Going on a Pilgrimage – Giving Thanks to God

Tonight we will pile into a bus and head for Italy, that wonderful land of many saints.  We are on our way to visit St. Pio of Pietrelcina and St. Nicholas!  We are going to give thanks specifically for a large donation we received over the summer, but in general for all the many blessings God has given the ITI.  Dear alumni, benefactors and friends of the ITI, we will take you and your intentions with us in prayer.  Photos and more when we return!

The ITI Piano Situation

Grand Cleaning

The beginning of the year brought to the ITI a number of students who have considerable musical abilities and talents, not least a number of pianists. Good use has been made of the upright in Moses Hall (a classroom) up to now in between classes and late into the evenings. But great pianistic talent must be matched by suitably grand instruments and unfortunately, despite the fervent prayers of many, until today the state of our pianos has remained unchanged.

The inventory of ITI pianos runs as follows; in our possession we have a small upright which spends its life in Moses Hall, and a boudoir grand built c.1880 currently living in somewhat forlorn conditions in the Russian Cinema.

Grand piano under boxes on the right in the old Russian Cinema

The potential of both pianos is great, but the actuality is hampered in the upright by its tuning; in the grand, lamentations could be sung of the trials which the grand has been subjected to leaving it in its current derelict state.

Hope is stirring among pianists and music lovers alike though, and through the initiative of some of the pianists, work began on the grand piano a week ago. Some intrepid dismantling led to the cleaning and dusting of the action of the grand piano. It appeared as though there was no life in it prior to cleaning, but the removal of decades of dust, grime and filth works wonders for tired old pianos. Interestingly, this grand piano has a Viennese action which was designed by Johann Andreas Stein in the 18th century. This type of action, in which the hammer faces the pianist, is very well suited to composers such as Bach, Haydn, Beethoven and composers from the same period. The more modern English action developed through the work of Americus Backers and later piano makers evolved it into its common form today with the invention of the repetition lever in the 19th century. The repetition lever allows for rapid successive striking of a key, something difficult to achieve with theVienna action, hence the suitability of different actions to different composers. Suffice it to say that the ITI has a grand piano steeped in history which could sound wonderful with some dedicated restoration.

At this very minute tuning is underway on the upright in Moses Hall and discussions are underway as to the restoration of the grand.

Dismantled, Dusted...can this Grand Piano be Saved?

It is hoped that the grand piano will prove to be a centrepiece in the Russian Cinema and that fortnightly or monthly recitals will begin once the piano and room are in a suitable condition. In the meantime, while work progresses, the students will be grateful and pleased that the one playable piano has been tuned and the corridors will be brought to life with the sound of Chopin, Liszt, Bach and many other of the great composers of the classical tradition.

Singles on the Rise…and What is their Place in Parish Life?

Anastasia Northrop, founder of TOBIA and current ITI student was just interviewed on Zenit about her work with Catholic singles.  The article is aptly named, No Reason to Fear the “S” Word (Single). As the number of singles is rising in the Church (nearly 40% of the Catholic population in the US), ways need to be found to help Catholic singles (not just ‘young adults’) find their place in parish life.  The bottom line?  Simple.  Priests, find ways to include singles in parish life.  Singles…find ways to use your talents for the benefits of your parish.  I’d be interested to know what has been found to work in different parishes. 

See the full article here: http://www.zenit.org/article-33586?l=english

Studientag – Seminar on the Mission

New Students welcome the school year

We had our very first Studientag at the ITI and I hope it will become a tradition.  The President, Msgr. Dr. Larry Hogan began the day with a talk about the Seven Principles and the Mission of the ITI.  He also spoke about why we do the seminar method and used great props to illustrate his talk;  reading the original sources in the original language was like fresh spring water and reading a translation was like Coke Light.  Hmmm, the waters may have gotten sweeter, but nowhere near as clear.

Sharing the Psalms

Students, staff and faculty then broke into groups to discuss the principles and pillars, as well as two articles written by Cardinal Schönborn on St. Thomas Aquinas as Holy Theologian, and the study of Theology – pitfalls and promises.

A new student from China meets His Eminence

Everyone then walked to the parish church, ten minutes away, for the Mass celebrated by His Eminence, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, the Grand Chancellor of the ITI.  After Mass, we all celebrated the opening of the school year at a nearby Heuriger, where Cardinal Schönborn was able to meet the new students.

Portiuncula Indulgence

Today is Aug 2nd – time for the Portiuncula Indulgence!

The Indulgence :

“The Portiuncula indulgence is the first plenary indulgence that was ever granted in the Church. There were indeed indulgences at all times, but they were only partial, and only a partial remission of the temporal punishments could be obtained by them. But, as already remarked, he who gains the Portiuncula indulgence is freed from all temporal punishments and becomes as pure as after holy baptism. This was also the reason why Pope Honorius was astonished when St. Francis petitioned for the confirmation of this indulgence, for such an indulgence, up to that time, bad been entirely unknown. It was only after he had come to the conviction that Jesus Christ himself wished it, that he granted the petition of the saint and confirmed the indulgence” (Source)

August 2nd is the feast of Portiuncula. A plenary indulgence is available to anyone who will

1. Receive sacramental confession (8 days before of after)

2. Receive the Holy Eucharist at Holy Mass on August 2nd

3. Enter a parish church and, with a contrite heart, pray the Our Father, Apostles Creed, and a pray of his/her own choosing for the intentions of the Pope.

Along with the usual conditions…For more information see the full text and discussion here.

Otto von Habsburg

Archduke Otto of Austria was laid to rest on Saturday, July 16, 2011.  It was amazing to be there for the funeral, and in the procession – to see a whole empire passing by.   Read Wikipedia for his history and a great description of the funeral ceremony.  Fr. Edmund also has a great description of the meaning of his life and events.  The entombment ceremony is amazing.  What are these titles?  Nothing before God. 

Hearing Otto von Habsburg speak, I realized, here was a man born and raised to rule.  He spoke clearly, with a great vision, and with concern and care for his people.  Sent into exile, he did not just hang his head, but worked from there for his people – always for the good of his people.  The funeral and memorial ceremonies were a wonderful indication of the far-reaching effect that his works had.  But amazingly too…it was not a political display.  It was faith-filled.  Requiescat in pace.


New ITI Promo Movie

Click here to enjoy the new ITI promo film.  While on the ITI You Tube page – enjoy the other films!

Russian Kino

With a little elbow grease and lots of man-hours, a section of the schloss at the ITI has been transformed in a little over six weeks.  It used to be a grainery, then when the Russians inhabited the schloss, they transformed the room into a cinema.  Then it was left deserted and when the ITI moved here, this is what we found.


 We all saw the room had good bones, but during the move it became a dry place to store furniture.

Grainery to Cinema to Storage Room

Then students, faculty, staff and friends started working on the place.

And it was transformed into this!