Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Translation Thursday: Hope Chiseled

Hello all. Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Thursday."

As I mentioned yesterday, we did receive some news from the Bishops Committee on Divine Worship on Tuesday of this week. Not much new to report. There was one item that has garnered lots of interest and opinions over on Pray Tell. That was the decision from the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome that the texts of the celebrant's prayers in the new English translation of the Missale Romanum not be pointed. For those of you who don't know what pointing is, it's pretty simple. Pointing is a system that is employed to mark the texts of the prayer so that the celebrant, who is chanting the prayer, knows when to move the pitch, based on the given formulaic tone for the chanting of the prayers. This would have greatly assisted priests in the singing of the Mass. I agree with those who think that this is a very unfortunate development, or rather "undevelopment." We are to assume that this decision is probably based on the wishes of the congregation that editions of the missal in the vernacular look as close to the original Latin missal as possible, and the Missale Romanum has no pointing of these texts.

I know that my own liturgical life has been enriched by my own pastor's choice to chant the sign of the cross and the greeting, as well as the preface dialogue and the preface at Mass on Sunday, as well as portions of the Eucharistic Prayers during some seasons of the Church year. This is a uniquely Catholic sound in my own ears. Where else, in human communication are we chanting at each other? It lifts the texts to a more profound level; into what sounds like a more sacred realm. Anything, anything that we can do to support our bishops and priests in the singing of the Mass should be a top priority. The Vatican congregation must have its own motivations for the decisions made about the missal; clearly it seems they have missed the boat on this one.

Is anyone else who reads this blog as frustrated as I am about all of this? I know that in another year, we will actually have the missal in hand (although that is beginning to sound like a less realistic expectation), and that what we have is what we have. And we know that the Church has gone through this kind of thing before. Perhaps it was easier when communication was not so instant; when we didn't have e-mail, when there were no blogs, when there was no instant posting to web sites. Perhaps before all of this technology the process was as complex as it is now, with its unexplainable and sometimes secretive twists and turns. Maybe not knowing about all of that was a better thing. But this is a new world with so much at our disposal to assist God's people.

Still hopeful here, but that hope is getting chiseled away bit by bit. Thank God that God is God and we are not.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

RCIA: Cleveland's Vision and Prophetic Plan

Good Wednesday to you all.

The sun is out here in Cleveland; one of those crisp Autumn days.

Had dinner last night with the bishop and some some diocesan staff. Bishop Lennon is originally from Boston (as am I) and we enjoyed sharing stories and memories.

I want to commend the diocesan staff here, especially Christina Ronzio, the director of the Office of Worship, for their vision and leadership in the RCIA. For many parishes, the rite has become something other than originally intended by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council. In too many places, the RCIA is merely a course in Catholic teaching. While we can never neglect the handing on of the faith, the RCIA is much, much more. Envisioned by the Council as a dynamic process of apprenticeship, the catchumenate is to be squarely planted in the Catholic life as experienced and lived in the Christian community. It does not "belong" to the pastor; nor to the RCIA director; nor even to the "RCIA team." It "belongs" to the entire parish. People coming to Christ for the first time taste and see the Lord's goodness as they experience Christ in the living word, in the living Tradition of the Church, in the Christian community, in the Church's prayer, and in the Church's apostolic witness to the Gospel. So many of these critical aspects of the catechumenate have either been forgotten or simply excised out of the process of Christian initiation. I am quite excited that the Diocese of Cleveland has decided to take nearly three years to re-examine the practice of initiation here and help people get back on the track envisioned by the Second Vatican Council.

Their process here sound like a great idea for a new book on the RCIA, doesn't it? It would be great if they were to able to chronicle the progress of their formation here over the next few years, in the hope of assisting other dioceses and parishes in a re-examination of the process and a re-alignment of the process back to the principles from the Council that are now expressed in the rite itself.

This is very exciting work. I find that people are very genuinely open to listening to ways that the RCIA can be en-livened and, in some cases, re-invented or re-imagined. Moving from a program, with a syllabus-centered approach, to a process that is more dynamic with apprenticeship as the central approach, is not an easy thing to do in practice. "The way we've always done it" is so much easier for people. We need to be listening to the call of the Spirit at this point in the Rite's development and get back to the sources that inspired the RCIA in the first place.

Well, thanks for listening to all of that. Now you know what I will be talking about in two sessions, one this afternoon and one this evening here in the diocese.

I will look forward to reporting on these sessions over the next few days. We did receive word from the Bishops Committee on Divine Worship yesterday, regarding the reception of the text of the new translation. More on that tomorrow.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Translation Tuesday: Moments for Milwaukee Catechesis

Another "New Translation Tuesday" has arrived. Welcome.

On Friday and Saturday of this week, I will travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to give presentations on the new translation—the final text of which has still not yet been released . . . soon perhaps? The audiences at these presentations will be a mix of people; clergy, liturgical ministers, and people in the pews. The good people in the Archdiocese have asked me to focus on a few areas: "They request that you give us an overview of the translation process, with an explanation of why the changes are being made. The other thing this group would like to include is a look at some of the peoples' parts of the Mass that are changing."

I've decided to give them pertinent sections from The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Comme le Prevoit, and Liturgicam Authenticam. This may seem a bit deep for the average parishioner, but I think it is necessary to have people see the actual texts that have driven the liturgical renewal, as well as the renewal of the translation process.

