Skip to comments.A model for revitalizing Catholic parish life
Posted on 09/23/2004 5:56:29 PM PDT by AskStPhilomena
A Wanderer reader from Chicago has reminded FROM THE MAIL that it has been several years since we have reported on the revitalized St. John Cantius parish in Chicago, and the thriving new order of priests, the Society of St. John Cantius, and that we owe readers an update.
After looking at the materials she sent in, FTM agrees, and so we'll look at St. John's and the Order - in the context of the crucial question of what is happening in Catholic parish life in the United States today - but, first, an update on "the singing ex-Jesuit, Dan Schutte" and his domestic partner Mike Gale.
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After FTM revealed, in the July 29 edition, that former Milwaukee Jesuit Dan Schutte, who is still making the rounds on the Catholic music circuit, was a partnered gay man teaching at the University of San Francisco, where he is "musician in residence," some Internet bloggers picked up the article and began a disinformation campaign insisting that: 1, the "Dan Schutte" FTM was writing about was not the popular "Catholic" musician whose songs have become a staple in modern parishes, and, 2, that FTM's "negative" publicity was actually increasing sales of his "music."
Well, the way things work today, FTM has no doubt that the negative publicity is increasing sales - because that's the nature of the Amchurch beast. There are still too many homosexuals directing parish music programs.
But the "Dan Schutte" whose music is sung in thousands of parishes is an ex-Jesuit and he is a partnered gay man.
And affirmation of this comes from occasional Wanderer contributor, Dr. Brian J. Kopp, a Catholic in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, who recently sent FTM some research he has completed on Schutte after he read that Schutte was to be a guest of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.
When he learned that Schutte was to be a music workshop leader at Mt. Aloysius College, Dr. Kopp sent the following letter to the local Johnstown, Pa., Tribune Democrat, which was published September 9:
"To the Editor:
"It appears that the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is up to the same old tricks. On Saturday September 11 at Mount Aloysius College there will be a liturgical music workshop by the former St. Louis Jesuit priest Dan Schutte.
"Schutte is a leader of the dreadful movement in modern liturgical music that has changed the emphasis of our hymns from adoring, praising, and glorifying God to pridefully asserting how wonderful and faithful and loving and marvelous We ourselves are. A discerning eye will note how often these new hymns mention 'I' and 'My' and 'Us' and 'Our' far more often than the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Eucharist, God the Father, Jesus Christ, the angels and saints, or even the wages of sin or the grace that saved a wretch such as 'me.'
"More troubling is the fact that Schutte is no longer a priest but is now publicly identified as a partnered gay man. He is best known for his song, Here I am, Lord, a song that has become the anthem for the dissenting gay rights movement within the Catholic Church.
"There should be, and probably are, Church laws against Catholic dioceses and colleges sponsoring workshops by former priests living what most Catholics consider a scandalous lifestyle. But as one of our local pastors quipped, when asked why his parish was making a liturgical change that violated Canon Law, 'In this diocese, we don't obey Canon Law. We obey the bishop.'"
Immediately after that letter was published, Dr. Kopp informed FTM, a rumor began circulating that the Schutte mentioned in the letter is a mistaken identity and is not the ex-Jesuit priest and composer...."
One newspaper reader wrote Kopp: "We have done our own research on the matter of Dan Schutte and found some of the accusations false. There are two Dan Schuttes who live in the Milwaukee area and there are five who live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Dan Schutte that is mentioned in the obituaries isn't the one we know. After contacting a friend in a high place at GIA, (not OCP) [Oregon Catholic Press, ed., the publisher of most of Schutte's music], I found out that there is not any truth to Dan Schutte being publicly partnered to a man. They actually said this Crux News.com article [a reprint of FTM's July 29 column] was having a reverse effect because in their words so many of the music directors in parishes (many who are gay) are now ordering more of Dan Schutte's music and they had heard of one parish using nothing but Dan Schutte music for two weeks. The 'martyr effect at play' they said...."
To dispel these rumors, Kopp informed FTM that an Internet search using VoyagerSearch finds:
"69. Mike Gale [Dan Schutte's partner]: Pilgrim Music was founded in 2002 by composer Dan Schutte after hearing time and again from folks in the pew how often they were frustrated by not being able to find his music, or that of other well known artists and composers, in the stores.
