>> write // chris trinidad's corde temporis: liner notes

Chapter One: Sacrament of Matrimony
1. Fiat Lux (Let There Be Light)
2. Taste and See (Psalm 34)
3. Prayer for Generosity
4. Anima Christi (Soul of Christ)
5. Suscipe (Receive, O Lord)
6. Ubi Caritas (Where Charity and Love Are, God Is There)

Chapter Two: Responsorial Psalms
7. Let My Prayer Come Before You, O Lord (Psalm 88)
8. The Salvation of the Just Comes From the Lord (Psalm 37)
9. The Lord Comes to Judge the Earth (Psalm 96)
10. O Lord, Hear My Prayer and Let My Cry Come to You (Psalm 102)
11. All You Nations, Praise the Lord (Psalm 117)
12. With Delight I Rejoice in the Lord (Psalm 13 | Isaiah 61.10)
13. I Will Walk With Blameless Heart (Psalm 101)
14. The Heavens Proclaim the Glory of God (Psalm 19)
15. Blessed Are Those You Instruct, O Lord (Psalm 94)
16. The Lord of Hosts Is With Us (Psalm 46)

Chapter Three: Ignatian Prayers
17. Presente (We Remember)
18. Prayer for Generosity
19. Anima Christi (Soul of Christ)
20. Suscipe (Receive, O Lord)

Chapter Four: Lenten Introits
21. From Every Age, O Lord (Psalm 90.1-2)
22. Give Light to My Eyes, Lord (Psalm 13.3-4)
23. I Call Upon You, God (Psalm 17.6 and 8)
24. Come to the Waters, All Who Thirst (Isaiah 55.1)
25. Put Your Hope in the Lord (Psalm 26.14)
26. False Witnesses Have Stood Up Against Me (Psalm 26.12)

Chris Trinidad: voice (1-6); piano (7-13, 15, 17-20); keyboards (2, 7, 9-14, 16-26); fretless bass guitar (7, 8, 13, 15); percussion (9, 12-15, 21-26); babendil (21-26); sarunay (21-26); bell lyra (7, 8, 13, 20); melodica (15); octavina (15)

Catherine Cheng (11, 13, 17); Therese Gorman (9, 15, 17); Radmar Jao, SJ (17-20); Jennifer Owens (7, 12, 17); Conway Tan (10, 14); David Zelenka (8, 16, 21-26): voice

Jordan Kirkner: violin (1, 4)

Produced, recorded, and mixed by Chris Trinidad from 7 January 2015-19 June 2017 at Elemental MusicWorks (Pinole, CA)
Mastered by Andro Ernst on 19 July 2017 at Art of Ears Studios (Hayward, CA)

Design by Peter Meredith
Photos by Chris Trinidad
Paintings by Alfonso Vela


Experimental Liturgical Music
In 2008, I enrolled at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (now the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University at Berkeley). I served as the community's liturgical music coordinator, applying the concepts I was learning in my Liturgical Studies master's degree program. Every Tuesday evening at 5:15, you would find me at the piano helping lead the community in worship.

At first, it was nerve-racking to have professors, lecturers, and fellow theologians sitting in the assembly. But it was the perfect place to experiment with creating liturgical music. This was the campus where the Saint Louis Jesuits convened in 1974 to write the songs that would become a regular part of the worship life of the Catholic Church in the United States. And the San Francisco Bay Area is home to some of the Church's most beloved contemporary liturgical composers, including Janet Sullivan Whitaker, Bob Hurd, Ricky Manalo, Jesse Manibusan, and Dan Schutte. Though I don't consider myself among those greats, I was eager to share my music with the community's professors, lecturers, and theologians.

I am an experimental composer. While I aim for the the "full, active, and conscious participation" of the faithful in worship, I am also interested in pushing boundaries. I have an affinity for the diversity of expression in liturgical music, and I feel that liturgical composers have a prophetic calling to hint at the possibilities of how the world could be. In my work, I try to "make new what once was old," showing that there is wisdom in looking back in order to move forward. Many of these compositions make liberal use of Gregorian chant melodies set in a contemporary style. I understand that not all of the music in this collection may be suitable for any particular worshipping assembly. That is alright by me. I am content to let the music stand for itself. If any of it is appropriate for your worship, that's a wonderful bonus.

