Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Move Looms

The day of moving is moving inexorably closer... and each day I try to think of more things I can discard, give away, send to relatives, donate to the church, shred... I look at this vast accumulation of stuff we seem to have gathered with a very jaundiced eye each time I think of the awful fact of packing it into boxes (and then unpacking it again on the other end). This week, I have eliminated a significant amount of just paper stuff that we seem to collect... I made time to go through and shred all the old checks and documents from many years ago that we have (for some unexplainable reason) been hauling around the past several moves.

I found old bank statements, checks, files from as early as 1994 in an old rubbermaid bin that had been lurking in the garage. My oldest son had a great time with the shredder... I think he especially enjoyed the times when it would jam up and he could put to use all his natural mechanical skills and (after unplugging the thing at my insistence) unclog the teeth with my tweezers.

I found my long-lost professional resume and job information from my last job (outside the home, that is -- I still have a very demanding job, you know). It was good to look it over and remember that happy time in my life when I was working (I really loved working and found it a HUGE adjustment to stay home and take care of my babies at first). Unfortunately, I am thinking that, even if I have the energy to try, my chances of actually finding a job in my chosen field after the kids are raised and out of the house are probably slim to none. Since I had the kids so late in life, I'll definitely be a bit old to try to begin again ten years from now... no... dear husband is going to just have to support us all for the duration.

That one useful (I suppose that could be debatable) item was about the only thing I kept out of a huge rubbermaid container... think about it -- we've been hauling that thing around for the last nine moves (counting moves within a city). That is ridiculous! Each time we go through this, I resolve to get rid of stuff as we go along... and then fail.

Thus, the only way I seem to be able to force myself to go through and get rid of the stuff we seem to be drowning in... is when an impending move is upon us. Even at that, it is obvious that I miss certain things each time. Perhaps that is why we must move so often... if we lived anywhere longer than, say, three years, perhaps we would be unable to dig ourselves out.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day with M20 Armored Car

Probably not that many people commemorate Memorial Day by taking their WWII M20 Armored Personnel Carrier out of the garage, loading two little boys in, complete with American flag and driving around the neighborhood with siren blaring...

Here in my neighborhood that is how we do it.

Kyrie Eleison

Just a very short note... as a was walking through the kitchen on the way to refresh my cup of coffee this morning, I passed by my youngest son, busily working away on a drawing at the kitchen table. What was that familiar tune I heard him happily humming as he worked?

Kyrie eleison de Angelis (VIII). It did my heart good.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

This morning was a great day in the diocese... our new bishop, Michael Duca, took his place in the cathedra and gave us a great homily, exhorting us to take within us Christ to the world in our words and actions.

The traditional knocking at the door, entry and sprinkling by the bishop began the day's liturgy, after which the Mass began. I sang the short version of the Sequence before the Alleluia. It actually flows in the Mass at that point very well, although it is supposed to be sung after the Alleluia according to the missal.

After the reception of Holy Communion, the bishop led a procession with the Blessed Sacrament around the cathedral. It was something great to see... 8 torch bearers in robes, the bishop, 2 priests, our deacon and all the parishioners. They carried the Blessed Sacrament under a canopy... but even that bit of shade can't have made it very cool carrying the monstrance in all those vestments... it is hot and muggy here in Shreveport just now. After the procession, we had the Benediction.

While I was waiting for the procession to return, one parishioner came up and asked me about the sequence. Apparently, she had never before heard it... I was so happy to have the chance to spread the word about all the beautiful chant that is ours for the using...

Here is some information that I provided to her about the Sequence for Corpus Christi, Lauda Sion... it was written by St. Thomas Aquinas and is one of the three sequences that are listed in my Gregorian Missal for the Novus Ordo (ordinary) form of the Mass (The other two are: Veni, Sancte Spiritus -- Pentecost and Victimae Paschali -- Easter). Read more about Lauda Sion here. I have actually sung one other, the Dies Irae, which is used for funerals.

