Friday, July 10, 2015

Seraphicus Pater . . . Apostolicus Pater: A Devotion to Sts. Dominic and Francis

Every once in a while I get an email asking where to find the text and music of the Devotion to Saints Dominic and Francis traditionally sung during the thanksgiving after the main meal on those saints' respective feasts.  There is a old tradition of Dominicans inviting the local the Franciscans to dinner on the Feast of St. Dominic and the Franciscans inviting the local Dominicans on the Feast of St. Francis, and this chant was part of those festivities.  So this text is also known to Franciscans.

I remember hearing it back when I was a novice back in the 1970s, but could never find a copy.  A couple days ago, I was looking for a chant in the Processionarium S.O.P. and there it was in the appendix!  So I made up a version that can be downloaded here.

The text is actually an antiphon: Seraphicus Pater Franciscus et Apostolicus Pater Dominicus: ipsi nos docuerunt legem tuam, Domine.  ("Seraphic Father Francis and Apostolic Father Dominic: they taught us your law, O Lord."), sung with the Psalm 117 and a Gloria Patri.  The music is simply the Dominican Rite Psalm Tone VI.  So it is not at all hard to learn.  When the chant is sung on the Feast of St. Francis (at the Franciscan house), St. Dominic is named first.

St. Dominic's feast is coming up next month (August 4 in the traditional calendar, August 8 in the new calender), so this good time to make this chant available.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Index of Antiphons for Dominican Rite Chant Books

Dominican Sisters Chanting the Office
I am pleased to announce that we are making available on our left sidebar an Index of  the Antiphons found in the chant books of the Dominican Rite.  This index will be useful for those seeking the Dominican music for antiphons to use in the new Roman rite, as well as those who want to compare the Dominican music with Benedictine, Roman, or other Latin religious order Rites.  The closest relative to Dominican chant is that of the Premon-stratensians, both of which are derived mostly from Cistercian models.

Modern Roman-Benedictine chant books often have indices for the various chants, but the most important Dominican chant books for the Office—the Antiphonarium of 1863 (with night office), the Antiphonarium of 1933 (no night office, post-Pius X psalter), and the Matins book of 1936 (major feasts)—have never been indexed or the index is found in a separate, hard-to-find, pamphlet.  All the antiphons of these books are in our new index.  This index also includes all the antiphons found in the Dominican Processional, the Holy Week Books of 1949 and 1963, the Gradual, and the Compline book.

The links to the index are available here at Dominican Liturgy on the left sidebar under Dominican Rite Texts—Downloadable.  The text of the first version is numbered straight through; that of the second is arranged in booklet format for double-sided printing.

Note: The Dominican cloistered sisters of Prato (the community of St. Catherine de' Ricci, O.P.) are wearing white veils and no scapulars because they were and are technically members of the lay penitents ("Third Order"), not nuns ("Second Order").

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Feast of St. Peter Martyr, Milan, Italy. By Prof. Donald Prudlo.

This fine article on the celebrations honoring the Dominican St. Peter of Verona at his tomb in Milan this year was composed by my former graduate student (now associate professor of history at Jacksonville State Univ. in Alabama) will, I am sure interest our readers.  It was previously published at the New Liturgical Movement.
Peter of Verona was an early Dominican inquisitor, brutally murdered in 1252 by Cathar heretics. He had been active in public ministry for nearly 30 years in northern and central Italy, and was one of the most powerful preachers of the age; after his martyrdom, he became the fastest canonized saint in history (less than 11 months after his death). His relics are kept in the Romanesque basilica of Sant’ Eustorgio in Milan, formerly also home to the relics of the Magi, which were later looted by Barbarossa and taken to Cologne. St Peter is co-patron of the quarter and the parish, and each year, on the Sunday closest to his feast, the local church celebrates in his honor.

The Basilica of Saint Eustorgius
I was privileged this year to be present for the festivities, which demonstrated the close connection between liturgy and the Saints: an excellent example of liturgical and extra-liturgical devotion, and a witness to an ancient cult still alive and well in the Church. Saints, even those canonized with a universal cult like St. Peter Martyr, are testaments to the intersection of catholicity and particularity. When one attends the feast of a Saint, one sees evidence of the organic growth of liturgy as it took place over the centuries, all the while embedded in the continuous traditions of the broader Church. Saints are the liturgical signposts of the year, marking in their lives the radical following of Christ, in the case of martyrs, even to death. They are the lived Anamneses of the Church. The celebration of their feasts is a present reminder of the unity of their sacrifice with that of Christ, made manifest in the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass over and near their tombs.