Here is a sample from each of the texts I am handing out to the participants:

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy:
1. In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community.

Comme le Prevoit (January 25, 1969)

6. To achieve this end, it is not sufficient that a liturgical translation merely reproduce the expressions and ideas of the original text. Rather it must faithfully communicate to a given people, and in their own language, that which the Church by means of this given text originally intended to communicate to another people in another time. A faithful translation, therefore, cannot be judged on the basis of individual words: the total context of this specific act of communication must be kept in mind, as well as the literary form proper to the respective language.

15. a. The language chosen should be that in "common" usage, that is, suited to the greater number of the faithful who speak it in everyday use, even "children and persons of small education" (Paul VI in the allocution cited). However, the language should not be "common" in the bad sense, but "worthy of expressing the highest realities" (ibid.). Moreover, the correct biblical or Christian meaning of certain words and ideas will always need explanation and instruction. Nevertheless no special literary training should be required of the people; liturgical texts should normally be intelligible to all, even to the less educated.

Liturgiam Authenticam (March 28, 2001)
20. The Latin liturgical texts of the Roman Rite, while drawing on centuries of ecclesial experience in transmitting the faith of the Church received from the Fathers, are themselves the fruit of the liturgical renewal, just recently brought forth. In order that such a rich patrimony may be preserved and passed on through the centuries, it is to be kept in mind from the beginning that the translation of the liturgical texts of the Roman Liturgy is not so much a work of creative innovation as it is of rendering the original texts faithfully and accurately into the vernacular language. While it is permissible to arrange the wording, the syntax and the style in such a way as to prepare a flowing vernacular text suitable to the rhythm of popular prayer, the original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses. Any adaptation to the characteristics or the nature of the various vernacular languages is to be sober and discreet.
27 . . . Indeed, it will be seen that the observance of the principles set forth in this Instruction will contribute to the gradual development, in each vernacular, of a sacred style that will come to be recognized as proper to liturgical language. Thus it may happen that a certain manner of speech which has come to be considered somewhat obsolete in daily usage may continue to be maintained in the liturgical context.
47 . . . Consequently it should cause no surprise that such language differs somewhat from ordinary speech. Liturgical translation that takes due account of the authority and integral content of the original texts will facilitate the development of a sacral vernacular, characterized by a vocabulary, syntax and grammar that are proper to divine worship, even though it is not to be excluded that it may exercise an influence even on everyday speech, as has occurred in the languages of peoples evangelized long ago.
I expect that people will be keenly interested in all of this (I was just told that parish leaders expect 200 at Friday night's session). They will have questions; some people will be quite happy with all of it; others will be upset by it; others may experience ambivalence. 
Please say a prayer for me if you get the chance in the next few days. These presentations can sometimes have that "sheep among the wolves" sense about them!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Music at Mass, The Gloria, and Cleveland

Happy Monday to you all.

Autumn has begun to take its grip here in Chicago. We are beginning to see just a touch of the autumn colors on the trees. Won't be long before we start seeing a few snowflakes?

At Mass at my parish, St. James, on Sunday, I was struck with just how eclectic parish music programs can be. Here is a rundown on what was sung and the style in which it was sung.

Opening (All Are Welcome, with piano, trombone, djembe, guitar)
Sign of the Cross and Greeting (chanted with light piano accompaniment)
Gloria (chanted in English a cappella, alternating between two male cantors and assembly)
Responsorial Psalm (through-composed setting with male cantor, piano, and assembly)
Gospel Acclamation (Celtic Alleluia with piano, trombone, guitar, djembe and other percussion instruments)
Preparation of the Gifts (I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say, with piano and trombone)
Preface dialogue (chanted a cappella)
Preface (chanted a cappella)
Eucharistic Acclamations (Haas Do This in Memory of Me, with piano)
Lamb of God (Haas as well)
Communion Procession (Pan de Vida, with piano, trombone, percussion)
Post-Communion (Choir piece Spirit Song, SATB with piano)
Closing (For the Healing of the Nations set to St. Thomas tune, with piano, trombone)

Congregational participation was strong throughout the liturgy. The worshipping community a St. James goes from style to style with relative ease.

It struck me that solid musical leadership, as well as a singing celebrant, make a world of difference. As we sang the "Christ has died" text for the memorial acclamation, I couldn't help but wonder what things will be like in another 14 months when the new translation begins to be implemented. I also wondered about the Gloria. As you know, the implementation date for the new translation is the First Sunday of Advent in 2011, a Sunday when we refrain from singing the Gloria. 

The first time that the majority of Catholics will sing the new text will be at Christmas (of course, some will sing it on the feast of the Immaculate Conception as well). I can't imagine music directors trying to teach a new Gloria on Christmas eve or Christmas day. On the one day that the Gloria should be as festive a setting as possible (echoing the song of the angels), parishes will find themselves in a bit of a bind. Using a chant setting might be the answer, or perhaps a setting with a very, very accessible refrain with the choir or cantor singing the verses is the answer. What do you think?

