Your Corpus Christi Sunday experiences

People have been mentioning their Corpus Christi processions under my WDTPRS entries.

Here is an entry specifically for your processions.

Yesterday I was at St. Mary’s in Norwalk, CT where, coincidently, I found also my friend Fr. Uwe Michael Lang.

Fr. Markey is pastor at St. Mary’s.  We have seen him before in these electronic pages.

The parish church is getting a renovation, by stages.  The sanctuary has been spiffed up and it looks splendid.   They have more work to do on the nave.

For Corpus Christi (external celebration on Sunday) there was a Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  The ceremonies were very smooth and you could tell that the servers were well-trained and comfortable with them.   There are certain points during a Solemn Mass when you can tell if they really know what they are doing: the sanctuary takes on the aspect of one of those wonderful clocks in a German town square with smoothly moving figures.

It was good to see the range of ages among the servers.  Some of the little shavers had just made their First Holy Communions.  They alternated between the sort of solemn that only the very young are able to convey and moments of wandering attention.  Solemn won in the end.  The range of ages in the sanctuary assure that they will have well-trained servers in the future.  The young one learn from the older boys and they absorb the manner and attitude required near the Lord’s altar.

The music was polyphony and Gregorian chant.  The Mass setting was Palestrina’s Missa Lauda Sion, which was entirely appropriate.  There were a number of children involved.   I am not a great proponent of mixed Gregorian chant groups (males and females singing at the same time), and would prefer separate but equal choirs.  When a women’s schola sings Gregorian chant, the effect is stunning.  But everyone sang very well and greatly contributed to the reverence of the rite.

The procession was quite long, winding down to the town center and then back to the church. During the procession there were prayers in English and Spanish, as well as hymns and, thanks for Fr. Markey with a blowhorn readings citing the Council of Trent about the usefulness of processions to combat heresy. Very festive.

After the procession I stopped in briefly at the informal reception and met some very nice folks, including readers of this blog.

It was a fine Sunday.

St. Mary’s in Norwalk is a happy, healthy Catholic parish with a strong liturgical life and a sound, dedicate pastor.   They are revitalizing their Catholic identity brick by brick in Norwalk. 

WDTPRS kudos.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. pseudomodo says:

    A near normal feast of Corpus Christi until close to the end.

    The tabernacle was open all during mass. The monstrance was on the altar all during mass. at the end the pastor placed the blessed sacrament in the monstrance and reoriented it to the middle of the altar. He then proceeded to make the weekly parish announcements and invited a speaker to give a short speach after which there was applause and thanks. Only then did he vest for benediction.

    A hand full of people including my wife and myself thankfully had the smarts to realize that having the blessed sacrament exposed on the altar was a signal to kneel which we did throughout the announcements and speaches. What a tragedy and this on Corpus Christi!

    I mentioned this issue after mass and he was clueless!

  2. JulieC says:

    Out on Long Island we celebrated two First Communions at our 1:30 pm Latin High Mass. Fr. Anthony Heinlein, the celebrant, led us on a procession after Mass with a Triple Benediction at outdoor altars, a first for our Latin Mass community here.

    Our former celebrant of this Mass, Fr. Robert Mason, the retired pastor, is currently in the hospital after cardiac surgery. Prayers for his rapid recovery would be much appreciated.

  3. Jbuntin says:

    Yesterdays Corpus Christi celebration, was my first in the Extraordinary Form. I have never seen or experienced such a beautiful liturgy ever. Our procession was only on the inside of the church, but to defend Father’s choice, it’s already 100 degrees here in North Central Texas. I don’t know if he could have processed very far outside in his cope and all the rest of his vestments. Even with the procession inside it was beautiful.
    Our priests Fr. Longua FSSP and Fr. Wolfe FSSP, are so great in there love for the Church. I have learned so much from both of them in the few short months I have been attending the EF.

  4. JulieC says:

    I forgot to mention our parish is Our Lady of Lourdes in Massapequa Park.

  5. Father G says:

    It was my first Corpus Christi Mass and procession as a priest.
    Imagine how I felt after years of being a canopy bearer for the Corpus Christi processions to now be carrying Our Lord Himself! I almost got emotional as I genuflected before lifting up the monstrance from the altar.
    The parish where I am stationed does a wonderful and reverant job for Corpus Christi. The parish has a very beautiful ombrellino (liturgical umbrella) which I requested to be used as I carried Our Lord inside the church until I was underneath the canopy for the outdoor procession. The procession went literally around the block, which included closing part of a public street. I even smelled the rose petals that were being dropped during the procession. The only thing missing was that the altar server forgot to ring the bells at Benediction (oh well).
    Overall, a very memorable Corpus Christi for a newly ordained priest.

  6. Nice procession at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis:
    I am gratified that people showed up even though it was brutally hot and humid.

    I also participated in a procession at Saint Ambrose church in Saint Louis. It is an Italian parish, and they really did a fine procession with a wide variety of prayers, chants, and hymns, in Latin, English and Italian. I can’t post my photos because Blogger is down.

    Alas, I did not attend my own parish’s procession, Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in the Extraordinary Form. It was awesome last year.

  7. pjsandstrom says:

    I do not want to dim your praise for St. Mary’s — but is not German/Swiss ‘clock-work actioned’ liturgies one of the real problems with ‘actuosa participatio’as it is understood by those who are enthusiastic for the ‘reform of the reform’? I have seen the city-hall clocks in Germany, etc. and though they are beautiful and intriguing they are places to observe the marvelous machinery at work but not for including the watchers in the works themselves.

