Sunday, April 13, 2008

Book Announcement on NLM

Shawn Tribe of the ever-fascinating blog "The New Liturgical Movement" has graciously posted an announcement on my upcoming book.

I've been replying to some of the comments over there, so come join the conversation!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Back from the land of the Book my last post was in November 2007, and here it is April 2008. What have I been up to? Well, we had us a baby boy, and before he arrived, I was furiously trying to finish a book. That book, I am happy to say, has now been announced and will be coming out this year:

The Roman Rite in the Algonquian and Iroquoian Missions
From the Colonial Period to the Second Vatican Council

Claudio R. Salvucci

Representing the first general treatment of the "Indian Mass" of the North American Catholic missions, this volume draws on historical descriptions as well as rare missionary manuscripts and publications to trace the development of the distinctive American Indian liturgies from the early hymn singing of the mid-1600s to the adaptation of vernacular plainchant and polyphony. Weaving together extensive primary source quotations, Salvucci overturns popular misconceptions of missionaries as cultural imperialists, showing instead how native congregations and scholarly priests worked together in adapting the rich traditions of Counter-Reformation Roman Catholicism to the linguistic and cultural needs of the New World.
This volume further compares and contrasts the Indian Masses of different missions with each other and with the official Roman Missal. It also contains chapters on the calendar and hagiography of the missions; formulas for Baptism, Matrimony, and other sacraments; the Divine Office; characteristic sacramentals and devotions; and religious life. Extensive appendices are included, such as the entire text of a Mohawk Indian Mass; propers and ordinaries for other missions including those of the Algonquins, Abenaki, and Micmac; a complete liturgical calendar; and short descriptions of the most important missions.

Massinahigan Series, 5
July 2008 ~ 160 pp. ~ Hardback ~ 978-1-889758-89-3 ~ $44.95

You can order from Evolution Publishing here.

I'm very proud of this the moment I am having it vetted by some folks in the field to make sure I didn't say anything titanically dumb.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My new Catherine Gandeaktena Website

Today, Nov. 6th, is the 333rd anniversary of the death of Catherine Gandeaktena, who passed away in the odor of sanctity at La Prairie, Quebec in 1673.

I have long had a devotion to Catherine, so today I am taking the opportunity to start a website dedicated to spreading devotion to her and potentially having her canonized.

I just have a couple of links and a quote up there now, but I will add material in the months to come.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Rope dancing at the offertory

Here's a story about retired bishop of Sacramento, His Excellency Francis A. Quinn coming back to the diocese:

Here's a relevant tidbit for our purposes:

While living in a motor home behind the Tucson bishop’s residence for several years, Quinn worked with two Trinitarian priests, visiting seven churches on the Yaqui Reservation -- most of the church buildings being lean-tos. He worked as well on the Papago reservation and said Mass for a group of religious sisters.

The Yaquis, said Quinn, “are Roman Catholic to the core.” Their liturgies have been inculturated, including rope dancing at the offertory, he said, and “doing smoke blessings in the four directions instead of the penitential rite.” He noted, “It’s amazing that, out of a church of 200 people, about 150 will go to confession.”

Quinn said his spiritual life developed in working with the Indians. He used to find the Liturgy of the Hours “more of a burden,” but “now I get something out of reading it” -- even at night, when he normally would be reading Robert Ludlum or John Grisham. “The Mass means more to me now,” he said. “I don’t know why it takes so long truly to appreciate what the Mass is.”

Obviously, Cal Catholic thought the Rope dancing was the most important part of the story. :)

For the record, I don't know what rope dancing is, so I can't comment on its liturgical appropriateness. I do know that dancing during the Mass in general is a huge no-no, so I would assume that this practice would fall under that stricture. Dance is a part of culture. An important part. I wouldn't part with the tarantella or the Mummers' strut at a wedding. But if I ever saw Italians or Philadelphians do either at the offertory, I think I'd walk out.

On the four blessings thing. This has come up a lot in my research, and I've seen pictures of it. There's an aspect of this that is completely orthodox. The old Mass has the altar oriented toward the East, the rising Sun/rising son--and the whole church is oriented accordingly, with liturgical north for the Gospel, liturgical south for the Epistle, and liturgical west where the congregation is. Four directional liturgics is very trad! But I'd have to see what exactly these "smoke blessings" are before commenting on them.

