Here’s the way it works. We progress through musical brackets voting on two songs at each post. I’ll keep the poll open for 72 hours in this round. So if you have strong feelings, tell your friends to come vote.
In randomizing the brackets below the 6-seeds, I found this intriguing clash of sentiment pitting texts by Saint Francis against Julia Ward Howe. Oh yes, it’s top-ten “Prayer of Saint Francis” versus 1960 Grammy-winner “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Sebastian Temple published his setting of the peace prayer of Saint Francis in 1967. FEL, I think. The liturgical folk music movement was just about to crest. Mr Temple, native South African, then Londoner, has been one of many to set it, mostly after 1967. His setting has, by far, the most traction in the Catholic imagination given its number 9 standing in the NPM poll of a few years back. It was presumably a favorite of Princess Diana, and was a musical selection at her 1997 funeral.
The other piece is much older, the text dating back to the 60′s of the 19th century. The music was originally linked to another set of words. But eventually the abolitionist’s text won out in the public imagination. The wikipedia link above has a boatload of fascinating information.
Julia Ward Howe on the 1861 inspiration of the words:
I went to bed that night as usual, and slept, according to my wont, quite soundly. I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind. Having thought out all the stanzas, I said to myself, ‘I must get up and write these verses down, lest I fall asleep again and forget them.’ So, with a sudden effort, I sprang out of bed, and found in the dimness an old stump of a pen which I remembered to have used the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper.
Once I got the bug in my bonnet on this one, it was quite fun. For a little diversion from the usual GIRM and GDC, I’m going to go ahead and run a series of 63 polls of favorite Catholic songs. I don’t think it will get nasty, and we can all keep in mind it’s a bit of fun. Authentic sacred music isn’t a popularity contest.
I have 64 songs–it wasn’t hard to get them. We’ll whittle them down to the Theological Thirty-Two, the Supernatural Sixteen, the Everlasting Eight, and so on.
I started with the NPM top-25 poll–it’s probably the most well-known, even among its detractors. Those gave me the top six seeds in each “regional.” Just for reference, here are the number ones:
White Regional: “On Eagles’ Wings”
Green Regional: “Here I Am, Lord”
Red Regional: “Be Not Afraid”
Violet Regional: “You Are Mine”
I found various top-ten lists of Gregorian chants, traditional hymns, P&W, Christmas songs, and others from multiple sources. I tried to balance each bracket with contemporary and traditional, and the various themes, publishers, and genres of songs. I excluded Mass settings or any part of the Mass. I polled my wife and daughter to order the “mid-major” songs in each color category. It’s about as random as I could get it. Though a very intriguing 3 vs 14 pairing I’ll throw up later tonight or tomorrow brought a huge laugh from my spouse. Better I suppose to have zany associations in a poll than at liturgy.
I plan to conceal the full bracket listing until we’re most of the way through round one. I’m not sure why, but perhaps the possibilities will intrigue you. Plus, I need more time to actually produce a sheet March Madness style. And I may reserve the option of substituting out one or more of the lower seeds in favor of a song you can convince me to include.
I’ll post every other day or so on this. I’ll try to highlight each song with a story about it. So if you want to avoid the polling, just tune in for the info.
That said, I won’t be responding to comments to evict a song from the list. But if you have titles that must be included in the 2012 Dance, let me know in the comments below.
I suppose if I wanted to jack up the hit counts here, I could run daily polls on favorite Catholic songs. Sixteen Jesus movies? Thirty-two saints? We could come up with 64 liturgical songs for a true “dance.”
I suppose the best way of doing it would be to research those popular lists and come up with the most requested songs of the big publishers. Maybe some automatic qualifiers, like favorite genre or seasonal songs and seed them into brackets. That would be interesting. Then I’d have to do research on each of the tunes, and maybe there’s some energy for that.
64 songs, 63 contests. Maybe 2-3 days of voting for each tussle. Maybe there’s blogosphere energy for six months of madness.
Isaac Asimov generally abdicated writing much science fiction for many decades in the middle of his life. Apparently by the 1980′s, he and/or his publisher were finally convinced that hardcover sf books would be very profitable, especially if they could cash in on the perceived public appetite for sequels. That perception remains with us today. Really: when was the last time you heard of a movie that wasn’t either a sequel or based on a comic book? For a genre that prides itself on originality, brash and intriguing ideas, and big wonder, have you ever wondered?
For some reason, I found myself inspired to revisit Asimov’s Foundation fiction for the first time in about twenty years. What have come to be known as his first Foundation novels, the original trilogy, are actually four short stories and four novellas published separately in the 1940′s. He added a first “chapter” for the first book, introducing readers to the mathematician Hari Seldon himself. And it was all packaged into three “novels.”
When this emerged in the early 1950′s, it was generally well-received, but not unanimously so. Some critics think he’s a clunker on characterization. And for writing in a big wide galaxy, I have to say his prose doesn’t communicate awe and wonder. I rate Asimov as an A-plus when it comes to ideas. And he is a genius at the surprise ending–no wonder his mystery sf novels are probably his best works.
About three-hundred years into the Seldon Plan (the blueprint that will reduce a galactic dark age from three-hundred centuries to just ten), a mutant enters the fray. The Mule is able to manipulate minds, and he sways enemies. He touches minds, and changes foes to allies. By doing so, a fragile man is able to throw the Foundation off its course and conquer it. This happens in the second half of the second book, Foundation and Empire. The Mule is eventually thwarted by–surprise!–a woman. A Foundation woman who is anti-traditional (she gets married and smokes cigars) no less.
