Saturday, April 23, 2011

Christ Is Risen!

Well, I never did find time to put up more from the Blessed Cardinal Schuster.

I was able to attend more of the Sacred Triduum this year than I have in a very long time. Maundy Thursday was at St John Chrysostom in Inglewood. It was sparsely attended. But then it was hardly advertized at all. If you saw mention of it here, you saw half of the advertizing for it. At least that's all I saw. But it was splendid nonetheless. Fr Bishop celebrated, including the washing of the feet. There was no stripping of the altar ceremony since the regular parish Mass was to be held shortly afterward. The schola was the one which sings at the 1st Sunday Masses at Dominguez chapel. In the cavernous spaces of St John's they were not merely good, they were glorious. St John's is very large with a huge vaulted ceiling, marble floors, stone walls, wooden pews and not a piece of carpeting or sound-deadening material in sight. Talk about a "live" church. It was an ideal venue for chant and polyphony.

For Good Friday we went to St Mary by the Sea in Huntington Beach. For a start it's an improvement over the cross-town trek to Inglewood. St Mary is a little church with plaster walls and wooden floors so this schola had to do without architectural assistance. But it was beautiful anyway. Of course, it was in the old rite and you can't ruin the old rite. Once again, no deacons to help. But on Good Friday there's no Mass so there is no large section spoken quietly to give the priest a break. Fr Alphonsus, poor thing, was chanting for almost the whole two hours. The proper chants for the Gospel presume three deacons and provide for a slightly different pitch and vocal range for each "part". But Father did it all and very well, too. If you'd like a sample of the Gospel chant, this one is very well-done:

There are two more parts. The whole thing is about 20 minutes. It's quite marathon even if you're not one priest alone.

On Holy Saturday my best-laid plans ganged seriously agley. There was no celebration in the traditional rite to be had. The local N.O. ceremonies are not to be endured. I've done that. I won't do it again. The Abbey does celebrate a magnificent Holy Saturday liturgy in what is basically the Pauline rite but with some Norbertine touches. However, it doesn't end until after midnight, which means not getting to bed until after one, and then up again at 5:30 or 6:00 so I can go play for a Protestant early morning service that I do annually. And I'm too old to get by on 4 or 5 hours sleep. So I'll say my own prayers and get to bed early.


Who knew the neighbours would think Holy Saturday such an excellent time for a loud, drunken party including a dj and his turbo-charged amplifiers? Not I. So, no private prayer, no posting on The Inn, and to be sure no early to bed. Instead put on the ear phones and listen to something decent until after 12 when they decide they've had enough. On Easter Sunday I played my gig on 5 or so hours sleep. Fortunately, I can play Amazing Grace six times through even while half asleep. (Yeah, Amazing Grace. What can I tell you? That's what they wanted. I suggested "Jesus Christ is Risen Today". Nope. Amazing Grace. He who pays the piper, etc.)

The traditional Mass at St Therese later in the day was, as the late Cardinal McIntyre used to say, grand and glorious. Fr Bishop. Traditional Rite. Palestrina. Need I say more?