Sacred Treasures of England

Two weeks ago, a new album was released by Sony Music Masterworks in association with AimHigher Records, the sister company of De Montfort Music, the name of the album – Sacred Treasures of England

The London Oratory Schola Cantorum Boys Choir was founded in 1996. Boys from the age of 7 are educated in the Junior House of the London Oratory School. They are given the chance to learn choral and instrumental training within a dynamic musical environment, which enlightens both the mind and the body. The Schola is one of the most prestigious boys choirs in the world. They are in high demand for concerts and soundtrack recordings, most notably, The Lord of the Rings films, directed by Peter Jackson.

Recorded in the oratory founded by Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman in the spirit St. Philip Neri’s Oratory, Sacred Treasures of England features 14 tracks of English Tudor era music. The composers of these tracks include William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, and Christopher Tye. Charles Cole directs the Schola. The London Oratory Schola Cantorum Boys Choir is the first choir to partner and release an album internationally with AimHigher Recordings/Sony Classical. For more information on the London Oratory Schola, click on the highlighted link.

As some of you know, the more I have learned about Liturgy, the more I understand the importance of good and proper music in the Liturgy. I have written about Sacred Music on this blog numerous times. To read my other posts, click on this link here. I would highly encourage you to support music and albums such as these, for this has been the music of the Church for centuries.

You can purchase the album on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play Music.

Below is the Feature Video –

“Mondays with Mary” – Marian Advent Hymns and the Benedictines of Mary

Since yesterday was the beginning of the Season of Advent, I found it fitting today to share with you some Marian Advent hymns sung by a religious order that I know pretty well, since I have written about them a few times in the past – The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles.

The Benedictines of Mary have produced four CD’s, which you can read more about on the DeMontfort Music website, the music company who produced their CD’s. To read more about the Benedictines of Mary, De Montfort Music, and Decca Records, please read my first post on ecclesiastical music – The Beauty of Sacred Music.

As we learned last week, many Catholic hymns focus on Jesus Christ and His Church, but there also many hymns written to reflect the beauty of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and these are specifically known as Marian hymns. Many of the Marian hymns are used in the month of May since May is the month of Mary, during the great Marian solemnities throughout the liturgical year, and also during the Season of Advent.

So for the rest of today’s blog post, I am going to ask you to do something different, instead of reading, I am going to encourage you to listen to some of these beautiful Marian Advent hymns performed by the Benedictines of Mary from their CD, Advent at Ephesus. Click on the links to purchase it via CD, iTunes, and Google Music.

For more great music from the Benedictines of Mary, check out their latest CD (November 1, 2016), Caroling at Ephesus.

Mary in Advent

1. Angelus Ad Virginem

2. Gabriel’s Message

3. Hayl Mary, Full of Grace

4. Maria durch ein Dornwald Ging (Mary Wondered through a Wood of Thorns) 

5. Alma Redemptoris Mater

6. Adjuvabit Eam 

7. Like the Dawning 

Our Lady Queen of Ephesus…Pray for Us  

Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles…Pray for Us 

225th “Mondays with Mary” 

“Benedicta: Marian Chants of Norcia”

When albums like the one that is being released today, I always give praise and thanksgiving to the Good Lord for bonafide Sacred Music. In collaboration with De Montfort Music, the Benedictine Monks of Norcia present to you Marian Chants.

Norcia_Benedicta_Cover_v18_1500px

If you have read any of my blog posts in the past regarding Sacred Music, you know well that I don’t beat around the bush regarding my passion and love for Sacred Music and chant. The Catholic Church has been help captive far too long by Christian music that often completely contradicts the Sacramental Worldview of Catholicism. For whatever reason, this music crept into the Church and has planted down its roots. Like any good weed, it needs to be taken out so that the good fruit can flourish. For more of my thoughts on Sacred Music, check them out here.

To purchase this new CD by the Benedictine Monks on ITunes, please go here. To purchase it on Amazon, please go here. To learn more about De Montfort Music and they work they are doing in this field, check out their website here.