I hope the week ahead is a good one for you. I'll be traveling to the Diocese of Cleveland tomorrow. Dinner with Bishop Lennon and some of the diocesan staff tomorrow night, then two workshops on the RCIA on Wednesday. The Diocese of Cleveland is inaugurating a three-year program of formation for  those ministering in Christian initiation. My job is to kick this off with two presentations (in two different areas of the diocese) focused on the vision of the RCIA for the Church. I am excited about these presentations and working with a diocese that has a solid vision for formation of those ministering with catechumens and candidates. I'll do my best to post on the blog each day.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gearing Up for More Adventures

Friday greetings to you all.

The week after vacation is always a long one. Today I am grateful for the opportunity to have traveled to Europe last week. I am also grateful to be back home here in Chicago, at least for a little while. In the next ten weeks, workshops and presentations on the new translation of The Roman Missal, WLP's new and revised musical settings of the Mass, and some sessions on the RCIA will take me to the following locations:
The Diocese of Cleveland
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia
The Archdiocese of Saint Louis
A Meeting with the Midwest Jesuit Province
The Archdiocese of Baltimore
The Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
The Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey
The Diocese of San Jose
The Archdiocese of Denver
The Diocese of Mobile
The Diocese of Orlando

I am looking forward to these adventures, mainly because I get to see the Church in action in many locations throughout the United States. Working with musicians, liturgists, clergy, pastoral ministers, and catechists is one part of my life that gives me so much joy and energy. It also gives me insights into the needs that WLP can help address. We are dedicated to serving those pastoral needs. Have I told you how much I enjoy this work in Catholic publishing? I know I have in the past. With renewed energy following my vacation, I am excited about these next few months. I hope you have a pleasant weekend and that your celebration of the Paschal Mystery this Sunday brings you closer to the Lord.

I'll leave you with another photo taken while on vacation in Sicily, from the harbor in Trapani.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Translation Thursday: Malaise and Mystery

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Thursday."

I don't know about you, but we have entered a period of a kind of malaise around here with respect to the new translation. This waiting period—which we hope will soon come to an end—has us on hold in so many ways.

There is much happening around the country (and the English-speaking world). Many dioceses and archdioceses are contacting us for help as they look toward the reception of the new translation of The Roman Missal. There are many approaches that these dioceses are taking. Some are scheduling reading sessions where one publisher sends a clinician and leads people through that publisher's musical settings. Others are asking each publisher to send copies of several of the Mass settings; then that diocese's musical leaders are preparing regional sessions for the musicians in the diocese. Other dioceses are putting together task forces to plan for the implementation. For the most part, it seems that the majority of dioceses here in the United States have some kind of pastoral plan. They are taking advantage of the various catechetical programs that have surfaced in the last several months. The hope, of course, is that all of this planning and catechesis eventually does shape the minds and hearts of the people in the pews.

I, for one, have a calendar that is quickly filling up with speaking engagements all across the country. Some dioceses have invited me to focus on music for the Mass. Others are asking me to lead sessions for parish and diocesan leadership. Others are asking me to clearly articulate the changes in the translation rules. I am looking forward to all of these opportunities, especially those at which people in the pews are invited to attend. I find these sessions to be the most engaging, the most rattling, and the most exciting. And, as I have said before, anything that gets people talking about the liturgy and its true and deep meaning is well worth the time and effort.

That said, let's keep our hopes up that this will be a time of great renewal for the Church. As you know, I do have some doubts about this, especially given the fact that these last few months have seen the the whole process of translation come under serious scrutiny. What had appeared to be at least a somewhat transparent process turned into a process riddled with mystery. Ah . . . the Church!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Technology and Catholic Publishing

Wednesday has dawned cloudy here in Chicago.

While I was away on vacation, something terrific happened here at World Library Publications. Our new home page for the WLP web site was launched. After months of work and consultation, I believe that our new home page is much more user friendly.

I have been here at WLP for nearly eleven years. When I began here, Facebook and Twitter didn't exist. Sales through web sites were minimal at best. There were no electronic versions of octavos, lead sheets, nor instrumental parts available for download and purchase. I did not have a cell phone. Who had ever heard of the term "blog?" My main news sources were television, radio, and the newspaper. E-mail was pretty basic. Would anyone have known what I meant when I said, "Oh, just Google it."

As a publishing house, we have tried our best to keep up with all of these technological advancements. And, as you know, technology moves and grows more quickly with the passing of each day. Our WLP web site is one of our main "faces" for the world. We now have a video section on the new page, which, at the moment, highlights the music and ministry of John Angotti. Please be sure to check it out.

I wanted to share another few photos from my trip to Sicily. This is the baptism font in the Doumo in Palermo. Note that the weight of the font rests on the figures of Adam and Eve. I had never seen a font design like this one and found it pretty stunning.

These photos, as well as more close-ups of the sculpture, will help me when I do presentations about baptism.

Hope your mid-week is going well.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Translation Tuesday: Siracusan Surprises

Welcome to this edition of "New Translation Tuesday."

I want to relate one of my liturgical experiences while I was in Sicily. I recently reconnected with a seminary classmate via Facebook. Fr. Vincenzo Marino is now pastor of St. Anthony of Padua parish in Siracusa, a city on the east coast of Sicily. I attended a 7:00 P.M. Sunday Mass at his parish. Here is a shot of the interior of the church.

