Monday, January 31, 2011

Off to Salt Lake City

Good Monday to you all.

Today I was interviewed on the Catholic Channel on Sirius Radio; their "Sounds from the Spires" series moderated by Dr. Jennifer Pasqual, the director of music at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. We talked about musical settings of the Mass for an hour and they played seven movements from the various settings published by WLP. The hour flew by and it was great to be able to share our experience here with a larger audience.

I am leaving in a few hours for Salt Lake City to speak at the Southwest Liturgical Conference. My flight was orginally scheduled for tomorrow, but this impending "massive" storm helped me change my mind.

It should be a good week in Salt Lake City. This is the 49th year for this conference, the longest running liturgical conference in the United States, I believe.

So, I will be posting from there beginning tomorrow.

I am still getting used to my new computer. I have moved from a Mac to a PC and it is taking a bit of time to get used to this new environment. Still have to learn how to embed photos on the blog pages!

Please pray for the safety of all travelers.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, January 28, 2011

How Prepared Are You Now?

I hope that your week has been a good one.

Thanks for your responses to yesterday's post. Opinions obviously vary rather widely on many of the issues associated with the implementation of the new translation.

On the new survey we have posted on WLP's web site, I have found some interesting facts as I have looked at the results. With over 800 responses received, here's how some of the statistics look.

Here's one question: "At this point, how prepared is your parish for this change/implementation of the new English translation of The Roman Missal?"

And here are the statistics:

7.5% say they are very prepared
33.4% say that they are somewhat prepared
31.8% say that they are not very prepared
19.4% say that they are not prepared at all
12.4% indicated "other" in their response

Obviously, these statistics will shift the closer we get to the actual implementaion. But the numbers do indicate that there is quite a bit of work to accomplish as we move through these next months. The implementation date is 10 months from yesterday.

How prepared is your parish?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Delaying New Musical Mass Settings?

Welcome to this edition of "New Translation Thrusday."

I am back in full swing with computer and phone here at WLP.

Over the weekend, I had a long talk with a pastor of a large parish with a well-established and well-funded music program. The singing at this particular parish is quite robust. It is obvious that great care has been taken over the years to establish a solid liturgy and music program at this parish.

When I asked the pastor what he planned to do when the new translation is implemented, I received an interesting answer. He told me that it had taken seventeen years for the parish to develop a repertoire of about twelve musical Mass settings that the people have grown to know and love. He felt strongly that to abandon these settings would be an un-wise pastoral move. His plans are to have the people change the spoken texts (And with your spirit, etc.) when the implementation date arrives, but to leave the musical settings alone.

I told him how wonderful many of the new and revised settings are, but he strongly feels that asking people to learn or re-learn settings would be too much all at once.  This is a parish with about a fifteen percent turnover rate annually. I wondered to myself what would happen when new families moved in, families coming from parishes that had taught new or revised settings only to find the old settings sung in their new parish. I also wondered about those families who would move to other parishes where there had been a concerted effort to teach the new or revised settings, which they obviously wouldn't know.

This is the first time I have encountered this approach. Have you heard of other places that might be adopting something like this?

Please feel free to comment.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hopefully Back Into Full Blogging Swing Soon

Wednesday greetings to you all.

I am awaiting new computer equipment here at WLP (read Monday's post to find out what happened over the weekend).

Apologies for missing a "New Translation Tuesday" yesterday, but things around here are moving along at a fast pace. I will hopefully be back in full swing by tomorrow. I have been unable to post your comments since Monday, due to some technical difficulties.

Please bear with me as I try to get back on track.

And as always, gotta sing, gotta pray.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Putting Things In Perspective

A happy Monday to you all.

I spent the weekend in a large parish in Michigan. I presented a keynote and a workshop on Saturday, focused on living the sacramental life. Then I was invited to give a presentation at each of the weekend Masses.

Unfortunately, while everyone was at Mass late Sunday morning, the rectory where I was staying was burglarized. My laptop and cell phone were stolen, as well as a few other things. The rectory lost some electronics as well. Pretty astounding that as over a thousand of us were listening to God's word and receiving the Eucharist, just a few yards away, this crime was being committed.

The pastoral staff felt quite bad about the theft of my things. But, you know, I reassured them and asked them not to worry about me. It was a blessing that no one was hurt. Frankly, I am learning that all of these things need to be put into perspective. Yes, I lost some work that was not backed up, but there are people who have lost so much more in their lives. And, things are just that, things.

So hopefully I will be back up and running on a new computer here at the office. The one that was stolen was my actual work computer, the laptop that I hook up to the main systems here at WLP.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Translation Thursday: Singing New Texts Now

Welcome to this very abbreviated version of "New Translation Thursday."

