Last night I attended a banquet at the annual ANSH conference. ANSH is the acronym for La Asociación Nacional de Sacredotes Hispanos, EE. UU. or The National Association of Hispanic Priests of the USA. This is a group of priests who gather once per year for formation and fellowship. Cardinal Francis George, archbishop here in Chicago, was in attendance and gave a stirring speech that included some great comments about the Church's commitment to care for immigrants. He said something like this: "As a Church, we don't look at someone and make judgments about their immigration status. As a Church, we look at a person as a person." It was refreshing and he had me "Amen-ing" all over the place.
Before the banquet I got to spend some time chatting with the Cardinal. As you may know, he has been at the center of the process for the re-translation of the Missale Romanum. I have not always agreed with Cardinal George's position on matters liturgical, but I have respected his viewpoints. He asked me what we were doing as a publisher to address the issues surrounding the impending approval of the new translation. I explained to him that we have been approaching all of this carefully over the past three years. I also told him that the various focus groups of musicians with whom I have worked generally like the new ICEL chant settings. I also told him that, generally speaking, reworked—or, better yet, retrofitted—current settings of the Gloria struck people as stilted. Completely new settings were much preferred. I told him that I thought that music was going to play a huge role in the success of the transition, to which he agreed. He also said that he felt that the Church has some great composers now and he thought that we should have excellent new settings for the Mass. It was a great conversation. I was more convinced after the conversation that this is a man genuinely concerned with the quality of the prayer and song of the Church.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.