Monday, March 24, 2008

Christ is risen! Indeed he is risen!

The Brothers or the Little Oratory and members of Chorus Breviarii San Diego wish to offer their best wishes and Easter Greetings to all; out thanks to our supporters; and our support and prayers for our inptrepid Pontiff, Benedict XVI. May God grant him length of years, and the courage always to act in defense of the Faith, and the advancement of human charity, as he has so constantly done during his already momentous pontificate. Oremus pro pontifice nostro Benedicto.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Antiphon "Christus factus est" from Tenebrae '08

Antiphon "Traditor autem" and Benedictus from Lauds of Holy Thursday

Antiphon "Oblatus est" and Psalm from Lauds

Tenebrae '08 Lesson 3 by Robert White (d.1574)

Tenebrae '08 Lamentation 1 by T.L. de Victoria

John Polhamus writes: "In 1990 I founded the first incarnation of the Tomas Luis de Victoria Choir of San Diego, the area's first all professional (or at least all thoroughly trained) exclusively polyphonic vocal ensemble. At that time there was no liturgical function for the group, and it was heard only in concert for only one year. Works performed that all too short season were the Josquin dez Prez "Missa Pange Lingua", the Vaughn-Williams "Mass in g minor", the Monteverdi "Mass for four voices", and various motets by Palestrina, Victoria, and Bruhier. It was a proud achievement for the time, although I was admittedly rather young and wouldn't have known how to take a polyphonic ensemble into the third-dimension of Traditional liturgical employment.

When I returned from London in 2001, and the activities of Chorus Breviarii and now the Brothers of the Little Oratory came to require polyphony, the current roster of singers inherited the name of the Victoria Choir, and continue to go from strength to strength, although all too sporadically, usually on a bare-bones minimum of rehearsal time, and at far too little recompense. I sincerely hope that if we are one day graced with an religious Oratory, every one of these intrepid singers will find with all the full-time choral employment that the liturgy demands.

Enjoy these three polyphonic settings of the Lamentations of Jeremias, as heard live at Tenebrae of Holy Thursday on Wednesday evening, 19 March 2008. Thanks be to God for their enthusiastic efforts. Sancta Caecilia, intercede pro nobis."

Trailer of the November Pontifical Requiem

Although the memory of the Tenebrae service is still fresh in our mind, let us step back and remember the November Pontifical Requiem the Brothers of the Little Oratory and Chorus Breviarii served for: we have now a preliminary video with the Introit and Kyrie available on YouTube.

About seventy-five persons attended the Requiem that Saturday morning, but viewers may note that no one is to be seen in the seats immediately around the catafalque. This is because at that time the front-third of the pews of St. John's were out for restoration, their place being taken by about 100 folding chairs. It somehow transpired that all of those in attendance gravitated naturally to the remaining pews, and so were seated beyond the view of the camera in the choirloft. Rest assured, there WAS a congregation.

In another note, three Byzantine Catholic monks are to be seen in the sanctuary. There are from Holy Ressurection Monastery in Barstow, and included their abbot. Roberto Lionello had been on retreat in their abbey, as had Bishop Cordileone, and these holy monks drove all the way down from Barstow, over three hours, just to sit in choir. We were honoured indeed to worship in their company.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

8th Annual Tenebrae a Great Success

Spy Wednesday Evening
19 March 2008
Church of St. John the Evangelist,
University Heights, San Diego

The 8th Annual Tenebrae was a great success, with somewhere between 50 and 100 in attendance. The ad hoc Tomas Luis de Victoria Choir sang that composer's first Lamentation of Jeremias, then the second and third in settings by Tudor era composer Robert White (d.1574). In addition they offered the antiphon "Christus factus est" by Mexican baroque composer Francisco Lopez Capillas, and the "Miserere" of Hernando Franco, both chapelmasters at the Cathedral in Mexico City. The "fragor et strepitus" or beating of the choirbooks (and anything else to hand) in the darkened church, and in simulation of the earthquake which marked the moment of our Lord's death on the Cross, provided an always alien and unexpected dramatic note to conclude the proceedings.

The generous collection defrayed about half the cost of the polyphonic choir, some of whom even donated their checks to the endeavour, but our feeling is that if the beautification of the liturgy is worth the expenditure. Such beauty does not however come cheaply, and people spend hours of their lives rehearsing in order to be able to reliably provide it. It is our view that the soul must be fed sometimes even before their body, and to take a line from St. Jose Maria Escriva, "When lovers start exchanging bags of cement as gifts, I'll stop offering beautiful things to the Lord." I think that may well be my favourite Opus Dei quote!

To that end, and in support of our efforts to beautify the liturgy, contributions may be sent to:
"The Brothers of the Little Oratory"
1675 Garnet Ave. #116,
San Diego, Ca., 92109

We are in the process of obtaining our charitable tax exemption, but we still have work to do in the meantime. These will be applied to the upcoming events concerned with the Feast of Our Holy Father, St. Philip Neri, 26 May 2008. Anything will be greatly appreciated.

