Fortissimo in the Faith: two bloggers (I one) looking back

John Sonnen, of Orbis Catholicus (who will be handling traditional liturgy Roman pilgrimages), was once a little altar boy at my home parish of St. Agnes in St. Paul, Minnesota, where once the legendary Msgr. Schuler was pastor.

Today I found on his blog a mention, nostalgic, of the old days, the hay days.  Indeed I, today, in listening to the monks of Le Barroux sing Tenebrae, was able to sing along for many of the antiphons and even readings, which I myself have sung many times.

Thus, John:

Lots of fine memories there from my youth.  It was a great way to grow up, attending Tenebrae in choir to learn the chants of the Church.  And H.H.H., our deacon, always timed our Tenebrae each year, and it was almost always to the minute the same.    [HHH is the late, great Harold Hughesdon, born in London, of the Westminster School, in the RAF during the Battle of Britain, eventually permanent deacon at St. Agnes, who recreated there the liturgical style of Westminster of the 30’s.]

There were many colorful personalities.  The great Fr. Z would arrive from Rome.  [“The great”!  I’m still waiting for Monsignor.] I miss the old holy cards he often had printed every Triduum.  [RIGHT!  I did that.  I would put “Tenebrae factae sunt” on the back.] They added a lot to the solemnity of the week.  The cards always made nice book markers in a Liber Usualis.  Was always kind of fun to look for cards from previous years kept away in the pages of old Libers on the sacristy shelf.  I always looked for the old Liber of Mons. Bandas to carry and hold and pray from during Tenebrae.  Mons. Bandas was one of the tallest trees in the forest before, during, and after the 1960s.  He evinced eminent priestly qualities one rarely encountered during the turbulent conciliar period and its immediate aftermath.  A prophet, really.   [Msgr. Rudolph Bandas had been a peritus at all the sessions of the Council.  He came back to St. Paul and implemented in the parish, St. Agnes, the reforms of the Council as they were actually written.]

Fortunate is the youth who gets to grow up being involved in a parish that is fortissimo(very loud) in the  Faith.


The Late Rev. Mr. Hughesdon snuffing a candle during Tenebrae! Fr. Z, celebrant.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. “Msgr. Rudolph Bandas has been a peritus at all the sessions of the Council. He came back to St. Paul and implemented in the parish, St. Agnes, the reforms of the Council as they were actually written”

    Fr. Z. as always, it’s interesting to know where implementation of the “Spirit of Vatican II” went wrong, and you’ve shown many an example here on WDTPRS of that.

    Perhaps one day, in a post or a series of, could go please delve into more detail about when it was rarely done right (from the start), especially how this peritus did it (with maybe examples showing how the practical correlates with the V2 docs?) Being born after the council in the 80’s, I am really curious to know what it was supposed to be like and how.

    BTW, Felix Pascha!

  2. AVL says:

    I had never heard of Tenebrae until now, so I looked it up. It sounds beautiful! I hope, at least once in my lifetime, I get to experience it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. catholiccomelately says:

    A holy and blessed Easter to you, Fr. Z, and to all your readers.

  4. catholiccomelately says:

    A holy and blessed Easter to you, Fr. Z, and to all your readers.

  5. danhorse says:

    Thanks for the nice post, Fr. Z. Happy Easter. God bless you for all you do.

  6. Mike says:


    As a child of the 60s, makes me feel disinherited!

    A Blessed Easter to Fr. Z and all his readers!

  7. Joan M says:

    A happy Easter, Fr. Z.

    I loved Tenebrae! My home town is a Cathedral town and there was a seminary right next door. Every year the seminarians sang Tenebrae magnificently. I specially loved the snuffing of the final candle, accompanied by the slamming shut of the breviaries. I wish we had that still.

  8. We had Tenebrae on Wednesday and Friday; my husband led the men and I sang with the women (led by our choir director). We sang some of the polyphonic versions of the responsories. Loved the strepitus at the end! A very appropriate way to end the Good Friday liturgies.

  9. Papabile says:

    I love Tenebrae.

    Unfortunately, there is no such thing as Tenebrae in the post conciliar rite. In fact, except for anticipation on the Friday preceding Easter, it seems to have been eliminated with the 1960’s rubrical changes for Weds and Thurs.

    If someone can show me it in the books, I would love to see it.

    Many have maintained the tradition of anticipating Matins and Lauds, but even when it is anticipated on the Friday, there is no hearse, etc.

    I am all for extraliturgical ceremonies that resemble the old Tenebrae, but at the end of the day, I would just use the older books.

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