Sunday, September 11, 2016

Recalling an education in Gregorian Chant

"... other things being equal, it [Gregorian Chant] should be given pride of place in liturgical services." (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 116)

My conversion to the Catholic Church started with the joyful discovery of sacred polyphony and Gregorian Chant, while I was a teenager living in Bombay. The chief means of my education in chant was a little black book I stumbled across in the library at St. Xavier's College (where I studied for five years, from 11th grade through college). It was a 1910 edition of "A Manual of Gregorian Chant According to the Solesmes Books." I read it eagerly, and used it to learn how to read Gregorian notation. Certain books could be checked out for a semester at a time, and I'm pretty sure, that every semester of my stay at St. Xavier's, this little book was in my possession. It was the description of Dom Gueranger in this book that was my first exposure to the Mass (along with copies of old, Latin-English pew missals, in another dusty corner of the library. These, however, were not able to be checked out, alas). The first prayer that I ever memorized, was the Gloria, in Latin. Eventually, I would end up going to the beautiful college chapel at least once a day, and pray the Gloria. I did not know any other prayers!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Mother Teresa wasn't really Catholic?

As Catholics the world over (and no doubt countless others) rejoiced at the canonization of St. Teresa of Kolkata this past Sunday, it was expected that the criticisms and attacks of her from the secular left would appear on the internet and in mainstream media. Yesterday, on my FB page, I shared an excellent rejoinder, written by a non-Catholic Christian: "The Most Evil Woman Who Ever Lived." (yeah, it's a click-bait like title, but well worth the read!). What I was less prepared for was attacks on Mother Teresa from Catholics. To be more precise, from certain elements of the Catholic right. I first saw this on a FB post by a friend (the author of a popular blog about the traditional liturgy), where he was defending Mother Teresa, as various commenters attacked her fidelity to the Gospel, to the Great Commission, or questioned the infallibility of canonization decrees. On my own FB post (mentioned above), a commenter shared some links she'd come across of Catholics accusing Mother Teresa of, well, not being Catholic enough.

Let me state that again: Catholics who think that Mother Teresa wasn't faithful to the Gospel! I don't know whether to laugh or cry! (Fr. Longenecker is a little more sanguine about the "crazy uncles" in our vast family ... also with some links to the various accusations against her)

Monday, September 05, 2016

Liturgical Texts for the Commemoration of St. Teresa of Kolkata


At the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta today (Sept. 5, 2016), the Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated as a Solemnity (Gloria, Credo), with readings taken from the Common of Virgins (Song of Songs, 1 Cor. 13, and Mt. 5), and the Orations were from the proper of Saints with the new texts for the Memorial of Saint Teresa, including a Collect, Super Oblata, a proper Preface and a Postcommunio. It was a beautiful celebration, with the Cathedral packed to the gills! As Archbishop Gregory put it in his homily, Catholics do so love their saints! Especially this one!

Thanks to priest friends and social media, I've uploaded the PDFs of the following to Scribd:
  • Letter from Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuck MC, Postulator for the cause of canonization of Mother Teresa, for the proper liturgical commemoration of Saint Teresa of Kolkata on September 5. 
  • Proper Prayers in Latin.
  • Proper Prayers in English.

With much joy, in front a huge crowd, and to almost universal acclaim, Pope Francis canonized Mother Teresa of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), yesterday, September 4, 2016.

I've seen no guidelines for the liturgical celebration of her cult, now extended to the universal Church, on September 5, 2016. I presume it will have the rank of an Optional Memorial (to be marked as a Feast or Solemnity in houses of the Missionaries of Charity, and parish churches or oratories under her patronage).

