Monday, December 24, 2007

San Francisco Chronicle Article on St. Ann Choir and Prof. Mahrt


In this blog is an assortment of information about the front page SFChronicle article yesterday about Prof. Mahrt and the St. Ann choir.

The attachment is one of the photos you can see at sfgate.com (link further down). Nice photo. It's a bit odd, though, that Susan Altstatt got included as one of the tenors!

You can listen to the podcast, including more quotes from the interview that didn't get into the article and singing at Chronicle Radio:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=5&entry_id=22826

In the interest of musical fellowship.

Roseanne

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This article was sent to you by someone who found it on SFGate.
The original article can be found on SFGate.com here:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/12/23/MN5MTKOJN.DTL
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Sunday, December 23, 2007 (SF Chronicle)
Stanford professor's Palo Alto choir keeps Gregorian chant alive
Carrie Sturrock, Chronicle Staff Writer


Gregorian chant has persisted for more than a thousand years, but some
fear the haunting melodies are in danger of fading away.
That is, unless Stanford Professor William Mahrt has a voice in the
matter. For the past 44 years, this musician and scholar has directed a
choir to keep alive the medieval Catholic tradition he believes is a
pathway to the sacred and divine.
"When you sing it beautifully and when it really works, there's an
absolute still in the church," he said. "That's the kind of silence that's
fruitful and it represents a kind of self-awareness that is also aware of
the wider realities, and that kind of silence is where you have your best
opportunity to speak to God and to listen to God."
It hasn't always been easy. Gregorian chant calls to mind robed monks
singing Latin in a Gothic cathedral, and for hundreds of years that's
exactly what it looked like. Many in the church considered the sonorous
chant a relic and Mahrt's choir odd.
"Sometimes we were treated like a lunatic fringe," said Susan Altstatt,
who has sung in Mahrt's choir in Palo Alto for 40 years. "A lot thought we
were not very 'with it' - as far as being part of the modern church - and
hoped we would eventually dry up and blow away."
But Mahrt, 68, is not just deeply religious, he's also stubborn. He
considers Gregorian chant one of the greatest artistic achievements of
Western civilization. So it's in everyone's best interest to keep it
around - Catholic or no.
"The stuff is so unique that you hear a snatch of it and you say 'What is
that?' " Mahrt said. "It isn't like anything else you've heard."
On a recent Sunday, he stood in the balcony of St. Thomas Aquinas Church
in Palo Alto, his tall, slightly bent frame directing the 20 men and women
- known as the St. Ann Choir - whose chanting seemed at times to have a
mesmerizing effect on the congregation, making everything tranquil and
quiet.
"Dignus est agnus, qui occisus est/ accipere virtutem, et divinitatem, et/
sapientiam, et fortitudinem, et honorem."
"Worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power, and divinity, and
wisdom, and strength, and honor."
Chanting was common in churches across the world until the early 1960s,
when the Second Vatican Council permitted the Latin Mass to be said in the
vernacular and the priest to face the congregation instead of the altar.
Chant got the boot as churches turned to pop folk music to try to appeal
to a broader audience - music Mahrt says he "wouldn't cross the street" to
listen to. Priests who valued the chant yet didn't use it during Mass have
told Mahrt they feared modern congregations wouldn't get it. But Mahrt
contends that chant is accessible if people are properly introduced to it
and persuaded of its worth.
Now, most folks hear it only occasionally - in movies such as "Becket" or
if they happen to hear recordings by the Benedictine Monks of Santo
Domingo de Silos, who made it briefly popular.
And although Pope Benedict XVI recently announced that the Vatican's choir
would return to Gregorian chant, Mahrt still worries. There aren't many
Gregorian chant choirs in the United States and even fewer that have done
what Mahrt's has: rehearsed and chanted the entire Mass every week for
more than four decades.
Gregorian chant is Latin liturgical texts sung in an unaccompanied melody
- so no instruments. Many scholars believe it dates back to fourth century
Jerusalem, although nothing was written down until the ninth century. For
500 years it endured through memory, which Mahrt considers astonishing
since the chant involves 365 days of the Catholic liturgical cycle. It's
called "Gregorian" because legend has it Pope St. Gregory I, the Great
(540-604), played a key role in arranging the chants.
The chants may be ancient, but Mahrt's motley crew of a choir looks
decidedly modern, wearing everything from Birkenstocks and tie-dye to high
heels and suits. Mahrt would love to spiff them up with robes, but the
suggestion never seems to go anywhere. And not everyone is Catholic - some
chant for the sheer joy of it.
Many view Mahrt as something of a hero, said choir member Roseanne
Sullivan. In an age of instant, ever-changing entertainment, his
dedication hasn't wavered. The confirmed bachelor shows up almost without
fail, always in a tie and jacket, and with a large store of patience. When
he's not there and a substitute choir director takes his place, it's often
because he's promoting chant in other parts of the country and world.
"He's shown up year after year and week after week ... for 44 years," she
said. "Can you imagine?"
Mahrt, an associate professor of music, began his undergraduate education
at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., but graduated from the University
of Washington. He then earned his doctorate at Stanford. Friends say he's
one of the world's foremost authorities on Gregorian chant and one of
Stanford's best music professors.
He guides his graduate students deep into their intellectual arguments
until they've mastered the material and "will invest an almost
unbelievable amount of time into things," said George Houle, a Stanford
professor emeritus. Mahrt has been slow to publish in an academic world
that highly values that practice because, as Houle put it, "everything he
does has that deep perfection and thought" and he wants to own a subject
before writing about it.
Much of his spare income goes to collecting books on Gregorian chant, and
he had to specially brace his extra bedroom's floor when he turned it into
a library with stacks. Friends say his collection, which includes a 14th
century chant book that he likes to show visitors, is more extensive than
Stanford's.
Nothing about his upbringing on a wheat farm in Spokane exposed him to
Gregorian chant, but he did have a devoutly religious mother who required
all her children to take up a musical instrument in the third grade. It
wasn't until Mahrt was an undergraduate at the University of Washington
that he was introduced to Gregorian chant by a Dominican priest in the
community.
He likes to say that someone once defined the sacred as "doing the right
thing at the right time and in the right place." Gregorian chant is just
that, he said: putting to music all these Latin liturgical texts that form
the backbone of the Catholic faith.
"It adds something beautiful," he said. "A religious service ... should be
beautiful because beauty is an attribute of God."

-- To hear the St. Ann Choir perform Gregorian chant, go to
sfgate.com/podcasts.
The St. Ann Choir will chant the Christmas Eve midnight Mass as well as
the Christmas Day noon Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Church. The church is
located at 751 Waverley St., Palo Alto.

E-mail Carrie Sturrock at csturrock@sfchronicle.com. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2007 SF Chronicle


Monday, December 10, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, CMAA President and St. Ann Choir Director, Wiliam Mahrt, Speaks on Sacred Music and Liturgy on EWTN Live TV and Radio

This coming Wednesday, December 12, CMAA President and St. Ann Choir Director, Prof. William Mahrt is scheduled to appear on EWTN TV and radio on the subject of "Sacred Music and Liturgy." He will be on the "EWTN Live" show with host Fr. Mitch Pacwa at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. (The show encores: Thur. 12/13. at 1 a.m., Thur. 12/13 at 9 a.m. and Sun. 12/ 16 4 a.m. Eastern time. You can also find the show in the station's archives if you miss it.)

You can view the EWTN Live show on cable TV; view it or listen to it over the Internet at ewtn.com, or listen to it on Sirius satellite radio. You can call in with a question at 1 (800)221-9460 when the show is on.

To view it over the Internet:
Note: When prompted, select a video player according to your Internet connection speed.
1. Go to http://EWTN.com/tv.
2. Select Multimedia from the top menu and go to Live shows at 8 p.m. Eastern Dec. 12.
3. If you miss it and want to watch it later, select Archived shows.

Prof. Mahrt's more than 40 years work with the St. Ann Choir and his work as president of the Church Music Association of America and editor of its journal, Sacred Music, were lauded recently in two articles:

"Champion of Chant," Stanford Report and "Gregorian Champ," National Catholic Register

In the Bay Area, EWTN TV stations are:

o Comcast digital Ch. 229;
o DISH satellite Ch. 261
o DirectTV Ch. 422
o NOTE: In Palo Alto and Stanford, Comcast airs EWTN on Ch. 74.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What is Professor Mahrt like? Answers to a Reporter from SF Chronicle

A photographer and a writer from San Francisco Chronicle showed up at the St. Ann choir rehearsal and Mass last Sunday (Feast of Christ the King). The writer asked me a few questions outside the church, and she gave me her card and said she would call me. I sent her the following email on Tuesday.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 3:24 PM
To: Sturrock, Carrie
Subject: What is Professor Mahrt like? Some thoughts in answer to your question

What is Professor Mahrt like? I have been thinking about this since you asked me Sunday after Mass.

I mentioned his focus and his dedication, that he shows up to lead rehearsal every Thursday night (when he isn’t at conferences or other music events) just as he has pretty much for 40 plus years straight through. Believe it or not, there is some question about whether he even gets paid for the vast amount of work he does directing the choir. I’ve seen a printed quotation in some article or other from someone who knows him who lauded Bill’s uncompensated time- and talent- draining work.

