Culture: December 2009 Archives

What News This Bitter Night?

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     What news, what news this bitter night,

     When all is shuttered in the gloom?

No news except a baby born,

Who finds within an ox's stall his narrow room.

     What men are these who hurry past?

     What wonder do they run to see?

Shepherds who heart the herald song,

Who haste in stable to adore the mystery.

     What child is this who, sleeping, makes

     The manger throne his resting place?

None but the King of heaven high,

Born into dying to redeem our fallen race!

      What shall I bring to honor Him?

      What homage pay, what poor gift give?

Naught but your heard which, dead in sin,

Finds in this Child redeeming love---and strength to live!

The poem is by the late Dr. Henry Letterman, longtime professor of English at Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, IL. Dr. Richard Hillert, of the same institution, put this poem to music for Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest, IL. It was recorded by the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter's in the Loop in 1992.

Harlem Boys Choir died

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The New York Times reports today that famed and decorated Harlem Boys Choir died. Founded by Dr. Walter Turnball in 1968, the choir had a pretty good run by singing for presidents, foreign and domestic and for Pope John Paul II. Dr. Turnbull died in 2007 and with so did the choir but apparently few people knew this fact outside a select group. Read the obit.

Can't we find a group of benefactors to keep the choir running???

Every so often something interesting happens in the brutish lives we live. Tuesday night was one of those times, at a seminary no less, that we had an interesting conversation about something many of us knew nothing about: stars, aliens and the connection with faith. We had a visit from Jesuit Father David Brown whose work is at the Vatican's Observatory. Funny that David and I are classmates but our journeys took us in different directions. Of course, he went up...that is, he studies the stars and I just went...

As a coinky-dinky, Stephen Colbert chatted with the Vatican astronomer, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, about extraterrestrial life. Who would have thought that the seminary and Mr. Colbert were doing the same stuff: thinking about life beyond the present moment.

Watch the interview here...

alien priest.jpg

9 lessons 2009.jpgJoin the Dominican Friars of Saint Catherine of Siena Church & Priory for a Candlelight Lessons and Carols, featuring the Master Singers of Archmere Academy and the Choir of the Church of the Holy Child Jesus. David J. Ikfovits will conduct the choirs.  The organist will be Father Jordan Kelly, O.P.

The Lessons and Carols will be held on December 12, 2009 at 7:00 pm at the Church of Saint Catherine of Siena (411 East 68th Street, New York City). The favor of your reply is requested on or before December 7.  Please call 212-988-8300, or email your reply.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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This page is a archive of entries in the Culture category from December 2009.

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