My shortened version (beginning with Ecce Panis Angelorum) can be found here; you can hear the monks in Brazil singing the entire long version of it here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Corpus Christi

In preparation for Corpus Christi, our schola worked on Lauda, Sion at our schola rehearsal last night. We only sang the shortened version, that begins at: ... Ecce Panis Angelorum...

It was a very congenial group last night... good singing, good cameraderie and hopeful for the future...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Festivities Continue...

This Sunday at 11:00 a.m. will be Bishop Michael Duca's first Mass as bishop in the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans. It falls on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Be sure to check it out on the webcam at the SJB site if you can't make it in person.

I'll be the cantor for that Mass, one of the last before we move from here... I'm thankful I was asked.

On a personal note...

I spent most of my day either not being here during the time a realtor was showing people through our home or cleaning up in anticipation for a showing. The frequency of showings has definitely increased over the past couple of weeks. I have another one scheduled for tomorrow morning... will someone please just buy our house so I don't have to keep on showing it??? I found a hilarious post on June Cleaver here that has reminded me of my own experience. She says it ever so much more eloquently than I could... read along and laugh with me.

Bishop Michael Duca ordained and installed in Shreveport

Well, yesterday was a wonderful, hectic day... The members of the choir and orchestra had to show up at about 10:30 yesterday morning for the bishop's ordination / installation. So... the boys and I loaded up and headed out about 10:00 am. The ordination was very beautiful, solemn... and I must say that, if the music wasn't good, it wasn't for lack of trying.

The orchestra for the ordination was made up of all local Shreveport musicians, most of whom play with the local symphony. The boys' Suzuki instructor was playing in the string section. I especially enjoyed hearing the wonderful brass section on several of the instrumental pieces.


I am posting a photo of some of the attendees -- Our Lady of Sorrows sisters among them.

Here are a few more photos from the ordination... The top one, obviously, of our newly ordained/installed bishop, Bishop Michael Duca.
The middle one is a good shot showing the people and the beginning of the pageantry of the procession in to the ceremony. It is really something to see all those bishops and priests gathered together in one place.
Finally, a picture of our rector as he processed in.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Vespers at St. John Berchmans

Last night a special Vespers service was held in anticipation of the ordination/installation of our new bishop Msgr. Michael Duca. The church was almost full and the feeling was one of joy and anticipation, I think.

Our schola sang several pieces during the prelude time. I have a few recordings, but must apologize for the chit-chat and rustling... the recording was done downstairs amid the crowd. However, I am very proud of our little schola and want to post a few examples of our singing...

Adoramus te, Christe (our lone polyphony piece)
Ave Verum
Veni Sancte Spiritus
Kyrie Orbis Factor

Today at 12:00 pm, the Ordination/Installation will take place at the Shreveport Convention Center. The prelude music will begin probably by about 11:30 a.m. or so... you can see a webcast of the ordination here:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday yard work

Family yard work day happened again today... and we are making progress on teaching the boys how to do it (can you sense a long-term plan in operation here?). The oldest learned today how to edge the yard using the weed-whacker. The youngest learned to mow. Their technique can use some improvement (they did most of their learning in the back yard), but the enticement of pay was a great incentive (we pay $5 to each of them for helping each week... this is big stuff to our boys).

Not long ago, when the boys were thinking of ways they could earn money (to purchase more games and maybe even a digital camera), we mentioned that, when they got a bit older and had developed their yardwork skills, they could possibly get jobs mowing and edging lawns for other families. This encourages them to learn all this stuff... I see my neighbors who have healthy teenage sons out doing every bit of their own yard work (probably while the kid is inside lounging around or else using the home weight-lifting gym) and I think that, even if they don't mind doing it themselves, the kid should be helping.

With that in mind... we are gradually working toward that end... the picture illustrates why the learning process should start in the backyard.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Psallite Sapienter

CMAA has come out with another great resource...