  8. Liz F says:

    After high mass in Lincoln, NE at St. Francis (EF) we met with the parishioners from Blessed Sacrament (OF) and processed to their church. It was very nice. They had five altars (the two churches, and three outdoor altars.) I love seeing the policeman hold up traffic for the Most Blessed Sacrament. They were wearing white gloves. The altar boys from both churches were there, along with Knights of Columbus, at least one Knight and Lady of the Holy Sepulchre, the first communicants were there and the girls dropped rose petals before the Blessed Sacrament. Also, I loved that families and just people in general were on their porches staring. Can you imagine what they must be thinking? I loved the idea that some hearts may have been touched by it all or some seeds planted about the Faith. It ended at Blessed Sacrament which seemed most fitting. As we sang the last songs I really felt united in Christ. Nothing else mattered at that point. It was beautiful. Then we ended with a potluck in their gym.

  9. jbalza007 says:

    At the ICKSP apostolate of St. Margaret Mary’s Church (Oakland, CA), not only did we have First Holy Communion and street procession (with 3 outdoor altars/stations), we also had the vesting of the brown scapular for the first-time communicants.

    Some pictures have already been posted on my blog:

  10. momoften says:

    Ours began on Thursday night with an EF Mass, and talk following by Fr Neil Roy–40 hours began after that. Then Mass Friday night with another talk, and 40 hours continuing…and Saturday morning Mass and talk and 40 hours continuing. Finally, a morning Mass (NO)on Sunday and procession that followed. It was really smart of our Pastor to do it after the morning Mass to pull in the regular NO Mass followers and the EF Mass people (that Mass was after the procession). We had a good turnout despite the cold and threat of rain. We are a rural church, and perhaps the only one or one of a few in our diocese to have one. Then we had a Solemn High Mass-and despite how small we are, some great chant! I thank God we have a priest who is bringing tradition back to the church–I had never been to a Corpus Christi Procession until he was assigned and started them, much less a EF Mass. A few of my boys and I ended up at the monastery to serve a Benediction with Rosary. It was a great way to end the week, but exhausting. Father G, were you at St Cyrils?

  11. pjsandstrom: is not German/Swiss ‘clock-work actioned’ liturgies one of the real problems with ‘actuosa participatio’as it is understood by those who are enthusiastic for the ‘reform of the reform’?

    I don’t understand what that means.

    Why would carefully celebrated worship ever be a “real problem”?

  12. Rafaelmcg says:

    here began on thursday, with the lack of a TLM, i attended in a ukranian catholic bizantine rite mass, first we had the mass, a very beautiful one, i sing on their choir, and so, that was a beautiful mass, after that, we made the procession around the church, using the four altars to place the Blessed Sacrament, so was a very solemn and beatiful rite, without abuses.

    ah, we had it on Maringá- Paraná, Brasil, here is very difficult to find TLM so, we are lucky to have this Ukranian Chapel here.

  13. Rob in Maine says:

    Nuthin’ at my parish.

    The homily was repalced by an exortation to donate to a new foundation for the Diocese.

  14. Ef-lover says:

    I was at St. Mary’s in Norwalk also for yesterdays mass and it was everything Fr. Z said , I can’t add any more to it. Fr. Markey is a great pastor he has done wonderful things at St. Mary. I’m friends with the choirmaster David Hughes who does a great job with the many choirs he directs, I would say he ranks up there with some of the best out there – I also have him come to my ccd class to conduct a lesson on sacred music.

    I also attended the Corpus Christi mass at Sleepy Hollow ,NY ( where by the way David Hughes is also choir director) it was a sung mass in plainsong -Missa Cunctipotens Genitor Deus offered by Fr. Richard Munkelt. The procession was not as long as in St Mary but we did have it outdoors between the rain drops

    My own parish in NY did not have a Corpus Christi procession but they did have a procession , an extended offertory procession in which the Rel. Ed children processed to the altar with various summer toys ( basketball, ball and bat, sand pail, pool floats, coloring books and so on) and then each child read a petition on how one can use these items over summer to remind themselves of God

  15. Gail F says:

    We did not have a procession, but (as usual since Easter) one of the servers carried a ceramic pie plate full of incense. Yes, we do that. Our pastor talked about Eucharist having been offered continually since the death of Christ and Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and in the Church — more specific than he usually is about anything doctrinal and so a plus — but also said that people used to have things like processions and 40 hours “when they received communion a lot less frequently than now,” which is a minus. HELLO, there were at least five processions in our Archdiocese this year, including one at the cathedral. It’s on the rise again. Anyway, we did not have the sequence but our music director did sing “Panis Angelicus” after communion. For my parish, not bad, but not very good either.

  16. ppb says:

    There was a city-wide Corpus Christi procession in Santa Fe yesterday. A beautiful event and great public witness as well: joyful pealing of the bells at the Cathedral Basilica, procession through the streets of downtown Santa Fe (crowded with tourists at this time of year), and concluding with solemn Benediction by the Archbishop in the Cathedral.

  17. Desertfalcon says:

    No procession, no monstrance. My parish is a very rural Idaho parish with a large Mexican immigrant population. We had a “pinch-hitter” priest as our normal priests were both away. He was a retired older gentleman but very “VII” who used a plate of five bolillos, (Mexican Hoagie rolls), from our local “panaderia” to illustrate his homily of the loaves and fishes. [So long as he didn’t use them for the Eucharist… invalid matter since they need yeast.] He was wonderful and gave a very clear, orthodox lesson for Corpus Christi. Mass was simple and beautiful.

  18. Cristero says:

    At the Latin Mass Community at Mission San Juan Bautista, CA we also had a First Communion, and a Procession around the Mission Plaza.

    A video of the Procession was posted on our blog:

  19. becket1 says:

    Not good!. Went to Novus Ordo Mass with my mother because Mass was also for my deceased father. We had guitars, computerized organ as part of music program, priest and deacon with about five EMHCs, mother included, for about 40 people. about a 10 minute Corpus Christi celebration in church, no outside procession. All in sunny upper Bucks county PA.