"The link goes to http://www.pilgrimmusic.com. Here is their Company History, according to their site:
"'Pilgrim Music was founded in 2002 by composer Dan Schutte after hearing time and again from "folks in the pew" how often they were frustrated by not being able to find his music, or that of other well known artists and composers, in the stores. There are many songs that have been standards, not only of worship, but have also become personal to many Christians in their journey of faith. In response, Dan and his associates have developed this site as a vehicle for folks to find music they might enjoy for their personal prayer, or simply to enjoy around the house or in the car as they go about their day. Much of the music you'll find on this site has been personally selected by Dan. We are continually increasing the number of collections we offer as we search for wonderful new music for prayer.
"A WHO IS search for PILGRIMMUSIC.COM reveals: Domain Name: PILGRIMMUSIC
Administrative Contact: Pilgrim Music, email@example.com; 231 Mullen Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110; Phone: 415-505-6440
"On the Pilgrim Music website, their 'Contact Us' link provides an address of: 109 Franconia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
"A WHO IS search for Dan Schutte's personal website, DANSCHUTTE.COM reveals: 'Domain Name:DANSCHUTTE.COM; Dan Schutte, 109 Franconia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 Phone: 415-970-1500; fax..: 703-991-8203. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Obviously," writes Dr. Kopp, both PILGRIMMUSIC.COM under the Administration of email@example.com and DANSCHUTTE.COM under the Administration of Dan Schutte list this same address, 109 Franconia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110.
"Unfortunately, given that: 1)Dan Schutte grew up in Milwaukee and is mentioned in two obituaries from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stating the deceased is survived by a son, Dan (partner Mike Gale) of San Francisco. If Dan and Mike were only 'business' partners, the obit would probably not mention the 'partner' at all, or if they did, they would specify 'business' partner, for fear others would think their son was gay. Plus, the obits specifically mention Dan and his partner live in San Francisco. Two guys described as partners means only one thing in San Francisco, to my knowledge.
"2) Dan Schutte founded a website to sell his music, and that website is administered by a Mike Gale of San Francisco, and both share the same street address, and, 3) the public announcements that Schutte is a partnered gay man were published in print and on the internet in July, yet there has been no correction of this charge (to my knowledge) by Schutte, and so it appears that Dan Schutte, the former St. Louis Jesuit and composer is indeed presently 'partnered' with Mike Gale in San Francisco...."
That should end the disinformation campaign.
And kudos to Dr. Kopp, for taking information from The Wanderer to inform Catholics in his diocese, who would, naturally, not be aware of the not-so-hidden agenda of modern liturgical musicians.
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With that out of the way, may FTM propose St. John Cantius as a model for revitalizing parish life in the United States today?
St. John Cantius, founded in 1893, had 23,000 parishioners when the Great Depression hit, and in the following decades of social change its population steadily dwindled until the 1980s when the trends were reversed, largely through the direction of its pastor, Fr. Frank C. Phillips, who recognized that a parish is more than a fast-liturgy outlet for hour-a-week Catholics.
The heart of any parish, he understood, is the liturgy; but it also must provide education and formation for parishioners.
Because of the quality of liturgy at St. John Cantius - Masses include Latin Novus Ordo celebrations, as well as the Tridentine Rite - it began attracting a growing number of Catholics from across Chicago and surrounding areas, especially young men who aspired to the priesthood, and in 1998, Fr. Phillips founded the Society of St. John Cantius, a religious community of men dedicated to the restoration of the sacred in the context of parish ministry.
On December 23, 1999, Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, approved statutes for the Society.
The Society's mission, as explained in its published material, is to "cultivate authentic Catholic life that is rooted in the rich heritage of our faith, so as to promote a true Restoration of the Sacred within the Church....The Society considers the musical, ceremonial and artistic traditions, which have enhanced the liturgy throughout the centuries, as a particularly important part of the Church's patrimony that can help in the revitalization of the faith and the spread of the Gospel...."
Here is what the parish provides or offers:
* Six choirs - the Resurrection Choir, which specializes in classic Viennese Masses and other sacred music; the St. Cecilia Choir, which specializes in Renaissance polyphony; the Sine Nomine Choir, which specializes in small classical works in a liturgical setting; the Holy Innocents Choir, a young people's choir of varied sacred music; and the Cantate Domino Choir, a young people's choir that specializes in polyphonic Masses.
