Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fact: Busy December of High Masses at St. Ann's in Charlotte

Gentle Readers...

Happy Advent to you all... and as a special Advent Treat, I share with you terrific news from St. Ann's in Charlotte.

Sunday, Dec. 8, 12.30pm 
Missa Cantata for Immaculate Conception of BVM

Saturday, Dec. 21, 6.30am   
Missa Cantata for Blessed Virigin Mary on a Saturday of Advent (aka "Rotate" or "Golden Mass" due to it being a candlelit Mass pre-dawn)

Tuesday, Dec. 24, 6.30pm
Missa Solemnis for Vigil of Christmas

I hope that many of you will be able to attend these Masses.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fact: Next "big" Mass at St. Ann's will be Michaelmas, Sept. 29

Gentle Readers...

It looks like the Missa Cantata with the St. Ann Schola & Choir for the Sunday, Sept. 29th, Feast of St. Michael the Archangel (aka Michaelmas) is confirmed.

Please pass the word... and let's fill St. Ann's for this 12.30pm Mass.

Sancte Michael Archangele... ora pro nobis!   

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fact: Liturgical Woodstock

Gentle Readers... today's post is a sobering reminder of how wonderful it is to have St. Ann's in Charlotte available to us.

My Labor Day weekend worship experience....

While away on vacation, I drove 19 miles to try a different parish to see if I could avoid putting myself through another Memorial Day experience, but not only did I cross as state-line, but I must have driven through a time warp back to 1968.

I sort of knew I was in trouble when I walked in there was the large, communal bath tub, err, baptismal font in the middle of the doorway... a lovely older women in a tie-dye dress welcomed everyone and announced that since it was summertime, that that we would only be reciting the Gloria  (little did I know at the time this was probably a good thing!)  I'm guessing the guitarist was on summer holiday as well.

I searched in vain to find the Tabernacle to reverence it before entering my pew but to no avail other than I think it was the little square thing hidden behind the altar covered in a polyester green tablecloth, but I was not sure since there was no Sanctuary torch.

Ms. Tie Dye then announced that our "Gathering anthem" would be "Let there be Peace on Earth"... which seemed innocent enough, but there was to be a theme... for our "Presentation anthem" was a song I have never heard before, but it was in the "Peace" category of the hymnal and was a lovely dittie about God saving us from "bombs dropping" and "release us from the labor of our work and its injustice" to which was add that Catholic classic for "Communion anthem"... "We Shall Overcome"... which was actual in the hymnal!

Now, in fairness, there were two Communion anthems, the first one which was sung after the 18!!  Extraordinary Ministers of Communion mounted the Altar (and help themselves to the ciborium and chalices on the Altar so that they could commune simultaneously with the Celebrant) was "Let us break bread together on our knees".... However, the irony that seemed lost on everyone in this parish is that the entire congregations STANDS! the the momemt when the Council of 18 Elders mounts the Altar and REMAINED STANDING during the entire communion rite.  Talk about disconnected from reality... "let us break bread together on our knees unless we are actually standing"!

The Celebrant, dressed under his Chasuble, in a lovely kaki pants, black shoes, and no Roman collar was very conscious that it was "summer" and so did not waste much time on his Homily which was limited to "Jesus wants us to be humble and the rich CEOs need to take care of the poor in their company".  Literally, end of sermon.. on to the Creed, the Apostle's Creed! (it is summertime after all).  In addition to condensing the homily, he could not be bothered with Eucharistic Prayer I, so  EPII was used, but was shortened by eliminating his genuflections after the consecration.

At the end of communion, the 18 Elders placed all of their sacred vessels on an airline food cart and one of them wheeled it down one aisle, around the corner, to the back of the Altar, up the handicap ramp, and to the cube covered in the green polyester tablecloth confirming my earlier suspicion that it was the Tabernacle.