I recorded this collection between January 2015 and June 2017. I had fun experimenting with an array of sounds using piano, synthesizers, fretless bass guitar, percussion, Filipino indigenous and traditional instruments, samples, and even morse code! I aimed to document the compositions from this unique time, to bring together colleagues in ministry, and to share the music with other communities.

Acknowledgments
My appreciation goes to all who have contributed to this project: Catherine Cheng, Therese Gorman, Radmar Jao, SJ, Jennifer Owens, Conway Tan, David Zelenka, Jordan Kirkner, Peter Meredith, and Andro Ernst. I am indebted to the communities at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University and Holy Names University for their openness to my music. Thanks to my former De La Salle High School (Concord) choir student Luke Giuntoli, whose Latin expertise was helpful in selecting an album title. Special thanks to my family in British Columbia and California for their constant support, and to my father-in-law Alfonso Vela, whose painting graces this album's cover. Finally, extra special thanks to my wife and life partner Pia, whose patience is boundless and who inspires me to create everyday.

Chapter One: Sacrament of Matrimony
When Pia and I got married, I composed original music for our ceremony. The songs were largely a cappella, inspired by groups like Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, the King's Singers, Boyz II Men, Rajaton, the Real Group, and the Singers Unlimited.

At our service, these compositions were sung by members of the Saringhimig Singers, a choral group formed by Maestro George Hernandez. For this recording, I sang all the parts myself. Jordan Kirkner, my colleague at De La Salle High School, played violin on Fiat Lux and Anima Christi.

I dedicate this chapter to Pia, who patiently withstood many wrong notes while I composed these songs in the wee hours of the morning. (Some of those notes are probably still wrong on this album!) Pia, like the God we believe in, continually guides, supports, and loves me without condition. She gives me confidence to continue my creative work in music and beyond.

Fiat Lux (Let There Be Light)
For our processional, I adapted a melody from Deus Israel, the original introit of the Nuptial Tridentine Mass. (This was the wedding Mass that Catholics celebrated before the Second Vatican Council prompted changes in the liturgy.) Chant is generally devoid of regular metrical rhythm, so I fit the melody to 3/4 (waltz) time. Thankfully, no one actually waltzed down the aisle. The second section of this piece elaborates on a small melodic idea while the chords provide forward momentum—to ensure that the wedding party moves along! The final section, characteristic of Gregorian introits, is a doxology ("Glory Be To The Father") in four-part harmony. During this section, Pia arrived at the front sanctuary. We knelt at the altar in front of our family and friends, professing our commitment to God and one another.

The title Fiat Lux comes from Genesis 1.3, and is commonly translated as "let there be light!" It is a nod to Oakland's Cathedral of Christ the Light, where we were married on June 26, 2010. The cathedral is a monumental work of art, a modern worship space that marries modern theology to contemporary architecture. It features symbols that are important to Catholic liturgy and prayer life. While you are sitting in the nave, you can look up to see the oculus (eye), perhaps symbolizing the connection of alpha and omega—Christ as the beginning and the end. Alternately, we can see the oculus as a birth canal symbolizing rebirth in Christ. Or we may even imagine it as the Vesica Pisces, noting the fish as a symbol of early Christian communities.

The cathedral is illuminated by natural light, reminding us that Christ is the "light of all nations." It also features a striking light-filled image of Jesus set high behind the altar and above the tabernacle. This image was borrowed from from portal of France's Chartres Cathedral and digitally transferred onto perforations in aluminum panels. When light comes through the window behind the image, we literally see Christ as the light.

I wanted my music to reflect and compliment the cathedral's brilliant imagery. May the light of God illuminate our path together, from now until the end.

Taste and See (Psalm 34)
Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall ever be in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the Lord;
The lowly will hear me and be glad.

Glorify the Lord with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the Lord and he answers me,
and delivered me from all my fears.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out; the Lord heard,
and from his distress he saved him.

The angel of the Lord encamps,
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the Lord is;
Blessed the one who takes refuge in him.


For the responsorial psalm, Pia and I chose Psalm 34. I again borrowed melodic fragments from the Nupital Tridentine Mass—this time from a Gradual (the chant between the readings) called Uxor Tua.