Prof. Mahrt is a predictable sight to be seen at dusk on most Thursday nights, loping across the Stanford campus towards the Braun music building rehearsal room. He is tall (6’1’), white haired, spare. His nose is a bit beak like, and he is ever so slightly stooped. So from a distance his silhouette is a bit reminiscent of Ichabod Crane. But unlike Ichabod, Bill Mahrt carries a large portfolio of chant pages for the next Sunday and a music stand under one arm, and in the other hand he holds a metal briefcase with the polyphonic motets for the week, some hymns, and any Mass settings the choir might be practicing for upcoming feasts.

He almost always wears a buttoned-up shirt, a tie and a jacket.

His conservative polyester apparel is in striking contrast to the mufti worn by the choir. The members’ California spirit of do your own thing is evidenced in the variety of clothes they wear when they sing. Singers straggle into Sunday rehearsal an hour ahead of Mass wearing anything from blue jeans to sweat suits, Birkenstocks to jogging shoes, with a sprinkling of Indian dresses that could have been and quite likely often have been hanging in closets since the 1960s. You know, the colorful rayon kind with the little mirrors . . .. You see lots of shawls. A few of the men sport long grey ponytails. That’s not to say that you won’t see a few suits and men’s oxford shoes, Sunday dresses and stylish high heels on some of the singers. But it cannot be denied that it is a motley group.

Bill’s occasional suggestion that we might consistently use choir robes (instead of only for Vespers) brings rebellious cries from several of the most outspoken choir members, and the idea gets tabled again.

One interesting fact is that a large minority of the choir is not Catholic, and many participate only because they love the music.

Bill Mahrt’s single most appealing attribute for me is his gift for hospitality. At the first rehearsal I attended, he brought refreshments in honor of the birthday of Susan Weisberg, because, as he said, she always remembers people’s birthdays. He poured very good wine from his extensive wine collection into real wine glasses that he carried in cartons with little cardboard dividers. And he walked around the room like an attentive waiter offering a plate of strawberries . . .. I was impressed.

The first Sunday Lauds I attended was one of the last times that the choir was able to sing Lauds in its original home, St. Ann Chapel, which was formerly the Stanford University Newman Center. After a traditional Anglican congregation had bought the chapel from the Catholic diocese, they let the St. Ann choir continue its singing of both Lauds and Vespers there for quite some time. But last year they started having their own Lauds, and there was no room there any more on Sunday mornings.

When I started to get into my car after Lauds that first morning, Bill called to me across the street, rather perfunctorily, but pleasantly enough, “There’s coffee.” So I stayed. He took out of the trunk of his beat up Honda another carton, this time with china mugs, plus two thermos pots of coffee, milk and sugar, and biscotti. One choir member brought a homemade cake. I happened to have a freshly baked bag of corn muffins in the car so I put that out on the brick bench under the tree with the rest of the repast. We stood around drinking coffee and talking until it was time to pack everything up and go to Mass rehearsal. I was impressed again.

Repast, now that’s a Bill Mahrt word. He also uses collation when he talks about the spread that some dedicated volunteers put out for the choir after the noon Mass every week.

Not being able to find any place else to hold Lauds, Bill now opens his home every Sunday morning to the three or four of us who still attend. And serves us coffee afterwards on his good china.

Vespers are better attended, but always with more singers in the choir than there are hearers in the congregation (maybe 6 or 7 to 2 to 4). As you may have heard, Susan and John Altstatt host a dinner for the choir every Sunday night after Vespers at their funky home in the Los Altos hills. They push together long folding tables and serve very good meals from restaurant-sized pots and pans to whoever shows up. Bill always brings three bottles of his excellent wine to the dinner.

And when the Altstatts are on one of their frequent camping trips in their big AirStream trailer out in the desert, indisposed, or otherwise unavailable, Bill hosts the dinner at his home.

He is the only man I have ever met who has three sets of dinnerware. One set is Spode china. He puts out cloth napkins and real silverware. And he composes unforgettable meals in his tiny kitchen. One Sunday night one of the choir members confessed she had been dreaming all week about the red pepper sauce Bill had prepared the week before. I still am mentally licking my lips about a meal of shrimp rolled in sole served with tiny baby patty pan squash (all sauced to perfection) and Bill’s perennial risotto that Bill prepared after Vespers a few weeks ago.

If you are interested, I’ll send you the recipe for the red pepper sauce. J

One long time choir member told me about a wonderfully handsome graduate student from South America who had once been in the choir, and she said, “All the girls who weren’t in love with him were in love with Bill.” The handsome South American got married and went home, and sadly died young. But in spite of all the choir members who have purportedly loved Bill over the years, Bill never has been married or engaged. One more recent choir member charmingly said about him when I was wondering about Bill’s marital state that “he is a monkdom of one.”

He turned 68 on March 9. He had a heart attack last year, and now watches his diet religiously. And he is one of the vast numbers of men of a certain age living with prostate cancer. I heard him telling a former choir member who showed up for rehearsal a few weeks ago that (in spite of his having the prostate removed) the cancer has metastasized, but the doctors don’t know where to. “They’ll start chemo at some point,” he said, after the blood marker reaches a certain point. And he quoted his father to her, who had prostate cancer too and died in his 90s. With a rueful laugh, he told her, as his father often said, “We’ve all got to go some time.”

We hope that for Bill that “some time” is some time in the far future.

Susan Altstatt said to me last week that it is good that Bill and the music he has so valiantly preserved are getting noticed at this late date. It must be gratifying to him. I agreed and blurted the thought that sprang to my mind, that fame if it arrives at all often comes only after the person is dead.

P.S.

Susan Altstatt said she wanted to tell you that Bill is right off the farm. He often mentions that he was raised on a farm near Spokane. He mentioned once that in high school, he was a trombone player, and he attended Gonzaga University in Spokane on a band scholarship. His interest in things musical evolved. According to Susan, Bill learned Dominican chant while he was at Gonzaga. He came to Stanford originally to work on a doctorate on Mozart in piano performance but when he met mathematics professor William Pohl, the choir’s founder, and started singing Gregorian chant in 1963 when the choir started, he said he realized that was what he wanted to do. He sat down, he said once, and sang through all the ordinary chants for all the Masses. And he has been doing that ever since.

BTW, I have a history he wrote around 1989 if you would find it helpful.

Give me a call if you want to talk more.

I am very happy you are doing this article. It was a pleasure to meet you!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chant Survivor William Mahrt: Anno quadragesimo quarto

This interview was published in an edited form in "Gregorian Champ," National Catholic Register Nov. 18 -24.


Above: Prof. Mahrt led the women's chant schola at the June 2007 Sacred Music Colloquium

In 1963, William Mahrt was a Stanford graduate student when he joined a new choir just starting at St. Ann Chapel in Palo Alto, California. Today, Mahrt is a professor of music at Stanford and director of the St. Ann Choir. Two years ago, Prof. Mahrt became president of the Church Music Association of America.

Back forty-four years ago, the St. Ann Choir’s founder, the late William Pohl, started a program of Gregorian chant and polyphonic music that the choir has continued to this very day—even while the kind of music the choir sings has been out of favor in much of the Catholic Church for most of the ensuing years.

The election of traditional Church music lover Benedict XVI to the papacy is bringing a thrill of hope to people like Mahrt, the CMAA, and others who persevered in performing this kind of music. These days, the pendulum of Church music appears to be swinging back towards greater inclusion of the traditional forms. Where that pendulum will come to rest is a matter of intense speculation by interested parties on both sides of this issue.

Some definitions: Gregorian chant developed as an intrinsic part of the liturgy of the Catholic Church, and it is unique among all the types of music that can be used in the liturgy because it has always been used only for worship. Some refer to Gregorian chant as “sung prayer.” Purely melodic, it is sung by one or several singers. It does not use harmony, counterpoint, or any accompaniment. Polyphony is unaccompanied multi-voiced music that developed from chant. Gregorian refers to Pope St. Gregory I, the Great (540 - 604), who may have played an important (sometimes disputed) role in the arrangement of the chants. In 1903, Pope St. Pius X proclaimed that Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony were the official music of the Roman Catholic Church’s liturgy.

Quite by coincidence, I interviewed Professor Mahrt about the CMAA on Sept. 3—on the feast of Pope St. Gregory the Great in the revised Roman calendar and also the feast of Pope St. Pius X in the traditional calendar.

Q: What is the CMAA?

The Church Music Association was formed by an amalgamation of the Society of St. Caecilia (founded in 1874) and the Catholic Choir Masters Guide (founded in 1913) shortly after the Vatican II council. So we are quite a longstanding organization.

The purpose of the Church Music Association has always been the cultivation and improvement of music for the liturgy. Its focus is Gregorian chant and the classical polyphony of tradition in the context of the liturgy.

Q: What would you say to people who believe that Vatican II documents mandated that Latin, Gregorian chant, and polyphony, and the organ were no longer to be used?

At the 2nd Vatican Council, the first document was the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which specified that Gregorian chant should be given pride of place in the Roman rite. One doesn’t see a lot of evidence of Gregorian chant having pride of place in this country.

So, one of our campaigns is to increase the use of Gregorian chant for the regular services.

Another point that comes from the council is that polyphonic music has a special role, a privileged place in the use of the Church.