I've heard similar things explained in some American Indian contexts: prayers to the Four Directions". It's that prayer language that throws me. Is there a St. Occident? Blessed South of Antarctica? Holy West the Archangel? Prayers are not directed to things, they are directed to persons. So the only way we could really *pray* to the directions if there were actually *spirits* of the directions, and one has no way of knowing if said spirits are actually in heaven or not.

We would be better sticking with the concept of praying *toward* the directions and not *to* them. It seems like the former is going on here with the Yaqui, which is very good. And it's delightful to hear the devotion to the sacrament of Confession.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Roman liturgy in the Native American Missions?

Thanks to Shawn Tribe over at the New Liturgical Movement who posted about my "Indian Mass" website:

If anyone from NLM finds their way over here and has any questions, I'd be happy to answer them in the comments here.

I may put up some links on the Indian Mass site so that people can see the sources I took this info from.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Popular pastor to get new pulpit

Relevant excerpts and comments below. First off, I gotta say what a great name "Muckleshoot" is!

Popular pastor to get new pulpit

MIKE ARCHBOLD; The News Tribune
Published: September 17th, 2007 01:00 AM

When Kenneth Williams returned to the Muckleshoot Reservation as a pastor 13 years ago, his first church was held in his yard and his first pew was a downed tree....

Williams’ days of itinerant preaching will soon be gone. He expects to conduct his first service in a new $3.4 million Pentecostal church by June.

The Muckleshoot Tribal Council is picking up the tab for the 22,000-square-foot church, which will include a full-size gymnasium and seating for up to 400 people....

The Muckleshoots’ considerable casino dollars are mostly known for subsidizing government, health care, social services, education and natural resources management on the Enumclaw plateau. But they also are spent on spiritual needs.

Church-state separation is not a political concept in Indian country, explained Charlotte Williams, chairwoman of the Muckleshoot Tribal Council, which authorized the expenditure. She is Pastor Williams’ wife but didn’t vote on the church project.

Now this is idiotic hangups about church-state separation in Indian country! Church needs some money, hey, no problem, it's part of the the community, so why not? Ah, the common sense of it all.

The council a few years ago also financed a new building for the Indian Shaker Church. The historic St. Claire Catholic Church has also received money from the tribe, for maintenance and restoration.

They are the only three churches on Muckleshoot land, although the old “smokehouse” tradition survives as well.


Spirituality is deeply intertwined in tribal life among the Muckleshoots and other Northwest Indian tribes, Charlotte Williams said. A committee comprised of tribal members advises the Tribal Council on the spiritual needs of the tribe.

When the Muckleshoots began making money with bingo and the casino, the council put aside $10,000 a year for each of the churches. It has only grown from there.

Stanley Speaks, director of the Northwest Regional Office of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs office in Portland, said many tribes support church activities within their reservations, which he called a good investment.

What? And not Planned Parenthood instead? An outrage!!!!

But he noted that many do not have the revenues that the Muckleshoots do.

“Most churches that tribes build don’t cost that much,” Speaks said.

Pastor Williams said 100 people regularly attend services at the Pentecostal Church. He said he’s thankful to the Tribal Council for its assistance with the new facility.

“Everyone is happy,” he said, with his shock of white hair and ever-present smile. “We were happy when the tribe built the new Shaker Church, too.”


The Indian Shaker Church has been a mainstay on the Muckleshoot Reservation since 1913, according to local historian Stan Flewelling. He wrote about Auburn-area churches in the White River Valley Museum’s newsletter in 2002.

A blend of both Native American and Christian beliefs, the Indian Shaker movement gained many adherents around the Pacific Northwest as word spread in the late 1800s.

Catholicism on the reservation has proven less durable over time.

This is sadly typical of our age...religio depopulata

Mary Basteyns, who is close to 90 years old and a member of the spiritual committee, represents St. Claire Indian Mission Chapel, which was constructed on reservation land in 1894. She said it was built by her grandfather, Gilbert Courville.

