Gregorian Chant in Nebraska

This was an interesting story on PBS Newshour about a seminary in Nebraska, Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska near Lincoln. This is a seminary for the Fraternity of St. Peter, they are a group of priests who like the traditional elements of Church and aren’t fans of the Second Vatican Council, but they have reconciled with Rome. They were formed when they splintered from the Society of Saint Pius X. The Story is about how they recently released an album of Gregorian Chant and it’s been a hit.

I find that it is interesting that every couple of years it seems like Gregorian Chant pops up again and makes an impact but then we forget about it after the album is too old. It’s wonderful music and a shame that the church doesn’t sort of jump this and try to bring back chant in some form.


Advent 2017

Next Sunday, December 3, we will begin the new Liturgical Year as we have reached the First Sunday of Advent. This is the time of year when we move to a new selection of readings as the Lectionary rotates in a three year cycle through most of the bible. This upcoming year is Year B where we read the Gospel of Mark and chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. While many people spent this past weekend getting Christmas trees and setting them up as well as decorating for the festive holiday we should all remember that this is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. Advent is sort of like the season of Lent were we can deepen our faith by exploring it. It’s like the Parable of the 10 bridesmaids where five had brought extra oil and the other five didn’t while they were waiting for the bridegroom to arrive. We await the arrival of Christ Jesus at Christmas, but also at his second coming whenever that may be. This is a season of waiting, so let us wait, in society today with everything at our fingertips we’ve forgotten how to wait. Let us all try to be more patient as we wait in the darkness lighting another candle each week so the bridegroom can see where to go.

I will be returning to the Rosary in Advent starting with the Joyful Mysteries, next Friday, December 8 is the feast of the Immaculate Conception a Holy Day of Obligation. This year I think I will post the O Anthiphons over the last seven days of Advent. This year is a short Advent as the fourth week last all of a day, Christmas Eve. I hope that as the liturgical season changes we all can turn our eyes towards faith.

Trois couleurs : Bleu (1993)

The Three Colors Trilogy is one of the greatest trilogies of all time. It is based on the French tricolor with each film being one (blue, white, red) and the story of each film is loosely based on one of the three political ideals in the motto of the French Republic  liberté (bleu), egalité (blanc), and fraternité (rouge). Spoilers to follow.

The first of the films is Bleu which is about a wife, Julie de Courcy (Juliette Binoche), whose husband and daughter died in a car accident and wants to cut herself off from everything but finds that she can’t escape human connection.  The film is deeply moving and has several wonderful moments. One of my favorite shots in the whole film is when Krzysztof Kieslowski uses Juliette Binoche’s eye as a mirror. The music also plays a stunning role in the film as Julie’s husband is the famed composer, Patrice de Courcy, and he died before the piece he was working on for the Unity of Europe concert and it is hinted throughout the film that Julie was a contributor of some sort in the composition of the music, either as the real composer or a co-composer. As segments haunt her throughout the movie. After Julie gets out of the hospital after the accident she hooks up with Olivier Benoit, a long time collaborator who has long loved Julie. It’s a bit complicated as Julie gives up basically everything of her former life but as she tries to stop the Unity of Europe score from being finished and figures out about her husbands mistress. This bring her back into the life she is trying to escape.

Alice’s Restaurant Massacree

Arlo Guthrie’s song is one of that classic protest songs and it was released 50 years ago is still a popular song and it seems to always find it’s way on to the radio at least one on Thanksgiving. Rolling Stone has called it “the national anthem of Thanksgiving.”  The Smithsonian Magazine has a brief history about the song which is interesting. It begins with Arlo telling a story about a Thanksgiving when he was arrested for littering, the song then turns to the Vietnam Draft which the song is actually about. This is a unique song so give it the about 18 minutes that the song is. Arlo noted that it’s not really an anti-war song it is more of an anti-stupidity song in an interview with NPR. Over the year it’s been joked that the gap in the Watergate tapes is Nixon listening to the song. The best part about the song is that it doesn’t get old, sure they are talking about Vietnam but it is still relevant today. With so much stupidity in the world currently perhaps it could take on new meaning this year.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Presentation of Mary

Today is the feast of The Presentation of Mary or in the East The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. Now this feast is unique as it is not based on anything in the Bible but come from the Infancy Gospel of James. This is a unique Gospel since it focuses on Mary it is a twenty-four chapter book which can be separated into three sections of eight chapters. The first eight focus on the birth of Mary to Anna and Joachim, as well as Mary’s childhood and her presentation in the temple. Now, Anna and Joachim were a childless couple when they received a heavenly message that they would have a child Anna and Joachim agreed that the child would be brought to the temple and offered to God like Hannah did to Samuel. In the second section Mary has come of age and is twelve and can’t stay in the Temple so Joseph becomes her husband, but he sort of begrudgingly agrees to be something more like her guardian. Mary becomes pregnant and they think Joseph is the father and there is a bit on that as well. The last section tells of the Nativity of Jesus along with visits from midwives as well as the hiding from Herod by Jesus and John the Baptist.

