Friday, July 30, 2010
Arrived safely last night. Decided to get a glass of wine at the hotel's lobby bar after I settled in. There was a piano bar with several people singing the "golden oldies." I picked up some of the conversations around the bar and, when the topic turned to politics, I heard some pretty sharp barbs aimed at the current administration and also heard some less-than-positive comments about two particular states' politicians. The two states? Massachusetts, my birth state where I grew up, and Illinois, my current state of residence.
One of the men came to the bar to pay for his drinks (many, I guessed) and asked where I hailed from. I told him, "Illinois," and then it all started. The invective against President Obama, Ted Kennedy, and John Kerry began. This was the last kind of conversation I needed after a long day. The man told me that there should be shooting stations set up along the US southern border. "The only way to clean up this immigration mess is to shoot them as they cross the border." I sat there as he continued his tirade. I predicted where it would all go. Eventually, he covered abortion, health care, immigration, and then he told me that I needed to join the "Tea Party." His views on the civil rights movement were stunning. His comments about "the blacks" were about all that I could take. I tried to engage in the conversation, bringing in my own positive experiences of what the Kennedy family did for the poor in Massachusetts and in the nation, as well as my own experience in my parish of African-Americans reaching out to the poor and disenfranchised. While he said that what we were doing at Saint James "was a good thing," he also told me that those "blacks" were the "good ones." He quoted some article he read recently about "those blacks making up 92% of the welfare rolls." "Have you ever seen a black man with a broken arm?" he asked. When I told him that I had seen people in Chicago—the urban poor—walking the streets of the city in obvious need of healthcare, he said, "No way, we take care of everyone in this country, whether or not they can afford it or not." "We don't need Obama's health care; he doesn't listen to the will of the American people."
His wife finally dragged him away. I bid him a blessed night, said that God was good, and when he turned around to look at me, I flashed him . . .
. . . the peace sign.
The bartender, a young woman who is working toward a degree in elementary education, then lamented about her experience, as she sees all kinds of people. "Unfortunately," she said, "people are either too far in one direction or too far in the other. No wonder we can't get anything done in this country." I reflected back that I felt that the experience in the Catholic Church mirrored her interpretation of the political scene.
What an experience, folks.
So, that was my evening. Today, I am all revved up to give a four-hour presentation to the priests of the Archdiocese. My topic is on the re-invention of the RCIA in parishes. I will try to help all re-capture the originating vision of the catechumenate as outlined in Ad Gentes from the Second Vatican Council. My aim, of course, is to allow people to dream a new dream for initiation; RCIA processes that are much less a course in Catholic teaching and much more a kind of "dynamic novitiate" into the Catholic way of believing, worshipping, and living.
Tomorrow, I will do something similar for the lay people of the Archdiocese. I look forward to sharing my comments with you on Monday.
I hope that your weekend is a peaceful one. Tea, anyone?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
As you may or may not know, once the texts for The Roman Missal are received, we here at WLP will be publishing Father Paul Turner's book Pastoral Companion to The Roman Missal. I have been editing Paul's work for the last several months and know that this will be an important contribution as the new texts are implemented and studied for the next several decades. We asked Bishop Arthur Roche, bishop of the Diocese of Leeds in Great Britain, to write the foreword for the book. You can learn more about Bishop Roche (who has been president of the International Committee on English in the Liturgy since 2002) here.
We received the text last week and when I circulated it to my colleagues here at WLP, one of our managers had this to say:
"Suddenly, after reading this, I may actually be on the new translation bandwagon. Quite inspiring and it actually made good, positive sense to an "in the pews" Catholic like me. I really like his clear and reasonable tone."
Readers, I was inspired by Bishop Roche's words. A true man of the Church, his insights and the historical context he unfolds are very helpful. Here is an excerpt from his foreword:
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I will be leaving tomorrow for the Archdiocese of Omaha. I am presenting a clergy day on Friday focused on the Second Vatican Council's vision for the RCIA. This is usually eye-opening for people (since most initiation processes are stuck in a classroom teaching model). When I have given this presentation to priests, there are some who have difficulty with the Council's vision (that the catechumenate is not a classroom, but an apprenticeship). Many wonder about how the catechumens and candidates are going to get the "meat." It's always a great conversation because people eventually come to realize that there are many ways (outlined by the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome, as well as by our own bishops here in the United States) for passing on the "meat." Then on Saturday, I present a talk for RCIA teams throughout the Archdiocese. Archbishop Lucas will be the keynote speaker. I am greatly looking forward to hearing him speak; the title of his presentation is "The RCIA: Vision for the Future." Should be a great couple of days. The sessions are being held at Christ the King Parish. Here's a photo of the place I found on their web site:
It's always great to see the Church in other places. While I enjoy my work here at WLP immensely, I have a deep passion for the ministry that I do "on the road." And "on the road" I will be for the next several months, traveling to about twenty-two dioceses throughout the United States. It will be great to have you with me along the way!