* Eight parish societies: St. Monica Sodality, which prays for the return of family members to the Church; the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, to promote devotion and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; the Padre Pio Prayer Group, dedicated to the canonized Capuchin Franciscan; the Ladies Rosary Sodality, which fosters devotion to the Rosary; the Knights of Columbus, for charitable works in the parish; and the St. Anne Apostolate, which offers spiritual programs for grandparents; and the Holy Name Society
* Educational and catechetical programs: in addition to a strong parish catechetical program (using the Ignatius Faith & Life series), the parish offers Latin 101, Latin 102, Latin Syntax and Rhetoric, Latin Readings, Greek 100, and Children's Latin, which offers the young people of the parish instruction in Latin prayers and hymns.
In addition, the parish has a library and book store, youth groups, a basement café for after-Mass gatherings, etc.
On May 18, 2004, Cardinal George ordained two men of the Society into the priesthood, and another into the diaconate - and more men of the parish are seminarians, preparing for the priesthood.
For those readers in the Chicago area, or planning a trip through, there is now a special attraction at St. John Cantius, a faithful replica of the famous Wit Stwosz altarpiece of Krakow, Poland.
The original altarpiece, built over a 12-year period from 1477 to 1489 by the master carver of Nuremberg, Wit Stwosz, features a five-part polychromed and gilded limewood sculpture depicting the life of the Virgin Mary.
The reproduction, commissioned by Fr. Phillips in 1995, was carved by Polish master carver Michal Batkiewicz over eight years, and is one-third the size of the original, but every bit as stunning - as anyone can see by visiting the Society's web site, at www.cantius.org or by writing the parish and asking for copies of their literature (there is a special brochure, in full color, on the pentatych, including the newsletter, Via Sacra, at The Society of St. John Cantius, 825 North Carpenter, Chicago, Ill., 60622-3654.
Sunday Masses, by the way, are at 7:30 a.m. (Tridentine Low Mass, Latin); 9 a.m. Missa Normativa (English); 11 a.m. Missa Normativa (Latin) and 12:30 p.m. Tridentine High Mass. Confessions are available upon request, at 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and before all Sunday Masses.
This is a model parish, one that should be setting the trend for the Church in the United States; it works, it is thriving, it is attracting more and more people to, not only the parish, but the Catholic Church all the time; it is producing priests for the archdiocese (and priests who will, inevitably, be working in more parishes in the archdiocese as the priest shortage intensifies), and it is promoting the Church's greatest possessions: truth and beauty.
Why, after more than 30 years of liturgical and doctrinal chaos, the U.S. bishops do not take the Society of St. John Cantius and the parish as a model for the revitalization of the entire U.S. Church, FTM cannot understand.
But there will always be mysteries.....
Our organist and our Director of Music take their duties seriously. They have elevated the level of music in our Parish tremendously; especially the organist. He's been at the Parish for about 10 years now, and had pushed the former Director into some better music. That Director died suddenly last year and the new one truly cares about the quality of the music she chooses. She had been the Director of the Festival Choir, so I was familiar with her tastes in music. Every now she and the organist pick a schmaltzy new piece and I give em grief about it! I don't like schmaltz.
I have a wealth of music by Singenberger and others of his ilk. A few churches were throwing away....."that old crap"......and I "caught it" before it went to the dumpster!
The only "sung" Sunday Masses I ever attended were at the Newman Hall at the University of California -- Berkeley. It was beautiful, but definitely not the norm in the Parishes. The liturgy was called the Congregational High Mass.
I lived quite a distance from the Newman Club and we had to walk. If you arrived a wee bit late, they were already singing and the sounds of the voices wafted out the windows and down the stairs. The stairs were heavily carpeted and that sort of muted the sound of the singing as you tiptoed upstairs to take your place in a back pew. It was almost magical.
The worship space was paneled in dark wood -- walnut or dark oak. And the massive boxed beams holding up the roof were done in a trinity design with 3 holes constructed in the center of each beam where they met the peack of the roof and a similar design at the ends where the beams flared to meet the walls. The exterior was dark brick with burned and twisted bricks added every so often, protruding from the walls. It was the most beautiful building.
They demolished it in 1963 and replaced it with an ugly engineering building. I would have given anything to have salvaged a brick from the rubble -- but such was not my luck. Newman Hall moved across campus and they built a poured concrete semi-circular very sterile appearing building. The altar became a mound, and the altar accoutrements -- crucifix, priest's chair, altar table -- look like something out of Stonehenge, or Barney Rubble.
The building is semi-circular because one neighboring property owner refused to sell because he hated the Catholic Church and he added a provision to his deed that the land could never be sold to them. So, the Paulists had to change the design of the new church and it became 3/4 of a circle instead of a full circle.