Gregorian melodies are often classified as syllabic or melismatic. Syllabic melodies are simple, with each syllable assigned to an individual note. Melismatic melodies are more ornate, with one syllable stretching out over multiple notes.

For the verses, I borrowed a melismatic excerpt from Uxor Tua that falls into two sections—a fall, then a rise. This fits naturally with the text of the psalm, whose verses are divided into two sections that reinforce each other's message. For example, Psalm 34.2: "I will bless the Lord at all times" (melodic fall); "his praise shall ever be in my mouth" (melodic rise).

For the congregation's sung refrain ("Taste and see the goodness of the Lord"), I borrowed a more syllabic excerpt from the Uxor Tua.

Prayer for Generosity
Lord, teach me generosity.
Teach me to serve, as you deserve,
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To work and not to ask for gifts,
Save that of knowing that I do your will.


This simple prayer is traditionally (and mistakenly) attributed to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order. It asks Christ to inspire us to be generous without expecting a reward. The origins of the prayer are unknown, but the text can be found in many collections of Ignatian spirituality. For our wedding, I set the prayer to a song that accompanied the presentation of gifts and preparation of the communion table.

Anima Christi (Soul of Christ)
Soul of Christ, be my sanctification.
Body of Christ, be my salvation.
Blood of Christ, fill all my veins.
Water of Christ's side, wash out my stains.
Passion of Christ, my comfort be.
O good Jesus, listen to me.
In your wounds, there I would hide.
Never let me leave your side.
Guard me, should the foe assail me.
Call me when my life should fail me.
Draw me close to you above.
With your saints I sing your love,
From now 'til the end. Amen.


This prayer is also often attributed to Saint Ignatius, as it serves as the introduction for his prayer manual Spiritual Exercises. Its true author is unknown. Its rich imagery reminds us of Christ's unselfish gift, focusing on his purity and passion. The version above is based on a translation by Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th-century English-Anglican convert to Catholicism. At our wedding, it accompanied the communion procession.

Suscipe (Receive, O Lord)
Receive, O Lord, all my liberty.
Take my memory, my will, and my understanding.
Here's what I have, and take all I hold,
All you've given me, I return it all to you.
I surrender ... I surrender to you,
To be governed ... to be governed by your will.
I ask for grace, and love of you.
This is all I need. I ask for nothing more.


The Suscipe prayer is traditionally used at the conclusion of the four-week Spiritual Exercises. During a meditation known as the Contemplation to Attain Love, Saint Ignatius implores retreatants to consider how much God has done in their lives. They are invited to respond with the Suspice. During our wedding, I used the prayer in a song that provided a moment of meditation and thanksgiving after communion.

Ubi Caritas (Where Charity and Love Are, God Is There)
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exultemus, et in ipso iucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur:
Ne nos mente dividamur, caveamus.
Cessent iurgia maligna, cessent lites.
Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul quoque cum beatis videamus,
Glorianter vultum tuum, Christe Deus:
Gaudium quod est immensum, atque probum,
Saecula per infinita saeculorum.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ's love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in God.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God,
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
As we are gathered into one body,
Beware, lest we be divided in mind.
Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease,
And may Christ our God be in our midst.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
And may we with the saints also,
See thy face in glory, O Christ our God,
The joy that is immense and good,
Unto the ages through infinite ages.


Ubi Caritas was likely written around the year 800 in a Benedictine monastery in Reichenau, Germany. It has been set by innumerable composers. French composer Maurice Duruflé retained the overall shape of the original Gregorian chant. American Richard Proulx wrote a beautiful accompaniment to that same melody. Jacques Berthier of Taizé adapted the text and melody to suit that community's ecumenical, contemplative, and meditative worship.

Ubi Caritas is often used as the antiphonal chant on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week to accompany the washing of feet or offertory procession. The image of Jesus washing his disciples' feet is particularly striking because in his day, foot-washing was generally performed by servants. Jesus taught us to be humble, treat each other with love, and offer goodwill to each other.

Pia and I used Ubi Caritas as our recessional song, so I set the original melody to a vigorous rhythm. I wanted to joyfully express the mandatum—Jesus' "new commandment" to love one another.