The church was packed for Mass. This parish has 18,000 plus members. The church was built just a few years ago. I immediately started looking for the tabernacle when I arrived. There was no tabernacle in the main church space. There was a chapel for the reservation of the Eucharist:

It surprised me—given all the talk here in the United States about moving tabernacles back onto "main altars," "front and center," etc.—to see a reservation chapel very distinct from the main church. Fr. Marino said that this was not an issue. I asked him about the approval process for new church designs in Italy. He told me that the parish comes up with three architects' designs and then they are submitted to the metropolitan see, who makes the final decision. I asked him who the metropolitan see for Siracusa, Sicily was. He told me "Rome." How interesting.

The people enthusiastically prayed and sang the Mass. Fr. Marino chanted several of the celebrant's texts. The responses by the people just fell off their tongues. It was a vibrant and spirit-filled liturgy. The people sang with gusto; no hymnals, no missals, no worship aids.

I couldn't help but think about how this kind of congregation would deal with a new Italian translation of the Missale Romanum. It brought the issue right back to square one for me. Our current translation certainly just falls off my own tongue and the tongues of millions of us in the English-speaking world. It is going to take some hard work of unlearning and relearning these new texts. And with all the confusion surrounding the thousands of last minute changes that were not approved by the various English-speaking conferences of bishops, I wonder if the process of the reception of the translation has been tainted, making the work that is ahead of us all the more difficult.

After Mass at St. Anthony in Siracusa I was in for another surprise. There was an infant baptized after Mass. Take a look. In this photograph you will see the parents undressing the baby (on the far right):

And in this one you will see what happens next:

That's right. Baptism by full immersion. It was glorious. Good liturgy. Good praying. Good singing. And all of this in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I was in heaven!

Well, that's enough for now. Thanks for your patience. I usually blog much earlier in the day, but there is lots to do around here these days, as you can well imagine.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Back in Sweet Home Chicago, With a Very Grateful Heart

A very good Monday morning to you all.

I am back in the office today. I have a very grateful heart for the blessing of a restful vacation in Sicily. Sicily is a beautiful island. I can honestly say that I have never had such a restful and enjoyable vacation. I had such wonderful experiences there, which I will be sharing with you as these post-vacation days unfold.

On Thursday morning, I was standing at this very spot. This gives you just a glimpse of the beauty I encountered while in Sicily.

This post will be rather short, since I am faced with a mountain of e-mails to answer and a management meeting looms.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues here at WLP who filled in for me on the blog while I was away. I did get a chance to glance at their posts; I will read them in more detail when at home tonight. Looks like we may have to re-name this blog; perhaps "Gotta sing. Gotta pray. Gotta eat!"

One thing that travel does—whether one travels to another continent, another state, another city, or another neighborhood—is open ones eyes to the reality that the world is a very big place.

My eyes were certainly opened in very new ways over the past few weeks. The people of Sicily taught me much through their laughter, their anger, their dialect, their incredible food, their joy, their sorrow, their hospitality, their relaxed attitude about schedules.

There will be more to come as this week unfolds. I had some interesting liturgical experiences while there, which I will share with you as well.

Thanks for following the blog while I was away. I look forward to talking with you tomorrow.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Are we there yet?

Greetings, all. It's Mary Beth again, posting the final guest blog before Jerry returns from his vacation in Sicily. We all have missed him, and I look forward to Monday, as all the folks here welcome him home and listen to his stories. Jerry is a great, entertaining storyteller! I do worry that it will be a little rough for a relaxed, tanned person  who has been waking up in Sicily every day to reintegrate into the hectic life of liturgical publishing, as the temperatures drop here in beautiful Franklin Park!

Our production manager, Deb Johnston, came to me last week and asked that we update our excel spread sheet of all the editions of the various revised and new Mass settings. She oversees the engravers and designers, and it's essential that she keep up with the status of all the music files, layouts, covers, title pages, CD booklets, etc. As she pointed out, many of the columns were marke DONE, or had "Ready to go to Press" dates set for April or May of 2010.

I set up a meeting with all the editors working on these projects, our head engraver and Deb. As we moved line-by-line through the spread sheet, there were a few items that could be finished up now, like a back cover for a choral edition that only had artwork done for the front cover, or the layout of a track listing for a CD.

However, most of the conversation was more along these lines: "We have dates to record the revised doxology for that Mass, and then we'll have both ready." or "We have all the corrections to the copyright notices marked, but we need to wait to see the final missal text at the end of October to see if anything else has changed." Another is "The instrumental parts all need to be re-laid out to remove "Christ has died", at least according to what we know right now."

So, are we there yet? No. Will the final text that is promised to publishers at the end of October be the final, final, final answer to all our questions? We certainly hope so, but our experience with this translation makes us realize anything can happen. We're (tentatively) planning to drop everything else the first week or so of November and tie up all the loose ends with all the editions. There are about 140 print, on-line, or recorded elements we've promised for Advent, 2011; many more if you count the individual downloadable assembly editions.

We have two independent editions of Glory to God settings and one of the Penitential Act we are ready to publish. Can we? Should we? It's the dilemma du jour.