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and the 1967 document “Instruction on Music in the Liturgy,” “Musicam Sacram,” also had this to say:
• The use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
• The treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered.
• The pipe organ is the canonical church instrument. It is to be held in high esteem because it lifts up man's mind to God and to higher things.

Q: Does the CMAA want to make chant and polyphony exclusively used?

We want chant and polyphony to have the priority that was mandated by the 2nd Vatican council, not necessarily to be exclusively used.

Q: What is the CMAA accomplishing?

We publish the journal Sacred Music that has been under my editorship for about a year and a half. Sacred Music is a continuation of the journal Caecilia that was started by the Society of St. Caecilia in 1874, so we rather proudly claim that Sacred Music is the oldest continuously published journal of music in North America.

The journal addresses issues of both the tradition and the gradual incorporation of better music into contemporary liturgical practice.

We have a Sacred Music colloquium every summer and that colloquium is growing by leaps and bounds. In 2006 we had something like eighty people. This past June [2007] we had one hundred and forty, and we turned away a hundred. And we anticipate larger numbers next year.

We are moving the colloquium next year from Catholic University of America in Washington, DC to Loyola University in Chicago, where the facilities will accommodate the larger number of people we expect.

Priests, choir singers, congregation members, choir directors, and organists are coming to this colloquium seeking ways in which they can improve the quality and the sacred character of the music they are doing in their churches today.

We also present workshops. For example, this Fall we are holding a seminar for clergy on October 17-19 at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago on how to sing their parts of the Mass. The seminar will include training in singing both the new and old forms of the Roman Rite.

Q: What future aims does the CMAA have?

With Pope Benedict’s initiatives about the liturgy, there is an increased awareness of the importance and the beauty of the Latin church music and of the need for the music to enhance the sacred character of the liturgy.

We hope that the increased interest in the traditional Church music and in the sacredness of music of the liturgy will grow. And we hope that we can assist everyone who needs it to find the appropriate ways of improving their liturgies.



[It’s probably fitting to let Pope Benedict XVI have the last word:
I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy . . .. This is why we need a new Liturgical Movement, which will call to life the real heritage of the Second Vatican Council. Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977 (SF, CA: Ignatius), p. 149.]


For more information on the CMAA, its colloquium, and its other resources, see the CMAA website

For a collection of quotes by Pope Benedict XVI on sacred music and the liturgy, see: Benedict on Music.

To join in the discussion about the new Liturgical Movement, see The New Liturgical Movement blog.

Roseanne Therese Sullivan is a San Jose writer, photographer, and artist, a secular Discalced Carmelite, and a singer in The St. Ann Choir. You can reach her at the Catholic Pundit Wannabe blog .

Below: CMAA officers and colloquium presenters at breakfast. L - R: William Stoops, Treasurer; Arlene Oost-Zinner, Director of Programs; Professor Susan Treacy, Head of the Music Department, Ave Maria University; Scott Turkington, Chant Conductor, Stamford Schola Gregoriana; Jeffrey Tucker, Sacred Music Managing Editor; Prof William Mahrt, President and Editor of Sacred Music; Rev. Robert Skeris, President Emeritus,Director of the Centre forWard Method Studiesat Catholic University; Horst Buchholz, CMAA Vice President, Director of Sacred Music and Principal Organist at Denver's Cathedral Basilica; Rosemary D. Reninger, chant composer and choir leader, Herndon, VA.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Roy Schoeman Interview - The Complete Version



Q: For people who may not know your first book, please explain the title: Salvation is From the Jews: The Role of Judaism In Salvation History From Abraham to the Second Coming.

A: The book examines the role of Judaism in salvation history as illumined by the Catholic faith. If the second person of the Most Holy Trinity was to incarnate, it would be among a particular people at a particular point in time, even in the womb of a particular virgin, and that people would have to be prepared. They would have be separated out from all the pagan peoples around them, taught about the one true God, the creation of Man, the fall, the seriousness of sin, the need for redemption, the need for a redeemer—the Messiah who was to come. They would have to be taught how to serve and worship the one true God, be taught to follow a reasonably high level of morality, and given enough theological revelation to recognize the Messiah when he came, and to spread the Gospel throughout the world afterwards. That is the role the Jews were chosen for, and in which they succeeded—else there could hardly be 2 billion Christians in the world today.

Less straightforward is the role they might have to play between the first and second coming.

Q: Some Catholics feel that the role of Jews is past and that maybe bringing Jesus into the world was it.

A: That would be enough, bringing salvation to the whole world.

--------------------Start sidebar -------------------------
Schoeman’s phrase “That would be enough” alludes to a Jewish Passover song called “Dayenu,” which means “It would have been enough.” Each verse sings of one of God’s saving acts and is followed by the chorus “If God had only done the act just mentioned, it would have been enough.”
--------------------End sidebar ---------------------------

I think that in a kind of symmetry and poetry that God has plans for them to have a special role in the Second Coming, too.

[Schoeman quoted from St. Paul's letter to the Romans, Chapter 11, from Jesus in the Gospels, and from the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 674 (“The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel") in support of the idea that the Second Coming will be preceded by wide-scale conversion of the Jews. Schoeman believes that the mere fact of their persistence as a separate identifiable people through two thousand years, as well as the almost continual persecution and hatred with which they were met, indicate that they still have a role to play in salvation history.]

Q: Your first book is dedicated “to the Jewish mother who brought me to her Son, to the Blessed Virgin Mary.” You say that in a dream vision you were granted an audience with Our Lady and that she was the most beautiful young woman you could possibly imagine. Can you describe what she looked like?

A: Not in any way that does her justice. ... She looked recognizably like many of the images of her only indescribably more beautiful.

I remember characteristics of her beauty, how much of her hair was showing, a sense of the flowingness and modesty of what she was wearing. Delicate triangular face. Narrow somewhat pointed chin, small mouth. I don’t know what the meaningfulness was of what I saw. She didn’t look Middle Eastern.

I can tell you this. The first time I went to Lourdes I was walking around. Most of the storefronts in Lourdes are religious souvenir shops with racks of postcards out front. One postcard caught the corner of my eye. I kept walking. And I couldn’t get it out of my head. I had to go back and find that particular store—which then took me about 20 minutes because they all look alike. That post card had a fairly corny, you know sentimental, almost cartoonish image of the Blessed Virgin Mary on it, but it looked more like the image from my dream than any other. I initially dismissed it because it was not an artistically worthy representation. But I had to go back and find it. It does actually looked more like she did in the dream than any other image I’d seen. And that image is up at my website.

http://www.salvationisfromthejews.com/christversion.html

Q: When I told a relative your story, she said, “Don’t let him get near a psychiatrist.” What would you say to people, and I’m sure there are many of them, who think that the kind of visions you describe either just cannot be true, or are a delusion?

A: I would have been inclined to think the same way a few years earlier. I think it’s a very reasonable way to think. First of all, if one doesn’t believe in God, or religion or the supernatural, one has no choice but to believe that way.

If one is a believing Catholic, then one knows from the faith and from the lives of the Saints as well as from all the Church-approval supernatural phenomenon that these things do happen. It’s just a question whether they legitimately happened to me or not.

Before these experiences happened I was essentially an atheist or agnostic Jew. I have now spent the last almost twenty years of my life as a very fervent Catholic.

Every thing about my life every orientation of my life the purpose of my life has changed and remained absolutely consistent over those 20 years. I think if it were a psychopathology, that certainly isn’t a typical pattern.

When I was on “Journey Home” Alice von Hildebrand called in with that question.

---------------------Start sidebar -------------------------
The following is excerpted from a transcription of the show that Schoeman referred to: “Journey Home: Convert from Judaism Roy Schoeman” 1/10/2005.” In his introduction, host Marcus Grodi called Salvation is From the Jews “A wonderful book.”

Philosopher Dr. Alice von Hildebrand called in and said in her heavily-accented English: “Thank you for Your superb presentation which is deeply moving. I read your book with special interest.

“But having spent my life with atheists and secularists, if they watched this show they would put the following question to you:

“Here is this brilliant young man who has fallen prey to a hallucination. And his dream about a beautiful woman is sending a call for psychoanalysis! I know that people who have some spiritual experience know that Catholic masters have known to distinguish between sick apparitions and true ones. Could you kindly enlighten your viewers on this?”

Schoeman’s reply to von Hildebrand:
“I can’t sit here and say that I’m not a delusional paranoiac hallucinating. But I can say that this happened 18 years ago now. And I have certainly behaved more responsibly than I have ever before in my life. . . . If this is a form of insanity this is pretty untypical.

“Usually one does not maintain the illusion of being productive and responsible for that long after going crazy.”
--------------------End sidebar ---------------------------

Q: Let’s talk about your second book Honey from the Rock: Sixteen Jews Find the Sweetness of Christ [released March 2007]. What were some of the more surprising things you learned while compiling your new book?

A: I think the stories I have compiled in Honey from the Rock are compelling in a lot of ways. I was fascinated to see how consistently it was through supernatural intervention that Jews are brought into the Church.

They were experiences like mine, essentially theophanies, direct breakthroughs of the supernatural into the material world in order to answer the questions that the Jews had been wrestling with. “Is there a God? And what is the real truth?”

