About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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“At the hour for the Divine Office, | as soon as the signal is heard, | let them abandon whatever they may have in hand | and hasten with the greatest speed, | yet with seriousness, so that there is no excuse for levity. | Let nothing be preferred to the sacred liturgy.”
— Rule of St. Benedict (Chapter 43)

PDF Download: Rare Hymnal By Boston's Archbishop
published 12 January 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

461 William Henry O'Connell - Cardinal Archbishop of Boston ID YOU KNOW the Archbishop of Boston published a hymnal in 1915? It’s true: William Henry Cardinal O’Connell wrote the words and composed the melodies. (During his high school career, O’Connell excelled at music, particularly the piano and organ.)

      * *  PDF: Holy Cross Hymnal (1915)

Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the page explaining how VERNACULAR HYMNS were sung during the low Mass in 1915:

      * *  PDF: Vernacular Hymns at Low Mass

Can you imagine singing all those vernacular hymns while Mass is happening? And how can there be a hymn for the blessing, which—at Low Mass & High Mass—takes a grand total of 25 seconds?!!

Here’s a reproduction of that PDF:

A good method of using these Hymns for devotion at Mass is the following:

Before Mass

Hymn to the Holy Trinity

— or —

Hymn to the Holy Spirit
Beginning of Mass

Hymn of Holy Mass
After Consecration

The Blessed Sacrament
At Communion

Holy Communion
At the Blessing

Hymn for the Blessing
Between the beginning of Mass and the Consecration may be sung:

Hymns to the Blessed Virgin Mary

— or —

St. Joseph

— or —

The Sacred Heart

— or —

The Guardian Angel

— or —

or any of the other Hymns as appropriate to the day.

A WHILE AGO, we posted a recording of Cardinal Cushing of Boston praying the Canon during JFK’s 1963 funeral Mass. Since that time, it appears the entire funeral has been posted online. Without question, the liturgy is deplorable. As you can see, there’s a soloist singing operatic songs most of the time, even during the reading of the Gospel. What cacophony!

When I asked a priest ordained in the 1950s to tell me the most horrible liturgy he’d experienced in the days prior to Vatican II, he immediately responded: JFK’s funeral said by Cardinal Cushing. It’s really too bad that it’s now on YouTube for all to see, because many will point to that example and exclaim, “See? That’s how every single pre-conciliar Mass was!”


Many interesting things could be said about William Henry Cardinal O’Connell. Here’s an example:

O’Connell was late to two papal conclaves in a row—in 1914 and 1922—due to having to cross the Atlantic Ocean by boat. He made a protest to Pope Pius XI, who in response lengthened the time between the death of a pope and the start of a conclave. O’Connell was able to participate in the subsequent 1939 conclave, although by that time traveling by plane was possible.


Several years after we posted our version, archive.org has followed our lead.