About this blogger:
Veronica Brandt holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. As editor, she has produced fine publications (as well as valuable reprints) dealing with Gregorian chant, hymnody, Latin, and other subjects. These publications are distinguished on account of their tastefulness. She lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband Peter and five children.
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A lot of the favoured new settings are musically illiterate, almost is if they were written by semi-trained teenagers, getting to grips with musical rudiments. The style is stodgy and sentimental, tonally and rhythmically stilted, melodically inane and adored by Catholic clergy “of a certain age.” Some Catholic dioceses run courses for wannabe composers to perpetuate this style. It is a scandal. People with hardly any training and experience of even the basic building blocks of music have been convinced that there is a place for their puerile stumblings and fumblings in the modern Catholic Church because real musicians are elitist and off-putting.
— James MacMillan (20 November 2013)

Trimmings on Advent
published 30 November 2013 by Veronica Brandt

Advent Wreath HE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT marks an increase in tempo in most families. The shops are well into the swing of the silly season, the calendar is littered with end of year parties and concerts and Christmas cards begin to appear.

Once, or so I’m told, there were many popular feast days kept all around the year. Now it seems that they all telescope into the month of December. We have St Nicholas’ Day on the 6th, the Immaculate Conception on the 8th, St Lucy on the 13th, each with amazing possibilities for special food and minor rituals. Then there are Advent calendars, Jesse Trees and nativity scenes to consider.

Fisheaters gives a good Advent Overview, but like all customs it is worth bearing in mind that many of these are trimmings. These are not the essentials. There is a lot of latitude for finding our own family’s balance at this time of year.

The photo is our advent wreath for this year. Instead of our usual conglomeration of greenery from the garden we have a synthetic substitute. Much more compact but lacks the fun of dried leaves catching on fire during the family rosary. If this one burns it will smell awful.

How do you keep Advent?

(Happy St Andrew’s Day too!)