Friday, November 28, 2008

Feliz día del pavo

We tried something new in the parish yesterday: a Thanksgiving Dinner for all the Latinos who had the day off but weren't sure how to cook turkey and pumpkin pie. Food service began at 4pm, dancing at 8 pm. We had about 400 people come. The all-you-can-eat buffet included turkey (with homemade stuffing), ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn bread, pumpkin pie, and apple pie. Entertainment was provided by a DJ and a folkloric dance troop (see video). Volunteers worked very hard the day before Thanksgiving, preparing all the food from scratch, and getting the hall ready. In fact, they finished painting the cafeteria walls about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday!
The event was a great success which means, of course, that we will have to repeat it next year...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Deus, qui caeli lumen es

Another hymn translation made at the request of Father Samuel Weber, OSB, who asked that the translation be in rhyming couplets in the same meter as the original. He got the latter but not the former. I opted for an ABAB rhyme scheme, partly out of sprezzatura.
Deus, qui caeli lumen es
satorque lucis, qui polum
paterno fultum bracchio
praeclara pandis dextera.

Aurora stellas iam tegit
rubrum sustollens gurgitem,
umectis atque flatibus
terram baptizans roribus.

Iam noctis umbra linquitur,
polum caligo deserit,
typusque Christi, lucifer
diem sopitum suscitat.

Dies dierum tu, Deus,
lucisque lumen ipse es,
Unum potens per omnia,
potens in unum Trinitas.

Te nunc, Salvator, quaesumus
tibique genu flectimus
Patrem cum Sancto Spiritu
totis laudantes vocibus.
O God, the lamp of heaven high
And source of light: your shining hand
Unrolls the banner of the sky,
Upholding it above the land.

Dawn, casting up a crimson tide,
Has veiled the stars that saw its rise;
The morning breezes, far and wide,
With dewy breath the earth baptize.

The darkness from the sky has gone
As nightly shadows pass away;
The morning star, sign of the Son,
Arising, wakes the sleepy day.

O God, O radiance wonderful,
Most glorious day and fairest light:
One God, in all things powerful,
Three Persons, matchless in one might!

To you, Our Savior, brightest, best,
On bended knee our prayer we raise;
To Father and to Spirit blest,
With all our power, we offer praise.

Translation copyright 2005 Fr. Thomas Buffer

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ashley's Second Birthday Party

After the noon Mass today, we celebrated six baptisms (there were supposed to be seven but one had to re-schedule). Then we went upstairs into one of the classrooms to celebrate Ashley's second birthday. You can see Ashley at the tail end of the video. She is the little girl in the grey skirt who laughs with delight, then starts crying. We have all had days like that. We have lots of little kids at the parish which means that there is no shortage of excuses to have a party.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Temperamental Artistes

Like most of you, I have always wanted a pipe organ in my house. And now I have one. It was sitting in the barn for a couple of years while I settled into the parish and now it is in my house. There's just one thing. One solitary note (tenor "A' of the 8" Gedeckt) would not play. I diagnosed a failed pouch (leather disk that opens and closes the valve beneath the pipe). Getting at the peccant part required much dismantling. To fix the one pouch I ended up releathering 30 of them. Due to the demands of my real job, the pouchboard repair had to be accomplished in fits and starts during snippets of borrowed time. I think I started two weeks ago. The photos show the finished pouchboard and the current appearance of the organ, which seems to bear a resentful expression. After testing, the pouchboard will be reinstalled and the pipes put back in the organ. Before I close I ought to mention that the organ was manufactured by the M.P. Möller company of Hagerstown, Maryland, around 1939. That firm called it the "Möller Portable Pipe Organ"; those who have had to move one will smile at this designation. Everyone else calls it an "Artiste" model. This organ has lived in different places including St. Jean Baptiste Church in New York City (I believe it was a practice or choir accompaniment instrument).
P.S. The alert reader will have understood why this message was posted today.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Everybody keeps asking when we are going to start the church beautification project. Simple. We need 200,000 dollars. To date we have 117,000 dollars in our construction fund. When we have 200,000 dollars -- we start. Our architect, William Heyer, has given us a great gift in his design, which will turn our "temporary" church into a beautiful and dignified chapel in which to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries. Until the day, comrade, just keep looking at this beautiful picture.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nox atra rerum

A few years ago, Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB, asked me to translate some Latin breviary hymns into rhyming English. Here is one example. Others may be found in The Mundelein Psalter.

Nox atra rerum contegit
terrae colores omnium:
nos confitentes poscimus
te, iuste iudex cordium,

Ut auferas piacula
sordesque mentis abluas,
donesque, Christe, gratiam
ut arceantur crimina.

Mens, ecce, torpet impia,
quam culpa mordet noxia;
obscura gestit tollere
et te, Redemptor, quaerere.

Repelle tu caliginem
intrinsecus quam maxime,
ut in beato gaudeat
se collocari lumine.

Sit, Christe, rex piissime,
tibi Patrique gloria
cum Spiritu Sancto Paraclito,
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.
As earth and all its colors bright
Are covered by the black of night,
We make our prayer and offer praise
To you, just Judge of all our ways:

That you would take away our sin,
And wash us clean from stain within,
And give, O Christ, the grace we need
To hold off every harmful deed.

Redeemer, see, the mind beset
By wickedness grows dull; and yet
It longs to put dark works away,
To seek you by the light of day.

Drive out the darkness from our heart,
From every corner let it part;
Then shall the heart be truly blessed
Within your light to find its rest.

To you, O Christ, most kindly King,
And to the Father praise we sing;
The Spirit, too, we glorify,
In songs that never fade or die. Amen.

Copyright 2005 Fr. Thomas Buffer