Friday, January 20, 2023

Who are Chorus Breviarii Murrieta?

Visit Chorus Breviarii Murrieta's site:

One of the sweetest fruits of 2021 was the founding of a new Chorus Breviarii subgroup, the decently-sized Chorus Breviarii Murrieta, within the boundaries of the neighboring Diocese of San Bernardino. A summary of the history, purpose, and activities of the original Chorus Breviarii is available in the Who We Are section of the blog. 

First choral Compline at Holy Martyrs, 4/30/2021

With outreach mostly restricted to the Diocese of San Diego (and occasional events in the neighboring Diocese of Orange) since 2001, the founding of a subgroup in Riverside County just before the 20th annual observance of Tenebrae opened up opportunities for the expansion of traditional practices in California's Inland Empire region. With most of the founding members being parishioners at the Ordinariate Parish of Holy Martyrs of England & Wales in Murrieta, CA, the subgroup is especially familiar with pious public prayer in both English and Latin. Founded by men whose most familiar liturgy is the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite, Chorus Breviarii Murrieta has a great familiarity with the rituals and services of both the Anglican Ordinariate Use and the Traditional Roman Rite. Like the original Chorus Breviarii in San Diego, the group is not tied down to any particular parish, allowing members to spread a love for reverent liturgy to other parishes in their area.

CB Murrieta members at the Marian shrine at the conclusion of O Tide Evensong
at St. Martha Catholic Church, Murrieta, with Fr. Ian Hollick

Courtesy: Holy Martyrs Facebook page

Past initiatives of CB Murrieta include the introduction of biweekly Friday Compline at Holy Martyrs and the chanting of Evensong during "O Tide" (the Greater Ferias of Advent, on which the O Antiphons are sung in anticipation of Christmas) both at Holy Martyrs and nearby St. Martha's. 

Three San Diego Brothers and a few CB Murrieta members after Compline,
along with Dcn. Keith Way and Dcn. Sam Keyes (now Fr. Sam Keyes), both
 clergy from St. Augustine of Canterbury Ordinariate Parish in North SD

Additional activities of CB Murrieta members include Eucharistic processions, pro-life marches, singing for both Requiem and Festal Masses, and collaboration with the San Diego Brothers and CB members for the observance of Roman Tenebrae. Along with Holy Martyrs and St. Martha's, CB Murrieta has also been invited to assist with chanting Mass parts at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in the desert town of Victorville, CA. As of January 2023, there are about a dozen members.

Evensong at St. Martha, 12/22/2021

CB Murrieta member Thiago Da Costa has created a video dedicated to the late Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho containing portions of a Requiem offered for the repose of his soul, the parts chanted by CB Murrieta members directed by a San Diego Brother.

May Our Lady, St. Philip Neri, the Holy Martyrs of England & Wales, St. John Henry Newman, St. Bernardine of Siena, and all the saints pray for the success of this group of men in their efforts to spread the benefits of reverent, corporate prayer to churches in their area!

Friday, January 6, 2023

More Scenes from St. Thomas the Apostle 2022

 Blessed Epiphany to all!

We encourage our readers to take a look at the following posts from Chorus Breviarii Murrieta, who joined us for St. Thomas Vespers as part of their O Tide event. Plenty of photos and some videos from their O Tide and Christmas events are available for your viewing.

O Tide in Victorville 2022

O Tide in Chino 2022

Snapshots of Murrieta and Guasti 2022

Additional Snapshots from Murrieta 2022

Midnight Mass 2022

O Tide Recap 2022

St. Philip with his distinctive collar

As a little bonus, here are some photos of St. Philip making an appearance in the Nativity scene at the Roman church of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, founded by St. Philip himself and currently under the care of the FSSP. The collection of photos of the Nativity scene are available at New Liturgical Movement.

St. Philip's scene is located to the right

Courtesy: New Liturgical Movement

Saturday, December 31, 2022

R.I.P., Pope Benedict XVI (1927-2022)

This morning, on the feast of the Holy Pope St. Sylvester I, on the last day of the year 2022, our beloved Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI passed from this world to be judged by his Creator, our Lord, Jesus Christ, at 95 years of age. The Brothers and Chorus Breviarii will pray for his repose, and we certainly hope that we will all be praying, whether through the Holy Rosary, the Office of the Dead, or the Holy Mass, that any purgation his soul may face may be lightened. 

Courtesy: LMS England & Wales

Our Fratellino says on this occasion: 

"Silvester, or Sylvester, is an interesting name, meaning "of the woodland" or, by implication, a Forester. Think of the Catholics of the Vendée, who were chased into the woods to celebrate the mass, and how many of them were brutally murdered by the Masonic French Revolution... about 800,000. Silvester I was the pope who led the church OUT of the woods, not into them. We should, at this point, be imploring his intercession for all we are worth, lest the present persecution worsen, and last as long as the first one."