In the meantime, the chants of the missal have been adapted to for the most recent changes to the Order of Mass and are now posted on the ICEL web site. As of the announcement of recognitio and date of implementaion on August 20, these changes were:

--the words of absolution in the Penitential Act have been modified (so that the text of the current Sacramentary is maintained);

--the addition of "I believe" at three points in the Profession of faith;

--several slight modifications to the texts of the Eucharistic Prayers;

--the final doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer has been slightly altered.
Regarding adaptations for the Dioceses of the United States, you will notice in the Order of Mass that the acclamation "Christ has died" has not been approved. . .  
 Alternate forms of the tropes for form C of the Penitential Act were approved. They will be contained in an appendix in the final text of the Missal.
Here's the link to the ICEL site:

We've had overwhelmingly good response to our Mass settings in all the places people encounter them, so we are encouraged that our energy and care toward serving the singing, praying and initiating church are worthwhile. We're almost there!

Gotta Sing. Gotta Pray.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Translation Thursday: St. Cecilia, inspire-and startle-our composers! (And a recipe, too!)

Welcome to new translation Thursday, everyone! This is Alan Hommerding, Senior Liturgy Publications Editor here at WLP, with my final installment as guest blogger for Jerry Galipeau.

A while back I accepted an invitation to lead a St. Cecilia event for the archdiocese of Detroit in November of 2011. This past weekend it occurred to me that I would be standing in front of that roomful of parish musicians just a week or so before we begin using the new translation of the Mass! In a brief moment of panic, I wondered what that group of pastoral music ministers might look like at that point in time.

(Sometimes I cave in to the little demon sitting on my shoulder.)

The Holy Spirit—the Comforter—soon reminded me of these lines from W. H. Auden’s “Hymn to St. Cecilia” (known best in its musical setting by Benjamin Britten):

Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions
To all musicians, appear and inspire.
Since the new translation was on my mind, the next lines came to mind as well:

Translated Daughter, come down and startle

Composing mortals with immortal fire.

These lines have come back to me many times through the years when I’ve had to go to the WLP archives to look for some piece of music or other from 40 or 50 years ago. It’s impossible to go into any archive drawer without encountering the numerous Mass settings that came out in the 1960s and 1970s for the previous translations of the Mass, including “Mass of Our Lady of the Lake” (1964), by my first organ teacher/choir director, Ann Celeen Dohms, who joined St. Cecilia’s celestial music-making for eternity this past summer.

As Mike Novak reminded us last week, all vernacular translations of the Mass to date were intended to be temporary. So vast an undertaking cannot be accomplished with complete success in only a few attempts. As a matter of fact, when the translation we currently use came out, work began quite soon on another.

You might guess that with this most recent translation WLP has received a LOT of new musical settings. Some of them have been truly (to use Auden’s word) startling. I intentionally employ that word with the whole spectrum of implications it can have. But many settings have been clear manifestations of the movement of the Holy Spirit. Though I am an advocate (another of my favorite titles for the Spirit) of all parishes knowing the Ordinary of the Mass in its chant setting, we also need to be advocates for the wind of that same Spirit to continue blowing through the pens (or computer software) of our composers. Listen to their work at

All the new settings, like those settings now in the WLP archives, will need time, the wisdom and grace of the Spirit, and the living, praying, singing Body of Christ—the Church—to discern which have been truly inspired by St. Cecilia. We at WLP do our best to be good and faithful stewards of our composers’ talents, and insightful as we can be in our selection process to serve parishes. Editorial mortals also need to be inspired with immortal fire!

We, the Church vigilant, all wait for the final translation that Cecilia, Translated Daughter, and all the Church radiant have already experienced. We look to that day when we, like them, are (quoting Auden again)

Casual as birds
Playing among the ruined languages

of our best, but imperfect, linguistic, musical—in a word, mortal—efforts. In the meantime, we pray to St. Cecilia to appear, inspire—and startle!

To thank you for staying with this rather long post, and in the spirit of WLP = We Love Parties (or Phood), I’ll close with a “poetic” recipe for alfredo sauce…Cecilia was Italian, after all! 

It’s easy to remember the poem: 1-2-3/B-C-C:


1 part butter
2 parts cream
3 parts grated cheese (I like the blends of parmesan/romano/asiago)

Over low heat: melt butter, stir in cream, slowly fold in grated cheese until smooth. Flavor to taste with garlic, pepper, oregano or other Italian spices. Serve over pasta.

(I’ll admit that too much of this could hasten your membership in St. Cecilia’s celestial choir, but – enjoy!)