Used regularly until the 1930s, it was moved to the new Federal Way Shopping Center in the 1950s as a tourist attraction. The tribe returned it to the reservation some 30 years later.

The little white church with the tall steeple was deteriorating when the tribe stepped in and helped restore it. It has a new cedar shingle roof and new floor inside.

Basteyns is grateful for the efforts, though the church isn’t used for services anymore. The priest who used to come by once a month stopped when the congregation got down to just a few people, she said.

We've had church closings in the inner city, which are bad enough. But on a reservation--which are in remote places--it could well be fatal to Catholicism in that tribe. Priests are overtaxed and from a purely human level it's easy to understand how they might cut their losses if no one is attending Mass. On a purely human level. On a divine level, even one person receiving the sacraments in those pews is worth the trip. But I'm not judging the priest or the bishop...they have tough decisions to make. But I think this underscores the need for modern missionaries--possibly even a specific order who will be able to move into reservations and keep Catholic traditions alive

Today many Muckleshoot people also still follow the old beliefs that held sway before the Christian missionaries arrived, according to Flewelling. During the winter season, they dance to honor and display their spirit guardians.

It is often called the smokehouse religion because dancers traditionally perform in a longhouse lit by fire and filled with smoke.


The rest of the article is about the Pentecostal Church.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bishop leads pilgrimage to "Georgia martyrs" site

Excerpts from the Savannah Morning News story...see the link above for the whole story.

Bishop leads pilgrimage to "Georgia martyrs" site

ST. CATHERINES ISLAND - Their last moments must have been lonely.

Surrounded by a mob of angry Indians, five Franciscan friars from Spain died trying to bring Christianity to the coast of modern Georgia.

More than 400 years later, leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah are working to have those missionaries declared martyrs, and someday, possibly saints.

After 23 years of research by church officials, the Rev. Conrad Harkins, a historian at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, hand-delivered documents to the Vatican in April - marking the official start of the argument for martyrdom for the friars.


Bishop J. Kevin Boland lead a Mass on Saturday within a rectangle of palm trees planted to mark the perimeter of the former Santa Catalina de Guale church.

More than a dozen church leaders and supporters of the cause participated in the Mass.

"I've wanted to do this for years," said Paul Thigpen, leader of Friends of the Georgia Martyrs, a network of about 300 supporters. "This has really been a moving experience for me."

One quibble with this article...I REALLY wish the author hadn't opened with the phrase "surrounded by a mob of angry Indians."

Is it factually incorrect? No. Have I gone politically correct here? No.

But combine it with a strange lack of any reference to devout Catholic Guale, and it comes off sounding like the Indians were unanimously against the missionaries. The division at the mission was not racial but religious--the Christian Guale supported, loved, and helped the missionaries, and the apostate Juanillo and his band hated them. One Guale chief warned Fray Antonio of the impending attack and offered to provide a canoe and rowers to take the friars to safety; the bodies of he and Fray Miguel were buried at the foot of the cross out of respect by Guale Christians.

More info at the Georgia Martyrs site:

Not a huge deal, and I'm sure the author didn't mean anything malicious by it, but something to bear in mind with these kinds of stories. It's not the first time Indian Catholics go completely ignored in these discussions.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Episcopal Mission incorporates Navajo culture into church services

Check the story and comments linked above at Kendall Harmon's site TitusOneNine, concerning inculturation in the Navajo Anglican mission.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Getting Ready for the Traditional Latin Mass

South Jerseyans who love or are curious about the traditional Mass should definitely make an effort to attend this program hosted at St. Peter's Church in Merchantville, which is slated to be a fantastic look at the preconciliar liturgy.

Father Manuppella is the pastor of St. Peter's Church in Merchantville (Camden Diocese). He will be starting a weekly Traditional Latin Mass at his parish on the 1st Sunday of Advent 2007.

