Monday, October 20, 2014

Jury Duty

Hello folks.

Got back to Chicago yesterday from an amazing weekend at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Newport News, Virginia. I have lots to share about my experience and wanted to do so today, but the City of Chicago had other plans for me. I spent the entire day in a jury pool room in the Daley Center, pictured here, waiting to be called to a trial. But that did not happen; kind of a lost day.

More tomorrow.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ann in Atlanta and Peter in Geneva

Thursday greetings from the soggy and dreary Midwest.

While in Orlando and Atlanta last week, the travel and traveling with the traveling public finally caught up with me. Suffering still with a pretty severe cold for the last week. But I am slowly on the mend.

Following the International Catholic Stewardship Council in Orlando, I flew to Atlanta to present a session on "Rebuilding the RCIA." It was held at Saint Ann parish in Marietta, where WLP's own Ed Bolduc is the music and liturgy director. Here is a photo of the exterior of this beautiful church.

And the interior.

And the baptism font (of course!).

Over the holiday weekend, I went to Sunday Mass in the Rockford Diocese, at Saint Peter in Geneva, Illinois.

Here is a photo I took of the parish lawn; wasn't quite sure what was going on. Then, after Mass I read the sign that said that for Respect Life Month, the parish places 3,650 white crosses on the lawn to remember the 3,650 babies that die due to abortion each day in the United States.

The church was quite full for Sunday Mass. I know I am sounding like a broken record, but there was no attempt made to let the assembly know where to find the sung parts of the Mass. Very, very frustrating. The choir was quite good, as was the cantor. The congregational singing could have been stronger.

Here is a photo of the interior.

The tabernacle is unusually prominent in this space. It certainly seemed like it was added after the church was built. It is its own little building resting atop a long railing of some sort. The choir area and music space is behind it. The chamber behind the crucifix houses the organ pipes.

The statuary is quite lovely, placed amidst the assembly's space.

Parishes should be alert to how a utilitarian placement of a candle-lighter can absolutely ruin the aesthetic, however:

Did you notice it in the first photo of the statue?

The font is in a central location in the space, in the center aisle.

I think the design must work well for daily Mass. There is a "side altar" in the back, with chairs that can be moved to face it for daily Mass.

On Monday, I flew to Houston with our Marketing Director, Jennifer Odegard. We attended and took part in the planning meeting for the NPM convention scheduled to take place there in 2016. Here is a photo I took of Monsignor Rick Hilgartner, NPM's new president, as he led the deliberations.

Despite being sick with this darn cold, life has been busy for this blogger. I am leaving tomorrow for Newport News, Virgina, where I will be leading sessions for faith formation ministers for the Diocese of Richmond. Please pray for healing for this humble servant!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

ICSC and One in Faith

Tuesday greetings from Orlando, Florida, where the International Catholic Stewardship Council is drawing to a close. The closing Mass is being celebrated in a few hours. The choir of Saint Mary Magdalen, in Altamonte Springs, will be singing at the Mass. I was the choir director at that parish in the late 1980's. Looking forward to hearing them sing today.

I had several conversations today about WLP's soon-to-be-released One in Faith hardbound hymnal. Excitement is definitely growing.

We are all lookin forward to holding the printed hymnals in our hands. This is the culmination of nearly three years of work by the dedicated teams at WLP.

Headed to Atlanta very, very early tomorrow morning for an RCIA session on Thursday.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, October 6, 2014


Monday greetings from the Buena Vista Palace Hotel here in Orlando, Florida.

I am here at the International Catholic Stewardship Council, exhibiting on behalf of J.S. Paluch and World Library Publications.

FDLC's (Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions) annual meeting in Lombard, Illinois, was just a delight, but lots and lots of hard work. I took many photos to share with you, but my replacement iPhone, for some reason, is not letting me send the photos to my email account from where I download them to be able to use them here. Ah . . . technology! (A few minutes later . . . just found a temporary fix; I can post to Facebook, then save to my desktop, then post here, hence the photo of our booth above!)

At any rate, the FDLC meeting, which included over forty former North American Forum on the Catechumenate team members, was really a consultation on a new set of National Statutes for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults here in the United States. The consultation process was long and involved and excellent preparatory talks were given by Ron Lewinski and Paul Turner. Their talks, from pastoral and theological perspectives, both focused on the recent CARA study of the RCIA in the United States. Looking forward to sharing links with you (when they are made available) so that you can see the results, most of which were not surprising. It is a good thing to have real survey results with real numbers.

The major areas (among others) discussed with respect to the National Statutes were:
Celebration of the "Combined Rites" with catechumens and baptized candidates
Distinctions between these two groups generally
The place of confirmation within the order of the sacraments of initiation and the practice of not confirming children of catechetical age when they are baptized

It was a stimulating meeting. A high point was a video we watched honoring the work of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate which, as you know, closed its doors last year. I needed that video; it was a chance to grieve with my colleagues with whom I have worked passionately for nearly thirty years implementing the RCIA. Cried the entire time. Great, great loss personally and for the Church in North America and beyond.

I was home in Chicago for just a day, then flew here to Orlando yesterday for this stewardship conference. My old parish of Saint Mary Magdalen, here in Altamonte Springs in the Orlando diocese, has a booth right across the aisle from our booth. I don't recognize any of the faces, but I am proud of their work as they receive the 2014 Archbishop Murphy award for stewardship.

From here, I travel to Atlanta to give an RCIA presentation on Thursday morning, then back home and to the office on Friday. On Monday night I leave for Houston to attend the planning meeting for the 2015 NPM convention to be held there.

My apologies for not blogging more regularly; I hope you can understand how travel can impede my abilities to post regularly.

And I miss my colleagues at WLP and JSP so much when I am away. Totally serious.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Long Ride, FDLC, and the Catechumenate

Wednesday greetings from Chicago.

My apologies for not having posted recently; so much going on here!

I was one of the unfortunate ones who needed to fly into Chicago this past Friday. My plane from Memphis was actually speeding down the runway there at 5:50 A.M. when it suddenly slowed down and returned to the gate. When it became apparent that there was no way I could fly into Chicago for many, many hours (which actually turned into days), I decided to rent a car. So I drove the nine hours back home. I can tell you at least one thing. Illinois grows lots of corn and soy beans!

I am preparing to leave shortly for the annual meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, which is being held here in the Chicago area. This year's conference is a consulation on the development of new national statutes for the RCIA here in the United States. I am greatly looking forward to this meeting and to sharing with you the findings of a recent CARA study on the implementation of the RCIA here in the United States.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Recognizing the Ministry of John Angotti

Thursday greetings from Midway Airport here in Chicago. Landed at O'Hare last night on a flight from Los Angeles.

I am headed to Memphis for tonight's Dominican Gala at which the work and ministry of John Angotti will be recognized and celebrated. Looking forward to honoring John.

Off I go.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Interesting Times

Tuesday greetings from Southern California. I will be leading a WLP Sing the Seasons choral reading session tonight at Loyola Marymount University.

It has been fascinating reading all the reports about Bishop Cupich. I received words of congratulations from priests, deacons, and lay people from all over the world, all pointing to signs of hope for us Chicago Catholics. The last few times I have heard Cardinal George speak I noticed how defeated he seemed in his demeanor. His struggles with cancer have seemed to taken a toll on him. Reading his latest columns, I have found little "joy of the Gospel" and very little hope. Frankly, it has dragged my own spirits down. I pray for him daily, for the healing of his body as well as a lifting of his own spirit.

These will continue to be interesting times for the Church of Chicago and for he Church in general.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.