The Neum Dec. 2022
A Worthy Sacrifice for All Soul’s
“Our mission is not simply to sing beautiful music, but to give people an experience of the Divine”
Last month at St. Anne’s we helped bring about a truly majestic celebration—a Solemn High Requiem Mass for All Soul’s Day, accompanied musically by Floriani and the St. Anne’s adult and children’s choirs singing Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, complete with a full ASU student orchestra. Without a doubt, this was one of the most beautiful liturgies we’ve had the honor and privilege of participating in, and it was a soaring testimony to the power of beauty.
Prior to the Mass, Father Keith explained to the congregation that there was to be no homily. He invited all to prayerfully enter into the mysteries of the faith, allowing the various aspects of the liturgy to wash over the senses: the plumes of incense, the ancient language of the prayers, the gracefully intentional movements of the priests, deacons, and altar servers, but most especially, the enchanting music.
From the moment the Introit began with the haunting theme breathing to life the words Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine (“Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord”), a feeling of lucid solemnity gripped the church, and the atmosphere was unbroken until the Mass had come to an end. It was as if all in attendance suddenly felt the great weight of the presence of angels. The Dies Irae chanted by the choir centered all in the gravity of our
situation as fallen creatures (“The written book will be brought forth, in which all is contained, from which the world shall be judged”). As we offered up this powerful expression of praise and petition for the souls of the dead, the economy of the Body of Christ, our ultimate reality, and our participatory role in salvation was made manifest.
The “Hosanna!” during the Sanctus broke on the ceremony like the seventh seal. The soul-shaking entrance of the horns harkened the Resurrection, and the choir hailed the Savior of mankind in one impressive voice, all but confirming the immediate presence of the heavenly hosts. Following the absolution of the dead over the catafalque, the children’s choir joined the adult sopranos brought the liturgy to a close with the splendid prayer In paradisum (“May choirs of angels receive you…may you have eternal rest”), leaving all with a sense of sweet tranquility, and the feeling of having just participated in something sublime.
“While I've never seen a king, I feel like I had at this Mass.”
The Requiem Mass was a huge accomplishment for Floriani for a few reasons. It was the first time we had ever attempted an musical endeavor of this magnitude, so for it to have gone so well gave us the confirmation that at this point there is little in the world of choral achievements that is outside our grasp. Thomas did an incredible job conducting the choirs and the orchestra, and it was his first time leading such a large ensemble. After only two months preparation, the children were singing like an English cathedral choir, thanks to Giorgio. Joe slayed two immense solos, and the adult choir sounded professional. Furthermore, the effort showed us what goes into such a production, so now that our appetites for it are whetted, there will certainly be more to come.
Our mission is not simply to sing beautiful music, but to give people an experience of the Divine, which we encounter most intimately in the liturgy. It’s true that the spiritual reality and presence of the Divine in the Mass does not depend on the pageantry and liturgical accoutrements, but the fact is, man is flesh and blood and sensation, as well as spirit. It is vital, therefore, that our worship reveals to us the reality of the sacrament. Joseph Pieper said, ”the full power of worship will only be felt if its sacramental character is realized in undiminished form, that is, if the sign is fully visible” so that we might be “transported out of the weariness of daily labor into an unending holiday, carried away out of the straitness of the workaday world into the heart of the universe.” This is the aim of our liturgical efforts. And this is the heart of Floriani’s raison d'etre.