Mercifully, Father stood to offer the post communion prayer and end my suffering (or so I thought), but as he stood, a glow and joy that I had now seen all though the Mass came upon his face and said... "Alright, it's Birthday time!... who as a birthday today?"  for the next 10 minutes, he ran throughout  the congregation shaking their hands and everybody clapped each one!  Finally, it ended and he returned to the Sanctuary, turned and said..."And now... any Anniversaries!"  followed by another 8 minutes of greeting and applause.  (we had now just spent more time celebrating ourselves than the entire readings, homily, and eucharistic prayer of the Mass combined).  For once I was envious, instead of judgmental, of those who left after communion... Oh if I had only known!

Fortunately, we ran out of things to celebrate, and the TieDye cantor mounted her podium to announce that we would have TWO "Sending Forth anthems".... "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America"...  which were ended with thunderous applause.

I quietly said my thanksgiving prayers... (at least I think I did, I couldn't really hear myself amongst the great clamor of greeting congregants)... and made my way home, longing again for the peace, grace, and solitude of St. Ann's.

As I left Mass I looked for the Communist Party USA signup table, but I couldn't find it, perhaps since "it was summertime" they were not signing up new members.

Lastly, as I was pulling out of the parking lot, a car cut me off causing me to swerve to miss it...  on its bumper was the sticker ... "Pro-Obama Pro-Choice"!  sort of summed up my whole morning experience.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Grapevine: More Special Masses coming to St. Ann in Charlotte

Dear Readers,

I know, I know, it has been a while... but the summer flew by, and like all native Italians, I take the month of August off!  :-)

That said, now that I am back, the Grapevine is very active within the Park Rd. Curia and some wonderful things coming up.

But firstly, what wonderful things I personally missed by taking my August month off...
  • Missa Cantata Nuptial Mass (Aug. 3)
  • Missa Solemnis for the Vigil of the Assumption (Aug. 14)
  • Missa Solemnis for the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Aug. 22)

And now, what I am hearing is coming...
  • Missa Cantata Feast of St. Michael (Sept. 29,12.30pm)
  • Missa Cantata Feast of Christ the King (Oct. 27, 12.30pm)
  • Missa Cantata Requiem for All Souls (Nov. 2, Noon)
  • Missa Cantata Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8, 12.30pm)
  • Missa Solemnis Vigil of the Nativity (Dec. 24, 6.00pm)

The frequency with which St. Ann's is now offering these Masses is so great as to soon be making my little blog irrelevant in announcing these Masses, as St. Ann is almost fully transformed into a full "dual-form" parish will all the traditional calendar feasts being celebrated with full solemnity.

What a blessing this parish is in the heart of the Southeast!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Identity: Masses that are Sacred (Part II)

Dear Readers...

Divine Providence works in mysterious ways, and after my sad post of my experience at a less than sacred Mass in honor of the Most Holy Memorial Day at a parish that I was visiting, I had the opportunity to assist on Thursday at the Missa Cantata for Corpus Christi at St. Ann in Charlotte.

It was the "healing" that my soul needed after being so scandalized just four days earlier. The Mass was in a single word... Awesome!

Everything about this Mass was just so perfectly sacred and focused on the worship of God.  Much of this is simply inherent in the Mass in the Extraordinary form itself with the ad orientem posture and reverential rubrics.

Since a Eucharistic procession was to follow the Mass, as well as a Forty Hours Adoration, the one thing that was different was that immediately after Communion, the Sanctissima was placed in the Monstrance and the rubrics changed... the priest servers were careful as the Mass concluded with the last few prayers not to have their backs to the Blessed Sacrament and double genuflects were the norm.  The Real Presence was just so obvious...

And the Servers... I lost count after 15 of them, all just so reverent and precise in their movements, and it was a bit complicated at the end of the Mass as the Altar cards were removed, Father Reid's Chasuble was removed and replaced with the Cope, the incensation of the Sanctissima, and the formation of the Eucharistic procession... but they performed their office so well... and watching these Boys walk in procession... with their torches or handle candles, the boy ringing the bells before the Blessed Sacrament while the Thurifer walk backwards to incense the Blessed Sacrament.  It was just so moving.

