30 October 2009

Excerpts from Bishop Nickless' Pastoral Letter

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda
(The Church is Always in Need of Renewal)

A Pastoral Letter on the Future of the Church in the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa

To the Priests, Deacons, Consecrated persons and all the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Sioux City

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Greetings of peace and joy to you and all your families. By God’s providence we are privileged to live in northwest Iowa and practice our faith in the Diocese of Sioux City. I am honored to serve you as your Bishop.

I take great joy in sharing with you my first pastoral letter for our Diocese. It is my hope that this document be a source of instruction and direction for all of us: priests, deacons, consecrated persons, and faithful laity. The points shared in this pastoral letter are basic to the celebration and faithful living of our Catholic faith. They are the foundation of all that we are called to do for the Lord in our Diocese and beyond.

As I publish this pastoral letter, I do so on the Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus. On this day, the Church prays: “O God, you raised up Saint Teresa by your Spirit so that she could manifest to the Church the way to perfection. Nourish us with the food of her heavenly teaching and fire us with a desire for holiness.” May Saint Teresa be an inspiration to all of us in our desire to grow in holiness.

This is the Year for Priests promulgated by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. I express to each of the priests in our Diocese my profound gratitude for their faithful witness of holiness and dedication to you, the People of God and to me, their Bishop. Priests are co-workers with the Bishop in the mission given to us by Christ. Please pray for us.

May all of us, united in love, continue to grow in the same holiness of Saint Teresa and Saint John Vianney as we continue to live our faith in hope and love.

Your brother in Christ,

Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless
Bishop of Sioux City


Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!

... [snip] ...

The primary purpose of all liturgy, and especially of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, is the worship of God. We sometimes forget this. We go to Mass to worship God, simply because He deserves to be worshiped, and we, his creatures, ought to worship him. Too often we forget that God is transcendent and ineffable, incomprehensibly greater than we can imagine. He is infinite truth and goodness shining forth in radiant beauty. He has created us, keeps us in existence, and redeems us from our sins. In short, He is worthy of our worship. He comes to us at Mass as a Father through His Son in the power of the Holy Spirit. He makes Himself tangibly present to us in the assembly, the ordained ministers, and the proclaimed Word of God. He is also present most especially and immediately in the Eucharist, which has a perfect and infinite value before His eyes. He graciously comes to us, not only to be with us, but also to raise us up to Heaven, to the Heavenly liturgy, where we worship in union with all the angels and saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the eternal offering of Jesus Christ to the Father on our behalf. Thus we enter the heavenly sanctuary while still on earth, and worship God in the full manner that He laid out for us!

When we worship God in this way, He sanctifies us, that is, He makes us holy. This is the second purpose of the Liturgy. We are made holy by Jesus when we participate in His divine Sonship, becoming adopted sons and daughters of the Father. We are changed, transformed from the inside out. This comes about through hearing and acting on His Word and by being strengthened and steadily sanctified by a worthy reception of Holy Communion. This in turn leads to a true communion of saints within the local and universal Church. Too often, the purposes of our participation in the liturgy, worship and sanctification, are passed over in a misplaced attempt to “create community,” rather than to receive it as a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s activity within us.

Since, in the Church’s liturgy, we meet God in a unique way, how we worship – the external rites, gestures, vessels, music, indeed, the building itself – should reflect the grandeur of the Heavenly liturgy. Liturgy is mystical; it is our mysterious encounter with the transcendent God, who comes to sanctify us through the sacrifice of Christ made present in the Eucharist and received in Holy Communion. It should radiate Heavenly truth and goodness. This radiance, the splendor of truth, is called beauty. Our liturgy should radiate true beauty, reflecting the beauty of God Himself and what He does for us in Christ Jesus. It should lift up our soul—first through our intellect and will, but also through our senses and emotions—to adore God as we share already in Heaven’s eternal worship. In this vale of tears, the liturgy should be a lodestar, a transcending place of wonder and comfort in the midst of our day-to-day lives, a place of light and high beauty beyond the reach of worldly shadows. So many people only connect with the Church, and sometimes with prayer and God, through Sunday Mass. Should we not offer an experience of beauty and transcendence, compellingly different from our day-to-day lives? Should not every facet of our offering be proportionate to the divine reality?

