Jazzing up the Mass in San Jose

ValLimar Jansen

St. Joseph Cathedral Basilica in San Jose will feature jazz Masses on Saturday, Aug. 11, and Sunday, Aug. 12, according to the cathedral’s website.

The Masses are part of the Aug. 10-12 San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, billed by its promoters as “the hottest event of the summer featuring a stellar lineup of international stars, emerging artists and regional favorites playing straight-ahead jazz, blues, salsa, Latin, R&B, and more!” and as “the biggest live music event in Silicon Valley.”

Under the heading “Jazz Masses with
Frank and ValLimar Jansen,” an item on the cathedral website notes the Masses are scheduled for “August 11th at 4:30 mass” and “August 12th at 11:30 mass.”

Later on Aug. 12, the Jansens will perform a musical homage to Ethel Waters in a program entitled “Sweet Mama Stringbean” at the San Pedro Square Theater. The cathedral website offers the following details about the show:

“Ethel Waters (1896-1977) was the daughter of a 12-year-old rape victim. Ethel grew up unsupervised on the streets of Philadelphia. She sang and danced at church functions and made her way into Black vaudeville in 1917.

Appearing first in Harlem nightclubs and then crossing over into the “white time” vaudeville circuit, she became a celebrated blues singer and starred in 12 Broadway productions, ultimately becoming one of the highest paid entertainers in America. Harold Arlen wrote the song “Stormy Weather” specifically for her. She became the first African-American female to star on a national radio show and a TV series, and was nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy. Ms. Waters became a born again Christian and toured with the Billy Graham Crusade in the last decades of her life.

“ValLimar Jansen portrays Ethel Waters in the show. Jansen is herself noted for her vocal performances of jazz, pop, gospel and contemporary Christian music. She holds degrees from California State University San Bernardino and University of California Santa Barbara.”

“Maybe you’re familiar with her from one of the many liturgical and pastoral conferences she attends throughout the country,” says the spiritandsong.com website of ValLimar Jansen. “She has been the cantor for several jazz liturgies and closing liturgies at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. She has served as a cantor, principal vocalist, lector and workshop presenter at the San Jose Jazz Festival, the Sacramento Jazz Festival, NPM conferences, the National Encuentro Conference, the National Jubilee Justice Conference, the Los Angeles Liturgy Conference, the East Coast Conference, and many other major events.”

“Please join other Catholic Young Adults for the San Jose Jazz Festival and the Jazz Mass (at 4:30 pm in St. Joseph Cathedral),” says an entry on the San Jose diocesan homepage. “You can meet us at the Cathedral at 1 p.m. if you want to attend the Festival and Mass or at 4 pm if you just want to attend the Mass.”

“The many natures of jazz, both spiritual and spirited, are brought out in special musical liturgies in San Jose’s gorgeously-restored Cathedral,” notes an entry on the Jazz Festival’s website. “Held for the first time over 10 years ago, this celebration will be an inspiring part of your day, and illustrates the power of live music to build community.”

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph
is located at 80 South Market St. in San Jose.


  1. The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento has hosted an event of this type for decades. I question its appropriateness. Etymologically the word means ‘arousal’. It is an unfortunate part of the history of the musical form that it arose in the context of the institution of the bordello. ‘Nothing unclean may enter into heaven.’ The Holy is that which is kept separate from the profane.

    • The online website to the Basilica of St. Joseph has sacred music playing when you enter it.
      But then, as you read about the entertainers and clergy and staff, you get the impression that there is a bit too much emphasis placed on titles and education. Not that that there’s anything wrong with an education or a title, but liberals do go on about themselves more than on Jesus.

  2. Disgusting. Secular music has no place in the Catholic Church. It is bringing the world and Satan into the church.

    • Jim McCrea says:

      Have you heard Dave Brukeck’s jazz mass? What about it is bringing the world and satan into the church? Have you heard Misa Luba? Misa Criolla? Misa Flamenca? Your narrowness of outlook is far from “catholic.”

      • Sorry, Jim. but it is your attitude towards a secular style of music being appropriate in a mass that is not Catholic. Patrick is VERY Catholic, indeed.

      • scragsma says:

        I’m with you, Jim. Though other music styles shouldn’t be used routinely, it’s entirely appropriate to incorporate them in the Mass for special occasions such as that in this article.

    • Totally agree with you, Patrick. We have lost our sense of the Sacred.

    • maybe if satan gets invited to church, he’ll change his evil ways.

    • Mary Ann says:

      I agree also with Patrick and James……we have not only lost our sense of Sacredness, but made a mockery of the Mass! Holiness and Reverence is what the Catholic Church is all about, and I doubt this is what they are potraying! I am sure Satan is having a field day with those who have lost their way and their sense of Catholicism! May their eyes be open before it is too late!

  3. No, do NOT jazz up the Mass. At Mass there should be as few distractions as possible. Those in attendance should be focused on the sacrifice of the Mass, not on whether the music is jazzy or new enough. For jazz afficianados, go to a concert or a club. Church should be different. This is why we have traditional music or solemn chanting so that our thoughts and prayers are directed toward the sacrifice of the Mass. For some of us, it can be difficult at times to keep our thoughts from straying, without the additional problem of jazzy music. Recalling the rare times when I have attended a youth Mass or where there was loud guitar music and drums, my thoughts often went to how soon I could escape the cacophony.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you. The Holy Mass is all about Jesus. I’m sure adding jazz and popular entertainers to the Mass will bring in more people, but that novelty is wrong in the church, it is better in a concert hall or park.

      Pope Benedict is right to bring back sacred music in the Catholic Mass.
      I like jazz, but I love the Mass and the Holy Mass is no place for priests to bring in something that makes the music more desirable than the liturgical praise.
      There is a place for music, there is a place for sacred prayer. A quite place, a longing to be with Christ, worshiping Him alone, with sacred music that is proven to raise the heart and mind to God.

      The local Bishop should have something to say about keeping the Mass as a sacred worship of Jesus in the church where worshipers come to worship Him and sing for Him and to receive Him with a recollected mind and heart, giving thanks and singing with joyful sacred music.

