Una Voce Des Moines

Promoting Traditional Catholicism in Central Iowa

Traditional Tenebrae

Taken from: https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14506a.htm

Tenebræ is the name given to the service of Matins and Lauds belonging to the last three days of Holy Week. This service, as the “Cæremoniale episcoporum” expressly directs, is to be anticipated and it should be sung shortly after Compline “about the twenty-first hour”, i.e. about three p.m. on the eve of the day to which it belongs. “On the three days before Easter“, says Benedict XIV (Institut., 24), “Lauds follow immediately on Matins, which in this occasion terminate with the close of day, in order to signify the setting of the Sun of Justice and the darkness of the Jewish people who knew not our Lord and condemned Him to the gibbet of the cross.” Originally Matins on these days, like Matins at all other seasons of the year, were sung shortly after midnight, and consequently if the lights were extinguished the darkness was complete. That this putting out of lights dates from the fifth century, so far at least as regards the night Office, is highly probable. Both in the first Ordo Romanus and in the Ordo of St. Amand published by Duchesne a great point is made of the gradual extinction of the lights during the Friday Matins; though it would seem that in this earliest period the Matins and Lauds of the Thursday were sung throughout with the church brightly illuminated (ecclesia omni lumine decoretur). On Friday the candles and lamps were gradually extinguished during the three Nocturns, while on Saturday the church was in darkness from beginning to end, save that a single candle was kept near the lectern to read by.

All this suggests, as Kutschker has remarked, that the Office of these three days was treated as a sort of funeral service, or dirge, commemorating the death of Jesus Christ. It is natural also that, since Christ by convention was regarded as having lain three days and three nights in the tomb, these obsequies should have come in the end to be celebrated on each of the three separate occasions with the same demonstrations of mourning. There can be no reasonable doubt that it was from the extinguishing of lights that the service came to be known as Tenebræ, though the name itself seems to have arisen somewhat later. The liturgist de Vert has suggested an utilitarian explanation of the putting out of the candles one by one, contending that the gradual approach of the dawn rendered the same number of lights unnecessary, and that the number was consequently diminished as the service drew to a close. This view seems sufficiently refuted by the fact that this method of gradual extinction is mentioned by the first Ordo Romanus on the Friday only. On the Saturday we are explicitly told that the lights were not lit. Moreover, as pointed out under HOLY WEEK, the tone of the whole Office, which seems hardly to have varied in any respect from that now heard in our churches, is most noticeably mournful–the lessons taken from the Lamentations of Jeremias, the omission of the Gloria Patri, of the Te Deum, and of blessings etc., all suggest a service cognate to the Vigiliæ Mortuorum, just as the brilliant illumination of the Easter eve spoke of triumph and of joy, so the darkness of the preceding night’s services seems to have been designedly chosen to mark the Church’s desolation. In any case it is to be noticed that the Office of these three days has been treated by liturgical reformers throughout the ages with scrupulous respect. The lessons from Jeremias in the first Nocturn, from the Commentaries of St. Augustine upon the Psalms in the second, and from the Epistles of St. Paul in the third remain now as when we first hear of them in the eighth century.

The Benedictine Order, who normally have their own arrangement of psalms and nocturns, differing from the Roman, on these three days conform to the ordinary Roman practice. Even the shifting of the hour from midnight to the previous afternoon, when no real darkness can be secured, seems to have been prompted by the desire to render these sublime Offices more accessible to clergy and laity. Already in the thirteenth century it seems probable that at Rome Tenebræ began at four or five o’clock on the Wednesday (see Ord. Rom., xiv, 82, and Ord. Rom., xv, 62). Despite the general uniformity of this service throughout the Western Church, there was also a certain diversity of usage in some details, more particularly, in the number of candles which stood in the Tenebræ hearse, and in some accretions which, especially in the Sarum Use, marked the termination of the service. With regard to the candles Durandus speaks of as many as seventy-two being used in some churches and as few as nine or seven in others. In England the Sarum Ordinal prescribed twenty-four, and this was the general number in this country, variously explained as symbolizing the twenty-four hours of the day, or the twelve Apostles with the twelve Prophets. A twenty-fifth candle was allowed to remain lighted and hidden, as is done at the present day, behind the altar, when all the others had been gradually extinguished. At present, the rubrics of the “Ceremoniale,” etc., prescribe the use of fifteen candles. The noise made at the end of Tenebræ undoubtedly had its origin in the signal given by the master of ceremonies for the return of the ministers to the sacristy. A number of the earlier Ceremoniales and Ordines are explicit on this point. But at a later date others lent their aid in making this knocking. For example Patricius Piccolomini says: “The prayer being ended the master of ceremonies begins to beat with his hand upon the altar step or upon some bench, and all to some extent make a noise and clatter.” This was afterwards symbolically interpreted to represent the convulsion of nature which followed the death of Jesus Christ.

