Saturday, September 26, 2015

Kyrie from Pope Francis's Mass at Madison Square Garden

Yesterday's Papal Mass at Madison Square Garden included some beautiful sacred music.

I'd like to draw your attention to the Kyrie, which starts at 25:20.

Traditionally, in the Catholic Mass, the Kyrie is sung in this form:

Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy)
Kyrie eleison
Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison (Chris have mercy)
Christe eleison
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison
Kyrie eleison
Kyrie eleison

The great Benedictine Dom Prosper Gueranger (1805 - 1875) explained that the three sets of three emphasize the Trinity: the first three are sung to God the Father, the second three to God the Son, and the third three to God the Holy Spirit.

In the Ordinary Form of the Mass (the Mass as revised following Vatican II), the Kyrie is usually done with three sets of two:

Kyrie eleison
Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison
Kyrie eleison

Typically the cantor sings the first of each series and then the congregation echoes the response.  In the Ordinary Form of the Mass, three sets of three is allowed, but it is seldom done.

So I was thrilled to see the Kyrie sung in the traditional form at the Papal Mass in New York City. And I especially liked how they did it. The first Kyrie was the most basic of chanted Kyrie's. This allowed the congregation to sing the response. And then the third of each set was sung a capella in a lovely polyphonic setting.

By doing it this way, the congregation was able to participate in the singing of the Ordinary, the Trinity was emphasized with the three sets of three, and the Mass was given added solemnity, befitting a Papal Mass, by incorporating sacred polyphony.

Well done!

October - Month of the Rosary

October is the month of the Rosary. Do you pray the family Rosary? If not, October is a great month to start, and we're almost there. So resolve today to begin this October.

If five decades is too much for your little ones, consider beginning with just one decade. Also, consider using images of the Rosary to help you meditate on the mysteries as you pray your Our Father's,  Hail Mary's, and Glory Be's. It was with this in mind that I created the Sacred Art Series Rosary Flip Book. Hopefully it will be as helpful for your family as it has been for mine.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

Below: Madonna of the Rosary by Guido Reni

Monday, September 21, 2015

Feast of St. Matthew

Happy Feast of St. Matthew!

Matthew, of course, was a tax collector called by Christ to be one of his Apostles. Matthew is also one of the four Evangelists and is the patron of bankers and accountants.

Here is today's Gospel reading for Mass:

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.”And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrificeI did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Here is a very well known Caravaggio entitled the calling of St. Matthew. If you're not already familiar with this series of videos produced by SmartHistory and the Khan Academy, they are well worth exploring through the Khan Academy. Here is the link to their Renaissance videos.

The above painting is located in San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome along with two other paintings by Caravaggio regarding St. Matthew: (1) The Inspiration of St. Matthew and (2) The Martyrdom of St. Matthew. Both are below.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sacred Art on Vacation

My family just returned from vacation to Wisconsin. During the trip we visited Marytown (the Shrine of the Militia Immaculata), Mundelein Seminary (right next to Marytown), the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Shrine of Holy Hill, the Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee, and St. John Cantius in Chicago.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Gudadulupe is a great example of a beautiful church of recent construction. In addition to its fine architecture, the Shrine also has some lovely paintings of mostly recent saints, including St. Gianna, St. Maria Goretti, and Blessed Miguel Pro. (Regrettably, I did not have the opportunity to take photos of these, but the Shrine's website has many here.)

St. John Cantius in Chicago is also very beautiful and is known for its beautiful liturgies, many in the Extraordinary Form.

But the Basilica of St. Josaphat! This I was not expecting. I only went there out of curiosity because it looked so large from the highway. It is simply stunning! And it has been so beautifully restored. Every corner of this wonderful church is awe-inspiring: the dome, the baldacchino, the windows, the side altars, the stations. If you're every driving through Milwaukee, you simply must stop here, and it's right off I-94. (Sorry my exterior photos are so bad, but it was raining.)