30 November 2007

St. Andrew's Novena

This is your yearly reminder: St. Andrew's Day is tomorrow (or today already, if you're on the east coast like Lizzy), so get out your novena prayer cards, think of an intention, and pray along with us!

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment when the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, o my God, to hear my prayers and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

Fifteen times a day. I like to say five repetitions three times a day; your mileage may vary. I promise, this one works.

26 November 2007

Nuptial Mass, 17th November 2007
St. Paul the Apostle Church, Los Angeles

Preludes: Duruflé, Veni Creator Spiritus; J.S. Bach, Liebster Jesu
Procession of the priest: Introit, Deus Israel
Procession of the wedding party: J.G. Walther, Concerto del Sigr. Albinoni mvt. 1
Kyrie: Palestrina, Missa Assumpta est Maria
Gradual: Uxor tua
Alleluia: Mittat vobis
Offertory: Duruflé, Ubi caritas
Sanctus: Missa Cum Jubilo (Mass IX)
Agnus Dei: Palestrina, Missa Assumpta est Maria
Communion: Palestrina, Surge propera amica mea
Recessional: Walther, Concerto del Sigr. Albinoni mvt. 3

Reception music: Andy Cooney Band.

For those of you who haven't been keeping up with the blog, CatholicNerd and I got married a little over a week ago. Lizzy is the maid of honor that you see in the fetching red dress. The Mass was chanted in English by a friend of ours from Spokane who did a wonderful job. It could only have been more perfect if it had been ad orientem (not possible with that altar because of steps right in front of it), if the choir had been a little more delicate with the Palestrina pieces, and if the parish wedding coordinator had let us have altar candles rather than asymmetrically-arranged floor candles (the wedding coordinator is the American manifestation of Dolores Umbridge; seriously, she's evil and her office is pink). It was beautiful, though, and touched the hearts of many of our non-Catholic guests, and many of the Catholic guests as well. I hope some of them came away with ideas of what Catholic marriage is, and what the liturgy is about.

The priest said it was the most beautiful wedding he'd witnessed in his thirty years of ministry, not because of the music alone--he's done chanted wedding Masses before--but because of the attitude of the people involved. He gave a beautiful homily relating marriage to the liturgy. I wouldn't say we're great friends with that priest, but he understands us and our particular brand of piety in a profound way, and his homily reflected that. I can't remember all of the last sentence of his homily, but I do remember the very last words--his resonant baritone voice boomed out, "...be like God."

People told me I wouldn't hear a note of the music after I started down the aisle. To the contrary, I heard the choirs warming up, I heard the introit chanted beautifully, I heard the organist's articulation, I heard the sopranos be screechy on the Kyrie, I saw the soloist's hands tremble as he held his music for the gradual verse, I heard the second reader consistently sing descending fourths instead of thirds. I heard the priest chanting the Roman canon, and delighted to hear the names of the saints even as I worried about my groom's knees giving out ("nobody kneels here," so the wedding coordinator wouldn't let us have a prie dieu--we knelt anyway, on the bare marble floor). I noticed a lot of things. I was very calm.

I wasn't calm when I got up that morning. I woke up at 3am and couldn't fall asleep again because I felt sick. I paced my apartment for three hours trying not to be sick, was sick at 6am anyway, and gave up and took a shower at 6:30. By 7 my maid of honor and "honorary bridesmaid" were awake, too, and they told jokes and calmed me down enough to eat a bit of breakfast before heading to the hotel where my mother would help me dress and do my hair. I saw CatholicNerd in the lobby just before we left for the church, and he looked wonderful. I guess I didn't look too bad, judging from the look on his face. We were both pretty comfortable by the time we got to the church, making jokes in the sacristy with the altar servers and the priest.

The Mass was solemn, and the reception was a hell of a party. We Catholics know about juxtapositions like that; solemnity loses its savor if you're always solemn, and the sweetness of rejoicing becomes cloying if you have no solemnity to balance it with--it would be like eating cake all the time. The reception was all the better because the Mass was solemn (good food, wine, music, and a large-ish crowd help, too).

