Description of Archbp. Chaput’s upcoming “installation” in Philadelphia

Latin Rite Ordinary Form ceremonies are, in my opinion, not as significant as the older Extraordinary way of doing things.  I have in mind the ceremonies surrounding, for example, the consecration of a church and its altar.

That said, the newer ceremonies are not nothing.

Here is a piece on the blog of CNS about the ceremony in which Archbishop Charles Chaput will be “installed” as the Archbishop of Philadelphia on 8 September.

PHILADELPHIA — There will be no knocking on the door when Archbishop Charles J. Chaput arrives to the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The custom of knocking on the cathedral door, which has been done by some U.S. bishops when they were received at a new diocese, is not a practice that the church prescribes for such a ceremony.  [It is, however, in the Extraordinary Form of the consecration of a church.]

What is called for in the church’s “Ceremonial of Bishops” is being followed closely for the reception of Archbishop Chaput, formerly of Denver, to Philadelphia.

According to Father Dennis Gill, director of worship for the archdiocese, here’s how the Sept. 8 service will go down. [well… “will progress”?  “will be ordered”?]

Archbishop Chaput, accompanied by Cardinal Justin Rigali, will be received at the door of the cathedral by the rector, Msgr. Arthur E. Rogers, who will present a crucifix and holy water. The archbishop will kiss the crucifix and sprinkle himself and those present with holy water.

They process into the cathedral and after kissing the altar, Cardinal Rigali takes his place at the cathedra and Archbishop Chaput takes a seat across the sanctuary next to the ambo.

The apostolic letter announcing the appointment of Archbishop Chaput to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is presented and read.

Cardinal Rigali crosses the sanctuary and escorts Archbishop Chaput to the cathedra, the seat of the bishop.

The new archbishop is greeted by representatives of the local church; first by auxiliary bishops, then by clergy, women religious and lay people and lastly by civic officials and representatives of other faiths.

From this point, the Mass continues.

Archbishop Chaput has decided to give his first homily as archbishop of Philadelphia from the cathedra rather than from the ambo, according to Father Gill.

In giving media the rundown [why not just call it “the skinny” or “the straight dope”?  Since “go down” was used above, why not the “low-down”?] on the ceremony yesterday, the priest also mentioned that Archbishop Chaput had two special song requests for the installation [That word always leaves me thinking of spark plugs… software… silos…] service: “Gift of Finest Wheat” and “O God Beyond All Praising.” [I not too keen about the first, but the second is good.  Melody by Holst, no?] Both hymns are being included in the Mass.

CNS has its own combox, which you can visit.

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  1. Charles E Flynn says:

    “O God Beyond All Praising” uses “Jupiter” from Holst’s “The Planets”.

  2. MargaretC says:

    Please, let’s all make a point to pray for Archbishop Chaput, as he begins his work in Philadelphia. This is not going to be an easy job.

  3. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Gift was probably inevitable. One of the folks who wrote it lived in the Archdiocese of Denver and it was written for an event in Philadelphia. Perhaps this will be its grand finale.

  4. WGS says:

    The hymn, Gift of Finest Wheat, by Robert E. Kreutz was used for the 41st Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia in 1976. As I recall, the hymn was chosen as winner of a composition competition. Perhaps this connection with Philadelphia is why the hymn has been chosen for the installation of Archbishop Chaput. [Interesting.]

  5. jesusthroughmary says:


  6. Pachomius says:

    Presumably, bishops are installed because it takes a great deal of time and effort, and they come with a manual* that no-one ever looks at or bothers with.

    *i.e., the Caeremoniale.

  7. Traductora says:

    Hmmm. I guess they’re staking out their territory. Even our bishop in the relatively liberal St Augustine was received traditionally, knocked on the door, etc.

    The big problem in our case was that the Cathedral parish had told people to stay away. I’m not sure this was an intentional dig at the new bishop , who is perceived as conservative, or whether it was just ignorance. The result was that we only had a handful of people there in the plaza (across from the cathedral) to greet him, and the press was obviously puzzled by the lack of interest. I was one of the people in the plaza, and there was a home schooling family with a banner … and a few other folks, most of whom were not even Catholic and didn’t realize that they weren’t supposed to go to this.

    As I say, I don’t think there was any malice aforethought, but simply a weird VII embarrassment about being Catholic.

  8. mrose says:


    Agreed. I do appreciate, and want to find some hope in the significance of Ahbp. Chaput giving his first homily from the cathedra. May he teach and exort the faithful there in truth and in true charity, for the good of souls.

  9. Charles E Flynn says:

    Could the problem with “Gift of Finest Wheat” be that Americans tend to think that wheat is a commodity, unless they are shopping for high-end pasta?