I would also encourage you to check out the trailer below talking about the making of the album. There will also be a 30-minute special on EWTN today at 3;30pm EST and on Thursday at 10:30pm EST about the making of this album.

Quick Lessons from the Catechism: Singing and Music (and the Benedictines of Mary)

Earlier this week, in collaboration with De Montfort Music/Decca, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles released yet another fantastic album which displays their love for, and the beauty of Sacred Music. The 27-track album titled, Easter at Ephesus, focuses on the beauty of chants and hymns with an Eastertide motif. For the Benedictines of Mary, this marks their fourth album, which follows Advent at Ephesus, Angels and Saints at Ephesus, and Lent at Ephesus. All three of these albums received the top award for Billboard’s Top Traditional Classical Albums for 2012, 2013, and 2014. They were also named the top artist for 2014 on Billboard’s Top Traditional Classical Album, making it now three years in a row.

As one who grew up not knowing the beauty of sacred music in the Catholic Liturgy, this new album and the albums that proceeded it by the Benedictines of Mary, as well as the other albums being produced by De Montfort/Decaa, gives me great hope that sacred music is on the rise in the Church. We have been held as captives to long by poorly written Catholic “hymns” from the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s. Many of these songs give us an incomplete understanding of Catholic theology. Catholic theology is professed in many of the classical Catholic hymns before this time period and throughout the history of sacred music in the Church.

Furthermore, the influx of Protestant music into the Holy Mass has also been a troubling occurrence since the early 1990’s. Many of these contemporary Protestant songs, which are often heard on Christian radio stations are fine for praise and worship, but have no place in the Catholic Liturgy. Even the way these songs are written differs from sacred music since many of these songs have the chords you would hear in a traditional rock song. We need to cease singing these contemporary songs, dismiss the guitar, and sack the drum set. As Catholics, it’s time to bring back the beauty of sacred music in our liturgies. The Catholic tradition is full of beautiful hymns – we need to sing them in the Catholic Mass!

One more point before I get to what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about Singing and Music. When I lived in Austin for two years, I attended St. Mary’s Cathedral and often went to the Noon Mass on Sundays. Let me tell you – between the solemn and prayerful praying of the liturgy from the priests combined with the schola cantorum, who sang in a choir loft, it was as if Heaven and Earth were uniting, which actually does happen in the Mass. I had never experienced anything like it before!

Play Sacred Music

Now that I have said this, let’s read what the Catechism teaches on singing and music. I have highlighted certain phrases that stand out and which need to be taken into consideration –

“The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy.” The composition and singing of inspired psalms, often accompanied by musical instruments, were already closely linked to the liturgical celebrations of the Old Covenant. The Church continues and develops this tradition: “Address . . . one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.” “He who sings prays twice.” [#1156]

Song and music fulfill their function as signs in a manner all the more significant when they are “more closely connected . . . with the liturgical action,” according to three principal criteria: beauty expressive of prayer, the unanimous participation of the assembly at the designated moments, and the solemn character of the celebration. In this way they participate in the purpose of the liturgical words and actions: the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful:

‘How I wept, deeply moved by your hymns, songs, and the voices that echoed through your Church! What emotion I experienced in them! Those sounds flowed into my ears distilling the truth in my heart. A feeling of devotion surged within me, and tears streamed down my face – tears that did me good.’ (St. Augustine) [#1157]

The harmony of signs (song, music, words, and actions) is all the more expressive and fruitful when expressed in the cultural richness of the People of God who celebrate. Hence “religious singing by the faithful is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises as well as in liturgical services,” in conformity with the Church’s norms, “the voices of the faithful may be heard.” But “the texts intended to be sung must always be in conformity with Catholic doctrine. Indeed they should be drawn chiefly from the Sacred Scripture and from liturgical sources.” [#1158]

I would highly encourage you to purchase the new album by the Benedictines of Mary as well as the other albums being produced by De Montfort/Decca. I would also encourage you to learn more about the importance of sacred music and chant at a good blog titled, The Chant Café. From there, you will find other sites and more titles to read focusing on sacred music and chant.

Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist on Fox and Friends

In case you missed it or weren’t awake yet, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist were on Fox and Friends yesterday morning, promoting their new CD, Mater Eucharistiae. This happens to be my favorite female religious order in the Church since I have met and worked with so many of the Sisters of Mary in two different high schools here in the United States.

To learn more about the Sisters of Mary, I would encourage you to read my blog posts on the order as well as Follow their Facebook Page, if you have Facebook. Below is the segment with Sr. Joseph Andrew and Sr. Peter Thomas on Fox and Friends from Sunday, September 8, 2013. Please share the segment with your family and friends.

WATCH THE SISTERS OF MARY HERE ON FOX AND FRIENDS

Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament…Pray For Us! 

The New Release – Mater Eucharistiae is Out…Buy Your Copy Today!

MaterEucharistiae

The much anticipated CD, Mater Eucharistiae, has been released! This is the first album from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. In conjunction with De Montfort Music and Decca Records, this will surely be a hit on the classical and religious charts. To read more about the Sisters of Mary, De Montfort Music, and Decca Records, please check out the post – The Singing Dominicans.

You can purchase the CD on the Dominicans website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or through iTunes. You don’t want to miss out on this exciting CD of sacred music that will lift your mind and soul straight into the Heavenly Kingdom.

Don’t know much about the Sisters of Mary? Check out short video below. If you have Facebook, follow them on their Facebook page and tell them Tom Perna sent you!

The Singing Dominicans

John Paul the Great said often during his papacy that we live in a Culture of Death, where the basic right to life is no longer considered sacred. The only thing this culture seems to consider “sacred” is its own sacrilegious acts. We see this on variety of avenues, but the entertainment industry for years has been selling music that catapults this lack of the sacred into our lives on a daily basis.

Although it may seem from day to day that we live among the darkness of this culture, a light, with Christ as its foundation, has begun to shine forth from a small Catholic music company by the name of De Montfort Music. Along with Decca Records, this company is giving us some of the best sacred music produced in years. Their first album, Advent at Ephesus, is sung by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles. This CD has quickly climbed the classical and religious charts. Their second album, by the same Benedictines, Angels and Saints at Ephesus, has reached the #1 spot on Billboard’s Classical Traditional Recording and has been featured on a variety of news outlets.

Singing Dominicans Beginning this Tuesday, August 13, De Montfort Music will release its third album, with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, titled Mater Eucharistiae. Personally, I am super excited for this album to be released. I am a huge fan of this growing and faithful religious order of sisters. As a Catholic educator, it’s been my great honor to teach with the Sisters of Mary in both Phoenix and Austin. I have also written extensively on the order as well. Now I look forward to hear the Singing Dominicans on their first ever CD.

As Dominicans, their main apostolate is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I can think of no better way to reach thousands by producing a CD of sacred music that will do exactly that. Below is a short video of the Singing Dominicans and the story of how they came to produce Mater Eucharistiae. Listening to the previews via iTunes makes me joyful that such music is being produced these days.

In a time when we need sacred music in the Liturgy, we have religious orders, with the help of seasoned music producers, providing for us the music that will lift our hearts and minds into Heaven to sing with the choirs of angels during Holy Mass. When we attend Holy Mass we want to enter the Heavenly Kingdom and focus on the renewing the covenant Jesus established at the Last Supper, not a rock concert where the “band” is the center of attention.

In his book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) said,

“In liturgical music, based as it is on the biblical faith, there is, therefore, a clear dominance of the Word; this music is a higher form of proclamation…in the celebration of Holy Mass, we insert ourselves into this liturgy that always goes before us. All our singing is a singing and praying with the great liturgy that spans the whole of creation…perceiving the “music of the cosmos” thus becomes listening to the song of the angels…the idea of the music of the cosmos, of singing with the angels, leads back again to the relation of art to logos, but now it is broadened and deepened in the context of the cosmos. Yes, it is the cosmic context that gives art in the liturgy both its measure and its scope.”