When I was trying to figure out how to sing for our first Missa Cantata, I am thinking this would have been so great to have had on hand...

It is currently available here and it will be available for sale at the Colloquium, all you lucky ones who will be attending.

I am hopeful that it will also be available to me for purchase when I am at Chant Intensive the week prior.

Check this out if you are interested in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and the music for it...

Great Chant Rehearsal Last Night

Well, I must say we sounded pretty good last night at rehearsal. We were in the chapel due to the use of the cathedral by Loyola High School for their baccalaureate. We all loved the accoustics in there. There were a few comments about practicing in their every week since it seems to sound so much better.

We ran through the entire list of chants planned for Vespers, plus the Veni Creator, which we will do if time permits. I was very pleased with the sound we are getting. The blending of voices is getting better and better over time.

I brought the boys with me, and only had to go up and help hunt for a lost stylus once near the end. The search was futile, so a trip to Wal-mart's game section is planned for today.

We are all looking forward to seeing the new Narnia film Prince Caspian, perhaps even this evening or tomorrow. I'll give my own personal review of it if we are able to get to that this weekend with all the activity planned.

On to the day's activities...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Vespers May 18th, St. John Berchmans

Our schola will be singing for part of the prelude music for the Vespers service to be held at St. John Berchmans on May 18th. We are so pleased to be able to participate in this and hope our music will be inspiring...

We'll be singing about 15 minutes' worth of the prelude music that will begin about 6:30 pm (Vespers begins at 7:00 pm). Our chants will be alternated with choir music and instrumental music . Here is the working list we have so far. We may make some slight changes, but this is what we've been working on... We have only the one piece of polyphony that we'll do -- Adoramus te, Christe... otherwise it is all chant.

1st 5 minutes:

Ave Maris Stella (B)
Agnus Dei de Angelis (VIII)
O Salutaris Hostia
Regina Caeli Jubila

2nd 5 minutes:

Victimae paschali
Kyrie Orbis Factor (XI)
Adoramus te, Christe (polyphony)
Regina Caeli
Ave Maria antiphona

3rd 5 minutes:

Ave Verum Corpus
Sanctus de Angelis (VIII)
Ego sum
Veni Sancte Spiritus (sequence for Pentecost)

We'll be working hard this last bit of time before then, so I may not be posting much... between the excitement for the ordination/installation of our new bishop and moving, I'm a bit busy.

Only a short while until I head for Chicago and my Chant Intensive course, too...

Rainy days

Yesterday the boys and I made a one-day trip to and from Ft. Worth. It is actually a pretty easy trip... being from a family of marathon cross-country car trips takers, this is pretty lightweight. I took the dog to the kennel... got the house spiffed up before waking the boys... we got up and out by 7:15. It was actually a pretty nice day there... a bit overcast, but very pleasant.

After we got back on the road about 6 pm, the drizzle started. It really didn't slow us down much, although I have read that you shouldn't use your cruise control in wet conditions, so that was a slight annoyance... I'm not all that great at maintaining the same perfect speed without a little help, so I had to try to concentrate on not speeding or dipping way below the speed limit (thereby lengthening the trip).

In the meantime, Shreveport had been getting record-breaking amounts of rain... see news excerpt:

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — More than 10 inches of rain fell late Tuesday and Wednesday in the Shreveport-Bossier City area, forcing a state of emergency in Caddo Parish after at least 90 homes were flooded. With another round of storms accompanied by high water expected Wednesday, parish public schools closed at midday. Both Caddo and Bossier parishes were under flash flood warnings.
The area's 24-hour record of rainfall was 12.44 inches, set in 1933, Homeland Security officials said. Although the city's drainage system was functioning, it was inundated by the amount of rain, said Mike Strong, Shreveport's Director of Operational Services.

