Happy Monday everyone. Well, it seems that summer has come to an end in an abrupt fashion here in Chicago. Thunderstorms roared through during the night and high winds have brought us a chill. Farewell to a warm and wonderful September 2009.
Yesterday morning I had the privilege to play at a Mass at the gathering of the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference. It was held in a ballroom of the Hyatt here in downtown Chicago. Bishop Donald Trautman (pictured above), of the diocese of Erie, was the celebrant. I have heard Bishop Trautman speak on many occasions, but was never present when he was the celebrant at Mass. Bishop Trautman has always inspired me in his talks. He urges the Church to celebrate Mass well; to participate fully, consciously, and actively. He has been a harsh critic of some of the newly translated texts of the Missale Romanum, arguing that some are very difficult to proclaim well and equally—or more—difficult for the hearer to comprehend. He has come under biting criticism from many, some going as far as accusing him of being unfaithful to the Church, or of being a dissenter. Yet he has held his ground, calling those working on these texts to make them more intelligible for the proclaimer and the listener.
I can tell you one thing. Bishop Trautman prays the prayers of the Mass in a deliberate, beautiful, and inspiring manner. He sticks to every word in the Sacramentary and conveys the meaning in a way that is simple and straightforward. I found myself listening to the words of the familiar Eucharistic Prayer with fresh ears because Bishop Trautman so obviously deeply believed what he was praying. It was absolutely inspiring. All the musicians who ministered at this Mass commented in the same fashion. Here was a man, ordained for 47 years, who was praying the Mass as if it were the first time; as if he were in love with the words and the meaning that those words conveyed. Folks, it was a very powerful moment for me. This bishop is an inspiration to priests everywhere. Too often, the praying of these texts seems mechanical and routine. This is a sad reality in the church. When the new translation is permitted for proclamation, priests will need to do much preparation to convey the meaning. I hope that moment becomes a time of renewal within the priesthood; a renewal that helps priests embrace these texts and proclaim them in a similar manner to Bishop Trautman's proclamation.
I hope you have a great week.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.