  4. Here we go, as some say, more springtime. Bring on the clowns and carnival rides. Have we forgotten what the mass is ?

  5. Mass is not intended to be entertainment.

    Go back to Gregorian Chant as requested by the Pope.
    This Diocese needs a new Bishop who is concerned about bringing people closer to God, and Saving Souls.

    Some Bishops seem to prefer the Protestant forms of worship, and foist it upon their Flock.

  6. Canisius says:

    Further evidence of our Catholic identity being demolished in past 45 years

  7. Father Karl says:

    I think it is a scandal to play secular music not only during Mass, but anytime in a Catholic Church. Wild, barbaric music is not appropriate for Catholic worship. Despite what the Holy Father has said, and the decrees that have come from the Vatican, these abuses will continue. As a result, more and more Catholics will leave Holy Mother Church and join other churches, or become agnostics. We come to Mass to worship Almighty God, and not for entertainment purposes, and until dignified music appears, the exodus will continue.

    • Juan Oskar says:

      Father. It seems the quality of these ‘jazz’ musicians (from what I’ve read) are very good. But my local parish and parishes in my area have ‘Rock’ Masses, Tex Mex/Tejano Masses, and ‘Folk’ Masses. Now they are not “Advertised” as that but that’s what they are. Somebody 40+ years ago convinced our bishops that loud, substandard, secular music would bring everyone to Christ. When I say substandard, it means these players couldn’t get a gig working in a cheap bar! I know because I’ve worked ‘cheap bars’! 🙂 Your post was very well said. Pax Christi……..JO

    • Mbukukanyau says:

      There is only one form of Worship. Catholic worship. All others are mere shadows of the mass. And Yes, This sort of stuff here may be well intention ed, but its totally inappropriate.

    • Hello… Do you think pipe organ is originally Catholic musical instrument? No! It was a pagan instrument… The early Church avoided using it because the persecution scene would resonate in their mind when hearing organ music (because organ was used to accompany many kind of parties in Roman Empire, including the persecution of Christians)… But finally, the Church adopted this instrument, and preferred it as a sacred instrument that can lift our hearts to heaven…
      I think there is no any problem using Jazz Genre in our churches to accompany the Mass… We cannot claim it simultaneously as a sacrilege; that is human thought and not God’s

  8. Robert Lockwood says:

    In the same way Mr. Obama is destroying out country these ‘do your own thing’ Masses are destroying the Catholic Church. One of the items the SSPX objects to, and the modernists want, is for our religion to mirror the secular society without bounds.

  9. the heading brought this article to my attention, all is well but not in the House of God, sorry this is the beginning of something going wrong…
    but of course from California nothing surprises me, what a shame a State with so many beautiful city names and awesome heritage and roots,
    they are my roots, too, hope they wake up before it is too late, pray that they do before the election so that they can VOTE for God’s laws and our constitution…..LdC

  10. Do they have a big sign or banner outside the church, Jazz Mass 4:30 PM, kind of like saying, this is a little better than the other “regular” Masses? You can see these signs periodically at a lot of churches on the east coast. Well one good thing about that is, it alerts me to go elsewhere, I don’t need to be enticed to Mass by jazz entertainment. It is not the music, if it is holy music, that bothers me, it is what I hear people say that bothers me. If you “jazz” that Mass up, more will attend! Sad.

  11. Elizabeth says:


    And I pray that they take Our Blessed Lord out of the Tabernacle
    and place him in repose, I pray.

    When did our Churchs become halls?????

    There is a time and place for everything, and believe me THIS IS NOT

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:


      I am afraid that your wishes will not be fulfilled. Very few priests have even been taught that they are supposed to remove the Blessed Sacrament, extinguish the Sanctuary Lamp, and leave the Tabernacle open when secular events take place in the Church.

      I have seen this at St. Boniface in Anaheim, CA and written about it here on this Site. No body seems to even care.

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

    • Our church became social gathering halls when we protestantized the mass. There is no sense of awe. No sense of reverence for the house of God. People no longer “see” that Jesus is really and truly present there in the tabernacle. (I’ll add no sense of sin, too.)

      I guess if I want peace and quiet, I have to visit a library. Why is there more respect for a library than the house of God.


        On the one hand, there is pop music, which is certainly no longer supported by the people in the ancient sense (populus).

        It is aimed at the phenomenon of the masses, is industrially produced, and ultimately has to be described as a cult of the banal.

        “Rock”, on the other hand, is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe.

        The music of the Holy Spirit’s sober ine­briation seems to have little chance when self has become a prison, the mind is a shackle, and breaking out from both appears as a true promise of redemption that can be tasted at least for a few moments. [The Spirit of the Liturgy, (SF, CA: Ignatius, 2000), p 148]

  12. woody guidry says:

    Jazz is jazz and the Mass is the Mass. As a lifelong jazz performer, I never have felt this music belonged in Mass. If you want an audience, a listener who knows what jazz really is will not have to be drawn to a Mass to hear. Sometimes I wonder what all those people are coming to Mass for in the first place. When I hear jazz, I don’t to be distracted by a Mass.

  13. There must be a better way to attract African-Americans to the Church. Yes, this diocese needs some cleaning up–and out.

  14. I lived in San Jose for 32 years, so I know what goes on there. At Christmas time, this cathedral hosts Christmas concerts at lunch time. The people in the businesses around bring their lunches into the cathedral and eat while the entertainment goes on. Scandalous! Elizabeth, don’t worry about the tabernacle; it is well hidden. Unless someone actually knows where it is, one would never find it. Actually, the bishops rear end in his bishop’s chair is just opposite the wall of the tabernacle. How is that for honor and glory to God. Also, there are no kneelers in this cathedral.