The National Weather Service said 4.43 inches of rain fell in a one-hour period across Shreveport-Bossier City on Tuesday night, breaking the old record of 3.16 inches. Records were also set for the amount of rain in a two-hour period — 5.73 inches — and for a three-hour period — 6.51 inches, the weather service said. Numerous roads were closed in the region Wednesday because of high water, along with the gates at Barksdale Air Force Base. The Caddo Parish sheriff's office had boats standing by in case people were trapped by the water. Deputies were checking houses for stranded residents in the southern part of the parish where flooded streets had cut off normal access.

Lightning caused several fires, including one at Bossier City apartment complex. The fire started about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and quickly spread to four apartments, completely engulfing the roof of one building, said police spokesman Mark Natale. No one was injured. Four units were destroyed, while another four sustained heavy smoke and water damage, Natale said.

At the height of the rain, about 18,000 customers of Southwestern Electric Power Co. were without electricity because of limbs and trees that fell on utility lines. That number had been reduced to about 7,500 by midday Wednesday, said SWEPCO spokesman Scott McCloud.
The Times of Shreveport and KTBS-TV contributed to this report.

Since we weren't even here for most of the deluge, our portion of the story is all pretty uninteresting, as stories go, but there is one little tidbit of interest (at least to the boys). As we were taking the last offramp on the home stretch, I got almost to the bottom of the ramp to find that a couple of other cars were simply stopped in the middle of the road... then, looking farther down, I could see that there was a river crossing the road down below. It was difficult to see just how deep it was, so I was not interested in trying to venture across. To make it a bit more exciting, we saw a small car basically in the water up to the door handles off in the ditch to the right side (the boys thought this was very cool). I am sure the driver must have just hit the water going a little too quickly and slid off the pavement... the water wasn't deep enough to be a life threatening thing... but I guess they probably totalled the car.

So... all this is about 10 pm at night... I was tired and wanted to get home... but our path to home was essentially blocked... I started backing back up the ramp, but thought it was a bit dangerous with the rain coming down and more cars coming...

Then we saw an 18 wheeler (fearless guys, all of them) slowly weave his way through the accumulation of 'four-wheelers' and then make his way through the water. I could then see that the water was only about a foot deep... with our big old heavy gas-guzzling Tahoe, I was no longer afraid... we took it slowly across and headed on home. It was one time I was glad to have it rather than a lower riding vehicle. Usually I complain about how stinking big it is, how difficult to park, how much gas it uses, how it rides just like a truck (not nice and smooth like a car)... can you tell this wouldn't have been my first vehicle choice had the situation been different when we bought it?

Well... the Tahoe has redeemed itself. See the photo of Cross Lake (which we blithely drove across in the dark of night).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Crowning Mary

This weekend, particularly appropriate on Mother's Day weekend, our homeschooling group had a special Crowning ceremony in the back yard of one of our members. We first shared a bit about Mary and praying the rosary and the importance of having her as our mother in heaven and asking for her intercession with the children.

Next, we prayed the Memorare, and sang O Mary We Crown Thee With Blossoms Today as we placed a flower crown and flowers in a vase for Mary by her statue. Then we prayed The Litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Afterwards, while the kids played in the pool, the adults had a chance to catch up on news and enjoy the beautiful day. Much fun was had by all.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I have a few new recordings added this morning. It has been a busy time... many rehearsals in preparation for the ordination/installation of our new bishop. I was able to do a little bit of recording before last night's rehearsal.

Adesto Sancta Trinita
Regina Caeli Jubila
Salve Regina
Victimae Paschali

We are working on our list of prelude pieces for the Vespers service...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Cardinal Egan and Shreveport's Red Mass

The boys and I attended this morning's "Red Mass" at Holy Trinity Church in downtown Shreveport. Edward Cardinal Egan, from New York was the main celebrant. It was a very nice service. From up in the choir loft, we had a very nice view, but it was very warm... the water was in a locked cabinet, so we just had to wish and wait...

