The Neum Jan. 2022



Singing for our Concert of Carols at our home parish of St. Anne in Gilbert, AZ. Left to right: Giorgio Navarini, Thomas Quackenbush, Graham Crawley, and Joe Daly.

What is the Mass?

Last month we left off on the question “What does it mean to offer God our ‘first fruits’ in the Mass?” by breaking it down into two parts: 1) the nature and purpose of the Holy Mass and 2) the role of music in the Mass as understood by the Church. This first question is massive to say the least, but the Catechism gives us a fairly succinct overview (there’s always more that can be said about the Mass!) which will be sufficient for our purposes.

So what is the Mass? You may have heard it referred to as the “source and summit of the Christian life,” but in what way? The Catechism states:

“The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God's action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.”

This is a good breakdown to begin with, as it expresses the many-sidedness of it. It is both a sign and cause of our communion in what is often referred to as the Mystical Body of Christ.

Further, it states that the Mass is a culmination of two things: God’s saving action through Christ crucified and the worship we give to our God, both to Christ our Savior and through Christ to the Father. Let’s take these one by one.

God’s Saving Action

The Catechism states “Liturgy is an "action" of the whole Christ (Christus totus),” (1136) where we “unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life” (1326). Sacrosanctum Concilium echoes this, stating that “the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ.” Thus, we say that the priest acts in persona Christi, i.e. in the person of Christ, as a sort of physical sign of Christ Himself, who offers Himself as sacrifice for the redemption of all Mankind. Christ gave Himself on the cross in expiation for our sins, and in the celebration of the Eucharist He re-presents Himself to the Father, essentially recreating the same enduring act of sacrifice. So this culmination of the Mass is both a sign of this salvation granted us, and a cause, for we believe that in the Eucharist, Christ Himself is literally present as He was on the cross, though under the guise of bread and wine.


The Worship We Offer

Let us remind ourselves of the arcane and oftentimes frustrating narrative of salvation history told in the Old Testament. Put simply, it tells the story of man’s checkered journey in learning how to worship God the way He wants us to worship him. If one thing stands out in that story, it’s probably Israel’s repeated failure to do what God commands. But God knows of our infirmity, and throughout the Old Testament He worked to prepare us to receive the ‘right way’ modeled by Christ. So, not only does Christ redeem us in the celebration of the Eucharist, he also leads us in worshiping and glorifying God in the way God desires. Indeed, in Him, “the perfect achievement of our reconciliation came forth, and the fullness of divine worship was given to us.”

Thus, the celebration of the Eucharist is said to be the “source and summit” of the life of the Church, whose function is twofold: the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God. Understood in this way, the liturgy is more properly the priestly action of Christ Himself that the faithful participate in, as members of the Body of Christ.

Tune into the next installment, where we will delve into the question of music in the Mass as understood by the Church! Have a blessed month, you are in our prayers.

The Worship We Offer

Let us remind ourselves of the arcane and oftentimes frustrating narrative of salvation history told in the Old Testament. Put simply, it tells the story of man’s checkered journey in learning how to worship God the way He wants us to worship him. If one thing stands out in that story, it’s probably Israel’s repeated failure to do what God commands. But God knows of our infirmity, and throughout the Old Testament He worked to prepare us to receive the ‘right way’ modeled by Christ. So, not only does Christ redeem us in the celebration of the Eucharist, he also leads us in worshiping and glorifying God in the way God desires. Indeed, in Him, “the perfect achievement of our reconciliation came forth, and the fullness of divine worship was given to us.”

Thus, the celebration of the Eucharist is said to be the “source and summit” of the life of the Church, whose function is twofold: the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God. Understood in this way, the liturgy is more properly the priestly action of Christ Himself that the faithful participate in, as members of the Body of Christ.

Tune into the next installment, where we will delve into the question of music in the Mass as understood by the Church! Have a blessed month, you are in our prayers.


Thank you for coming out to our first concert series!

In the month of December, we travelled around the Diocese of Phoenix for our first series of concerts, singing Advent and Christmas songs at seven different parishes. In addition to being a preparation and celebration of the beautiful Christmas season, our goal was to introduce ourselves to the diocese and spread the word about our mission. Our campaign was a success, as we performed for nearly 2000 people and raised around $45,000 from new donors, many of whom have become committed monthly partners. Thank you to all of you who came to our concerts and to those who have supported us with your donations and prayers! Your support is hugely encouraging, and it means so much to us that our mission resonates with you. You are in our prayers, and we hope to see you for our next run of concerts in the Lenten and Easter seasons.



Chant School Podcast Growing

Since it’s debut in October, our Chant School podcast has published 23 episodes and has garnered the attention of hundreds of people interested in learning the chants of the Church. Whether they are beginners simply interested in learning the most popular chants, or more advanced choir members struggling to learn the tricky weekly propers, the Chant school podcast has become a go-to resource for chant enthusiasts around the world.

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