  15. God is the audience, we’re the performers and the priest is the master of ceremonies (so to speak) Having music to entertain the congregants is like one hand clapping. What’s the point? Where’s God in all of this? I go to mass to receive the Eucharist and worship my Lord and Savior. I DO NOT GO TO BE ENTERTAINED! I’ve been to churches that have had jazz combos playing their mass gigs, and have gotten up and walked out. Sacrilege! People were clapping. The music had a ‘get down baby and jive wid me’ feel. It took several days to get over that one! People keep pushing the envelope because they know no one will tell them no. They’ll be all shock and consternation at your plebian ignorance and pathetic reactionary response. They feel they are so cool and so with it, and ‘aren’t we just so brilliant and talented’? ‘There’s just not enough of us to go around!’ Funny, but last time I checked, it was still Jesus that died for me. It was God who said in the the fourth commandment, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ As far as I know, that hasn’t been rewritten by Him. And no, I do not believe that we are to worship God, each in our own way. That is one of the primary reasons I became Catholic, for I saw the damage done by following our own worship rites. What you want to do in your own time is your business, but leave the mass alone. If you want to have a sacred music performance at your local night club, now THAT I would love. That was what Jesus meant when He ate with tax collectors and sinners…He went to where they were. But He threw them out of the temple!

    • Jim McCrea says:

      A psalm of thanksgiving.
      Shout joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
      Serve the LORD with gladness;
      Come before him with joyful song.
      Know that the LORD is God,
      He made us, we belong to him,
      We are his people, the flock he shepherds.
      Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
      His courts with praise.
      Give thanks to him, bless his name;
      Good indeed is the LORD,
      His mercy endures forever,
      His faithfulness lasts through every generation.
      (Psalm 100 says nothing about Gregorian Chant being preferred choice)

      Sing to the LORD a new song,
      his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
      Let Israel be glad in its maker,
      The people of Zion rejoice in their king.
      Let them praise his name in dance,
      Make music with tambourine and lyre.
      (Psalm 149: 1-3)

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:


      ” But He threw them out of the temple!” VERY GOOD PERTINENT POINT!

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

  16. Bishop Daly, please don’t allow this to go forward!

    • Bishop McGrath is the bishop of San Jose, Peggy.

      • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

        I know first hand the torture McGraw caused the saintly Msgr. Sweeney. Pray for McGraw’s conversion!

        God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
        Kenneth M. Fisher

        • Kenneth, may I kindly correct you. The bishop’s name is pronounced McGraw but spelled McGath. It has a Celtic or Gaelic pronounciation.

  17. Jim Sheridan says:

    There exists many audio recordings of “Jazz masses”, the earliest of which was written by Mary Lou Williams and released on LP back in 1964 (she had converted to the Faith 8 years prior). Read the biographical material of her available on the internet, it’s fascinating! Another notable work is the one written by Jazz great Dave Brubeck in 1985 called TO HOPE! He to converted to the Catholic Faith. Other notable jazz composers who wrote music for the Mass parts include bassist Ike Sturm, trumpet great Wynton Marsalis, Argentinean pianist and film composer Lalo Schifrin, Will Todd’s MASS IN BLUE, Norwegian trumpeter Tore Johansen, Czech saxophonist Karel Ruzicka, Jim Duff of Nashville, and at least a dozen others that I just noticed being advertised on Amazon that I never knew about before.

  18. Clinton R. says:

    Again, Mass is presented as a form of entertainment. The modernists sneer at the Tridentine Mass, but clown, contemporary, jazz, Celtic, black culture, youth, multi culture masses, etc are to be celebrated. Whatever happened to being of the world, but not in it?

    • We are called TO be IN the world but not OF the world. (I knew what you meant but wanted to clarify in case someone else didn’t.)

  19. Abeca Christian says:

    Praise God that most agree that this sort of stuff in not appropriate for Mass. : ) But you have the protestant mentality lukewarm folks who want to change things just to fit in these modern times, YUCK! RESPECT THE MASS PLEASE! There is a time for everything and one should have the smarts to know that, Respect Jesus!

  20. Deacon Tom says:

    Don’t need it. Aren’t we de-Catholicized enough and isn’t it bad enough that we have to hear Amazing Grace, Down by the River, How Great Thou Art, etc, etc?

  21. The opinions expressed on this subject extend from horrible to interesting. Larry, we don’t need racial slurs like you made. Do you think that only African Americans like jazz? Really? Please don’t be a racist in your comments. Then there are those that cannot even believe that jazz can be spiritual and used to praise our Lord. Really? And yes, many people are leaving our church because of the music. They then attend other churches that have praise music, where singing hymns is part of their “liturgy” or form of worship. The Bible says that we should praise God with symbols and drums, and all the other musical instruments. When you attend Mass in various ethnic parishes, you here the music of the country from which the people came. It may suprise some of us that northern European decendants don’t make up the majority of Catholics in many states of our country or in many of our large cities. In those areas, they rely on ethnic hymns. There are many kinds of music and we should learn to like them all. I admit, however, that hard rock isn’t my cup of tea. But, if hard rock hymns could bring people to God, I would approve as long as I had a more traditional Mass to attend. The data is pretty clear that people are attracted to a church by the music, the preaching and the friendliness of the people. They get the theology later. How praise worthy is the music at the average Catholic church? How good is the preaching? How friendly are the people? The answers to those three questions will tell you why your parish is growing or fading. Jazz is not satan led music. It is a distinct form of music that is an American original. Why not use a trully American form of music in church? Can’t think of a reason not to! It is, in my opinion old people like me and a few other regulars to this site that drive young people away from the church. Too often we become more concerned about form than substance. The most important thing is our personal relationship with Christ. If we don’t have that personal relationship, the rest is all trappings that have no meaning.

    • Canisius says:

      Bob One, this may surprise but young people are not attracted to novelty (which your pathetic Vatican 2 generation perfected) we are attracted to Truth, Holiness, and the Mystery of the Mass. Your entire generations lack of understanding this is almost beyond belief. I left several parishes of because of this nonsense. Do you actually believe that we of a younger generation are inspired by by Jazz music in the Mass, I mean what do you take us for? If I want jazz music I can go to a cabaret on a Saturday Night in NYC. How in the world does Jazz, Rock, Folk etc music better our relationship with Christ, you sound like a Protestant when you say “personal relationship” as if Christ was someone you meet up at the local bar. Perhaps a little humility on your part is needed, you are not equal to Christ.