Thanks for your comments yesterday. We need to keep the conversation going. Friday marks the end of July, the "anybody's guess" date with regard to the text of The Roman Missal. Wonder if we'll see anything by Friday?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
So, what is the "state of the union" with respect to the new English translation of The Roman Missal? Frankly, it surely is anybody's guess at this point. I have been speaking with several people who are always "in the know." And, it seems, right now, there is no "in the know." At a conversation at a meeting at the NPM convention a few weeks ago, a highly placed Church official said—of the purported 10,000 changes to the text—that these were mostly issues of punctuation and capitalization. Then, someone else who had more direct knowledge about what is going on assured the official that these changes were much more substantial. Most people wonder openly about who is actually doing the work on theses changes. Where is the text?
This behavior is a marked departure from the processes that our own bishops have set up with the Vatican and which have been in use since the Second Vatican Council. When statements (which appear to be completely true) such as, "The English-speaking bishops conferences and ICEL are in the dark" begin to appear, I can only start to think that there is much more going on here than meets the eye. Why, for instance, after such a long process of translation and debate, has the text itself disappeared like a submerging submarine? All of a sudden, after what appeared to be a transparent process (for the most part), the doors have been closed and those who should know what's going on are left in the dark. Where is the text?
As a Roman Catholic publisher, we rely on a steady stream of information from ICEL and from the Bishops Committee on Divine Worship in Washington. We have a good relationship with both organizations and I believe there is a level of mutual respect. There is absolutely nothing of substance coming from either of these two bodies. We are more than ready and willing to serve the needs of the singing and praying Church, but our best efforts at trying to approach all of this in as organized a fashion as possible are eroding as each day passes. I have no doubt that the talented and dedicated staff here at WLP will do everything we can to serve our peoples' needs. But, it is beginning to get a bit scary.
Where is the text?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Monday, July 26, 2010
I have received and accepted an invitation to speak with a small group of priests in a diocese here in the Midwest. These priests meet regularly and, for the past few years, have been discussing the new English translation of the Missal. The priest who issued the invitation told me that these priests are now ready to move beyond the complaining stage regarding the new translation and to something more constructive. He said this, "Questions similar to these are the ones we are asking: What do we need to do to 'get on board?' What will this new translation ask of us as presiders? Is it asking for something different than we are offering now as presiders?"
I find the last two questions to be quite intriguing, especially the final one. Does the new translation ask something different of presiders? Of course, the simple answer here is no. One who presides at Mass is asked simply to use all of his gifts to pray the prayers, chant the chants, sing the hymns, proclaim the word, preach the word, lead the congregation—all of these elements and more—in as effective a way as possible. In all of these things, he is also asked to exhibit a certain kind of transparency, so that we in the congregation will experience the presence of Christ through him.
Perhaps the "something different" has to with a recapturing of the sense of the way a priest celebrates the Mass, the ars celebrandi.
My heart is filled with joy and hope that priests are asking these kinds of questions. I heard a priest a few years ago at my parish. He was an elderly Benedictine. When he invited us to pray at the Opening Prayer, he bowed his head in silence, and we followed his cue. When he began the prayer, I felt as if he were giving birth to the words. He prayed with such intensity and conveyed the meaning of the text so beautifully. I have not forgotten that Mass. A return to paying closer attention to the ars celebrandi could perhaps be one of the great gifts of the new translation. Unfortunately, some of the prayers will be quite difficult to proclaim; looks like the structure might inhibit the meaning from being communicated. Of course, we will need to see all these prayers before making this kind of judgment. I think the fact is that priests will need to work much, much harder with these texts. That is a good thing.
So, faithful readers, how would you answer the question these priests pose: "Is it (the new translation) asking for something different than we are offering now as presiders?"
Please feel free to comment. And for those of you new to this blog, a thousand welcomes!
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Arrived yesterday for my first plenum session for the Notre Dame SummerSong program. There is a group of about 40 musicians here learning and studying in a number of hands-on and classroom segments.
At Mass today, we sang Steve Warner's new Eucharistic Acclamations as a kind of liturgical "lab session" using the new texts. We sang his acclamations from his new Mass of Charity and Love, based on the well known chant hymn "Where Charity and Love Prevail." You can here snippets over at singthenewmass. Steve dedicates this new setting to the life and memory of Margaret "Mickey" Paluch. This was my first experience singing the new texts within the eucharistic liturgy itself. Music will be the element that will greatly help the implementation. After all, musicians, we have beauty in our treasure chest!
