Friday, August 31, 2007

31 August -- St Aidan of Lindisfarne

"Augustine was the Apostle of Kent, but Aidan was the Apostle of the English." - Bishop Lightfoot

St Aidan was the Irish apostle of the English. Or maybe just of the Northumbrians, depending upon which history you're reading.

From D'Arcy's "The Saints of Ireland":

The Irish monk first delegated to England was Corman, an austere religious of exemplary life, but he made no headway and in despair returned to Iona. Sitting in on the ensuing conference was a scholar monk who had trained in St Senan's monastery on Scattery Island. Aidan, lately a bishop in Ireland, but now enrolled in the Iona mission. He spoke up: the Anglo-Saxons should first be given the milk of easy doctrine to nourish them until they should be capable of God's more sublime precepts. Without more ado, the seniors named Aidan the man to whom the arduous mission should be entrusted. . . . .

In the year 635 Aidan fixed his See on Lindisfarne, a little island there miles long and half as wide, off the coast of northern England opposite Oswald's fortress castle at Bamborough. Aidan and his successors had only such buildings as were absolutely necessary for existence and for decency. They had neither money nor cattle. What the rich gave them they immediately distributed to the poor. Nor did they receive with splendor the lords and nobles who came to their monasteries. Even the kings were content with the ordinary fare of those apostles whose desire was to serve God and not the world, whose success was due as much to their example as to their preaching. Everywhere the white homespun wool garb of the Irish monks came to be held in greatest respect. . . .

During Aidan's rule the problem of the different dates for the celebration of Easter was becoming progressively acute. Canterbury observed the revised Roman Easter; Lindisfarne adhered to the older computation handed down by Colmcille. But while Aidan lived "the confusion was patiently tolerated by all men, even those who thought and acted differently," including Honorius of Canterbury and Felix of East Anglia, because they esteemed Aidan as a holy and just man who could not be expected to keep Easter contrary to the usage of those who sent him.

Aidan labored out of Lindisfarne for 17 years, more than half of the 30-year episcopate of the Scots-Irish which is regarded as the most fruitful period in English religious history. In Aidan's day, every native English bishop was of Irish ordination save one, and he was taught by Irishmen. From Lindisfarne tutelage came the northern England houses that reared the first English historian, the Venerable Bede, who records that the Irish monks gave Christianity and culture to the English.

In 651, Aidan came to the royal castle of Bamborough after learning of the murder of his friend Oswine, the king of Deira. Twelve days later Aidan died, on August 31, in the 17th year of his episcopate. He had become ill while there and died leaning against the wall of the local church.

There is a much longer vita of the saint here, and another one here, with several quotations from the Venerable Bede's life of St Aidan.

A page of links to "Lindisfarne".

There's Ecumenism, and then there's Ecumenism

Rome, August 30, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia has greeted the recent decree of Pope Benedict XVI providing more freedom to celebrate the ancient Latin Mass.

The motu proprio Summorum Pontificum that provides more freedom to use the pre-Vatican II Missal ‘is a positive fact,’ Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia said to comment on the Roman Catholic Church reintroducing her ancient liturgical form.

‘We strongly adhere to the tradition. Without being faithful to her liturgy the Russian Orthodox Church would have failed to survive persecutions in 1920s and 1930s,’ the Russian primate told the Italian daily Il Giornale a few days ago after celebration liturgy in the Cathedral of the Dormition in the Kremlin.

The patriarch opined that the pope’s decision might contribute to establishing closer links with the Orthodox Churches, the daily said.

Found here, via a reference from the York Forum.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Project

On the ottoman in front of The Comfy Chair here in the office where The Inn is sent forth into the world, you can see the current Project. Those are my Border pipes, also called Lowland pipes or Northumbrian half-long pipes. You can get into a fierce academic free-for-all should you happen to use the wrong term to the wrong person. So be forewarned. But I'm happy with "Border pipes". And I'm more and more happy with these Border pipes. The Project is coming along swimmingly.

Unlike the Highland pipes and the Irish warpipe, the border pipes are cauld wind pipes, i.e., they're not sounded with the moist, warm breath from the mouth but the cold wind of the bellows. These pipes I have had for exactly 15 years. I bought them with the best of intentions but never really mastered them. I was in a competition pipe band in those days and there wasn't really time to devote to them. They languished in the closet.

As I am now pipebandless, I took them out last month and have been restoring them. Languishing in the closet is usually not good for bagpipes of any flavour. So I have now tied on a new bag, installed a new valve on the bag side of the intake tube, worked with the cane drone reeds and got at least two of them working fairly consistently, ordered synthetic drone reeds, and ordered a new bellows. Two major hurdles remain: (1) reeding the chanter and (2) learning/relearning the bellows technique. (Use of the word "relearning", my dear wife reminds me, is something of an exercize in fantasy as I never got very good at it. Hmmm. I suppose. She after all, had to listen to it.)