(Gotta eat!) Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finding Peace

Greetings from today’s guest blogger, Ron Rendek, from WLP. About a month ago, I had the opportunity to be one of the guest musicians at an interdenominational retreat ... 2 days of spiritual reflection and discussion in a quiet wooded setting near Galena, Illinois. For this gathering of adult and student ministry leaders and guest speakers, I was one of three that provided ambient music and song during prayer, meditation, and other special moments. I, the classical guitarist, met with the other musicians, a flutist and a violinist/vocalist, on that first day. Through a series of e-mails we agreed that each of us would bring music appropriate to share with each other and the retreatants in helping to create a prayerful, peaceful environment.
The chapel at the Abbey of Gethsemane
Interestingly, my newly acquainted musician friends (non-Catholic) brought with them two WLP octavos - Steve Warner and Leslie Barnhart’s “Wisdom, My Road,” and “Strength for the Journey” by Michael John Poirier. Talk about music crossing denominations! I had my satchel of traditional hymns, spirituals, classical pieces, and some hand-picked WLP selections. After we perused hymnals, octavos, manuscripts, and sheet music, we sketched out a working repertoire list. We all felt it was important to allow room for the music to breathe with plenty of space for improvisation. In fact, several of the melodies evolved naturally and changed character by use of a theme and variation dialog, modulation, or impromptu solo. The music became our meditation. Together we absorbed nature, silence, poetry, prayer, and the presence of God.
I remember experiencing that same oneness with God and nature at the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky as the visiting assembly chanted psalmody and prayer with the monks during the Liturgy of the Hours. Music truly crosses all boundaries and denominations and helps us to become aware of our innermost feelings and purpose in life. I want to especially thank my musician friends 
Lynn Cunningham and Peter Williams.

Over the weekend I read the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. Actually, this is my third or fourth reading of it. I highly recommend this insightful work and the author’s lessons for everyday life. Simply stated, the message is - 1) Be impeccable with your word. Use your words in the direction of truth and love. 2) Don’t make assumptions. Communicating clearly can avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. 3) Don’t take anything personally. This immunity to others opinions and judgments can stop needless suffering. 4) Always do your best. Your best offers no excuses, self-abuse and regret. This perceptive book is an easy read filled with many invaluable life lessons.  

On a different note, today at the World Library office in Franklin Park, the editors are working on the last (hopefully) musical rewrites of the newly revised Mass text. Plans are in the works to record these final revisions including Peter Kolar’s newly adapted “Misa Luna” setting. We’re also busy working on new octavo settings by Fr. Jim Marchionda, John Angotti, Charles Thatcher, Fr. Chrysogonus Waddell, William Tortolano, Tony Barr, Paul Hillebrand, Elyse O’Kane …

Gotta Sing. Gotta Pray.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Translation Tuesday: Times of Transitions

Welcome to new translation Tuesday, everyone! This is Alan Hommerding, Senior Liturgy Publications Editor at WLP, guest blogging again for Jerry Galipeau.

About 14 years ago, I began to serve Chicago Sinai Congregation as music director for their overflow High Holy Day services (Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur). We welcomed in the year 5771 last week! If you attended St. Cecilia’s Orchestra at NPM Detroit, you saw Sinai’s sanctuary in the video of the shofar player:
The services I’m involved with are held in Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church, 


so it’s quite the ecumenical and interfaith experience. I do get to conduct some of Chicago’s finest singers and play one of the city’s best pipe organs. More importantly, I am exposed to a rich spiritual tradition and part of my own faith ancestry.

When I began at Sinai, it was right as they were in transition to a new translation of their prayer book. I learned about the issues they’d dealt with—preserving vs. updating prayers/gender-inclusive language/how much Hebrew to retain and utilize—which seemed to resonate with my own experience in Roman Catholicism. As you’d expect, some of the same “camps” had arisen there around these issues.

In about 14 minutes, after I post this, I am leaving for Milwaukee, where I will be playing an organ recital tomorrow on St. John cathedral’s noontime concert series (named “Best Free Music before Sundown” by Milwaukee Magazine). The organ: 

 “Years of Grace” is what I’m calling the program:

New Year Chorales from
The Little Organ Book         J. S. Bach
Help me praise God’s goodness
The old year has passed away
In Thee is gladness

The Morning and the Evening         Leopold Mozart
February: The carnival
March: Adagio (Theme with variations)
May: Pastoral minuet
July: Scherzo
September: The hunt

Psalms without Words No. 3         Alan J. Hommerding
Psalm 65:11 “You Crown the Year with Goodness”
         (premiere performance)

(The ultra-left-brained might appreciate that the program’s longer version includes a liturgical year section, with pieces by 19th century composers. So the program also traverses, broadly speaking, four main eras of Western music.)

I’ll also be the accompanist for Tuesday evening’s presentation of WLP’s “Singing the Seasons” in Milwaukee, led by Mary Beth Kunde-Anderson.

Needless to say, years, seasons, and times of transition have been very much on my mind and in my prayer recently.

I’ve come to view this current time of the new translation as a time of movement and passage. These seasons and transitions are, after all, natural, inevitable, and necessary. In nature, for things to flower or bear fruit involves work and energy, patience, and—as with the grain of wheat in John 12:24—even some death. If you’ve spent time on a farm—even gardening—you know this cycle. The process is, to use the popular term, organic, and true of our mortal bodies as well.

The Church, too, is a Body. Organic, living, growing, and changing through seasons and transitions. We sometimes think it’s exempt from the things that our own bodies and all living things go through, but it’s not. If the new translation of the Mass is to bear fruit, it will involve work and energy, patience, and even surrendering to “death” of some things we currently know. But, confident in the Spirit, we know that a new season of life awaits.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Monday!