Yet even while recalling the universal nature of the Church, each local saint is an incarnational presence in a particular place. Each patron saint comes with interesting local customs, that one can usually only see in a certain location, usually only once a year. Peter’s feast is no different. It is still celebrated near its date on the traditional Calendar, April 29, something which is quite common, at least in Italy. This further increases the special nature of the feast, for it is like according an extra celebration to the patronal saint, one for the locality, and one for the Universal Church. (Peter’s was removed from the universal calendar in the post-Concilar reform, but he retains a commemoration in the Dominican order on June 4, the date of one of his relic translations).

The parish had two Masses on Sunday in Peter’s honor, each with its own particular characteristics. Both were in the revised Ambrosian rite which -- while much simplified -- retains certain carryovers from the old Ambrosian Rite that Peter would have been familiar with in his lifetime. (One particularly medieval moment was when a dog started barking in the back of church during the sermon, particularly apposite for Peter when one recalls the old nursery rhyme “Hark, hark the dogs do bark, the Beggars are coming to town.”) A common point between the two forms is the burning of a paper globe high above the Gospel side of the altar in a special wrought-iron carrier borne by two angels. On the globe was the word “Credo,” which to reminds us that Peter’s was a life lived for the Creed. His story begins with him defending the Creed against his angry heretical uncle as a seven-year-old, and ends as he begins to recite “Credo in unum Deum” when he was struck dead. Peter’s life was dedicated to a radical living out of the doctrine of the Church in all his endeavors: his preaching, his pursuit of heretics, and his warm relations with religious and laity. At Sant’ Eustorgio, the globe is set afire by a triple candle. This represents the fire of Charity which, when added to doctrine, sets afire the whole of the earth; the triple candle also stands for the faith in the Trinity, which is the principle of evangelization to light the world ablaze.

The paper globe which Dr Prudlo describes above, called a “faro” in Italian, is filled with oil soaked cotton, and set alight at the beginning of the liturgy, before the Mass proper begins. This is done only for feasts of Martyrs in their own churches in the Ambrosian Rite.

The first Mass concluded with a procession into the Portinari chapel, usually behind an annoyingly expensive paywall, but open to the faithful for prayer this one day of the year. As the procession entered, the skull of Peter of Verona was displayed in a marvelous reliquary. Discovered to be incorrupt at the translation of his relics in 1253, and again in 1340, his head was removed for the veneration of the faithful. Indeed, one can still see the beard and tonsure of the Dominican, as well as the brutal head wounds that caused his death. So many of the relics one sees in Europe are such remote and sometimes unknown figures it is difficult to associate their bones with their stories. With Peter we have powerful eyewitness accounts, and a clear record of cultic preservation, a fact that brings home the actions of that fateful Sabbato in Albis over 750 years ago and recorded in famous paintings from Fra Angelico to Titian.

Once past the skull, the glorious Portinari chapel was completely opened, a masterpiece of Christian architecture, with perfect renaissance proportions and frescoes painted by Vincenzo Foppa. (One of the more interesting is the rare image of a Virgin Mary with devil horns, an apparition sent by the devil, which Peter dispels by showing it the Blessed Sacrament).

Peter Martyr Routs an Apparition of the Devil, by Vincenzo Foppa, 1462-68. According to this story, when the devil had appeared to a group of heretics, disguised as the Virgin Mary, St Peter unmasked him by showing the consecrated Host and saying “If you are truly hte Mother of GOd, kneel before your Son and worship Him!”
But the crowning glory is Giovanni da Balduccio’s glorious freestanding ark tomb, raised aloft by female statues representing the Cardinal and Theological virtues (with Obedience added, to make a total of eight). Around the ark are masterful bas reliefs of Peter’s life, interspersed with the Doctors of the Church, and all surmounted by Mary and Jesus, who are flank by Peter and Dominic. The high point was that for this one day, the Saint’s ark was returned to its original purpose: people could freely pass right through the master work, underneath the tomb, and press their heads and hands to it, just as was done in the Middle Ages.