At yesterday's session, I helped the participants in the program help name the pastoral landscape with respect to the implementation of the new translation of the Missale Romanum. I gave them samples of the responses from WLP's survey about the new translation. Each participant read one of the responses each, kind of a "round robbin" approach. I chose responses ranging from the extremely positive to the extremely negative, and everything in between. This helped launch our discussion. It wasn't so much a session for us to gripe or praise, but more to help us name the opportunities and challenges ahead of us as musicians as we look forward to the implementation. I hope it was a helpful session for those in attendance.
In a few hours, I will offer my second plenum, the implementation of the new translation from a publisher's perspective. I am planning on telling WLP's story of the last ten or so years, then we will sing through some of our settings. I am also giving them a sneak peek inside publishing. A new setting was submitted to WLP a few days ago. I brought copies of the submission with me and we will sing through some of the Mass parts, to give them an idea of what our own music review sessions are like at WLP.
I always love coming to the Notre Dame campus. Here are a few more photos I took yesterday, inside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. First, the baptism font:
Next, the ambry containing the holy oils:
And finally, an interior shot of the basilica:
If you've never had the chance to visit this extraordinary place, plan to visit next time you are in the Chicago area.
I hope that your weekend, especially your celebration of the Eucharist is a blessed one.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I am off to Notre Dame shortly to teach in the Summer Song program there. But I wanted to share two very interesting responses from our survey about the new translation. Here's the first comment:
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I read over at Whispers today that the United States Bishops have released a document on social media, which I read this morning (it's quite short and worth a read). You can find it here. I'd like to offer just a brief quote: "A well-considered use of social media has the ultimate goal of encouraging 'true friendship' (43rd World Communications Day message ) and of addressing the human longing for meaningful community."
When I began this blog in early 2009, I looked at it as an opportunity to do a few things. First of all, as a publisher proud of the many resources for ministry we publish here at WLP, I wanted this to be a place where I could share my excitement about prayer, initiation, and music resources with those engaged in this form of social media—the web blog. Secondly, I wanted to open a place for dialogue centered around pressing issues in the liturgical, musical, and catechetical worlds in which many of us find ourselves. Thirdly, and this may sound a bit selfish, I needed a place to write. For years here at WLP, as worship resources editor, part of my job was to write many things. When I moved to the "corner office" and became associate publisher, my responsibilities understandably shifted. I was no longer writing on a day-to-day basis and to be frank, I missed it deeply. When the great people here at WLP suggested that I start a blog, it seemed a natural fit for me. Finally, as the blog has developed, this has become a place where, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, people can listen to and enter into dialogue about the issues surrounding the implementation of the new English translation of the Missale Romanum.
In case any of you have every wondered, here's what it's like here at the WLP "home office." Here I am at the computer constructing this very edition of Gotta Sing Gotta Pray:
After having met many of you face-to-face at the NPM convention last week in Detroit, this little community that's gotta sing and that's gotta pray had more of a real face for me. This helped remind me that what we do here is travel on a vehicle of social media. It is my hope that here has been developed "true friendship," albeit it in a virtual way. What characterizes "true friendship?" I think that honesty and accountability are qualities of true friendship. I hope that this blog has been a place where those qualities have flourished. We may not all agree (and certainly we all have not agreed) on every issue raised here, but I have found this whole blog experience to be a profound journey of interconnectedness. Is it different than sitting down with my friends Joey and Scott and having a beer and talking about what's happening in our lives? Sure it is, but social media has certainly expanded our ways of interacting; perhaps it is even helping us shape new definitions of friendships.
To quote the bishops again, we all have that "human longing for meaningful community." Perhaps our little community here at Gotta Sing Gotta Pray could never dream of fulfilling that particular longing. But, hopefully, here you have found something meaningful. I have certainly enjoyed sharing my thoughts and dreams, emotions and frustrations with all of you. At the core of what we are doing here—and this is my greatest hope—is strengthening the bonds we have with one another in this world of Church. Doing that in a virtual world, in a social media environment is a new and exciting way to do so, don't you think?
Thanks for listening today. I look forward to the days and months to come in our little meaningful community.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
On Thursday and Friday of this week, I will be teaching in the University of Notre Dame's SummerSong program, which brings together musicians from various places in the United States and Canada for a week of intensive formation in liturgy, theology, and music. My task is to present two sessions. One is focused on a publisher's perspective on the work done thus far with respect to the new English translation of the Missale Romanum. Another is on a pastoral perspective as we look toward implementation.
The publisher's perspective will be fairly easy; kind of a telling of the story of the last three or more years. The pastoral perspective might be a bit more challenging.
My plan is to help the participants paint a picture of the current ecclesial pastoral landscape both in the United States and Canada. As a starting point I'll share some of the comments made on WLP's general survey about the new translation of the Missal. If you haven't yet taken the survey, you can find it here. These comments represent a wide range of opinions and feelings regarding the new translation. My hope is then to have the students comment on their own assessment of the pastoral landscape. We will then come up with what they believe are sound pastoral strategies; helpful ways to sing the new translation into existence. I am greatly looking forward to these few days.