      TO quote you “Why not use a trully American form of music in church? Can’t think of a reason not to! I can it will distract from the purpose of the mass which not about you, or the people in pews, its about Him, Christ the King, who is due all from us…I know that as someone from your self absorbed generation that may be hard to understand, but sometimes I forget your crowd has done all it could to demolish the Mass.

      • Hear! Hear! Carry on, young man. There is hope for us yet that the JPII generation will bring back true orthodoxy and tradition. It’s hard not to be bitter about the damage done, but as Jesus said, once we’ve put our hands to the plow, we must keep our eyes on the rows ahead. If we keep looking back, our rows in front will become crooked. It’s really important to forgive. Just as the brother to the prodigal son was so bitter and angry that his father threw a party for the degenerate and selfish brother, he deprived himself of having fun and welcoming home his brother. The party was going to take place anyway…why miss it!? (wink wink)

        • Canisius says:

          Dana you have a point but the damage done by the Vatican 2 crowd has been so great, they are in need of a thrashing….

    • Bob: What you are describing is “Worship of man”. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary. That is hardly a place for joyful clapping and dancing! The Mass is “Worship of God”. Quotations from the Psalms are Old Testament, before Christ died on the cross for us. I went to (my former) Parish meeting once where the discussion was on how to restore more reverence in the church. One woman said: “I don’t come to mass to see sad faces. I want to see and hear laughter, children running up and down the aisles, people hugging and kissing. I can pray on the way home!” I wanted at ask her: ‘Well, Why don’t you just stay home?” The Traditional Mass is restoring that reverence and the reason so many, especially the young, are finding it and returning to the one Church! Incidently, we have plenty of “friendly people” in the Church HALL, after Mass.

  22. I note simply that musically jazz is the EXACT OPPOSITE to Gregorian chant: jazz is essentially free RHYTHM, while Gregorian chant is free MELODY, AND UN EARTHLY MELODY AT THAT.

  23. Elizabeth says:

    If the AWESOME ORTHODOX Bishop Daly was in charge……

    The thought would never even be there, let alone come to furition!!!!

    And Bless your heart Sheila,no one will know or see the tabernacle where it is….

    Our Lord is still there!!!

  24. Here we go again, it’s entertainment time not Holy Mass time!! When will this sin end and bring back the TLM?

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:


      When I visited Cancun, Mexico, I was horrified by a Rock and Roll Mass at a (you guessed it) Jesuit Parish. The only reason I stayed was to receive the Blessed Sacrament and I prayed that it was a valid consecration.

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

  25. Well, you all know that God “entertained” Moses by the Burning Bush event. Got Moses’ attention. That is what a lot of this innovation does. The problem as I see it is the de facto suppression of the more solemn liturgy.

  26. Mass is a sacred and special time when we communicate, pray and offer to God our prayers, works, joys and sufferings in union with the Holy Sacrafice of the Mass. Sacred music should be sung and played at Mass. Not a jazz festable at Mass, this is where I draw the line. Someone at this church has gone off the deep end. The King of Kings should be in the tabernacle in the middle of this church and not hidden in the back. Jesus should be the center of attention in this cathederal. Not the celebrant! People should renew their posture at Mass and genuflect when entering a pew. I know this because I’ve been in this cathederal before and after it was remodeled. A jazz festable at Mass is yuck!!! Jesus has to sit through that. Jesus must love us an awful lot.

    • Lidwien Grafe says:

      Right on. I am also upset with all that is going on. Loud talking in the back of the church right before H.Mass. It seems to me that the Devil is having a hay day in our churches.
      God Bless.

  27. I like a variety of music, including some jazz, but not at a Mass. The music for Mass should be ethereal and draw one to God and heavenly things and not remind us of the flesh and earthy things. I know the jazz artists want to honor God with their music and have good intentions, but I feel such music is best left to the secular quarter, as is polka, dancing and so forth. Even in most African-American Protestant churches one does not hear a lot of jazz and in most of them none. They want more of the gospel hymns and not the music used in the secular world.

    • I guess what I am saying is that jazz has a sensuous quality and is more suitable for romance than thinking of heavenly things.

      • sometimes romance can be linked with heavenly things…

        “Pope John Paul II in his five-year catechesis on the Theology of the Body dedicates a major portion of the section on marriage to a study of Song of Songs. The Pope speaks of the way in which the lovers in the Song provide a true and liberating vision of the love that results when men and women allow the divine fire of agape to penetrate and permeate eros.

        “Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) of 2006 refers to Song of Songs in both its literal and allegorical meaning, stating that erotic love (eros) and self-donating love (agape) is shown there as the two halves of true love, which is both giving and receiving.”

        • Max, the peeking through the lattice in the Song of Songs was reserved to the bride and groom’s houses not a church. There is a time and place for most things, but not at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I do not want to be reminded of romance with my husband during the remembrance of Christ’s death on the cross. End of discussion.

          • then please be careful about which NUPTIAL MASS you migtht attend, as the song of songs is often part of this liturgy, and we wouldn’t want you to think of your husband in a romantic way.

            furthermjore, i urge you not to watch those wonderful films about saint therese de lisieux, in which the nuns pray the song of songs, as this might upset you also.

            also…oh, why bother. just go and see what happens!

        • Max, are you a practicing Catholic? If so, what do you like about the regular sacred Mass without jazz or rock n roll in it?

  28. You know, you simply cannot improve on the Mass however hard it’s tried by those who are either ignorant or uncaring.

    At my former parish, one week we were “treated” to “Colors of the Wind” fromn Disney Pocahontas for the entrance and persentation of the gifts “hymn”. This is the same parish that has put up the glass jars of sacramental oil in front of the sanctuary blocking a clear view of the tabernacle.

    It’s all about the inclusivity and “community” doncha know?

