VIDEO – Pontifical Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Here is the video of the Pontifical Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception which I attended last Saturday. There was a new composition for the Mass. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco was the celebrant.  Check out in particular 2:16:55, toward the end at the Salve Regina.

Liturgically, they did a good job. However, at some point we have to make choices about what “solemn” means. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean “slow”. Also, one of the great aspects of the traditional Rite is that things can happen at the same time, rather than the CHUNK (pause) CHUNK (pause) CHUNK (pause) CHUNK (pause) of the Novus Ordo.

One of the musical pieces I liked was the new Ave Maria which was in the indigenous language of Juan Diego.   This is the language in which Our Lady would have spoken with Juan Diego!   Surely with divine assistance for those words. Here’s a shot of the text.  In the video, start at about 2:06:30.

The vestments were by Altarworthy.  After the Mass I spoke with the gal who made them.  Very nice.   They had interesting elements you can’t easily see.  On dalmatics, etc., on both sides there are shields surrounded by golden roses and on each are titles of Mary from the Litany of Loreto.   I’d like to work with them.

It is important that we support these large scale and highly visible Pontifical Masses.  It is important that we support also composition of new liturgical music.

What we are doing is NOT locked in amber.

Remember:  WE ARE OUR RITES.  If that is true, then there is a dynamic between us and the rites that is simultaneous and continuous.   Inculturation.  There is an authentic inculturation.  It is authentic when what the Church has to give has logical priority over what the world has to offer.   We are our rites and our rites are us.  If we are not locked on amber, then neither are they.  They have been in continual development since the Church’s beginning.  Very slow.  Organic.  This is what was so violently interdicted in the 60s and 70s through the sudden imposition of an artificially composed rite.    But we are our rites!   Consider the damage that has been done to our Catholic identity because of that rupture of continuity.   We must reestablish continuity and we must also maintain dynamism.   The rites must be stable.  However, music can be new and renewing.  Music is pars integrans in our rites, an integrating part.  So, we should foster truly sacred music.   Music for sacred liturgical music must be 1) sacred and 2) artistic.   It must be in a sacred idiom or an idiom at least that is not in conflict with the sacred and it must be of high quality composition and performance.  I like the distinction made by Ratzinger about music that is for the People and music that comes from the People.  The first is more entertainment which the later conveys something deeply united to their culture, their “who”.   This is important in considering inculturation as well.

But I am running long.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    God bless Archbishop Cordileone.

  2. Kenneth Wolfe says:

    Good to see you there yesterday.

    Although I was not a fan of the music (drama and dissonance, more suited for a modern opera) I commend the organizers for identifying and drawing a large number of people who usually attend the novus ordo. I estimate only ten percent, at best, of the full house were TLM regulars. That alone is an accomplishment.

    I second the liturgical (not the musical) thumbs up. Canon Avis and Canon Moreau were terrific, organizing a diverse group of clergy in the sanctuary in what turned out to be a beautifully offered Mass.

  3. Cratchit says:

    Father, have you ever thought of commentating or narrating a video of a Pontifical Mass? Sort of like what Archbishop Fulton Sheen did for a Mass in 1940. It would be very informative to hear the meaning and symbolism of each ritual explained while watching them take place.

  4. kurtmasur says:

    I was thoroughly impressed with the Holy Mass in the video, both liturgically and musically. The Mass in this video has taught me that indeed we can compose new additions to sacred music that are worthy.

    For those who don’t approve of the music, I would much rather have the Mass music setting as performed in this video vs. the Criolla Mass any day…..bleh to the latter! For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, have a look at a sample of the “Criolla Mass” in this video of the Papal Mass on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

    I can only hope that the next papal Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe does NOT use the Criolla Mass and instead uses this brand new musical setting in the beautiful Holy Mass we just saw by the Archbishop of San Francisco.

  5. Salient says:

    It was good to briefly meet you yesterday after Mass!

    The Mass was very beautiful indeed! With the wonderful music, spectacular architecture*, invigorating incense, and meditative symbolism of the rite, all my senses were enraptured by the heavenly and my mind and heart were lifted up to God. I truly felt my soul being spiritually nourished!

