Sunday, April 22, 2012

Extraordinary Form Exposed to Many Last Weekend

Tridentine Community News (April 22, 2012):
Last Friday, April 13, over 400 people attended the tour of historic Detroit Catholic churches organized by St. Joseph Church music director Michael Semaan. The day concluded with Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Joseph Church. Michael is planning a number of future tours in and outside of metro Detroit because of the resounding success of this and prior bus tours.

Over 240 people attended Holy Mass at Windsor’s Assumption Church on Divine Mercy Sunday. The line for Confession stretched well around the inside of the church, even with two priests offering the Sacrament. Numerous first-time visitors expressed awe that such a Mass with such a music program exists in our region.

There is clearly a latent demand for sacred tradition. Experiences such as these serve to remind us that we have a collective responsibility to expose fellow Catholics to the Traditional Latin Mass. In spite of the significant publicity it has received in recent years, many do not know it is available so close by.

Corpus Christi Watershed

Every once in a while, an organization surfaces that simply impresses you. One of those is Corpus Christi Watershed, an oddly-named outfit which first came to prominence via its professionally-produced recordings of the Sacred Music Colloquiums of the Church Music Association of America. These videos convey the beauty and appeal of well-done sacred music and are intended to motivate parish musicians to improve their own programs. The high definition video, reverberant audio, and superb editing and titles will be particularly noteworthy to those who have attempted to make musical performance video recordings themselves. This attention to visual attractiveness is maintained in the sharp photography and appealing graphics on their comprehensive web site,, which also offers a number of musical training and topical videos.

Based in Corpus Christi, Texas, CCW is headed by the prolific young composer and organist Jeff Ostrowski. Their second project was a series of Gregorian Chant resource web sites, for example for Extraordinary Form Propers and for Gregorian Mass Ordinaries. The former provides the sheet music for all of the (Latin) Propers sung by a choir, MP3 recordings of those Propers, and sheet music for [one style of] organ accompaniment for the Propers. The latter provides similar scores and recordings of the all 18 Gregorian Mass Ordinaries. Additional web sites have been created with similar chant resources for the Ordinary Form.

CCW’s most recent project – and one that has been receiving deserved acclaim – is The Vatican II Hymnal. Parishes today have limited choices when selecting a conservative or traditional hymnal. The handful of old ones which have been reprinted, such as The Saint Basil Hymnal, lack a complete repertoire of Gregorian Masses and accompanying chants. Pickings are slimmer when it comes to new hymnals in print:

The much-lauded Adoremus Hymnal has recently come out with a second edition incorporating the new translations of the Ordinary Form of Holy Mass, but it still suffers from a limited selection of hymns. Its counterpart on the Extraordinary Form side, The Traditional Roman Hymnal which we use at St. Josaphat and Assumption-Windsor, has an excellent Gregorian section but relatively few hymns. It is currently out-of-print, though a second edition is being prepared. The remarkable Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Canticles hymnal has been out of print for over a decade, with no signs of a new edition being prepared despite promises to do so. Only the CMAA’s new Parish Book of Chant hymnal seems to strive for completeness, though even that suffers from some puzzling omissions in the Gregorian area and clearly favors the Ordinary Form.

Into this breach CCW has brought The Vatican II Hymnal, which despite its name aspires to serve both Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form Communities. It incorporates the Ordinaries for both forms of Holy Mass, along with a comprehensive selection of traditional hymns, one of the most extensive offered since the second edition of the Canadian Catholic Book of Worship II. Its Gregorian section is impressive but unfortunately not complete. While we cannot give it wholehearted endorsement, it does provide a valuable new bridge product that can more than adequately serve parishes which celebrate both forms of Holy Mass.

Lastly, we must mention one of CCW’s most impressive accomplishments: Most everything other than the hymnal is available at no charge. Although it is obvious that a tremendous amount of effort has gone into their offerings, donations are only modestly requested on their web site. To the anonymous donors who have supported this worthy and impressive enterprise...Thank you.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 04/23 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria of Paschaltide)

Tue. 04/24 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Votive Mass for the Anniversary of the Coronation of the Pope)

Wed. 04/25 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Mark, Evangelist)

Fri. 04/27 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Peter Canisius, Confessor & Doctor) Juventutem-Michigan Debut Mass – all ages invited. Dinner afterwards in St. Josaphat Parish Hall for young adults age 18-35.

Sun. 04/29 1:00 PM: High Mass at St. Hyacinth (Third Sunday After Easter)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for April 22, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]


Sam Schmitt said...

I'm curious - about "The Parish Book of Chant" - which "puzzling omissions" are you thinking of? And how does it "clearly favor the Ordinary Form"? As most of the chants in the book are applicable to either form, or are not strictly liturgical, I'm not sure what you mean here.

AlexB said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AlexB said...

Off the top of my head, here are some unfortunate omissions in the PBC that preclude its use in the EF Communities for which this column is written:

1. Vidi Aquam #2 as in the Liber Cantualis, the Saint Joseph Hymnal, and the Collegeville Hymnal

2. Gregorian Masses II, III, V, VI, VII, X, XIV

3. Pontifical Blessing (Sit nomen...)

4. Should have more settings of O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo

5. Christus Vincit, Vatican Radio version

I do not mean to criticize the project per se...kudos to all involved...but I do feel that in this electronic age, a truly exemplary hymnal for the EF can be created by consulting the existing hymnals out there, along with the web sites of prominent EF Mass sites that post their music selections. See what music people are actually using and fill those needs.

While I have no inside information about its contents, I am looking forward to the second edition of the Traditional Roman Hymnal, because its editor has done due diligence along the above lines.