  20. I served EF High Mass as thurifer, no procession afterwards though :(

  21. Jack Hughes says:

    downright abismal, no procession, there were kids fighting and talking throughout Mass, in addition there were a sizable number of women who were dressed extremely immodestly waltzing up to Holy Communion, the First Communicants on the other hand were dressed impecably, the only highlight of the day.

  22. Re: clockwork

    In pretty much every area of life, from theater to launching rockets, it’s considered to be a _good thing_ for people to be prepared and know what to do, and never to have a hesitation or a fluffed word. When everyone knows what they’re doing (and circumstance is as tamed as it can be), everything goes like clockwork. They are not considered to lack in participation; indeed, such precision is proof that they are “in the moment”.

    Of course, it’s always a concern for people that they pay attention to what the Mass is about, as well as the mechanics. But it’s a lot easier to pray your actions and participate fully in mind and body, if you know what the heck you’re supposed to be doing. That applies to the congregation as well as the servers and celebrant. Uncertainty is distracting, to you and your neighbors. Smoothness helps others to pray and pay attention to what’s important.

    Now, it is true that when you know what you’re doing very well, you can go into a flow state; and then, sometimes your mind takes a “time out”, or at least, you can’t remember much when you come out of the flow. But that’s part of how our systems are designed to operate when optimal, not when working badly. The flow state comes from God. It could scarcely be wrong to worship “in the flow”, therefore — though one might find it unnerving to trust God and your body’s wisdom so fully! So prudence might dictate trying to hold back from the flow state sometimes, yes, to permit the rest of your brain to be edified consciously.

    (Though St. John of the Cross says you shouldn’t worry about it if you have some deep meaningful mystical experience and then don’t remember much about it, because the nutrition of it is in the moment, not afterward. Indeed, he constantly discourages people from dwelling on past religious experiences. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t think about what happened at Mass or what you learned, and obviously it’s good to improve the art of celebration or assisting and participation. But whatever we remember is what God wants us to remember, and what we don’t remember is probably not what we need to remember. In my opinion, anyway.)

    Other than that, I don’t see any possible problem.

  23. Mindyleigh says:

    We celebrated Mass with a visiting priest from India, Father Santan Pinto whose reverence greatly moved me and drew everyone into the worship of our Lord. He elevated the precious Body and Blood of our Savior for at least a full minute…oh my soul! The homilist was Fr. Vincent Kelber, OP, who delivered insightful teachings (as always) about our life in Him.

    Then we processed through Anchorage to the park strip at the John Paul II memorial (which commemorates his 1981 visit)…I don’t know how many joined us but it was certainly a large group by Alaskan standards. Traffic had to wait, so that was good. :)

    We adored Him at the memorial before heading back to the Cathedral for the Benediction, praying the Divine Mercy chaplet on the way and singing hymns. Altogether beautiful and holy, for which I am thankful.

  24. Cricket says:

    Holy Redeemer Church, Madison WI. Our beloved Fr. V. processed with the Monstrance through some of the busiest streets (& taverns) in Downtown. He was accompanied by a quartet of “altar men” in cassocks & surplices, also a Thurifer. A dozen or more beautifully-dressed Latino children who’d just received their First Holy Communion were at the front of the line, followed by at least a hundred people reciting the Rosary aloud in both Spanish & English. Every couple of blocks everyone would pause to kneel briefly on the sidewalk. Passersby appeared to be awestruck by the spectacle. An amazing, wonderful day!

  25. Shmikey says:

    The Archdiocese of Omaha had a beautiful and triumphal procession from Our Lady of Lourdes parish to St Peters in southern Omaha. This was my first opportunity to attend(these parishes have been organizing this for 5 years). They processed for 1 1/2 miles and stopped three times at outdoor altars(interestingly one was set up at the garden of the birthplace of Gerald Ford). The hymns were traditional in Latin, English and Spanish. When we arrived at St. Peters, they blew flower petals from the top of the church and set off fireworks continuously for about 15 minutes. Thanks to all those who organized this event, they put a lot of consideration to every detail.

  26. Supertradmum says:

    Nothing special, except a local college choir which sang two beautiful Latin hymns, including Ave Maria. But nothing particular for this great feast. The church was almost empty, as I assume people are on vacation. I am so tired of the short-shorts and always pray the young men do not notice.

  27. DT says:

    @ Mark Scott Abeln-

    The procession at St. Francis de Sales was beautiful and awe-inspiring. The weather was perfect and the music sung by the choir is, as always, heavenly.

  28. Thomas in MD says:

    Went to the 12:00 OF High Mass at Sacred Heart in Bowie, MD. A beautiful Mass with a wonderful procession after with a canopy. We pocessed from the modern church to the 18/19th-century chapel on top of the hill. (The chapel was were John Carroll was made the 1st bishop of the US.) Benediction to end. It is so inspirational to bring our Lord out into the world he created.

  29. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Thought about making the trip down to Norwalk; had I known you would be there, I would have come down. Went to St. Mary’s in New Haven instead. Run by generally traditional Dominicans. N.O. with a very capable choir. Lovely procession around the block after mass (the heart of the Yale campus), with Pange Lingua in Latin/English variation and benediction in two outdoor locations before heading back in. Excellent KofC guard accompanying the procession (is also the mother church of the KofC).

  30. Eric says:

    Very nice procession at our parish.
    The storm that blew through the Midwest Saturday night blew through here early Sunday morning and brought with it very comfortable temps but also some stiff breeze to deal with. It was useless to try to keep the candles lit or even light them outside at all.

    My youngest got to serve as “boat bearer” to assist the two thurifers, of which my oldest was one.

    Father added a few prayers in German, as he always does, for the German speakers buried in the cemetery.

    My wife (who washes the server cassocks and surplices) winced every time they kneeled on the soggy ground. She spent a good deal of time Sunday afternoon spraying stains and washing cassocks.

