Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Roman Missal, Third Edition: A Publisher's Excitement

Welcome to "New Translation Thursday."

As you know, World Library Publications/J. S. Paluch is publishing two versions of The Roman Missal, Third Edition. Publishers were given two choices with regard to the texts of the Missal. The first was to use the Word documents provided by the BCDW in January or wait until the completely designed files in the program InDesign were released in the Spring. Here at WLP/JSP, we decided to work with the texts provided in January, which meant setting the styles, typeface, and design of the pages. We were given very stringent instructions by the BCDW with regard to the overall design elements. One of the hardest decisions had to do with the chant as it appeared in the received texts. As a music publisher, we felt strongly that we could do a service to the Church by re-engraving the chants in the Missal (over 250 pages of chant). I am very proud to say that we have award-winning (Paul Revere Awards - did you know Revere was a music engraver?) music engravers on our staff here at WLP. We all put our heads together, and, after consultation with the BCDW and ICEL, made the decision to re-do all of the chants in the Missal. We could very easily have decided simply to wait until the Spring, obtain the InDesign files and print those files exactly as received. As with most things around here, we chose not to take the easier route. So, for the past three months, our editors, music engravers, and designers have been hard at work crafting a book, a Roman Missal that will serve the needs of the singing and praying Church. We have received the actual copies, the so-called "dummy" copies from the manufacturer, which means that we have been able to hold, feel, work with, turn the blank pages, grab the leather tabs, work with the ribbons, feel the richness of the genuine leather cover, move our hands and fingers over the debossed Florentine scrollwork on both the genuine and bonded leather covers. As we have done this, the reality has hit us. We are creating a worthy and dignified book for the Church's worship.

Yesterday, I was able to examine a large section from the Missal that is being sent to our proofreaders. I sat in our music room and began to sing the chants. I chose one of the longer prefaces (for the dedication of a church and altar). There I sat, chanting away. Up until that point I had not yet seen the work done by our music engravers, editors, and designers. I can't tell you how pleased I was. The chant flowed naturally; there were no hyphenated words; there were no odd line breaks. The chant simply flowed. It was at that point that I realized that this is a significant contribution to the prayer of the Church.

Of course I love to talk about our editions of The Roman Missal. I don't hide the fact that I believe that we have done a superior job with our editions. I don't hide the pride I have for our fine employees. It is an amazing thing to see here in this small publishing house: a group of dedicated people rallying around a project that we believe will have a significant impact on the Church.

Thanks for listening to this quasi-commercial. I just couldn''t contain my own excitement about the fact that this publishing process is moving along.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our Pilgrimage to the Ceiling

Wednesday greetings to all. Please take the time to read the comments posted on yesterday's blog post. Some fascinating stuff there.

I hope that your own observance of Lent is going well. In Paragraph 138 of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, we read this:

"In the liturgy and liturgical catechesis of Lent, the reminder of baptism already received, or the preparation for its reception, as well as the theme of repentance, renew the entire community . . ."

This line has helped shape my own Lenten spirituality. I grew up, as have many of us, on a steady diet of the "theme of repentance" during Lent. With the re-awakening of the catechumenate in the last several years, the baptismal dimension of the Season has had more and more of an impact on the lives of the Elect, naturally, but also on the faithful, who are rediscovering that Lent is a time to prepare intensely for the renewal of baptismal promises at Easter.

Several years ago, I led a pilgrimage through Italy with a group of like-minded "Baptism Geeks." We spent two weeks in search of Baptism fonts. Our tour brought us to the city of Padua, to the Duomo there, the Cathedral of Saint Anthony. (I was baptized at Saint Anthony Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts on May 25, 1958.)

Here is a photo of the Cathedral:

The baptistery is the round builing on the right. Here is a closer view:

The remarkable thing about this baptistery is its ceiling. Just imagine yourself being baptized here. Coming up out of the waters of new life, you raise your head and look directly above you, and this is what first captures your eyes as a new Christian, one who has just "put on Christ:"

Here's a detail from that ceiling:

This is a breathtaking baptistery ceiling. I like to tell people that our Christian journey is a pilgrimage from the font of our baptism to our own image painted on that ceiling. The eschataological dimension of the sacrament of baptism is often overlooked. We call upon the saints in the great Litany of Saints as we march to the baptism font and it is our hope that one day we will share their company, a journey that begins at the font.

So, as your Lenten sojourn continues, remember that you live in hope of the day when you will join others on that ceiling.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Welcome to this Third Week of Lent's installment of "New Translation Tuesday."