Getting Ready for the Traditional Latin Mass

Presented by
Reverend Anthony J. Manuppella

St. Peter Parish
43 West Maple Avenue, Merchantville, NJ 08109

Plan on spending Thursday evenings
at St. Peter Parish
for a 12 week intensive look at
the Traditional Latin Mass

September 6th
September 13th
September 20th
September 27th
October 4th
October 11th
October 18th
October 25th
November 1st
November 8th
November 15th
November 29th

Prayers at the Foot of the Altar/Introit/Gloria/Collect
Roman Canon I – Sanctus to Hanc Igitur
Roman Canon II – Consecration
Roman Canon III – Anamnesis to Per Ipsum
Pater Noster/Agnus Dei
Priest’s Communion/Communion of the Faithful
Postcommunion/Blessing/Last Gospel
Priestly Vestments, Vessels and Linens
Sanctuary and the Altar
Church Architecture of 1,500 years as inspired and determined by the Traditional Mass
How to use the Missal

Classes begin at 7:30 PM each evening
in Pastors’ Hall.
There is a one-time Registration Fee of $10.00 per participant.
Books will be provided for class.
Call St. Peter Rectory @ 856-663-1373

St. Peter Roman Catholic Church - 43 W. Maple Avenue Merchantville, NJ 08109 (856) 663-1373

I have more detailed info on the individual talks which I'll be posting soon.

Assumption Sermon of the Rev. James Bartoloma

Fr. Bartoloma gave an outstanding sermon on August 15, the feast of the Assumption, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Camden. I particularly love the way that he opened up the homily with Howard Carter at the tomb of Tutankhamen....which he then developed into a theme of appreciating historical treasures.

His words are definitely applicable to all of the Catholic traditions that we are starting to cover here.

Worth reading if you get a chance!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Does the Motu Proprio allow for other pre-Conciliar Rites?

The USCCB has an impromptu translation of the *entire* Motu Proprio, not just the legal part that is floating around right now. Available here:

There's also other attached documents (apparently put together by the USCCB) after the Motu with some obvious and weak attempts to play down the MP's impact. (see "Ten Questions on the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Missale Romanum"), and in particular question #5 which not-so-subtly attempts to portray the old Missal as the clearly inferior rite of the two. And then Question 6, which mentions that the Holy Father gave one reason for the popularity of the Mass as nostalgic longing but conveniently forgets to mention his OTHER point that young people were being increasingly attracted to it as well. So as usual, some American Bishops can't avoid putting their own spin on things.

However, in the dross I found this question (and answer) intriguing, because I didn't read anything about this in the document itself:

Question 17:How does the new Apostolic Letter differ from these previous provisions?

The Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI differs from the previous provisions in the following ways:

What books may be used?

(under Quattuor Abhinc Annos and Ecclesia Dei Adflicta) The 1962 Missale Romanum

(under Summorum Pontificum) The 1962 Missale Romanum and all other Roman liturgical rites in force in 1962

This, if true, is very promising.

UPDATE: People who know these things on other blogs say "rites" here means the other sacraments, not different rites of Mass. They are probably right...definitely be interesting to see what this means for the other liturgical uses though! I find it hard to believe that the Pope has it in mind to exclude them.

Summorum Pontificum - Letter to the Bishops

My dear Brother Bishops,

With great trust and hope, I am consigning to you as Pastors the text of a new Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970. The document is the fruit of much reflection, numerous consultations and prayer.

News reports and judgments made without sufficient information have created no little confusion. There have been very divergent reactions ranging from joyful acceptance to harsh opposition, about a plan whose contents were in reality unknown.

This document was most directly opposed on account of two fears, which I would like to address somewhat more closely in this letter.

In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question. This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were "two Rites". Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.

As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal. Probably it was thought that it would be a matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case, on the local level. Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. This was especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration. We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

Pope John Paul II thus felt obliged to provide, in his Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei (2 July 1988), guidelines for the use of the 1962 Missal; that document, however, did not contain detailed prescriptions but appealed in a general way to the generous response of Bishops towards the "legitimate aspirations" of those members of the faithful who requested this usage of the Roman Rite. At the time, the Pope primarily wanted to assist the Society of Saint Pius X to recover full unity with the Successor of Peter, and sought to heal a wound experienced ever more painfully. Unfortunately this reconciliation has not yet come about. Nonetheless, a number of communities have gratefully made use of the possibilities provided by the Motu Proprio. On the other hand, difficulties remain concerning the use of the 1962 Missal outside of these groups, because of the lack of precise juridical norms, particularly because Bishops, in such cases, frequently feared that the authority of the Council would be called into question. Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio. The present Norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.