  10. dallas says:

    installation [That word always leaves me thinking of spark plugs… software… silos…]

    or plumbing…

    “O God Beyond All Praising” – surely this is one the angels sing…

  11. Dr. Eric says:

    This makes me think of the little old ladies in the choir at my former church singing “Gift of Finest Wheat” in their singing voices that sound like Monty Python ladies screeching out the song at 60 bpm, funeral dirge style.

  12. Servant of the Liturgy says:

    I’m a say the black, do the red kinda guy, especially when I MC. That being said, I rather like the knocking on the doors of the cathedral, especially since there is precedent (as the good Father mentions). Here’s hoping for the Caeremoniale to be given more credence in the future.

    As for the rest, being traditionally recieved in a liturgically correct manner, preaching from the cathedra (awesome!) and “O God Beyond All Praising (which will be sung at my Wedding or Ordination, I have already decided.) is all fantastic!

    Seriously, if you don’t know O God Beyond All Praising, go YouTube it now. It’s divine and really puts me in a proper place for Mass.

  13. frjim4321 says:

    I am very partial to the Holst but I must admit it’s very hard to sing that hymn without thinking of the planets. It would probably be a good tune for a Mormon hymn, since I guess when they die they all get their own.

    That being said, I hope the mass in on T.V., because it would be fun to watch. At the very least I am sure they will post a PDF of the entire ceremony.

    If they do the Ave Maria I certainly hope they go with Biebl and not something insipid and cliche.

  14. sacerdosinaeternum says:

    Fr Gill was our Director of Sacred Liturgy in the seminary. Glad to see him continuing to do things as they should be done! Say the black, do the red!!

  15. David2 says:

    Whenever I hear the “Thaxted” tune – from Jupiter / The Planets, I think, in common with many thoughtout the British Commonwealth, of “I Vow to Thee My Country” – which is often sung as a hymn at Rememberence Day ceremonies and the like. It’s very Edwardian in its patriotism, and was described by an Anglican “Bishop” as “totally heretical” in placing Country before God.

    Heretical but beuatifully written. How very Anglican.

    That said, I see no poetry in the lines of “O God beyond all Praising” – one of those insipid post-Vatican II hymns that don’t quite cut the mustard.

  16. GirlCanChant says:

    Full disclosure: I am singing in the choir for the Installation Mass. Nah, I’m not excited at all.

    Traductora: We won’t have to worry about people not being there. The event is sold out.

    For those asking about Gift of Finest Wheat, it’s not my favorite, either, but it’s done for every major Mass in Philadelphia, so you just grin and bear it. We’re actually doing a new arrangement by Peter Latona, so it’s not too bad. That’s being done at Communion, and O God Beyond All Praising is the close.

    frjim4321: The Cathedral Choir (a smaller group) is singing Victoria’s Ave Maria.

    Here’s the broadcast info for the Mass, as posted on the archdiocesan website:

  17. RobertK says:

    I doubt this will be half as impressive as the installation of Archbishop Nichols in Westminster. Philadelphia has a lot of John Talbot fans. They are more into contemporary/folk instead of Gregorian Chant/Schola. [What a nice thing to say.]

  18. tioedong says:

    Gift of finest wheat was the theme song of the 1976 Eucharistic congress held in Philadelphia. link

    I too dislike it.

  19. jbpolhamus says:

    “Gift of Finest Wheat”?…?! Blorch! Simpering, saccharine…Sixties! (in spirit, even if it was written in the ’70’s.) Puh…lease. Anyone for a round of “Kum-Bah-Humbug” while we’re at it? There has to be a stain, a nod to pop-radio, a painful reminder of the past fifty years of nearly complete destruction of Catholic identity somewhere, doesn’t there? Gift of Finest Wheat…!!

    [Okay! I’ll take that to be a “No” vote.]

  20. Roger Conley says:

    I’m not going to deny that it’s an ugly song, but speaking as a Philadelphian, it’s our song, and we like it. I don’t know that Cardinal Krol actually liked it, but we thought he did, so he had to hear it wherever he went. It kinda, sorta teaches the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, which for the mid-70s was way, way reactionary. It’s our song. We like it. And it’s awfully nice that Archbishop Chaput is using it. If I were a writer for NCR, I’d accuse Archbishop Chaput as using it as a secret coded message to the old-time Catholics of Philadelphia, telling us that he knows Philadelphia is a special place with its own ways, and he won’t be trying to drag us into the 1960s, which has been the special project of the Archdiocesan bureaucracy for a while now. We like what we like in Philadelphia, and the real Philadelphians aren’t bothered by the fact that nobody else does.

  21. bookworm says:

    I do have to admit that whenever I hear of a bishop being “installed” I think of some mechanically inclined person hooking up a new appliance or something. “Yes, we can install your new bishop today complete with 5-year warranty at no additional charge!”