It is up to the Second Foundation to defeat the Mule, and attempt to put the Plan back on track. A culture’s first military defeat, a conquest no less, has damaged their pride and sense of destiny. By halfway through book three, Second Foundation, the First Foundation is reeling psychologically, and the Plan’s chance of success is only about one in five. The small novel that concludes this third book is one of the strongest entries in the series. And it has an intriguing main character. For circa 1950, you have a teenage girl as a protagonist–amazing to ponder that Meg Murry (aka the girl nobody would publish) was still ten years in the future in real-life culture.
That brings me to the book I finished last night, Prelude to Foundation. No question it starts off with a bang. Intrigue and curiosity force the young Hari Seldon on a madcap tour of the capital world of Trantor from about page 15.
Along the way, he meets his future wife, future adopted son, and a most intriguing character who has appeared in other Asimov novels. Asimov also lets out dribbles about things he never wrote about before: the mythical origin planet, different human races, poverty and injustice.
There’s a very good surprise ending, but one gets the idea–at least I did–that Seldon is being “handled” carefully in all this. Instead of a legendary figure at the head of a Plan, he comes off as a very ordinary human being. With a hidden talent for the martial arts, to be sure. And he telegraphs he’s thinking hard about something during all his travels. So you know some intellectual prize awaits at the end of this book, despite Seldon’s insistence that predicting the future with mathematics is impossible. And at book’s end, the reader is told the whole purpose of the story is to move the main character around and inspire his ideas. Mission accomplished: here comes the next book.
With the last four Foundation novels (chronologically, numbers 1, 2, 6, and 7 in the series), Asimov neatly tied together all the various mystery and galactic-scale science fiction he had written. Which is to say, most of everything. It’s clever. But when your publisher is clamoring for best sellers, perhaps clever is the best one can do. Even given Asimov’s select talents as a writer, he could have done better than writing what is essentially good fan fiction.
I’m not sad I reread these novels. But I think I’m going to stop at this point and find something new.
Referring to Part I, chapter 2 of this document (Evangelization, GDC 60-76) as well as the General Catechetical Directory, section 96, we have seven forms suggested for situations outside of ordinary ongoing formation.
176. Certain situations and circumstances require special forms of catechesis:
– catechesis for the Christian initiation or catechumenate of adults: this has its own express form in the RCIA;
– traditional forms of catechesis of the people of God, duly adapted to the liturgical year or in the extraordinary form of missions;
– the on-going catechesis of those who have a task of formation in the community: catechists and those involved in the lay apostolate;
– catechesis for use in particularly significant events in life, such as Marriage, the Baptism of children and the other sacraments of initiation, at critical times during youth, in sickness etc.: in such circumstances, people are disposed more than ever to seek out the true meaning of life;
– is for special events and experiences, such as beginning work, military service, emigration etc.: these are changes which can give rise to interior enrichment or bewilderment and in which the need of God’s saving word should be emphasized;
– catechesis for the Christian use of leisure time, especially during holidays and travel;
– catechesis for special events in the life of the Church and society.
These and many other forms of special catechesis, complement, but do not replace, the ongoing, systematic, catechetical courses which every ecclesial community must provide for all adults.
Ongoing formation must be provided for all adults. That’s as strong a statement as you’re likely to find here.
I’d say our American parishes are strongest in RCIA and in forming people for particular ministry.
Catechesis adapted for the liturgical year, not so much as those first two.
Some parishes do well with forming people for the sacraments and for special occasions, number four above.
What do you make of number five? My parish does provide something in terms of campus ministry for graduates-to-be, and also for new incoming students. But except for the usual influx of new employees into our larger cities in the summer, there are few regular situations that allow for a large number of people to be formed at the same time in these life-changing nodes in modern society.
Catechesis for leisure time? What a concept.
Catechesis for special events? Perhaps we do some of that connected to the liturgical year.
Perhaps your experience in your parish is different. What do you see as the strengths and needs of faith formation in your community, and the Church at large?
Vatican II’s liturgy constitution, and hence the GIRM, allows some leeway with regard to the form of vestments:
342. As regards the form of sacred vestments, Conferences of Bishops may determine and propose to the Apostolic See adaptations that correspond to the needs and the usages of the individual regions.[cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 128]
Since albs and chasubles are not really described in these pages, I suppose and white undervestment and any appropriate over-garment would suffice. There are a wide variety of forms of traditional chasubles between the apron-like fiddlebacks and the rain ponchos. Anything in between goes, right?
343. For making sacred vestments, in addition to traditional materials, natural fabrics proper to each region may be used, and also artificial fabrics that are in keeping with the dignity of the sacred action and the sacred person. The Conference of Bishops will be the judge of this matter.[cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 128]
And alas, we have the polyester privilege. Most often though, vestments can be a blend of both.
about Todd Flowerday
A Roman Catholic lay person, married (since 1996), with one adopted child (since 2001). I serve in worship and spiritual life in a midwestern university parish.
Neil has been a blogging collaborator for the past several years on Catholic Sensibility. He brings his unique experiences from theology, spirituality, and the ecumenical sphere. Pay special attention to each one of his posts.