When the new bellows comes, I expect the learning curve to tend upward at a considerably more precipitous angle. And another bellowspiper in O.C. has offered to check out my chanter reed issues.

Yes, things are definitely looking up. Who was it said that messing about in boats was the most fun you could have? Was it Ratty in "Wind in the Willows"? If I were good at aphorisms I would come up with something similar for pottering about with bagpipes.

There are worse things to do on a college campus

Numquam satis de Maria. . . . .

A Touch of Class


[Thanks for the pointer, Eloise.]

And to everyone's surprise. . . . .

. . . . .it turns out that the old cathedral can be repaired and made earthquake-safe. This morning's Times has the story of the continuing restoration of old St Vibiana's here. The picture shows the cupola being replaced. Except now it's not to be a Cathedral. Or even a church. I think the phrase is "community center" or some such.

I guess the safety of local Catholics didn't require a new $65 million dollar. . .uh, "structure". . . on Temple street after all.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

25 August: The Carmelite Calendar

A Byzantine/Melkite Rite Carmelite is on the calendar today: Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified.

From the little vita in the new breviary:

Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified was born of the Baouardy family, Catholics of the Greek Melchite Rite, at Abellin in Galilee in 1846. In 1867 she entered the Discalced Carmelites at Pau in France and was sent with the founding group to the Carmel of Mangalore in India where, in 1870, she made her profession. She returned to France in 1872. In 1875 she went to the Holy Land where she built a monastery in Bethlehem and began planning for another at Nazareth. Noted for her supernatural gifts, especially for humility, for her devotion to the Holy Spirit, and her great love for the Church and the Pope, she died at Bethlehem in 1878.

There is a page with many links regarding the Blessed here.

Somewhere on line there is a photograph of Blessed Mary which I haven't been able to locate again. Maybe next year. (I'll spare you another extended lament about the vanished bookmarks.)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Found While Looking for Something Else

I ran across this brooding picture of Dunguaire Castle in Wikipedia this afternoon while looking for something completely unrelated.

About 20 years ago or so on a bright sunny day with no hint of those lowering clouds, I had great fun playing every Irish tune I could think of on my two drone warpipes while standing high up on that little balcony that faces the courtyard. (Which you can get a slightly better view of by clicking on the picture.)

I remember asking my brother-in-law if he thought the folks in charge would mind if I played a couple of tunes. "Mind?" he said. "They're down there now charging an extra £1 for the entertainment."

Well, they weren't. But I took his point. And it was great fun. You get a wonderful reverb from stone wall, floor, and ceiling.

Toronto 5, Angels 4

What'd I tell you about Ervin Santana, eh? What'd I tell you? And now this.

Keep Moseley. Keep Saunders. Keep Greg Jones, if you like. But find another home for Santana. There's a pennant race goin' on, fer cryin' out loud. This is no time to coddle someone as unreliable as Ervin Santana.

"Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." -- Gen xi; 7

This being the with-it, up-to-date Archdiocese of Hollywood, an' all, I expect a liturgy in one of these any day now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

St Eoghan

Now, I have got the right day for the feast of St Eoghan of Tyrone. It's today: the 23d of August. His is the patronal feast of the Diocese of Derry. St Eoghan founded in County Tyrone the Diocese of Ard Stratha (pronounced and usually spelled in English Ardstraw) and over time it has been subsumed into the Diocese of Derry. The Cathedral of St Eugene is named after him. (There has been a great deal of bogus "translating" of Gaelic names and somewhere along the line "Eoghan" - even if pronounced "Owen" and etymologically related to "John" - became "Eugene".) D'Arcy in her book in Irish saints, claims St Kevin of Glendalough as his nephew.

There are some views of the neo-Gothic St Eugene's Cathedral here showing it in its unfortunate "renovated" state. Not as bad as it could have been. But you can still see here, behind the hulking white marble blob, the remains of Gothic decency.

The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

A day late and a dollar short once again. It was yesterday in the Pauline Rite and way back in May in the Roman Rite.

Even so, it's an excellent feast day to commemorate, even a day late. Did you notice that it's the octave day of Our Lady's Assumption? Once again, in my intermittently humble opinion, the Pauline Rite creators have made an excellent decision in their usually annoying calendar juggling. Today used to be the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and they have moved it very appropriately next to the feast of the Sacred Heart. And now the Coronation of Our Lady comes on the octave day of the Assumption -- chronologically nice and fittingly echoing the final two mysteries of the Rosary.