There have been some great comments posted recently, comments from musicians like Kevin Keil. These musicians are beginning to implement the new texts, set to new and revised musical settings, now, in order to prepare their communities gradually for the upcoming change. I found Kevin's comments quite interesting:

"With all the variations of texts currently used in our present repertoire, no one noticed that it was a new translation; just another variation of the Gloria. Interesting."

As I have said before, I think the transition will be the easiest for the people in the pews; much more challenging for bishops and priests.

Feel free to weigh in on these issues.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Survey: Take it Now!

The Army Chaplains retreat continues here in San Diego.

The ministry of these fine priests is often overlooked. I have been impressed with their dedication to serve the soldiers both here and abroad.

We have been celebrating Morning Prayer and Mass each morning at 7:30, then Daytime Prayer at noon each day.

I read with interest the story that the Church in England will begin to implement the new translation of the Mass a few months before the Missal is ready for publication. It reminds me of those who have posted here and elsewhere about decisions to begin implementing the new musical settings of the Mass now. One person contacted me yesterday to tell me that their parish had decided to begin using the Kyrie and Lamb of God from the setting that will eventually take hold in the parish. His hope, he told me, was that the people would begin to get some of the melodic and harmonic structures in their bones before they would be asked to sing the new texts in Advent (Sanctus and Mystery of Faith). Sounds like a good idea to me. For instance, I know of one parish who is introducing the Lamb of God from Steven Janco's revised Mass of Redemption. They will begin teaching the other movements of this Mass some time in the Fall.

Have you taken the new WLP survey about the Roman Missal. We would sincerely appreciate your comments.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: US Army Chaplains and Singing the New Translation

Welcome to this edition of "New Translation Tuesday."

I am in San Diego, doing music and liturgy ministry for a group of approximately 70 Catholic Army Chaplains. I have done work with the US military in the past; these men are on the front lines of the wars in which we are engaged around the world. They talk about their mission to serve God in their capacity as chaplains to the soldiers around the world. This week of retreat gives them the opportunity to become spiritually and physically renewed. It is a humble experience to serve these fine priests.

Over at Pray Tell, there is a report that the text of the new translation of the Missal has been leaked. I know that the Holy See's wishes were that there be no on-line versions of the Missal made available. But, this is 2011, after all, and in this ever-changing technological world, this was bound to happen. It doesn't look like the actual Missal itself will be in priests' hands until some time after October 1, so I, for one, am glad to see the texts available in some format; priests and bishops will need to begin taking a look at these prayers and practicing this new style of prayer as soon as possible.

The analyses of these newly translated texts, along with comparisons with earlier versions, has already begun. This is good work for us all to see. This work elicits joy in some quarters and lament in others. Wherever one lands along this spectrum, we need to admit that these will soon be the texts we will pray as an English-speaking Church. And there will one day be a fourth edition of the Roman Missal, which will be in need of translation. One wonders if the rules governing the translation of the fourth edition will be the same as the rules haphazardly applied to RM3. One also wonders about the process and how the Holy See will dictate a new translation process in the future.

For now, we need to focus on reception and implementation. We at World Library Publications are doing our best to get the new and revised musical settings into musicians' hands. Several musicians have shared that they have already begun to sing these new settings in their parishes; I think this is a very pastoral approach; easing the people in the pews into the new translation, using these very well done new and revised settings. Here at Gotta Sing Gotta Pray, we look forward to hearing the success stories, as well as the less-than-successful stories.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Congratulations to the Carnegie Hallers!

A good Monday morning to all of you.

This week, I am in San Diego for some work with Army Chaplains and for some rest.

The weekend's trip to New York City for the John Angotti concert was, in a word, amazing. I had never been in Carnegie Hall. It is a stunning performance space (obviously). John had over three hundred people in his choir, some positioned in the front sections of the first balcony. I was seated in the second row, and the positioning of the choirs created a real "surround sound" effect. John and his band, as well as his guest performers really shined throughout the performance. And John's witness to faith and God's presence rounded out the entire evening. There really wasn't a dry eye in the house when each of John's children came on the stage to sing solos in two of the pieces. I will never forget the look on John's face, especially, when his daughter, Dominica, sang. Not being a Dad myself, I know that I will never know that feeling, but the emotion was so evident on John's face.

Congratulations to all who performed on Friday evening. It was a thrill of lifetime!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Translation Thursday: A Process for Implementation

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Thursday."

Several weeks ago I gave presentations to a group of catechists, musicians, and clergy in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, Alabama. The concluding segment of those presentations included a proposed way/a process for approaching the implementation of the new translation in the parish. I decided not only to present this process; I also decided to become a part of it, thinking of myself as a parishioner.