Truly setting the atmosphere was the music. The music for this Missa Cantata was, if can be imagined, was a step up from the normally excellent job that the St. Ann Schola cantorum and Choir do.  It was just so heavenly.  The Gregorian chant seemed to float over the congregation and the sacred polyphony just lifted the soul upward... and it focused so well everyone's attention.

If there was any downside, it was that the were so few souls in the congregation to be uplifted and to be able to assist at a Mass that is sacred... but even with the lack of earthly souls, we know that all of Heaven was present, and I am sure they were well pleased.

Lastly, I closed my last post with the observation that the folks leaving the Holy Trinity Mass last Sunday in that other parish knew it was Memorial Day, but did they know it was the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.  I had no such thoughts leaving this Mass... for every element of this Mass made very clear that this was the great Feast of Body and Blood of Our Lord.

O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine.  All praise and all thanksgiving, be every moment thine!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Identity: Masses that are Sacred and not Secular

Gentle Readers,

How spoiled Father Reid and the Music Directrix of St. Ann's have made me... 

On this great feast of the Most Holy Trinity, of which even the post-Vatican II Catechism of the Catholic Church states " is THE central mystery of the Christian faith, and it is inaccessible to understanding with Reason alone."

I found myself out of town due to travel this weekend, and so I satisfied my Sunday Holyday obligation at a parish and city to remain nameless.  I arrived at Mass early so that I could get my daily Rosary... when the organ erupted into one of the most beloved Trinity medleys I have ever heard.... "America the Beautiful... which transitioned lovely into Anchor's Aweigh... into Off into the Wild Blue Yonder... into something about the Halls of Montezuma (or his revenge.. something like that).  It was very powerfully done, and there was quite the flurry at the end... to which many people burst into wild applause  (I assume in honor to the Most Blessed Trinity!)

We then moved onto the Gathering Song, where the appropriate Holy, Holy, Holy...banged out dirge-like on the piano much less passionately than our prelude, but it was at least a song to the Blessed Trinity... we were on a roll!

The great Triune song of Thanksgiving ... the Gloria, was then banged out on the piano in a very odd, show-tune antiphonal response (forbidden by liturgical law).  It actually had some parts that sounded like a Disney soundtrack.

Moving on to the Psalm response... we again decided that the Responsial psalm proper and given for today was not sufficient....so we did a clavinova supported Easter psalm of "This is a wonderful day that The Lord has made."
The Alleluia was traditional and organ accompanied... but of course the words bore no resemblance to what was printed in the Missal... (I actually looked at the front of the bulletin to see if I was actually celebrating the same Feast as the rest of the universal Church.)

Then, after a very brief homily in which the priest did not preach on the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity (perhaps since it was "inaccessible"), we moved on to the Offertory...

How lucky was I to after years of waiting, be able to hear that ole time Catholic favorite, "How Great Thou Art!"  Now I suppose, putting aside its Protestant origins and  shaky theological text which make it forbidden by liturgical law,  I would agree whole hardheartedly that the Holy Trinity 'art Great'  but the text only sings of us and the Saviour... I bet the Father and the Holy Spirit are a bit lonely... I mean, it is Their feast too!  Oh, and I forgot... it was accompanied vigorously on the Organ... driving the 7 year old in front of me to clap rhythmically along... while his grandparents did nothing to stop him.  (I supposed that was better than his throwing the visitor envelopes into the air as confetti... repeatedly!!... as his grandparents gathered them up after each burst and handed them back to him)

Communion was quite the affair... after the "Jesus Lamb of God... Jesus Friend of Helpers... Jesus Social Reformer against the Oppressed..."  (I guess they did not get the memo last year that once again confirmed the liturgical illegality of a troped Agnus Dei.)  ... 19 'elders' of the parish (and I mean, average age of the  whole bunch could not have been under 75) rose to surround the Altar to get the the 10 chalices and 9 ciboria that were to be spread out... but one poor women (definitely one who drove the average age up) was carrying the Precious Blood in one hand (not sure if she knew  she was carrying it) and trying to hold a  railing with the other as she began to descend the stairs in her 6 inch heel stilettos when she slipped on the marble and spilled the Precious  Blood all over the place...  Everyone stood their wondering what to do...  I half expected them to simply bring out a mop... I was horrified!