Many small details can make liturgy either beautiful or banal. In recent decades, in place of beauty and “noble simplicity,” our main principle for discerning and choosing the “little things” has tended toward utility, ease, and even cheapness. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, before his election as Bishop of Rome, wrote the following about Church music, that is easily applicable to all parts of the liturgy:

A Church which only makes use of “utility” music has fallen for what is, in fact, useless. She [the Church] too becomes ineffectual. For her mission is a far higher one. As the Old Testament speaks of the Temple, the Church is to be the place of “glory,” and as such, too, the place where mankind’s cry of distress is brought to the ear of God. The Church must not settle down with what is merely comfortable and serviceable at the parish level; she must arouse the voice of the cosmos, and by glorifying the Creator, elicit the glory of the cosmos itself, making it also glorious, beautiful, habitable and beloved…. The Church is to transform, improve, “humanize” the world - but how can she do that if at the same time she turns her back on beauty, which is so closely allied to love? For together beauty and love form the true consolation in this world, bringing it as near as possible to the world of the resurrection.

Pope John Paul the Great, addressing some bishops of the United States on October 9, 1998, recognized the same urgent spiritual needs:

To look back over what has been done in the field of liturgical renewal in the years since the Council is, first, to see many reasons for giving heartfelt thanks and praise to the Most Holy Trinity for the marvelous awareness which has developed among the faithful of their role and responsibility in this priestly work of Christ and his Church. It is also to realize that not all changes have always and everywhere been accompanied by the necessary explanation and catechesis; as a result, in some cases there has been a misunderstanding of the very nature of the liturgy, leading to abuses, polarization, and sometimes even grave scandal. ... The challenge now is to move beyond whatever misunderstandings there have been . . . by entering more deeply into the contemplative dimension of worship, which includes the sense of awe, reverence and adoration which are fundamental attitudes in our relationship with God.

It is imperative that we recover this wonder, awe, reverence and love for the liturgy and the Eucharist. To do this, we must feel and think with the whole Church in “reforming the reform” of the Second Vatican Council. We must accept and implement the current stream of magisterial liturgical documents coming from the Holy See: Liturgiam Authenticam (2001), the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal, and its new General Instruction on the Roman Missal (2002), Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2002), Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003), Spiritus et Sponsa (2003), Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004), Sacramentum Caritatis (2007), and Summorum Pontificum (2007).

It seems that all is not well with the Liturgy, and the Church is trying to help us. The pendulum swings, the hermeneutic of discontinuity, and the divisions within our Church have been seen and felt in the Liturgy more than anywhere.

The Church’s Magisterium, not our private opinions, is our authoritative guide in this ressourcement. The liturgy belongs to the entire Church, and in a special way to the faithful – not to a particular Diocese or parish, and certainly not to individual priests. I exhort everyone, especially our priests, to keep up with the Church. I expect them to read, study, and understand the above documents and their inner logic and place within the ongoing reform of the Church. It is vitally important that we offer resplendent worship to God alone, with understanding and excellence, obedient to the Church. My own liturgies at the Cathedral, though imperfect, are also meant to be exemplary for the whole Diocese. It is a grave error and a form of clericalism, whether by clergy or lay ministers, to change the liturgy, or even to choose ungenerously among legitimate options, to suit only our own preferences and opinions. This respect for the whole of Tradition is not simply for the sake of “rules and regulations”; this is not legalism, as some have said, but our love for Christ, so that from His Eucharist with all its preeminent beauty and sanctity, He can shine forth for all to see and love.

The Council’s goal in reforming liturgy was, of course, to facilitate the “fully active and conscious participation”17 of all the faithful. We have made great strides in this area. In the same address to bishops cited above, the Holy Father said:

Full participation certainly means that every member of the community has a part to play in the liturgy; and in this respect a great deal has been achieved in parishes and communities across your land. But full participation does not mean that everyone does everything, since this would lead to a clericalizing of the laity and a laicizing of the priesthood; and this was not what the Council had in mind. The liturgy, like the Church, is intended to be hierarchical and polyphonic, respecting the different roles assigned by Christ and allowing all the different voices to blend in one great hymn of praise.

Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word,
song and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshippers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy. These are experiences of silence and stillness, but they are in their own way profoundly active. In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural.