Pray for the TLM this Lent

 Appeal for prayers and penances

for the Liberty of the Traditional Mass in Lent

From Una Voce International and others Una Voce International and other organizations, groups and individuals concerned with the Traditional Latin Mass would like to appeal to all Catholics of good will to offer prayers and penances during the season of Lent, particularly for the intention: the liberty of the Traditional Mass.

We do not know how credible rumors of further documents from the Holy See on this subject may be, but the rumor themselves point to a situation of doubt, conflict, and apprehension, which is severely harmful to the mission of the Church. We appeal to our Lord, through His Blessed Mother, to restore to all Catholics the right and opportunity to worship according to the Church’s own venerable liturgical traditions, in perfect unity with the Holy Father and the bishops of the whole Church.

Taken from: http://www.fiuv.org/2023/02/pray-for-tlm-this-lent.html

Marian Antiphons: Ave Regina Caelorum

Throughout the year, the Church prays different Marian Antiphons based on the proper liturgical season.  We’ll post the current Antiphon throughout the year:

Advent/Christmas:  Alma Redemptoris Mater
Lent:  Ave Regina Caelorum
Easter: Regina Caeli
Pentecost:  Salve Regina

Here’s a great article about the different seasons, highlighting the Ave Regina Caelorum, which is sung from February 2nd (Purification/Candlemas) until the Easter Vigil.

The four Marian Antiphons have traditionally been sung at the end of Compline – each one during a particular season of the Church Year.   Ave, Regina Caelorum is the antiphon sung from Purification/Candlemas (February 2) until the Easter Vigil.

Here’s a video of the antiphon sung to the Simple Tone by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey at Ganagobie. Chant score from the Liber Usualis (1961), p. 278.  (English translation below.)

Here’s the chant score of the Simple Tone version, from the Liber Usualis:

This translation was done for our monastery by Dr. Rudolph Masciantonio, president of the Philadelphia Latin Liturgy Association:

Hail, queen of heaven, hail lady of the angels. Hail, root, hail the door through which the Light of the world is risen. Rejoice, glorious Virgin, beautiful above all. Hail, O very fair one, and plead for us to Christ.

Benedictus Subscriptions available at St. Augustin

St. Augustin’s is pleased to announce a yearly bulk subscription for the TLM community to the new Benedictus monthly companion

Using this group method, your 12 monthly booklets will be
labeled and made available to you each month before Mass in the

In addition, the small discount given by Sophia Press will
benefit the church needs for the TLM.

To learn about Benedictus, visit https://praybenedictus.com

We plan to process new yearly orders submitted by the 15th of January,
April, July, and October to begin each quarter.

Giving Site: https://giving.parishsoft.com/App/Giving/staugustin

Once at the giving site, simply select TLM Benedictus Subscription field, $60 in the Amount field, and click Add Donation (see the screenshot below – full year orders


Contact Richard Chamberlin, rjdchaim@gmail.com, with any questions.

The 2023 Liturgical Calendar is ready!

Friends, we have a personalized 2023 liturgical calendar!

Thanks to TAN Press, the photography of Lisa Bourne, and the graphic design of Sam Fernholtz, we have a 2023 Liturgical Calendar just in time for Advent/Christmas shopping!

The unique 10.5″ x 10.5″, spiral-bound calendar contains high-quality images of our new home, St. Augustin. Photos of recent Masses were taken and included to showcase the beauty of St. Augustin Catholic Church, but more so the beauty of the Mass that resides inside it.