I also wanted to share an e-mail communication I received this week from a priest who was very concerned—as you will see—with WLP's new and revised musical settings of the Mass (which you can find on our dedicated Web site: http://www.singthenewmass.com/)
I responded to his concerns in the body of his e-mail, so I am sharing my return e-mail to him, which includes his original text as well. My response is in large and bolder letters. Here you go:
Thank you for your e-mail regarding WLP’s new and revised musical settings of the new translation of the Missale Romanum.
I would like to address your concerns in the body of your e-mail:
I am extremely unhappy with several of the Mass Settings being offered by WLP for the Third Roman Missal. In the spirit of keeping with the Latin in the Missal, why do some of your Mass settings have refrains in the Glory to God, repetition of phrases in the various parts of the ordinary, and added titles of Jesus in the Lamb of God?
Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship #149 addresses the issue of the Gloria:
“While through-composed settings of the Gloria give clearest expression to the text, the addition of refrains is permitted, provided the refrains encourage congregational participation.”
Personally, I feel that a congregation should learn through-composed settings of the Gloria. This is a marvelous way for people to learn the entirety of the newly translated texts. Steven Janco, the composer of Mass of Redemption agrees and, when he revised this particular setting, he completely re-composed the musical setting of the Gloria. In the older version, there was a repeatable refrain. In the new version, it is completely through-composed. Of the five revised settings, three have through-composed Glorias. Misa Luna has a refrain for the Gloria, which can be sung in English or in Spanish, making it very useful in bilingual settings. Rev. Michael Joncas’ Sing Praise and Thanksgiving Mass has always had a refrain and he decided to keep it that way. While I believe personally that a through-composed setting is best, we do serve many, many parishes that prefer the refrain-style. And, since it is allowed by our bishops to encourage congregational participation, we have opted to provide some settings of the Gloria with a refrain.
Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship #188 also addresses the issue you raised with respect to the Agnus Dei:
“When the Agnus Dei is sung repeatedly as a litany, Christological invocations with other texts may be used. In this case, the first and final invocations are always Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).”
These destroy the sign of unity among Catholics which the new Missal is trying to create! Composers have had the English translation since 2008; therefore, there is NO reason for music which goes against the wishes of the Holy Father.
I am not sure what you mean by the phrase: “against the wishes of the Holy Father.” We have followed the guidelines issued by our own bishops, as you can see above.
Of the major Catholic music companies in the US, I was relying on WLP to follow the wishes of Pope Benedict. You will be confusing visitors from parishes who are complying with the instructions for music at Mass, if some of your present revisions and new Masses are released. Who gave permission for these unacceptable texts?
All of our settings were submitted to ICEL and to the United States Bishops Committee on Divine Worship. They all received approval from theses bodies.
The Bishops from all English speaking countries are to follow the norms for the Third Edition of the Roman Missal. And, again, since the translation was given to musicians in 2008, there is NO reason for not composing music that is in compliance with the guidelines of the Roman Missal. Where are the Gregorian chant-style Masses which the Holy Father asked us to use along with contemporary settings, contemporary settings fitting for the bestowal of the meaning of the translation?
ICEL has commissioned a group of scholars to create Gregorian style chants for the new texts in English. I have found these settings to be quite good; easily grasped and very easily sung. These will appear first in the Order of Mass in all of our worship resources. One of our new settings, Mass of Grace, is composed in chant-style, as is Richard Proulx’s Gloria Simplex.
WLP will not be my source for Mass music, if the previews on your website are published in your hymnals.
I have just returned from the annual convention of the National Association of Pastoral musicians. The three major publishers gave the musicians in attendance a “taste” of the new musical settings. All three publishers have taken a similar approach to revising and commissioning new settings. I was particularly happy with WLP’s settings since we were the only publisher to have commissioned (thus far, at least) through-composed chant settings of the parts of the Mass.
It is my hope that the musical settings will greatly assist parishioners in the appropriation of the newly translated texts. Of course, I will need to disagree with you about our new and revised settings; I believe that we have done a fine job in having new settings composed and older settings revised, keeping in consonance with the wishes of the bishops, as well as balancing it all with the needs expressed by the parishes that we serve.
I will be more than happy to continue this conversation. I will do everything I can, Father, to be sure that WLP serves your needs as well as the needs of your parishioners.
Yours very truly,
I received a very nice response from this priest, who expressed his appreciation for my explanations.
As you can see, there are all kinds of levels of interpretation floating around out there. There is information coming from all kinds of sources. We are still in a waiting posture for the final text of the Missal. Some say we should have it by the end of July; some say by summer's end; some have mentioned the month of October. In the meantime, we wait.
Please feel free to add your own comments to this blog. You can do some by clicking the comments link just below the body of this text.