Conscious participation calls for the entire community to be properly instructed in the mysteries of the liturgy, lest the experience of worship degenerate into a form of ritualism. But it does not mean a constant attempt within the liturgy itself to make the implicit explicit, since this often leads to a verbosity and informality which are alien to the Roman Rite and end by trivializing the act of worship. Nor does it mean the suppression of all subconscious experience, which is vital in a liturgy which thrives on symbols that speak to the subconscious just as they speak to the conscious. The use of the vernacular has certainly opened up the treasures of the liturgy to all who take part, but this does not mean that the Latin language, and especially the chants which are so superbly adapted to the genius of the Roman Rite, should be wholly abandoned. If subconscious experience is ignored in worship, an affective and devotional vacuum is created and the liturgy can become not only too verbal but also too cerebral.

Full, active and conscious participation: we have made great strides in this over the years. But often this has happened in a superficial, partial way resulting from a narrow and truncated interpretation of these terms. It is time to dig deeper, “to put out into the deep,”19 into a new and authentic liturgical spirituality that is both old and new, active and contemplative, historical and mystical, Roman and Iowan, familiar and challenging. All of this also applies to our “fully active and conscious participation” in liturgy outside the Holy Mass, especially in Eucharistic Adoration, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Marian devotions, and the Liturgy of the Hours.

The full text may be found in PDF format HERE.

Still Enjoying the View from Earth

A very close friend of mine asked if I wasn't fed up with the chronic illnesses and ready to go home to God.

My answer is that I am already home with God. The Blessed Trinity is here with me now, and there is no where I can go on Earth or even into outer space where He would not be right there with me.

As difficult as it may be for some to imagine I still love the view from Earth and I rejoice to have the opportunity to offer up my condition to God as part of my prayer for many important things in the life of the Church and for souls everywhere.

I suspect being born with a form of spina bifida I have never been very far from pain in my life, but I reckoned my life a miracle from the start because I was able to walk, and although I had to wear heavy steel braces on my legs to keep them growing straight, my legs did grow more straight. And I was even able to run and to dance in my youth. And as I have grown older with a syrinx within my thoracic spinal cord, the syrinx has not grown so large as to render my legs immobile. Yes, the pain is sometimes excruciating, but at those points our Blessed Mother and St. Anne have always been very close to me and helped me through. And on one occasion I was in so much pain that I found myself somehow in the arms of St. Joseph who told me that I would not die but that I would live for many more years serving God.

And yes, the strokes were an enormous challenge to me and would have taken me from this world but for the intervention of the Holy Virgin, St. Raphael, and Mother Teresa. I survived and by God's gift largely regained my speech and the use of the left side of my body. Yes, I am at times very frightened by my brain continuing to atrophy and nerves to suffer loss; but, nonetheless, I continue to type, albeit slowly and painfully, and that in spite of also suffering from psoriatic arthritis.

Strangers to the holy Faith see only that I am afflicted and it is distressing to them because as my friends they love me but they cannot see the value in this vocation the Lord has given me. I expect most Catholics would understand that I count myself blest to serve God in this way and to give testimony that life is always worth it, that life is the most profound gift of all, and the life of an individual must be preserved from conception to natural death because it is a gift that comes from God and only God has a right to draw that life to a close.

I hope this entry does not alarm my readers, but rather I hope to offer encouragement to everyone no matter what Cross they must bear. In everything that happens in life, turn to Jesus, and you will find Him right there ready to comfort you and to give you hope for a future of immeasurable joy.

It pleases God that I am here, and so it pleases me. When Christ is pleased to call me away, then it shall be my joy to follow Him beyond this world toward what He has next for me.

In all things and in all people, may the Father's will be done. And may the Lord especially bless my parents who, as Anglicans, gave me the Catholic faith as they knew it and who entered the Roman Catholic Church when I did on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter a number of years ago.

And may God bless you, gentle reader, in everything that you do for love of Him.
+Laus Deo.

29 October 2009

Pope Establishes Structure for Uniting Anglicans

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has established a special structure for Anglicans who want to be in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church while preserving aspects of their Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage, said U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada.

The cardinal, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said a new apostolic constitution would establish "personal ordinariates" -- similar to dioceses -- to oversee the pastoral care of those who want to bring elements of their Anglican identity into the Catholic Church with them.

Anglican priests who are married may be ordained Catholic priests, but married Anglican bishops will not be able to function as Catholic bishops in keeping with the long-standing Catholic and Orthodox tradition of ordaining only unmarried clergy as bishops, Cardinal Levada said.

The cardinal announced the new arrangement at a press conference Oct. 20 at the Vatican. He said the pope's apostolic constitution and norms for implementing it were undergoing final revisions and would be published in a couple of weeks.

