Pope Francis at Sastin National Shrine, Slovakia

Finally, finally, I’m watching a dignified Mass during a Pope visit. Boy, this is unusual for papal visits. Usually the music is terrible, the vestments are terrible, and so on.

This time, it’s a competent orchestra and a really good Slovakian choir. Wearing nice, sharp suits and dresses, like normal people at a formal occasion.

The occasion is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, something that Slovakia knows something about.

“Shashtin” would be the English spelling, I guess.

Amusingly, it turns out that Bishop Marini is still needed as papal MC, even though he was supposedly banished off to a tiny diocese with a fairly bad lack of vocations.

Gorgeous psalm setting sung gorgeously by the cantor.

STABAT MATER SEQUENCE!!!!! Yay!

This is a partial “canon” setting. Basically, there’s a verse in male chant, a verse in female chant with organ, and then a harmony/counterpoint verse with all voices. (For those who don’t know, there are some difficulties with doing chants in some ranges with both male and female voices because it’s less… impressive. This is a good way of getting past that.)

HAHAHAH! Orchestral Celtic Alleluia setting that is ridiculously better than usual! French horns! Kettledrums! Good trumpets!

And then the choir just does a darned good job. Antiphon setting that basically says “We ignore the Celtic Alleluia, in favor of setting the propers text,” and then brings it back around to the chorus, very gracefully, with extra harmonies. Hahahahahaha!

Look, I know this sort of thing may seem nitpicky. But if you love doing something to honor God, and you do it every week, you should be doing it well. You should be using best practices, not worst practices or stupid practices. You should be able to show your heart for Him.

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