Similarly, as the pagans of Europe were called to physically out of the woods by the Roman Pontiff and his missionaries, away from wooden idols and sacred trees, so do we pray that our future Roman Pontiffs may bring the Church out the woods we dwell in now, where many idols, whether wooden or ideological, have yet to be cast down.

The Feast according to the 1938 Laverty Missal

"Let Thy priests, O Lord, be clothed with justice, and let Thy Saints rejoice," reads the Introit for the Mass of St. Sylvester I before the liturgical changes in 1955. Through the praying of this Introit, we hope for the Saints above to rejoice at Christ welcoming a faithful servant into the heavenly kingdom. We also hope that through the prayers of these Saints, especially St. Sylvester I, we may continue to grow a new generation of holy priests who will bravely serve the Lord, many of whom were guided by the late Holy Father's liberation of tradition through Summorum Pontificum. 

Monastere Saint-Benoit, established
under the Papacy of Benedict XVI

To a great friend and guardian of Tradition, we pray that the soul of Pope Benedict XVI may rest in peace. Lux aeterna luceat ei, Domine, cum sanctis Tuis in aeternum, quia pius es.

Our other posts regarding the deceased Holy Father during his papacy can be found below:

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Of the Father's Heart Begotten

Merry Christmas!

The text of the Christmas hymn "Of the Father's heart begotten" ("Corde natus ex parentis") was originally written in Latin by 4th-century Iberian Roman poet Aurelius Prudentius as Hymn IX "for all hours" in his Liber Cathemerinon, beginning with the phrase "Da puer plectrum." Like other hymns and carols of the Christmas cycle, Anglican churchmen translated the text into English and set both the translated and original texts to music found in medieval songbooks, likely as part of the wider Gothic Revival movement in England. Other hymns and carols of the same kind include "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and "Good King Wenceslas," with the latter's tune coming from the Piae Cantiones of the Turku Cathedral in Finland. The Piae Cantiones also include the tune for "Corde natus," originally a Sanctus trope used during the latter part of the Mass, with the incipit "Divinum mysterium." 

The content of "Corde natus" is certainly influenced by the scriptural books of St. John, especially the Last Gospel (John 1), John 3, and the Book of Revelation, establishing its connection to the Mass of Christmas Day, where the Last Gospel is read as the Proper Gospel of the Mass. The various Psalms and Canticles of the Old Testament are also referenced, such as the Song of the Three Youths in the Fiery Furnace and Psalm 148, both staples of Festal Lauds in the Traditional Roman Office. The 38 stanzas of "Da puer plectrum" go beyond the focus of the Christmas excerpt, focusing instead on the whole life of Christ, including His miracles, His designation as the True Bread of Heaven, and His conquering of death, sin, and the serpent through the bloody sacrifice on the Cross.

The many variations of the chant available on YouTube highlight many interesting aspects of the hymn's original metre and the trickiness of adapting a poem to a tune meant for another metre. The original "Divinum mysterium" alternated between long and short notes (see below).

The peculiarities of metrical adaptation eventually led to Charles Winfred Douglas' "equalist transcription," which is how it is mostly sung today. However, some recordings of the hymn with its original note lengths are available on YouTube, such as the following recording from Ely Cathedral.

Additional peculiarities include the distribution of the original text's syllables on the tune's notes. Disagreements, such as whether the verb in the 8th stanza (of Da puer plectrum) is "psallite" or "psallat," or whether each syllable of the second line gets its own note, appear across different recordings. Based on my searches, however, the most disputed line appears to be the third line of the first verse. The most common text for this line is "A et O cognominatus," a very Latin way of transcribing Christ's titles of Alpha and Omega. This preserves the meter at the expense of sacrificing the explicit reference to Greek letters when sung. Other groups (such as the choir in the first video) preserve the explicit reference to the Greek letters by singing "Alpha" instead of "A," but without elision, the line ends up with too many syllables, and thus they sing the metrically peculiar "cognomina" rather than "cognominatus." The most sound version of this line, in my opinion, has the elision of "Alpha et" to "Alphet," preserving the original text from Prudentius (which writes O as Ω while pronouncing it "O"), the metre of the poem, and the explicit reference to the Greek letters of Christ in Revelation. 

This way of singing the hymn is audible in the following recording from the choir at the ICKSP church in Oakland, CA.

The text of "Da puer plectrum" is full of elisions, which I have annotated to the best of my ability in the verses of "Corde natus" at the end of this post. The description of the Holy Ghost as "Hagioque Pneumate" in the final doxology (possibly not part of the original text) is extremely Greek, showing the great influence of Greek Christian terminology on Late Latin and Medieval Christian writing. Had "Corde natus" been a Breviary hymn, I wonder if Pope Urban VIII would have rewritten this particular verse, or any of the others, for being insufficiently Classical in metre or terminology!

Interestingly, the 35th stanza of "Da puer plectrum" (above) actually appears to be short a syllable in its fourth line, implying that one of the syllables had to be lengthened. In my transcription, this means that when sung to the "Divinum mysterium" tune, the "-scen-" of "adscendit" needs to be carried over two notes. A similar elongation of a syllable occurs in the final doxology.

