Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jorge Rivera and Saint Bernard

Wednesday greetings from the Midwest, where the weather is warming up for a late summer heat wave.

Each year at the J.S. Paluch Vocations Conference, a WLP artist presents a one-hour concert to the participants. Last night, Jorge Rivera and his band were the performers.


Jorge is the director of Hispanic ministry for the Diocese of Joliet here in Illinois. He has three albums with WLP, Ha Llegado Tiempo, Entra, and Reinventando el Amor. I enjoyed the concert so much. Jorge told the story of his own faith journey as the concert unfolded. His work with Hispanic young people has been at the center of his ministry for years. He is engaging and genuine. Watch how some of the attendees at the conference were enjoying Jorge and his band last night.

video

Some of the musicians/editors here at WLP were the music ministers for the two morning Masses for the conference. This morning's Collect for the Memorial of Saint Bernard struck me as beautiful and so apt for a conference on vocations:

O God, who made of the Abbot Saint Bernard
a man consumed with zeal for your house
and a light shining and burning in your Church,
grant, through his intercession,
that we may be on fire with the same spirit
and walk always as children of light.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
 
Praying today that we will all be on fire with that same spirit and walk as children of the light.
 
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Prayers for Strength for Pope Francis

Tuesday greetings from Chicago. I spent Thursday and Friday in southern California, delivering an RCIA workshop at Saint Pius V parish in Buena Park. I went to Mass for the Assumption there. Engaging music and a wonderful homily lifted my heart.

On Sunday, I completed the "Wright Ride," a fifty-mile bike ride, the longest of the season by far. My knees were begging for mercy, but it was fun and exhilarating!

The annual J.S. Paluch Vocations Seminar is taking place this week. Last night we were privileged to watch Salt and Light Television's production of The Francis Effect. You can watch a trailer. It was moving. I would suggest that all Catholics find a way to watch it.


And then this morningat the vocations seminar, right before Mass, celebrated by Salt and Light's Fr. Thomas Rosica, we heard the tragic news of the deaths of Pope Francis' two grand nephews and their mother in a horrible car accident in Argentina. I prayed so hard for the pope and for his nephew, who was critically injured in the crash. When tragedy befalls someone who preaches the cross and resurrection of Christ every single day, I wonder how his heart and faith is challenged by such a tragedy. I am reminded of the words from one of the old prefaces for funeral Masses, where the phrase, "the doubt that comes from grief" is mentioned. I felt this so strongly when my youngest sister died in 2001. I pray that the pope's faith will be strengthened, even in times of doubt.

May eternal rest come upon the pope's grand nephews Jose Bergoglio, 8 months old, Antonio Bergoglio, 2 years old, and their mother, Valeria Carmona, 36 years old.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Beach, then Chicago Sings the Seasons

Well, folks, it has been a week since I last posted. It's been a whirlwind of activity over the past week for me.

I spent this past weekend in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. It was a peaceful place that I would often frequent when I lived in the Orlando area back in the 1980's and early 1990's. It was good to have a few days of rest and peace there, enjoying the warmth and the ocean.

On Sunday, I went to Mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea in New Smyrna Beach. Rick Shaw is the music director there; he was one of the students in the Liturgical Music Institute at Immaculate Conception Seminary on Long Island last month. It was great to see WLP's We Celebrate worship resource in the pews and to sing with this congregation. Some photos for you. Here is the font, which is located in the gathering space.



And some shots of the interior. I was captivated by the stained glass window in the sanctuary, an image of Mary, Star of the Sea.




It was good to be away. It was "mission weekend" at the parish and the homily was simply superb. The pastor there, a TOR Franciscan, was warm and friendly. The music was inviting and well done.

I came back to Chicago very early Monday morning to two days filled with meetings.

And then came last night. The 2014 Chicago "Sing the Seasons" choral reading session took place at Saint Mary of Gostyn Parish in Downer's Grove, Illinois, where more than 90 musicians gathered to sing through a wonderful assortment of WLP ritual and choral music. One word: Wow! These were excellent music readers and each piece really came alive, which is so gratifying for us here at WLP.

Here are some photos of the church. First, the substantial baptism font.






And here are some shots of the interior.



And finally, some of the crowd that had gathered; this as during our break.

 
 
It was a thrilling evening, certainly for our staff, and hopefully for all in attendance.
 
Headed back to California tomorrow for an RCIA talk in Buena Park, in the Diocese of Orange.
 
