About this blogger:
Dr. Lucas Tappan is a conductor and organist whose specialty is working with children. He lives in Kansas with his wife and two sons.
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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)

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Surprised By Beauty
published 25 June 2015 by Lucas Tappan

602 Saint John Cantius AM IN CHICAGO this week for a conference on fundraising from a Christian perspective (more about that at a later date). Yesterday I had hoped to attend Mass and was thankful when I discovered that St. John Cantius had a Wednesday evening Mass. I jumped in the car and on the loop for what I thought would be a short drive, but quickly remembered that Chicago rush hour is nothing like Kansas rush hour. I parked as the bells chimed and made it inside as the choir intoned the Introit. O what a blessed surprise!—High Mass for the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, followed by sung Compline and a talk on Joseph Pieper’s Leisure, the Basis of Culture. The talk was technically for the youth group, but I justified my attendance when I remembered the pithy words of my great-grandma, “You are only as old as you think you are.” In all, a fine evening.

It had been over a decade since I had set foot in St. John Cantius—enough time to forget that one never can tell what beautiful surprise might await the unsuspecting visitor there. My only complaint came to me on the drive back to my hotel room. If St. John Cantius can drop rose petals from the ceiling on the Feast of Pentecost, why couldn’t they have had a roaring St. John’s Fire last night for all of us to jump over on our way to Mass? I bet that would help our kids to remember the herald’s feast, teaching us to decrease, so the He may increase.