And thanks so much for yesterday's comments. Feel free to add your own voice to yesterday's post.
Yesterday afternoon was a pretty exciting time here at World Library Publications. The first round of new and revised Mass settings were delivered to us by the printer, including the newly composed settings: Mass of Wisdom by Steven Janco, Mass of Awakening by Scott Soper, and Mass of Grace by Lisa Stafford. Revised Mass settings that arrived included: Mass for Christian Unity by Jan Vermulst (Richard Proulx, adapt.), Sing Praise and Thanksgiving Mass by J. Michael Joncas, People's Mass by Jan Vermulst (Richard Proulx, adapt.), Misa Luna by Peter Kolar, and Mass of Redemption by Steven Janco. We took a quick photo of these Mass settings, as you can see above.
This is the culmination of years of work by our composers, editors, and art and design professionals. When I held all of these Masses in my hands, I was filled with a tremendous sense of pride and joy. I have been sharing examples and samples of these settings around the country for at least two years, as their production unfolded. I can honestly say that our original approach to new and revised Mass settings has resulted in what you see before you (and a few more will soon be released). Basically, what you see before you is an array of very diverse musical styles for the Mass. Yesterday, one of my friends in the chant world, Jeffrey Tucker, had this to say about the Mass of Grace and the Gloria Simplex, both of which are composed in chant-style: "I think you might be the only major publisher who has seen the power of this genre of music, and I really hope that it does well." Thanks, Jeffrey, for that vote of confidence.
In my travels, I have watched and listened to musicians as they sing through these various settings. We decided very early on to make decisions about Mass settings based on the reality of parish life across the United States. There just isn't a "one size fits all" approach. When I think of our mission here at WLP to serve the needs of the singing, praying, and initiating Church, I can't help but believe that we are serving those needs very well with our Mass settings. I look forward to the day when I can join my own voice to others as we sing and pray these texts.
What's in the works for us? Soon you will see a newly composed Mass, the Mass of Saint Ann, by Ed Bolduc. This has been composed for the parish that uses a more contemporary style of music at one or more of its liturgies. I have shared the Gloria from this Mass with quite a number of musicians and they have sung it with gusto (and with smiles on their faces!). You will also soon see Steve Warner's Mass for Our Lady. Many who have sung this setting have made the following remark: "Even after singing it once, I feel like I have been singing it for years." You will also see a Mass setting for children by Kathleen Demny, Mass of Joy. Kathleen's original setting has become quite popular and the new setting is quite fine. We are also working with our African-American composers, who are crafting Mass parts for Black Catholic parishes.
Folks, it was so exciting to hold these settings in my hands yesterday. Perhaps some day we will all share the similar feelings when we are actually holding The Roman Missal in our hands (and it will take two hands to hold that enormous book!)
I am leaving tomorrow morning for San Jose, to speak at the Faith Formation Conference sponsored by the dioceses in California's San Francisco Bay area. Then on Friday it's off to Denver to spend Saturday with the musicians of the Archdiocese for their Saint Cecilia day. This will include a one hour rehearsal for the music for a Mass that will be celebrated that morning. Then we'll all have lunch together, then I will have a presentation on what parish musicians will need to do to assist in the implementation of the new translation. I will also share samples of WLP's new and revised settings. I am really looking forward to what looks like will be an exciting day.
So much excitement going on. I hope that you visit WLP's web site and Sing the New Mass to see and listen to our musical settings.
I know that this probably sounded like a long commercial. I guess there is some of that kind of thing mixed in here. But, as a publisher and a singing and praying Catholic, it is a wonderful thing to have watched people employ their God-given talents to craft such beauty. And for that I am humbled and proud, all at the same time.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.