 
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

WLP Sing the Seasons and a Visitor to Chicago

Wednesday greetings from the beautiful Midwest.

Well, folks, this is indeed a special day here at World Library Publications. Tonight we begin our tour of the United States, presenting our WLP 2014 Sing the Seasons choral music reading sessions. Capably led tonight by Mary Beth Kunde-Anderson, our director of publications (and a great musician, to boot!), the musicians from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee are in for quite a treat!


Here are the locations (again) and the links for you to RSVP.

MILWAUKEE, WI
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
7:00-9:00 PM
Presenter: Mary Beth Kunde-Anderson
St. Anthony the Hermit Parish
N74 W13604 Appleton Ave.
Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
RSVP

CHICAGO, IL
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

7:30-9:30 PM
Presenter: WLP Team
St . Mary of Gostyn Church
445 Prairie Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515
RSVP

CINCINNATI, OH
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

1:30-3:30 PM
Presenter: Christine Krzystofczyk
St John the Evangelist Church
9080 Cincinnati-Dayton Road
West Chester, OH 45069
RSVP

CINCINNATI, OH
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

7:00-9:00 PM
Presenter: Christine Krzystofczyk
Incarnation Parish
55 Williamsburg Lane
Dayton, OH 45459
RSVP

WASHINGTON, DC
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

7:30 - 9:30 PM
Presenter: Mary Beth Kunde-Anderson
The Cathedral of St. Thomas More
3901 Cathedral Lane
Arlington, VA 22203
RSVP

GALVESTON-HOUSTON, TX
Monday, August 25, 2014

7:00-9:00 PM
Presenter: Christine Krzystofczyk
St. Ignatius Loyola Church
7810 Cypruswood Drive
Spring, TX 77379
RSVP

GALVESTON-HOUSTON, TX
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

7:00-9:00 PM
Presenter: Christine Krzystofczyk
St Helen Catholic Church
2209 Old Alvin Road
Pearland, TX 77581
RSVP

MINNEAPOLIS, MN
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
7:30-9:30 PM
Presenter: Alan Hommerding
Pax Christi
12100 Pioneer Trail
Eden Prairie, MN 55347
RSVP

NEW YORK, NY
Monday, September 8, 2014
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Presenter: Jerry Galipeau
Church of St. Francis of Assisi
135 West 31st Street between 6th/7th Avenues
New York, NY 10001
Accessible via 1-2-3-A-C-E-Q-N-R-D-B-F trains
RSVP

GRAND RAPIDS, MI
Monday, September 8, 2014
7:30-9:30 PM
Presenter: Alan Hommerding
Catholic Central High School
319 Sheldon Avenue, SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
RSVP

DALLAS, TX
Friday, September 12, 2014
7:00-9:00 PM
Presenter: Peter Kolar
St. Pius X Catholic Church
3030 Gus Thomasson
Dallas, TX 75228
RSVP

PHILADELPHIA, PA
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
7:30-9:30 PM
Presenter: Alan Hommerding
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103
RSVP

LOS ANGELES, CA
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
8:00 - 10:00 PM
Presenter: Jerry Galipeau
Loyola Marymount University
1 LMU Drive, Suite 210
Los Angeles, CA 90045-2659
Park in Lot L or Lot H Campus Map
RSVP

ATLANTA, GA
Thursday, October 9, 2014
7:30-9:30 PM
Presenter: Jerry Galipeau
St. Ann Catholic Church
4905 Roswell Road NE
Marietta, GA 30062-6518
RSVP


And, now for something completely different . . .

Many of you know that I live in the city of Chicago. My small balcony becomes a refuge and really the only outdoor space I have to cultivate flowers and greenery in the summers. Well, a special guest arrived late one afternoon last week and I miraculously caught this short video.

video

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Many Fonts: One Baptism

Monday greetings.

As promised, I wanted to share a little more about the parishes I visited in California late last week. The first was in California's fertile Central Valley, Saint Anthony Mary Claret in Fresno.


This parish is staffed by the Claretians. The church's interior is simple.


You all know that I am always sharing photos of baptism fonts. If you look carefully at the photo above, you will see the font just to the left of the wall hanging in the area to the left of the sanctuary. A closer look:


The font is obviously home-made; it resembles a bathroom cabinet, with a sink placed into the cabinet. It is on four wheels, so it can be moved to a central area in the church for baptisms.