In establishing the new jurisdictions, Pope Benedict is responding to "many requests" submitted by individual Anglicans and by Anglican groups -- including "20 to 30 bishops" -- asking to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, the cardinal said.

At the same time, Cardinal Levada said the new provision does not weaken the commitment of the Vatican to promoting Christian unity, but is a recognition that many Anglicans share the Catholic faith and that Anglicans have a spiritual and liturgical life worth preserving.

The remainder of this article can be read HERE.

Here are some important points from the rest of the article:

U.S. Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and former undersecretary of the doctrinal congregation, spoke at the press conference with Cardinal Levada.

"We have been praying for unity for 40 years. We find now that the prayers we have had are being answered in a way that we did not anticipate. So the Holy Spirit is at work here and the Holy See cannot not respond," the archbishop said.

... ...

Archbishop Di Noia said, "The ecumenical movement has changed. There has been a tremendous shift" in the prospects for full, complete union.

Many Anglicans already consider themselves to be Catholic, Archbishop Di Noia said, and the pope's new initiative will make "explicit the bond that is already implicit."

+Laus Deo.

28 October 2009

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo: A Shepherd's Message

23 October 2009

"Each human being has full human rights. The freedom we have been given for self determination only exists along with respect for the common good and for the development of virtue in every individual – virtue that directs and guides freedom."

On March 25, 1995, Pope John Paul II published his encyclical on life issues. Aptly named “The Gospel of Life” (Evangelium Vitae), this text is a very careful and comprehensive analysis of the inestimable worth and dignity of the human person. Each human person is a singularity and is not subject to other goods, as though they took precedence over the human person. Each human being, from conception to natural death, is a subject, not an object, and cannot be put at the disposal of other human purposes.

At one point in its treatment of human life, the encyclical notes the increase of the language of “fundamental rights” and applauds some of this language: “Various declarations of human rights and the many initiatives inspired by these declarations show that at the global level there is a growing moral sensitivity, more alert to acknowledging the value and dignity of every individual as a human being, without any distinction of race, nationality, religion, political opinion or social class.” But the encyclical also notes a very menacing threat in “rights language” being used to justify crimes against human life itself. Further, the “rights language” in some instances seeks authorization by the State so that assaults on human life can be done with total freedom. As the Holy Father made clear, this happens where the language and activities of the “autonomous” individual outflank a more important consideration: Each human being has full human rights. The freedom we have been given for self determination only exists along with respect for the common good and for the development of virtue in every individual – virtue that directs and guides freedom.

What is genuinely necessary is that freedom be directed to and shepherded by truth.

“Freedom negates and destroys itself, and becomes a factor leading to the destruction of others, when it no longer recognizes and respects its essential link with the truth. (…) (T)he person ends up by no longer taking as the sole and indisputable point of reference for his own choices the truth about good and evil, but only his subjective and changeable opinion, or, indeed, his selfish interest and whim.” (EV, # 19)

Each year, the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates Pro-Life Month during October. This yearly reminder is a call to us to intensify our commitment to the human person, most especially towards those who are vulnerable. Among the most vulnerable in our country right now are the unborn, the disabled and the seriously ill. The right to life makes other rights possible; where that right is diminished or denied, the structure of our common life together as citizens is seriously wounded and distorted. The other human rights involve something more than life itself. They are very important but presume the fundamental core of the existence of each human person as both right and gift. The right to life expresses a conviction that there is a God-given inalienable human dignity to each human being; this is bedrock! In our culture that right to life has been compromised. The assault on the gift of human life has taken place gradually and has been fueled by an excessively individualist sense of personal freedom untethered from a responsibility for truth. Our culture is in a very dangerous situation.

I ask the faithful in this local Church to become men and women of prayer, convinced of the meaning of the dignity and worth of each human person. Each of our own hearts has to be deeply converted to a culture where human life is treasured and upheld and supported. I pray that our ongoing conversion will lead to action in defense of and commitment to human life. Such action has a wide range of possibilities, from volunteering in pro-life pregnancy counseling centers to work on the pro-life committees in parishes to political action. Our current situation about respect for human life and its inestimable worth is one that calls for great concern, prayer and a clear commitment. Many of us have become too vague and complacent about the threats to human life. Our annual Pro-Life Month celebration urges us to prayer, thought and action.

27 October 2009

All Souls, 1st Thursday, Year for Priests: A PROJECT

A wonderful idea from Fr. Z!

Copied from Fr. Z's blog:

Pray for the souls of priests.