Testimonies From the Requiem
Dozens of people felt compelled to share their heartfelt experience of the beautiful All Soul’s liturgy, so we included a few here:
”The Mass was absolutely lovely. Gorgeous. I have been to many, many, many Masses, and I have devoted myself to music since I was ten years old, but I have never experienced something quite like that. He [Giorgio] should be very, very proud. His cantoring and his pieces with Floriani were astounding. The orchestra was impeccable. I cried during the introductory piece, entirely unprepared for the wonder that would be bestowed on us. For a final Tridentine Mass at St. Anne’s, everyone was breathtaking. Stunning. Staggeringly awe striking. The choirs of angels were with you all. Thank you, truly, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing your gift with all of us.” —Anonymous “Simply the most beautiful Mass I have attended. With the focus being truly on our Lord and His sacrifice, I was in awe of the movements of the liturgy, how everything had a purpose and meaning. You truly can meet God in the silence, or truthfully, the absence of all the distractions of the modern liturgy. Well done, thank you for your witness. This was such a gift.” —Madeline V. “Floriani handled the many moving parts with such grace, and the reverence and beauty in the church that night was profound. I was moved almost to tears by how meaningful it felt to participate in something this joy-filled and Christ-exalting. “ -Esther (our orchestra coordinator from ASU) “While I've never seen a king, I feel like I had at this Mass. The way the priest was served and the way he served us was truly king-like. It brought a new and beautiful experience of persona Christi, reflecting that Jesus is our true King.” —ASU student “The entrance of the horns during the Sanctus made me feel so small. It made me so aware of the grandeur of God.” —ASU student “Was completely moved by the Mass and the music. Originally I went to get extra credit for my class because my teacher was singing but also because I will be heading off to college soon and I was unsure of when I would be able to attend another Tridentine Mass (especially one like this). So I took the drive out to St. Anne and didn’t regret it one bit. This was my second Floriani event and it sure won’t be my last. Keep up God’s work.” —Carter W. “Playing the Requiem in its proper context of the Sacred liturgy was a tremendously powerful experience making it perhaps the highlight of my musical career.” —Stephen M. (1st Violin)
(A poem inspired by last month’s concert series)
Remember you shall die
Is the chill wind that cuts to bone
On nights approaching All Hallows.
It is the song of Souls
Whispering from beyond the veil
To those who dare be still
If they can remember silence.
Only in wonder
May one traverse the course
Beyond the city’s aurora
To a darkness
Pierced by starry swords.
In this night of gnarled branches
Stretched in silhouettes of death
Yearning for the sap of resurrection
To quicken their rattling bones,
Is the wanderer who keeps
The company of corpses.
Tis the other side that is alive
And chants a hymn to him:
O dust, dust,
To dust you must
That dreaded loss of flesh
Is but a mesh
Of fragile threads
So easily severed.
Tis a sloughing of a coil.
Though you writhe and roil
At it’s undoing
Be you still
Against the blade
Death has made
For it’s edge is sharper
Than the will.
But what of death
For one who knows its slayer?
What is a barren branch
Rough hewn beams
An instrument of torture?
O drenched wood
God-Man’s life poured out
In blood and water
Has transformed you
Into Tree of Life.
All must come
To Golgotha’s Hill
The place of the skull
Where Adam’s buried bones
Meet the living stream
Pouring from The Temple
Making glad the City of God
Flowing like crystal
From the Throne of God
And from The Lamb.
O death where is thy victory
O grave, thy sting?
For New Adam
Has remembered him of Old,
Shed the tide of Living waters
That they might seep
Through sundered stone
Bathe the bones
Of this first father
From death’s dark slumber
To rise once more from dust
And live in Light again.
by Ruth Engelthaler
CHRISTMAS 2X DONATION MATCH
Thanks to an exceedingly generous supporter of Floriani, this month ALL DONATIONS WILL BE DOUBLED, including all monthly donations.
By donating to Floriani, you will make it possible for us to:
continue producing our Chant School podcast
infiltrate the culture on social media with higher quality content
lead a sacred music conference for college students in San Miguel de Allende next year
bring on a few new members of Floriani, allowing us to delve deeper into the perennial repertoire of sacred music
fund our upcoming film series, which will bring beautiful music to the places it’s meant to be sung—beautiful churches.
Help us reach our goal of $30,000 per month in recurring donations!
Also, please pray for our mission! God bless you!
How to Donate
Online: Go to www.floriani.org/support-us
By check: Floriani, 6216 S Opal Dr, Chandler, AZ 85249
Questions? Feel free to email us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are so grateful for your support! Please keep us in your prayers!
- Giorgio, Graham, Joe, and Thomas