Friday, February 29, 2008
During the nine day trip to London, each of the nine persons in the group took somewhere around 300 photographs, for a grand total of approximately 2700 trip photos...which are going to take some time to sort out! So Brothers, and reader, bear with us while they trickle in (it is hoped to have the group picture party on the 2nd Monday after Easter, 31/3/08 - stay tuned for more information).
But for now a couple of more pictures from our glorious San Diego Admissions Day. In the first photo, taken (unusually) during Brother's Exercizes in the Little Oratory, the new brothers are blessed with the relic of St. Philip by Fr. Ronald Creighton Jobe, reverently assisted by London Brother James Cross. In the second, father-and-son Brothers John and Christopher Velasco stand for a portrait in the ornate nave of the Little Oratory, following their admission. Well done, John and Chris!
Brompton's "Little Oratory" (across the courtyard from the main church) has just undergone a complete cleaning and restoration, and is truly one of London's special interiors, the more so for being much less seen than other churches, and will be the subject of a photo-essay at a future date.
One of the distinctive features of the Oratorian Secular vocation is the permission to wear the Oratorian habit while in service on the sanctuary. This includes the traditional Roman-style cassock which is fastened across the breast with a series of buttons running from the upper left-chest to the lower right waist, and the fascia, with proper Oratorian tassles usually only available from Gamarelli's in Rome (we're still working on that part - cinctures mostly suffice for now!). But the most distinctive part of the habit is the Oratorian collar, which overlaps the raised collar of the cassock, and is separated in front.
With six new brothers admitted to the Little Oratory this past January, and given our distance in San Diego from the mother house in London, it is desirable that we should become self sufficient in such eccoutrament, and a tailor has been found to make Oratorian collars locally. The first lot of fourteen collars was expertly sewn by La Mesa Tailors in Linda Vista from 1 yard of 100% linen fabric. These particular collars bear the four folds identifying the London Oratory in particular, which folds can be seen in the top photograph. St. Philip can be seen wearing the primitive Roman collar, which was originally the out-turned collar of the shirt worn under cassock. Over time it has been somewhat reduced, and its folds have come to represent the identy of particular Oratories around the world.
The presentation of collars began on Monday 25 February, 2008, with George Pecoraro,
(a member of the community since its proto-inception in 2001), and Richard Dawes, a member since September 2007,
both receiving their Oratorian collars from founding organizer John Polhamus. It is indeed a proud achievement, especially for seven-year veterans George Pecoraro and John Velasco, for these brothers to have finally achieved the fullness of the Oratorian secular vocation over such a length of time, and over such great distance. But such is the zeal fostered by our Saint, both for God, and for His church. Other presentation photographs will follow in due course, but congratulations to those members presented to date.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Would you like to join Chorus Breviarii? Contact us! All men of good will are welcome to rehearsal, where you'll learn how to sing Gregorian chant. It is easy and no previous musical knowledge is assumed.
We generally meet for rehearsal on Monday night at 19: please contact us beforehand to be sure about the place.
Although only Catholic (i.e. in communion with H.H. Pope Benedict XVI) males are allowed to perform liturgically and to sing in the sanctuary, all others are invited to sing antiphonally from the choir loft or from the pews.
As soon as you can, you should acquire a copy of the Liber Usualis, which is the most complete collection of chants for the Mass and the Office. The reprint of the 1953 edition from St. Bonaventure Press is sold, for example, at this site. The 1962 edition, with the reformed Holy Week, is more valuable but considerably more expensive.
You will also need a cassock and a cotta (a.k.a. surplice). I bought mine from from Catholic Supply: I chose the Toomey brand cassock, which turned out to be adequate. One of us bought the Abbey brand cassock and he's not pleased with it because the snaps tore the fabric. It doesn't make sense to buy a more expensive cassock. Bottom line, I recommend the following:
Item #600 Black Cassock
Item #890 Square Neck Surplice
Choose the size according to your height. Catholic Supplies shows the length of the garment: measure yourself from the base of the neck to the floor and subtract three inches.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
On a light note, Our Holy Father St. Philip Neri (pictured centre, between St. Charles Borromeo and Pope Benedict XVI) turned up in the Blogosphere today, in an illustration comparing the Borromean chasuble in which he is usually depicted, and the one worn by the Holy Father today in his Ash Wednesday procession and Mass. To quote Shawn Tribe of the blog "New Liturgical Movement, The style of the chasuble seems to fit the guidelines issued by St. Charles Borromeo, with the sleeves not being as long as the full flowing form, but not as short as the more typical baroque form of the Roman chasuble.
What the Pope was wearing today is very much akin to what we have seen St. Ignatius or Loyola or St. Philip Neri pictured in." One might describe this cut of chasuble as a hybrid of the Roman fiddleback, and the semi-gothic (short, with long sleves). Mere coincidence that the Holy Father would revive the use of St. Philip's style...or is it?!?
Monday, February 4, 2008
It is my belief that most American catholics think that the hymn "Faith of our Fathers" is somehow Methodist in origin, generally Christian in subject matter. Well it's not, though the version we usually sing here might conduce to such an opinion. The fact is that this famous hymn was written by the founder of our Mother House, the Brompton Oratory, Fr. Frederick William Faber. When we consider that the verse "Faith of our Fathers, we will strive : to win all nations unto thee..." is in its original form (still sung in England) "Faith of our Fathers, Mary's prayers : shall will all nations unto thee..." the catholicity of this hymn becomes a little more obvious. We also see just who we mean when we sing "Our fathers chained in prisons dark : were yet in heart and conscience free", namely the English Catholics of the Tudor persecution. This profound hymn proved so popular that it has indeed been taken up in a changed form by many protestant and ecumenical hymnals. Nevertheless it is indicative of our diffused sense of Catholic identity here in America that few are acquainted with the author both of this famous hymn, and more particularly of our vocations as Brothers of the Little Oratory of St. Philip.
To the end of redressing that lack, the link below will take the reader to several volumes of Fr. Faber's works. St. Philip is himself known as "the Saint of a Joyful heart," and in typically Philippine fashion, the reader will find amongst Fr. Faber's listed works, a treatise on chemistry by another Frederick Faber. Read Melissa Wilkenson's new biography of Faber to discover the full meaning of that literary coincidence!
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