I can't help but feel a sense of anticipation as we draw closer to the Paschal Triduum. One of the high points of the year, a moment that has helped shape my own Catholic faith, arrives each year at the Easter Vigil. The solemn chanting of the Exsultet shakes me to the core every single year. It is amazing to me how a text that is heard only once a year has had the power to grip my soul so fiercely, especially when these words are chanted:

This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave
you gave away your Son.
O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God
to see Christ rising from the dead.

On those occasions when I have had the privelege of proclaiming the Exsultet, I have made it a point to stress the words "wonderful" and "boundless." I must admit that I have always had a crack in my voice when chanting the words "To ransom a slave you gave away your Son."

Here is the new translation of this section:

This is the night,
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!
O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!
The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners.

At the Easter Vigil to be celebrated in a few weeks, I know that I will have a sense of loss as the Exsultet is being chanted. I know there are those of you who have called me "melodramatic" about this whole issue of grieving the loss of these texts. Yet, I have the sense that these words are approaching a point of being like the final words of a dying friend. And I have to admit that it will take some time to get to know the new friend that is the new translation. Surely this new translation will be a casual acquaintance at first. There will be things about this new acquaintance that will attract me right away, for instance the line "O love, O charity beyond all telling;" just beautiful. But there will perhaps always be that twinge of grief when I recall the beauty of my old friend. But I guess that is what life is all about sometimes. A dear friend once said, "Life is but a series of hello's and goodbye's."

Right now I am feeling the pain of a significant "goodbye."

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend in the Great Pacific Northwest

Monday greetings to all.

I spent this past weekend in the Archdiocese of Seattle, Washingon. On Friday night an enthusiastic group of musicians met at Saint Rose of Viterbo Parish in Longview. Here's a photo of the church.

We spent a few hours together singing through WLP's new and revised musical settings of the Mass. The church building was wonderfully reverberant. It's been a real joy sharing these settings with parish musicians.

On Saturday, I led a retreat for RCIA leaders at Saint Patrick Parish in Tacoma.

The retreat was called "Stirring the Waters of Life." We focused on the meaning of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist in our own lives as initiation ministers. The morning session included a ritual of baptism remembrance. We all gathered around Saint Patrick's beautiful new baptism font for this ritual. It was a powerful moment for all of us.

Here are a few photos of those gathered for the retreat.

The weekend was exhilarating. I have always felt so at home in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks so much to the great folks in the Archdiocese of Seattle for your hospitality and dedication to the ministries of music and Christian initiation.

I arrived several hours before the music session on Friday and took a quick ride out to the Oregon Coast. Here's a photo of Cannon Beach. This is a breathtaking part of our country.

I hope your Third Week of Lent is filled with God's grace.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Translation Thursday: "Ritual Stupor"

Welcome to today's installment of "New Translation Thursday."

At last week's Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, many people were drawn into the WLP booth because of our resources for the implementation of The Roman Missal, Third Edition. It was fascinating to watch people pick up our Order of Mass booklets. For many, this was the first time they were seeing the newly translated texts in print. Many stood in the booth, turning page after page, of the Order of Mass. Some faces showed signs of confusion and bewilderment. However, for the vast majority, they moved through the resource, nodding their heads as they recognized some of the phrases that have caught the attention of Catholic media, phrases that they were now seeing in print for the very first time. I didn't get the sense that people were angry or afraid. Most exhibited a sense of acceptance. Many people purchased these booklets for their own preparation for the upcoming changes to the text.

There was also a large degree of interest in the musical settings. People were huddled around mp3 players, listening to the various movements of the new and revised settings. We received an interesting e-mail yesterday from a diocese in the United States, requesting copies of WLP's Mass settings for a reading session for musicians. They requested only new settings, no revised settings. This was the first time we received a request that specifically asked that no revised settings be sent. Obviously, the leadership in this particular diocese feels strongly that the new settings will serve the implementation in a more effective way. Other dioceses have actually chosen a revised setting as an initial "diocesan setting" to assist in the implementation.

So, folks, the pastoral plans in dioceses across the country, are obviously quite varied.

I must admit that I am beginning to feel a bit befuddled as I attend Mass on Sundays. The newly translated texts have been such a part of my "world" in the past several years. I have been traveling around quite often (as you know), sharing the new and revised settings with people all over the United States. When the current texts are sung and prayed at Sunday Mass, I find myself being tripped up a bit. There's a part of me that wants simply to begin singing and praying the new texts now. It's kind of like having a split liturgical personality. I would imagine that this will be what many will experience when the new texts are implemented. We will need to travel through that "in-between" period for awhile. I know, for instance, that I will fall back into the response "And also with you," even though I have been practicing singing and reciting "And with your spirit" with Catholics all over the place in the past several months. It's kind of like what my good friend and mentor, Fr. Ed Foley, talks about when he uses the term "ritual stupor." Too often for many Catholics, including me, the prayers and responses at Mass kind of rise up out of a place of habit, a place of routine, perhaps a sense of "ritual stupor." Perhaps people will need to be much more intentional liturgical pray-ers at Sunday Mass.