Here are some images:

Each day has indications for the liturgical calendar in both Usus Antiquior (old calendar feast days) and the Usus Recentior (new calendar feast days), as well as abstinence or fast symbols.  Note that under each day of the week there is a theme which is traditionally observed.

There’s an entire page on spiritual fasting and the symbols that each day indicate.

This year, we even added when local TLMs were going to be on special occasions:

Proceeds benefit Una Voce Des Moines and the continued promotion of the Traditional Mass throughout Central Iowa. 

Be sure to share with your friends and family, but order quickly as Christmas is in a few weeks and we have a limited supply!

Calendar costs:

1 calendar – $20

6 calendar – $100

(Additional cost for shipping TBD)

For more information, email Bryan @ info@unavocedsm.org or call/text 812.686.6102.

Rorate Mass in Des Moines

For the first time in years — we’re not sure how long! — a Rorate Caeli Mass will be celebrated on the 1st Saturday of Advent, December 3, 2022 at 8am.

St. Augustin Catholic Church
545 42nd St
Des Moines, IA 50312

This will truly be an extraordinary opportunity to witness a beautiful traditional liturgical devotion to Our Lady during a special preparatory period before we commemorate the birth of our Lord.

For more on what a Rorate Mass is, be sure to read here.

And share with your friends and family this unique Advent devotion!

What is a Rorate Mass?

The Rorate Mass or (Rorate Caeli Mass) is a traditional Advent devotion in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Rorate Mass is lit only by candlelight. Because it is a votive Mass in Mary’s honor, white vestments are worn instead of Advent violet.

On a Saturday during the Advent season, the faithful gather — typically before sunrise (hence the necessity for candles) — for a special Mass.

Taken from Isaiah 45:8, which is the introit for the mass:

“Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum, aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.”

“Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour.”

From the FSSP website:

…priests and faithful prepare to honor the Light of the world, Who is soon to be born, and offer praise to God for the gift of Our Lady. As the Mass proceeds and sunrise approaches, the church becomes progressively brighter, illumined by the sun as our Faith is illumined by Christ.

The readings and prayers of the Mass foretell the prophecy of the Virgin who would bear a Son called Emmanuel, and call on all to raise the gates of their hearts and their societies to let Christ the King enter; asking for the grace to receive eternal life by the merits of the Incarnation and saving Resurrection of Our Lord.

For some stunning photos of previous Rorate Masses around the world, check this out.

Marian Antiphons: Alma Redemptoris Mater

Throughout the year, the Church prays different Marian Antiphons based on the proper liturgical season.  We’ll post the current Antiphon throughout the year:

Advent/Christmas:  Alma Redemptoris Mater
Lent:  Ave Regina Caelorum
Easter: Regina Caeli
Pentecost:  Salve Regina

Here’s a great article about the different seasons, highlighting the Ave Regina Caelorum, which is sung from Advent until Candelmas on February 2nd.

Here’s the Simple Tone version, sung by “the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey at Ganagobie.” Chant score is in the Liber Usualis (1961), p. 277.    (English translation below.)

Here’s the chant score of the Simple Tone version, from the Liber Usualis:

Here’s a bit about Alma Redemptoris Mater, including an English translation, from “Singing the Four Seasonal Marian Anthems,” by Lucy Carroll, published in Adoremus:

Alma Redemptoris Mater

Sung from the first Sunday of Advent until the Feast of the Purification on February 2 (the original ending date of the Christmas season), this prayer tells of Gabriel’s announcement, and of Mary’s divine motherhood. The text is credited to Herimann the Lame, a monk of Reichenau (1013-1054). Herimann’s Latinized name was Hermanus Contractus and he is sometimes also credited with the chant melody.

Alma Redemptoris Mater, quae pervia caeli porta manes et stella maris, succurre cadenti, surgere qui curat, populo: tu quae genuisti, natura mirante, tuum sanctum genitorem, Virgo prius, ac posterius, Gabrielis ab ore sumens illud ave, peccatorum miserere.

This translation is by the Reverend Adrian Fortescue, 1913:

Holy mother of our Redeemer, thou gate leading to heaven and star of the sea; help the falling people who seek to rise, thou who, all nature wondering, didst give birth to thy holy Creator. Virgin always, hearing the greeting from Gabriel’s lips, take pity on sinners.