  29. tom amadeo says:

    Wonderful,is it not ? Our Lord and Savior,the Second Person of the Holy Trinity became incarnate,suffered and died a cruel and bloody death in sacrifice so that sins may be forgiven. The Holy Mass is a renewal of that sacrifice with the mystical separation of His Body and Blood offered up to the Father Almighty. What better way to celebrate Our Lord’s redemptive death than to do a little vulgar and profane jazz? And on Good Friday next let us play especially stuff like some jazz funk, and hip hop. Or a bit of jazz rap or acid jazz? But be warned–you attend these and similar rituals at your own peril. God is not mocked.

  30. I will say, though, that it was an act of courage, even back then, for Ethel Water’s mother to chose to give birth to her even though she was the result of a rape. It most deffinitely was the right and virtuous thing to do. Ethel Waters was a wonderful gospel singer, and most of us will never forget her Gospel song, “His is eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me,” and how she would sing it at the Billy Graham revivals. I am glad she is being honored for her place in Christian history.

    • I seemed to have confused Ethel Waters with Mahalia Jackson. Mahalia Jackson was the great gospel singer who sang for the Billy Graham revivals. It was she, quite frankly, who was to my liking. Nevertheless, Ethel Water’s mother does deserve credit for carrying Ethel to term.

  31. Max and others, many things go on at weddings that do not normally happen at a regular Mass, and Tom Amadeo not all jazz, rhythn and blues and rap are vulgar or have vulgar lyrics. Some does. Some does not. Quite, frankly at my age I find the beat of rap just annoying, even the Christian rap, but the Christian version is not vulgar. After reading all the post above, I doubt very much that the music chosen for the Mass is vulgar, even though neither I nor my husband would choose to go to such a Mass. People do have to use respect and common sense, too. Taking one’s lunch and eating it inside a church is not respectful of the Blessed Sacrament when there are many other places such a lunch can be eaten, nor is it respectful of the people who just want to go there to pray. The Lord did say that the Temple should be a house of prayer for all nations, so most concerts are best done in secular places.

  32. Max, in case you do not know there was so much drunkeness at two Madre Gras festivals in San Jose in the past that drunks broke a statue of St. Joseph outside the Cathedral and some business was vandalized. I had forgotten about that.

    • A correction: some businesses were vandalized.

    • dear ANNE T., not to poke fun, but i just noticed you wrote “madre gras” festival, which would almost mean “fat mother” in frnech & spanish mixed.

      “mardi gras” means “fat tuesday,” the day before lent begins.

      • I never know how to spell Mardi Gras and usually look it up first before typing it. I should have caught the “Madre” error, though, since I know more Spanish and Latin (Mater) than I do French. Hilarious! I did know that Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday, though. Although I am partially of French descent, I have never really celebrated the day since my maternal grandparents, mother and step-father were not of French descent, and I had never even heard of it until the celebrations came to some California cities.

  33. Rick DeLano says:

    Did they do the Barney the Purple Dinosaur song?

    That one is the expression of perfection of the whole Nouvelle Theologie.

    Who could possibly be against it?

    • Rick, at least we can have a sense of humor sometimes about all of this. We have too, or none of us would survive it all.

      • I did not mean, though, that we should take lightly the descration of the Blessed Sacrament or the liturgy. Just sometimes that we have to laugh at ourselves.

  34. My point, Max, is that when a lot of people from other cities converge on another city for some of these festivals, things get way out of hand, and that has happened a lot in San Jose. When our children were younger, my husband and I went to the family orientated festivals such as the Cinco de Mayo ones at certain malls where alcohol was not served and there were pinatas for the children. When we go to weddings and other parties, we leave if people are drinking too much before bad things start happening. Women have even been raped at wild parties, so that is one way to avoid that kind of crime, too.

  35. Souls are more important than particular taste in music. Get them to church however we can and save them. There is little time left for some. In apparitions of Jesus around the world, he is saying to prepare for the tribulation starting this Dec.(the warning second coming site)

  36. The address for the papal nuncio to the US is:

    Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
    3339 Massachusetts Ave NW Washington, DC 20008
    (202) 333-7121

    Perhaps he should hear of this. It might also be worthwhile to let the new archbishop of San Francisco, who I believe is the metropolitan for the area, to know what is going on.

  37. Old Roman Collar says:

    This is nothing but a devils mass. why would a Bishop in good standing, if he is, with the church allow this crap to happen. you guys are ruining the catholic church and making more non catholic ever day. Thank God for the Traditional Latin Mass. a true mass, not this crazy hand shaking and wearing shorts.
    Dont you people know who you are worshiping at all??
    Thats not our church, this is CHRIST home, respect it, Thank God these 60’s priests and Bishops are dying off. Have respect fpr the holy Blessed sacrament. THat is the real GOD

  38. Juan Oskar says:

    The word “Jazz” a hundred years ago was a dirty word. I digress. Most Masses I go to would be defined as ‘rock’, ‘tejano’, or ‘folk’ Masses. They are loud, and with poor musicianship and in my opinion they are all inappropriate. Peace…………JO

  39. Since the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is Calvary made present….jazz is very inappropriate…along with polka or any other secular music.

  40. paulineo says:

    PROFANE music has no part in the Lamb’s Supper, when Heaven and earth are joined. who is the Bishop? HE is the problem!


    Unbelievable ,
    What the Bishops allow in the American Catholic Church, have you all lost any knowledge of the sacredness of the Mass.

    All i can say is poor Jesus, what he has to endure over and over.

    We love you Lord and praise you, for giving us yourself at every mass
    Blessed Mother Mary most Holy, console your Divine Son.

    • EILEEN, don’t bother get all high and mighty about the ‘church in america.’ you australians are going through your own messes, as we know very well from the media.

      at least our churches are packed, at least here in the archdiocese of san francisxco, often stading room only, especially thanks to the filipino community, the irish, the italians, the hispanics, etc.

      now go lecture a kangaroo and get him signed up for the convert class.

      • Catherine says:

        k/max, “now go lecture a kangaroo and get him signed up for the convert class.”

        More selective silence on turning off and jeopardizing potential new converts?

  42. eddie gebar says:

    Where is the bishop regarding this nightmare?