In any case, I never attended a Parish anywhere else with music at Sunday Mass until after Vatican II. And I can count at least 6 parishes in two states. At first it seemed very odd to have regular parishioners standing up front leading the singing. And the day a visiting priest assigned to our parish from Malta played the violin for Easter services was simply amazing. He also composed an original Our Father (music) for our parish and gave it to us to use forever after -- copyright free. (St. Leo's in Oakland, CA.)
Later I moved to Texas, and we didn't have any music there either. It took my daughter hauling an old organ out of the closet (she was 14) and teaching herself to play before we had music at regular masses. Later the parish bought a beautiful organ and hired an organist after my daughter left for college, but my daughter played for all the traditional masses and weddings until that time. We did have a folk choir with guitars for one Mass a week, but that was the only music.
See #103. It should have been addressed to you too.
I forgot "the rest of the story."
Singenberger taught the man who taught my uncle (who then taught me) about musica sacra...
And Singenberger was educated at Regensburg--remember? So was Cdl Ratzinger's brother, who last was Kappellmeister at the Domspatzen/Koln.
That's why Ratzinger has a good understanding of music--in fact, a VERY good understanding of music.
Ya shoulda gone to Stanford, where there is a TERRIFIC choir which sings Chant and 16/17 century stuff.
One is not surprised to hear that Texas was rather dry...
Psssst........Bach was Lutheran!!!!
But, that in no way diminishes the quality or spirituality of his music.
Palestrina...yes! And of course we must add Pergelosi, Gabrieli, Handel, Hayden.......and of a later era, Mozart.
As ninenot has alleuded to, in 19th century America we had magnificent compoers like Singenberger, and others of German descent,who brought a wonderful tradition to our shores.
An interesting side note: a formerly prominant (and now notorious) Jesuit church in NYC - St. Francis Xavier - had a string of famous musicians: Fr. John Young, SJ (largely responsible for importing "Silent Night to the US), Bruno Oscar Klein, Gaston Detheir (founded the organ department of the Julliard School), Pietro Alessio Yon.
Now they gather faithfully around a broken piano to sing Barney songs.
Good question. Ninenot and I were simply pointing out what we thought might have caused the abberation; Perhaps the source that he used was Polish.
Stanford!!! Arrrrrrrrgh! The skewl that invented grade inflation!
The engineering and math profs sued the academic senate 20 years ago over it and were put down big time by the other departments. It seems that if you have the money and the pull to go there, you are not supposed to have your ego wounded by anything less than a B.
I remember when a PhD student got mad at his prof because the prof would never approve his thesis. He'd been enrolled in the program about 12 years. The student shot the prof dead in his office. Big scandal. Ever since then, Stanford has been very generous with the As and Bs.
So, when a job applicant says he has a 3.5 grade point from Stanford, you can equate it with a 2.0 from Cal.
To be fair about Texas, it was still considered mission Territory when we lived there. It wasn't so bad around Houston where we had ample south of the border and Italian influence, but my daughter went to college at Baylor U in Waco where most of the student body had never met a Catholic. All they knew was that you weren't supposed to date them!
And for chant? There was nothing more beautiful than to sit on the lawn at St. Mary's College in Moraga at 6 PM and listen to the Christian Brothers sing Gregorian Chant.
Huels is a good canonist...despite his serious personal flaws. He was responsible for the canonical reasoning behind making ALL SEVEN sacraments available in the Old Rite--expanding the scope of the Indult way beyond what Rome thought was authorized.
So there is some good there, eh?
And Pietro, eh? Good stuff.
But WE can top that.
Fr. Gruber's great-nephew and great-niece live(d) here in Milwaukee. "Mamie" Gruber was a spinster and the choirmaster at an East Side parish for a zillion years. Her brother became a VERY wealthy spice-maker. The other grand-niece, also a spinster, was choirmaster in the Twin Cities area for a zillion years....
Isn't that neat? That stuff just FLOATS out there. Even neater when you realize that what they are doing has been done, just that way, for 800+ years. All those sung prayers, out there in the Universe, from millions of monks.
And Pietro, eh? Good stuff.
Yes, Pietro Yon was organist at St. Francis Xavier for about 12 years before he went to St. Patrick's Cathedral. While at Xavier, he composed "Gesu Bambino". Of course he wrote reams of both choral and organ music (and very tricky stuff too!) which is now largely gathering dust.
His brother, Constantino, was organist across town at St. Vincent Ferrer. He composed too - though output was less, and lesser known.
We still use some of Pietro's stuff here. Yes, the organ parts can be a challenge...
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