The Four Marian Antiphons

Throughout the year, the Church prays different Marian Antiphons based on the proper liturgical season.  We’ll post the current Antiphon throughout the year:

Advent/Christmas:  Alma Redemptoris Mater
Lent:  Ave Regina Caelorum
Easter: Regina Caeli
Pentecost:  Salve Regina

A Benedictine monk once called these a lullaby to Mary. Typically chanted in a quiet chapel in candlelight just before the monastic community retired for their evening slumber, it makes sense why he called it a “lullaby”.

This is a great way to incorporate an important part of the traditional liturgical life into your family life.

So, visit these different webpages at the beginning of a new liturgical season, and brush up on your Marian antiphon/chant, and sing your lullaby to Mary each evening.

TLM in Des Moines Changes Time


Starting Sunday, August 7th, the weekly TLM at St. Augustin moves to 4pm.

Here is Fr. Pisut’s note announcing the change:

Dear TLM Community,

Believe it or not it has been a month since the TLM has moved to St.
Augustin. By all accounts things seem to be going well. I have a pastor’s
column that goes out in a weekly email that you should get if you are
registered at the parish (one more reason to register). However, I thought it
would be helpful if I reached out to just the TLM community to update you
on a few things. I might do this from time to time to keep communication
open and to help build the TLM Community.

In order to help with the transition of the TLM from St. Anthony’s to St.
Augustin and aid in my pastoring of the community I assembled a TLM
Council. It’s basically like a parish/pastoral council. I chose membership
based upon people who held leadership roles in the TLM itself (MC’s and
Choir Director), St. Anthony’s Pastoral Council members and Una Voce
officers. Members of the TLM Council are Andy Milam, Jacob Heflin, Taylor
Fernholz, Tom Ogden, Jason Pendergraft, Wendy Ogden, Bryan Gonzalez,
Rachel Marr, Audra Hutton, Rosie Heflin and Samantha Fernholz. While
you are always free to reach out to me, you can also bring questions and concerns to these members as well.

We would like to facilitate a smoother reception of Holy Communion at Mass. We ask that when receiving you begin the line at the far right (Epistle) side all the way to the far left (Gospel) side of the altar/communion rail.
When the railing is full, we ask that you stand in front of the pews in the same direction from left to right (Epistle to Gospel side) and fill in as people depart the altar/communion rail. To this end we will have ushers help to
direct people, but we hope that this will be a short-term necessity and that they will eventually not be required.

In addition, our altar/communion rail cloth has arrived. It will hang over the front of the railing. As you kneel simply fold your hands underneath the cloth. The altar/communion rail cloth is one of the many great traditions
of our Catholic Faith. It is a sign of the sacredness of Holy Communion. Historically, it was a means of catching the host should it fall, like the patens that we also use out of reverence for the Sacred Species. In addition, by
keeping our hands under the cloth it is a reminder that we are to receive our Lord reverently on the tongue.

Many of the TLM families also home school. One of the preferred educational methods is the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS), though it is not limited to home schooling. We are blessed at St. Augustin to have a well-established program under the leadership of Janis Falk, our Director of Religious Education. Some of you may already be familiar with her. If you are interested in enrolling your children in the CGS program please contact
Janis or Cindy Sullivan, our Office Manager.

Lastly, I am pleased to announce that beginning August 7, 2022, the TLM will move to 4:00 P.M. This decision was made after consultation with and the unanimous agreement of the TLM Council and the approval of +Bishop Joensen. This change represents a listening to the TLM community and an attempt to provide for your needs. I do recognize that many would prefer a morning Mass time. While I understand your desire, it simply is not possible with the Mass schedule at St. Augustin. Still, the new Mass time will help to facilitate earlier dinner times, mitigate nighttime winter driving and make your evening schedules easier overall. Do not fear, confession will still be available before Mass from 3:15-3:45 in the east/St. Joseph side confessional.

I hope that after a month that you are starting to feel at home at St. Augustin. Though I was not expecting this role it is my pleasure to be your pastor. I look forward to strengthening the TLM community as we give glory to God through the Holy Sacrifice of this ancient and perennial form of the Mass. As you should have grasped from the reception following the first Mass, you are welcome here. I will say it one last time, welcome home.

Fr. Pisut

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