    • the bishop is from ireland, so he’s probably taking a couple of aspirin (and a big shot of jameson’s) and waiting till this noise dies down.

      they are not precisely known for “wild liturgies.”

      very un-irish…

  43. Canisius, those are the sentiments of a caring man and I’ve often thought it so unnatural for men to be so passive and unconcerned about insults to them and their families, to our beloved Lady , to our Church and worst of all to God! Jesus said that mocking the Holy Spirit was the unforgivable sin and yet isn’t that what so many are doing because no one told them? I thank you for your honesty and what I’ve always considered admirable male traits. In old films for example, men who didn’t have a sense of honor were always the villains. I thought this interesting…Paul closes ICorin. with “I Paul,write this with my own hand. If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed”. He sure didn’t let heathens walk over him though he wasn’t proud. Hmmm. I haveno idea how he did that! Ha. Anyway,I’ve never envied men! Especially these days…the whole world seems to be attacking good honest men!

  44. bernice follett says:


  45. While the music written for the jazz mass may, of itself, be well-written and offering praise to God, it does not belong in an actual mass any more than music for a mass written by Mozart. Both the jazz and the classical take the focus off our Lord and put it on the performance. Enjoy the music outside of the mass, such as in meditation at home. Keep the focus of the mass on Jesus. JMHO.

    God bless,

  46. Anita Restivo says:

    According to the current rules from Our Pope Benedict XVI, music for the Mass is to be respectful and meaningful as a worship service, which the Mass is. Jazz, Rock or any other secular music does not belong in Mass. This is total disobedience to The Holy Father. .

    • Anita: remind me again where Pope Benedict spoke of what you are saying? I cannot look it up at this time, but I wish to know. I am a musician in our parish, and I am highly favoring more traditional music (I am a classically-trained musician, but have had lots of experience in performing secular music as well—Contemporary Christian, too). I have the “power”, if you will, to program traditional music as much as possible, and want to defend why the other genres of music do not belong in the Mass. Please let me know the exact document you refer to…

  47. Anton L. Seidl says:

    I am no longer shocked at anything that goes on in the San Jose diocese. I recall my sense of horror when I first visited the cathedral after its restauration. It reminded me of an ancient pagan temple. The desecration of this once sacred structure was complete. I attended but one (novus ordo) mass in the new cathedral and left before it ended, never to set foot in it again. Jazz music belongs in night clubs, not in churches; there is nothing sacred or inspiring about it. Who in the dieocese authorized this abomination in the first place?

  48. Magdalene says:

    It makes me think of the ‘teen masses’ that have the drums and Christian rock music for entertainment and to make Mass “more meaningful” but what it may do is have the kids feel more at home at the superfun rockband Christian churches where that sort of thing, maybe with some preaching, IS their form of worship–self centered on the entertainment factor and some emotion.

  49. Marc Dillon says:

    “Today we experience the secularized variation of this type in rock and pop music, whose festivals are an anti-cult with the same tendency: desire for destruction, repealing the limitations of the everyday, and the illusion of salvation in liberation from the ego, in the wild ecstasy of a tumultuous crowd. These are measures which involve a form of release related to that achieved through drugs. It is the complete antithesis of Christian faith in the Redemption. Accordingly, it is only logical that in this area diabolical cults and demonic musics are on the increase today, and their dangerous power of deliberately destroying personality is not yet taken seriously enough.” ~Bendict XVI, Supreme Roman Pontiff.

  50. Lisa LaPoint says:

    Any music that does not orient the worshiper toward the Eucharist and elevate the sacrifice of the Mass..simply does not have a place at the Mass. Liturgical music is there to create a meditative and prayerful state.
    I love Jazz but I question it’s place in the Mass. Mass is not entertainment.

  51. It’s possible that the music is religious in nature, just with a Jazz style. The article never said what the lyrics were. It can’t be any worse than the simplistic crap most churches play since they no longer play Gregorian.

  52. jEANETTE La Grandier-Santiago says:

    Please do not defile the sacredness of Mother Church, Her Altar is so Holy and Sacred because that is the dwelling place of our Lord Jesus Christ. God does not want to hear jazz, r&b, salsa etc. If you really love our Lord please respect His Home. And pray for your Bishop.

  53. Edward Paul says:

    The parish I was raised in Ohio has a “polka” mass every summer. I always thought it seemed strange and irreverent.

    • gack!

      i recently saw a video from austria where the priest was “saying mass” at some biergarden and people were smoking, eating, drinking, etc.


  54. It seems that some people are confusing the issue.
    It’s not about whether we like or don’t like jazz or rock or any modern music or performer.
    It’s about keeping sacred music alone for the Holy Mass. Would you want to bring jazz or rock to a Jewish temple or Muslim temple? I don’t think they would allow it either.
    Enjoying jazz and other forms of music in concert halls and parks and other places is great, that way all people can come. I like jazz, but Holy Mass is not the place for it. The priest may be bored and wants to “jazz” up the Mass for whatever reason, become popular etc. Then he can go to the concert hall like everyone else. A good priest celebrating the Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest form of worship, praise and thanksgiving that any human being can offer to God on this earth, because he is offering Jesus himself. And musicians can perform for God at any time, and that would be a good thing, and a good example to the secular world, but not during the Holy Sacrifice.
    The Mass is for those Catholics who love and worship Jesus Christ in His house where we expect to find sacred music that lifts the mind and heart to God.

  55. BEA BIEDERMAN says:

    Wait a minute… I don’t like when people are looking for loopholes to do what they deem proper. I think part of the reason for getting the interpretation of the English language Mass in line with the rest of the world last year was also to corral the Masses into more conformity with sacredness and the true presence of Jesus Christ in Consecration. The Mass was never intended to turn in to a free-for-all interpretative ritual, yet we had the folk Mass, the teen Mass, the liturgical dance Mass, the school Mass, the unapproved hip music Mass, and more. Then we added further embellishments which I will spare. Many of our brethren are comfortable with upstaging our own Lord maybe because they don’t SEE his presence, or are superficial about His true presence. At these off-beat Masses the transubstantiation may take place, but not without the veils of bells, whistles, blues guitars, and overpowering vibrant souls that evidently do not have a sensitivity to sacred space, sacred ritual, or the sacred presence of our Lord evident by their mere audacity to participate. I think there is a mistaken notion that if it feels good, sounds good, and looks good, then it must be holy.

