Happy 1989th anniversary!

A blessed Pentecost to everyone! Today, Holy Mother Church celebrates the 1989th anniversary of Her beginning, having been founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who ordained thus that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her.

Pentecôte | Jean II Restout | 1732

EXEVNTE·MDCCCCLXXXIX·ANNO
A·PARACLYTO·PER·FILIVM·A·PATRE·EMISSO
QVI·DVM·TAMQVAM·SPIRITVS·VEHEMENS·DESCENDENS
VT·IGNIS·LINGVA·SEDIT·SVPRA·DISCIPVLOS
DEDIT·ECCLESIAE·A·CHRISTO·AEDIFICATAE·EXORDIVM
OMNIBVS·HANC·SENTENTIAM·VISVRIS
SALVTEM·IN·DOMINO·PRO·EIS·DESIDERAMVS
FAVSTISSIMVMQVE·EISDEM·EXITVM·GRATVLAMVR

Vivat Sancta Mater Ecclesia !

Easter prophetiary

In 2016, we released our first Easter prophetiary, which covered Prophecies VII to XII. Since then, we received multiple requests to release the tones for Prophecies I to VI. Truth is, we have always sung these in the usual prophecy tone. However, by the time we released our old Pentecost prophetiary, we have already started work on the first half of the Easter prophecies. They were ready by 2019, and work was in progress to typeset them, so that we may print them by 2020. As we all know, the pandemic happened, and everything crashed to a halt, with exasperating abruptness, especially in an unpreparedly paranoid archipelago like the Philippines. Now, however, the first six prophecies of Easter are fully typeset in Book III of our prophetiary (click the image on the left to access the file). May it be useful to our mission to honour sacred music in its proper place in Catholic worship.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Epiphany announcement 2022

Today, the twenty-fifth of December, the eighth calends of January, the twenty-first moon of the month, we celebrate the solemn feast of the Nativity of the Lord. In short, we are twelve days away from the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord next year. For that, a Merry Christmas to everyone! This year, Epiphany fell on the first Wednesday of January. Next year, Epiphany will be on the first Thursday! Traditionally, the dates of the movable feasts are announced at Mass on the Epiphany. This seems pointless now with the plethora of liturgical calendars, but there is something ecclesiological we can appreciate from the practice, as we have explained here.

Burne-Jones - The Star of Bethlehem
The star of Bethlehem | Edward Burne-Jones | 1887–1891

This means that it is time for our priests and deacons to brush up on the Epiphany announcement, a parallelising misnomer (we will be having the Christmas proclamation this Christmas) for the rather cumbersome announcement of movable feasts. Unlike the Christmas proclamation, this one does not have any stymieing elogium (say, for the phase of the moon), apart from the synodal elogium, which we have added as an option for next year, considering that the diocesan phase of the ominous Synod on Synodality spans from October 2021 to April 2022. And, unlike the Christmas proclamation, the tone for this announcement (click on the thumbnail to open the file) is familiar, being the same tone used for the Easter proclamation (yes, the Exsultet).

Oh, and a final note, 2 March will be Ash Wednesday. It is one of the two days when Filipinos cannot substitute anything for the obligatory fast and abstinence.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Christmas proclamation 2021

Gallegos - Niños del coro
Niños del coro | José Gallegos y Arnosa | c. 1885–1890

We are a day away from Christmas Eve. Traditionally, before the misa de gallo, the Mass sung at midnight, the first Mass of Christmas, a cantor sings the proclamation of the birth of Christ, what many of us call kalendas, which was sang as prologue to the martyrology the previous day. Amongst us Filipinos, members of some choirs that sang in the Mass before the liturgical changes of the 1960s would probably still remember singing or hearing the kalendas, which used to be sung as a choral rite of passage from tiple to cantor.

We know, of course, that, in a deplorable, but not unexpected, happenstance, the chronological exactitude of the old text of the prologue of the Christmas martyrology was thrown off the cliff and replaced with a generic formula that situates the birth of our Redeemer at a time, rather off-puttingly, “when ages beyond number had run their course”. It is no longer a mystery to us, but we still wonder why the usus recentior strives to countenance this inelegance and ambiguity.

