Any ideas about the music at Sen. Kennedy's funeral mass?
  • Dan F.Dan F.
    Posts: 205
    From MSNBC:
    On Saturday morning, a funeral Mass for the late senator will be celebrated at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica — commonly known as the Mission Church — in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston. The 1,300-seat basilica on Tremont Street, built in the 1870s, was where Kennedy prayed frequently in 2003 while his daughter, Kara, successfully battled her own cancer.

    "Over time, the Basilica took on special meaning for him as a place of hope and optimism," the family statement said.

    President Barack Obama will speak at the Mass, according to the Times.

    Setting aside his politics in this discussion (and how well they do or do not reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church), Sen. Kennedy is known as a prominent Catholic figure in the U.S. Does anybody have information about the music selected for the funeral mass? And if not, what might we expect to see for this high profile liturgy?

    Here is the news page at the Mission Church. Nothing beyond a brief announcement.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 697
    For comparison, the program for the funeral of his well-loved sister Eunice is here. And here is her prayer-card. And here is the music list for JFK's funeral in Washington. And here and here are recordings of some of the music from JFK's Requiem in Boston (2 months after death). All I can find about RFK's funeral in 1968 is that Wikipedia calls it a "Requiem", Ted Kennedy gave the eulogy, and for the recessional hymn, Andy Williams sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
  • The selection of Mission Church as the site for the senator's funeral took everyone here by surprise as well as the reason for it. Unbeknownst to about everyone during the period when his daughter was struggling with cancer, he would go to Mission Church each day to pray for her. There was obviously a correlation in his mind between her recovery and those visits.

    Besides its importance to the Catholic history of Boston, Mission Church does have one of the great organs in this country (Hutchins from 1897, refurbished in 1997) and concerts are given there regularly. The organist at the basilica is also quite good. [For organists like me who are bothered by heights be forewarned the loft is very high up and the railing behind the bench is low.] Beyond organ music, however, there is no distinguished liturgical music tradition at the basilica. It's in a relatively poor neighborhood and thus has limited financial resources, has only limited on-street parking and is hard to get to.

    At Tip O'Neill's funeral a contingent from the choir school provided the music. Since the school is still in summer recess, I doubt that will be the case in this instance. I'll check around to see if any of the "usual suspects" have been asked to sing at the service. That's the usual routine when there is an important event at the cathedral (another out of the way place).
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I'm not going to comment on the situation into which the Church is put by the death of Ted Kennedy. It is a very difficult situation, because for many years he publicly fought against several issues very important to the Church, such as the right to life.

    What I want to know is this: I was told that JFK's funeral was a LOW MASS said by Cardinal Cushing.

    Is this true? How could there be another funeral in Boston? I think Toscanini had two funerals.

    Chrism, how can I ever thank you for sending those links???? WOW!
  • President Kennedy's funeral was a low mass celebrated by Cardinal Cushing in Saint Matthew's Cathedral. It was the only mass celebrated. Months later, in the context of a mass in Holy Name Cathedral, Boston, Eric Leinsdorf conducted the Boston Symphony and chorus in Mozart's requiem. This mass was celebrated by Cardinal Cushing. It was a Mass of the Dead--not an actual funeral. This mass was televised. President Kennedy had only one funeral. Needless to say, there were many Masses of the Dead celebrated throughout the country in his memory.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    i am bewildered that President Kennedy's funeral was a low Mass.
  • Several news sources stated that the Saint Matthew's liturgy was a low Mass per Mrs. Kennedy's request.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    wow, you guys are experts!
  • " . . . he spent most of his life fighting against everything the Catholic Church stands for."

    Though MusicaSacra is not the place to argue social and government policy issues, the above statement neither accurately reflects the intentions nor complexity of the late senator. Yes, he regrettably reversed his pro-life position (unlike his mother or sister Eunice), a move that later was to influence his opposition to Robert Bork as a nominee to the Supreme Court and in so doing solidified pro-choice as a broadly accepted tenet of the Democratic party. However, his lifelong efforts toward improving civil rights, immigration justice, a liveable minimum wage, and accessible and affordable health care all reflect a deep sympathy to the Church's social teaching.

