Welcome to this edition of "New Translation Tuesday."
I'd like to share bits of a long conversation I had yesterday with one of WLP's loyal customers. This customer, a woman who serves as music director for several parishes, called to ask me about the new translation of the Missale Romanum. She told me that she has "fallen in love with" Steven Janco's Mass of Redemption. She said that it is a setting that "works" in the parishes she serves. Where there is a full choir, the choir is able to sing the full SAB (Soprano-Alto-Baritone) version. In parishes with smaller resources, she has taught the SA (Soprano-Alto) version. In her smallest parish with the least number of music forces, the people in the pews have made the melodies of the various parts of the Mass their own.
She was calling to ask me what our plans were with respect to this Mass setting when the new translation is implemented. After having invested in the choir editions for the various parishes, she was wondering how she would deal with the new translation, particularly with respect to the parishes' various budgets. She asked me specifically about what we were doing with the Mass setting. I told her that we have asked the composer, Steven Janco, to rework the Mass of Redemption to reflect the changes in the translation. I sang the first line of the new setting of the Sanctus for her over the phone. She said, "Oh, that's an easy and very workable fix. Could I just use some Wite-out® and make the corrections in the choir editions?" I told her that she certainly could do this for the Sanctus, but many of the other parts of the Mass setting would be problematic. For instance, the Gloria has been completely re-written. The three memorial acclamations have needed to be fully revised. She asked if we could publish the changed parts in a separate edition. I talked with her further about this, asking her if it were the wisest thing to have the choirs moving from one edition to the other as they sang at Mass. I wondered aloud whether or not this would result in a confusing mess for her choir members.
This was a good conversation with a dedicated musician who is sensitive to the budgeting needs of the parishes she serves. I said that there were folks out there who are falsely interpreting this whole new translation issue as an opportunity for publishers to line their pockets. She said that this was certainly not her impression She was looking for ways perhaps to save some money along the way, but admitted that her solutions might indeed cause more confusion than assistance. I urged her to speak with the individual pastors and talk with them honestly about her needs once the new translation is implemented.
I bring this up because the financial issues raised by the implementation of the new translation need to be faced and I think the earlier the better. Parishes are going to need to purchase a new Roman Missal and, given the size and scope of the Latin edition, this will not be an inexpensive proposition. The Sacramentaries in most parishes right now are badly in need of repair or replacement. It stands to reason that the majority of parishes are waiting for the new translation and will need to purchase the newly translated Roman Missal. This is the first and most important purchase. Leading up to the implementation, parishes would be wise to invest in some simple catechetical resources as I have outlined in this blog before, i.e. WLP's Eucharistic Prayers I, II, III, IV as recorded by Bishop Sartain of the Diocese of Joliet, the various pamphlets on the new translation published by Liturgy Training Publications, among others. Also, the Bishops Committee on Divine Worship, in conjunction with the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, has 22 workshops for priests and diocesan personnel planned throughout the United States in the coming months. The registration fee for this workshop is $125.00, plus any travel and lodging expenses associated with these workshops. Publishers will undoubtedly be releasing other resources, scholarly and pastoral, to help everyone through the transition and beyond.
And we have not yet even begun to talk about music resources. As a former director of liturgy and music, and as someone who is involved in the liturgy preparation at my own parish, my gut feeling (and my hope) is that musicians will first take a look at the English chants that have been prepared by ICEL and make the decision to use that chant setting within the first year of implementation. If I were a music director, I would look long and hard at the settings currently being sung in the parish, examine the "re-working" of these settings and make a decision as to whether or not they should be jettisoned from the parish repertoire. Then, I would find the one setting that I feel "fits" the parish and its musical forces and purchase the editions needed to make it all happen.
Folks, the transition into a new translation will obviously not be one that comes about at no cost. I think we need to be prudent and careful as we approach "that day."
It amazes me, as a publisher, that, to this very day, parishes are continuing to purchase musical settings of the current Mass texts. There will undoubtedly be many, many settings from which to choose when the recognitio is received. And composers will continue to keep their ears to the ground and will produce marvelous musical settings of the newly translated texts for years and decades to come.
Once again, I want you all to know that we at World Library Publications will provide the very best resources to assist parishes in the transition. I say this because of the pride I have in the fine work of the many composers who have worked so hard with these new texts. I am also proud of the work of my colleagues here at WLP, all of whom have solid pastoral music experience. Our work has been constantly filtered through our "in-the-trenches" mentality.
Thanks for listening today. Please feel free to comment, as this is a somewhat thorny issue.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.