Gérôme - Le Siècle d'Auguste et la naissance de Jésus-Christ
Le siècle d’Auguste et la naissance de Jésus-Christ | Jean-Léon Gérôme | 1855

For the usus antiquior, it is more common to use the older text. The elogium of the date is the same: the eighth calends of January. This means that 25 December is eight days away from 1 January, which is the calends of the month. The elogium of the moon changes per year, according to the epact of the year and its corresponding martyrology letter. This year, it is the twenty-first moon. Practically, especially if referencing the dates against the martyrology tables becomes too daunting a task to accomplish, we can simplify the reckoning by counting the number of days from the preceding new moon, which occurred on Saturday, 4 December this year, until 25 December.

There is a modus ordinarius found in the Martyrologium Romanum, but here we have the modus sollemnior (click on the thumbnail to open the file), which is probably monastic in provenance. If it has fallen upon our happy lot to chant the kalendas this year, then we can exercise the option to sing it in the more solemn tone in honour of the holy birth of our Redeemer.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Propers of Saint Tharsicius

Saint Tharsicius, or, more commonly, Saint Tarcisius, is the patron saint of altar servers. His lipsanotheca prominently features in the page the Cœtus Internationalis Ministrantium dedicates to its patron saint here. (As an aside, we register that the correct Latin term for altar server is ministrans, as opposed to the affected calque others are wont to employ, servus altaris.) While the difference in onomastic spelling may seem negligible, it can divide etymologists. Some trace his name from the city of Tarsus in the Roman province of Cilicia, rendering it in Greek as Ταρσίκιος. Others trace it from the place called Tharsis in Holy Writ, rendering it in Greek as Θαρσίκιος. In terms of pronunciation, the difference is practically imperceptible in the West, for while τ and θ are pronounced differently in Koine Greek, t and th are pronounced the same in Ecclesiastical Latin.

Tarcisius, martyr chrétien | Alexandre Falguière | 1868

That said, both East and West venerate Saint Tharsicius as a martyr. Western hagiography designates him an acolyte, one of the minor orders, based on a sixth-century legend about the martyrdom of Pope Saint Stephen I. Eastern hagiography, meanwhile, sometimes registers him a deacon, one of the major orders, which somehow agrees with the epigraph Pope Saint Damasus I wrote. The Roman Martyrology lists Saint Tharsicius under 15 August, which is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, having suffered martyrdom on this day in 257 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Valerian. As such, his feast is perpetually impeded.

In the Vetus Ordo, therefore, (click on the thumbnails below to open the files for his proper Mass and Office, as well as the chant our Choir set for the Mass propers), his feast is properly kept on 25 November, which is probably the date: either when his relics were transferred from the Catacombs of Saint Callixtus to the Basilica of San Sisto e Santa Cecilia, and thither reposed in the tomb of Pope Saint Zephyrinus; or when Pope Saint Paul I transferred his relics, together with the relics of other martyrs, from the Basilica of San Sisto e Santa Cecilia to the Basilica of San Silvestro in Capite, where they remain today. However, celebrating his feast closer to 15 August is permitted, provided that it is assigned on an unimpeded day.

Pope Saint Damasus I, who laboured to promote devotion to the martyrs, often writing epigraphs in their honour, dedicated one such poem to the child martyr, equating his resistance to deliver the Eucharist to pagans with the abnegation that Saint Stephen the Protomartyr displayed when the Jews brought him out to be stoned. He caused this inscription to be placed on the tomb of the martyr.

Par meritum, quicumque legis, cognosce duorum,
quis Damasus rector titulos post præmia reddit.
Iudaicus populus Stephanum meliora monentem
perculerat saxis, tulerat qui ex hoste trophæum,
martyrium primus rapuit levita fidelis.
Tharsicium sanctum Christi sacramenta gerentem,
cum malesana manus premeret vulgare profanis,
ipse animam potius voluit dimittere cæsus,
prodere quam canibus rabidis cœlestia membra.



Whosoever readest, know thou the equal merit of the two
to whom Pope Damasus dedicated epitaphs for their deeds.
The Jewish people had taken away and smitten with stones
Stephen foretelling better things, the faithful deacon
who first obtained martyrdom and memorial from the foe.
When an unsound rabble pressed Saint Tharsicius
to display the sacraments of Christ he was carrying,
he, being slain, instead willed to give up his soul,
than to show the heavenly particles to the raging dogs.