There is a proper prayer, composed for her Beatification, which should remain.
Deus, qui beatam Teresiam, virginem, vocasti,
ut amori Filii tui in cruce sitientis
eximia caritate in pauperrimos responderet,
da nobis, quaesumus, eius intercessione,
in afflictis fratribus Christo ministrare.
Per Dominum... 
O God, who called blessed Teresa, virgin
to respond to the love of your Son thirsting on the cross
with outstanding charity to the poorest of the poor,
grant us, we beseech you, by her intercession,
to minister to Christ in his suffering brothers.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The other Orations of the Mass can come from the Common of Holy Men and Women: For a Woman Religious, or For Those Who Practiced Works of Mercy.

For the Liturgy of the Hours, at the Office of Readings:

  • Hymn: Common of Holy Women
  • Psalmody and Scriptural Reading from the current weekday
  • Patristic Reading from the Common of Holy Women: Religious, or Those Who Worked for the Underprivileged
  • Proper Collect

Lauds & Vespers:
  • Hymn: Common of Holy Women
  • Psalmody: Current weekday
  • Short reading & responsory: weekaday or Common of Holy Women
  • Antiphon for Benedictus/Magnificat: weekday Religious or Underprivileged
  • Preces (Intercessions): weekday or Common of Holy Women 
  • Proper Collect

Daytime Hours: from the weekday entirely

The Patristic reading for the Common of Holy Men and Women: For Those Who Worked for the Underprivileged, has this selection from Sermon 15 of St. John Chrysostom's Sermons on the Epistle to the Romans (the translation used in the current LoTH is not found online. This one is from New Advent). It is worth our meditation as we commemorate the life of this remarkable woman of faith.

Yet did God give up even His Son. But you will not so much as share your bread with Him, Who was given up for you, Who was slain for you. 

The Father for your sake spared not Him, and this too when He was indeed His Son, but you do not look upon Him even when pining with starvation, and this too when you should but spend of His own, and spend it too for your own good! What can be worse than such a breach of law as this? He was given up for you, He was slain for you, He goes about in hunger for you, it is of His own you should give, that you may yourself get the gain, and still thou dost not give! 

What sort of stone is there than which these are not more senseless, who in despite of such great inducements, continue in this diabolical cruel-heartedness? For He was not satisfied even with death and the Cross only, but He took up with becoming poor also, and a stranger, and a beggar, and naked, and being thrown into prison, and undergoing sickness, that so at least He might call you off. 

If you will not requite Me, He says, as having suffered for you, show mercy on Me for My poverty. And if you are not minded to pity Me for My poverty, do for My disease be moved, for My imprisonment be softened. And if even these things make you not charitable, for the easiness of the request comply with Me. For it is no costly gift I ask, but bread and lodging, and words of comfort; but if even after this thou still continuest unsubdued, still for the Kingdom's sake be improved for the rewards which I have promised. Have you then no regard even for these? Yet still for very nature's sake be softened at seeing Me naked, and remember that nakedness wherewith I was naked on the Cross for you; or, if not this, yet that wherewith I am now naked through the poor. I was then bound for you, nay, still am so for you, that whether moved by the former ground or the latter, you might be minded to show some pity. I fasted for you, again I am hungry for you. I was thirsty when hanging on the Cross, I am thirsty also through the poor, that by the former as also by the latter I may draw you to Myself, and make you charitable to your own salvation. 

Hence also of you that owest Me the requital of benefits without number, I make not demand as of one that owes, but crown you as one that favors Me, and a kingdom do I give you for these small things. 

For I do not say so much as put an end to My poverty, or give Me riches, and yet I did become poor for you; yet still I ask for bread and clothing, and a small solace for My hunger. 

And if I be thrown into prison, I do not insist upon your loosing My bonds and setting Me free, but one thing only do I seek after, that you would visit Me, Who was (or am) bound for you, and I shall have received favor enough, and for this only will I give you Heaven. 

And yet I delivered you from most galling bonds, but for Me it is quite enough, if you will but visit Me when in prison. 

For I am able indeed to crown you even without all this; yet I would fain be a debtor to you, that the crown may give you some feeling of confidence.

Saint Teresa of Kolkata, pray for us!