And, in the meantime, gotta sing, gotta pray.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Back in the saddle after the NPM convention last week. Here's a photo taken during WLP's music showcase:
If you are new to Gotta Sing Gotta Pray, welcome! Remember that on Tuesdays and Thursdays this blog focuses on issues surrounding the new English translation of the Roman Missal.
Well, it was quite a week in Detroit at the NPM convention. The Monday after is always kind of sluggish around here. We were very excited to share our resources with those at the convention. I'd like to mention two things today.
First, I want to reaffirm my own support for the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. The convention provided solid formation for musicians across the spectrum, from chant to contemporary music, and everything in between. I can think of no better place for today's pastoral musicians to hone their skills and musicianship than the NPM national convention. I am beginning my plugs today for next year's convention in Louisville, Kentucky. I will be one of the plenum speakers at that convention. My focus? Take a guess! You got it—catechesis and the implementation of the new English translation of the Roman Missal. I have approximately 25 presentations on this very topic between now and the end of 2010, so I should be ready for this keynote next summer!
Second, I want to say something about what it means to work at World Library Publications, the music and liturgy division of the J. S. Paluch Company. In a very poignant way, this past week showed me the meaning of the word "legacy." We here at WLP/JSP have inherited a legacy of committed service to the Church. Margaret "Mickey" Paluch instilled this sense of mission in her employees and particularly in the owners of this company, her daughter Mary Lou Paluch Rafferty and son-in-law Bill Rafferty. And that legacy of service continues to be instilled in all of us who are fortunate enough to work for this dedicated Catholic family.
Let me give you an example. On Tuesday of last week, I gave a one half hour session at NPM in which I was able to share the good news about WLP's resources for prayer, music, and initiation. Several people told me how helpful my "session" was. One person, a musician here in the Archdiocese of Chicago—and a friend—also told me how helpful she found the session. I looked her squarely in the eye and said, "But it was nothing but a big commercial." She immediately disagreed. She said that commercials are designed to sell you something, "and," she said,"you are part of J. S. Paluch. What you did was not a commercial; it was bringing alive resources that help us in our ministry. That is real service to the Church." I was beaming with pride and gratitude for the rest of the day. As a publisher of music, prayer, and initiation resources, we may not always hit the nail on the head, but there is one thing I know: we are part of a legacy of service that has existed since 1913 and we are committed to continuing that legacy.
OK, enough of my gushing. Thanks for indulging me in that moment of pride.
I want to say a note of personal (albeit web-personal) thanks to all of you who told me last week that you are regular followers of this blog. To people like Tony Alonso, Steve Warner, may more musicians, and the nice lady on the Detroit People Mover—to all of you—thanks for visiting this little place on a regular basis. It was so gratifying to hear how helpful my comments and the comments of others are as you engage in your day-to-day ministry. God is good.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
A special welcome to those of you who might be first-time visitors.
I am here in Detroit for day four of the NPM convention (National Association of Pastoral Musicians). Here's a small photo taken yesterday; our WLP staff and Brother Mickey McGrath.
Yesterday afternoon we held our WLP music showcase, as I mentioned in last evening's post. As I said, we spent about twenty minutes giving people a chance to sample some of our new and revised musical settings of the Mass. It was a thrill, after nearly three years of work, to hear the hundreds and hundreds in attendance sing these new settings.
People sang the new texts with apparent ease. We made sure that we wove in one of the sung dialogues: the preface dialogue from Michael Joncas' Sing Praise and Thanksgiving Mass. I was privileged to sing the part of the celebrant. This was the first time that I heard this many people sing "And with your spirit." It was the music that made this new text fall off the tongue with ease. As I have been saying all along, it will be music that will really help with the implementation of the new translation.
Remember that you can listen to these samples at WLP's web site dedicated to the musical settings over at Sing the New Mass. You can find it here.
Well, I've got to get over to the convention center. I am presenting a workshop today focused on music for reconciliation services during Advent and Lent. Tonight, after our staff disassembles our booth space and packs away our unsold resources (hopefully not much!), we will be attending tonight's Catholic Prayer and Praise event, featuring wonderful contemporary musicians from WLP, GIA, and OCP. Should be a terrific evening.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
We had our WLP music showcase this afternoon. Usually at these showcases, we spend the majority of the time sharing our new choral music. Today, we did do that, but also wove in about twenty minutes of time focusing on our new musical settings of the Mass. It was fascinating to watch those assembled. When we sing choral music, there is a palpable sense of excitement in the room. Today, that excitement was there. Why? The answer is simple. WLP provides the very best choral music for the Church today. Period.
But things changed when we moved to the examination of the musical settings of the new translation. The room suddenly became more deliberative. It resembled a think tank or a laboratory. People were getting used to new texts set to either new tunes or revised tunes. I found it fascinating to watch the care and deliberation the musicians employed as they began to sing these new texts.