Saint Tharsicius is the altar server par excellence. His example stands in stark contrast to the indiscretions of today’s altar servers, who participate in acts of wanton abandon, running the gamut from prancing like perfumed ponces in video-sharing social networking platforms, to signalling forbearance of other people’s defects with an almost constipated constitution, from pining for the validation of their peers and the attention of prospective opportunistic sponsors in local iconocamerariat circles, to retelling their sacristy-profaning unchaste encounters (aberrant or not) in online freedom walls. Let us, therefore, pray that Saint Tharsicius’ great suffering, for which he received the glory of heaven, may obtain from God forgiveness for our sins, and our Lord’s sacred Body and saving Blood, which he defended until death, may fortify our life on earth and profit us unto life everlasting.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Happy 1988th anniversary!

A blessed Pentecost to everyone! Today, Holy Mother Church celebrates the 1988th anniversary of Her beginning, having been founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who ordained thus that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her.

Pentecôte | Jean II Restout | 1732

EXEVNTE·MDCCCCLXXXVIII·ANNO
A·PARACLYTO·PER·FILIVM·A·PATRE·EMISSO
QVI·DVM·TAMQVAM·SPIRITVS·VEHEMENS·DESCENDENS
VT·IGNIS·LINGVA·SEDIT·SVPRA·DISCIPVLOS
DEDIT·ECCLESIAE·A·CHRISTO·AEDIFICATAE·EXORDIVM
OMNIBVS·HANC·SENTENTIAM·VISVRIS
SALVTEM·IN·DOMINO·PRO·EIS·DESIDERAMVS
FAVSTISSIMVMQVE·EISDEM·EXITVM·GRATVLAMVR

Vivat Sancta Mater Ecclesia !

Epiphany announcement 2021

Today, the twenty-fifth of December, the eighth calends of January, the tenth moon of the month, we celebrate the solemn feast of the Nativity of the Lord. In short, we are twelve days away from the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord next year. For that, a Merry Christmas to everyone! This year, Epiphany fell on the first Monday of January. Next year, Epiphany will be on the first Wednesday! Traditionally, the dates of the movable feasts are announced at Mass on the Epiphany. This seems pointless now with the plethora of liturgical calendars, but there is something ecclesiological we can appreciate from the practice, as we have explained here.

Burne-Jones - The Star of Bethlehem
The star of Bethlehem | Edward Burne-Jones | 1887–1891

This means that it is time for our priests and deacons to brush up on the Epiphany announcement, a parallelising misnomer (we will be having the Christmas proclamation this Christmas) for the rather cumbersome announcement of movable feasts. Unlike the Christmas proclamation, this one does not have any stymieing elogium (say, for the phase of the moon), apart from the synodal elogium, which we have omitted, since our local ordinary has not issued an indiction for a diocesan synod anytime this coming 2021. And, unlike the Christmas proclamation, the tone for this announcement (click on the thumbnail to open the file) is familiar, being the same tone used for the Easter proclamation (yes, the Exsultet). Here is the 2020 announcement.

Oh, and a final note, 17 February will be Ash Wednesday. It is one of the two days when Filipinos cannot substitute anything for the obligatory fast and abstinence.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Christmas proclamation 2020

Gallegos - Niños del coro
Niños del coro | José Gallegos y Arnosa | c. 1885–1890

We are eleven days away from Christmas Eve. Today is Gaudete Sunday, and the feast of Saint Lucy. And yesterday was the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Heavenly Patroness of the Philippines before God, whose depiction is that of a mulier incincta in Latin, a mujer encinta in Spanish, a lady with child. The sanctoral cycle is clearly preparing us for Christmas! Traditionally, before the misa de gallo, the Mass sung at midnight, the first Mass of Christmas, a cantor sings the proclamation of the birth of Christ, what many of us call kalendas, which was sang as prologue to the martyrology the previous day. Amongst us Filipinos, members of some choirs that sang in the Mass before the liturgical changes of the 1960s would probably still remember singing or hearing the kalendas, which used to be sung as a choral rite of passage from tiple to cantor.

We know, of course, that, in a deplorable, but not unexpected, happenstance, the chronological exactitude of the old text of the prologue of the Christmas martyrology was thrown off the cliff and replaced with a generic formula that situates the birth of our Redeemer at a time, rather off-puttingly, “when ages beyond number had run their course”. It is no longer a mystery to us, but we still wonder why the usus recentior strives to countenance this inelegance and ambiguity.