    To admit this does not demean the moral seriousness of considering abortion as a "right." It does however serve to broaden the scope of those who don't see political moral obligations as involving more than just abortion.
  • Beth
    Posts: 53
    well stated Randolph
  • In any case, the senator's funeral Mass(es) will in no way resemble that of the late Michael Jackson.
    Deo gratias.
    Dovetailing from the other funeral thread, another of my maxims is: Catholics know how to "do" funerals.
    That, from the point of view of our inheritence of the liturgy, as David pointed out yesterday to me.
    Nearly every denominational funeral I've ever attended had way too much "smiley face" and altar call "come to Jesus NOW, or else" subtexts infused by the pastor/leader. And a good chance you'd here "What a wonderful world" by Louie Armstrong or "Over the Rainbow" by the late Hawaiian singer over their PA system.
    In paradisum, deducant te angeli......
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,003
    I was in 8th grade when Vat. II was over - and I remember the chaos and pain of going from all Latin to all English within one week in the Spring of 1965. I had no idea that there had been a Missale Romanum published in 1964 that had the Propers and Readings in English. I don't believe it had much of a following.

    So, remember the rules for the EF Mass - High Mass = ALL sung,ALL Latin: Low Mass = anything you want (basically).
  • I've chatted with folks at the choir school as well as with the conductor of the Seraphim Singers (a group that sometimes get asked to sing at big events at the basilica) and so far no one has been asked to participate in the funeral.

    Though the basicila (popularly called "Mission Church") seats 1500 people, the funeral will be an invitation only affair and perhaps the family wishes the event to have a private feel. Judging from what musicially transpired at the funeral for Eunice Kennedy, you can read "lowbrow" into that if you wish.
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    It's been a while since I've attended a funeral Mass, let alone one in which the rubrics were closely followed. What I'm curious about is this: Is it permissible to have a layperson (in this case, President Obama) eulogize the deceased?
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I have revised my post, Randolph
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Mark M: I believe that is allowed, but very much not promoted, after Communion.

    Also tangential to the music, my immediate thoughts on Sen. Kennedy were (as shared on facebook) that he reaped what he sowed. He was in many respects a hardcore partisan, and became hated by many for it. The "Borking", for example. We can't let ourselves follow such an example of partisanship in our attempts to change the musical climate in Catholic America. We need less polarization, more "bipartisanship", if you will. Kennedy was at his best when he reached across the aisle. And at his worst when he was upholding the Democratic Party Line. The same can be said of many of us, particularly myself.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    I have often wondered why the women in that family were so very saintly, and the men were such scoundrels. The senator's early life, at any rate, was a scandal. I haven't followed him much in recent years, but hope the later part of his life was more in line with church teaching. I realize anyone can repent. Since the press has pandered to the Kennedys for years, I expect the coverage to be similar to the Jackson funeral. I will likely have to watch the History Channel or Nat Geo to escape it. Anyone else up for watching the History of Mud Part 7?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    The GIRM says, "382. At the Funeral Mass there should, as a rule, be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind."

    As we probably have all witnessed, this rule is widely ignored, sometimes with unfortunate results.

    Of course, it would be no problem to present a eulogy as part of the (I assume non-liturgical) memorial event to be held at the JFK Library in Boston on the day prior to the funeral.
  • Erasmus
    Posts: 1
    Thanks to Randolph--and to Beth for her pithy response--for putting things in perspective about Sen. Kennedy's life. Those issues were between Ted and his God, with the help of his confessor. We Catholics do believe in reconciliation--in all its aspects, and in redemption. I'm appalled at the people who take that narrow anti-abortion stand against someone like the Senator, while promoting war and the death penalty themselves, and caring nothing about the life-quality of the poor. Let's be careful about judging others, and let us speak well of the dead and pray for them. And let's be sure that our own pro-life stand is truly Catholic! Concerning the quality of music at funeral Masses, let's take responsibility for those that we can influence, and not get bitchy and whiney about all the rest. It's really annoying and not at all becoming.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    "Let's be careful about judging others'

    Agreed. We don't judge the person, his intention nor can't talk about his personal reconciliation. But the action itself can be seen as wrong or right according to what the Church teaches, especially of those who are in an influential position.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    In terms of funeral music, people ask for what they've heard. And they've heard lots of what some consider trite and very little of anything else.