    • If some priests and bishops allow the Mass to take on secular music and performances or any other inappropriate additions, it is because they have little faith and could care less about Jesus, because they care more for themselves and what they want, the people follow the example of the priest and bishop. Sad, very sad.

  56. KT, if you go to EWTN.com and use their search engine, type in Benedict XVI on sacred music a plethora of resources come up. EWTN is the best site available for all things Catholic. I like reading the letters of early church fathers, or the older encyclicals.
    It’s a wealth of knowledge and as usual with our generous loving Father, there’s more than anyone can comprehend!
    Also, Eileen , our Aussie sister, welcome and thanks for sharing! Pray for us as we are facing real challenges ahead with a govt determined to limit and redefine us as to what religion is. I’m sure you only hear good things about obama but it’s all lies! Everyone reading this, please pray for brothers and sisters everywhere who are being persecuted for our faith. May our blessed Mother pray for us all, part of one body,the Bride of Christ.

  57. They do the same jazz Mass thing at the oldest church in California, San Carlos Cathedral in Monterey. From their website:

    17th Annual Progressive Jazz Mass
    Sunday, September 18, 10:30 & noon Masses
    San Carlos Cathedral
    Roman Catholic Mass with progressive jazz style music, accompaniment by jazz choir, piano, sax, bass, drum, vocals.

    • Oh no! I thought San Jose was an aberration. 17th Annual Progressive Jazz Mass ??????? 17th ??????? God help us!


    The Ship of Peter is torn apart
    Martyred in its Holy Teaching
    It sinks and sinks, no work of art
    The bottom though never reaching

    Dissidents are screaming loud
    Leaving behind an awful niff
    Pretending to be proudly stout
    Gearing the Ship into a cliff

    Jesus shows His wounded Heart
    Smitten with a deadly dart
    Peter the Rock in desolation
    Deploring severe desecration

    Wake up, you Christian Brother
    Show now your truthful face
    With Mary our Heavenly Mother
    We’ll reach that Peaceful Place

    In allegiance to the Holy Father
    United in prayer and fasting
    No victory will claim, but rather
    Satan’s defeat be everlasting.

    Rita Biesemans, 01-02-2011


    IN T H E S I L E N C E

    In the silence of my heart
    I come to love You
    Oh My Lord
    To praise and worship You
    My Master and My Savior
    No words are spoken between us
    Only so soft a whisper
    And in my soul
    An outpouring of so much
    Undeserved love and grace
    How often do I desert You
    Thinking You don’t love me
    Forgetting about You
    Oh, how stupid and ungrateful
    Then I am
    Without You I’m nothing
    But a trembling reed
    A creature full of fear
    Your creature sure I am
    For this immensely grateful
    Oh You, fullness of my soul
    Reason for my existence
    Sole purpose of my life
    Object of my deepest thoughts
    My God and my Almighty
    I will serve You and obey
    Surrender to Your Will divine
    Embrace me with Your burning warmth
    Cradle me in Your Fatherly arms
    Oh, my well-beloved
    Let me borrow from Your Love
    Let Your Mercy shine upon me,
    Your poor and littlest child
    So, that with Your Grace
    I will proclaim
    Your Greatness,
    Your Goodness and
    Your Name
    Through my work and being !!

    Rita Biesemans 7-27-1999

  60. It seems to me that this is a concert held during a Mass. After each song there will be cheers and clapping and praise for the performance. This is not the time or place for this.

  61. …and I thought the Mass was the un -bloody sacrifice of Calvary….The smoke of Satan has indeed in-filtrated the church and many a so called Catholic as well.All will answer for their lives on the last day…especially those who now serve themselves before their God. God is MERCY……but Justice also.

  62. Alice S. says:

    Under the heading “Jazz Masses with Frank and Vallimar Jansen,” excuse me dopey CA Catholics, but the Mass is not about any people currently living.
    It is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross!!! It’s not about you self-important nothings!
    This is the reason my husband and I have quit going to church altogether; I can’t take this phony “catholic” crap anymore!

    • Lisa LaPoint says:


      There are, I’m sure, some traditional Catholic churches in your area that offer beautiful and holy Masses.

      You are meant to PARTICIPATE in the sacrifice of the Mass. To be there heart and soul, with your mind engaged in what Jesus’s sacrifice meant for you and for the world.

      You don’t have to attend at a parish where they have forgotten what it is all about. Don’t give up on finding the truth and beauty that is really there.

    • ALICE if you truly believe attending mass is about the sacrifice of jesus christ on the cross, it is mind-boggling that you (and your poor husband) would chose to absent yourself from this grace.

  63. john towle says:

    The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most perfect form of public worship this side of heaven. Our Lord, with the assistance of the priest, leading the faithful, offers Himself to the Father. The Holy Spirit is called upon to make the gifts of our Saviour’s Body and Blood holy and present so that on a perpetual basis, the Father may be glorified through His son who is the head of the mystical body. We are all the remaining parts of that mystical body. So at Mass, we, along with Christ’s priestly representative, join our Lord in giving all due glory, honor, praise, thanksgiving, adoration, worship and blessings to His Father.

    We are there to give to the Father His due. The prayers of the Mass evidence the truth. It’s not about us or what we prefer or how we feel, it’s about the worship of God the Father.

    Glory be to God in the highest!

  64. Irene Drew says:

    When you look at the rhythmic and harmonic structure of jazz it is far from diatonic, and the more “jazzy” it becomes the further it falls from the tonal center. Same goes for the rhythm – look at how dancers express jazz rhythms with their bodies. As you hear these kind of rhythmic and tonal patterns does it foster internal thought and reflection…i.e. prayer? What type of emotion does jazz generally elicit? Does it bring to the Mass the sacred dignity that is due to THE SACRIFICE we partake? I think not.

  65. john towle says:

    There is only one enemy and that is the father of all lies. Disunity in the Church and in the secular world are at his bidding. With that in mind, admonitions and instruction should always be done in a charitable manner if for no other reason than to thwart his plans for humanity; our eternal damnation.