  22. dcs says:

    I also speak as a Philadelphian. The Cathedral has (mostly) moved past the 1970s, so why can’t our corpus of sacred music as well?

  23. AnAmericanMother says:

    True that “O God Beyond All Praising” is a post VCII hymn . . . but the music is Holst, and as for the words, there are an awful lot of hymns that need to go before this one. That’s not the hill to die on.
    “Gift of Finest Wheat” . . . maybe not the hill to die on, but getting closer.
    frjim1234, it’s funny but I think of the Biebl as a bit cliched. Maybe because we’ve sung it so much. Much rather do Palestrina or Victoria, or Byrd. But it IS a crowd-pleaser, no question about it, that’s why we sing it as much as we do. That, and because our bass section is large and heroic.
    For Roger and GirlCanChant and all the Philadelphians who say they like to do things THEIR way, for pete’s sake, you have Nicola Montani and a whole hymnal (St. Gregory). And he is Philadelphia’s very own. We used his settings for our archbishop’s first visit to our parish — I think His Grace was a little bit startled. But in a good way.
    GirlCanChant — break a leg!! !

  24. robtbrown says:

    WGS says:

    The hymn, Gift of Finest Wheat, by Robert E. Kreutz was used for the 41st Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia in 1976. As I recall, the hymn was chosen as winner of a composition competition.

    If that was the winner, I hope I never hear the losers.

  25. Causus Omnium Danorum says:

    I have to step in and say a good word for Gift of Finest Wheat–no, it does not compare well to the Church’s treasury of great music, but it’s a good deal better than the Haugen-Haas-OCP cr*p that plagues most Catholic parishes. Definitely not the hill to die on, when most parishes (and dioceses) have it so much worse. And if I recall correctly, it happens to be a favorite hymn of a former editor of Latin Mass magazine…

  26. Here’s a good article that appeared in the Register a few years ago:

    The author, a Catholic composer, thinks “Gift of Finest Wheat” is very different from most current used hymns and very good. I’ve heard it done very badly with out of tune guitars and also very well. Of course, I’ve also heard the traditional chanted Sanctus done very badly with out of tune guitars and also very well.

    I realize many just proclaim it to be drivel, but on what basis?

  27. Centristian says:

    “There will be no knocking on the door when Archbishop Charles J. Chaput arrives to the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia…”

    Fine. He’s the Archbishop-elect of Philadelphia, not the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.

    “Archbishop Chaput had two special song requests for the installation service: “Gift of Finest Wheat” and “O God Beyond All Praising.”

    The tune of the latter being much more widely familiar, of course, as “I Vow To Thee My Country”. Hmmm…I wonder what Black Rod’s doing September 8th? Maybe he could be prevailed upon to hop the pond and knock on the doors for the archbishop. “Cardinal Rigali commands this honourable House *bows left, bows right* to attend upon His Eminence immediately in the House of the Lord.”

    Fr.Z sez: “Latin Rite Ordinary Form ceremonies are, in my opinion, not as significant as the older Extraordinary way of doing things. I have in mind the ceremonies surrounding, for example, the consecration of a church and its altar.”

    Proponent that I am of the rescue and reform of the Ordinary Form, I would have to agree with that. Some of the multiplicity of details and perhaps also the inflexibility of the pre-Conciliar forms may have been a bit too much at times, but the Ordinary Form often wipes too much of it all away to the point where such ceremonies lose so much of their earlier majesty and, as you say, significance. There’s got to be a sensible reform one day that embraces a happy medium.

    All joking aside about Black Rod and banging on doors, the Roman Catholic Church could actually take a few lessons from Westminster on how to carefully prune ceremonies while maintaing their integrity. Look at the annual State Opening of Parliament, for example: it’s the most splendid and impressive ceremony you’ll see anywhere in the Western world. Although the event has been significantly reformed over the years, those ceremonial reforms were carried out in such a way that, while it has indeed been shaved of alot of archaic elements (and things that might seem just plain ridiculous to modern eyes), the ancient ceremony has lost not one iota of its original majesty and splendor.

    The Duke of Norfolk and the Marquess of Cholmondeley no longer walk backwards before the Queen through the Royal Gallery, for example, and the Lord Chancellor may not always wear his full-bottomed judicial wig, breeches, and buckled pumps (depending upon which party is in power). Philip has long since ceased to wear his velvet and miniver peer’s robe. While pruning away all the elements that may seem a bit too old-fashioned, the British are careful to leave in place as much as is required for the event to retain its grandeur.

    It’s what the Church should have done.


