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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“How can we enter into this interior disposition except by turning physically—all together, priest and faithful—toward the Lord who comes, toward the East symbolized by the apse where the cross is enthroned? The outward orientation leads us to the interior orientation that it symbolizes. Since apostolic times, Christians have been familiar with this way of praying. It is not a matter of celebrating with one’s back to the people or facing them, but toward the East, «ad Dominum», toward the Lord.”
— Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship (October 2016)

Sacred Music & Babies
published 17 November 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

112 planning ONGRATULATIONS to the Tappan household, which recently welcomed a new child. (You probably remember a recent post in which Dr. Tappan mentioned that he and his wife were expecting.) Let us pray for them; raising children is anything but easy in today’s culture. 1

Bringing children into the world and raising them properly—as I’m sure the Tappan family does—is one step in the right direction of restoring sacrality to our Masses; but is there more?

Most of us spend our energies trying to do our very best at local parishes—which is how it should be. Most of us do not worry about “saving the word” because we realize typing on the internet does very little to advance that goal—and this view is correct. Most of us are not as concerned about the liturgical life in places we will never visit as we are about the liturgical life for our children, friends, and members of our parish—and this is a good thing. Most of us do not worry about everyone else’s business—because saving our own souls (and those of our loved ones) is what God wants us to focus upon preëminently. The internet has become a cesspool of unqualified people (who believe they’re brilliant, of course) spending hours creating unsolicited advice/warnings/ravings for everyone except themselves.

Occasionally, however, it is appropriate to ask the question: “What is our END GAME regarding Sacred music?”

I used to think local parishes could do such a marvelous job with Sacred music that this would spread to the entire Church; but now I’m beginning to think this might be insufficient. There will have to be more institutions created to train Church musicians by folks who have proven their worth in the real world. Moreover, there will have to be excellent (mandatory) programs created for Catholic school kids, and successful Church musicians must visit bishops, convincing them to implement these programs. At this point in time, however, I feel that we’re still in the “germination” stage, which relies on individual priests and musicians working together at individual parishes.


1   By the way, some children don’t begin talking right away. Parents try to teach them, but some children are not easily convinced to start making sounds. Eventually, most do; and this seems to be an “instinct.” Certainly children feel a desire to communicate—which is why interaction with other children can help—but there’s more to it than that. Making sounds (I repeat) appears to be an instinct and something “fun and natural” for kids. I sometimes wonder if this “instinct” has anything to say regarding nature of singing at Mass, in terms of our “need” to create sounds.