My RCIA presentation went well. The participants were from many of the area's parishes and it was a culturally diverse group. I was so pleased to see people in their 20's present and engaged.

Our next stop was Holy Family Parish in San Jose, California.


Here is a picture I took of the interior.


And then there was the font. I took several photos. This is one of the most substantial baptism fonts I have seen in a parish church in years. Parishioners told me that it took much effort, education, and energy to build this font and for parishioners to "buy into" the concept. It is located in the main aisle, just as one enters the church through the doors.


 

When I saw this font and remembered the font at Saint Anthony Mary Claret in Fresno the day before, the differences were obvious. When I give my own presentations on the sacrament of Baptism, I often ask people to name the city, state, or country in which they were baptized. Then I make the point that there is one baptism in which we all share, whether or not we were baptized in a small adobe church in South America, or in an outdoor "church" in Africa, or in an ornate baptistery in a cathedral, or in a pool in a Baptist church, or at a small baptismal bowl in a Methodist church. Baptism unites us as one as adopted children of God. That fact struck me as I compared the fonts in a relatively poor parish in Fresno and one in a parish that seems pretty well off in San Jose. Those who are baptized in either font become the adopted sons and daughters of God. Does that mean we should not care about the design and dignity of baptism fonts? No, of course not. But we have to realize that parishes around the world have a wide variety of resources; or no resources, for some. But Baptism happens when the water is poured, or the person is immersed, and the baptismal formula is prayed, and people, in that moment "put on Christ."

That was my "teachable moment" in California last week.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Women and Young Adults: Signs of Stability and Hope

Friday evening greetings to all from high above the ground once again. Headed back to Chicago after three days in California.

I took some photos of the two churches where the RCIA and Parish Bulletin seminars were held; at a Claretian parish, Saint Anthony Claret in Fresno, and at Holy Family Parish in San Jose. I can't access those photos on my iPad here in the air (will figure out how to do that at some point!) I will share those with you when I return to the office on Monday.

The more I travel and get to see the Church throughout North America, the more I am inspired by the dedication of so many who really keep our parishes running on a day to day basis. Frankly, those in attendance at our seminars in the past several months have been, I would say, 85% women. These are, for the most part, cheerful and dedicated Catholic women who share their Catholic faith in so many ways. I have found them generally to be inspired deeply by Pope Francis. Both at this morning's session and at yesterday's there were some young adults in attendance who assist with Christian initiation in their parishes. Of the four under twenty-five, two were men, two were women. Gave me a shot of hope!

Looking forward to getting home tonight; I land at approximately 11:15 in Chicago, about an hour and a half from now.

I continue to pray for peace, which seems more elusive by the day in our weary world. That will be my prayer as I enter the weekend.

I hope that wherever you are, you know peace in your own heart.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Greetings from 36,000 Feet

Wednesday greetings to all. This is a first for me. I am currently about 36,000 feet above the US, headed to San Francisco. I am giving talks on the RCIA in the next few days in the dioceses of Fresno and San Jose. It is supposed to be in the low 100's in Fresno today and tomorrow. Decided to purchase an hour of wi-fi, since United Airlines, in its infinite wisdom, decided to put a 737 into service for this four hour plus flight with no inflight audio or video entertainment. Glad I bought two newspapers before take-off.

I don't want this blog to turn into a big complaining session about what's wrong with the liturgy today in some parishes, but it has been amazing to see the responses concerning my recent comments on the communion rite and music for the communion procession. In my previous parish, Saint James, Dr. Steve Janco attended Mass one Sunday before leading a spirituality session for liturgical ministers. Our music director asked Steve if he had any recommendations about the way we celebrated the Mass. Steve said that he thought it would be better, and in line with the General Instruction, if the music ministers began the communion song immediately after the "O Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under . . ." instead of having the music ministers receive communion first. And guess what happened the following week? The music began immediately following the "O Lord" prayer and the music ministers received communion last. After a few weeks, they even eventually kept the music going, with the guitar playing when the pianist went to communion, and vice versa. Just an easy switch made for a strong theological statement; that we (ordained and lay) are one when receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. There is no "priest's communion" followed by the "peoples' communion."

I have not yet settled into a new parish in Chicago; just haven't found the place that seems right for me. Perhaps I will continue an occasional "view from the pew" posting here, but will refrain from naming the particular parish (I know we are all trying our best!).

Well, my two-dollar hour of wi-fi is just about up. I hope that wherever you are, your day is a good one.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.