In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded. The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.

It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these. For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The "Ecclesia Dei" Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.

I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to unable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: "Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!" (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place. Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.

In conclusion, dear Brothers, I very much wish to stress that these new norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility, either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful. Each Bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own Diocese (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22: "Sacrae Liturgiae moderatio ab Ecclesiae auctoritate unice pendet quae quidem est apud Apostolicam Sedem et, ad normam iuris, apud Episcopum").

Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the Bishop, whose role remains that of being watchful that all is done in peace and serenity. Should some problem arise which the parish priest cannot resolve, the local Ordinary will always be able to intervene, in full harmony, however, with all that has been laid down by the new norms of the Motu Proprio.

Furthermore, I invite you, dear Brothers, to send to the Holy See an account of your experiences, three years after this Motu Proprio has taken effect. If truly serious difficulties come to light, ways to remedy them can be sought.

Dear Brothers, with gratitude and trust, I entrust to your hearts as Pastors these pages and the norms of the Motu Proprio. Let us always be mindful of the words of the Apostle Paul addressed to the presbyters of Ephesus: "Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son" (Acts 20:28).

I entrust these norms to the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, dear Brothers, to the parish priests of your dioceses, and to all the priests, your co-workers, as well as to all your faithful.

Given at Saint Peter’s, 7 July 2007

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It has arrived....

When I got home yesterday, the Kaiatonsera Teieriwakwatha was waiting for me.

It's going to be hard to give a first impression as there's very little text in the book that *isn't* Mohawk. Only a few snatches of Latin--no French headers, as in the Book of Seven Nations.

But a few observations:

1) The book has *lots* of chant. Except for 126 pages of hymn text in the middle (no music), the rest is words with chant notation. It tells you which tone things are sung in.

2) Many of the Sunday propers here are in chant rather than just text. Moreover, they seem more close to the Roman propers. There definitely seems to be s greater variety of introits over the course of a year, and there also Alleluias which I don't remember in the older book. It also looks like there was a considerable expansion of the propers between the 1865 Book of Seven Nations and this work in 1890.

3) The old Jesuit letter "8" has been replaced here with plain old "w". Not very important, but just interesting typographically.

More as I delve deeper into this and learn ecclesiastical Mohawk better....

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Kaiatonsera Teieriwakwatha

I was leafing through Pilling's Bibliography of the Iroquoian Languages the other day when I saw a note about a 500+ page manuscript by Marcoux and Burtin that contained the chants for Mass and Vespers.

Manuscript, pp.1-530, 4° in the archives of the Roman Catholic Church at the Indian village of Caughnawaga, Canada, consisting of the Mass and vespers in the Mohawk language. The vespers were translated and the whole set to music by Père Burtin, missionary at Caughnawaga (p. 113)

This MS was written in 1878 after the Book of Seven Nations (1865), and given the note about Burtin's writing the Vespers, it's a fair bet that it contains a more complete vesperal and cycle of Mass Propers than the Book of Seven Nations. I get the impression that Burtin may well have translated some of the actual psalms for Vespers rather than just the collection of prayers and hymns that had been taking their place at the mission.

This MS would probably be *extremely* helpful for my research, but I couldn't reasonably expect to get a look at it anytime soon.

Well, last night I saw in Clement McNaspy's article "Iroquois Challenge" (Orate Fratres, 1930-something) that the Kaiatonsera Teieriwakwatha was *published* in 1890--too late to be included in Pilling. Well, that's all I needed to hear...did a quick web search for it and found some references to the original edition, a microfilmed version, and a 2001 reprint (REPRINT??!? Who's REPRINTING Iroquois liturgical works????) that was for sale at a used bookstore AND very affordable!