    Obviously, you can't gate crash someone's funeral and insist on singing the Gregorian requiem propers. However, we should look for opportunities to let people hear these and become aware of the texts. Then you might begin to see some demand. And no, Father isn't going to impose them on a grieving family because we want him to.

    Must go to Evening Prayer for the Feast of St. Augustine now, so I can't share my plan for "world funeral music domination." :)
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    to answer your question about presedent kennedys funeral...
    a high mass featuring the mozart requiem was said and recorded. cardinal cushing chanting latin was entertaining what with the heaviest boston accent i have ever heard.
    well spoken.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I'm at my parents' house right now, unfortunately subjected to Fox News, and I just overheard something about "the senator's favorite song, 'Impossible Dream' from Man from La Mancha, will be sung at both services." Not sure if he was talking about the funeral Mass or some other memorial services.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    Please, friends, desist from describing how wrong-headed and morally inconsistent other people's socio-political views are. I'm not the Internet police, but this isn't the forum for that.

    After all, who among us is capable of being a totally fair and circumspect spokesman to describe other people's views accurately?

    [Well, actually I am, but never mind that! :-) ]

    Back to something I hope people can agree on:

    The Church has rules about who is eligible for a Catholic funeral, and Mr. Kennedy qualifies for it, as the canon law professor Ed Peters explained today on his web site. So we can take that point as settled, and hope that the ceremony will be done in a dignified and suitable way. At the moment that is probably the truly Impossible Dream!
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I'm appalled at the people who take that narrow anti-abortion stand against someone like the Senator, while promoting war and the death penalty themselves, and caring nothing about the life-quality of the poor.

    A few points:

    50 million innocent babies have been killed in the USA since the passing of Roe V. Wade (and those are just the surgical ones that we know about). I'm not sure the word "narrow" has any relevance in a discussion with numbers like these.

    I have never met anyone like you describe ("caring nothing" about the life-quality of the poor, etc.) --- also, I've heard very sound & astute arguments pointing out that many of Kennedy's policies actually hurt the poor, in numerous ways, although they were alleged to help the poor, so I'm not sure it is as simple as you imply.

    Also, "judging others" has nothing to do with the fact that the Catholic Church is in a difficult position (as I said). The Church has serious duties to preserve against scandal. Pointing this out is not judging others.
  • ok, no more politics pls. I've cleaned up thread. So sorry if I've offended anyone with deletes. We are such a happy community. let's not let the horror politics muck anythign up.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I apologize to all if I took the thread off course. Please forgive me for this, since this is the best forum, and it needs to stay that way. May God bless you all.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 697
    Erasmus, welcome to MusicaSacra. Are you a church musician?
  • Chrism
    Posts: 697
    I hope the liturgy itself doesn't get politicized. This is the danger of alius cantus aptus.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 697
    Impossible Dream - is this the one?

    Lyrics include: "To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause ..."
    ooph. *shakes head*
  • Dan F.Dan F.
    Posts: 205
    let's take responsibility for those that we can influence, and not get bitchy and whiney about all the rest.

    I agree we should do our best to influence the music we can, and avoid unproductive complaining. However, my purpose in discussing the music selection was because, as mjballou said, people request what they've heard. And if Edward Kennedy has perhaps the highest profile funeral of any U.S. Catholic this decade, then many people will model funeral liturgies of their own loved one on this example. So, being aware of what is sung/played seems to me to be relevant.

    Funerals (along with weddings) have become such "personal liturgies" that people have come to expect getting whatever they want. Anything that can be done to emphasize that the liturgy is the prayer of the Church, not just of one priest or group of people, including singing the propers in whatever reasonable form, is surely to be attempted.
  • Wow, that youtube is so touching!
  • Chrism
    Posts: 697

    Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston will preside at the funeral of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy tomorrow at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (the Mission Church). The Rev. J. Donald Monan, a Jesuit priest who was the longtime president of Boston College and is now the chancellor, will be the principal celebrant. And the Rev. Mark R. Hession, pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville, will deliver the homily.


