In the “spirit of the New Evangelization”.

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dylanI received the following eMail today:
Dear Father,

In the spirit of the new evangelization we are celebrating our 44th year in guitar music ministry. It has been a long journey from those original “guitar masses”. Today’s worshippers demand a musical sophistication that is liturgical, relevant, contemporary. Please enjoy this sample of our work (link removed) and if you have a need for music ministry in your parish please contact us.

I have no doubt that the person who sent me the eMail is very sincere. However, let’s take a look at this.

“In the spirit of the new evangelization” And what is that? Haven’t we had enough with the “Spirit of Vatican II”. It just time to give up the ghost! Let’s leave aside all this nonsense of the “spirit” of this and that and get to the essence and the root of something.

First, the “spirit of Vatican II” is a crock of bulloney (Yes, I purposely misspelled baloney. You get my drift). If people would only read what the documents are and stop making them up as they go along. The REAL Vatican II had noting to do with eliminating Latin, the priest facing the people, the introduction of “folk Masses” and every kind of music, except for that desired by the Most Holy Council.

And the “New Evangelization” is not a re-making of the Catholic Church and Her worship. It is a living who we are and what we have been given with zeal and fidelity. So in reality, it is not a “new” evangelization. It is a continuation of the same evangelization that began with our Lord and His Apostles 2000 years ago. The only difference is in how we present these sacred truths and institutions. There is much more that we could say about that, but let’s move on.

Let’s take a look at the “un-spirit” of Vatican II, or should I say, the real thing. Yes, let us see what Sacrosanctum Concilium really has to say about music in the Sacred Liturgy.

“In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 120.)

The fathers of Vatican II clearly wanted the “pipe organ” to be the ordinary instrument used in the Roman Rite of the Latin Church. Ordinary means that this is the instrument used above all others, and all other musical instruments are to be used in support of the pipe organ, not the other way around. I can foresee the use of a classical guitar to augment the pipe organ on special Feast Days, or when the organ is not functioning properly, but it may not replace the “ordinary” instrument of the Liturgy. Aacoustic, electric guitars should never be part of the Sacred Liturgy.

“But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, as laid down in Art. 22, 52, 37, and 40. This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.” SC 120)

Guitars, drums, tambourines, electronic keyboards and a number of other musical instruments and I would dear say, the piano, smack of the secular. These are instruments that take the mind to a rock concert or your local watering hole. The pipe organ would surely not be heard in a pub or rock concert.

The same goes for the style of music admitted to the Liturgy.

To the extent that the new sacred music is to serve the liturgical celebrations of the various churches, it can and must draw from earlier forms — especially from Gregorian chant — a higher inspiration, a uniquely sacred quality, a genuine sense of what is religious. (St. John Paul II, 1980)

So, does this mean that we are to admit contemporary “praise and worship music”? I think that would be a gross misunderstanding of the Council. The fathers of the Council were not thinking in terms of allowing a style of music that one might heard in a secular venue. they recognized that the music of the Church IS Gregorian chant. However, there are other legitimate forms of sacred music. There is a caveat. They did not leave this up to the imagination or whim and fancies of the musician. They went on to write:

“other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action.” (SC 116)

Pope Paul VI saw the dam that broke in the Church music situation. In 1974, he tried to plug the hole and set the Church back on course when he wrote to all the Bishops of the world. He sent all the Bishops a book called Jubilate Deo. This document contains all of the basic chants that should be familiar to every practicing Catholic.

Over 50 years after the the promulgation of Sacrosanctum Concilium and it is still probably one of the most debated documents of the Church. It’s time for every musician and every Catholic to slowly and prayerfully read the source to see what the Father’s of the Second Vatican Council really said and what they did not so as to stop making it up as we go along.

Be sure to see this post and listen to the music clips.

I love the clip below, but that’s is not how we should worship!

Thank you Pope Benedict XVI

Father Finelli celebrating a Missa CantataThank you Holy Father, Pope Benedict for giving Summorum Pontificum to the Church. More than seven years ago, I never imagined that I would celebrate the Traditional Latin Rite, let alone even figure out how to celebrate it. I was daunted. Just the thought of it put fear into my bones.

Just after Pope Benedict gave all priests the right to celebrate the Extraordinary Form, I attended a Mass in my parish. I was still not convinced of the need. Yet, at that very Mass, I received an interior grace. It’s something very difficult to explain. I felt (don’t like to use that word) something in the very depth of my being. I was moved in a way that is beyond words. From that moment, I know that I had to learn to celebrate the TLM.

My journey began five years ago at on of St. John’s Cantius Latin Mass Workshops. They told us that by the end of the week, we would be able to celebrate the TLM. I was not convinced. However, at the end of the week, I knew that I could do it and just a few weeks later celebrated my first Low Mass, with almost 300 people watching on my live stream.

Since I am not able to celebrate as frequently as I would like, it took my quite a while to get the Mass perfect (as if we ever celebrate perfectly). I now have a monthly Missa Cantata in my parish and during Advent and Lent celebrate a Low Mass on Monday evenings.