It's been a very good week. I know that many of you have drifted away from NPM conventions, for a number of reasons. Might I suggest that you consider—now—next year's convention in Louisville, Kentucky, one of my favorite American cities? Just hearing Kentuckians gather and sing "My Old Kentucky Home" is well worth the admission! This is a piece of Americana that everyone in the US should experience at least once (not to mention a great music convention!).
Well, folks, it's been a very, very long day. And the exhibit hall is open from 10:00 to midnight tonight. God bless our staff, as well as all the NPMers, and our great group of folks back in Chicago who make all of this possible.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
The sun is shining brightly here in Detroit on Day Three of the NPM convention. I am leaving very shortly for the annual NPM breakfast.
I will post a bit later. Just wanted you to see the sunny view here for now.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Please pray for the repose of Father Jim Field of the Archdiocese of Boston, who died yesterday morning. May Jim rest in peace. You can find my earlier post about Jim here.
I am here in Detroit at the annual convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. NPM is having a new Mass setting competition. Approximately 150 new musical settings were submitted and have been narrowed down to four. We sing one setting (Gloria, Sanctus, and one Memorial Acclamation) following each of the four plenum events. Then each person gets to rate the Mass based on a number of criteria. The winner is announced at the end of the convention. Should be interesting.
There really is no news to report on the new translation. The Bishops Committee on Divine Worship on Friday sent us this in their Friday "weekly update:"
"We really don't have any news to share with you. Obviously our earlier estimates about the arrival of the final text of the Missal have been a little inaccurate. At this point still believe that it is coming in sufficient time that we can still work toward our planned implementation date of the First Sunday of Advent, 2011 (November 27, 2011)."
Of course, the convention here is abuzz with all kinds of rumors. Last night, one musician asked me if I had heard that the implementation date had been moved to Pentecost of 2012. I have been trying to be as informative as I can, simply letting people know what we know.
By the way, thank you all so much for reading this blog. Last night, my counter indicated that we reached 50,000 hits on this blog since a few months after I began. I have met many people here at the NPM convention who follow the blog faithfully. I have been humbled by their expressions of gratitude.
Our WLP music showcase tomorrow is actually called "Gotta Sing Gotta Pray." People will be receiving a neat little bag containing our new Mass settings book (you can get your free copy by calling our Customer Care Department at 1 800 566-6150), as well as a series of terrific pieces of choral music. The bag has the address of this blog printed on its side. So, hopefully, we will be welcoming some new friends as the week unfolds.
Last night, hundreds of us were treated to the stunning piano work of Thomas Wade Jefferson. (See previous posts.) I was transfixed watching Thomas at the Steinway; surely a memorable event. Following the concert, we headed to the exhibit hall for a late night expo. Here are a few photos of the WLP booth at the hall.
Thanks again for following this blog.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Here's one view outside my hotel window. That's Canada on the left.
This afternoon's keynote speaker was Sr. Kathleen Hughes, who was one of my professors at Catholic Theological Union. She has been out of the liturgical mainstream for awhile (she has been in a leadership position in her religious community), so I wondered how "on target" she would be.
Frankly, I found her talk rather surprising. In all my years of knowing her, listening to her talks, and reading her works, I never thought I would hear her say some of the things she said today. This is a talk worth ordering the recording of, folks. I expected the usual cogent arguments about why the direction the Church is headed is all wrong. This is not what she did. She concluded the plenum with nine pieces of practical advice at this time of "crossroads" in the Church. She reflected back upon her own life, when there were times when she was a staunch proponent of her own stances, when she was "bright and right." I believe that her experience and age has made her a wiser person. She challenged us to be in dialogue with those whose piety may not match ours. She challenged us to see in the new translation a great opportunity for catechesis. And, perhaps the most striking thing (to me, anyway) that she said was that she chooses not live her life as a cranky person. Of all the people that I know that I thought most certainly would live a cranky existence as the new translation makes its way into the English-speaking world, Kathleen Hughes would certainly have been at the top of that list. This is in no way is meant as a sign of disrespect. I have a profound respect for this wise woman. And, true, it has been fifteen years since I was her student. I thought she was quite hopeful and prophetic all at the same time. She doesn't mince words, but I came away from this talk with a sense of relief. I went up to her after the talk and thanked her for affirming something in me: my own decision not to enter the ranks of the cranky over this translation business. Folks, life is simply too short.
I hope you do not fall into the "crank rank."
That's all for now. My feet are tired.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Greetings from Detroit, Michigan, the Motor City.
I arrived by train (a relaxing ride) from Chicago on Saturday afternoon. There was a power failure in many parts of downtown Detroit over the last several days, which made pedestrian navigation somewhat of a challenge, but it looks like things are back to normal here this morning.
The members of our marketing team, our director of publications, and I, spent a little over four hours yesterday setting up our booth at the NPM convention. I was so proud of their work and dedication. We have some wonderfully helpful resources for parish musicians. It should be a great week for singing and learning.