One case was David Moss, a middle manager, who was sitting in his office agonizing over the meaning of life when he was literally brought up to heaven. From his office at IBM!

Most of the cases in the book were simply Jews who were earnestly seeking even if they were not aware of it they were seeking God seeking the truth. At which point God in His sovereign exercise of His majesty reached out to them.
Stories like that show how dear the Jewish people are to God’s heart and how eager He is to bring them to the truth and to the fullness of relationship with Him in the Catholic Church if only they would ask like the Gospel says, “Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door shall be open.”

The Scriptures say Greeks seek wisdom and Jews seek signs. There may be something to them being so stubborn and hard hearted that it takes a miracle to get them to accept how wrong they’ve been.

--------------------Start sidebar -------------------------
1 Corinthians 1-22.
22 For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom,

23 but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks,

24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
--------------------End sidebar ---------------------------

Hermann Cohen happened to be in a Church during Eucharistic adoration when the host was elevated and received an instantaneous conversion. [Cohen was a pianist and protégée of Franz Liszt who after his conversion became a Carmelite friar, Father Augustin Marie of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and spent the rest of his life preaching the faith and championing Eucharistic adoration.]

Alphonse Ratisbonne was very anti-Christian and received an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was wearing a Miraculous Medal and saying the Memorare every day on a dare. And he saw the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared on the Miraculous Medal. [Ratisbonne also became a priest and with his brother founded the Sisters of Sion, to pray for the Jews.]

And author Ronda Chervin [who also was on the pilgrimage to Israel where we met] was looking at a painting of Jesus that became alive.

Q: In your experience that you described in both books of “falling into heaven” when you were walking the beach, you said to God, "Let me know your name so I know what religion to follow so I can worship and serve you properly. I don’t mind if you are Apollo and I have to become a Roman pagan. I don’t mind if you are Buddha and I have become Buddhist. I don’t mind if you are Krishna and I have to become Hindu as long as you are not Christ.” How is it that you didn’t recognize God as the God you had worshipped as a devout Jew in your youth?

A: The God who revealed himself to me was all love, and I would say that I thought of the God of the Old Testament as far more distant and implacable and severe.

Q: What do you think is intriguing people about what you have written?

A: When I wrote the first book, I thought that it would appeal to a very small section of Catholics who for some reason had a similar interest in Jews and Judaism. And I was very surprised it became somewhat of a best seller and hit such a responsive chord among a wide range of Catholics.

One reason for it I think is that Judaism and the Catholic faith are not two different faith systems. They are exactly the same religion, separated in time by the fact of the coming of the Messiah.

And therefore, looking at the relationship between the two resonates very deeply and richly and makes somehow more concrete and more compelling for Catholic readers their own Catholic faith.

I think there is another dimension too. I think that we are living in the times that St. Paul alluded to in the Letter of the Romans when the number of the Gentiles is close to complete, when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, the veil will be lifted from the eyes of the Jews and there will be a wave of Jewish entry into the Church, and that will be the final completion of the Church to precede the Second Coming.

I think because that supernaturally it is that time, on some level therefore God is inspiring this interest.

Q: Talk about your experience with the Catholic Church.

A: I came into the Catholic Church essentially totally convinced of its correctness of its truthfulness of its direct link to God.

So I would say the only thing that really surprised me later about the Catholic Church is the fact that a fair number of Catholics don’t realize the truth in their own faith. That many people are Catholic because their parents are Catholic and they were born into it.

And so they’ve never really come into it on their own. They don’t actually see the unique relationship to the Truth and to God that’s represented by the Catholic faith. And that was really my only surprise that people can be Catholic and not know what a treasure they have.

-----------

A shorter version of this interview was published at National Catholic Register in Sept., and you can read a copy of the article here

Find out more about Roy Schoeman at his website.

Roy Schoeman and the Return of the Jews


Roy Schoeman and the Return of the Jews
From a Jewish Perspective Within the Catholic Faith


After Roy Schoeman's first book, Salvation is from the Jews, was published in late 2003 by Ignatius Press, the book became one of the press's top sellers. Then another one of their notable authors, Cardinal Ratzinger, became Pope Benedict XVI—at which point the Ratzinger titles started flying off the shelves. Even after being pushed down a few notches in the list by the new wave of interest in Ratzinger titles, Schoeman’s book was still holding its own the last time I checked, just below The Ratzinger Report and the Ignatius Bible.

Another book by Schoeman, Honey from the Rock: Sixteen Jews Find the Sweetness of Christ, was published this past March. I interviewed Roy Schoeman about his books at his home near the Massachusetts coast in late May 2006 and followed up with a phone interview. (See “Roy Schoeman Interview.)

Several years after its initial publication, Schoeman’s first book is still being talked about in many sometimes-unlikely places. I’ve seen Father Joseph Mary Wolfe, MFVE, quoted Schoeman several times in homilies during televised Masses on EWTN. A lay Carmelite named Marylou Roblin told me she gave a copy of Salvation is from the Jews to her Seventh Day Adventist dentist. A Mountain View, CA priest, Father Robert Finnegan frequently brings up one or another of the ideas Schoeman writes about at a monthly prayer group meeting I attend. Obviously, this is not the type of book that makes an initial stir at first release and then sinks into oblivion. The ideas Schoeman presents as the fruit of his studies have ancient roots in Jewish and Christian history and in the Sacred Scriptures and other writings of both traditions, and they bear looking at anew.

I contacted Mark Brumley President of Ignatius Press to ask how they decided to publish Schoeman’s first book, which was submitted as an unsolicited manuscript. Brumley wrote the following about why he, along with a team of editors, including Father Joseph Fessio, the founder and editor-in chief, made the decision. Brumley’s words are not only interesting in themselves but are also a good summary of some of Schoeman’s most important points.

"My initial reaction to it: This is a fascinating, moving and thoughtful story ... with a balanced Catholic theology of the place of Jews and Judaism in salvation history. Roy is not timid about his faith in Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah of Israel and the Catholic Church as having been founded by Jesus. But he also doesn't hold that God's saving purpose for Israel in history has been simply superceded by Jesus Christ and his establishment of the Catholic Church,. . . . His discussion of Judaism and the Holocaust casts light on the current circumstances of Judaism, and his treatment of Nazism's occult origins is riveting. ... I thought publishing the ms. would help further a much-needed discussion of how, while respecting the religious heritage of the Jewish people, the Church can and must carry on her mission to proclaim Jesus as the Savior of all——Jews and Gentiles alike."

The words of the title, Salvation is from the Jews, are the words of Christ to the Samaritan woman in John 4:22. As Brumley’s remarks and the subtitle “The Role of Judaism in Salvation History from Abraham to the Second Coming” clearly indicate, Schoeman’s writings address the question that some Catholic Christians still pose, “Was the role of the Jews finished when Christ came the first time?”

In the conversion stories he includes about prominent Jewish converts in both his books, Schoeman also describes special graces that God is sending to draw many Jews to the Catholic faith. Schoeman wrote in the chapter titled, “The Return of the Jews” that a Jew who becomes a Catholic is not a really a convert, but someone who is coming into the fullness of Judaism. This notion of return, Schoeman writes, is not odd when you realize that “the Catholic Church is simply the continuation and fulfillment of Judaism after the first coming of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah.” The return of the Jews, for Schoeman and for other Jews who have accepted Christ and Catholicism, is a turning away from the rejection of Christ at His First Coming. Also stressed in Schoeman’s work is the basis in Scripture and Tradition for the belief that the return of the Jews is a necessary prerequisite for Christ’s Second Coming.

Schoeman’s own conversion story was added to the end of the first book only at the insistence of Ignatius Press. Father Fessio has been quoted in interviews as saying that the press does not publish conversion stories, so the fact that Schoeman was asked to provide his story is remarkable in itself.

How Schoeman came to know Christ and the Catholic Church is awe-inspiring. Schoeman recounts two major events on the way to his baptism as a Catholic. The first was an experience of what he calls “falling into heaven” during a walk on the beach. Father Joseph Mary quoted this part of Schoeman’s story on EWTN several times because it bears consoling witness to God’s all-embracing love. Schoeman writes, “I saw my life laid out before me, seeing it as if I were reviewing it in the presence of God at the moment of my death.” He saw with great regret “all the time and energy I had wasted worrying about not being loved, when every moment of my existence I was held in the sea of God’s unimaginably great love.” A year later he had a vivid dream vision in which he was granted an audience with the Mother of God. “[W]hen I went to sleep I knew little about, and had no special sympathy for, Christianity in any of its aspects; when I awoke I was hopelessly in love with the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Schoeman writes that he then “knew that the God who had revealed himself to me on the beach had been Christ.”

My first contact with Roy Schoeman occurred while we were both on a pilgrimage to Israel in November 2005 (along with Father Joseph Mary who came along as one of the priest leaders). At the Notre Dame Pilgrimage Center in Jerusalem, Schoeman spoke on the evening of the day on which our group had gone to the Wailing Wall. During my own time at the one remaining wall of the Temple from the time of Christ, I had been moved to pray for those who still wait for the coming of the Messiah. So on that same night when I heard Schoeman speak, I found it especially meaningful that Schoeman asked the group to pray for the conversion of the Jews.