    Very nice all the way around. Not too much, not too little.

    Sts. Philomena & Cecilia, Oak Forest IN.

  31. maynardus says:

    Had a Corpus Christi “twofer” this year. Thursday evening we had a Sung Mass at Sacred Heart in Middleborough, Ma. followed by the first procession there in nearly FIFTY years (according to the old-timers). The church is on the main street of town and traffic nearly came to a halt even though we were on the sidewalk! About 50 people participated which was more that we expected.

    On Sunday we had the usual procession at Holy Name in Providence. It was a bit more ornate and included the First Communicants and a K of C honor guard along with about 150 souls.

    A sugggestion to those who are trying to promote the idea of having a procession in their parish – since the actual feast day in the E.F. is Thursday, it is *much* easier to borrow items such as ombrellino and/or canopaeum on a weekday than on a Sunday! The parishes that have these items generally kept (or acquired) them for a reason – they actually USE them! (I’m not sure if the Thursday Mass is an option in the O.F.)

  32. JimGB says:

    Only additional touches at my parish were the six tall candles lit on the high altar, which is no longer used for any liturgy but thankfully remains intact with the tablernacle, and the use of Eucharistic Prayer 1. No use of incense during Mass or any other special observances.

  33. JosephMary says:

    Thanks be to God: no money appeal this year on the feast as I have experienced for some years running. Our interim pastor does not ‘do’ processions. In fact he had to ask the liturgist how to close adoration which he only did twice in the 6 months he has been with us. We did, after a year of asking, have a sign up for our one day of adoration and the sign up was announced but not encouraged or promoted. What can a lay person do? Put forth the 5 loaves and 2 fish and pray OUr Lord to multiply!

    We have a new pastor coming. I hope to request expanded adoration and a 40 Hours. I hope he loves Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament!

  34. MichaelJ says:

    Had an unexpected reminder from my four-year old during our procession. We were abould halfway back when he loudly blurted “Hurry up daddy. We need to catch up to Jesus!” Although I doubt if he understood, the simplicity and profoundness of that statement really struck a chord.

  35. Ana says:

    On Thursday, May 3, our parish had a EF Missa Cantata. On Sunday we had our standard Mass with incense followed by a procession that started in the Church and continued around the block. When we returned to the parish green we had a moment of adoration and a blessing after which we continued into the Church for Adoration and Benediction. Young girls (first communicants) dressed in white led the way.

  36. Desertfalcon says:

    Hoagie rolls for Eucharist? LoL, No, nothing that heretical, Father.

  37. kjh says:

    we had nothing of great note to celebrate the solemn occasion. We had a visiting priest who encouraged us to “be the Eucharist”. We had a slightly more Eucharistic tilt in the hymns. No sequence, no exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, no procession of any type.

    It is no surprise that there is such a lack of respect for the Sacrament of the Eucharist – even on a day that is specially devoted to it, there is nothing even attempted to draw any particular attention to it…

  38. Mrs. Bear says:

    Here at St. Timothy church in Orangeville, Ontario, Canada:


    My husband, daughter and myself sing in the choir so we sang at both the 9 & 11 masses:
    Processional: Jesus My Lord My God My All
    The English Corpus Christi Sequence
    Offertory: Ave Verum Corpus – Mozart
    Communion # 1: Congregation singing Take and Eat
    Anthem # 1: Godhead Here in Hiding
    Anthem # 2: Panis Angelicum – Gregorian
    Recessional: Tell Out my Soul
    It was raining yestday morning so Father did a shortened procession inside the church with the First Communion children following while we all sang the Taize Ubi Caritas. Benediction with the bells and smells – we sung O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo. Prayed the Divine Praises and a prayer on vocations. Ended with a reception following mass to celebrate the feast day.

    BUT… the big news was that he moved the tabernacle to the centre !!!!
    (not a new tabernacle or tabernacle altar….. yet)

    Read what our pastor had to say about the move in a previous bulletin – to pretty much forewarn the congregation:
    www – then go into the May 23 bulletin.

    He also had a new sacristy island hand crafted to lay out his vestments on and a new presiders chair with two smaller matching chairs to go on each side.

    Thanks be to God for a wonderful pastor, Fr. Paul Dobson and to our wonderful
    Archbishop Thomas Collins who thought the tabernacle should be in the centre!!
    Fr. Paul is now off to Rome to concelebrate the June 11 mass with Pope Benedict.

  39. Hans says:

    Being (part) German and Swiss, I don’t understand the clockwork comment either, though I thought the comments on it by Suburbanbanshee were apt.

    Here in near-west suburban Chicago we had a lovingly reverent Mass in the ordinary form with a lovely homily by our new (as of January), young (31!), orthodox* Franciscan associate pastor. The OFMs kindly have lent him to us for a year while he continues to learn Arabic, then it’s off to Damascus or places similar he thinks.

    The choir sang Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, but our director’s goal is to have Byrd’s Ave Verum ready for next year. That now seems feasible after our success earlier this year learning Tallis’ If Ye Love Me. It just takes time for the choir to acquire the skills and for the musical tastes in the parish to adjust.

    Anyway, to the subject of processions:

    We didn’t have a procession, but our regular organist is off on a pilgrimage to Spain to walk as much of the Camino as she can in ten days, and she arrived in Madrid just in time to witness the processions there, and she was quite excited. I’m hoping she’s able to bring some of that excitement home.


    *We had an interesting conversation the other day that included his description of his shock when he heard some of the horror stories his formation director (who I also know) told him about the ’70s and ’80s. I thought it was reassuring to know that things have improved enough that some of the worst excesses, at least, have become bogey stories instead of lived experiences.

  40. DisturbedMary says:

    Corpus Christi Sunday, Good Shepherd Church, Isham Street, Manhattan. A reverent procession led by the boys and girls who had made their first communion on Saturday on their Second Holy Communion. The Blessed Sacrament was carried down the front steps of the Church onto Broadway, then past the stores, the bank, the subway, along the sidewalk, to the corner and around to the school auditorium. Christ on the street. Beautiful.