I am playing at Steve Warner's Master Class for ensemble leaders this morning. Then tonight WLP is sponsoring Thomas Jefferson for a one hour piano recital. We have a new album, Impromptu, that Thomas recently recorded. You can find it here, where you can watch a short video, taken during the recording session.
Well, folks, I've got to get motivated here. I'll be jumping on the Detroit People Mover in order to get over to Cobo Hall, the site of the convention.
I hope you have a terrific week. I am hoping also to pick up a few more facts about the state of the new translation while here, which I hope to share with you in the coming days.
Gotta sing. Gotta Pray.
Friday, July 9, 2010
The excitement is definitely building around here for next week's NPM convention. I'll be leaving very early tomorrow morning on an Amtrak train bound for Detroit. It's a ride of a little over five hours, but I am looking forward to the relaxation of a train ride.
For you faithful followers of this blog, I want to share a photo of the shirt I am wearing today and will wear at least one day at next week's NPM convention. Here you go:
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Yesterday, on the excellent Pray Tell blog, Father Anthony Ruff, OSB, reported this:
"A reliable source (no, not Msgr. Moroney), citing a most reliable source, reports that some 10,000 changes were made by the Roman authorities to the missal text submitted to them. Many of the changes make the English text unfaithful to the Latin of the Missale Romanum."
Father Ruff goes on to say:
"This is getting curiouser and curiouser."
After reading this, I decided to contact my most reliable source, a friend who has been closely associated with the entire translation process. I have never used our friendship to try to find any inside scoop or information. I just simple asked this person what was going on and if we would ever see the Missal.
He told me that this "10,000 changes by the Roman authorities business" is what he has been saying publicly and that he has a very strong feeling that the number is not far off.
He went on to say: "The missal is going to happen. My own personal guess is that we'll have the text finalized by the end of this month because the Vatican will not want it languishing over the August break. If we don't have it by the end of July, then it's anybody's guess."
Then this: "ICEL is very much in the dark. So are the conferences of bishops. We all wish we had more info."
Talk about "curiouser and curiouser." On this New Translation Thursday, my friends, I am tempted to not comment at all about these latest strange happenings and, instead, share with you my favorite risotto recipe (shrimp and Italian sausage make wonderful companions, especially when a bit of porcini mushrooms come along for the ride—or the stir—as the case may be. Let me know the next time you are in Chicago, and I'll make you up a batch!)
Seriously, think about the implications if we do not "get" the text by the end of July. And think about what it means when the situation at hand implies that the conferences of bishops are very much in the dark. I am left wondering, "What kind of Church is this?" Aren't we all called to try to be on the same page? Aren't there transparent processes in place so that, following them, we all have a sense that the conclusions reached are ones that have been the fruit of scholarly dialogue and sound pastoral debate?
And this is not to mention the predicament that publishers might find themselves in very soon. The clock is ticking. Right now, this Roman Catholic publisher is beginning to see deadlines on the horizon. These are deadlines for submitting the texts for our worship resources to the BCDW, ICEL, and CCD for what we plan to publish in 2012. We must work this far out in order to complete all of the proofing and permissions processes. This has not yet become a nightmare, but as the days slip by, my own nights are beginning to become more sleepless.
I feel so caught here. We are committed to serving the needs of the singing and praying Church, yet that very same Church is making it more and more difficult for us to provide that service. As a Catholic businessman, I am dedicated to ensuring that my own employees here are justly compensated for their fine work and dedication. These are people with mortgages, with kids who need shoes, with aging parents that need care and support. Imagine trying to conduct business when promises are taken back and established definitions of terms like "recognitio' are compromised. I remain a hopeful guy here, and a committed Catholic, but this is getting to be a serious issue for those of us committed to serving the needs of the singing and praying Church.
10,000 changes? A few weeks ago I was feeling like I was on that final turn before pulling into the final slowdown on that roller coaster. Now I feel like this particular coaster we are on has bypassed the disembarkation area and that we are slowly climbing that first huge hill again: can you hear the "click, click, click" as we climb?
Hold onto your hats and stomachs, kids; the ride ain't over yet. It may just be starting again.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I wanted to alert you to a Web site that is an extremely helpful one for those involved in Christian initiation (and that is every one of us, folks!).
Check out Team RCIA right here. This is a site administered by Nick Wagner, whose latest book, The Way of Faith: A Field Guide for the RCIA Process, won a first place award by the Catholic Press Association. You can find Nick's book on the Team RCIA Web site here.
Please let your RCIA director and initiation ministers know about this very helpful Web site, which is filled with all kinds of valuable information and resources.
As someone who has been involved on the parish, diocesan, and national levels with the implementation of the RCIA, I can tell you that this ministry is, in a word, extraordinary. I tell initiation ministers all the time that they are so blessed to watch the Lord Jesus be born anew in those catechumens and candidates that God entrusts to their care. But, these folks need good formation and Team RCIA is the perfect place to find that.