In the Orthodox Church it is one of the Twelve Great Feasts in their calendar. It began in the Orthodox Church and eventually adopted by the Catholic Church first by monasteries in Southern Italy in the 9th century however it wasn’t until 1472 when it was added to the Roman Missal, the feast was repressed for about 20 years in the 1500s. Pope Paul VI notes in his encyclical Marialis Cultus, that “despite its apocryphal content, it presents lofty and exemplary values and carries on the venerable traditions having their origins in the Eastern churches.”  So take some time and remember Our Mother and God-bearer on this day as we all turn our minds to the upcoming holiday season. Pick up a Rosary and pray it.

Best Animated Movies of the 21st Century

Well, IndieWire is going all out and clearly defining what the greatest animated movies of the whole 21st century is and we aren’t even close to the end of the century. Sure it is nice to look back and recommend some films from the past years but call it the best films of the past decade or something like that. There are several films that you’d expect to be on the list but there are a couple that I’ve never heard of.  Sure several films deserve to be on the list but others seem like a weird choice to be on the list. It hits several winners of the Animated Feature Oscar, from one of the first, Spirited Away to Toy Story 3. Then there are others which never heard of like Paprika, Sita Sings the Blues and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. It was nice to see that about eight were not made in America and only four were from the Disney/Pixar brand. However there are some film that should have been on this list like Kubo and the Two Strings and others that shouldn’t have been on the list Finding Nemo or The Lego Movie sure they are good films but are overrated films. Sure this list come two year after IndieWire published a list of the 25 Best Animated Films of the 21st Century, and several of the films on this list aren’t on this newer list. By and large across the board it seems like everyone agrees that Studio Ghibli’s film Spirited Away is the best of all the animated films so far.

2018 World Cup update

So the field is finally set for the World Cup as Peru beat New Zealand and Australia beat Honduras in the intra-confederation playoffs. This year there are two teams that are appearing for the first time like Iceland and Panama as well as other that haven’t been in a while Egypt hasn’t made it since 1990 and Peru will be going for the first time in 36 years. It is the first time three Nordic countries (Iceland, Sweden and Denmark) and four Arab nations (Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco) have qualified  for the World Cup. Best of luck to all these teams as they make their way to Russia this upcoming summer.

Now on the other side we have a bunch of teams who failed to qualify. Over on Sports Illustrated and Deadspin there is a report about the US working on creating some sort of World Cup type event for themselves to participate in next summer as they will not be going to the real World Cup in Russia. There are a bunch of team that aren’t taking the trip to Russia as well like Italy, the Netherlands, Ghana, and even Chile. So there would be other teams that might want to come play but, it seems unlikely that this would last very long as hopefully these team will make it in 2022 and if that doesn’t happen in 2026 the World Cup expands from 32 teams to 48 teams so the likelihood of these nations missing will drop in a few years with all regions getting a boost in how many slots they will have I mean the Oceania Football Confederation will get a spot for themselves instead of the .5 slot they currently have. There will also be a six team playoff to decide the final two slots for the World Cup of the all the Confederations not Europe and an extra team from the confederation of the Host nation. This expansion sounds great and it will only be a few years away but it will be one of the most important things that happens to the world of football/soccer

Are You Afraid of the Dark? movie

This has to be one of the coolest news about an upcoming movie that I’ve read in a while. Now growing up I watched a fair share of this show it originally aired in the 90s on Nickelodeon and YTV in Canada. It was a part of SNICK and I really enjoyed the show, and some of the episodes still hold up after two decades. Now according to The Hollywood Reporter the writer of It, Gary Dauberman, will be tackling this. In every episode of the show The Midnight Society, a group of teenaged friends,  met and one of them told a scary story. Some characters appeared in multiple stories like Sardo and Dr. Vink and there were a couple of multi part episodes. It would be wonderful if this films featured Gary and Tucker’s kids running a new Midnight Society, featuring an appearance of Ross Hull and Daniel DeSanto. I hope that this could eventually turn into a several film series with different stories being told, perhaps with different directors and writers tackling each new film

College Basketball Season begins

Well, this came out of the blue once again it is time for college basketball. Sure most people don’t really care about this until March with that little tournament this year ending in San Antonio, Texas at the Alamodome on April 2, Easter Monday.  As the year begin we are heading into several early season tournaments taking place in many exotic locals. One of the biggest games, so far this season, is tonight as the top two teams Michigan State and Duke will face off in the Champions Classic from Chicago which should have some huge impact in the upcoming rankings. It seems pointless to try to do prediction for all 32 or so different conferences since most would be pulled from thin air. Who follows a school like Stetson, Robert Morris or IUPUI unless you went there or live near the school. On top of this there are over 30 games left in the regular season before any Championships are given out.

Veterans/Remembrance Day and Martinmas

It is apropos that the feast for one of the Patron Saints for Soldiers falls on 11 November, better know to those as Remembrance Day or as Veterans Day. That saint is Martin of Tours who was a Roman soldier who as the famed story goes cut his cloak in two and gave it to a beggar in the middle of winter, here the story diverges as in one account Martin had a dream that night of Jesus wearing the half cloak and another has the cloak being miraculously restored. After he was a solider Martin became a monk and eventually became the Bishop of Tours. The feast of St. Martin is bigger in Europe than in America. This is also the day that at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month of the year 1918, an armistice was signed which ended the “war to end all wars.” (WWI).  Let us all keep in our mind this week all those who served and all those that have fallen.

We Shall Keep the Faith by Moina Michael

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.