    First Reading: Curran Raclin, stepson
    Responsorial: Kara Kennedy Allen, daughter
    Second Reading: Caroline Raclin, stepdaughter
    Homily: Rev. Mark Hession
    Intercessory Prayers: Kennedy's four grandchildren, and the youngest grandchild of each of his siblings, will read quotes from his speeches. (The family chose to honor the youngest children because Kennedy was the youngest in his family.)
    Offertory: Grandchildren
    Music by Yo-Yo Ma
    Music by Placido Domingo accompanied by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus
    "Ave Maria" by Susan Graham of the Metropolitan Opera
    Tribute: Edward M. Kennedy Jr. and US Representative Patrick J. Kennedy (sons)
    Eulogy: President Obama
    Song: America the Beautiful


    The family and church officials have essentially chosen to split the roles three ways. Cardinal O'Malley, because of his role as the archbishop of Boston, will technically preside over the funeral, but Fathers Monan and Hession, who had closer relationships with Senator Kennedy, will be far more visible to casual viewers of the liturgy. Monan will celebrate the Mass, which will include presiding over the congregation and reciting the prayers of the Mass and being at the center of the altar during the Eucharist. Hession will deliver the homily, and his task will be to take the readings of the day and apply them to the moment. This is a very typical arrangement, not only at large-scale funerals but also liturgies such as the first Mass of a new priest, in which a bishop will step aside to allow a close friend of the person being honored to celebrate the liturgy.

  • Chrism
    Posts: 697
    One of the reasons this Mass will be controversial is precisely liturgical. The funeral Mass has ceased to be seen as a sacrifice to God and a work of mercy for the deceased, and it has become a platform to honor the deceased sinner and his family. The epithet of "canonization" is too often not far from the mark. Restoring the Propers to the common practice of the Requiem Mass would have a profound impact on Catholics' understanding of the rite, and its correct place in our culture.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    Probably the Cardinal would be in the best position to comment on "The Impossible Dream", a song from the show Man of La Mancha, based on Cervantes' novel Don Quixote, inasmuch as his Ph.D. was in Spanish Lit.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    If Christ is "no respecter of persons" why do our cardinals feel the need to preside over "celebrity" funerals, or celebrity/pol funerals. Especially when the subject is of questionable fidelity to the church and her mission. Just appalling in the message it sends.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 697
    Details on the funeral mass and program:

    10:00 a.m.
    Music begins

    MOZART Clarinet Quintet
    Members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Malcolm Lowe, violin
    Alexander Velinzon, violin

    Cathy Basrak, viola
    Mihail Jojatu, cello
    William R. Hudgins, clarinet

    10:05 a.m.
    Extended Kennedy family arrives

    10:10 a.m.
    Distinguished visitors are seated

    10:15 a.m.
    The President, Vice President and former Presidents seated

    10:20 a.m.
    Mrs. Vicki Kennedy and Immediate Family arrive

    10:30 a.m.
    Funeral Procession Begins
    Entrance Hymn: “Holy God We Praise Thy Name”

    His Eminence Sean P. Cardinal O’Malley, OFM CAP, Archbishop of Boston
    Fr. J. Donald Monan, S.J., Chancellor, Boston College

    Fr. Gerry Creedon, Pastor, Saint Charles Borromeo Church, Arlington, VA
    Fr. Percival D’ Silva, Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Kensington, MD
    Rev. Mark R. Hession, Our Lady of Victory, Centerville, MA
    Rev. Donald MacMillian, Chaplain, Boston College
    Very Rev. Raymond Collins, C.SS.R. Pastor, Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Roxbury, MA

    Pall bearers:
    Kara Kennedy
    Edward M. Kennedy, Jr.
    Patrick J. Kennedy

    G. Curran Raclin, Jr.
    Caroline R. Raclin
    Caroline Kennedy
    Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
    Christopher Lawford
    Ed Michael Reggie
    Bobby Shriver
    Stephen E. Smith, Jr.

    Immediate family:

    Mrs. Victoria Kennedy
    Ted Kennedy, Jr.
    Kiki Kennedy
    Teddy Kennedy, II
    Kiley Kennedy
    Kara Kennedy
    Max Kennedy
    Grace Kennedy
    Patrick Kennedy

    Caroline Raclin
    Curran Raclin
    Edmund and Doris Reggie
    Mrs. Jean Kennedy Smith
    William Kennedy Smith
    Mrs. Ethel Kennedy

    First Reading:
    Curran Raclin, the Senator’s stepson
    Old Testament

    The Book of Wisdom 3:1-9

    Responsorial Psalm:
    Kara Kennedy
    Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 72