I quickly realized that my own parish, Saint James, would need someone to help spearhead and guide the process of catechesis, reception, and implementation. Once I returned from Birmingham, I approached my pastor after Mass that next Sunday and volunteered to be the person to spearhead the process in my parish. I had a two-fold motivation for this. The first, of course, is to help my parish and those I love to move through this time of change in whatever ways I can. Secondly, I wanted to be able to share with the readers of Gotta Sing Gotta Pray the actual experience of at least one parish as we move through this process.

We will begin to talk about this at Saint James at our liturgy committee meeting later this month.  Here is what I share with the people in Birmingham. What do you think?

A Pastoral Plan for Implementation of the New Translation of The Roman Missal
(This pastoral plan is based on my own experience; a parish where nothing has yet been done.)

January 2011
Initial meeting with pastoral leadership.
Items to be discussed:
a. use of media, i.e. parish bulletin, parish web site, newsletters, handouts and flyers, helpful links to other sites, survey among the many possibilities of published resources, found at (LTP) (WLP) (Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions) (ICEL)

b. identification of key leaders/spokespersons for the process

c. discussion of budget concerns (purchase of at least one Roman Missal, music resources, catechetical materials, the whole question of new or additional worship aids)

d. establishment of a timeline for implementation

Throughout the next few months, decisions are made with respect to the purchase and/or free download of catechetical materials.

What the pastoral plan might entail:

The months of August through November are designated as “Implementation Months”

By July, the musical Mass setting that will first be used is chosen.

Parish choirs, cantors, accompanists, contemporary ensembles learn the Mass setting

Leaders/Spokespersons for the implementation process will meet with various parish ministry groups and organizations to help explain the changes; if the musician can be present, some of the new acclamations can be shared and taught; if not, a recording of these elements can be shared. Copies of the musical acclamations are distributed to these groups for a “sing-along.”

One or two general parish meetings are held; the leaders/spokespersons decide on a plan to catechize about the changes in the Mass texts. Parish musicians assist at these general meetings, helping teach the new musical setting.

Links to the music samples (directly linked to publisher’s web site) are placed on the parish web site; parishioners are urged to practice at home with family; texts provided for take-home use.

Weekly bulletin articles are placed in the same spot in the bulletin every week.

Materials are made available for parishioners, either through bulletin “stuffers” or in the gathering areas of the church.

During the Sundays of October and November, musicians (and others) can take time before Mass to acquaint parishioners with the new musical settings, as well as the spoken parts of the Mass that will change.

There has been wide discussion concerning whether or not the new musical settings may be used before November 27, 2011. Best to check with diocesan personnel on these matters.

Musicians might consider using the decided-upon “mystery of faith” as a kind of mantra following the reception of communion during the Sunday Masses in the months of October and November.

Working with celebrants, decide on whether or not the dialogues will be sung from day one.

Decide on a strategy to tackle the Gloria challenge for 2011.

November 27, 2011
Implementation of the new English translation of The Roman Missal

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

John Angotti Concert at Carnegie Hall: Great Anticipation at WLP

Happy Wednesday to you all. Well, we received the largest snowfall of the season thus far yesterday, a little under six inches. Nothing like what the East Coast has experienced so far this winter, though.

Excitement is mounting around these parts for this coming Friday's John Angotti concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City. John is a treasured member of the WLP family. At the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress last year, John, a large band of instrumentalists, and a large choir—made up of mostly young people—performed a concert at the Anaheim Convention Center's arena. It was superb. I am getting excited about Friday night, because John will have over 300 people in the choir at Carnegie Hall, picture here:

Here's just a snippet of one of my favorite John Angotti pieces, I Survive. John's music and lyrics have touched the hearts—including my own—of tens of thousands of people around the world. He is a music missionary, sharing not only his music, but his own faith and struggles on life's journey. I will never forget an experience with John and his ministry here in Chicago. A few years ago, the Archdiocese celebrated a Mass of sending for the pilgrims traveling to World Youth Day. Cardinal George was the celebrant. He was surrounded by the auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese, as well as several priests. John had worked with the choir and the instrumentalists. I wasn't quite sure how the Cardinal would react to the contemporary style of music he was about to hear. The processional piece was John's Veni Creator Spiritus. Please listen to this piece, so that you can see that contemporary composers like John Angotti can compose in a number of styles. When these young people at that Mass began to sing this piece in Latin, adding the descants, it was one of those stunning liturgical moments. Once the Cardinal took his place among the other bishops and priests in the sanctuary, the music had risen to kind of a whirlwind of sound, reminding me of the breath of the Holy Spirit. It was beautiful and noble. John modeled liturgical music ministry so well for these young people.  Of course, there were other moments in the liturgy when the music had more of a contemporary rock feel. It was great to see our Cardinal clapping along with the other bishops and priests, as the young people in the assembly clapped and moved to the rhythms of the music.