By this morning, the order was in. I'll report back when it arrives and I get to take a look at it. I am hoping it sheds some light on the problem of the cycle of propers which I described in the previous post.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Parsing the Cycle of Mohawk Propers

For the last few weeks I've been delving into the "Book of Seven Nations" trying to figure out how the Mohawk propers fit together over the liturgical year. These aren't exactly true propers--they are Mohawk texts that were sung by the choir at the places where the schola would normally be chanting the Latin propers (i.e. the Introit, Gradual/Tract/Sequence, Offertory, Communion). Some of these are just translations of key Latin propers (e.g., Terribilis Est), but others are chants from the Divine Office, and still others are various motets and hymns in Mohawk or Algonquin.

I think I've got things mostly figured out before the Gospel: namely, the Introit and the hymns that replace the Gradual & Tract. But the post-Gospel cycle is proving more difficult. There are sometimes indications like "Offertory", "At the elevation"", "During the Last Gospel", but only occasionally. Currently I'm trying to figure out what goes where when 4-5 hymns are listed after the Gospel.

Puzzling. Fun, but puzzling!

The Life of Kateri Tekakwitha website

Diego Paoletti has an *excellent* website with the two main primary sources on the life of Kateri Tekakwitha: Chauchetiere's account from 1695, and Cholenec's from 1696. He also has lots of other primary source material there, including accounts of the little-known other holy souls of the Indian missions. See especially his English Page 2.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mohawk Choir of St. Regis on NCPR

The quote from Carol Ross that inaugurated this blog was taken from a brief 4 1/2 minute news piece that North Country Public Radio did in 2000 entitled "Meet the Masters: Mohawk Choir of St. Regis". The news piece is still available online on the NCPR wepage (follow the link above).

You can also hear some authentic Mohawk chant in the background done by the St. Regis choir. The news piece starts out with the Mohawk Sanctus or "Holy, Holy, Holy": "Saiatatokenti, Saiatatokenti. Saiatatokenti. Niio Se8ennio Sabaoth..." It appears to be a similar setting (or perhaps the same setting) as the one for the Mass of the dead in Cuoq's Book of the Seven Nations (p. 17). There is also a second hymn or chant that I haven't yet identified.

My quest to learn (Ecclesiastical) Mohawk

Over the past few months, I've been trying to teach myself Mohawk. Now I've dabbled a bit in Delaware, but I haven't really ever delved into the meat of learning a Native language because...well, to be frank, I didn't see much of a point in it for me personally. We *do* have professional linguists who study these kinds of things after all, and I didn't see me being able to contribute anything new in that regard.

Well over the last few months I've been coming around on that score with the increasing realization that linguists don't generally tend to be well informed on things like liturgical history or Catholic devotional praxis. And one can't reasonably hope to study the native liturgies unless one is prepared to also learn the native languages used in them.

So a few months ago I picked up David Kanatawakhan Maracle's "Let's Speak Mohawk" audio cassette course and have managed to pick up a bit of pronunciation and some basics of the language. Then last weekend, my brother and sister and law graciously rented us a cabin in French Creek State park in Pennsylvania, and I took along a bit of light reading--Cuoq's Tsiatak Nihonon8entsiake (see sidebar) and his Etudes Philologiques, which contains very useful classical-style grammars of Mohawk and Algonquin.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Tsiatak Nihonon8entsiake (The Book of the Seven Nations)

Tsiatak nihonon8entsiake onk8e on8e Akoiatonsera: Ionterennaientak8a, teieri8ak8atha, iontaterihonnien nitha, iontateretsiaronk8a, iakentasetatha, iekaratonk8atokentisonha oni : kahiaton oni tokara nikarennake erontaksneha : kaneshatake tiakoson

Le livre des sept nations, ou Paroissien iroquois : auquel on a ajouté, pour l'usage de la mission du lac des Deux-Montagnes, quelques cantiques en langue algonquine.
[trans: The book of the Seven Nations, or Iroquois Prayer Book: to which is added, for the use of the Lake of Two Mountains mission, some hymns in the Algonquin language.]

Rev. Jean André Cuoq. Pub. Montreal, 1865.