    Second Reading:
    Caroline Raclin, the Senator’s stepdaughter
    New Testament, Letter of Paul to the
    Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39


    Father Hession
    Matthew 25:31-32A, 34-40

    The Prayers of the Faithful:
    Kiki Kennedy
    Kiley Kennedy
    Grace Allen
    Max Allen
    Jack Schlossberg

    Robin Lawford
    Kym Smith
    Anthony Shriver
    Rory Kennedy
    Teddy M. Kennedy II

    Liturgy of the Eucharist
    The Senator’s grandchildren

    At Offertory:

    J.S. BACH Sarabande from Cello Suite No. 6
    Yo-Yo Ma, cello

    At Communion:
    FRANCK “Panis Angelicus”
    Placido Domingo, tenor
    Yo-Yo Ma, cello
    James David Christie, organ

    BRAHMS “Let Nothing Ever Grieve Thee”

    Tanglewood Festival Chorus
    John Oliver, conductor
    James David Christie, organ

    SHUBERT “Ave Maria”
    Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano
    James David Christie, organ

    Ted Kennedy, Jr.
    Patrick J. Kennedy

    President Barack Obama

    Final Commendation:
    His Eminence Sean P. Cardinal O’Malley
    Archbishop of Boston

    “America the Beautiful”

  • The authors of STTL must be in a tizzy.
    Where is the active participation of the people!
    Where is the Mass of Creation?
    Where is On Eagles Wings?

    This may bring a new model to Catholic funerals...classical music, well done.

    We'll know how blindly people accept this when they start asking for America The a funeral recessional.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Noel, awesome comments as always!
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    (Watching now) WOW what an amazing church! Such a shame it's in a bad location.

    Altar rails! Wonder if they were used earlier in the funeral (watching the Prez now)

    And finally the part I was waiting for - the organ sounds beautiful even over the ABC Webcast. Unfortunately, they're playing the hymn about 3x too fast! You're in an incredibly reverberant church, SLOW DOWN!!!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,872
    the usual free-for-all confusion over hi profile liturgies.
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    What a shame the only Latin was one sentence at the end by Cardinal O'Malley, and ordinary notsung at all. Oh well, at least we didn't hear Mass of Creation

  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    The church's immediate surroundings are not very pretty, but it's not hard to reach on foot; it's two blocks from the Green line trolley at Brigham Circle and the hospital district (Harvard Med School, Children's Hospital, Brigham Hospital, etc.) Here's a link to Google's "Street View". (You'll have to use your mouse to drag the photo and make the view pivot to see the church.)
  • Chrism
    Posts: 697
    It was a Low Mass, like for Jack.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 697
    Christopher Purdy has posted the Finale from the 1964 JFK Requiem on his blog. Here are the three posts:

  • braff
    Posts: 1
    Can someone identify for me the organ pieces played as recessional music or postludes at the end of the funeral broadcast?

    I have looked at 2-3 service leaflets online, but they are not listed.
    The first was such a stirring piece: its persistent melodic line was rendered with magnificent power. It reminded us that in the ceremonies of death we christians are exhorted not to grieve as men without hope but to be lifted in our spirits by the order and beauty that prevails in all he has created, the departed ( in this caase Sen Ted), as well as the various forms of tribute offered on the occasion (in this case, compelling music).
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    I'm glad I didn't watch the ceremony: I wouldn't have appreciated witnessing a Mass with no sung ordinary, and with the celebrant making deviations from the approved texts. (Prof. Ed Peters mentioned that on his blog today.)

    A friend tells me that the organist was Prof. James Christie of Oberlin; that would explain the fast hymn-playing in an unfamiliar church.

    Based on what I've read so far, it seems that no local church musicians were involved (except for any who might happen to be members of the Tanglewood chorus). I do hope that the parish organist at least got paid as is his right.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    I am also glad I didn't watch.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 697
    Older celebrants sometimes forget texts. I was impressed that he omitted the customary "sisters" at the Orate, Fratres.
  • Dittos to Richard and CW, took a walk.
    Can we retire the Franck and Schubert as the standard Catholic M.O. for big, televised American Masses?
    At least Wilco's choice (and mine for our Good Friday service this year!) made the order.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    If they sang "One bed, three bodies. Menage a trois..." it would be more representative of what one would actually find in most Catholic churches in the U.S. What did you choose for Good Friday?