Some Catholics say these days that trying to bring Jews to Catholicism is always and everywhere the wrong thing to do. If you are one of those who think that way, I believe that you will think differently if you read Schoeman’s books.

This attitude some hold about Jewish conversion is vividly illustrated by an article about cloistered Carmelite nuns who live on Mt. Carmel (published in AP online and quoted at http://www.beliefnet.com/story/16/story_1675_1.html). The presence of French Carmelite nuns in Haifa was facilitated in the late 19th century by two Jewish brothers, Augustin and Joseph Lemann, who became priests and canons of the Catholic Church in Rome and close associates of Pope Pius IX. The nuns’ specific raison d’etre in Haifa was to pray for the conversion of the Jews. But after Vatican II a misunderstanding about the unique and essential role of Christ in salvation crept into the some circles in the Church, and like many others, the nuns of Mt. Carmel were not immune. In the above-mentioned article, Mother Angela del Bono, OCD, was quoted as saying that it would be as ridiculous for anyone to pray for the conversion of Jews to Catholicism as it would be for someone to pray for her to be a Muslim. Mother Angela told the reporter that the nuns on Mt. Carmel would never pray any more for Jews to become Catholics, that it is enough for Jews to be good Jews.

On this topic Schoeman writes, “Evangelization efforts aimed at Jews are frequently seen by Jews as a threat to their religion and their people and even compared to the Nazis’ attempts to exterminate them. Yet the words of Jesus and the Scriptures themselves make it abundantly clear that God Himself, and certainly Jesus Himself, very much wish the Jews to come to Him. It was one of His greatest sorrows just before His crucifixion, when He exclaimed, ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem.... How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!’ [Matthew 23:37)” As Schoeman’s quotes from the Lemann brothers and from Christ Himself show, there is no better way for a Jew to be a “good Jew” than to accept Christ and become a Catholic. So, ironically, those who are praying only for Jews to be good Jews may be praying better than they know.

Another aspect of Schoeman’s writings that mesh with my own interests is his description of a post-Holocaust Jewish theology that in many cases has turned to rejection of God Himself. As part of my preparation for the Israel pilgrimage, I re-read some writings of Holocaust author, Elie Wiesel. In response to the horrors of the sufferings of the Jewish people under Hitler, Wiesel blames God. Reading Wiesel raised this question in a new way in my mind: What is the purpose of the Holocaust in the divine plan? As I found out by reading Schoeman’s book, Wiesel is “an example of one who gives up on God’s faithfulness to His covenant with the Jews.” With the rejection of God among many Jews after the Holocaust as one of the many pieces of evidence, Schoeman has a lot to say about the Satanic roots of the Holocaust. Diabolical fury directed against the Jews in the form of pogroms and persecutions is to Schoeman is one strong indication of the continuing importance of the Jews in God’s plan for salvation.

This thread of Schoeman’s thought merits far more space than can be allotted here, but I want to mention how, quoting from many reliable sources, Schoeman shows that the Nazis opened the way into the depths of other types of moral depravity by practicing sexual impurity. Last November, Schoeman appeared on the EWTN TV show “The Carpenter’s Shop” to discuss the topic of the effects of unchastity and how it gives a foothold to Satan in all other areas of our lives.

Another of the benefits I gained from reading the first book is an exposure to passages from Jewish rabbinical writings that most Catholics never hear about, including the Talmud. Schoeman quotes a remarkable passage in the Talmud about a miracle that would occur at the yearly Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) sacrifice at the Temple. The High Priest would “enter the Holy of Holies and offer sacrifice for atonement for the sins of all Israel.” The Talmud and another Jewish work called the Zohar describe a scarlet thread that would turned white on the Day of Atonement “as a sign that God had accepted the sacrifice.” The Talmud recounts “For 40 years before the destruction of the Temple the thread of scarlet never turned white but remained red.” The year that the cord stopped turning white at the yearly sacrifice coincides with the year of Jesus’ crucifixion, so the Talmud inadvertently confirmed that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross made the Temple sacrifices obsolete.

Schoeman’s ideas seem to be solidly in conformity with the Magisterium. While Pope Benedict XVI was still Cardinal Ratzinger, he wrote the following about Israel (used in the sense of the Jewish people) in his book God and the World, which was published by Ignatius Press in 2002, “Israel still has a mission to accomplish today. We are in fact waiting for the moment when Israel, too, will say Yes to Christ, but we also know that while history still runs its course even this standing at the door fulfills a mission, one that is important for the world.”

Last month, I published an interview with Roy Schoeman at National Catholic Register. This posting was also submitted, to NCRegister, but wasn't published.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Roman Breviary online and Super Flumina Babylonis



I found a valuable site browsing for a translation of Super Flumina (more precisely of "in sallicibus . . . suspendimus organa nostra") this morning. (Don't you do stuff like that at 6 am?)

I am overjoyed to find that the Breviary is online with Latin and English side by side. It is now set to be my default browser page.

This is from the website:
-------------------
The Confraternity of Ss. Peter & Paul was established for the purpose of inviting the Christian faithful throughout the world to give glory to God by uniting themselves with the Catholic clergy in that public prayer and liturgy which is the Divine Office.
--------------------

Oh yes, I did find my translation of the Psalm 136, which begins with the words Super flumina. We sing polyphonic versions of the psalm in The St. Ann Choir. It's below. I cut the end off, since it gets into vengeance against the Babylonians. Blessed be he who strikes the heads of your children against the stones (as you did to ours). That sort of thing.

Psalmus 136. Super flumina

1. Super flúmina Babylónis, illic sédimus et flévimus: * cum recordarémur Sion:
2 In salícibus in médio ejus, * suspéndimus organa nostra.
3 Quia illic interrogavérunt nos, qui captívos duxérunt nos, * verba cantiónum.
4 Et qui abduxérunt nos: * Hymnum cantáte nobis de cánticis Sion.
5 Quómodo cantábimus cánticum Dómini * in terra aliéna?

Psalm 136. Super flumina

By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, * when we remembered thee, O Sion.
2 Upon the willow trees that are therein, * we hanged up our harps.
3 For they that led us away captive, * required of us then a song.
4 And they that carried us away, said : * Sing us one of the songs of Sion.
5 How shall we sing the song of the Lord * in a strange land?

And then there is the reggae version:

Lyrics: Bob Marley - by the rivers of babylon lyrics

By the rivers of Babylon,
where we sat down,
and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.

For the wicked carry us away captivity
Require from us a song.
How can we sing King Alpha song
in a strange land?

So let the words of our mouth
and the meditations of our hearts
be acceptable in thy sight Over Us
--------------

My cousin's wife Dorothy wrote me the following:

"In my Hebrew Bible, it's Psalm 137, and the word [for organa] is "Kinor," which means
harp. "

One might imagine then a pipe organ in the willow trees, but it's more reasonable to see harps in one's mind's eye. They'd have to not be the big ones we use in our orchestras, of course, but small harps, like the harp that David played.


--------------------------------------------------

Also from breviary.net:

ANTE DIVINUM OFFICIUM

PRAYER BEFORE OFFICE

It is considered praiseworthy to say the following prayer, kneeling, in preparation for the Office; for which Pope Pius XI granted an Indulgence of three years.

(By local custom, it may be said either privately, or in unison by the whole Choir, but in a low tone of voice.)

KNEEL

Aperi, Dómine, os meum ad benedicéndum nomen sanctum tuum: munda quoque cor meum ab ómnibus vanis, pervérsis et aliénis cogitatiónibus; intelléctum illúmina, afféctum inflámma, ut digne, atténte ac devóte hoc Offícium recitáre váleam, et exaudíri mérear ante conspéctum divínæ Majestátis tuæ. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.

Dómine, in unióne illíus divínæ intentiónis, qua ipse in terris laudes Deo persolvísti, has tibi Horas (vel hanc tibi Horam) persólvo.

Open, O Lord, my mouth to bless thy holy Name; cleanse also my heart from all vain, evil, and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding and kindle my affections; that I may worthily, attentively, and devoutly say this Office, and so be meet to be heard before the presence of thy divine Majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, in union with that divine intention wherewith thou, whilst here on earth, didst render praises unto God, I desire to offer this my Office of prayer unto thee.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

National Catholic Register article: "Sweetness and Light: Roy Schoeman on what drives many Jews to Christ"


Last month, I published an article about Roy Schoeman at National Catholic Register. The text of the article follows. I took the above photo at his home in Gloucester, Mass. when I interviewed him on Memorial Day, 2006. He is wearing a cap he bought in Jerusalem during the same trip on which I met him.

Sweetness and Light

Roy Schoeman on What Drives Some Jews to Christ
BY Roseanne Therese Sullivan
September 30 - October 6, 2007 Issue | Posted 9/25/07 at 11:46 AM

Roy Schoeman was born in a suburb of New York City of Conservative Jewish parents who had fled Nazi Germany.

Educated at MIT and Harvard Business School, Schoeman had a conversion to Christianity midway through a career of teaching and consulting. His first book, Salvation is From the Jews, examined the role of Judaism in salvation history as illumined by the Catholic faith.

He has pursued theological studies at several seminaries, helped produce and host a Catholic television talk show and edited and written for several Catholic books and reviews.