And, of course, I like the picture. Shame to waste an opportunity to put it up. You can click on it for a larger view, revealing the Gothic furniture which happily obtains in heaven.

Monday, August 20, 2007

In On The Ground Floor

A brand new blog for a brand new Society: The Society of St Hugh of Cluny. The Society is dedicated to the promotion of the traditional Roman Rite liturgy. They are off to an excellent start, sponsoring the visit of the author Martin Mosebach and liturgical scholar Fr. Uwe Michael Lang to the United States. Details on their lectures can be found at the link.

Unlooked for Grace

This blogging wheeze has unexpected benefits.

I have used Window Washer for ten years or so on various PC's. It used to clean up the assorted detritus that the net and Microsoft's hoarding tendencies accumulated on the computer. But this last version (edition 6.5 if you're taking notes) also took it upon itself to eliminate all of my bookmarks and saved passwords on the Opera browser. It also eliminated all of my settings on Eudora, the e-mail client. Eudora came out of that particular "wash" assuming it was a brand new programme with no knowledge of having been registered or that it had ever been connected to any ISP. Rectifiable, but a nuisance.

The bookmark loss, however, may be unrecoverable. It was backed up. Not recently, alas, but that should still mean that I have 14 of the last 15 years worth of bookmarks. Except the back up won't load on this machine.

!#$%&^!!, as I was heard to remark.

The small ray of light has been The Inn. The blogroll, which I have often felt was somewhat over-done, contains the nucleus of a re-build of the old bookmarks file. There is still an enormous amount missing, including whole topics and areas of research not remotely alluded to on The Inn. But still. Thank God for small, unexpected favours.

In the meantime, does anyone know the e-mail address of a Canadian vendor of Highland dress and assorted piping paraphernalia? They don't sell pipes or kilts but they had an interesting selection of tunics and, in particular, a nice, pale blue set of drone cords that I had my eye on before the Great Bookmark Disaster of Aught Seven. I think were called something like "Glengarry Hats" as that was their original product. Google seems not to have heard of them. Yahoo thinks I want a copy of a video of something called "Glengarry, Glen Ross". If you happen to know the address of the folks I'm referring to, a note to "" would be much appreciated.

[FOUND: It's here. I think I tried that address the other day. Given my spelling talents, I think we can guess why I didn't find it. . . .]

A Place in the Rotation

Bill Plaschke's column in The Times this morning reminds me once again how much I don't want to see either Ervin Santana or Bartolo Colon back in the Angel's pitching rotation. That, of course, isn't Bill's principal point. He's merely pro Joe Saunders and if that means sacrificing Santana or Colon, then so be it.

I, however, almost don't care who replaces either of them. The team has been let down far too often by the erratic Santana and the apparently chronically ill Colon. (Has he ever spent on entire month off the disabled list?) When either one of them is good, he is very good indeed. Unstoppable. But that only happens occasionally, like lightning flashes on a summer evening.

Plaschke is right: keep Saunders. I would add a corollary: make a place for him by dumping Santana. Trade him for a player who can hit the long ball. And Colon? Trade him when you can. And in the meantime, keep a hospital bed ready for him; he's never that far away from the disabled list.

Piping Hot

The piper in the picture was leading a group of Seaforth Highlanders in the African desert in 1943. (If you click on the picture, you can see a sgian dubh and flashes on the officer's stocking, doing his best to maintain the highland distinctions in spite of the War Office.)

I wasn't in the Sahara last week. Only Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley. But it felt like the Sahara, pushing 100° fahrenheit as it was. Neither Highland dress nor the Highland pipes were conceived with Chatsworth in mind. But we maintained the Highland distinctions, rather more of them than the officer in the picture was able to do. Although I rather think he in his khaki shirt and shorts was more comfortable than I in my lebbenty-leben pounds of Scottish wool.

I was playing for a funeral at the Oakwood Cemetery. An interesting place. Both Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are buried there, nowhere near each other, but the same cemetery just the same. Gravesite services are fairly short; 15 minutes usually covers it. Since the temperature was hovering at the triple digit mark (that's 37 or 38-ish for Celsius fans) it was, of course, over an hour. The piper wilted somewhat but was happily supplied with water. The poor old pipes were in a sad state, though. They warmed up considerably and the pitch was through the roof. Piping hot, indeed. I'm sure I pleased any passing bat. The congregation said they enjoyed the music. . .but they weren't as close to the pipe as I was.