Chapter Two: Responsorial Psalms
These are 10 psalms I set to music for the Tuesday services at the Jesuit School of Theology. The Church assigns a different responsorial psalm to every day of the calendar, including weekdays. I chose to honour these psalms by setting them to new music.

I tried to make each song's rhythm as close to natural speech as possible. My choral training reminded me that if we put an accent on a certain syllable when speaking, we should do the same when singing. For the sections that would be sung by the whole congregation, I aimed to make the melodies as accessible as possible. For the sections sung by the cantor, however, I tried to be melodically and harmonically adventurous.

There is some precedent for this selective adventurousness in traditional church music. Before the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, most of the music for the Mass was divided into two categories: the ordinaries and the propers.

Ordinaries were sung by the people in the pews. These texts were the same for each mass, with simpler melodies that changed only a few times a year according to the liturgical season. The ordinaries include the Kyrie ("Lord, have mercy"), Gloria ("Glory to God in the highest"), Credo (creed), Sanctus ("Holy, holy, holy"), and Agnus Dei ("Lamb of God").

Propers were generally sung by trained cantors and choirs. The proper texts were different each day, and the melodies were often more elaborate. They included the Introit (which accompanies the entrance procession), Gradual (the chant between the readings), Alleluia (the acclamation before the Gospel), Offertory (which accompanies the presentation of the gifts), and Communion.

I'm lucky to have six talented singers joining me on the adventurous melodies I composed. Radmar Jao, SJ, was my cantor and confidant for many of the Tuesday Masses at the Jesuit School of Theology. He calls my compositions "Trinidadian"—and not in the Afro-Caribbean sense. A trained vocalist, Radmar enjoyed the challenge of singing whatever I placed in front of him. (At least, that is what he told me!) He is featured in the third chapter.

Jennifer Owens often cantored for many of those Tuesday evening Masses, taking over as music coordinator when I graduated. She is currently a specialist in mujerista theology and a doctoral candidate at Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union. She's also a remarkable singer whose sight-reading skills are without parallel.

Conway Tan and Catherine Cheng are amazing musicians whom I met while serving as liturgical music minister at Holy Names University. They were international graduate students in music education and kindly offered their talents as cantors for HNU's Sunday evening Masses. Conway is from Malaysia, and Catherine from the Philippines.

Conway introduced me to Therese Gorman. She is a pastoral musician with whom I had worked as pianist at Saint Theresa Catholic Church in Oakland and Saint John Vianney Catholic Church in Walnut Creek. She deepened my understanding of how liturgical music can help support a vibrant worshipping community.

While working at Saint John Vianney, I met David Zelenka, who is in demand as a cantor, soloist, and teacher. He is featured on two psalms in this section, and also on all of the Lenten introits in the final chapter.

Let My Prayer Come Before You, O Lord (Psalm 88)
Psalm 88.2a | 2-3; 4-5; 6; 7-8
Written for the Memorial of Saint Jerome (Year 2 | Lectionary 456), debuted September 30, 2008

Let my prayer come before you, O Lord.

O Lord, my God, by day I cry out;
At night I clamor in your presence.
Let my prayer come before you;
Incline your ear to my call for help.

For my soul is surfeited with troubles;
My life draws near to the nether world.
I am numbered with those who go down to the pit;
I am a man without strength.

My couch is among the dead,
Like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom You remember no longer,
And who are cut off from your care.
You have plunged me into the bottom of the pit,
Into the dark abyss.
Upon me your wrath lies heavy,
And with all your billows, you overwhelm me.


This is a song of lamentation and supplication. The psalmist uses strong and striking imagery, calling out God to heed a prayer which feels unanswered. There are times when we may feel like we've hit rock bottom, and we may even cry out in pain to quench our suffering. Even in our darkest moments, we turn toward the God who answers our cries.

The Salvation of the Just Comes From The Lord (Psalm 37)
Psalm 37.39a | 3-4; 18 and 23; 27 and 29
Written for 32nd Tuesday in Ordinary Time (Year 2 | Lectionary 492), debuted November 11, 2008

The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Trust in the Lord and do good,
That you may dwell in the house and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
And God will grant you your heart's requests.