After that, deacons were present all day to present a relic of Peter for veneration, including a prayer against headaches very popular with the Milanese. (Peter’s patronage against headaches should be evident from his iconography; he is usually pictured with a giant knife sticking out of his head). This ritual included a prayer composed by Blessed Ildefonse Schuster.
O God, who did grant to your Blessed Priest and Martyr Peter the grace to write with his blood that Symbol of the Faith which, after he had diligently learned it as a child, and then become a Preacher of your Gospel, he preached undaunted to the people against the errors of the heretics; through his prayers grant that Your Church might preach the Faith and confirm it in good works. Through Christ our Lord.
Hundreds of the faithful came through the day to venerate the head and tomb, and to kiss the relic. Such lived devotion to the Saints, so rare in majority Protestant countries, one can find alive and well in the historically Catholic areas of the world. These are the deep roots of the much maligned “cultural Catholics,” whose appreciation of the faith is often far deeper than many realize (even if greatly restricted in scope). Indeed this residual devotion is certainly a foothold in the re-evangelization of the unchurched in these areas.

In the second Mass, we were privileged to see an assembly of various representatives of the Misericordia confraternities. Many ambulance services in Italy are run privately, by volunteers of the Misericordia. These were originally founded by Peter of Verona, and have been in existence for nearly 800 years, helping the sick and wounded. Another aspect of robustly Catholic culture, these fraternities were and, to a certain extent still are, religious in nature; it was Peter’s genius to see it as effective ways for the laity not only to have improved religious observance and to do good works, but to sanctify the world, and to firm up the ranks against heresy. Representatives of the Confraternities had the honor of processing in with the relic of the skull and enthroning it for Mass.

After the Gospel, the priest blessed the short black penitential robes, the symbols of lay piety, bound by a rosary, and including a black mask, originally to preserve the anonymity of the members, who also and promise to take no pay save for a glass of water. Peter knew that doctrine and works go together, and that Mercy has been at the heart of the Church’s mission from the very beginning. The postulants, dressed in their colorful emergency attire, then made their promises to observe the constitutions, and then were helped to vest by their sponsors.

Mass concluded with a solemn blessing in the name of St. Peter, and then the faithful came up for a chance to venerate the skull relic, guided by the new members of the confraternity.

The living veneration of the saints is one of the oldest manifestations of orthodox Christianity in the world, dating from the first years of the Church. It is something we hold in common with our Eastern brothers, a genuinely traditional ecumenical principle. The Saints are like divine strikes of lightning, creations of grace scattered throughout every region and time of the Church, models of the holiness and of the possibilities of graced human nature. The revival and cultivation of their cults, pilgrimages, veneration, and prayers for their intercession, must be a vital part of any genuine renewal.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dominican Rite Sung Mass of St. Thomas Aquinas, Univ. of Utah Newman Center

I just received some photos of the Dominican Rite Missa Cantata celebrated at St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, which I had previously announced here.  The Mass was on the traditional feast day of St. Thomas, March 7, and the celebrant and preacher were both priests of the Western Dominican Province. Note that the acolytes are wearing albs, as is prescribed in the Dominican Rite for First Class Feasts.

The celebrant of the Mass was Fr. Peter Hannah, O.P. (ordained May 31, 2014), the servers were Arron Miller, Nathaniel Binversie, and Matthew Vaughn, students of the University.  The music was lead by the cantors, Fr. Christopher Gray (associate pastor, Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, West Valley, Utah) and Mr. Luke Stager (theology teacher, Judge Memorial Catholic High School).  The preacher was Fr. Carl Schlicte, O.P., pastor and superior of the community.