We honeymooned in San Diego, and had two bits of Catholic nerdity--on Sunday morning we went to the local Extraordinary Use Mass at 9am (yes, 9am the day after the wedding), which happens to be in a cemetary chapel. On Wednesday as we returned to LA from San Diego, we visited Missions San Diego de Alcala, San Luis Rey de Francia, and San Juan Capistrano. We've vowed to do a novena of visiting missions--nine missions in 90 days--to pray for each other and for a good and fruitful marriage. (No, I've never heard of anyone doing such a novena before--we just made it up.)

Oh, and I bought my first chapel veil in the gift shop at San Juan Capistrano. It's black. I won't wear it all the time, because it would make me a distraction to people at my usual parish, but I'll have it for places where wearing a veil is more common, and that makes me happy.

11 November 2007

Video Game Idea

It would be kind of cool to have a video game in which the object was to slay demons and free other people from the influence of the devils. If you were injured, you would have to find a church in order to replenish your resources--holy water, a new crucifix, a blessing from the priest. On your travels, pick up medals and have them blessed in order to increase your strength via the intercession of the saint depicted on the medal, or receive tips on how to advance to the next level.

The soundtrack would preferably feature plenty of scary organ music for the demon-fighting, and elegant, serene, maybe baroque-ish pieces for inside the churches.

08 November 2007

Your Catholic Oddity of the Week

No, this won't be a series, unfortunately. I just had to share one of my findings with you all.

Can't make it to daily Mass, but want that "just been to church" smell all week? Does your parish just not smell the same as the old church you went to in your childhood? Would you like your home icon corner to reek of holiness, but your landlord is suspicious of the smoke from your incense burner?

Demeter Fragrance has the solution to your problems. Use just one fragrance or combine some to get the effect you want. For our readers who want to smell like a church, we recommend combining "Holy Smoke", "Holy Water", and possibly, "Dust". Our Byzantine friends may want to add a touch of "Bulgarian Rose" to their Holy Smoke.

06 November 2007

Prayer Request

A friend of mine, L., told me last spring that she would not be returning to work this fall, but did not tell me why. She's the sort of person who is quite reserved about her private life. This weekend, a mutual friend told me why L. isn't working this fall. L. and her husband welcomed twin daughters recently, but the initial joy of the discovery of pregnancy last spring was marred by the fact that L. is about 48 years old--the pregnancy was extremely high risk, and I guess she didn't want to tell anyone because she was afraid they'd lose the babies. Both girls were born alive, but very premature, and as often happens in such situations, one baby is smaller and weaker than the other. I was told that both infants are or have been on respirators, and that they are still unsure whether the smaller girl will make it.

Please pray for L. and her husband and their babies. It is a terrible thing when the birth of a child is not the unadulterated joy that it should be because of illness. Pray for the survival and health of the twins, and the patience and mental health of their parents in this very difficult time.

02 November 2007

Musicology Conference, Quebec City, Part I

Games to play when you get bored:

"Spot the Musicologist"--one or more players, a good one to play at the airport. The rules are self-explanatory. Extra points for spotting someone who wrote something you read for a class once. Double points for spotting someone who doesn't appear to be dressed like a musicologist, but who you see at the conference later.

"Guess the Session/Reception"--one or more players. With the conference book in hand, guess which paper sessions or receptions the people you really want to see will be attending. If you guess right, you proceed to the next round. If you guess wrong, you've lost a networking opportunity.

"Catch His/Her Eye"--round two of "Guess the Session/Reception." Having found the person you wanted to talk to, you must now get his or her attention. This is especially difficult if the person you want to talk to is the head of a committee, editor of a major publication, or just plain popular. If you speak to them and they speak back, you win. If they actually use your name at some point or remember meeting you before, double points (unless they work at your school).

If you're really bored, you can always do what I did this afternoon: play hookey. I did a bit of exploring in vieux Quebec today, and when I get home I'll post the pictures I took of the Basilica. It's awfully small for a basilica, but very ornate, and I was privileged to hear the organist practicing a really impressive piece on their 1927 Casavant organ. I'll go to Mass there tomorrow evening (I didn't arrive in time for Mass yesterday--apparently All Saints isn't a day of obligation in Canada--and I'll be traveling on Sunday). A friend went to the noon Mass there today, and she told me the priest celebrated very elegantly and carefully. Hopefully I get to see the same priest.