The Lord watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
Their inheritance lasts forever.
By the Lord are the steps of those made firm,
And God approves their ways.

Turn from evil and do good,
That you may abide forever.
The just shall possess the land
And dwell in it forever.


How should we live our lives? How do we keep our faith in the face of insurmountable odds? The "wholehearted" embody right living, right action, and trust in God. As the psalmist proclaims, "their inheritance lasts forever." In the midst of trial and tribulation, we are reminded to continue on as God grants us our "hearts' requests."

The Lord Comes To Judge The Earth (Psalm 96)
Psalm 96.13b | 10; 11-12; 13
Written for 34th Tuesday in Ordinary Time (Year 2 | Lectionary 504), debuted November 25, 2008

The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Say among nations the Lord is king.
He has made the world firm,
Not to be moved.
He governs the peoples with equity.

Let the heavens and the earth rejoice.
Let the sea and what fills it resound.
Let the plains be joyful, and all that is in them.
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult,

Before the Lord, for he comes,
For he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice,
And the peoples with his constancy.

Whom shall we praise in return for life's graces? This psalm helps us grow in gratitude for a world that is "charged with the grandeur of God," as Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins writes. It is indeed a good world, and the sea, plains, and trees of the forest exult. The whole of creation is oriented toward reflecting God's inherent goodness.

O Lord, Hear My Prayer And Let My Cry Come To You (Psalm 102)
Psalm 102.1 | 2-3; 16-18; 19-21
Written for the 5th Tuesday of Lent (Year 1 | Lectionary 252), debuted March 31, 2009

O Lord, hear my prayer and let my cry come to you.

O Lord, hear my prayer and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me. In the day when I call,
Answer me quickly.

The nations shall revere your name, O Lord,
And all the kings of the earth, your glory,
When the Lord has rebuilt Zion and appeared in his glory,
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
And not despised their prayer.

Let this be written for the generation to come,
And let God's future creatures praise the Lord:
"The Lord looked down from his holy height,
From heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
To release those doomed to die."


The psalmist implores God to hear their cry. Individual lamentation isn't a selfish complaint, but rather a cry for solidarity and God's acknowledgment of suffering. To suffer alongside someone is the root of compassion. Lamentation twists and turns toward praise, becoming an acceptance of God's glory despite hardship. The psalmist invokes time, imploring that God's mercy "be written for the generation to come, and let God's future creatures praise the Lord." The psalmist has faith that their cry will alleviate suffering and echo through history.

All You Nations, Praise The Lord (Psalm 117)
Psalm 117.1a | 1b-3; 4-5; 6-7
Written for the 4th Tuesday of Easter (Year 1 | Lectionary 280), debuted May 5, 2009

All you nations, praise the Lord.

His foundation upon the holy mountains the Lord loves;
The gates of Zion, more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you, O city of God!

I tell of Egypt and Babylon among those who know the Lord;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia: "This man was born there."
And of Zion they shall say: "One and all were born in her;
And he who established her is the most high Lord."

They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
"This man was born there."
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
"My home is within you."


This psalm is a canticle of Zion, a hymn of praise for the foundation where we build the "city of God." No matter where in this world we are born, can we see that the gift of Mother Earth unites all people? "One and all were born in her; and he who established her is the most high Lord." Can we live with a sense of gratitude for our home? We say that home is where the heart is. The psalmist proclaims, "my home is within you."

With Delight I Rejoice In The Lord (Psalm 13 | Isaiah 61.10)
Psalm 13; Isaiah 61.10 | 6ab; 6c
Written for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Lectionary 636), debuted September 8, 2009

With delight I rejoice in the Lord.

Though I trusted in your mercy,
Let my heart rejoice in your salvation.
Let me sing of the Lord,
"God has been good to me."


How often do we give thanks for both our challenges and our triumphs? This is an abbreviated version of a psalm of lamentation. I omitted the first five verses, where the psalmist asks God how long one must endure suffering. Instead, we hear sorrow turn to joy as the psalmist's heart rejoices in God's salvation. This is the responsorial psalm for the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I wonder if Mary took joy in the responsibility of bearing the Christ child. After finding out that she was pregnant, I wonder if she cried out, "God has been good to me!"