    With this being a rare experience, I didn’t notice the Mass dragging on (even though I do notice elsewhere that others seem to think slow means more reverent). Since this was only my third or fourth Solemn Pontifical Mass, what elements could’ve overlapped or been “sped” up?

    By the way, I was able to appreciate your explanation from some time ago of how during the vesting ceremony, the bishop is humbly being prepared like a lamb for the slaughter, in imitation of the Christ, the lamb of God, who is both priest and victim. Thanks for that!

    *Albeit some elements like windows or mosaics could be nicer.

  6. majuscule says:

    Here is a link to just the Aue Maria from that Mass.

    Who was the deacon? He had an awesome voice when he chanted the Gospel and the confeitior before communion.

    Who were the two young men in long black capes? Very solemn. Very wonderful!

    I saw you distributing communion Father!

  7. FrankWalshingham says:

    It was a splendid liturgy and proved that modern musicians can write good liturgical music. There was no dissonance as the wonderful music and the voices of the chorus resonated through the basilica. The Mass also showed that Archbishop’s Cordeleone’s belief that a proper liturgy is truly the best means of evangelization. Far better than Allen Vigneron’s misguided “Unleash the Gospel” debacle in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Great to see the America’s basilica packed and to hear the Latin responses echoing from the faithful crowd.

    Great work by the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship! And where else could you see the traditionalist priests who will save the church like Father Z, Monsignor Pope, Father Aidan Logan and many others all gathered in one spot. A liturgy to remember. Also great to see Father Friel who supports the Latin Mass Community in DC do a great job as one of the deacons. And those custom vestments were splendid.

    Thanks for being the driving force bind a great event, Archbishop Cordileone!

  8. adriennep says:

    The Archbishop knows that this is a brilliant cover for Pachamama worship. It was Our Lady of Guadalupe who was responsible for many millions to convert to the Catholic faith from their native pagan, human-sacrificing culture. And she did so a mere 40 years before the Battle of Lepanto.

    I wonder if OCP will be publishing this any time soon (ha!).

  9. Taryn says:

    I loved the Ave Maria and thought it was wonderfully performed. As far as dissonance goes, it was minimal. Besides, dissonance (tasteful dissonance) only makes the resolutions that much more beautiful! New music must be new, yet still be rooted in tradition if it is to be successful. I think this music fits the bill. And while Palestrina is the gold standard of vocal counterpoint, we cannot expect today’s composers to be his clones. I for one am happy to see this type of music. I think the Archbishop liked it too.

  10. Jim Ryon says:

    What a beautiful mass. The beauty of the mass, the building and music lifted my soul. Beauty does honor and glorify God.

  11. Mary Jane says:

    Since Father Z spoke of new compositions of sacred music, I wanted to mention that my husband composes sacred music (as a hobby). The lyrics are all taken from the Mass or the Office, according to the books of 1962. Here is a link to a list of his compositions, if anyone is interested:

    His music is available for free download and free use. Several of his compositions have been sung at our parish; they range anywhere from 3 to 7 parts.

  12. seeker says:

    The new music, setting and liturgy were beautiful. Afterwards there was a seminar to speak with Abp. Cordileone, the composer Frank La Rocca, the conductor and a distinguished music professor from the University about how the piece came to be written and performed for the first time in San Francisco all in about 6 months. Abp.Cordileone, who conceived the idea, spoke of wanting to combine devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Immaculate Conception, inculturation in the highest sense, continuity of tradition and unity.
    . LaRocca did impressive research, using the 17th century manuscript of an Aztec Spanish priest for the translation of the last piece, Ave Maria. That piece had an Eastern-sounding melody and we learned that La Rocca used a middle eastern Lydian dominant scale originally brought to Spain by Sephardic Jews. The name Guadalupe, which is a river in Spain, has middle eastern roots from wadi (oasis)and lupe (wolf). The piece was a masterful musical linking of the new world to the old world of Europe, and further back to the cradle of Christianity. So much work, scholarship, and piety went into The Mass of the Americas to move us out of the liturgical and musical dessert we’re in now. Hopefully the work continues.
    . We also heard from many people working to rekindle a Catholic arts movement following the talk in workshops in voice, poetry and painting.
    . I treated myself to this Mass, held on my 60th birthday, after reading about it here. It was worth the travel, a great experience. Thank you for that, Fr Z, and for the blessing after Mass.