First, remember that you can gain indulgences on All Souls and the days following.

Second, 5 November is a first Thursday. You can gain a plenary indulgence during this year for Priests.

Third, would it not be a good idea in this Year for Priests, during the week after All Souls, for this 1st Thursday, to pray in a special way for the souls of deceased priests?

May I recommend that you bring this up with your parish priests, who might make pulpit announcements this Sunday?

If you are a blogger, would you post something on this?

Would you recommend this to your prayer groups, friends and family?

25 October 2009

+ John Chichester Ready to Convert

John Hind, Anglican Bishop of Chichester has made it rather clear that he is ready to convert under the provisions of the new Apostolic Constitutions. I quote below from Fr. Dwight Longnecker's blog his insights as a former Anglican priest of the Chichester diocese:

I thought that it was only going to be traditionalists who already split from the Anglican Church who were going to be quick to respond to the offer of Personal Ordinariate, and that Anglo Catholics within the Church of England would continue to splutter and make excuses.

This amazing bit of news just breaking is truly momentous. A sitting Church of England Diocesan bishop has announced that he is ready to convert to Rome and be re-ordained. John Hind is the bishop of Chichester on the South Coast of England. His diocese is centered in the ancient city of Chichester (cathedral pictured above) Chichester is well known as an Anglo Catholic diocese. (It is the diocese into which I was ordained as an Anglican priest) If the bishop goes you can be sure that many of his clergy and people will follow.
The remainder of Fr. Longnecker's post may be found HERE. If the bishop, his clergy and the Anglican laity of Chichester all convert, I will pray that an arrangement could be made via Parliament for those church and cathedral buildings to go with them into the new personal ordinariate. Admittedly a long shot, nonetheless, with events transpiring this last week that I could not have imagined, I am emboldened to dream big and ask the Lord for more graces for all those involved.

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray that your Anglican children about the world will now come home to you.

24 October 2009

Brother Stephen, O.Cist.

Be sure to read Brother Stephen's blog regarding developments among Anglo-Catholics in England as well as the whole matter of Personal Ordinariates granted in the new Apostolic Constitution:


As a former Anglo-Catholic from S. Clement's Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, he has an important perspective on all of these matters.

21 October 2009

Twenty-five Years in the Making: Welcome Home, Ecclesia Anglicana

TE DEUM laudamus!

Like all other Catholic members of Anglican Use parishes in the USA, I have been so ecstatically happy over the announcement from the Holy See that my feet have yet to touch the ground. I had expected a generous response to the petition by Archbishop Hepworth and the TAC, but what we are receiving in this Apostolic Constitution is so much more than any of us have allowed ourselves to imagine that it seems the stuff of dreams.

But Praise be to God! this is reality, and the Holy Father, who knows us well, has heard our cries for a simple structure in which our Anglican Heritage as part of the Catholic patrimony may continue to grow and flower within the garden of Holy Mother Church. Already today I have had two friends ask if the announcements in Rome and London really took place yesterday. Yes, they most certainly did. We live in an unimagined period of Church history where the Pope has acted prophetically as the good father who runs to welcome home the prodigal son! Hallelujah!

I am moved to think especially of my dear friend Fr. James T. Moore, PhD, who twenty-five years ago was ordained a Catholic priest under the Pastoral Provision of Pope John Paul the Great. Fr. Moore poured his life into the establishment of Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church in Houston, Texas. I pray that this announcement from the Holy See will be to Father Moore a confirmation of the value, validity, and surpassing worth of all of his efforts over the 25 years since his ordination in the Catholic Church.

I shall say it very simply: I and my parents would not have been reconciled to the Church but that Fr. Moore was the very ambassador of Christ for us. I know many, many former Anglicans and Lutherans who feel the same way about Father Moore: he led us Home to safety in Christ's Church.

After I entered the Church and my health collapsed, Fr. Moore continued to support and encourage me. And in his retirement, as my health has rather more precipitously declined, Fr. Moore has offered Masses for me and continues to pray for my healing. I have never known a priest to be as kind and generous as Fr. Moore, and while I have met many marvellous priests in the Catholic Church I shall always carry in my heart the firm conviction that Fr. Moore is one of those rare priests like St. John Vianney who inspire you to strive for the holiness of Christ and who lead you into the loving arms of the Holy Virgin.

