Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas at Holy Rosary Church, Portland OR

I have just received notice of the principal Masses and music for Christmas at Holy Rosary Dominican Parish, 375 N.E. Clackamas Street, Portland, Oregon 97232 (503-235-3163). Readers in the Portland Area may wish to attend these Masses.


On Christmas Eve at 11:30 P.M. the boys, girls and adults of Cantores in Ecclesia will sing traditional carols, accompanied by organ and small string orchestra. At Midnight the choir will sing Missa O Magnum Mysterium by Tomas Luis de Victoria and the Gregorian Chant Propers.

CHRISTMAS DAY MASS (Missa Cantata in the Dominican Rite)

Christmas Day, the adults of Cantores in Ecclesia will sing the Christmas Proper from William Bryd's second book of Gradualia for a Missa Cantata according to the Dominican Rite. The Dominican Propers will include the Sequence Laetabundus.

Dr. Kerry McCarthy, a Byrd scholar, provides the following comments about Byrd's liturgical settings:

When Bryd published his second book of Gradualia, dedicated to his friend and patron Sir John Petre, he gave the Christmas music the place of honor at the very beginning. He had celebrated the winter holidays many times with the Petre family: Their household records show that 'Mr. Byrde' was supplied with meals, seasonal gifts, warm bedding, and the company of 'five Musitians of London for playenge upon the vyolins at Ingatestone in ye Christmas tyme'.

The Mass for Christmas appears to have been his first attempt at writing seasonal music of this sort. Given his habit of spending the holiday with patrons and fellow-musicians, it was a logical place to start. The music shows some signs of experimentation: vocal ranges and keys lurch around somewhat unpredictably, and Bryd seems not yet to have arrived at his principle of setting each text only once and cross-referencing it as needed. (This rewards the singers with two versions of Viderunt omnes, the second even lovelier than the first.) Byrd also decided, just this once, to follow a much older tradition and start by quoting the Gregorian chant melody for the day. His introit Puer natus begins with the triumphant rising figure that announces 'unto us a Child is born'.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Anchorage Cathedral: Feast of St. Nicholas, 2008

We are pleased to present here images of the Dominican Rite Missa Cantata of St. Nicholas of Myra, celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Anchorage AK last Saturday, December 6, 2008. This Mass begins the regular celebration of the Dominican Rite Missa Cantata at the Cathedral, which will be on the first Saturday of each Month at Noon. These Masses will be celebrated by the Dominican Friars of the Western Dominican Province, with permission of the Provincial, the V. Rev. Fr. Emmerich Vogt, O.P., and the blessing of the archbishop of Anchorage, the Most Rev. Roger L. Schwietz, O.M.I. In the first image we see the celebrant, Fr. Vincent Kelber, O.P., assistant pastor of the cathedral, vesting in the cathedral sacristy.

Here is a photo of the schola, under the direction of Mr. Tim Main, assembled in the choir loft ready to sing the Officium (as we call the Introit).

Fr. Kelber has here arrived at the High Altar and is opening the corporal. He still has his amice-covered capuce up as the Mass proper has not started. Below the steps we see his two acolytes, Jacob DeZarn and Richard Whitney. Normally, the acolytes would wear surplices, but on major feasts, and here pro causa solemnitatis, they wear albs. In the Dominican Rite the proper attire for servers on major feasts is an alb. You can also see the unlighted Sanctus Candles on the ends of the altar.

Father has here lowered his capuce and descended for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. The acolytes have turned in to make the responses.

Father has now gone to the book to recite the Officium and the Kyrie.

Following the Collect and the Epistle, while the schola sings the intervening chants, the celebrant prepares the chalice. He then proceeds to the "north" end of the altar to sing the Gospel, as we see in this next photo. The acolytes are present with their lighted candles; they have made way for the censer-bearer and boat-bearer, so we have just begun the dialogue before the Gospel. Incense was used at this Mass pro causa solemnitatis, as provided in the Caeremoniale (1866) of the Order. It will also be used at the Offertory and the Elevation. We do not use incense in the processions.

Fr. Vincent preaching his sermon on St. Nicholas.

Here is the Offertory. You will notice that the Host and Chalice are offered together in a single oblation. The acolytes are waiting to wash the celebrant's hands.

The censer and boat have arrived for the incensing of the gifts and altar. It is not the Dominican practice to remove the book during this rite.

Incensing the gifts. This is done with a simple cross, no circular motions are made in our rite during the ceremony, nor do we swing the censer or clank the chains.

Here Father has reached the Communicantes in the Roman Canon as he has now extended his hands (note the position of the Dominican position of his palms). The senior acolyte will soon ring the bell and they will both kneel for the Consecration. You can see that the acolytes have now lighted the Sanctus Candles, which will burn until the Ablutions.

Out of reverence, the photographer was asked not to take pictures during the Consecration. Here we have reached the Per Ipsum at the end of the Canon. The acolytes have been standing since the elevation. It is interesting that there is no minor elevation at the Per Ipsum in the Dominican Rite. The celebrant simply makes the five Signs of the Cross over the chalice.

The Ecce Agnus Dei. This ceremony is a Roman practice and was never part of the Dominican Rite. It was introduced in 1961 when the use of the Dominican Confiteor at Communion was dropped. As the norm is now to celebrate Mass according to the rubrics in force in 1962 (in conformity with the norms for the Extraordinary Form of the parent Roman Rite), it is now part of our Communion preparation.

The servers receive Communion:

The Communion of the Faithful at the steps of the sanctuary. The Cathedral does not have a Communion Rail, but that does not seem to have presented any problems for a reverent Communion.

Another view of Communion. And, no, that was not posed. The people all actually had their hands folded that way without any instruction from the clergy. God bless the parishioners of the cathedral and the friars who have over forty years trained them in the faith!

Here we see the Cathedral at the end of Communion. I include it so that you can give an idea of the size on the congregation, over 270. The junior acolyte is moving the book.

And here is a closing photo showing the Celebrant singing the Post-Communion Collect. Those with sharp eyes will notice that one of the candles had a wax leak from the back of the follower and went out--this is not part of the Dominican liturgical tradition.

In the Western Dominican Province, this monthy celebration of Dominican Rite Mass in the Anchorage Cathedral now joins the celebration on First Saturdays and feasts at Holy Rosary Church in Portland OR, monthly celebration at St. Francis Xavier Mission in Toledo WA, and the weekly celebration at San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura CA. Regular celebration is also soon to begin at Blessed Sacrament Church in Seattle WA. Other Western Dominican churches, including St. Albert the Great Priory in Oakland CA (the House of Studies), St. Dominic's Church in San Francisco CA, St. Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula CA, and the Monastery of the Angels in Hollywood CA, have also had occasional celebrations. I will keep readers posted on any new occasional celebrations. For the times of the regular Masses, please contact the churches involved.

My thanks to Fr. Vincent Kelber, O.P., for providing these photographs. The full set may be seen here.