The "Paroissien" is a French liturgical and devotional book described by Cabrol in his The Mass of the Western Rites as follows:

Prayer Books ("Paroissiens").(2)--The history and bibliography of these books is yet to be written...In them the Mass naturally has its place, whether the Latin text is given, with a translation, or whether we find merely explanations and commentaries, as was the usual practice at a certain period, when translation into the vulgar tongue was looked on with very little favor if not actually condemned.Today the liturgical movement has driven the faithful more and more towards requiring the complete text of the Latin Mass, with its translation. Thus certain prayerbooks are indeed real Missals for their use.

(2) The word cannot be translated literally. A "Paroissien" is a kind of abridged Missal which includes the office of Benediction, several Litanies, morning and night prayers, etc. Vespers of Sunday (and sometimes Compline) are also included. (Note by translator.)

Cuoq's Tsiatak Nihonon8entsiake was intended primarily for use at Oka (Mohawk Kaneshatake, English Lake of the Two Mountains),although it contains additional material from the Kahnawake mission as well. At Oka there were a significant number of both Iroquois and Algonquins, so both of these languages are represented in it, although the Algonquin material is mainly limited to hymns and the Ordinaries of the Mass.

This book is a greatly expanded edition of Cuoq's previous Ienenrinekenstha Kanesatakeha (1864).


  • intro matter.: Table of dates and Movable Feasts, table of Fixed Feasts
  • p. 3ff.: Mohawk-language Gregorian chant, including settings for the ordinaries of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei), other liturgical settings (Asperges, Vidi Aquam, Te Deum, Requiem, Dies Irae, Veni Creator and many others) along with texts for hymns and litanies (some in Latin).
  • p. 109ff.: Book of songs for the Mass and Vespers—includes many of the Sunday readings for the entire liturgical year along with hymns.
  • pp. 295ff. Formulary of prayers by M. Marcoux, missionary of Sault St. Louis]. The Stations of the Cross, Rosary, and novena to St. Francis Xavier in Mohawk
  • pp. 411 ff. Supplement to canticles and prayers: hymns, prayers during Mass, the Algonquin Mass and chant for the dismissal (Ite, Missa Est).

Note on the Algonquin Mass

The Algonquin Mass is listed on pages 436-437, and features the text only (no chant) of the Terribilis, the Gloria, the Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei, as well as the Laudate Dominum (Psalm 117). A native-language Kyrie is notably absent; probably it was sung in the original Greek, which seems to have been a general characteristic of the Masses of the Algonquian linguistic family (cf. Durocher's Montagnais Missal, Belcourt's Ojibwa Anamihe-masinahigan). In Iroquoian Masses, the Kyrie was translated into the vernacular.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Canadian Plainchant

The Canadian Encyclopedia has a very informative online article on plainchant in Canada which serves a good introduction to some of the typical forms chant took in New France and some of the main printed and manuscript sources. Here is the most relevant section:

17th And 18th Centuries - The North American Natives

Seventeenth-century witnesses, including the Jesuit Relations, tell of the interest natives showed in sacred chants and plainsong near towns and missions (Abenakis in Sillery), sometimes even in brotherhoods (Ste-Famille). These apostolic and musical activities maintained links with France, in particular with the Chapter of the Chartres Cathedral.

Some missionaries brought manuscripts to the new world; among them is a 590-page manuscript, deposited at the archdiocese of Quebec City, featuring the Abenaki language, Latin, and French (Noëls, hymns), plainsong, secular music (Noëls, hymns) or polyphony (fauxbourdons, motets). It comprises the best known hymns (Veni Creator, Pange Lingua, Te Deum, Salve Regina, etc.), litanies, lections from Tenebrae, psalm tones, and various High Solemn Masses: Messe de la Vierge, Messe des morts, a two-part Messe royale, etc. Yvon Thériaut (L'Apostolat missionnaire en Mauricie, 1951), located a similar manuscript at the Indian reservation of Odanak (St-François-du-Lac, near Sorel).

Several song handbooks, among them a Graduale romanum (Paris 1697) approved by Du Mont and Nivers, once the property of the Séminaire de Québec, show Abenaki words added with a pen (sections of masses for the feast days of the Assumption and the Purification).