I intended a different illustration for this post. I tried to take a picture of one of the signs at the cemetery with my pda camera but for whatever reason it wouldn't come out. The signs, posted at various strategic points throughout the area advised "Caution! Rattlesnake Season". Apparently the evil little buggers love to be out and about in the hot weather.

St Patrick, pray for us.

Russian Orthodox Gregorian Chant

No, really.

Have a listen here .

Friday, August 17, 2007

How did I miss that?

There was a wonderful appreciation of William Byrd and his music in The American Conservative last June. I missed it completely.

But Allan didn't. A nice piece for underground musicians everywhere.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New: Daily Mass in the Traditional Rite in Dublin

Well, that's what the post that used to be here said. It seems the announcement was, uh, premature. A "clarification" from Fr Zulsdorf's page;

The Archbishop of Dublin made no such announcement as described. The announcement made from the pulpit in St. Audoen’s, High St, Dublin 8 was made by Father Gerard Deighan, but Father Deighan emphasised that the Archbishop was considering the arrangement substantially suggested in the article, but that he had made no final decision in this regard. At the moment, there is a process of consultation and negotiation which are ongoing. You will appreciate that there are substantial and powerful enemies of the extraordinary form in the Dublin Archdiocese, so for this reason, I would be very grateful if the posting in question was either withdrawn or clarified.

Oh, well. Too much good news is bad for the digestion anyway.

[Confirmation from Fr Zuhlsdorf here.]

Found While Looking for Something Else

A weblog for Juventutem Ireland. They are, in their own words, "the Irish Chapter of the FIJ.We were established in 2006 and are a movement of young people loyal to the Church with reference to the July 7th,2007,motu proprio,Summorum Pontificum,of Pope Benedict XVI.We have members in Ireland from all walks of life.Our main aim is the sanctification of youth through traditional means."

They seem rather sober and serious, but otherwise quite a good group. They'll certainly have a place on The Inn's blogroll when I get a moment. In the meantime, you can find them here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pipe Bands from Awa'

Didn't know there was a Czestochowa Pipe Band did you? Well, there is. Mike Fieschko found an interview with their pipe major and one of their pipers on the occasion of the the band's visit to Scotland to honour their friends in the Mid Argyll Pipe Band and sent the link along to me. You can find it here.

The caption at the top of the page says it is Poland's only pipe band. This is technically true in one sense, as a minimum of six pipers are needed to field a competition pipe band. But the three (now four?) pipers left in the Gdansk Pipe Band are still carrying on as this website explains.

Thanks for the link, Mike. I enjoyed following it up.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Another Mass Added to the L.A. Indult Circuit

As you may know, those with a taste for the classical Roman Rite liturgy here in the Archdiocese of Hollywood have to be on their toes and paying attention at all times. Each Sunday's Mass in the said Rite is at a different location and at a different time. Except the third Sunday of the month, which is empty in this half of His Eminence's domain.

Until now. There is good news and not-quite-so-good news. It was announced at Mass today that beginning in September, there will be a traditional Roman Rite Mass on the third Sunday of the month at St Therese's Church in Alhambra. This is the Discalced Carmelite parish in the archdiocese.

That was the good news.

For me, the not-quite-so-good news is that it is 1:00 p.m. It is not possible to make the 2:00 p.m. OCDS meeting at one end of the 605 freeway after attending a 1:00 p.m. Mass at the OCD church at the other end of the freeway. There is still the 7:00 a.m. Mass in the Orange Diocese but it would have been nice to attend the old Mass in the Carmelite church.

The Mither Tongue

If you were curious about The Maiglin Hogney, a new website may be just your cuppa tae.

The Scots Project
has put on line "a Corpus of Scottish texts from 1945 to the present day". It contains all that was written of any significance at all in the the braid Scots tongue. Such as the story that begins:

The war aince a man that haed thrie braw sons, but wi smaw fendin ti plenish thaim. Sae whan the auldest ane wes mair nor a hauflin, he gaed til his faither an said til him:

“Faither, an ye wul be sae guid as ti gie me a horse for ti ryde on, a hound ti hunt wi, Ah wul gang oot inti the warld an seek ma fortuin.”

You'll find the exciting conclusion here.

St Lawrence's Tears

Nothing to do with the fact that the St Lawrence O'Toole Pipe Band only got 6th in the worlds on Saturday. Sixth is actually pretty darn good. Not, of course, as good as they deserved but nothing to cry over.

St Lawrence's tears actually refers to the Perseid meteor shower that occurs about this time of year. St Lawrence's feast day, the anniversary of his martyrdom by fire, was (and still is) on the 10th of August. The Perseid meteor shower begins a few day before his feast and ends a few day afterward. If you're up tonight or tomorrow night from about 1:00 a.m. to dawn take a look at the northeast sky and you will see the various "shooting stars" that make up the Perseid meteors. They're called St Lawrence's tears as the heavens themselves weep at St Lawrence's suffering.