Prayers at the Foot of the Altar

The Opening Collect

Incense at the Gospel

Fr. Carl Schlicte, Preacher

Genuflection during the Credo

The Elevation of the Host

Extension of the Arms during the Canon after the Consecration

Communion of the Faithful

Greeting before the Ite Missa Est

Return to the Sacristy

I thank Mr. Trevor Woods, a member of the Newman Community and a graphic designer for taking these photos.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dominican Chants of the Passion for Holy Week Available

As Lent is now underway and preparations for Holy Week will soon be upon us, I want to remind readers that Dominican Liturgy Publications has made available in attractive hardback format the Dominican chant for the Passion of St. Matthew and the Passion of St. John, which are respectively those for Palm Sunday and Good Friday in the traditional Dominican Rite.

This book reproduces the beautifully calligraphic texts published by the Order in 1953, with minor modifications to conform to the versions of the Passions prescribed by the rubrics of 1962.  Those planning to use this book liturgically should order three copies, one each for the Narrator, Christus, and the Turba.  As a special offer, the price has been discounted to $25.00 a copy.

A sample page (from St. Matthew) is to the left above.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ash Wednesday in the Dominican Rite (Low Mass)

Blessing of Ashes, Holy Rosary, Portland OR (2014)
This coming Ash Wednesday I will be giving a talk on medieval liturgy at Whitworth University in Spokane WA.  As part of that visit, I will be celebrating the Blessing of Ashes and the Dominican Rite Low Mass of Ash Wednesday (St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 3715 North Standard Street, Spokane, WA, 11 a.m.).  This combination caused me to think about an issue that had never occurred to me: How would one combine Blessing of Ashes and Mass according to Dominican practice in 1962.  Some of our parishes in the Western  Dominican Province have celebrated Ash Wednesday ceremonies using the Dominican Rite, but it has always been a Sung Mass and the Ashes were blessed by the prior, not the Mass celebrant.

    See image to left above where, last year, Fr. Steven Maria Lopez, O.P., Prior of Holy Rosary Priory, Portland OR, is blessing the ashes at a table on the Epistle Side.  He is assisted by servers of the parish and the celebrant, Fr. Vincent Kelber, O.P., parochial vicar.  In this ceremony, which I on which I have already written this post, the Blessing involves various chants, beginning, after the Seven Penitential Psalms, with the antiphon Ne Reminiscaris and its verses and collect, the Absolution, the blessing itself, and the imposition of ashes, during which other antiphons are chanted.  The Mass then begins with the return of the ministers who omit the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.  The priest ascends, kisses the altar, makes the silence Sign of the Cross, and goes to read the Officium (Introit) at the book.  Those interested in the Solemn form to compare it to the Roman may consult the previously mentioned post.

    It is probably best, should ashes have already been blessed for the parish or priory, to use the ashes blessed earlier and skip the blessing.  The Dominican imposition ceremony could, of course be used.  But, should there be reason to bless new ashes at a Low Mass, a couple of problems arise when the ceremony is conducted without music by a priest alone with only one server.  Fortunately, the Missale Ordinis Praedicatorum (1965), p. 40, resolves some of the questions, but on at least one it is silent.

    First a question not related to the music, what if there is no prior (or pastor) available to bless the ashes?  In fact, the Dominican Missal assumes the presence of a Dominican community and therefore a prior or, at least, a superior.  But there is rubric that resolves this.  It reads, I translate:
  • If the solemn blessing of ashes is done separately [i.e. not connected to the Penitential Psalms], it is permitted to bless the ashes in the morning using a simple form, without the Penitential Psalms and without chant.  This form can be used even where the sacred ministers [i.e. deacon and subdeacon] and chants cannot be found.
    So, the rite would be performed perserving only those aspects of the solemn form needed for a simplified rite of blessing alone.  Here follows my suggested order of service.

1. In preparation, a covered table is placed on the Epistle side at the foot of the steps.  On it would be the container with ashes and the holy water with sprinkler.

2. The priest vests, as the prior would have, in surplice and stole (unlike the Roman, no cope is worn in our rite for this or the Asperges---although this might be done pro causa solemnitatis, but that Romanism is not my choice).  The server, carrying the Missal, leads the priest to the altar.  The customary reverence (bow or genuflection) is made.  They go to the table, where the priest faces the table and altar, and the server stands to the left side of the table facing the priest (as the deacon would in the solemn form).  The priest opens the book (servers do not do this in our rite).

3. The priest reads the blessing Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, with the server responding.  The priest then sprinkles the ashes with holy water.  Those who want to read this blessing my consult the post already mentioned.