  41. bernadette says:

    A Solemn High TLM at St. Joseph’s in Huntington, WV and then Corpus Christi procession with canopy around the block. Excellent sermon as always by Father Tim Grassi. One that all Catholics need to hear maybe everyday. A beautiful and memorable evening.

  42. StevenDunn says:

    We had our first parish procession since anyone could remember! It went very well. I was one of the organizers on behalf of our KC’s. We used a KC canopy we use for other events to cover the monstrance. We had KC members carry the crucifix and torches to lead the procession, with our 4th degree behind them and then the canopy. Dual incensation, candle-bearers, bells – it was the works. Benediction followed. Everyone was happy with how it came out for a first attempt! Our priest wants to do it next year, as well. We’re already planning to add first communicants and more traditional music, and maybe even ask the bishop to come!

  43. StevenDunn says:

    Ah, I forgot my parish’s name! St. Wenceslaus, in Iowa City, IA.

  44. pjsandstrom says:

    I think ‘suburbanbanshee’ writing at 11:50 caught what I was trying to point to. Some thing done with ‘unthinking repetion'(even perfectly) can either be a mystical experience for the participant (the ministers at the liturgy, the actor on the stage or musician lost in his/her music)’going with the flow’ or it can be like watching a military drill team going through its paces. For the observer it can be aesthetically pleasing, but only very rarely ‘pulling one into inclusion’ in the action because it does not really invite inclusion in the action. I am all for the best use of the ‘ars celebrandi,’and I would hope and pray that is the goal for everyone (laity and clergy together). However,it also needs the ‘spice’ of this time and this place of celebration. Plays, operas, musical performances, the Divine Liturgy, and even homilies do need that. That is why I question ‘German/Swiss clockwork’– ‘military drill perfection’ enthusiasms of the ‘reform of the reform’. [I have in my library a videocassette of a Solemn High Mass explained by Bishop Fulton Sheen from sometime in the early 1940’s at a Church in Chicago which is a good example of this ‘military drill perfection’ style.]

  45. Hans says:

    Mrs. Bear, I’m impressed that your choir sings twice on Sundays; they must be a very committed lot. And a good selection of music, too.

    If I may, your link isn’t quite correct; it should be this one. Also, they will have to read the May 23 bulletin for your pastor’s message on the tabernacle.


    bernadette, I spent a year (’97-’98) singing in the choir at St. Joseph’s in Huntington, WV. It was Msgr. Lucia who got me back to saying (convincing me it was okay to say) my rosary in Latin. What a wonderful place.

  46. pjsandstrom says:

    I noticed upon rereading that I misspelled ‘repetition’. I am sorry I did not catch it before posting.

  47. Mrs. Bear says:

    Thanks for the correction.
    We are a relatively new choir – 2 years and we sing the 1st, 3rd and (if a) 5th weekends.
    The 1st Sunday of the month we sing at the 9 & 11.
    The 3rd and 5th we sing at the Saturday 5pm and then again at the 9 & 11.
    We don’t have to commit to all of them – but most of us try to.
    We will probably be the only choir that will sing through the summer.
    Pax Christi,
    Teresa B.

  48. Hans says:

    Surely, pjsandstrom, the ‘action’ that most people at Mass should be participating in the prayer, not in the doing of things. And surely that is easier if things go smoothly (or, in your rather biased phrasings, ‘German/Swiss clockwork’ or ‘military drill perfection’).

    One of the reasons I began going to daily Mass regularly is because I could do less and be more involved. Somehow, that became ‘you’re in the choir, you take charge of the music’ on weekdays, so it’s now my job to make sure that the music goes like clockwork in order to enhance the participation of the others.

  49. newtrad says:

    Liz F beat me to it, we here in Lincoln had an incredible Procession led by Fr. Cano,FSSP. It was our family’s first EF celebration of Corpus CHristi. We were so amazed to see the Holy Eucharist stop traffic, then to be kneeling in a public park at an altar upon which rested the King of Kings. It still brings tears to my eyes. The fact that we were united with the OF parishioners and altar servers and priest was just incredible. Kudos to Fr. Kelly of Blessed Sacrament Church and Fr. Cano for joining together to provide such a witness to our family and to the city of Lincoln! We are truly blessed!

  50. Hans says:

    Make that:
    “the ‘action’ that most people at Mass should be participating in is the prayer,”

  51. Hans says:

    We have sung summers in the past, Theresa, but our director and too many of our senior members will be gone too much for that to work this year. (I’m going to Rome for two weeks, for instance, and as I mentioned, our organist is in Spain.)

  52. Re: drillmaster precision

    Having a certain number of steps and a certain precision of coordination is a valid aesthetic for moving about the sanctuary. Not everybody has to have it that way, of course, but it’s a valid model. Mass does use a lot of Roman military terms and imagery. Also, there were plenty of people back in the day who learned a certain ideal of beautiful movement from being in the military. That’s not a bad thing; it’s inculturation.

    It’s probably also helpful as an aesthetic for the young kids who are learning to be servers. Most young kids nowadays haven’t taken dance or theater classes and haven’t gone to elaborate stage presentations, but they understand something of the choreography and blocking required of military or civilian drill teams, marching bands, “stepping” teams, and the like.

    I’m not sure how this would stop anybody out in the pews from “actuous participation”, though. I mean, even if you thought it was distracting the first time you saw it, it would be exactly the same the other times, so you’d get used to it very quickly. And if it gave pleasure to the eye, it wouldn’t be any less meritorious than a nice vestment or a pretty church.

