ANY Catholics and Catholic priests suffered martyrdom when England became Anglican (after King Henry VIII). It is fascinating to learn about those dangerous times. Father Henry Garnett (d. 1606), a Catholic priest, was friends with William Byrd. He was also very close to Saint Robert Southwell, whose brilliant hymns appear in the Brébeuf hymnal. I know that our vocation—that of being a church musician—is fraught with difficulties and obstacles. But at least we are not being threatened by torture and execution! Notice the following sentence: “Notwithstanding all our troubles, we still sing the Mass”…from 30 June 1601:
Let’s remember this when we are tempted to complain about our (sacred) vocation providing music for Mass!
Read more by downloading this PDF file: The Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers Related by Themselves (London, 1877).
Speaking of “Speaking”…
Fr. Michael Irwin was the very first FSSP priest in the United States. One year, he did something very funny I will never forget. There are certain prayers on Good Friday which the 1962 Holy Week says to speak, not sing. Fr. Irwin forgot, and (as an altar boy) I could tell he was embarrassed. So, what did he do? He began the prayer singing, and slowly morphed into speaking. So, by the time the prayer ended, he was speaking. I still laugh, when I remember his “trick”—and I’m sure my brother remembers, too. This was circa 2002.