Gérôme - Le Siècle d'Auguste et la naissance de Jésus-Christ
Le siècle d’Auguste et la naissance de Jésus-Christ | Jean-Léon Gérôme | 1855

For the usus antiquior, it is more common to use the older text. The elogium of the date is the same: the eighth calends of January. This means that 25 December is eight days away from 1 January, which is the calends of the month. The elogium of the moon changes per year, according to the epact of the year and its corresponding martyrology letter. This year, it is the tenth moon. Practically, especially if referencing the dates against the martyrology tables becomes too daunting a task to accomplish, we can simplify the reckoning by counting the number of days from the preceding new moon, which will occur on Tuesday, 15 December this year, until 25 December.

There is a modus ordinarius found in the Martyrologium Romanum, but here we have the modus sollemnior (click on the thumbnail to open the file), which is probably monastic in provenance. If it has fallen upon our happy lot to chant the kalendas this year, then we can exercise the option to sing it in the more solemn tone in honour of the holy birth of our Redeemer.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Priesthood and touching the Body of Christ

This Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi, let us reflect on the priesthood and the Blessed Sacrament, by looking at two post-Resurrection episodes in Holy Writ. First, when Christ, risen from the tomb, met Mary Magdalene, He forbade her from touching Him. “Touch Me not,” said He. Second, when Christ appeared to His disciples again, Thomas being present, He bade Thomas put his finger into His wounds. “Put in thy finger hither, and see My hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into My side; and be not faithless, but believing,” said the Lord. While theologians sometimes juxtapose these two instances to expound the mystery of faith, we can read these two episodes under a different light.

Явление Христа Марии Магдалине после воскресения | Алексaндр Андрeевич Ивaнов | 1835

Holy Mother Church ranks Mary Magdalene amongst the Lord’s disciples, according her an honour more sublime than the rest. The West calls her the Apostola Apostolorum, the Apostle of the Apostles. The East calls her Ἰσαπόστολος, an Equal to the Apostles. While Mary Magdalene received the privilege of being the first of all Christ’s disciples Holy Writ recorded to have met and conversed with the risen Lord, she didn’t receive the honour of touching the Lord’s risen Body. The privilege alone belonged to the apostles. The Lord did not raise Mary Magdalene to the ministerial priesthood, and He commanded her not to touch Him. On the other hand, the Lord did indeed raise Thomas to the ministerial priesthood, and so He instructed him to touch the living marks of the Passion on His risen Body. Here we can see why Holy Mother Church cannot go beyond what the Lord had done, and that is to admit women into sacred orders.

Incredulità di san Tommaso | Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio | 1601–1602

While Mary Magdalene did not receive the ministerial priesthood, she, of course, shared in our common priesthood. For all intents and purposes, she was laywoman, a holy laywoman. When this sinks in, terror must then possess us whenever, unworthy as we are, an ordained minister invites us to touch the consecrated species. Our unconsecrated and unanointed hands must never touch the Most Holy Body of the Lord. Such an honour was denied even from one who watched the salvation of mankind unfold on Calvary, who stood under the Cross as the Lord hung from its gibbet, witnessed His burial, and brought myrrh on the first day of the week after to properly anoint His Body. We must always remember His command to this holy laywoman whom the Church honours as Equal to the Apostles and as the Apostle of the Apostles: “Touch Me not!”

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Happy 1987th anniversary!

A blessed Pentecost to everyone! Today, Holy Mother Church celebrates the 1987th anniversary of Her beginning, having been founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who ordained thus that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her.

Pentecôte | Jean II Restout | 1732

EXEVNTE·MDCCCCLXXXVII·ANNO
A·PARACLYTO·PER·FILIVM·A·PATRE·EMISSO
QVI·DVM·TAMQVAM·SPIRITVS·VEHEMENS·DESCENDENS
VT·IGNIS·LINGVA·SEDIT·SVPRA·DISCIPVLOS
DEDIT·ECCLESIAE·A·CHRISTO·AEDIFICATAE·EXORDIVM
OMNIBVS·HANC·SENTENTIAM·VISVRIS
SALVTEM·IN·DOMINO·PRO·EIS·DESIDERAMVS
FAVSTISSIMVMQVE·EISDEM·EXITVM·GRATVLAMVR

Vivat Sancta Mater Ecclesia !