Monday, May 3, 2010

What type of music do you prefer at Mass?

October 19, 1997 - St. Peter's Basilica main altar after the Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II declaring St. Thérèse of Lisieux a Doctor of the Church.

- A Poll on Catholic Radio in North Texas

Below are the results of an unscientific poll being taken on Catholic radio ( in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (Catholic Dioceses of Dallas and Fort Worth). These results, although not large in number, because many, it seems don't log on to the KATH radio's website or they don't have an opinion about liturgical music.

What type of music do you prefer at Mass?
Type of Music Votes Percentage
Gregorian Chant 40 30.5%
Classical 24 18.3%
Pipe Organ 23 17.6%
Contemporary 21 16.0%
Guitar/ Folk 13 9.9%
No Music 6 4.6%
Other 4 3.1%
Number of Voters : 131
First Vote : Monday, 08 March 2010 19:41
Last Vote : Monday, 15 March 2010 00:05

My opinion and preferences are not far out of line with what is here. I would prefer the age-old option of Gregorian Chant as my first choice. It is the music of the ages and what I hope will be how we will praise God for all eternity!
If I had to make choices and rank them, they would be... in order:
1. Gregorian Chant
2. Pipe Organ
4. Classical
5. No music

After these noted above, none of the others are even worthy of consideration because they do not involve the use of true liturgical instruments and the music itself often borders on, if are not outright irreverent. This inappropriate music would be better left for campfire singing - if that. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict, uses the term "profane" to describe music inappropriate for liturgical use. It was noted by the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus at Pope Benedict's celebration of the Mass at National's Stadium in Washington, DC that music choices were, "unfortunate." I believe he was right. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also notes on his blog WDTPRS with regard to this... "It is almost as if the organizers of this Mass had never read a single thing of what Joseph Ratzinger has written about sacred music and liturgy."

I believe that we have waited too long for truly beautiful liturgical music to return to our parishes and to the celebration of the Mass. Catholics everywhere are hungry for truly good music, not watered-down junk. Liturgical music should be bigger that we are and be glorious and uplifting. Watch this almost one hour movie on truly beautiful liturgical music from Musica Sacra. It is new. It nearly brings tears to my eyes as it is something that I, and most of us simply don't have and may very well never have. I pray we will someday. We should have it and God certainly deserves our best - and this is what is our best!

Sacred, Beautiful, Universal: The Full Movie
- listen to the part of the movie, especially from 3:50 to about 4:50, the music is simply breathtaking! THIS is what we can have, we just need to want it and ask for it.

SACRED, BEAUTIFUL, & UNIVERSAL: Colloquium XIX from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

The RMS Queen Mary: The "Space Shuttle" of Her Era

Transatlantic Ocean Liners... they were the technological marvel of their day and the RMS Queen Mary was no different. This is 1936: The RMS Queen Mary launching and maiden Westbound voyage from Southampton to New York. They don't launch ships anymore, they "float" them out of a dry dock due to stresses placed on the hull when transferred from dry land to water down a slipway. There is something powerfully awesome however in setting something of this size in motion for the first time. The launch was the coming alive of a ship. Sad that we have lost that method of shipbuilding in our technological process. The risks of losing a ship due to mishap simply can't be absorbed by shipyards today. Every "new build" is a bet of the entire ship building company.

RMS Queen Mary launch, September 26, 1934.

From an original oil painting by Gordon Bauwens showing Cunard's new transatlantic liner completing builders' trials on the Firth of Clyde, April 1936.

The print shown above is one that I purchased from Gordon Bauwens who lives and works in Scotland. Gordon has been commissioned by the Cunard Line for several paintings over the years. His love of ocean liners it matched only by the extreme high quality of his work. I have four of his prints and each of them are wonderful. Gordon is a fine artist, friend and lover of Atlantic Liners. Thank you Gordon for all the joy your prints bring me every day I look at them!

Website of the artist - Gordon Bauwens at GB Marine Art:

The video below is of the Queen Mary sailing westbound and just out of New York on the morning just prior to her maiden arrival at New York. Look at the spray from the "knife-edged" bow of the Queen... this is real speed and power for something of this size... about 29 knots (52.8 km/h; 32.8 mph) - see the video at 1:37. Ships today have "bulbous bows" beneath the waterline to economize on fuel consumption, reducing drag and thus don't put on this kind of raw display of power that the older liners did.

Maiden Voyage Timeline:

- May 27, 1936: The Queen Mary departs Southampton at 4:33 p.m. on her maiden voyage, arriving in at Cherbourg, France at 8:47 p.m. and departing at 12:39 a.m. the following morning.

- June 1, 1936: Arrival at Pier 90 in New York at 4:20 p.m. Crossing time (Bishop Rock to Ambrose Light Vessel): 5 days, 5 hours and 13 minutes.

Paint all along the waterline has been stripped away due to how new she was and how few coats of paid she had. The friction of the water due to the speed at which she made the voyage caused many new and very fast liners to lose paint during maiden voyages. The French liner Normandie also arrived in New York in May of 1934 with much of her waterline paint stripped away.

RMS Queen Mary - Maiden arrival at New York, June 1, 1936.

RMS Queen Mary (1936) - Cunard Line
This painting was commissioned by the Cunard Line and used for post cards, menu covers and many other printed items when the Queen Mary was a new ship. This is one of my favorite renditions of the Queen Mary.

Today, the RMS Queen Mary is now permanently moored in Long Beach, California. She serves as a floating hotel, museum and conference center. Mary and I spent our honeymoon aboard and have been back more than a dozen times over the years with and without the children. She lives on today to give those of us that didn't grow up in the great steamship era a window on what it must have been like to steam across the Atlantic at nearly 30 knots in the golden age of Transatlantic travel.

RMS Queen Mary today in Long Beach, California.

Ordered: April 3, 1929
Builder: John Brown and Company Clydebank, Scotland
Keel Laid down: December 1, 1930
Launched: September 26, 1934
Christened: September 26, 1934
Maiden voyage:May 27, 1936

Other Ship Statistics:
John Brown Hull No. 534
Overall Length: 1,019' 6"
Length B.P.: 965'
Width: 118'
Moulded Depth (to C Deck): 55' 3"
Tonnage Displacement (This is not a weight measurement):
1936: 80,774
1937: 81,235
1947: 81,237
Displacement: 80,677
Draught: 38.8'
Engines: 6 turbines (4 ahead, 2 astern), quadruple-screw
Shaft Horsepower: 160,000
Service Career: May 27, 1936 - December 11, 1967

Carrying Capacity, Maiden Voyage:
- First (Cabin) Class 776
- Tourist Class 784
- Third Class 579
Crew, Designed 1,035

Total Carrying Capacity, Maiden Voyage 3,174

An Art Deco glass relief of the Queen Mary at the Travel Bureau on A Deck. The ship is full of pieces like this and countless other pieces that are one-of-a-kind true works of art

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