Review: Saint Isaac Jogues Illuminated Missal

In the period following the liturgical reform of Vatican Council II, the Church has suffered from the use of cheap and unattractive worship aids. The old adage, “Lex credendi, lex orandi,” can also be applied to our Liturgical books. Constant use of poor artwork and the “throw-away” Word of God in our seasonal missalettes speaks volumes about what others perceive we believe and forms the hearts and minds of our congregations. Pope Benedict XVI made the importance of beauty in the liturgy known clearly:

“Beauty, then, is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of the liturgical action, since it is an attribute of God himself and his revelation. These considerations should make us realize the care which is needed, if the liturgical action is to reflect its innate splendor.”  (Sacramentum Caritatis #35)

The new Saint Isaac Jogues Illuminated Missal, Lectionary, & Gradual [SIJM] will prove to be a major aid in the effort to beautify the celebration of the post-Vatican II liturgy, or what is officially termed the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. One of the biggest challenges is replacing the “much loved” missalettes. One wonders where to go for the readings and propers when purchasing a good hymnal. The SIJM is a viable solution.

My copy of the Missal arrived in shrink wrap to protect the cover. The cover is clean, uncluttered and dignified, a solid deep blue. Each Sunday contains the Entrance Chant, Gradual, Offertory and Communion chants in both Latin and English, thus making available to congregations the universal and normative language of the Roman liturgy. Most of the scriptural readings are broken down with a slash, to assist the reader in making important pauses in proclamation. The chants and readings begin with a larger letter, giving a solid definition point and the ability to scan quickly between chants and readings. The Responsorial Psalm is notated to assist the congregational singing and each verse is clearly marked.

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The Missal is filled with beautiful artwork, strategically placed so as to highlight a liturgical season or feast. There are no chintzy stick figures, just beautiful, precise, and inspiring traditional Catholic woodcuts. The font is large and crisp enough to read.

jogues_missal-03The highlight of the Missal is the Ordo Missæ, or Order of the Mass. The pages are cream colored, with beautiful, full color line art and photographs portraying the various Mass parts. The fonts are also distinguished by various colors: headings are in green, parts of the Mass in red and basic text in black.  The Roman Canon appears in both Latin and English, while the other three optional Eucharistic Prayers appear in English only. This section immediately brought to mind my mother’s old hand missal.

jogues_missal-04The Missal encompasses all Sundays, Holy Week, special solemnities, funerals, weddings, and the Confirmation. There is an appendix featuring the sequences for Easter, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi, along with the Tract for Palm Sunday.  At the very end of the Missal are the hymns and prayers for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and a congregational Mass setting in honor of St. Isaac Jogues.

This beautiful new Missal will be a great addition to any parish seeking to promote a greater sense of the sacred in its liturgical worship. Its production team includes members of Corpus Christi Watershed and the Church Music Association of America. The SIJ Missal comes with the approval of the USCCB and has the Imprimatur of Bishop Edward Slattery. It is sold and distributed Père Isaac Jogues Art Productions, LLC. I look forward to viewing both the St. Isaac Jogues Parish Hymnal and the St. Isaac Jogues Daily Mass Companion, both of which are currently in the works.

The SIJ Missal is available here.

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Advent is not over!

We are in the time of the “O Antiphons.” This is the final push as we prepare for the Feast of Our Lord’s Nativity. The Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph are on their way to Bethlehem. We can almost feel Christmas, it is so close at hand. The time of His birth draws near.

But, let us not allow these last days of Advent to escape our grasp. Meditate more intensely on the sacred mystery of the Annunciation, the visits of the angels and the journey of the Holy Family to Bethlehem. As Our Lady prepared the stable for Our Lord’s birth, prepare your heart and soul for a new birth within.

Sweep out the cobwebs of your soul, dust off the furniture, wash the windows, sweep and wash the floor. Prepare the temple of your soul for the Son of God – GO TO CONFESSION. And “Open wide the doors to Christ.”