  53. Sometimes people show deep confusion about precision in liturgical rites.

    Precision is a reflection of practice and understanding what you are doing. That practice and understanding actually helps even those carrying out the rites to be more interiorly involved. If you know what you are doing to the point where it is comfortable and easy, you can cease worrying about it and “take it all in” as it were.

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that being careful makes active participation harder.

    That’s so strange that I can barely get my head around it.

  54. AnAmericanMother says:


    Good luck on the Byrd. We sing a lot of Byrd, and sang the “Ave Verum” last Sunday, along with the chant (our director tends to pair motets with the same text in chant). Byrd has a distinctive pattern or style to the various voice parts — once you internalize that pattern you’ll find him (and any other notable composer from the period) easy going. Don’t be afraid of the cross-relations, either — you don’t need to lean on them hard, just touch them.

    Hailing from the Anglican tradition, of course I find Byrd and Tallis and the other English Renaissance composers easy to sing because I’ve done it all my life. But our director (who is NOT Anglican — a cradle Catholic) admires them because that era features the most perfect marriage of English text to melody that has ever been. Of course, they were no slouches on the Latin, either.

    A really good source is the Oxford Sixteenth Century Anthem Book, if you want the very best of that era all in one place. I think it’s in its sixth or seventh edition by now.

    We’re an all-amateur choir by the way (except for one staff singer for each part. You never know who is going to show up.)

  55. Jack007 says:

    I hope Fr. Z won’t mind my posting this, but I took a look at St. Website, and I was blown away by what Fr. Z called “spiffed up”. OMG!

    I immediately clicked on the PayPal donation button and made a modest donation.

    I don’t often do that, but when I saw the pictures of the church before the 1970’s and after wreckovation, I was literally SICK to my stomach!

    The work that Fr. Markey has done so far is nothing short of INCREDIBLE!

    For those that haven’t checked it out, do yourself a favor. Talk about HOPE and CHANGE! It’s made my WEEK, and its only Monday! :-)

    Jack in KC
    PS. Checking out their Mass schedule is worth a trip to the site alone.

  56. Jack007 says:

    Sorry, St. Mary’s Norwalk CN.
    Got too excited.

    Jack in KC

  57. AnAmericanMother says:

    I think when some people talk negatively about “precision” they have an idea of a sort of mechanical, jerky performance — memories of second-rate WWII movies, I suspect, and all the bad associations with goose-stepping bad guys.

    True precision is coordinated but smooth – somebody up thread mentioned “flow” – so that everything becomes a continuous, smooth, functioning whole.

    I used to be a member of a Scottish Country Dance demo team (back in the years B.C. – Before Children), and when everything just “clicked” it was as though we were all dancing in each others’ heads and the dance became one coherent single movement from start to finish. It takes lots of practice. I’ve noticed the same thing when riding a hunter course – when you and your horse get in synch it’s like a super-smooth ride on a sled down a featureless hill. No anxiety, no scrambling, just perfect accord.

    “Real liturgical dance,” I guess.

  58. Titus says:

    Church of the Assumption, Nashville TN (Cardinal Stritch’s home parish, fwiw): procession down the block and back followed by adoration and benediction. They used the sequence, too.

  59. Hans says:

    Fr. Z wrote:

    Sometimes people show deep confusion about precision in liturgical rites.
    Precision is a reflection of practice and understanding what you are doing. That practice and understanding actually helps even those carrying out the rites to be more interiorly involved. If you know what you are doing to the point where it is comfortable and easy, you can cease worrying about it and “take it all in” as it were.
    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that being careful makes active participation harder.
    That’s so strange that I can barely get my head around it.

    The only thing I can think of is that such an attitude has been adopted somehow from our non-liturgical brethren. I have some Baptist relatives who (used to?) think of liturgy as a dirty word. Though when my mother finally got the chance to organize the prayer gathering at the annual family reunion, we based it on appropriate parts of the Mass. Yes, it was modified from the ordinary form, and yes in English — let’s not get silly, these are some pretty hardcore Baptists — Latin would have had them out the door. They were surprised that something structured could actually be ‘prayerful’; they just don’t think that way. Though they were a bit disappointed that they didn’t get to read random bits of Scripture at random times, or so it seemed to me. And some of them might even have begun to think that Catholics might not be automatically doomed.


    We’re an all-amateur choir, AnAmericanMother, except the director (who is mostly a grade-school music teacher, which is just what we need) and our organist (who is otherwise a lawyer for the people who publish our missalette). Speaking of things that require clockwork timing, I even made a recording of us singing If Ye Love Me.

  60. Charliebird says:

    Perhaps I was not supposed to complain, but, alas, I just logged in to do so:

    At the parish I attended, the homily: 15 seconds on the Real Presence, 15 minutes and 45 seconds on how the community pulls together to get things done. He did affirm, though, that the multiplication of loaves and fish was indeed a miracle, which was comforting! There was no procession, but there was Panis Angelicus, to my GREAT surprise and pleasure. :)

    Maybe in twenty years…

  61. Rev. says:

    Corpus Christi College, the Regional Seminary for Victoria and Tasmania – Australia, Hosted 40Hrs Adoration concluding with Solemn Vespers and a Eucharistic Procession through the streets of Carlton. Over 600 of the Faith assisted as the Staff, Seminarians and visiting Clergy processed with the Blessed Sacrament down one of Melbourne’s busiest restaurant precincts. Photos and Video can be found at

  62. VickiW says:

    I attend Mass at Holy Family in Dale City, VA. The pastor is very much inclined to restoring authentic traditions, including the use of Gregorian Chant. I belong to a special chant choir that sings once a month at the 9:00 AM Mass. While we have not worked our way up do doing all the Latin propers yet, that is our goal. We sang the proper introit (Cibavit eos), sequence (Lauda Sion) and offertory (Portas caeli). The ordinary parts were the Missa de angelis. The homily was on the Eucharist as the most precious gift of the Lord to His Church. He also encouraged us to make visits to the Blessed Sacrament. It was wonderful.