John Polhamus

Monday, March 17, 2008

8th Annual Gregorian Tenebrae

~ The Brothers of the Little Oratory ~


Office of Matins and Lauds (First Office hours)
of Holy Thursday
Fr. Reginald Defour, C.S.S.P., Hebdomadary

Polyphonic music to include:
``Lamentations of Jeremias''
by T.L. Victoria (i), and Robert White (II & III) (d. 1574)
Antiphon “Christus factus est
by Francisco Lopez Capillas (1608-1674),
& Psalm 50 “Miserere mei, Deus
by Hernando Franco (1532–1585)


St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church
1638 Polk Ave. San Diego, CA 92103

(Intersection of Park Blvd and Washington St.,
Normal Heights, San Diego
Off-street parking beside church)


For further information see our blogs at:

Or call John Polhamus at: 858 997 8636

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

UVOC Lenten Pilgrimage

Brothers Wayne and Roberto traveled 14 miles from Saint Michael's Abbey to Mission San Juan Capristrano in the 8th Annual pilgrimage hosted by Una Voce of Orange County. This time around Brother Roberto brought along the Papal flag to be carried to the Mission which was incredible. After the long penitential pilgrimage both brothers were seated in the Sanctuary where Blessed Serra once celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass. California is definitely Catholic haunted and one day I hope California will return to the full True Faith.

Viva il Papa!!
Viva Cristo Rey!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Brother Receives Manual of the Little Oratory

Recently Enroled Brother Richard Dawes receives a copy of the “Manual of the Little Oratory”, a compilation of directives, rules, advice and prayers approved for use by the Brothers of the Little Oratory.

Upon Enrolment in London, the Brother's name is inscribed into the Ledger, they receive an Enrolment Card, the Manual, the Oratorian Collar, are encouraged to wear the Oratorian Cassock and Cotta, and are obliged to participate in Liturgies and Excercizes at the Oratory.

Photo taken in front of the Ladie Altar in St John the Evangelist Church in San Diego on the First Monday of Passion-tide.

Psalmists and Little Brothers Observe Rubrics of Passion-tide

The Brothers of the Oratory in San Diego together with Psalmists of Chorus Breviarii mark Passion-tide by the singing of the Passion-tide tone for the Compline hymn “Te lucis ante t√©rminum”.

To Thee, before the close of day
Creator of the world, we pray
that with Thy wonted favor,
Thou wouldst be our Guard and Keeper now.

From all ill dreams defend our eyes,
from nightly fears and fantasies:
tread under foot our ghostly foe,
that no pollution we may know.

O Father, that we ask be done
through Jesus Christ Thine only Son,
who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee,
shall live and reign æternally. Amen.

~ From the Roman Breviary, translation by J. M. Neale (1818-1866).

The Passion-tide tone is used until the Wednesday of Holy Week (Spy Wednesday), unless the contrary is indicated in the Rubric. Hymn tones vary from liturgical season to season.

Also in the Office of the Time, from the First Sunday of the Passion until Spy Wednesday, the versicle Gloria Patri is not said in the Short Response of Compline, but the Responsory In manus is repeated.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Collar Presentations (cont'd)

Immediately prior to his nuptials this past Saturday, 1 March 2009, Pfc. Ronald Clemente, Army Reserve, took time to present the Oratorian Collar to Brother John Velasco, who was admitted in London this past 20 January. John also received the collar on behalf of his son, Christopher, also admitted in January, who is currently studying at university in Long Beach. Congratulations to the Velasco's, who also represent the first father to son transference within the San Diego Oratorian community.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

One Wedding and a Requiem

Two notable events transpired over the weekend. First, Ronald Clemente was married to Wendy Wareham on Saturday 1st March, 2008 in a novus ordo, latin, ad orientem celebration at St. Michael's Parish, Poway Ca. The mass was reverently celebrated by Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B. of Prince of Peace Abbey, Oceanside. Photographs will be forthcoming on this blog. The Brothers of the Oratory and members of Chorus Breviarii San Diego wish their congratulations to the adorable couple, and prayers for their lasting happiness.

Later in the day, Brothers Roberto Lionello and Richard Dawes travelled north to Orange County at the request of Brother Wayne Lam, a resident of that county, in order to provide music for a Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form for Mrs. Mary Rains, who died at the age of 89. Her son, Dr. Michael Rains, a friend of Wayne's, sponsored the Requiem, and also made a generous and much appreciated donation to the San Diego Brothers. The celebrant was Fr. Xavier Charbel, O. Pream. There were about 30 people in attendance at the John Paul II Polish Center in Yorba Linda. The Requiem began at about 18:15. Afterwards the Brothers were treated to a buffet dinner.

In the above photo, Wayne Lam (left) receives his Oratorian collar from Dr. Roberto Lionello in the John Paul II Polish Centre Chapel.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

8th Annual Gregorian Tenebrae

~ The Brothers of the Little Oratory ~


Office of Matins and Lauds (First Office hours)
of Holy Thursday
Fr. Reginald Defour, C.S.S.P., Hebdomadary

Music to include:
Psalm “Miserere mei, Deus” by Hernando Franco (1532–1585)
& Antiphon “Christus factus est”
by Francisco Lopez Capillas (1608-1574)


St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church
1638 Polk Ave. San Diego, CA 92103

(Intersection of Park Blvd and Washington St.,
Normal Heights, San Diego
Off-street parking beside church)

For further information see our blogs at:

Or call John Polhamus at: 858 997 8636