Online O antiphons retreat

I have just been asked to promote this :

The international Catholic web-page Gloria.TV is holding a special on-line retreat this Advent concentrated on the O-antiphons .
The retreat will be given by Gloria.TV’s own Father Reto Nay.
One of the most familiar of the Advent hymns is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” with the seven traditional “O Antiphons” being more than a thousand years old. They are used at the very end of Advent (Dec. 17-23) in the liturgical prayer of the Church and are sung or recited during Vespers (the Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours).
Here you find the link to the promo video:

Gloria.TV is an international and interactive Catholic website. Our users upload videos, audios, texts and pictures. Gloria.TV is available in 21 languages whereby we gather people throughout the world who are searching for Catholic content. We also produce and feature our own spiritual talks, news articles, homilies, catechism Q & A, reports, interviews and music.
If you are searching for materials to develop and strengthen your own faith or if you would like to exchange your spiritual experience with other Catholics from around the world, we cordially invite you to visit Gloria.TV and perhaps even become a member.

Thank You and God Bless
The Gloria.TV Team


Advent Resources No.2 – Rorate Caeli : Exclusive New Recording

Rorate Caeli,  sometimes referred to as the Advent Prose is the perfect embodiment of the great themes of Advent.

 Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum
(Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just)

“Ne irascaris “, “Peccavimus”, “Vide Domine”, “Consolamini”, sin, penitence, waiting and expectation, comfort; it’s got the lot!

And click on the link below for a brand new recording of the Rorate Caeli , recorded by my schola at Heythrop College.


Mass Times at St Mary Magdalen Brighton

As our parish website is down at the moment, l have added all the Mass times at St Mary Magdalen, Brighton  to the sidebar. I will try and remember to keep it up to date each week.

There is weekday Mass at 10am Tuesday to Saturday followed by the Rosary

On Wednesday evenings there is Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction

There is a new low Mass on Thursday evenings at 7pm

On Friday evenings at 7pm there is a Low Mass in the extraordinary form

Sunday Masses are at Saturday 6pm (confessions from 5pm). Sunday – Missa Cantata 10.30am. 12.30pm Polish Mass. 5pm Low Mass. 6.30pm Low Mass in Latin (EF)

The church is also open on Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 3pm until 5pm.

Come and visit our beautiful Victorian church and join us in prayer.

Music Resources for Advent No. 1 – Advent Hymns

This is the first of a series of posts to help you prepare for Advent, on Advent hymns. (Get to the bottom, and l’ll tell you what the picture is….)

The hardest task for any parish musician is always choosing the hymns. Everyone has an opinion about hymns – they love No.22 but they hate No.151 etc. The rule of thumb should be that hymns are good but as long as they do not replace the designated texts of the Mass. This is particularly problematic with the Opening Hymn V the Introit. Last year Ben Whitworth of Orkney Chant did a series of excellent posts on singing the Introit on the First Sunday of  Advent to lots of different melodies including hymns tunes. There are plenty of resources available on the internet for hymn tune melodies including Christopher Tieze’s book in hymn introits and Kathleen Puth’s metrical texts which you can adapt to your favourite hymn tune that uses the same metre.

The purpose of this article though is to give you a bumper list of tried and tested strophic hymns you can sing during Mass or for an Advent carol service or just at home. An updated version of the list l did last year.  For the record, l have always found hymn-choosing difficult in Advent. You know you shouldn’t really be singing O Come O Come Emmanuel until after the 17th December when the O Antiphons start but it’s tough when hardly anyone seems to know any of the good Advent hymns.


  • Hark! A herald voice is calling (W.H.Monk)
  • Lo ! He comes with clouds descending – Queen Victoria loved this tune (apparently)
  • Come Saviour, come like dew (Rorate Caeli)
  • Creator of the Stars of Night (Creator Alme Siderum)
  • Wait for the Lord (Taize)
  • O Jesus Christ remember
  • On Jordan’s bank (it’s not one of my favourites)
  • Hail to the Lord’s anointed (Crucifer 7676 D)
  • Fling wide the Gates (Same melody as Lift High the Cross Crucifer 10 10 )
  • The voice of God (Sung to melody of Tell Out my Soul – Woodlands )
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel. (We usually start singing this as the Recessional on 3rd Sunday in Advent)
  • The Angel Gabriel (Everyone’s favourite for the fourth Sunday in Advent)
  • When the Angel Came to Mary (St Day Carol)
  • Long ago, prophets knew (Persononent Hodie melody)
  • THE HYMNS YOU MIGHT HAVE TO WAIT A LITTLE LONGER TO SING… (they may not be well-known)
  • Awake, awake fling off the night
  • Wake, O wake with tidings thrilling
  • he King shall come when morning dawns (This can be sung as a round)
  • O heavenly word eternal light (Breslau)
  • Before the earth – David M. Young
  • When the king shall come again (16th century melody)
  • Christmas is coming (John L.Bell)  You might think this is an odd choice  but l think for children the texts of the verses are quite beautiful.
  • Comfort, comfort, now my people (Tricky timing)
  • O comfort my people (Trad Irish)
  • Come, thou long-expected Jesus (John Stainer)
  • Lift up your heads you mighty gates (18th century)
  • Like the dawning of the morning – Fr Faber (Fr Tim Finigan’s favourite Advent hymn)