  63. juxta crucem says:

    Re: Precision in the rites.
    Sometimes we think precise formal action is cold and unfeeling while casual spontaneity is more authentic and loving. But friendly informality tends to stay on the human level, while the ritual draws both priest and people into the divine – into true communion. I enjoy the friendship of a number of priests who celebrate the EF, but I am sometimes moved to tears watching them celebrate Holy Mass. The priest’s careful observance of the rubrics is a beautiful act of love, a devoted obedience to his Bride, a surrendering of himself to something greater and becoming another Christ for us. By focusing on the worship of God, the priest draws me into actual participation far more than if he attempted to make me feel included!
    When a priest says my name as he gives me Communion (in the OF), I feel like saying, “Dear Father, don’t just be my friend; I want you to be Christ for me!”

  64. cmm says:

    At St James’ cathedral in Seattle: incense, procession, tantum ergo, salve regina, etc.

  65. Gladiolus says:

    Alas, no procession again at the English College in Rome.

  66. BenFischer says:

    We had 1 sentence about how there was a connection between the miracle of the loaves and fishes and the Last Supper, then a 5 minute story about a Vietnamese boy who volunteered to give a blood transfusion to a young girl even though he misunderstood the translation and thought he’d die as a result of the transfusion.

    Given the one sentence connecting the Eucharist and the Loaves and Fishes, it was one of the more catechetical homilies / sermons we’ve had in as long as I can remember.

    Brick by brick … not.

  67. At Saint Ambrose Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, a famous Italian parish:

  68. Agnes says:

    All the usual bells & smells at St Agnes, thank you God!

    I had to go to St. Paul’s Cathedral that evening with my son and LO! Smells and BELLS! Bells at Consecration there nearly knocked me off the pew.

    How insidious. Sneaking in good liturgy like that. ;-)

  69. patrick_f says:

    My home parish, did very little for Corpus Christi. The Associate Pastor’s Homily, was wonderful as always. If only he was young enough (and strong enough) to have the parish (he technically is a “Senior Associate”)

    When I showed up to Cantor at this mass (our Paid Music Director tends to be gone often, but I wont digress), the music he had picked included the ever popular “Song of the Body of Christ ” (we come to share our story…snore). As the lady who was substituting, a previous Organist many years ago for the parish, she was playing a selection of preludes. She does a fabulous job of picking appropriate things where she can (keep in mind… she is NOT the Director of music).

    Anyhow as she was playing, she transitioned into “Panis Angelicus”. I promptly asked her for a copy if she had one on her — So rather then singing about our story, and how “WE” broke bread , I sang about what the Eucharist was. The Congregation responded WONDERFULLY to it. So that was our very meager “Brick by Brick” for the day. Keep in mind , she didnt pick this horrible original song (and, her and I talk often and she is quite aware of my feelings for music like it)

  70. Ellen says:

    We had a visiting priest who said Mass in Latin (not Tridentine Mass) but beautiful anyway. The choir sang Latin and English hymns including a lovely rendition of Ave Verum Corpus. We usually have an outside procession, but the wind was fierce and it was threatning rain so we had to stay inside the Church. Chapel of The Fathers of Mercy in South Union Kentucky

  71. susanna says:

    Solemn High Mass, sequence, Ave Verum, procession in the church, benediction. Absolutely wonderful choir and servers. First blessing by a new priest after Mass. It was a beautiful day at the Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community.

  72. Crbtre says:

    Quite possibly the most beautiful OF form of the Mass I have attended in Tallahassee. It was at a run of the mill modern parish, but it was the first Mass of a recently ordained priest. So there were incense, chanting, and a short procession. Even bowing at the name of Jesus and Mary! Pray for Fr. Kevin!

  73. kjh says:

    I would also like to comment on Fr. Z’s comment about “precision in the rites.” (I don’t know how to do the quoting, but this is the link to the comment:

    Our altar servers (mostly young children, but even the few older ones that we have) seem to have much difficulty knowing ‘what comes next’ during Mass, and basically there are many fumbles in the typical Mass – to counter the comment about the precision making participation harder – it is totally distracting (to me, at least) to see the kind of disorganized action going on around the altar, in spite of efforts to not pay attention to it! I mean, every Mass is THE SAME – there should be no real trouble with knowing what comes next, in general. I think that there is little or no training of the altar servers, and a lack of attention to details. It doesn’t help that our current pastor is very ‘relaxed’ in his attitude toward most things – so I don’t think that there is a real emphasis on learning and doing what should be done. I know that you don’t want to freak a kid out by yelling at them at the altar (I remember that happening to me way in the past) but there should really be no need for invention on the fly during Mass – or at least very little.

    I heartily second Fr. Z’s comments – not that he needs my approval! It rings very true with me!


  74. AnAmericanMother says:


    Very nice. The important point is to keep forging ahead!

    You’re right that timing is key in Tallis (actually in any of the Renaissance motets). You have to sort of listen to the other parts but NOT listen to the other parts, and count like mad.

    One of the best ways I’ve found to practice is the YouTube recordings where they have kindly put the score up and it scrolls along. As here:

    If Ye Love Me

    Because of the way the center section (the repeat) has a cascading effect, with the parts entering one after the other, it’s very helpful to watch and hear it go by at the same time.

    Our director is walking us back into High Renaissance . . . we’re working on some Josquin — here’s a recording of somebody else doing it:

    Tu Pauperum Refugium.

    Very strange sound to modern ears, and the music is put together in a fundamentally different way. It will throw you for a loop, and if you zone out even for a second the whole thing will crash and burn. So I make thorough use of YouTube!

  75. catholicmidwest says:

    This is the midwest. We don’t do processions. Unfortunately.