The prelude music was provided by a choir from a local Baptist
church... while it was very nice, it was so loud as to be almost
deafening. A bit less volume would have been very nice. I was a bit
puzzled as to why we had a guest choir at a Catholic Mass from a Baptist church, but that was explained later on... apparently this was supposed to be in some way an ecumenical service. The local St. Cecilia choir sang for the Mass music.

At the end of the Mass, just before the final blessing, visiting protestant ministers were given the opportunity to say a short prayer... a couple of them must not have realized it was only supposed to be a short prayer and we were treated with a couple
of protestant-flavor sermons. As we were up in the hot choir loft fanning ourselves at the end of this almost 2-hour Mass, we weren't as appreciative of their words of wisdom as we might have been otherwise.

I quite enjoyed the homily given by Cardinal Egan. It had a very pro-life message throughout -- both in support of the unborn and for death penalty convicts. He spoke of the wonders of modern medicine in the unlocking of the mystery of babies in the womb and also of the great benefits to justice made possible by the DNA analysis now available to us. He spoke of those who have been wrongly convicted who have later been cleared of crimes because of the new technologies available to us in law enforcement.

As I have grown older, I am less in favor of the death penalty than I was as a younger person. I think, at least here in our country, we have the means to separate dangerous criminals from the rest of society for the rest of their natural lives without killing them. And, with the high cost of appeals and more appeals in death-penalty cases, I don't believe one could even argue that it is a higher cost to society in any practical way to keep them in prison for life. As Christians, we also hope that, perhaps, additional time to reflect on their misdeeds will also give them a chance to repent and maybe save their souls.

A few local news reports...

Edward Cardinal Egan, the Archbishop of New York, presided over a Red Mass today at Holy Trinity Church in Shreveport. The last Cardinal to visit Shreveport was Cardinal Cushing of Boston in 1968.

The Red Mass, held for the legal profession, was attended by most area attorneys and judges, as well as ministers of other faiths and members of the lay public.

Egan presided over the Mass, and also served as its principal celebrant.

Describing the law as “a splendid calling” and contrasting that with the view of it as a profession, he said people must be inclined to “love the law and embrace it,” just as they must discharge it “so civilization may progress in a manner worthy of the children of God.”
Shreve Talk reported:

"There is nothing more precious than the life of a human being," said His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, the Archbishop of New York, at the 16th Annual Red Mass held today at Holy Trinty Catholic Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. Cardinal Egan delivered his homily, which included a meassage not only supporting the right to life, but challenging the death penalty where many innocent persons have been cleared by DNA tests.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Much Ado

This has been a very busy week... many preparations are taking place to get ready for our bishop-elect's ordination/installation. I've been trying to get in as much practice as I can while my better half is still in town -- it means babysitters to attend rehearsals after he leaves. Not only is it expensive, it is not always easy to find them!

The last two evenings I have spent rehearsing for the ordination (to be at the convention center on May 19), the upcoming 'Red Mass' (when Cardinal Egan from NY will be here) that will be tomorrow morning at Holy Trinity, and the Holocaust remembrance this Sunday afternoon. Just so that I don't get bored this weekend, we luckily will also have the boys' Suzuki concert on Saturday afternoon and my hubby's change of command ceremony on early Sunday afternoon -- oh, yes... I'm also cantoring for the 5:30 pm Sunday Mass.

Whew! It is a good thing I have just mentally listed all those things... otherwise I might have dropped something off the list!

Tonight will be our schola rehearsal... we are going to be singing a few pieces for prelude music prior to the beginning of the Vespers service on May 18th. I'd like them to be especially nice, so we'll go through some of our repertoire tonight and decide what we'll focus on polishing up. Our task is to provide about 15 minutes' worth of chant music... I am very pleased that we are going to be able to participate for it.

Time to get the house spiffy in case a buyer wants to wander through today...