(The link was put up for the 2005 occurrence but it works for 2007 just the same.)

Interesting Week Last Week

Played for a wedding. Teddibly posh. Held in “the O.C.” at a hotel the size of a small university. At first glance, I thought I had walked in on the Paris Hilton Look-Alike Contest. But, no. Only bridesmaids. Just bridesmaids. And I swear on a stack of bishops, they were paired with a sort of American version of the Drones Club. There were no buns present on the lawn with which to have a bun fight. But had there been, I have no doubt there would have been.

I won't bore you with all the details but it was quite a do. There was a whole platoon of wedding co-ordinators with clip-on microphones and bluetooth earpieces, at least a dozen photographers (not counting the video folks), a string trio, and another piper. They hired the both of us independently of each other and expected us to play together on the spot. As it happens, the other piper was a friend of mine and our tuning needed only minor adjustment to be spot on. It worked out well. But the co-ordinator folks did like to keep it exciting.

And one of our nephews is out from Ireland, working in California for the summer at assorted jobs with varied success and sampling the Hollywood night life with apparently a great deal more success. So on Saturday we took him about for the day, introduced him to one of his cousins, showed him some of The Queen City of the Southwest (that's Long Beach, for the uninitiated), gave him a good lunch, bought him some groceries, and returned him to his digs in time for his late date.

Herself and I then went home and had a cup of tea and watched the news.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

St Albert of Sicily

One of the old Carmelite saints is commemorated today. If you happen to have an old Rituale, you may have seen the Blessing of St Albert's Water. This is that St Albert.

His history from the old "Book of Carmelite Devotions":

St Albert was born of noble parents, at Trapani in Sicily. He was consecrated before his birth to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and when very young entered her Order at Messina, where he was distinguished for his great devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and for his angelic purity. After a life full of virtue and extraordinary miracles, he died near Messina on the 7th of August, 1306. At his funeral two angels appeared to all who were present in the church, and intoned the Mass “Os Iusti” of Confessors instead of the Mass of Requiem, which the clergy were about to chant for the repose of his soul.

The use of water blessed with a relic of the Saint, for the cure of the sick and particularly for cases of fever, is well established in the Order of Carmel, and is justified by innumerable miracles, which have continued without interruption to the present day.

Inflamed with charity for his neighbor, he besought the most holy Virgin to attach a healing power to all water which he would bless in her name and in that of her divine Son. His prayer was granted; he used this power during life, and has continued to exercise it since his death, with marvelous efficacy, by means of his holy relics, as has been proved by innumerable persons who have taken this water with faith and confidence while invoking his intercession.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Liturgical Tutorial

The Canons Regular of St John Cantius have the beginnings of an on-line tutorial here for the "extraordinary" usage of the Roman Rite, i.e., the traditional Roman Rite. Eventually it should have full instructions for the proper celebration of the classical Latin Mass for everyone from the celebrans to the veriest candle-bearer. I haven't actually downloaded it myself to check, but there appears to be a complete Missale Romanum in pdf format that can be downloaded. [ADDENDUM: Someone who has downloaded it, informs that it is not the 1962 Missal but two or three editions earlier. A not insurmountable obstacle with a good Ordo.]

It's a useful and beautifully done site now. It should be well-nigh indispensable when it's finished.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tommy Makem -- R.I.P.

Sad news in the paper this morning: Tommy Makem died last Wednesday. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem were one of the musical mainstays of my youth. They were the beginning, the seed, of what became the “Celtic” music phenomenon. It merits its own category in the recorded music lists now.

It's a shock not just to see the notice of his death but to find that he was 74. (If he's 74, I must be. . . .oh, dear.) I can't remember how many of the brothers have died. Is it only Liam Clancy left?

Here is the obituary from The Irish Independent.

The notice on the RTE (Irish radio) website can be found here

If you click on the little tv/radio icon underneath the headline on the RTE page, a new window will open with links to several interviews with Liam Clancy, Tommy's nephew Peter, and others from the traditional Irish music world. It's worth the time.

"Brennan on the Moor" (Tommy Makem on banjo)

"I'll tell me ma"
(Tommy on tin whistle)

"The Shoals of Herring"

"The Wild Rover"

A final note: before he immigrated to America from Keady in the North of Ireland, Tommy was a member of the Keady Pipe Band. In the U.S., he signed up with the old County Armagh Pipe Band in New York.

God rest his soul.