I Will Walk With Blameless Heart (Psalm 101)
Psalm 101.2c | 1b-2ab; 2cd-3ab; 5; 6
Written for the 24th Tuesday in Ordinary Time (Year 1 | Lectionary 444), debuted September 15, 2009

I will walk with blameless heart.

Of mercy and judgment I will sing.
To you, O Lord, I will sing praise.
I will persevere in the way of integrity.
When will you come to me?

I will walk with blameless heart, within my house.
I will not set before my eyes any base thing.

Whoever slanders their neighbours in secret,
Them will I destroy. The one with haughty eyes,
And puffed-up heart, I will not endure.

My eyes are upon the faithful of the land,
That they may dwell with me.
The ones who walk in the path of integrity,
Shall be in my service.


To "walk with blameless heart" is only possible when we travel along the dirt road of humility. We reject humility when we cast a gaze toward another "with haughty eyes and puffed-up heart." Humus is the etymological root of humility, and walking with blameless heart requires us to be grounded to the earth.

My students often say to me that "integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking." Integrity is a state of completion or wholeness. To be less than whole is to live in disintegration. Perhaps when we "slander our neighbours in secret," we stray from the "path of integrity."

The Heavens Proclaim The Glory of God (Psalm 19)
Psalm 19.2 | 2-3; 4-5
Written for the 28th Tuesday in Ordinary Time (Year 1 | Lectionary 468), debuted October 13, 2009

The heavens proclaim the glory of God!

The heavens declare the glory of God,
And the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word today,
And night to night imparts knowledge.

Not a word nor a discourse whose voice is not heard,
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
And to the ends of the world, their message.


The morse code you hear on this track spells out the refrain: "The heavens proclaim the glory of God!" This proclamation is a daring witness to the magnificence of all of creation. The firmament, or the arch of creation, reveals the handiwork of the creator. The arc of time—from day until night—imparts the knowledge of God's word.

Blessed Are Those You Instruct, O Lord (Psalm 94)
Psalm 94.12 | 12-13a; 14-15; 18-19
Written for the 6th Tuesday in Ordinary Time (Year 2 | Lectionary 336), debuted February 16, 2010

Blessed are those you instruct, O Lord.

Blessed are those you instruct, O Lord,
Whom by your law you teach,
Giving them rest from evil days.

For the Lord will not cast off his people,
Nor abandon his inheritance;
For the righteous shall again be with justice,
And all the upright of heart shall follow it.

When I say, "My foot is slipping,"
Your mercy, Lord, sustains me.
When cares abound within me,
Your comfort gladdens my soul.


Like the loving parent who never wishes to see her children hurt, God teaches us the right path. When we heed the wisdom of our teachers, we gain more than knowledge. When we stay on the right path and steer clear of foolish behavior, we are given "rest from evil days." When we stray from the path, God's mercy sustains us like a loving parent in her children's time of need.

The Lord of Hosts Is With Us (Psalm 46)
Psalm 46.8 | 2-3; 5-6; 8-9
Written for the 4th Tuesday of Lent (Year 2 | Lectionary 245), debuted March 16, 2010

The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

God is our refuge and our strength,
An ever-present help in distress.
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken,
And mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.

There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
The holy swelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed.
God will help it at the break of dawn.

The Lord of Hosts is with us;
Our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! Behold the deed of the Lord,
The astounding things he has wrought on earth.


Some might imagine the "Lord of Hosts" as a terrifying sight: God as the vengeful commender-in-chief with an army of angels. But look again: The psalmist refers to the Lord of Hosts as being "with us." Perhaps the psalmist is prophetically referring to Jesus, our Emmanuel ("God with us"). Can we imagine the Lord of Hosts as the Prince of Peace?

Chapter Three: Ignatian Prayers
I was introduced to Ignatian spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology. I was fortunate to work alongside seminarians, lay people, and academics who were generous with their wisdom and time. I dedicate this chapter to the many Jesuits who kindly accompanied me during this time in my life, many of whom presided at those Tuesday evening liturgies.

Presente (We Remember), debuted November 16, 2009
Let us remember those who gave their lives for the cause of peace in El Salvador.

