When the Choir was scheduled to go on a tour hosted by Peter’s Way the music director got to go to Italy with another choir FOR FREE!! I went with a children’s choir from Texas. There was also a husband and wife music team (he directed and she played the organ) getting the “lay of the land”. Peter’s Way tour guide Marlie arranged for us to me James Goettsche, principal organist of the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican. We met at a rather large cafe in front of the Colosseo Metro Station. The cafe is a TOURIST TRAP – stay away from any food business around the Colosseum.The organist asked me when the choir was coming to sing. I told him the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. He said “Ash Wednesday – that’s when all the fun stops”. Well, here we are, although I rather enjoy Lent! Holy Church forbids playing the organ as a solo instrument and wants the volume to be kept low. I don’t use the reeds or the mixtures during Lent except on Laetare Sunday [Lent 4]. The Gloria is not sung until Holy Thursday, because Lent is over and we are celebrating the Triduum. The Offertory and Communion propers for Lent uses the same text: Scapulis suis. The Offertory is by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (?1525-1594). Here is the text:

The Lord shall defend thee under his wings,
and thou shalt be safe under his feathers:
his faithfulness and truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Ps.91)

The Communion also uses the same text. That is not usual. It is the only example of the same text being used for different parts of the Mass. The Church calls them Propers because they are proper to the Mass being celebrated. Here are the Propers: Introit; Gradual; Tract [in Lent]; Offertory; and Communion. The other part is called the Ordinary which can be changed or kept according to the needs of the local church. You can talk to me if you want more detail. The Ordinary is composed of: Kyrie; Gloria; Creed; Sanctus; Benedictus; and Agnus Dei.