The Celebrant Assists with Giving Ashes (Portland, 2014)
4. After bowing to the cross or tabernacle, the priest and server go to distribute ashes to the people.  If there is a priest available to impose ashes on the celebrant, this should be done first.  The priest uses the traditional Dominican formula: Meménto quia cinis es, et in cínerem revertéris ("Remember that you are ashes, and to ashes you will return").  I think it suitable that the server follow after the priest, sprinkling each recipient with holy water, as the celebrant would do when the prior distributes ashes in the solemn imposition.

5. The priest and server then return to the altar and bow.  The server drops off the holy water on the little table and takes the Missal.  Both make the customary reverence and go to the sacristy.

6. While the priest vests for Mass, the server returns, makes the customary reverence, and removes the little table with the ashes and holy water.  He then returns to the sacristy to pick up the Missal and precede the priest to the altar.  It is possible, I guess, to have the veiled chalice already on the altar, but that would really follow Solemn Mass rubrics, not those of Low Mass or even of the Missa Cantata.

    At this point an unaddressed issue arises.  At a Dominican sung Mass, the chalice is prepared between the Epistle and Gospel, by the subdeacon at Solemn Mass or by the priest himself at a Missa Cantata.  In the Low Mass of 1962, the preparation of the chalice comes before the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.  When Mass follows the blessing of ashes, those Prayers are omitted.  In the 1965 Missal, there was no problem because, by then, the chalice preparation had been moved to the Roman position at the Offertory in all Masses.  But this was not true in 1962.  So, unless there is an older friar reading this who remembers differently, I would suggest the following be done:

7. The server, carrying the book, leads the priest, with the chalice and his amice covered capuce up, to the altar.  They make the customary reverence.  The priest ascends to the altar, uncovers the chalice, opens the corporal, and goes to the Epistle side to prepare the chalice.  The server meanwhile has placed the Missal on the stand, and retrieved the cruets.  The priest makes the chalice.  He then goes to the center and lowers his capuce.

8. The server having taken his place on the Gospel side opposite the Missal, the priest makes the silent Sign of the Cross and goes to the book to read the Officium (Introit) and Kyrie.  The Mass then continues as usual.  Note, however, that the Flectamus genua precedes the Opening Collect and that the Prayer over the Faithful is added after the Postcommunion (as on all ferials in Lent).  Since 1960, the extra collects (found in the 1933 Missal) are omitted, and the Benedicamus Domino is replaced by the Ite missa est, unless a ceremony immediately follows after Mass, which would not happen today.

    I hope that friars who have the opportunity to bless ashes and say the traditional Dominican Low Mass this Ash Wednesday find this helpful.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas Masses at Holy Rosary Church, Portland OR

(Ordinary Form Roman Rite)

At this Mass the celebrant was V. Rev. Fr. Stephen Maria Lopez, O. P., Prior of Holy Rosary; concelebrating was Fr. Vincent Kelber, O.P., Pastor of Holy Rosary; the acolyte (also in damatic) was Bro. Andrew Dominic Yang, O.P., residency student. The Mass was served by young men of the parish.  The music was provided by Cantores in Ecclesia and was Haydn's Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo.

Arrival of the Bambino Gesu carried by Fr. Lopez, assisted by Fr. Kelber and Bro. Andrew Dominic
Ministers Prepare for the Gospel Procession
Incensing of the Altar
Elevation of the Chalice

(Traditional Dominican Rite)

At this Mass the celebrant was Fr. Vincent Kelber, O.P., Pastor of Holy Rosary; the deacon was Fr. Dismas Sayre, O.P., parochial vicar of Holy Rosary; the subdeacon was Bro. Andrew Dominic Yang, O.P., residency student.  Young men of the parish served the Mass.  Music was provided by Cantores in Ecclesia: Propers were from Byrd's Gradualia; the ordinary was Dominican Gregorian Mass 5, for feasts of the Blessed Virgin.

Ministers Swing to the Side for Gloria
Preparation of the Chalice During the Responsorium (Graduale)
The Deacon Chants the Gospel
Elevation of the Chalice
Genuflection during Reading of the Last Gospel

Recessional Procession