Ignacio Ellacuría, we remember!
Segundo Montes, we remember!
Amando López, we remember!
Joaquin López y López, we remember!
Ignacio Martín Baró, we remember!
Juan Ramon Moreno, we remember!

Elba Ramos, we remember!
Celina Ramos, we remember!

Dorothy Kazel, we remember!
Jean Donovan, we remember!
Ita Ford, we remember!
Maura Clarke, we remember!

Oscar Romero, we remember!

For all victims of violence, we remember!
For all God's faithful servants, we remember!
For love, hope, and justice, we remember!

Let us remember those who gave their lives for the cause of peace in El Salvador.


On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Óscar Romero was killed by an assassin as he celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Hospital of Divine Providence in San Salvador, El Salvador.

On December 2, 1980, four American churchwomen - two Maryknoll missionaries, an Ursuline sister, and a lay woman - were beaten, raped, and killed by members of the Salvadoran National Guard.

On November 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and their housekeeper's daughter were murdered by members of the US-trained Atlacatl Battalion at Universidad Centroamerica in El Salvador.

Several decades later, the Jesuit School of Theology celebrated a Mass in honour of the countless precious lives lost in the Salvadoran Civil War. I composed this simple litany as a gathering song for that 2009 service.

Seeing the biopic Romero at age 10 was the first time that I felt a visceral understanding of the problems of the economically poor, of marginalized people, and of social injustice. In 2013, while on faculty at Saint Mary's College High School in Berkeley, CA, I accompanied students on an immersion experience to El Salvador. In preparation, I read about Salvadoran history, US intervention, and the many leaders and martyrs who sought to help the economically poor and marginalized. These heroes' stories continue to resonate today. There are no winners in war, and the innocent are often caught in the crossfire.

This song's main melody is borrowed from the Roman Rite's Litany of the Saints, and the harmony and introductory melody are my own. At the beginning of the song, we hear the station ID from the rebel radio network, Radio Venceremos. We also hear Blessed Oscar Romero's voice commanding the military and police: "In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you. I beg you. I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression!" Interspersed are recordings of actual gunfire and explosions from Radio Venceremos broadcasts. The song ends with Romero's last words before he was assassinated while celebrating Mass.

Prayer for Generosity, debuted March 9, 2010
Anima Christi (Soul of Christ), debuted March 2, 2010
Suscipe (Receive, O Lord), debuted April 28, 2009

These are pared-down versions of selected songs from chapters one and two. They feature a single voice and keyboard accompaniment. These are closer to the original versions of the songs, before I added the vocal harmonies.

Chapter Four: Lenten Introits
From Every Age, O Lord (Psalm 90.1-2), debuted March 3, 2009
Give Light to My Eyes, Lord (Psalm 13.3-4), debuted March 10, 2009
I Call Upon You, God (Psalm 17.6, 17.8), debuted March 17, 2009
Come to The Waters, All Who Thirst (Isaiah 55.1), debuted March 16, 2010
Put Your Hope in the Lord (Psalm 26.14), debuted March 31, 2009
False Witnesses Have Stood Up Against Me (Psalm 26.12), debuted April 7, 2009

For the Jesuit School of Theology's observance of Lent, I wrote a series of introits to encourage prayerful reflection. Lent was perhaps not the best time for such experimental liturgical music, and I thanked the assembly for its patience. I hoped, in the spirit of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, to "open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical time or festivity, and accompany the procession of the priest and ministers."

Deep into my liturgical studies, I had become fascinated by Eastern liturgical traditions and their use of the Trisagion: "Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal One, have mercy on us." This acclamation is chanted during the great entrance in many Eastern Catholic and Orthodox traditions. (Catholics hear the Trisagion during the Reproaches on Good Friday.) I hoped singing the Trisagion would remind us of the penitential character of Lent and of the journey toward the Easter Triduum, the height of the liturgical year.

Each of these songs begins with a Trisagion sung first by the cantor, then by the choir, and then by all gathered. Next the choir sings the entrance antiphon psalm verse proper to the day, as dictated by the Roman Missal. Then we use a portion of the Trisagion melody to sing a doxology: "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit." Then we use a portion of the psalm melody to sing the second part of the doxology: "As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen." To conclude, all gathered repeat the Trisagion a final time.


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