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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“Iconographic tradition has theologically interpreted the manger and the swaddling cloths in terms of the theology of the Fathers. The child stiffly wrapped in bandages is seen as prefiguring the hour of his death: from the outset, he is the sacrificial victim, as we shall see more closely when we examine the reference to the first-born. The manger, then, was seen as a kind of altar.”
— Pope Benedict XVI (2012)

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Lux Fulgebit: Mass at Dawn of Christmas Day
published 24 December 2017 by Fr. David Friel

OME OF OUR readers are familiar with the wonderful community of St. Mary’s Church in Norwalk, CT. In addition to its historic church, the parish is blessed with devoted priests and very welcoming parishioners. It also boasts an exemplary music program, featuring seven distinct choirs.

The parish’s professional Schola Cantorum, under the direction of David J. Hughes, sings the complete Gregorian propers and polyphonic Ordinaries on each Sunday and Holy Day of the year.

Earlier this year, the ensemble released its first recording, Lux Fulgebit: The Mass at Dawn of Christmas Day.

This new CD presents all the musical components of a sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite—bells, sung lessons, motets, organ improvisations, etc.—in a living, liturgical context.

The most unique aspect of this new album is that it features the world-premiere recording of William Rasar’s Mass Christe Jesu. An obscure composer of the 16th century, Rasar served as a boy chorister at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. This Mass, written for five voices, is his only extant composition. Unusually for the time period, it is written entirely in duple meter.

In addition to the Mass Christe Jesu, the recording includes motets by Alfonso Ferrabosco (Mirabile mysterium), William Byrd (Quem terra, pontus, aethera), and Walter Lambe (Nesciens mater).

This album is a real achievement for St. Mary’s Schola Cantorum. Its 23 tracks present one hour and nine minutes of musical delight. It is also accompanied by ample background notes written by Charles Weaver, who sings bass on the recording.

If you’ve been looking for a Christmas present for yourself this year, this album is worth considering. For more information about the CD, see the parish webpage. Find the music for download on iTunes or Amazon.