In March, Ignatius Press published Honey From the Rock: Sixteen Jews Find the Sweetness of Christ. Register correspondent Roseanne Therese Sullivan spoke with him.

Honey from the Rock was released in March. What were some of the more surprising things you learned while compiling it?

I think the stories I have compiled in Honey From the Rock are compelling in a lot of ways. I was fascinated to see how consistently it was through supernatural intervention that Jews are brought into the Church.

They were experiences like mine, essentially theophanies, direct breakthroughs of the supernatural into the material world, in order to answer the questions that the Jews had been wrestling with. “Is there a God? And what is the real truth?”

One case was David Moss, a middle manager, who was sitting in his office agonizing over the meaning of life when he was literally brought up to heaven. From his office at IBM.

Most of the cases in the book were simply Jews who were earnestly seeking. Even if they were not aware of it, they were seekingGod, seeking the truth — at which point God in his sovereign exercise of his majesty reached out to them.

Stories like that show how dear the Jewish people are to God’s heart and how eager he is to bring them to the truth and to the fullness of relationship with him in the Catholic Church, if only they would ask, like the Gospel says, “Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened.”

The Scriptures say Greeks seek wisdom and Jews seek signs. There may be something to them being so stubborn and hard hearted that it takes a miracle to get them to accept how wrong they’ve been.

Hermann Cohen happened to be in a Church during Eucharistic adoration when the host was elevated and received an instantaneous conversion. [Cohen was a pianist and protégé of Franz Liszt who, after his conversion, became a Carmelite friar, Father Augustin Marie of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and spent the rest of his life preaching the faith and championing Eucharistic adoration.]

Alphonse Ratisbonne was very anti-Christian and received an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was wearing a Miraculous Medal and saying the Memorare every day on a dare. And he saw the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared on the Miraculous Medal. [Ratisbonne also became a priest and with his brother founded the Sisters of Sion, to pray for the Jews.]

And (author) Ronda Chervin was looking at a painting of Jesus that became alive.

In your experience that you described in both books of “falling into heaven” when you were walking the beach, you said to God, “Let me know your name so I know what religion to follow so I can worship and serve you properly. I don’t mind if you are Apollo and I have to become a Roman pagan. I don’t mind if you are Buddha and I have become Buddhist. I don’t mind if you are Krishna and I have to become Hindu as long as you are not Christ.” How is it that you didn’t recognize God as the God you had worshipped as a devout Jew in your youth?

The God who revealed himself to me was all love, and I would say that I thought of the God of the Old Testament as far more distant and implacable and severe.

What do you think is intriguing people about what you have written?

When I wrote the first book, I thought that it would appeal to a very small section of Catholics who for some reason had a similar interest in Jews and Judaism. And I was very surprised it became somewhat of a best-seller and hit such a responsive chord among a wide range of Catholics.

One reason for it I think is that Judaism and the Catholic faith are not two different faith systems. They are exactly the same religion, separated in time by the fact of the coming of the Messiah.

And therefore, looking at the relationship between the two resonates very deeply and richly, and makes somehow more concrete and more compelling for Catholic readers their own Catholic faith.

I think there is another dimension too. I think that we are living in the times that St. Paul alluded to in the Letter of the Romans when the number of the Gentiles is close to complete, when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, the veil will be lifted from the eyes of the Jews and there will be a wave of Jewish entry into the Church, and that will be the final completion of the Church to precede the Second Coming.

I think because that supernaturally it is that time, on some level therefore God is inspiring this interest.

Talk about your experience with the Catholic Church.

I came into the Catholic Church essentially totally convinced of its correctness of its truthfulness of its direct link to God.

So I would say the only thing that really surprised me later about the Catholic Church is the fact that a fair number of Catholics don’t realize the truth in their own faith, that many people are Catholic because their parents are Catholic and they were born into it.

And so they’ve never really come into it on their own. They don’t actually see the unique relationship to the truth and to God that’s represented by the Catholic faith. And that was really my only surprise that people can be Catholic and not know what a treasure they have.

For people who may not know your first book, talk about the title: Salvation Is From the Jews: The Role of Judaism in Salvation History From Abraham to the Second Coming.

The book examines the role of Judaism in salvation history as illumined by the Catholic faith. If the second person of the Most Holy Trinity was to incarnate, it would be among a particular people at a particular point in time, even in the womb of a particular virgin, and that people would have to be prepared. They would have to be separated out from all the pagan peoples around them, taught about the one true God, the creation of Man, the fall, the seriousness of sin, the need for redemption, the need for a redeemer — the Messiah who was to come.

They would have to be taught how to serve and worship the one true God, be taught to follow a reasonably high level of morality, and given enough theological revelation to recognize the Messiah when he came, and to spread the Gospel throughout the world afterwards.

That is the role the Jews were chosen for, and in which they succeeded — else there could hardly be 2 billion Christians in the world today.

Roseanne Therese Sullivan writes from San José, California.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Dear Liturgy and Romance Columnist

Dear Liturgy and Romance Columnist,

While I was walking on Drake's Beach in Marin County, CA, with a very attractive devout Catholic of the opposite sex in July, the subject of sacred music naturally (:-)) came up in the conversation. Fresh from the June 2007 Church Music Assocation colloquium, I ventured to articulate enthusiastically some of the ideas that I had been reading and hearing, which I had found very convincing.



For example, I told my friend that Gregorian chant is unique among all forms of music that could be used in the liturgy because it has only been used for worship. Because of its origins within the liturgy of the Church as it developed over the early centuries, chant brings into the ritual no profane associations with external things.

I told him that some say poetically that chant is sung prayer. Chant is not something added to the liturgy like hymns are. Chants (such as the Introit, the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Sanctus, and Communion chants) are an intrinsic part of the liturgy.

I added that in spite of the claims of those who I believe hijacked Vatican II, the council’s first document--on the sacred liturgy--said that Gregorian chant should have pride of place. It also said that polyphony should be allowed, that the organ was the canonical musical instrument because it raises one's mind to higher things.

As a matter of fact, I told him, Latin was not excluded by 2nd Vatican council. The documents actually said that the vernacular should be "allowed" in cases where it would aid understanding, as in the proclamation of the Gospel. It is a far cry from allowing the use of the vernacular to the notion that Latin was to be forbidden from then on.

My friend, who not coincidentally sings the new music happily (including songs by the St. Louis Jesuits, who many traditional-music-lovers abhor) and plays guitar and bass at his church, red-facedly started figuratively pawing in the sand and roaring that those who put these arguments forth just don't like modern music.

His arguments were all ad hominem. According to him, we all use these arguments only because we prefer the old way.

I am disappointed in this fellow, who is otherwise a good conversationalist, well-educated, well-adjusted, devout, and pleasant (not to mention cute). I believe he is doing what he accuses us of doing, arguing from his own preferences.

He, for his part, did not offer any arguments to back up his dislike of the official sacred music of the Church. His only argument was that what I was trying to tell him was hooey.

We somehow fell into the same argument this week again during a phone call, and I reproached him for not giving the points I raised any consideration. The fact that he will not address this topic on an intellectual level lowers him a great deal in my estimation.

What do you do with someone like that? He was born in 1956, and so probably grew up mostly hearing only the new music.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Finding Our Magic: Goddess Class for Middle School Girls?

Witchcraft is one of our society's accepted options. Admittedly, the following news is from the San Francisco Chronicle, and it is about an event held in Oakland, which is right next to Bezerkley, so the people involved welter on the bleeding edge of liberal activism, but still, the matter of factness of the presentation is telling.

From the San Francisco Chronicle Friday, September 28, 2007, in the column titled: Leah Garchik.

"Supportive dad A.M. forwards a notice to Berkely Parents Network Members about the 'Goddess Class for Middle School Girls.' In seven sessions, students will learn about seven goddesses 'and creaate a simple ritual to listen to each young woman's own inner voice and each other. Each ritual will center around a theme and altar, and include a structured beginning, middle and end, followed by tea and healthy snack.'"

Turns out the quote is from a description of the class posted at craigslist. The class is offered privately by the author of a book about goddesses. I was afraid it was offered by the public schools! It is held in a private home "near Holy Names college."

The heading of the ad reads: Goddess Rites for Middle School Girls (oakland hills / mills)

The intro is:

Finding Our Magic: Goddess Rites for Middle School Girls" is a seven-part class taught by Carolyn McVickar Edwards,M.Ed., author of "The Storyteller's Goddess," . . ..

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/cls/432668312.html

Who is going to pay $210 to send a daughter to that?

BTW, did you know that besides useful things like jobs and used sofas, you can also find partners for sex (paid or free) at craigslist? That's why I don't go there any more.

In googling about the witchcraft topic, I found there is a Julia Morgan School for Girls. Generally, I think girls-only schools are a great idea. They allow girls to excel without fear of competing with the boys. But read on. Julia was a prominent lesbian woman architect, who built Hertz Castle, among other California buidings. (Morgan is featured in the online Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Queer Culture.)

The JMSG started in classrooms at Holy Names College (Holy Names College again in a radical feminist context), but moved to Mills College. JMSG features a yearly "Goddess day."

From a wikipedia article about JMSG: "Goddess day is an annual event in which every 6th grader must choose to become a particular goddess of her own invention (e.g. goddess of laughter, goddess of miracles). Each girl then writes a story about her goddess-self and dresses up in scarves, as well as other sparkly accessories. Makeup is also readily available. Afterwards, the girls file through the hallways as 7th and 8th graders come out of their classrooms to admire the procession of goddesses."