  76. Hans says:

    I realize that Chicago isn’t exactly classic Midwest, catholicmidwest, but here is a Corpus Christi procession at Holy Name Cathedral (which actually used to have lovely stained glass windows) from 2007.

    @ kjh
    You can do the quotes by typing [blockquote]quotation text[/blockquote], but using angle brackets () instead of square brackets.

    There is one trick that seems to apply here and not everywhere: if you have two consecutive returns (to have a blank line between paragraphs, for instance), the quote will automatically end, no matter where you put the end-quote command after that.

    Thanks, AnAmericanMother.

    You’re right that timing is key in Tallis (actually in any of the Renaissance motets). You have to sort of listen to the other parts but NOT listen to the other parts, and count like mad.

    It’s also very helpful to have a good director who can catch you if you wobble a bit. Nonetheless, I think our results are pretty good considering only a few of us (~25%) have any choral experience beyond the last year or two in this one, and a few only have any experience reading music here as well. Fortunately, we have at least one person in each section with considerable (a decade or more) of experience to help keep things going smoothly.

  77. newtrad says:

    Dear Catholicmidwest,
    I just moved to the midwest, Lincoln,Ne, and there are plenty of Processions, EF and OF. So it must be a local thing, sorry for ya’ll.

  78. AnAmericanMother says:

    Fortunately, we have at least one person in each section with considerable (a decade or more) of experience to help keep things going smoothly.

    That’s de facto staff, and it’s a GOOD thing! Since I’ve been singing in choirs since I was 6, I was de facto staff alto for a long time, so I just never went out of town on Sundays. Now we have a pro, so we can cover for each other which is splendid.

    Our director can sing three of the four parts (actually three and a half) He has a beautiful falsetto and he can hit any soprano note, plus sing alto and tenor (his actual part) and most of the baritone range. So he will chime in if somebody gets off base.

    He does say that in a perfect world we shouldn’t HAVE a director to sing Renaissance music because it was originally sung without. If you have a small choir, you can stand in a hollow square like the Sacred Harp singers do, and listen to each other. We do that during choir practice to learn to listen and adjust the parts and the tone quality. Again ideally, for English Renaissance you want a clear pure sound, unforced, with absolutely zero vibrato. Your choir has an excellent straight tone – not a lot of wobble anywhere – so you’re definitely getting there.

    Really you sound very good – I could hear an occasional bobble (which seems to ALWAYS happen while you’re recording!) but it never lasted long and everybody kept on keeping on, which is 99 percent of the game. Our director says as long as you don’t throw up your hands and scream, “OH NOES!” the congregation won’t notice.

  79. patrick_f says:

    Tallis and Byrd are wonderful to sing, but you are dead on AnAmericanMother, the key is listening to each other

    The other difficulty is that in renaissance times you woul dhave only ever saw your part, you wouldnt have been given all 4, 5 , (or in the case of Gabrielli :P ) 8 parts. They thought more in terms of instrument, rather then voice not being an instrument.

    I always try to get an image of a waterfall in my head with Rennaissance music… it just keeps going and going and going.

    Perhaps next year….I can convince some others to do the Byrd Ave Verum :)

  80. AnAmericanMother says:


    A waterfall is a good image, because flow is what you want in this sort of music.

    I like seeing all the parts, probably because I’m used to it after 50 years or so, but also because when I mark my music I make full use of the other parts to pinpoint entrances (especially if we start on some off the wall note far far away from the tonic). It seems like in Tallis and Byrd the tenor part is VERY helpful for alto entrances . . . .

    The Byrd “Ave Verum” is a great place to start, because its structure makes fundamental sense (unlike the Josquin we’re working on, I haven’t made sense of that yet). The Viadana “Exultate Justi” is another good one to begin with. The Byrd “Sacerdotes Domini” is a little more difficult, but it’s SHORT!

    And I’ve always got to put in a word for the English anthems – “Rejoice in the Lord Alway” (the anonymous setting, not the Purcell “Bell Anthem” although that’s great in its own right you need an awfully good organist) – Weelkes “Alleluia, I Heard a Voice” – Batten “O Sing Joyfully” – Farrant “Hide Not Thou Thy Face” – and the beautiful little Morley “Nolo Mortem Peccatoris” which goes back and forth between Latin and English with remarkable effect.

    If you have a good tenor or male alto (or a female alto with a straight English sound), try the Weelkes “Most Mighty and All-Knowing Lord” which is set as a solo with continuo. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard, like fireworks going off in your head.

  81. California Girl 21 says:

    At St. Margaret’s in Oceanside, CA, this year’s First Communicants had been invited to wear their suits and white dresses to the 8:30 Corpus Christi Mass, and seats were reserved for them in the front two pews. Mass was solemnly celebrated with an additional four torch bearers, along with the usual cross-bearer, thurifer, acolytes, and MC. We had a great sermon on the Real Presence ( ).

    Then after Communion, there was a Eucharistic procession–Father and all the altar servers, followed by the children, then the choir, then the congregation. We processed out of the church, the length of the (long) parking lot, then back past the outdoor Stations of the Cross, singing Pange Lingua (verses alternately in Latin and English).

    Then we finished up in the church with Benediction. After the 11:00 Mass, there was Exposition from noon to 6:00 PM. A wonderful day to honor our Lord!

  82. Hans says:

    It is like staff, AnAmericanMother, though it’s probably best not to think of it that way for some.

    The chance that we would sing without a director is slim, I think, but we’re always thrilled when we can sing without accompaniment.

    When I was first playing the recording for our director, she was conducting along with her eyes closed; she got to one of those wobbles, her eyes popped open, and I said “I can’t fix that.” She smiled and went on. We mostly don’t “Oh No!”; we usually go silent.

    Anyway, one of the benefits of singing Renaissance polyphony, is that when we sing other harmony or even in unison, the more exuberant singers are still listening to the others, so our balance is better.

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