    All correction can and should be done in the spirit of unity and Christlike love and is likely never effective when done in a spirit lacking in either of those characteristics.

  66. Alice S. you are so right, I even think that those services are sacrileges, do those priest even still believe in the transsubstantiation ??? In the beginning that I lived in Phoenix I was trying to find a Church where one could still be in quietness and adoration for the Consecration, no handshaking and kissing and talking and walking during the Holy Mass. Finally I called the Diocese to find out where there was still such a church to be found. The answer I got was : you go to church to socialize !!!!
    I was shocked and answered them : if I want to socialize, I’ll go to a bar.
    We will think to despair waiting for Jesus’ return, the times of the catacombs are nearer /closer by than we can imagine. Let’s pray for each other Alice , we need to go thru the purification, I’m fighting against all that modernism already since I was in my last year of Highschool when I was 17, so that’ 50 years ago :0). I was in a nun-run boarding school. In 1960 the modernizing started already and I could see and feel that this was not gonna be good.
    May God’s Love and Peace be with you
    Rita B.

  67. Whatever excuse works for you Alice S. I’ve certainly heard weaker ones but they all serve the same purpose…to keep you from being fed by that same person you said the mass was all about. Personally, I find that whether my fellow mass goers are hypocrites, phonies or wackos makes not the least difference to my being nourished and strengthened by His Body,BloodSoul and Divinity. So where are you being fed now? Since only the Catholic Church offers such a Heavenly food for our journey, what sustains you? Your bitterness only hurts the One you seem to care about..our gentle shepherd who waits so patiently for us, His very silly sheep.

  68. Catherine says:

    Alice S.,

    You are right. There is a lot of dopiness going on in many places. This wonderful website named California Catholic Daily is trying to expose it so it will stop. Thank you for expressing the truth. “It is the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.” Alice, I have heard other Catholics say that they also quit going to Church because of this nonsense. I know many who have returned because they missed receiving Jesus, in Holy Communion. These people eventually did find parishes where they could attend a very reverent Mass.

    Many had been away so long, they did not know that they could attend the Traditional Latin Mass. Many were comfortable when they learned that they could now attend. One woman in her sixties, told me that she had been away for many years. She left because of the nonsense but she always missed receiving Holy Communion. She brought her 95 year old father, who had also stopped attending Mass, with her one Sunday to the Traditional Latin Mass. This woman said that she looked at her father during Mass and tears were flowing down her father’s face. He leaned over and whispered to her, “I’ve come home.” Alice this same woman has worked tirelessly to encourage those who have left to return.

    Alice, Do you miss receiving the sacraments? Is there absolutely no Church in your area where you can go to a reverent Mass? I do remember a very good priest telling us a few years ago that the Church was going through the Passion. This is what we are witnessing. Alice do you remember when Jesus was suffering His Agony in the Garden, his most loyal apostles grew weary and they left Jesus alone while they slept. Jesus was alone when he sweat drops of blood. Jesus asked his closest apostles, “Could you not watch one hour with Me?”

    Alice, You have rightly stated that you recognize that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the reenactment of Calvary. “It is the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross”. The reason why many people look at this particular website is that they also understand that things are not as they should be.

    Please come back to receive Jesus who is always waiting for the return of each and every lamb. This is not the time to completely abandon Jesus in the Garden, after all, what did Jesus ever do but love us.

    I completely understand what you say about the dopiness, but when it comes to us quitting going to Church altogether, then we have made it about us and not about that Supreme Sacrifice. Alice, Your simple words were beautiful and if you truly understand that the Mass is not about us, you will want to stay and console Jesus, who is always present in the Blessed Sacrament. Please don’t let the foolishness of others, to allow you to not receive the sacraments. If the apostles were given another chance to stay and console Jesus in the Garden, especially after they witnessed his crucifixion, horses could not have dragged them away from consoling Jesus while he suffered His Agony in the Garden.

    Alice, May God richly bless you for entering into this website and defending the true meaning of the Mass. Please bring your husband back to receive Jesus so that he might also turn with tears in his eyes and whisper to you, “we’ve come back home!”

  69. Alice, For those seeking information regarding Traditional Latin Masses in Australia, the Official Traditional Catholic Directory lists contacts for as many countries as possible. Each country’s correspondants have agreed to provide information equally on all Traditional Latin Masses available under whatever auspices celebrated. For Australia, your point of contact is listed as: Mr. Joe Omlor, P.O. Box 650, South Perth WA, Australia 6951. His email address is jomlor@hotmail. May God help you find a Traditional Latin Mass within close proximity to your humble home.

  70. Father Karl you summed it up pretty good. It is so sad in this city named after our Lord’s foster father St. Joseph! There are polka norvus ordo masses and now there are jazz norvus ordo masses. So what do we think of the bad fruits now? Woe to those who don’t think this is a bad fruit! St Matthew 7:20 (Douay-Rheims): “Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.” Who will report this abuse to the Vatican? Will the Vatican under abp Mueller’s office or even pope BXVIth even respond or correct this error? Being good liberal Germans, maybe they approve of the polka norvus ordo masses, so why be unfair or prejudice and deny those seeking entertainment as opposed to worshipping God and keep them from these entertainment privileges? This only reminds me of St Luke 19:41-45 (Douay-Rheims Bible) [41] “And when he drew near, seeing the city, he wept over it, saying: [42] If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace; but now they are hidden from thy eyes. [43] For the days shall come upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side, [44] And beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee: and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone: because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation. [45] And entering into the temple, he began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought.” As for me and my home we will serve the Lord in a Roman Catholic Church worshipping and living in complete tradition, the way our Lord wants it to be for all of us, the way He had started it to be.

  71. This saddens me. I am a devout youth, and I praise God through song.

    People here are forgetting that every person worships God in a different way. This is not “hedonistic,” and I am not a “bad fruit.” I would never speak wrongly of someone who wants to recite Gregorian chants!

    So please stop tearing each other down! At the end of the day, we are all children of God.

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