Do You Think There’s a Market For These?

April 30, 2006

For those with too little time. Happy Catholic by way of the Ward Wide Web.

Everyone’s From UD

April 29, 2006

After reading this post on Bettnet and seeing how many people reading the blog are from UD (The University of Dallas), I wandered over to Fr. Philip's blog which started the discussion. His homilies are great and right now he needs some help figuring out a new podcasting format. Go help him out!

I Love Mommy Blogs

April 28, 2006

Mommy Blogs are proof that homemaking is not a dull occupation. Here are a few of my favorites:

Danielle Bean is the author of My Cup of Tea, has seven going on eight kids and still has time to write about the domestic church on a regular basis.

Mum 2 Twelve is pretty self explanatory.

Kitty Eleison is my wife and mother of our six great kids.

SFO Mom has some great thoughts on parenting.

Happy Catholic isn't focused on parenting but Julie is a Catholic mom and she has a great blog.

My Domestic Church is run by Elena, mother of seven.

A Mother's Rule of Life is a blog and book by Holly Pierlot.

Open Book, by Amy Welborn, is more focused on general Catholic issues but again, she is a Catholic mom of many, writes books, goes on speaking tours and blogs constantly. I think she must own one of these. She also has some really cute pictures of her kids in photo galleries on the blog.

A Tribute to Bad Taste

April 28, 2006

The Cafeteria is Closed, Curt Jester and Chroncle of a Meandering Traveller have a roundup of TabernACKles, Tacky-nackles and Mickey Mouse.

And of course you can’t forget the Borgnackle or “God is in nature, He lives in a tree“.

St. Mark’s Tabernacle

Can anyone find Jesus in this church?


Bonus questions: Can anyone identify this structure as Catholic? Can anyone identify this structure as Christian? As you view the slide show, ask yourself why anyone would possibly want to see more than one picture of the interior.

GIA and Oregon Catholic Press – Treasurehouses of Catholic Musical Heritage

April 28, 2006

As most people are aware, there are two main sources of music for Catholic liturgical services these days. The first is Oregon Catholic Press. The second is GIA.

Oregon Catholic Press has created a hymnal industry that has been analyzed in the past by Crisis magazine.

Several months ago they sent our store a wonderful CD called O Lux Beatissima which contains many basic chants that would be perfect for a parish to learn. The accompanying letter said that they sent us the CD as a sample of their selection because it seemed like we had a focus on chant (we do) and wanted to do business with us. After listening to the CD I called OCP and asked what other items they had that we would be interested in:

“Well, we have a chant supplement to our Breaking Bread(tm) missalette.”


“That’s it.”

“But you just sent me a letter saying that the CD was a sample of your selection that would interest us.”

“Well, we have this great chant supplement for parish use.”

“Right, you told me about it. What kind of a discount do we get as a store if we carry this supplement?”

“Well, we don’t actually give discounts to stores on it.”


GIA also has a commitment to preserving our Catholic musical heritage. Their catalog is 168 pages long and is chock full of old standards such as Haagen and Daas. No wait, that’s ice cream. Anyway, not to be out done by OCP, GIA has EIGHT PAGES dedicated to chant and polyphony resources. While we are certainly grateful that they import the Solesmes chant books, it would seem that the 1,960+ years of pre-Vatican II musical heritage deserve a little more space than eight pages between the two largest “Catholic” music publishers in the country.

The saddest part about this is that many years ago, GIA used to have another name – The Gregorian Institute of America and OCP used to be the Oregon Catholic Truth Society. Catholic music sure has come a long way when a Catholic publisher thinks that GIA is a more appropriate name for their company. And no, GIA isn’t an acronym. From their website:

“Of course, we haven’t abandoned our roots…GIA (originally the Gregorian Institute of America) still offers more Gregorian chant resources than anyone, including the highly respected Solesmes editions!”

When your roots are so tenuously attached, it is a very difficult thing to stay rooted.

Some Further Resources on the liturgical music situation:

Buried Treasure (from Adoremus)

The Hidden Hand Behind Bad Catholic Music (Crisis)

If you want to know what the current Pope and the Church has to say about liturgical music:

General Instruction of the Roman Missal

A New Song for the Lord

Spirit of the Liturgy

Sacrosanctum Concilium (Vatican II) (Not in print anymore)

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

The Accidental Punctum (or How I learned to Love Chant) – Part I

April 27, 2006

Gregorian chant. Saying the words can put some people into a state of euphoria and make others have apoplectic fits.

For those who are used to standard music notation, chant notation can seem like learning Latin when you know Spanish – it looks pretty familiar but you can’t just jump in and start singing.

First of all, learning chant is actually much easier than learning standard notation. There are only two clefs and no “key of ___”. There are only four bars. There aren’t any sharps. The one area where chant can get complex is in the actual interpretation of the notes.