Good Monday morning! I'm Mary Beth Kunde-Anderson, today's guest blogger and Director of Publications for JSP/WLP.
Time to start the workday here in beautiful Franklin Park, Illinois. I thought I'd update you on Jerry's travels, so I checked his Facebook page. (Cue Gilligan's Island theme song)

His last entry was last Thursday, September 9 and reads:
Jerry Galipeau is enjoying a very relaxing day here on the Island of Lipari in the Mediterranean. Thunderstorms came through a few hours ago. Planning on a ten-hour boat excursion tomorrow to see the volcanic eruption on the Island of Stromboli.....
A ten-hour tour, a ten-hour tour. . . . Is it just me, or is this going through your head, too?   Let's just presume Jerry is either physically or psychically out of reach of the world of Facebook, and having a terrific time. He'll be blogging here again a week from today.

Two weeks ago, I taught for three evenings in the Tepeyac Institute in El Paso, Texas. Our outstanding Hispanic resources editor, Peter Kolar, has lived there for the past five years. He deserves a lot of credit for stepping up and working to include parish musicians in this existing diocesan ministry program. I found the teaching and discussion so energizing, and as always, I learned quite a bit in the process. Here are a couple of insights that I hope will add to your perspective about our field.

First, there is enthusiasm for Catholic liturgical music ministry still alive and well! In El Paso, 125 unpaid musicians gathered for two weeks to learn more and become better equipped for their ministry. Most came directly from work, and packed their dinner. The program offers certification if additional requirements are met, but there has been no pressure or requirement that these folks become certified. They are there purely out of dedication to their parishes and hunger to learn more and grow. Their passion and gratitude for the opportunity to learn were refreshing and a sign of the Spirit at work.

Also, I was reminded that all the discussions we have about new texts, new Masses, etc. sometimes fly over the head of the reality in many parts of our church in the United States. As I worked with the musicians in El Paso, for example, I found that because most of them work with English and Spanish translations of the Roman Missal currently, it is much easier for them to understand the concept of vernacular translations from the Latin. And, as we did side-by-side comparisons of the current Order of Mass in English and Spanish with the new Order of Mass translation, it was also clear that the current Spanish translation is already much closer to the Latin and the changes will most likely be less profound. Also, we hoped that Spanish-speaking Catholics will receive just as much assistance and attention when the new Spanish translation is available as we are now seeing in the English-speaking world.

The liturgical culture there is also largely small volunteer groups at each Mass and almost exclusively guitar-led. Folks there could think of only two churches in the diocese that have a piano. Many of the Mass settings that we explored were out of their realm of experience. Again, it was quite interesting that these musicians were drawn to the chant-based settings, like Richard Proulx's Gloria Simplex and Mass of Hope by Lisa Staffford. We agreed it was a good that a ministry program broaden their horizons to styles of musical expression that are widely sung by their brothers and sisters in other parts of the country. They were a great model of honesty and openness.

If you have persevered to this point, I'm offering a "bonus track". This is the time of year, while Italian prune plums are in the market for just a couple of weeks, that I bring out one of my family's favorite recipes. I'm sure my Bohemian grandmother (dad's side) and my mom who learned to cook all my dad's favorites, would delight that others might enjoy these dumplings!

Back to work - Gotta sing; gotta pray!


2 c. milk
2 c. water
½ tsp. salt
¾ c. farina
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
3 ½ c. flour
24 to 30 Italian prune plums

Bring the first three ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Add farina and cook until just thickened. Cool. Add eggs and flour sifted together with salt and baking powder.

Roll out on a floured board to ¼” thick. Cut into 24 squares for medium plums; more for small plums. A pizza cutter works well for this. Wrap each plum in a square of dough.

Place into boiling water. (I boil two large pasta pots). Boil for 15 minutes, stirring once to gently to prevent breaking.

Serve hot with melted butter, bread crumbs and sugar.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Friday Treat (or “Chocolate Makes Everything Better”)

Hello, faithful Gotta Sing, Gotta Pray readers. My name is Jennifer Odegard and I am both your guest blogger today and the Director of Marketing here at World Library Publications and the J.S. Paluch Company. I am privileged to lead a team of 5 incredibly talented, creative, intelligent, good-natured, and dedicated people:
All of these fine folks find great joy and satisfaction in spreading the good news about the products and resources this publishing company has developed to serve the singing, praying, and initiating church. We love to hear from our customers, so please feel free to drop any of us an e-mail through our website to let us know what we can do to serve you better.

Oddly enough, I am not going to use any of my word count here to try and sell you anything (so, please keep reading). Instead, I am going to make good on a comment Jerry Galipeau made in a previous entry and share one of my favorite recently discovered recipes with you. It is a recipe that involves chocolate, cheese, and cookies (really, now, how can that be bad?): a chocolate-ricotta ice box cake, courtesy of Martha Stewart.

Because, as you know, we publishing-types are sticklers for copyright issues, I am going to give you a link to the recipe, rather than typing it out here myself, (though I will admit to “borrowing” the picture above):

Having now made this cake twice in the last month, I can assure you that it is not only easy but decadent – and a real crowd pleaser. Plus, you don’t even have to turn on an oven to make it, and you can make it up to 2 days in advance. Even my husband Charlie, who for some bizarre reason dislikes most other kinds of cheesecake, agrees that this is one of his new favorite desserts.

I hope the weekend ahead gives each and every one of you the opportunity to make something sweet, eat something sweet, and enjoy the good things in life (like chocolate) that make it clear that there is a God who loves each and every one of us very, very much. And for that, and for so much more, we’ve gotta sing, gotta pray. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What Could Have Been . . .