    THE HYMNS YOU will just have to wait another year for:-

    • Abba, abba Father.
    • Our God reigns.   (Dangerous, people start singing about drains.)
    • City of God
    • Like a sea without a shore :  Estelle White  (Marantha to EW fans)
    • Come to set us free (Farrell)
    • I rejoiced (Stephen Dean) – Not a good idea to get congregations singing a top E first thing on a Sunday morning. Really not fair on the celebrant.
    • Though the mountains may fall (Advent retro classic)
    • Stay awake (Chris O’Hara)
    • The servant King “From heaven you came…..” etc (Another Advent retro classic)
    • Out of darkness (Walker)
    • God beyond all name
    • My soul in stillness waits – Marty Haugen


    If you have a favourite Advent hymn or one you particularly loathe then stick it in the comments box.
    (And the photo : It’s O Come, O come Emmanuel in Pitman shorthand – of course.)


Should we “only sing the Sprinkling Rite if water is mentioned in the Gospel?”

Joseph Cullen’s excellent paper delivered at the John Henry Newman Institute of Liturgical Music  in Birmingham is to be published (in edited form) in the Catholic Herald this Friday. Worth reading, that is unless you are someone who thinks :

(look away now if you are of a nervous disposition)

a.)  That ‘Eagles’ Wing is your favourite hymn.   I think this might be the Karaoke version but l didnt stick around long enough to find out.

b.)  That everything sung at the Mass should be themed to the Gospel. (Joseph does talk about stripping away the cladding but he fails to mention the importance of  putting back the period features and making sure the Dado rail matches the F&B wallpaper…  It’s an easy mistake to make.)

c.)  That this piece of music is an appropriate piece of pastoral music ” because it is active participation in prayer”

d.)  That the “Grad-you-ah-lay Row-mah-noom”  is out of touch with the real liturgy

e.) “Gregorian Chant only has pride of place in celebrations that as a whole are in Latin.”

f.) That modern stuff is good “Bernadette Farrell, Marty Haugen et al”  because it is scriptural. How many times have you sat through a Gospel or a Psalm (last Sunday’s a good example “and so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad etc….”) and not been able to concentrate on the text because ‘that tune’ is now going round your head?

g.) We have a “duty to ensure that the assembly sings that which is rightly theirs/ours.” I suspect he is not just talking about the Ordinary here. Cut to five years time, crowds standing outside parish church clutching placards reading ‘give us our entrance hymn back.’

If you think Joseph Cullen doesn’t know his wood-chip wallpaper from his swirly carpet and agreed with any of the above points which incidentally failed to appear in Mr Cullen’s paper, pop over HERE to join in with the fascinating discussion. I would warn you though that they seem to all know it each other, so you might be a stranger amongst friends. Now reading that reminds me,  l need to pop down to that large department store on the Kings Road to get some interior design tips.

Farewell to Candy Bartoldus

Candy will absolutely hate me writing about her but now she has left the country, l feel safe in the knowledge she cannot come and get me….! And l want to write about her brilliance.

Candy Bartoldus arrived in Britain from Washington three years ago. Her husband was working at the American Embassy so Candy needed to do something to keep herself busy. She turned up at St. James, Spanish Place where as most of you know there is an established music tradition, and asked Fr Christoper Colven, the parish priest there, if she could start a Gregorian Chant group. Fr Colven apparently asked her how many she thought might turn up and Candy said, “maybe about ten.”  Well after three years, the small chant group often has forty people singing at the 6.30pm Sunday Mass once a month. The group also meet every Wednesday evening to sing Compline in Latin.

I met Candy at the Gregorian Chant course organised by Neville McNally at Portsmouth Cathedral. My friend Stan Metheny had said to me, you need to meet Candy, unaware that we were both attending the same course. l had no idea who Candy was but then suddenly this tall American came up to me and said “you can sing chant” we should sing together, and so we did, and our female voice group Scholae Scholasticae was formed with the now director of chant at St James’ and the Director of Music at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen.

And from there Candy organised for our Schola to start visiting St. Cecilia’s on the Abbey and studying with Sister Bernadette, the choir director at the Abbey.

She then got Dom Ives-Marie the then choir director at Solesmes over to run a two day course which was attended by over sixty people, she took a group of us to Tyniec Monastery in Poland to study with the abbot there, and now she has produced an incredibly comprehensive hymnal combining the work of the Parish Book of the Chant, the Liber Hymnnarius and other Solesmes publications.

On Wednesday evening we sang together at St James’ for the Vigil Mass of All Saints and said goodbye to Candy as she heads home to Washington. She now leaves an established Gregorian Chant group at St James’ which Martina has now taken over, a female voice Schola and a lot of people who have re-discovered the joy of singing the music of our Catholic traditon.

Candy will be missed, but with that kind of legacy, she’s bound to be back soon. Thanks to you Candy for your inspiration.