So with all of the celebrations afoot I pause to give God hearty thanks for Fr. Moore who with Fr. Ramsey (our current pastor of Our Lady of Walsingham) started our Anglican Use parish 25 years ago. I am convinced that the Anglican Use parishes in Texas -- Fr. Christopher Phillips, Our Lady of the Atonement, San Antonio; Our Lady of Walsingham, Houston; and, Fr. Allan Hawkins, St. Mary the Virgin, Arlington -- provided the proof of the pudding, so to speak, when the Holy See looked at the Pastoral Provision experiment in the States and decided to expand those provisions and apply them worldwide through the new Apostolic Constitution (the highest form of law that can be decreed in the Catholic Church).

I invite you, gentle reader, to give God thanks for Fr. Moore whether you know him or not because through him so many have been reconciled to the Catholic Church. And if you are rejoicing over the new Apostolic Constitution and the ordinariates, remember with joy Fr. Moore and the faithful priests, deacons, and laity who set down the foundations for this Apostolic Consitution through hard work and untold sacrifices over the last twenty-five years in the parishes, mission, and congregations of the Pastoral Provision in the USA.
+Laus Deo.

13 October 2009

'O Jesus, Living in Mary'

O Jesus, living in Mary,
come and live in thy servants,
in the spirit of thy holiness,
in the fullness of thy might,
in the truth of thy virtues,
in the perfection of thy ways,
in the communion of thy mysteries.
Subdue every hostile power
in thy spirit,
for the glory of the Father.

11 October 2009

St. Damien of Moloka'i

Above, the very beautiful banner that appears on the Transalpine Redemptorists blog today.

Aloha! Today is a great day for Catholics in Hawaii and Polynesia. I am greatly heartened by the way all Hawaiians seem to be taking this canonisation to heart and giving thanks for St. Damien's example. At a time where the news is filled scandal regarding a Canadian bishop, it is just like God to redirect us to the Truth of the Church revealed by the complete self-giving of St. Damien of Moloka'i to the care and evangelisation of the poorest of the poor, the outcasts called lepers.

In the faithfulness of St. Damien we see the priesthood of Christ in all of its blazing glory towering over time bringing mercy and hope where the Gospel is most needed.

I invite us all to set scandals aside for the moment and rejoice in the Blessed Trinity who this day shines His Light upon His true priest St. Damien of Moloka'i. Mahalo!

Laus Deo.+

06 October 2009

Hymns by Vincent Uher with New Tunes by Noel Jones

Through the CMAA I have been very blest to enter into a collaboration with Noel Jones, a most talented composer. The CMAA is undertaking a project -- now in its alpha state, gathering in resources -- that will result in part in a printed "Parish Book of English Hymns". I am very enthusiastic about this important work, and by way of offering my support I am making available any of my texts that would be useful, licensing them under Creative Commons 3.0 so that they may be reproduced without alteration and without charge.

Noel Jones has such a gift for writing hymn tunes, and working with hymn on this project has been a genuine joy. He has written a lovely new tune for the Hymn of the Year of Priestly Jubilee (Annus Sacerdotalis) which I wrote at the request of Father Mark Daniel Kirby, O.S.B. and dedicated to Bishop Slattery of Tulsa, Father Mark, and the new community Father Mark is gathering together in Tulsa. [If you do not already read Father Mark's blog Vultus Christi, I suggest making it regular reading. Your soul will thank you.] Noel Jones has honoured me greatly by naming the tune after my family name "UHER".

Noel Jones has also written a number of other marvellous tunes for my hymn texts. Very dear to me is the text I wrote in honour of Irma More' the Foundress of Our Lady of Walsingham Institutes of Catholic Culture Studies in Houston Texas. Noel's new tune "WALSINGHAM" is simply perfect for illuminating the text.

  • Click HERE for the new "WALSINGHAM" tune with my text "Christ Is Our Hope Whom We Have Seen".

Also, on the CMAA website the following hymns of mine are paired with excellent Tunes by Noel Jones:

  • "Christ My God, My Faith Discerning" to the tune "ENGLEWOOD": Click HERE. I wrote this text in honour of Mother M. Angelica of the Annunciation on the occasion of her birthday some years ago.
  • "Behold, How Like A Monarch" to the tune "GLASTONBURY TOR": Click HERE.

My prayer is that these texts and tunes will be useful blessings to the Church in the worship of the Blessed Trinity.

My thanks to Jeffrey Tucker, Jonathan Eason, and especially Noel Jones for their encouragement and collaboration.

Laus Deo. +