  13. That Guy says:

    So pleased to have finally been able to meet you, Fr. Z, and thank you for your blessing! I was thrilled to be able to take my family to experience the beauty of the Mass. Thanks and BZ to all who made it possible! Two quick questions:

    I noted ushers bearing baskets taking a collection during the offertory, but it seemed that they stopped short of my row. I’m glad they did, as I had no way of knowing whether this collection would be going to support the Benedict XVI Institute, or if it would be going into the Rectors coffers (bleh!). Do we know who benefited from the collection? I whipped out my iphone and made a quick (and tax deductible) offering to the B16I . Hopefully this would be an example of a righteous use of an electronic device during Mass.

    2nd question… from where we sat, we couldn’t get a very good view of the vesting rites. Knowing the Mass was being streamed live on EWTN, I pulled out my iphone so my sons could get a better look. I discretely held the phone in the folds of the program, and I believe I didn’t cause any distraction for others in doing so. Is this horrible, and if so, how horrible? I think it surely enhanced the experience for my sons, who were attending only their 2nd TLM and 1st Pontifical.

  14. Amerikaner says:

    Glad Fr Z commented on the problem with slowness. This seems an issue at many EF parish Masses where things go at the speed of molasses. A priest once told me he thought it was a result of French influence. ??

  15. maryh says:

    The Hail Mary in Aztec is amazing! I had tears in my eyes.

    You notice the Ave Maria had two loan words from Spanish: Dios and gracia. Since I looked up nahuatl (the Aztec language), and it has words for god, I assume the loan word was necessary to completely distinguish God from the Aztec term for god. Also, I find interesting that gracia was seen as a necessary loan word as well.
    As you said, father, this is authentic inculturation. It starts with understanding the native language, and then adapting the native language to Catholicism, not vice versa. You don’t translate or equate “Mary, mother of God” or some other saint with pachamama (not Aztec, I know). You translate Mary, mother of God, into Aztec! And if you need to, you don’t even use the Aztec word for god. Better to use a loan word than a native word that could be misconstrued!

  16. WarriorSpirit says:

    For one who has no means of attending a Tridentine Holy Mass, this Pontifical Mass was music to my soul. It was beautiful, solemn, and holy in my opinion. How I long to attend Tridentine Masses on a regular basis.

  17. WarriorSpirit says:

    I saw the Archbishop’s eyes tear up quiet heavily at the end of the Salve Regina. I saw that as I watched the Holy Mass on Saturday also, but this was closer than my TV. I know the feeling. I actually tear up whenever I see a Tridentine Mass. The Archbishop’s heart must have been overwhelmed, as was mine.

  18. magister63 says:

    Yes, it was beautiful! But Fr. Z, maybe you could launch a campaign to get proper, rubrical altar cloths? That beautiful altar looks like it has a towel draped over it.
    God bless, and thank you for all you do!

  19. moosix1974 says:

    Pretty sure that was Msgr. Charles Pope with the archbishop. Father, why are the two “deacons” with him not wearing surplices>

  20. j.g.t. webb says:

    She of Altarworthy is indeed lovely. I know her quite well, so your shout-out gave me an opportunity to feel mildly, vicariously famous.

  21. Father Bartoloma says:

    Good to see Msgr. Pope as a deacon at the throne.
    I wonder why they left the free-standing altar in the sanctuary? I know that it has a special mechanism built into it whereby it can be moved.

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  23. FrankWalshingham says:

    Majuscule: That deacon was Father David M.Friel of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He is studying at the CUA. He has been a great asset to the DC Latin Mass Community during his time in DC, saying masses at the Old St. Joes Chapel in Forest Glen on a regular basis. Besides saying an excellent Latin Mass, Father Friel is a superb homilist. Heartwarming to see we have some seminaries in America turning out fine young priests.

  24. Semper Gumby says:

    The Good, the True, and the Beautiful. God bless Abp. Cordileone and all at the Mass of the Americas. The “Aue Maria” during de-vesting was ethereal. Authentic inculturation indeed.

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