We are in high gear here at WLP. Next week, of course, is the national NPM convention in Detroit. We are looking forward to sharing our new and revised musical settings of the Mass, which you can find at Sing the New Mass. We also have some wonderful choral music to share at our showcase as well. And one of the highlights of the week will be our Saint Cecilia's Orchestra event. Please say a prayer for the safe travels (by train, plane, and automobile) for our employees.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I want to take the opportunity today to comment on paragraph 20:
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 omission 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.
I am focusing on this paragraph because of my experience this past Sunday, as well as my experience at the Funeral Mass of John Wright, the former director of marketing here at WLP. (John died suddenly on July 1 while attending his family reunion.) The celebrant at Sunday's Mass at Saint James was Fr. Harry Hagan, OSB, scripture scholar from St. Meinrad Archabbey. He preached magnificently and prayed the liturgy with dignity and simplicity. The celebrant at John Wright's Funeral Mass also prayed the texts in a noble and simple way. I was drawn into the rhythm of the prayers more deeply at both Masses, chiefly due to the liturgical style of these fine celebrants.
I mention these experiences because of what Liturgiam Authenticam has to say about popular prayer. The translation from the Latin, according to this document, should be done in such a way as to produce a "flowing vernacular text suitable to the rhythm of popular prayer." My question: what is this "rhythm of popular prayer?" I believe that what has formed the rhythm of popular prayer is the praying of the popular prayer itself. For thirty-five of my fifty-two years, the rhythm of my own liturgical prayer has been shaped by the action of praying the prayers of the liturgy itself. From what I have seen from some of the newly translated texts, the rhythm is quite distinct from the rhythm to which we have become accustomed. I find it odd that Liturgiam Authenticam sets forth principles of translation that apparently force a new translation that, by and large, is not a "flowing vernacular text suitable to the rhythm of popular prayer." What it seems to have done is force a new rhythm of prayer that hopes one day to become the rhythm of popular prayer. This is certainly a legitimate goal, if it indeed is the stated goal for translation. But it simply is not.
And it is the establishment of a new rhythm of liturgical prayer that will probably be the most jarring aspect during the first years of the implementation of the new English translation. I am all for accuracy of translation, but wonder about the wisdom of establishing a new rhythm of popular prayer.
I would enjoy hearing your thoughts about this. Feel free to comment.
Got to sing. Got to pray. (Oh, this is the new rhythm!)
Friday, July 2, 2010
WLP is blessed to have Ed Bolduc working for us in our editorial department. Ed is a composer and a wonderfully talented musician. I recently urged him to begin his own blog. Ed is the music minister at St. Ann in Marietta, Georgia. I've had the privilege of visiting the parish and seeing him at work. Ed's music ministry is done with a contemporary style. There are lots of musicians out there who surely could benefit from his wisdom. Please take a moment to check out his new blog Setting the Tone: http://setting-the-tone.blogspot.com/
Here's a sound clip from Ed's recording Awake to the Day. He is also the composer of this title song.
Ed's a great guy with an infectious sense of humor. Here he is in all his glory!
There were rumors floating around earlier in the week that today was going to be the day when the definitive text of the newly revised Roman Missal was going to be released.
So far, no "Friday Updates" from the Bishops Committee on Divine Worship.
I probably won't blog for the next three days; relatives in from out of town for the weekend, which promises to be sunny and warm here in Chicago.
I hope that wherever you are that you celebrate the 4th of July safely.
And, I apologize to my many Canadian friends. Happy belated Canada Day!
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
This morning, at the request of the manager of WLP's customer care department, I gave a half-hour presentation to the members of that department on the history and rationale behind the new English translation of the Missale Romanum. As you can imagine, customer care representatives—the "front line" of any company—have to field all sorts of questions from callers. And, of course, the number of questions about the new translation are growing in frequency. So we all thought it would be great if we were all on the same page.
What would you say if given thirty minutes to explain all of this? Well, I did put together a simple handout. This is long, but I thought it would be good to share with you here.
hanc tuis fidelibus voluntatem,
ut, Christo tuo venienti iustis operibus occurrentes,
eius dexterae sociati,
regnum mereantur possidere caeleste.
increase our strength of will for doing good
that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming
and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven,
where he lives and reigns…
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
Through our Lord.
Our superb customer service representatives were appreciative of the presentation and were able to begin to articulate the rationale and history pretty well right away. They did reveal one story about a person who called to return WLP's recording of Bishop J. Peter Sartain praying the four newly translated Eucharistic Prayers. That person was returning the resource because her pastor "had decided that he was "not going to use the new translation when it came out." I think we're gonna need to fasten our seat belts a little tighter.
So, readers of gotta sing gotta pray, what do you think?