I love my Nativity scene. From the time I was a little boy until now, this has always been my favorite “decoration.” Setting up our manger filled me with excitement. Here are two shots of my Nativity Scene. There are still many people not present. Maybe some day I’ll take them all out and build a big village like they do in Italy.

The first picture shows the Virgin and St. Joseph on their way.

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The “O” Antiphons- Advents final push

72804_floral_o_smOur final Advent preparation is upon us. The Feast of Our Lord’s Birth of is about to dawn. The “O” Antiphons are part of the Church’s liturgical tradition in the final days of Advent. They present seven of the Messiah’s attributes from Sacred Scripture. Rhey are recited at Vespers from December 17 thru December 23 in the Roman Rite. The O Antiphons appear to be of very ancient origin, however, there is no precise dating of the O Antiphons. The oldest reference of these Antiphons comes from Boethius (480-425) who seemed to refer to them. They were part of the liturgy in Rome by the 8th century and continue to be a great part of our liturgical tradition today. From all the evidence, it can be assumed that the O Antiphons date back to the very early Church.

The Divine Office App

When I pray the Divine Office, I prefer to hold a book in my hands and get away from technology. Yet, I still love my Divine Office App. There are times that you don’t want to lug that big book around with you. And, when I am on vacation, I surely don’t want to add an extra few pounds to my already heavy traveling bags.

Win a copy of this app. I have three to give away, so read on and I’ll tell you more further on.

The Divine Office App is really awesome. Let’s have a look at it here. In my Liturgy folder on my iPhone, it is tope left. (I do have more Liturgy apps, but need to rearrange my phone.)

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Click the icon and you will see this temporary screen as it loads. This new version loads so fast that I had to snap a screen shot several times before I caught it.

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Once the app loads, it takes you to the current day.

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You can either use it as in the first screen capture, or go to full screen.

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Font size, and brightness are adjustable to better suit your needs. And, if you are driving or just want to spend time listening, you can play the audio version and pray along. The audio speed can be increased if there is a need to move along. This version is great. It allows you to download up to 21 days in advance. The app gives you the ability to share with your social networks, see how many people are praying “now” and where in the world they are. You can also share feedback and record future enhancements to the app.

Overall, I think this is a very well designed and practical app. Who would have ever though we could have our breviary in a shirt pocket.

I have three copies of the app to give away (iPhone only, if you don’t have an iPhone, go over to the Divine Office website and get it there). If you are interested, send me an eMail with “Divine Office” in the subject line with your Name and eMail address by December 18, 2014 9:00 am (EST) and I will pick three names out of a hat. A special thanks to my friend Dane Falkner at Surgeworks for providing this giveaway. Drop by the Divine Office website to learn more. Good luck and keep praying!

 

 

 

Advent & Christmas Window Candles

candleDuring Advent and Christmas, there is a tradition of having candles in the windows of our homes. Most people no longer know the reason for this beautiful tradition. Today, candles are seen in some windows throughout the entire year. This beautiful practice stems from the British persecution against the Catholic Church in Ireland, and the British invasion of Ireland. It was a Protestant movement that sought to crush the Catholic Church. Laws were created to eradicate Catholicism by making the practice of the faith all but impossible in Ireland. Catholic clergy were ordered to leave the country by May 1st 1698. Those remaining would be imprisoned and later exiled. Priests that returned were to be hung, drawn and quartered. Celebration of the Mass, Sacraments and Catholic education were strictly forbidden.

Despite the persecution, Catholic priests and bishops refused to abandon the faithful. Catholics who wished to have a priest visit their homes for Christmas would leave their doors unlocked with a lighted candle in the window as a sign to the priest that he could find safe lodging and people who desired the Sacraments. When the British asked about the candles, they were told that it was a sign of their open hearts and open homes to Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, may our candles and those we see during this Holy Season, be a sign of our desire for our Eucharistic Lord and His welcome in our hearts and in our homes.

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