Gregorian ChantHere is a brief survey of materials available for chant so you can teach yourself, or introduce it at your parish.

If you want an in depth history of chant before you get down to business, we suggest the book Gregorian Chant by Willi Apel. This book covers the entire history of chant both in the Latin rite and also contains information about Ambrosian and Old Roman chant.

Square Notes WorkbookTo start your journey, the best book we have found for learning chant is The Square Notes Workbook. This book was designed to teach you chant from the ground up in simple lessons. The book teaches the different types of notes as well as techniques for singing the texts without making them sound monotonous. The Square Notes Workbook also contains questions at the end of each lesson that are great if you are trying to teach a class or even just make sure you have learned the material yourself.

If you want a book that is a little more advanced, Beginning Studies in Gregorian Chant is a good book to look at. This book was written as a class book for Solesmes – the home of the modern chant revival.

O Lux BeatissimaThere are two CDs we also recommend for learning the basics of chant. The first is Learning Gregorian Chant which is an introduction to chant interspersed with sung samples by the monks of Solesmes. The second is O Lux Beatisima which is one of two (2, dos, duo)! chant products from Oregon Catholic Press. This CD has a great selection of common chants that could be the start of a parish repertoire.

Once you have a basic understanding of chant, it’s time to take a look at some real chant hymnals. The booklet Jubilate Deo was published by the Vatican after Vatican II as the basic list of chants that every parish should use so I’m sure you are all familiar with it and use it regularly ;-). Unfortunately, this booklet takes the chant and translates it into modern notation.

Adoremus HymnalThe Adoremus Hymnal, which comes in congregation, choir and organ editions, contains a large selection of chants for the Ordinary of the Mass in chant notation as well as a large selection of Catholic hymns in a more traditional vein for Mass. We have used this hymnal in our parish and except for a lack of dynamics markings and the strange inclusion of some harmony parts that aren’t actually for voices, the book has worked well.

If you would just like to learn the Ordinaries of the Mass and a selection of other chant hymns, the Kyriale is for you. This hymnal is a great supplement to your standard parish hymnal if you would just like to start adding chant to your Masses. This hymnal was also published by Solesmes.

Next: Okay, you’ve got the basics. Now what?

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Calling Catholic Bloggers

April 27, 2006

Aquinas and More Catholic Goods Logo

Alright, we know that most of you are already linked up with Amazon for an affiliate program but I thought I would make a pitch for the Aquinas and More Blogger program in case you would ever consider supporting a Catholic organization instead or in addition to Amazon.

Our program pays 10% compared to Amazon's 4% and we keep track of your referrals for six months instead of one week. We offer many of the same features as Amazon including text, image and combination links, random product links for new and bestselling items, search boxes and banners.

We also have a Good Faith Guarantee which gives customers the assurance that we carry authentically Catholic products. At Amazon "Catholic" is a very broad term.

While we aren't Amazon, we do have the largest selection of any Catholic on-line store and we will list our Catholic blog affiliates on our blog as well.

If you would like to send your visitors to a site that cares about what Catholic means and support a great family run business at the same time, click here to sign up.

Why You Should Own a Copy of the Compendium of the Catechism

April 26, 2006
Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  1. You're Catholic. The Q and A format is hard-coded into your DNA.
  2. For the great art.
  3. Because learning the Faith in 200 pages sounds much less daunting than in 900 pages.
  4. Because the subtitle of this book is really "Baltimore Catechism Number 4" and you have been waiting for this volume since 1956.
  5. Because there just wasn't enough in the Companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  6. Because the title is so long it MUST be a good book.
  7. Because there are 43 letters in the title and 4+3=7 and there are seven Sacraments. Wasn't it obvious?
  8. Reader's Digest has been too slow in putting out a condensed version of the Catechism.
  9. To use as Cliff's Notes for the CCDB.
  10. To complete your collection (for now) of every book that Pope Benedict has written, written the forward to or looked at.

(Apologies to American Papist)

Holy Grail, Batman!

April 26, 2006

The Grail CodeThe Silver ChaliceWith the DaVinci Code coming out soon, we thought a focus on some legends that are in the Catholic vein would be in order. The Grail Code is a brand new book that gives an overview of the history and legends of the Holy Grail and its relation to the Eucharist. The second book is a reprint from Loyola Classics called The Silver Chalice which is a fictional story of a smith given the task of creating a holder for the Last Supper by St. Luke.

The authors of The Grail Code have a new blog that goes along with the book which includes links to many Grail legends in their original Middle English. 

(HT to Jim Manney from Loyola for posting information about The Grail Code) 

Why You Need Deus Caritas Est in Hardback

April 26, 2006

Deus Caritas Est HardbackAmerican Papist has explained why there is a hardback edition of the Pope Benedict's first encyclical coming out next month. We think the reasons are convincing so buy a copy 😉