It was at that point the choir burst forth another Triune favorite.... "Remember"!?!  I am not quite so sure at this point I wanted to remember anything....  but the text of the song were certainly not remembering anything about the Trinity either.  At this point I was struggling with my own conscious as to whether or not I was so negative that I was in danger of mortal sin and would have to abstain from communion... but I concluded that my feelings were more scientific and analytical in nature and I meant nothing uncharitable by it... so I went up... and apparently confused the women "minister" when I open my mouth and stuck out my tongue. (hopefully she didn't think I was sticking it out at her!).  She finally relented and placed Our Lord on my tongue, but made it clear to me by her facial expressions that I was in violation of some parish rule that I was to have taken the Lord of the Universe into my hand! (good thing I didn't kneel in place... I may have been forcibly removed)

I was finally able to take in the God of the Universe... Eternal Triune God of our Salvation.. and made my own thanksgiving that it was all coming to an end...

The priest then said the final blessing and then thank all the visitors, musicians, servers, janitors, social workers, and solders for which "today" we celebrate Memorial Day  (that's odd, I thought it was celebrated on Monday... and that it was a secular holiday with it's own votive Mass)... so perhaps that is why he spent more time thanking folks than trying to explain the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity.

We then had our Sending Forth song to the Trinity... "God Bless America"... which was more resounding on the organ than the prelude which I never thought was possible.  So as I knelt in personal thanksgiving for the gift of Christ's Body and the awesomeness of our Triune God... the thunderous applause around me caused me to ponder one other thing...  that congregation certainly knew it was Memorial Day weekend by the actions at Mass... but did they know it was also the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity... core mystery to our Christian faith?

Sadly, I fear not... as the secular has overtaken the sacred.  But I think that Mass covered their "holiday obligation" and they will not need to go the town parade tomorrow to hear those wonderful patriotic songs ... "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America!"

My personal thanksgiving ended by  'remembering' how much Father Reid and the musicians of St. Ann are a blessing to me, and to all of those who I have no doubt left Mass today at St. Ann's in Charlotte, knowing that Our God is a Triune God... and is worthy of eternal praise and adoration... which is what every Mass is about... worship of God... not man.

Gloria tibi Trinitas...Aequalis una Deitas...Et ante omnia saecula...Et nunc et in perpetuum.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fact: Good things continue to develop at St. Ann's in Charlotte

Gentle readers,

Forgive my absence, but it has been a busy time for me... as it has been at St. Ann!

Thursday was the beautiful Missa Cantata for Ascension, which I understand will be followed by a Missa Cantata for Corpus Christi on Thursday, May 30 at 7.30pm which will also open a Forty Hours Adoration at St. Ann.

All the while, the weekly Missae Cantatae at 12.30pm on Sundays continue, and they are beautifully done, and well attended, but more faithful would be most welcome.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fact: Beautiful Missa Solemnis for Palm Sunday at St. Ann's

Gentle Readers,

If you were not one of the more than 300 souls at today's Palm Sunday Missa Solemnis today at St. Ann's in Charlotte, then you missed out on a truly wonderful experience.  In what I expect was the first Solemn High Mass for Palm Sunday in more than 40 years in the Diocese of Charlotte, those assisting at the Mass today certainly had to be filled with many graces.

From the blessing and distribution of the Palms to the grand Procession and the chanting of the Passion of St. Matthew... the full beauty of the ancient rite was in full view for all of those present.  Some of the oldest chants from the Treasury of Holy Mother Church are to be found in the Holy Week rites, and the congregation at Mass today was not disappointed.

We are truly blessed in this area to have three priests like Fathers Reid, Barone, and Kauth who allow all of this to be possible, along with the Servers and the Schola.

Hosanna.. filio David!