In my day, at Catholic school, we had May processions in which we sang hymns to Our Lady dressed in white dresses. And we crowned her statue with flowers. That kind of dress up and pageantry can lead a person to higher things. On the other hand, goddess role play can open the poor children's lives to the influence of the occult, and we all know the pitfalls in that.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Two Letters I Wrote to Senators in 2003

The following two letters surfaced when I was cleaning out my folders on my computer. THe .doc file is dated in 2003. I don't even know if I mailed these, but they do say what I think, so I'm recording them here.

Dear Senator Santorum,

As a fellow Catholic, I want to give you my support for speaking out against overthrowing laws against sodomy.

I know that you have gotten a lot of bad press, essentially accusing you of being homophobic. But I agree with Stanley Kurtz, who is research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and who wrote about your remarks in an article April 24 for National Review Online. Kurtz explained that you were making a slippery-slope argument, saying that if the Supreme Court rules that states cannot regulate sexuality in the case of sodomy, then it is quite possible that states may not be allowed in the future to regulate incest and other sexual crimes.

Something else that I think needs to be considered is that once you legalize something you make it normal.

Take abortion, for example. Many of the people who argued against abortion used the hard cases of rape and incest leading to pregnancy in their arguments. But the fact of the matter is that of the millions of abortions that occur in this country every year, a very, very small percentage are performed on victims of rape or incest. Abortion is an option that is considered along with almost every pregnancy. For example, every woman past a certain age who conceives a child is given amniocentesis, so she can decide to abort the child if genetic defects are revealed by testing her amniotic fluid.

And fornication was once a crime. An unmarried couple couldn't rent a hotel room or an apartment or buy a house together. Now the laws have changed, and it has become abnormal for couples not to live together.

Every time we leave God's laws behind and change the laws to reflect the current mores, we open the way to further concessions down the road. I agree with your slippery slope argument, but I want you consider that the slope started higher and further back when sexual morality first started being eroded in the law and in how we live our lives.

It is clear from the Catholic Catechism that the Chuch still teaches, like the old Irish priest once said, "It's not the homo- or the hetero- that's the problem, it's the -sexual outside of marriage that's the problem.

The Catholic Church, alone among all churches, teaches that sexual morality goes back to natural law, and that even though the purpose of sexuality includes the mutual joy of a married couple, sexuality's intrinsic purpose also includes the creation of new life.

Within my lifetime we have loosened the laws against fornication (sex outside of marriage) and against abortion. Earlier in my parent's generation (higher up on the slippery slope) contraception was made legal.

I suggest that these too are root causes that you should consider too. The movement to declare homosexual sex legal and good is being built on these earlier concessions. The pro-homosexuality movement is in a direct line of cause and effect.

The earlier changes that I referred to above led to today's common acceptance of sex as a good in itself unrelated to marriage and procreation.

If we don't realize sex is part of God's plan for the continuation of the species, and if we agree that everyone should be free to seek only the pleasure of sex without its procreative aspect, then what argument do we have to say that any type of sex for its own sake is wrong?

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.



Dear Senator Daschle,

I have been following your career for about a year, ever since I saw the charming documentary about you visiting your constituents across the state of South Dakota.

I spent about 20 years in North Dakota and Minnesota and your midwestern persona attracted me. Your role in the Senate reveals you as a bright, articulate politician. I expect to hear more about you in the future.

Now today I found out that you are, like I am, a Catholic. And I am disappointed to say I also found out that you are so outspoken a proponent of abortion that your bishop has asked you to stop listing yourself as Catholic.

One of the things that characterizes a Catholic believer is obedience to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. I pray that you will come to understand that the wisdom of God is greater than the wisdom of mankind.

You may be like a lot of Catholics after Vatican II, who came to believe that all the teachings about sexual morality were up for grabs. But the Catholic Catechism makes it quite clear that abortion, contraception, and sexual acts outside of marriage are all still moral evils. And they have grave consequences.
They harm the family, the society, individuals: men, women, and children.

Do not support abortion in a mistaken compassion for women's rights. The abortion industry came up with the phrase "a woman's choice" as a way to latch onto the selfish spirit of the age. But the truth is that I and a lot of women like me see abortion as a violation of women and oppressive of our fullest sexual fulfillment.

The legality of abortion means that countless women and men are being pressured to deny their deepest instincts. Men who want a newly conceived child are told they have no right to protect that child from death in its mother's womb. Women whose instincts are to nurture and love and protect a new life growing within them are being forced to deny their deepest selves. Grandparents are often forced to stand helplessly by while their children kill their grandchildren before they are born. And children are learning that they exist only because their parents didn't chose to abort them.

I heard one proud grandfather introduce a little granddaughter who was the joy of his life to the pastor at Church one day. He matter-of-factly said that her mother had tried to abort her, but the abortion had failed. The priest asked him to not speak that way in front of the child. What a psychological horror to know that your mother tried to take your life! And I 've heard of other children who were not aborted in spite of doctors' or teachers' or parents' advice who became the greatest joy of the parent who had the courage to let the child live.

I have personally been on the other side of the issue, and I helped some women find an abortionist before I changed sides. For an example of what I am trying to tell you, I have seen a woman who intellectually believed it was the right thing to do physically and emotionally mourning a child after she aborted it. Mentally, she didn't see that her body and her emotions were trying to tell her the truth about what she had done.

I pray that the Holy Spirit, who lives in the Catholic Church, will guide you to change your mind and your heart.

With admiration and sadness,

Roseanne Sullivan

Friday, September 21, 2007

Halloween at my place of work


Above: Halloween 2006: Marketing and Techical Publications Groups Present 'The Filming of Star Wars' (I'm the Senator/Announcer second from right)

This year, I'm not going to participate in the Halloween extravaganza at work again. BTW I cannot think of better word than extravaganza to express the elaborate extent people go to for the yearly competition. It goes way beyond mere dress up. Teams work during their lunch hours, nights, and weekends to transform the office.

For me, there is just too much of the occult and the sexually provocative in the way we do Halloween. I want to focus on the next day, All Saint's Day, instead of the night when witches are supposed to be riding around on broomsticks, and the Bay area is staging erotic dress up balls.

That being said, I had a lot of fun last year scripting and announcing the Star Wars extravaganza put on by the Marketing Group (to which my tech publications group was reporting at the time). We went all out to try to win a prize. A lot of the costumes were home made. We painted the backdrop you see in the photo, completely transformed a conference room, created four sets . . ..

Even though we had elaborate staging and multiple scenes with sword fighting and my script killed off three characters in six minutes and saved the Galaxy, we only tied for second place. But still, we got $25 each for prizes, plus a box of chocolates.

Email to a product group I worked with:

Halloween theme 2006

Marketing and Technical Publications present:
"The filming of Star Wars"!

Who's got time to work at a time like this? The fate of the galaxy might be at stake.

I'm the Imperial Senator/narrator second from right. Other writers you may run into: Tom Regner, the Fremont writing supervisor is Chewbacca, Hamid Sepehrdad is the green monster, and Gregg Aronson is Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Hope you enjoy the photo. We sure enjoyed making it.

Roseanne
Senator Teresan from the Planet Carmelavila


____________________________________________

Roseanne Sullivan
Technical Writer
Avocent Corporation
www.avocent.com
_____________________________________________

Among Things That are Always and Everywhere Wrong: Letter to the University of Minnesota Against Stem Cell Research

Below is an email I sent to the University of Minnesota Alumni Association after reading in the alumni magazine a proud report of the UoM's support for stem cell research. I just found it while cleaning out my mailbox, and I want to save it, because it says pretty clearly what I think of stem cell research, not to mention test tube impregnation.
________________________________________
From: Sullivan, Roseanne
Sent: Friday, December 08, 2006 2:42 PM
To: 'umalumni@umn.edu'
Subject: Embroyonic Stem Cell research at the U of MN


Embroyonic Stem Cell research at the U of MN

I was disappointed to read in the Minnesota alumni magazine that the U of M is supporting embryonic stem cell research. The creation and destruction of human embryos is not a value-free scientific endeavor, but is a perverse and horrible activity that denies the value of human life.

I cannot support a university that supports these atrocities. Please remove your name from all of your mailing and emailing lists and subscriptions and cancel my remaining membership in the alumni association.

My major objections are:

Evidence abounds that stem cell research using other sources for stem cells is bearing fruit, while no evidence exists that the use of human embryos' stem cells is producing therapies of any value.

An embryo is a human being created by God with all the potential for the unique individual already present. God loves every human from before the time of his or her creation and intends that person for eternal life.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you ...." Jeremiah1:5

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16).

Creating human beings outside of the marital act is outside of God's intention. To do so is playing God and is always wrong. Experimenting on and killing these human beings after their creation is a double evil.

Creation of embryos outside the womb involves masturbation aided usually by the use of pornography by the man to produce sperm. Sex outside of its intended purpose in marriage is always and everywhere wrong.

