Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Translation: Parish Presentation

Welcome to another installment of "New Translation Thursday."

My heart is so heavy with grief for the people of Haiti. Again, please consider making a donation to Catholic Relief Services. You can find the link here. We are working hard here today at WLP to provide people with prayers and resources for relief for the Haitian people, so this blog entry needs to be rather brief.

I have been contacted by a parish here in suburban Chicago to give a presentation on the second night of their four-night parish mission next month. I have been asked to focus on the rationale for the new translation, then offer a question and answer period with the parishioners. Up until now, I have only made these kinds of presentations to the "professionals," i.e. pastors, parish administrators, musicians, and liturgists. This will be a first for me "in the trenches," so to speak. If you were in my place, what would you say?

I will also be providing their choir with a few of the new musical settings for the Mass texts. We will distribute the pew versions that night as well, then all sing through some of these new settings. Should be very interesting—perhaps a model for the way we do this when all of this comes to pass.

Sorry I can't provide more in this post. Know that I will keep you all informed about how this evening session goes at that parish.

Here's a photo I took earlier this week after I got off the train after work. Chicago, even in the snow, is a beautiful place, don't you think?

Please pray for the people of Haiti and be as generous as you can.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Labs said...

Dr. Galipeau,

Here is a link to a very well written article by Peter Stravinskas in "America Magazine". It is a response to the website you have mentioned many times from Fr. Ryan. I think that Stravinskas presents the counterarguments in a very accessible way and lays out an interesting argument for why the new translation is so important. It is even more interesting when you think that he was involved in the original translations but was forced out of the process. I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for all of your insights and the webinar last week. For a brand new parish liturgist/musician, they are invaluable resources.

In Notre Dame, Our Mother,
Chris Labadie

Chironomo said...


I don't envy you... a very carefully thought out initial statement could go a long ways.

Part of the "democratic heritage" that we share in the US drives us to feel that we need to acknowledge and even accept all points of view. This might even seem like a good idea in a setting such as this. I would contend that it is not a good idea, and I'll try to briefly explian why I think so.

As you have said, the new translation IS coming...this regardless of an individuals opinion or regardless even of the collective desire of a large group (the various petition efforts come to mind here). Validating these views only serves to set up a false notion that the new translation is being thrust upon such individuals against their will. Inherent to this is the belief that opposition to the new translation could actually have some effect, when in fact it can't.

Consider as an analogy the current health care debate in that case the representatives seem to be working in opposition to the views of the public who elected them precisely to represent their "will". As such (whether for good or for bad) it could be said that passing a bill would be doing so against the will of the people.

But the Church hierarchy is not a body that is "representative" of the faithful in the same way that an elected official is. Their actions are not, by definition, intended to represent the will of the people. Quite the opposite...their decisions and actions are intended to guide the will of the people. That is why the "Sheep/ Shepherd" image is used. And we are the sheep.

Getting back to the point...the emphasis needs to be on WHY this is a good translation, while avoiding the question of WHETHER this is a good translation. The latter will just devolve into a pointless discussion or worse yet, a pointless but heated argument between opposing factions.

swarnernd said...

Hi Jerry,

My comments would parallel the experiences I've had of late – people, with eyes wide open, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the new setting. Get people talking about the translations (which is precisely what you're doing). In my mind, this is nothing but positive, even if the comments are challenging and sometimes critical, because it still brings people closer to the reality that the spiritual furniture they've known for the last two generations is about to change.

Actually, that image – of spiritual furniture – I believe to be an apt one. When you get new stuff, there is always a "break in" period, and in this case, the ante is much higher than parking yourself in front of a television! There will be many furniture changes (e.g., sung mass settings which will follow), and it will, by necessity, admit to a season of "getting used to." I think it's obligatory to let people express this, get comfortable (as best they can) with the transitory nature of our common prayer over the next few years.

And finally, I would remain hopeful – not just focus on the frettings that people have. Real, creative and tangible good came forth from the wave of the first translation. I have every confidence that the Holy Spirit will take our meager words and make them radiant this time, too.

Best to you and your splendid staff up at the Park!