Hello again, everybody, and welcome to another edition of “New Translation Thursday.” Mike Novak, guest blogger here. The morning has dawned cool, clear, and crisp. September days in this part of the Midwest are often spectacular. I hope your day is a good one wherever you are.

This morning I thought I’d inject a little levity into our very serious conversations about the new translation of the Roman Missal. In my work as parish resources editor here at WLP, I frequently handle English texts that are also translated into Spanish. Since my high school and college classes in German and French have prepared me so well for this endeavor (tongue planted firmly in cheek here), I sometimes turn to one of the online translating services just to get a little handle on some of the Spanish texts that cross my desk before I hand them over to the people who really know what they are doing. Now, any of you who have tried to use these services know how rough the output can be.

But that didn’t stop me from wondering what our new translation of the Roman Missal would have been like if we had handed the task over to a computer. I was able to find only one place on the Internet brave (or foolish) enough to attempt producing on-the-spot translations of Latin to English. Nevertheless, I dug up some of the passages whose English translations have been the subject of some conversation here in the States, just to see what a neutral party would do with them. Here are some of the results:

Et cum spiritu tuo.

And when breath tuo.

Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso,
est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti,
in unitate Spiritus Sancti,
omnis honor et gloria
per omnia saecula saeculorum.

Very itself, and when ipso, and upon ipso,
est to you Deo Fatherland omnipotenti,
in unitate Breath Sancti,
omnis official dignity and fame
omnia to all eternity.

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.

Holy, Holy, Holy Master God Sabaoth.
Pleni are skies and earth fame tua.
Hosanna upon excelsis.
Benedictus quae came upon by name Domini.
Hosanna in the highest.

Now, no commentary on the translation would be complete without an analysis of the operative translation principles, so here goes:

Here we see the important principle of “when you don’t understand it, leave it in Latin” applied throughout. Food for thought?

The translation principles applied by the Internet site apparently do not include consistency. Compare the third and fifth lines of the Sanctus, for example. If the machine can’t be consistent, can we expect humans to be?

Another principle appears to be “when there are multiple meanings for a word, guess.” Context has no influence on the outcome.

Comparing these results to those from online translations of modern languages, I would have to say that Latin presents more challenges to the machines than many other languages do.  For now, the jobs of human translators appear to be safe. Just wait till next time, though!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Many good things!

Greetings from today’s guest blogger, Ron Rendek. This week at the World Library office in Franklin Park, the editors are working on the last (fingers crossed) musical rewrites from composers on the newly revised Mass text. Plans are in the works to record these final revisions including Peter Kolar’s popular “Misa Luna.” 
John Angotti popped in the office yesterday for a brief meeting and conference call but took some time to tell us (maybe I’m the last to know!) that he will be performing at Carnegie Hall early next year. I asked him how do you get to Carnegie Hall. He said “Google®” it. He has assembled a choir that consists of some 400 singers, oodles of musicians, and, of course, his regular band with the outstanding players Kelly Jones - guitar, JT Brown - bass, and Dion Clay - drums. We currently have several of John’s compositions from his last two recordings in various stages of proofing and these will be available in print or as downloadable lead sheet/octavo formats within the next few weeks. Many good things.
We’ve been working on new octavo settings by Fr. Jim Marchionda, OP, from his recent CD “Family, Friends, and God,” a disc that incorporates his dynamic preaching on topics of peace, poverty, justice, hope, love, forgiveness with original compositions and arrangements focusing attention to his significant words. Fr. Jim’s parish mission work, concerts, and workshop itinerary keeps him on the road most of the year as he travels throughout the U.S. and abroad. Some of his events are even booked several years in advance. Book your Holy Week mission now!
WLP choral director Paul French and Fr. Chrysogonus Waddell 
Father Chrysogonus Waddell and his music contributions live on in our hearts and on the printed page. As we approach the second anniversary of his death this November, his many writings and compositions continue on as we edit his detailed music manuscripts and publish his choral works. This November, we will release (with recording) an octavo of his “Psalms for the Easter Season.” Many good things. 
Our friends in LA, the Jacob and Matthew Band, have just received word that they have been commissioned to write and perform the theme song at next year’s LA Religious Education Congress held in Anaheim. Jacob, Matthew, and Michael Paul are busy putting together ideas for this new composition and are scheduled to meet soon with coordinator/music director John Flaherty to discuss the theme of the convention and toss around concepts for the event’s main song. There is also a plan in the works for a 6-song disc to be released early next year with the new LA theme song and an additional 5 newly written songs. This release will be in plenty of time for the debut in LA. Many good things. 
Pianist, arranger, composer, series editor Thomas W. Jefferson is beginning work on his gospel piano method book with an included DVD/CD component. This much-anticipated instruction book (by me and any church pianist I know) builds off the work Thomas did for his doctorate from Northwestern University two years ago and also embodies the work found in the 20+-page sampler that was available at this summer’s NPM Detroit convention. Be sure to listen to excerpts on the WLP Web site ( for Thomas’ new CD “Impromptu” that showcases his interpretations of jazz, gospel, blues, and classical styles of spirituals, hymn tunes, Baroque classics, all with Thomas’ remarkable technique, arranging, and performing skills. Many good things.

Gotta Sing. Gotta Pray.