The book scan available at Hymnology Archive also provides various written variants of Latin words, such as:

  • "seculorum seculis" rather than "saeculorum saeculis"
  • "inluminat" rather than "illuminat"
  • "adscendit" rather than "ascendit"
  • "bustuali" rather than "bustuari"

Under this video are the commonly includes lyrics of "Corde natus," plus the final doxology, which may have been a late addition to the text, since it is not available in other full texts of "Da puer plectrum," and because Prudentius likely intended for the poem to conclude on the phrase "seculorum seculis," making the doxology redundant. There are also pointers in the text for where the accented notes and elisions lie.

BOLD: this syllable goes over multiple notes

ITALICS: vowels (and nasal consonants) are elided

UNDERLINE: highlights a single syllable

SPECIAL: syllable spans two notes to compensate missing syllable

(Every verse is followed by the phrase "saeculorum saeculis" in the hymn, even the verse ending "seculorum seculis")

IV. (1)

Corde natus ex parentis, 

Ante mundi exordium

Alpha et Ω cognominatus, 

Ipse fons et clausula

Omnium, quae sunt, fuerunt 

Quaeque post futura sunt.

V. (2)

Ipse jussit et creata, 

Dixit ipse, et facta sunt

Terra, caelum, fossa ponti, 

Trina rerum machina,

Quaeque in his vigent sub alto 

Solis et lunae globo.

VI. (3)

Corporis formam caduci,

Membra morti obnoxia

Induit, ne gens periret 

Primoplasti ex germine,

Merserat quam lex profundo

Noxialis tartaro.

VII. (4)

O beatus ortus ille, 

Virgo cum puerpera

Edidit nostram salutem

Feta Sancto Spiritu,

Et puer redemptor orbis 

Os sacratum protulit.

VIII. (5)

Psallat altitudo caeli, 

Psallite omnes angeli,

Quidquid est virtutis usquam 

Psallat in laudem Dei:

Nulla linguarum silescat, 

Vox et omnis consonet.

IX. (6)

Ecce, quem vates vetustis 

Concinebant saeculis,

Quem prophetarum fideles 

Paginae spoponderant,

Emicat promissus olim: 

Cuncta conlaudent eum.

XXXVI. (7)

Macte index mortuorum, 

Macte rex viventium,

Dexter in parentis arce 

Qui cluis virtutibus

Omnium venturus inde 

Justus ultor criminum.


Te senes et te juventus,
Parvulorum te chorus,

Turba matrum virginumque 

Simplices puellulae,

Voce concordes pudicis 

Perstrepant concentibus.


Fluminum lapsus et undae, 

Littorum crepidines,

Imber, aestus, nix, pruina, 

Silva, et aura, nox, dies,

Omnibus te concelebrent 

Seculorum seculis.


Tibi, Christe, sit cum Patre 

Hagioque Pneumate

Hymnus, decus, laus perennis, 

Gratiarum actio,

Honor, virtus, victoria, 

Regnum aeternaliter.


Saturday, December 24, 2022

Medicine against seasonal sentimentality

 From Fratellino on the Brothers' Facebook page:

For the readers' convenience, I have copied the text of the poem from the post onto the site as well. The author, St. Robert Southwell, was a Jesuit priest and one of the Forty Holy Martyrs of England & Wales. St. Robert was, like many of the persecuted priests of Elizabethan England, an English priest educated in Douai, France who ministered covertly to the Recusant population. The plot to place the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne through the assassination of Queen Elizabeth I led to suspicions towards one of the families St. Robert ministered to, and through a lascivious and possibly coerced affair with one of the family's daughters, the Queen's chief priest-hunter, Richard Topcliffe, was able to arrest St. Robert. After weeks of torture at the behest of Topcliffe and the Queen, St. Robert was sent to the gallows, where the raging mob eagerly tugged at his suffering body and cut it into pieces. 

The Burning Babe ~ St. Robert Southwell, S.J. 1595
"As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surpris’d I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty Babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorchéd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
“Alas!” quoth he, “but newly born, in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuél wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel Justice layeth on, and Mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiléd souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.”
With this he vanish’d out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I calléd unto mind that it was Christmas day."

And that's what Christmas is REALLY all about, Charlie Brown.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Photos from St. Thomas the Apostle 2022

22 men from the Brothers of the Little Oratory, Chorus Breviarii San Diego, Chorus Breviarii Murrieta, the serving corps of Holy Martyrs Ordinariate Parish, and the altar guild of St. Anne joined and assisted Fr. Liebert in the celebration of St. Thomas' Vespers during O Tide. Due to the various furnishings present in the sanctuary in preparation for Christmas, those in choir sat in the first two rows of pews. For the Murrieta crew, this was their fourth O Antiphon out of the five they were able to organize this year across Southern California.

Courtesy: Vaticanguard

Courtesy: Dr. Brian Parker and family

Courtesy: Judith