So, perhaps you can see why we are excited about the event on Friday night in New York City. We are so grateful for John's ministry to the Church.

Gotta Sing. Gotta Pray.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: Compassion and Gratitude

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Tuesday."

I apologize for not having posted in the last several days. I was "on the road again" and weather has been having its effects on my travel. It is also that time of year in publishing houses when we calculate our royalty payments to our composers and copyright owners of the texts we publish. It can be an especially harrowing time but, as always, we will get through it all.

Currently, it is snowing heavily here in Chicago; I got to work early, before the heavy snow began to fall, so missed what looks like a very challenging commute for most of the employees here at WLP. Saying a prayer now for their safety . . .

Now that the final texts of The Roman Missal have been received here at WLP, we are trying to work as quickly as possible to make sure that all of our resources are on track. Father Paul Turner is working diligently on his Pastoral Companion to the Roman Missal. All of the various changes in the text (2008) necessitated a revision of the book, which was largely complete. We should be seeing the final corrections from Father Turner within the next few weeks.

Today, I want to offer my sincerest Christian compassion to the people at ICEL, and those scholars who have worked with ICEL to hammer out the translation. I do this because of comments I have received as a publisher. When I have described how we have had to go back to the drawing board, at significant cost, with many of our resources—due to the changes in the translation—people have said things to me like, "I really feel sorry for you publishers," or "You folks have really been put through the wringer." I always respond by saying that we are here to serve the singing and praying Church. But the Church that we are committed to serve—at least institutionally—is operating in ways that are unlike the past. I have to be honest and say that as we move into the future, I will need to be much more cautious, much more skeptical when the institution puts a stamp of approval on a liturgical document; and perhaps this, in the end, will be the wisest move. I think what publishers have gone through is nothing like what those who worked for years on this translation must be going through. Those priests, bishops, scholars, secretaries, translators, chant experts worked on behalf of all of us in the English-speaking world. Many of these people I hold in the deepest respect and admiration. I, for one, will always feel a sense of gratitude for their work, which has been much more intense and much more involved than the work that a publisher does. Along with that sentiment comes a sense of disappointment with this whole process.

But, the work must go on. I am trying my best to keep my chin up and plow ahead. Sometimes that is pretty challenging.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Translation Thursday: Share Your Story

Welcome to this very brief "New Translation Thursday" post. I am headed out to the airport in a few minutes to then head west for a conference.

Today I just want to give a shout out to our friends over at Liturgy Training Publications.  Their excellent web site on the new translation contains an area where you can share your own stories about what you have been, are doing, or plan to do for the implementation. This is another great place to learn from others as we prepare to move through this time of transition together.

Please pray for the safety of travelers.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

John Angotti and Friends at Carnegie Hall

Wednesday has dawned with temps in the teens and overcast skies here in Chicago.

Sad news yesterday from our Catholic friends to our immediate north. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday.

The ripple effects from the clergy sexual abuse crisis continue to be felt. Today, please join me in praying for the people of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and for healing for all affected by sexual abuse.

There is growing excitement around here over an event scheduled to place next week in New York City. John Angotti, WLP artist and composer will be appearing in concert at Carnegie Hall on Friday, January 14. Several WLP staff members will be in attendance. Other WLP artists, namely Paul Tate and Meredith Augustin, will appear on stage with John as well. Steve Petrunak, an extraordinary guitarist and pastoral musician is appearing as well. I have never been inside Carnegie Hall, and I, for one, am looking forward to this event with great anticipation. If you live in the New York City area, this is one event you do not want to miss!

I hope this Christmas Season continues to be a time of blessing for you.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: Dealing with Confusion

Happy New Year to you all, and welcome to 2011's first installment of "New Translation Tuesday."

A colleague of mine here at WLP related a conversation she had with a woman at a holiday party last week. During that conversation, the topic of the new translation of The Roman Missal surfaced. The woman had heard that some of the words at Mass would be changing soon and, knowing that my colleague worked at a Catholic publishing company, she was seeking more information. It was interesting, first of all, to hear the same question posed by this person, a question that has been raised by others: "Does God really care what words we use?" I treated this question, and some of you responded, in an earlier blog post. What interested me most, though, was something else this person had to say. She said something like, "I understand that there will be some words changed here and there, but I'm sure the creed will be the same; they can't change the creed; the creed is the core of our whole belief system." My colleague responded that the translation of the creed has changed, pointing out the new word "consubstantial" in place of "one in being with." The woman was quite surprised by this.

Folks, we need to be ready to deal with these kinds of questions. Obviously, the tenets of our belief expressed in the Nicene Creed will not change with the new translation. And people will need to be helped along in their own understanding about the new translation on the whole. But any word changes, especially in the Creed, are bound to raise some people's level of confusion.

I hope your day is a good one.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.