Roseanne Sullivan

____________________________________________

Roseanne Sullivan

Technical Writer

Avocent Corporation
_____________________________________________

Saturday, September 15, 2007

First Mass of Christmas In Galli Cantu: More chant pages from Susan Altstatt

The St. Ann Choir website has reposted Susan Altstatt's chant pages for the first Mass of Christmas, which are shown here. I copied them because the images are not linkable directly (you have to go to www.stannchoir.org and click on Music to see them, I think because the site uses frames).

NOTE: Copied with permission. Can be displayed online but not printed without permission. For how to obtain permission for other uses, please contact Susan: dsa@altstatt.com.

In Galli Cantu

Ecce Virgo Concipiet

Monday, September 10, 2007

Chant Pages, Illuminated or Unilluminated: All Tools of the Trade.


Some of you might remember the poster I did for The Feast of St. Ann on July 26 this year, It was based on a beautiful illuminated chant page for the Introit for the feast--so any credit for the beauty of the poster should go to the artist, Susan Altstatt who illuminated the chant page and did the calligraphy. Susan is a professional artist. She and her husband John are St. Ann Choir members with the longest tenure, second only to director Prof. William Mahrt -- who was with the choir from its very first day in 1963. Susan and John joined the choir a year after their marriage, in 1967.

The choir sings the propers of the Masses from large chant pages on a stand. I heard Bill Mahrt say once in a CMAA lecture that using the chant pages was an option that saved the cost of making sure everyone had a Liber [Usualis, that is]. On feasts, the chant pages often appear adorned with Susan's elaborations on the capital letters of the first word of each of the propers. Her illuminations are quirky, fresh, and original, not a cliche in the lot.

Below, Bill leads some of the men cantors in rehearsal, who are singing from unilluminated chant pages. When I can take a photo of the choir singing from one of the illuminated chant pages, I'll post it here.

Last week, I found the following snippet about Susan Alstatt's chant pages in a history of The St. Ånn Choir written in 1988, by Bill. A year after the choir started in 1963, Bill became its director. He directed it from 1964 to 1968 and again from 1972 to now, for an impressive total of 39 years. He writes about himself in the third person for the purpose of the history.



William Mahrt returned to Stanford music department as a member of the faculty in 1972, and a year later Fr. Duryea asked him [to] resume the direction of the choir. . . . Within the next couple of years the pattern for most of the choir’s activities ever since was established. Programs were compiled for all of the Sundays and holy days of the year, with six complete sets of chants for the Ordinary and three Credos[1] being used in varying combinations throughout the year. A new large choir book was acquired from Annie Bank in Amsterdam—large pages to be placed upon a stand from which all the choir could read the chant. For the holy days not contained in that book Susan Altstatt produced excellent illuminated pages that leave the printed book looking rather plain, and, some say, inspire the singers to sing more beautifully [p. 7]
...

Susan Altstatt made vestments, Paschal candles, illuminated chant pages, and banners, and hosted Sunday night dinners for all who sang Vespers [p.10]
...
John and Susan Altstatt have sung since the late sixties, now over twenty years [p. 11].



Susan and John both are cantors. Every Sunday night they are at home, they still push two long tables together in their Los Altos dining room and dish out a fine dinner from restaurant sized pots and pans to anyone who comes to Vespers and to several who just show up every week. {Bill for his part brings along three botles of very good wine to the feast.] Susan's cooking is a pleasure to eat, and Susan's illuminated chant pages are a joy to behold.

Following are all the chant pages for the feast of St. Ann, which I downloaded from stannchoir.org. John Alstatt, webmaster for the site, told me he has plans to post more pages soon, so keep checking at that website, if you want to see more. Or write Susan Altstatt at dsa @ altstatt . com for more information.







[1] Masses I, IV , VIII, IX, XI and XVII, Credos I, III, and IV.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Undoing of a Remuddling: St. Patrick's Church, Kokomo, Indiana

There are signs of hope for those of us who miss the beauty that was effaced in many church remodelings in misguided attempts to follow the "spirit" of the Second Vatican Council. At the Sacred Music Colloquium in DC in June, I met Linda Spicer, a choir member from St. Patrick's in Kokomo Indiana. The story she told me about her church's restoration is one of those signs.

I have never heard the like of this! The pastor and the people of her parish restored the church building twenty-nine years after a 1975 remodeling. When Linda sent me the included photo of the main altar, she wrote, "We got everything back or duplicated, except for the Communion rail, which is buried under the Church parking lot."

Hearing about the burial of the altar rail makes me sigh, remembering how many priceless artifacts made of precious materials were thrown away during that time. In the 1960s in the South End of Boston,when I was a counter-culture type myself, I remember seeing church furnishings often used as parlor furniture in the brownstone apartments of artists, bohemians and gay couples, who were picking up kneelers and altars and the like dirt cheap from salvage dealers. A few years ago, I wrote an article about how at Holy Cross Church in my San Jose neighborhood, 60 year old oil painted stations of the Cross, a marble pieta, and a hand-carved, painted, and gilded crucifix, all from Italy, were thrown out when the church was remodeled in the 60s. Thanks be to God, the janitor kept the crucifix in her garage, and after her death 40 years later, the crucifix was restored and replaced -- on the Feast of the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross.

As Linda's photos of St. Patrick's also illustrate, the good news is that things of great quality are being brought back into the sacred worship space of churches, sometimes bit by bit.

I suspect that the breath of the Holy Spirit must be behind such changes. Reading between the lines on the St. Patrick's Church history page, I deduce that the restoration was powered by prayers in the parish's 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration chapel, which was also a recent undertaking. Father Ted Dudzinski became pastor in 2002, and under his leadership, the parish completed these two great works, the chapel first. "In an effort to increase vocations to the Local Church and spiritually 'ground' the parish," the pastor and "a group of lay leaders established Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Perpetual Eucharistic adoration chapel." The chapel was dedicated after a Mass and procession on Corpus Christi, Sunday June 22, 2003.

And the restoration followed. In Fall 2004, the parish started its renovation project. Exterior changes included tuck pointing of the stone, new slate on the church's two towers, and re-gilding of the crosses. Inside, close to 100% of the plaster was repaired on the ceiling and walls. The church was decorated with a new color scheme, and new marble flooring was installed in the aisles and in the sanctuary. The marble reredos was returned to its original position in the sanctuary, and a new marble altar of sacrifice, ambo, and baptismal font were commissioned to match the reredos. The flooring under the pews was replaced with ash hardwood, and the pews were completely renovated. A new Gothic entry from the nave was installed. The organ was upgraded.

Once a month at the last Saturday evening Mass for the past three years, a Schola has been singing the Latin ordinary along with Latin and English hymns. In answer to my request for more information about the choir, Linda wrote: I started singing with the Schola (which is the only name we have) two years ago last April. They had been in existence for about a year before that, so I would say we are starting our fourth year.

We sing from the Graduale Triplex, and so far we are just singing the ordinary in Latin, usually Mass VIII, De angelis; or Mass XI, Orbis factor with Kyrie B. We use Credo III and Pater Noster B. Two of our members, Kathleen Murphy and Cynthia Morr, made cards for the pews with the Latin and its English translation, so that the congregation could follow along. We hope that many of them are/will be singing with us as the chants become more familiar to them. During the Offertory, Communion, and Meditation we sing familiar Latin hymns--Salve Regina, O Sanctissima, the Arcadelt Ave Maria, etc., as well as English ones. We also like to sing a traditional Irish hymn, Deus Meus. It comes from the music sung by the Notre Dame Folk Choir. They have two beautiful CD's, "Prophets of Joy" and "Witness of the Saints", that contain renditions of several of the psalms. If you are not familiar with them they are worth looking into. We use a couple of them especially at Communion: "Make of Our Hands a Throne," and "Harbor of my Heart." These are in English, of course. After the recessional, as the people are leaving, we sing "An Irish Blessing."

We currently have thirteen members, eight women and five men. Many of them are also members of the full choir
[which sings at other Masses], so they devote lots of time to this effort. While Father Randy Soto, who is now teaching at the seminary in St. Louis, was with us, he was our director; but since his transfer, Maddalena Nelson has graciously accepted the job. Maddalena is also a cantor with the full choir as is another of our members, Bob Mason. Maddalena, myself, Dane Henderson and Lori Schwarts sing soprano. Kathleen, Cynthia, Sue Mason, and Molly Kline sing alto. Bob, Roger Murphy and Jim Calabro are our tenors. George Hedrick and Randy Jones sing bass. (Just as a side note, George, Molly, Cynthia and Kathleen are brother and sisters.)

Six of the Schola members attended the CMAA colloquium: Cynthia Morr, Kathleen and Roger Murphy, Maddalena Nelson, Lori Schwartz and Linda Spicer. Linda wrote,

We had originally planned to go to a monastery in Oklahoma to learn more about chant, but Father Randy Soto told us of the CMAA colloquium. He was planning to attend with us before he was sent on another assignment by his bishop. (His home diocese is in Costa Rica.)
I'm including another picture [from the remodeled church]. Father Soto explained that this crucifix is in the Spanish style. Christ is obviously still alive, His side has not been pierced, and the sunburst around His head is common in Spanish portrayals.


The restoration of the church building is a sight for sore eyes, and the reintroduced Gregorian chant is, I suspect, a sound for sore ears.

Below: Two views of the outside of St. Patrick's and one of Linda Spicer