    “…for the installation [That word always leaves me thinking of spark plugs… software… silos…]”

    Funny, whenever I hear the word in relation to anything like that I always think of a bishop taking possession of his cathedral. ;^)

  28. amenamen says:

    The 41st International Eucharistic Congress was held in Philadelphia in 1976, during the Bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. The Eucharistic Congress left its mark on the city and the inhabitants thereof, and the memory of it has not really faded. See, for example,

    The hymn, “Gift of Finest Wheat,” was composed for that occasion, and it remains, a little like the Liberty Bell, an imperfect but permanent fixture of the city.

    It may not be the greatest of Eucharistic hymns ever composed, but “finest wheat” is at least a biblical image (Psalm 81:16, Psalm 147:14, Deuteronomy 32:14), that prefigures the Bread of Life.

  29. irishgirl says:

    I went to the 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia-that’s where I saw the future John Paul II!
    My memory is rather hazy about what was sung (I attended the ‘Polish Day’ Mass-the next to last day of the Congress, First Saturday of August) but I’m pretty sure I heard ‘Gift of Finest Wheat’.
    Oh, I love ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ (tune by Holst)! That was the late Princess Diana’s favorite hymn; it was sung at her wedding and at her funeral.
    Going back on topic-I hope there will be photos of Archbishop Chaput’s installation Mass. He will need all the prayers he can get, that’s for sure!

  30. Roger Conley says:

    I’m not arguing against a thorough musical reform in which we lose all the songs like Gift of Finest Wheat, but I think it’s nice that somebody noticed that it’s our song, and it’s being used. If there were an opportunity to change one thing we got from the Eucharistic Congress, I’d vote to move that statue of Jesus from the lawn of the Cathedral to somewhere less conspicuous. It may be that after the Reform of the Reform is over we’ll hear none of those songs, except in Philadelphia where we’ll still use Gift of Finest Wheat. Sort of like the Ambrosian Rite. That would be tough on dcs, though. And I also want to say that it is a better song than you’d think from the usual performance.

  31. Darn it, I like “Gift of Finest Wheat”. It’s kind of an odd range, but the theology’s good and it’s meditative. A very nice devotional song, and the words are easy to remember. Redolent of the good parts of the Seventies Church of my childhood. I had no idea that it was such a “new” song, though. We must have started singing it heavily right after it was released.

  32. jrobinson says:

    For what it is worth I live in the Denver Archdiocese and it has been my experience that when Archbishop Chaput celebrates mass at the Cathedral he give the homily from the cathedra, this is not usually the case when he is preaching elsewhere.

  33. RichardR says:

    Sounds like Archbishop Chaput’s choice of “Gift of Finest Wheat” moves him off Fr. Z’s “Favorites” list.
    Do we rip him limb from limb now or just pick away at him for the next several years.
    Please advise. [That was uncalled for and nasty, to me and all the commentators here. See ya.]

  34. robtbrown says:

    My problem with “Gift of Finest Wheat” is that the music encourages what is one of the most serious problems in the Church–the confusion of sentimental piety with true piety.

  35. This doesn’t really fit what’s described in the Ceremonial of Bishops. If the Cardinal (as metropolitan) is presiding at the chair from the beginning then he and not the Archbishop presides in the entrance procession (e.g. does the sprinkling) CB 1145.

    The new archbishop is greeted by representatives of the local church; first by auxiliary bishops, then by clergy, women religious and lay people and lastly by civic officials and representatives of other faiths.

    This “representatives of other faiths” thing was done when Archbishop Dolan was installed here in New York and it makes no sense at all. This portion of the ceremony is described as follows in the Ceremonial of Bishops:

    In a manner in keeping with local custom, the cathedral chapter, some members at least of the diocesan clergy, members of the faithful, and, as circumstances suggest, representatives of the civil authority go to their bishop and offer some sign of obedience and reverence. (CB 1143)

    It is not really appropriate for representatives of other faiths to offer a sign of fealty to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia (unless they want to become Catholic, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing). And if they understood what the ceremony is supposed to mean they would probably decline of their own accord.

  36. AnAmericanMother says:

    I’m afraid I’ll have to come down on the side of accepting sentimental piety, at least for the time being.
    There’s so much truly awful, heretical, self-centered, tone-deaf bosh and twaddle being sung right now, “To Jesus’ Heart All Burning” actually sounds pretty good.

  37. moconnor says:

    I don’t get the hatred for “Gift of Finest Wheat” either. It’s not the best hymn I’ve ever heard, but it’s competently written and the theology is fine. My mother got to sing in the giant choir in Philly when the pope celebrated Mass, so I it has some sentimental value. As a former resident of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, I wish him luck. There is so much to do there that reforming liturgy in the parishes will certainly have to wait, but I hope he gets to it.

  38. robtbrown says:

    Sentimental piety is an obstruction to the liturgy.

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