Lord.  He is merciful and we wonder at His designs.  

A child's wonder.  The magic of Christmas.  Is there a more appealing story to a child!  It involves a new baby, a mama, angels, a star, a cold night, kings, shepherds, lambs and a herd of animals.  The story warms the heart.

Continue this tradition in an age when all traditions are being despoiled!  And allow your kids to play with it.  Let them be eager to set it up and arrange the figures.  Allow the imagination to carry the story as that cold winter night comes alive.   

Carpet in the Cardinal's Foyer

Motto of Elizabeth I.  Semper Eadem (always the same). 

Free Speech Under Attack Everywhere

Merry Christmas: Buon Natale!

A Xmas Carol*, by G.K. Chesterton

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O Weary, Weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the Kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O Weary, Weary is the World,
But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood on Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at him,
And all the stars looked down.

This poem can be found in The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, Vol X.

* Note: Chesterton often shortened the word Christmas to Xmas, a Victorian custom, the X symbolizing Christ, just as it does in the Chi-Rho.

Catholic Culture: the Head Chair for the Father of the House

My entire life my father has sat in this chair, at the head of the table.

This is the father's place.  He is to lead.  If we do not enable him to lead, the house will fall apart.  If he is a weak man, then his wife can be strong and prop him up.

We must teach, enable and allow him to lead as the Father in heaven leads the Christian family.

We must restore the role of the father.  And the sit-down dinners around a formal table, with him at the capotavola. 

Antique Monk Statues

Vigil Lights

Teaching Catholic Girls to be Catholic Girls


Instilling Catholic womanhood is best done through homeschooling.  This is because in an ordinary school setting there are too many other influences.

Buy Religious Christmas Tree Ornaments

The war on Christmas continues.  Visit Wal-Mart and you will see lots of Star Wars "holiday tree" ornaments, but nothing of the same for Baby Jesus.  My grandmother's tree today has this nice ornament, reminding us to keep Christ in Christmas.  Jesus is the reason for the season.   

Catholic Culture: the Christmas Tree

In the woods of Alberta we took down our own tree.  We will decorate it Christmas Eve, which is a Catholic tradition.  The Christmas decorations go up after Advent, a penitential season. 

Christvs Natvs Est!

Order of Malta Update for Clarity

Happy "O Antiphons" at Vespers!

Rome Quotes

"And Elias coming to all the people, said: How long do you halt between two sides? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word."


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

100th Anniversary of Fatima Latin Mass Marian Pilgrimage

Deadline for registration is Dec. 30.

I will accompany the group as tour director.

The tour covers three countries.  Daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  

Don't miss out!

Contact us asap for details:

See here for WELCOME LETTER.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Communion Rail

This wonderful new Communion rail was recently commissioned and installed at Holy Family Parish in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota.  A terrific new addition, with a comfortable pad to kneel on.  A worthy contribution to parish life.  Kudos to the pastor, Fr. Joseph! 

An old Irish proverb reads: "Before you take down a fence, first ask why it was put up."  Needless to say, many of these rails have been removed in recent years without ever asking why they were put up in the first place.  The custom of the Communion rail needs to be maintained now more than ever, thanks to lagging Eucharistic fervor.  News flash: many young Catholics no longer believe in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  This is news for many people.       

As a side note, if I had a dime for every time I have watched wedding photographers, or heard about thieves, or watched rude intruders wander open into sanctuaries with no rail, I would be a wealthy man, indeed.  Any pastor who installs a camera in his church knows the security value of such a rail, separating and protecting the holy of holies.   

Church of Saint Agnes (USA)

Fourth Sunday of Advent Low Mass celebrated by the pastor, Fr. Mark, a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College.  A new golden age at St. Agnes!  The first time in my lifetime we have had the Extraordinary Form every Sunday at St. Agnes.  God be praised and thank you to the pastor!    

Outdoor Manger Scene

God bless Fr. Pat Lannan for purchasing this wonderful outdoor manger scene in the mid-1990s for his parish, Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul, Minnesota.  It is beautiful to observe the wonder of a child as the kids walk by at night and peek in the illumined windows.