Now the next step. This coming August 15th, we will have our first Solemn High Mass with Deacon and Subdeacon. I’m nervous as always, but, I know all will go well. I can now celebrate the Low Mass in my sleep, and the Missa Cantata goes off without a hitch.

A word of advice. First to my brother priests who want to learn the Extraordinary Form, go for it. Do not be disillusioned by the complexity of the rite. With time and effort you can do it. Anyway, if you wanted to do any project that is difficult, you would put your heart and mind to it, and there is nothing more important than the Mass. Secondly, to my brother priests who have no interest. The Extraordinary form is part of who we are. At least get to know it and support those who want to learn or attend it. Also, learning the TLM helps you to celebrate the Ordinary Form better. Finally, to the laity. Support your priests who are learning or already celebrate the Extraordinary Form. We already have a lot on our plates. Most of us are alone and have many responsibilities. Offer to help with setup, cleanup and the multitude of other things that go into preparing for the celebration of the TLM.

Finally, in thanksgiving to God for the gift of Summorum Pontificum, pray for our Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI.

You can see video from my 20th Anniversary two years ago and the recent Pontifical Solemn High Mass in our cathedral here.

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

sacredheartDevotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is filled with many graces and blessings. I have always had a great love and devotion to the Sacred Heart. As a teenager, I bought my own statue of the Sacred Heart to be placed in our yard. We still have that statue today, although it has the wear and tear of New England weather and needs to be replaced.

It’s always good to review the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart as given by Our Lord to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
  2. I will give peace in their families.
  3. I will console them in all their troubles.
  4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
  5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
  9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.
  10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
  11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.
  12. I promise thee in the excess of the mercy of My Heart, that its all-powerful Love will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of Nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

I also recommend making the acts of consecration and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Act of Consecration of the Human Race to The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thy altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof; call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism; refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy toward the children of that race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life. Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and Honor forever. Amen.

Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart

Most sweet Jesus, You have bestowed on men the benefits of Your charity, but their ingratitude only responds with forgetfulness, negligence and spite. Thus here we prostrate ourselves before Your altar, inspired by the desire to make reparation through a special homage for their culpable indifference and the outrages which, in all ways, they oppress Your most loving Heart.
Nevertheless, we remember that we ourselves have been guilty of unworthy conduct in the past, and filled with profound sorrow, we implore Your mercy for us first of all. By voluntary expiation, we are ready to atone for the faults we have committed, ready also to expiate for those who, led astray from the way of salvation and remaining obstinate in their infidelity, refuse to follow You, their Shepherd and chief, thus throwing off the yoke of Your law and trampling the promises of their Baptism.

We would like to expiate for too many lamentable faults, making reparation for each of the following: our disorderly conduct, indecent fashions, scandalous corruption of innocent souls, profanation of Sundays and feasts, detestable blasphemies against You and against Your Saints, insults to your Vicar and to Your priests, reckless violations and odious sacrileges to the divine Sacrament of Your love, and finally the public sins of nations who revolt against the rights and authority of Your Church.

If only we could erase so many offenses with our own blood! At the least we wish to make reparation to Your outraged honor. We present to You even the satisfaction that You have offered to Your Father on the Cross, and the offering You have renewed each day on the altar. We present that sacrifice to You, accompanied with all the acts of atonement made by the Most Holy Virgin Your Mother, the Saints, and by faithful Christians. We promise You with all of our hearts, with the help of Your grace, to use all our means to do penance for our past faults and those of our neighbor. By the fervor of our faith, the purity of our life, and by perfect docility to the precepts of the Gospel, we desire to atone for the indifference toward such a great love, to which belongs all charity. We also promise You to make every effort to spare You new offenses and to lead the most souls possible to follow You.

Home Enthronement

You can also arrange to have your home enthroned to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is a beautiful devotion in which the family comes together every day in prayer and preparation for the Solemn Act of Consecration of the family and home to the Sacred Heart

Review of the movie – Saint Peter

Saint Peter with Omar SharifFrom the movie Jesus of Nazareth to The Passion of The Christ, we all look for more. There is that desire to see the life of the Church following the Passion and death of Our Lord. The movie Saint Peter is what we have all been waiting for.

Saint Peter begins with Mary and John at the foot of the cross, just after the death of Jesus. The movie quickly turns to the one chosen by the Lord to lead His Church into the future. We are lead from the cross on Calvary, through the life of Peter and the early Church to Vatican Hill, where Peter was led to his own cross. The journey of a weak and sinful man who embraced God’s call and became a man of courage and heroism.

This is not a literal reading of the Acts of the Apostles, but the story of Peter, the Twelve and the other men and women who passed on the wealth of our Catholic faith founded by Christ on the Rock of Peter. “There is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

If you want to follow the story beyond the cross, through the life of Peter and to his death, this movie is for you.

You can purchase it from Ignatius Press.

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Today is the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. When I was recently on pilgrimage to Rome, I visited his tomb. St. Aloysius is buried in the Basilica of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Rome. To the right of his tomb is the tomb of his beloved mentor, St. Robert Bellermine, who desired his final resting place to be close to his former student.

aloysious 001

Unfortunately, The beautiful altar under which St. Aloysius is entombed, is partially obscured by the free-standing altar.