Many people have said that the new translation will help people be drawn out of a sense of rote at Sunday Mass. Parish and diocesan leaders have expressed the hope that many Catholics, shaken out of any ritual stupor that may have set in, will beging asking questions about the meaning of the Mass itself. This, of course, is one of the great hopes as we move forward with this new translation. Time and experience will tell, of course.

Tomorrow I head to the Archdiocese of Seattle. On Friday evening, in Longview, Washington, at St. Rose of Viterbo Parish, I will lead a reading session for musicians, highlighting the new and revised musical settings of the Mass, with some great WLP choral octavos in the mix. I take along some choral music as well, since it can become quite tedious singing Mass setting after Mass setting. Then, on Saturday, I am leading a day of reflection and discussion for RCIA ministers at St. Patrick Parish in Tacoma, Washington. I am looking forward to both of these sessions, since they tap into two of my real passions, liturgical music and Christian initiation.

Sorry for the spotty blogging over the past several weeks. Travel and some technical challenges have prevented me from posting daily but, hopefully, I am back on track.

Please pray for the safety of travelers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: A Parish Staff Creates Its Plan

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Tuesday." I am still in southern California and leave for the airport to head back to Chicago in about an hour.

A week ago, the parish staff of Saint James (my parish) met at the offices of WLP to talk about the new translation. I presented a brief history of the development of the missal over the centuries. We talked about the reasons why we have a new translation. We looked at comparisons between the current and upcoming translations of several prayers. When we began to talk about the way we would approach implementation in our parish, the idea of "ever-widening circles" made much sense to everyone.

After we completed our discussion, one of the people on our staff wondered if it would be a good idea to have a few written statements about the new translation that the entire staff could share. She thought it would be helpful if everyone would have the same responses to common questions posed by parishioners. All agreed that this would be a helpful step.

I had the sense that everyone in the room was taking this moment in liturgical history quite seriously. The pastor kept reminding us that "this is a big deal." I could sense that everyone was deeply concerned about our parishioners, especially those for whom the transition would stir up anger and resentment. One thing that everyone agreed on was that when parisioners complained about the new translation, the important first step would be to listen to these parishioners; not to dismiss them.

Once we concluded our discussions, I invited the staff into my office to listen to some of WLP's new and revised musical settings of the Mass. It was amazing to watch their excitement as they listened to the wide variety of settings, from chant settings to contemporary settings. I sensed an easing of their anxiety. They began to talk about how wonderful it was going to be for the parish to begin singing these settings. They talked about the fact that the music would greatly help the parishioners ease into the implementation of the new translation.

As we begin to plan for the drawing of those "ever-widening circles," I will definitely keep you up to date.

Please pray for the safety of all travelers.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Greetings from Los Angeles Religious Education Congress

Friday greetings from the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress here in Anaheim.

My apologies for not having posted yesterday. I am having some challenging computer issues here and have been unable to access the internet.

Right now I am standing in the WLP booth. There are approximately thirty thousand people here over the next few days. In a few minutes, the opening prayer service begins, at which will be featured several of our WLP artists and musicians. The members of the Jacob and Matthew Band composed this year's Congress theme song, which we are all looking forward to hearing.

Well folks, that's about all the time I have right now.

I hope that you have a wonderful Second Sunday of Lent,

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Greetings from Anaheim

Wednesday greetings from Anaheim, California. I flew here from Chicago this morning. Just snapped this photo from my hotel window:

Too bad there won't be any time over the next five days to enjoy the pool and the sunshine. Our schedules here at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress are filled day and night. I do have to admit that this is a wonderful part of the country, especially given the fact that late Winter in Chicago is so drab.

I am looking forward to a great Congress this year.

The pastoral staff from my parish did meet at World Library Publications' offices yesterday to talk about the new translation. I will report on the results of that meeting in tomorrow's post.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: Ever-Widening Circles

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Tuesday."

In a little over an hour, the pastoral staff from my parish, Saint James, will arrive here at the offices of WLP and J. S. Paluch to discuss our strategies for the reception and implementation of the new translation of The Roman Missal.

In a previous meeting with the pastor, our two fine deacons, and our music director, our pastor suggested an approach of "ever-widening circles." We named the groups in the parish that would need preparation sessions, including the entire pastoral staff (occurring today), a gathering of liturgical ministers, the choir, our parish's social organizations, the young adult group, the college students served by our campus ministry outreach, our children and teens. Following these sessions, as the circle of catechesis and preparation grows ever wider, we felt that there still needed to be general parish "town meeting." We have held these kinds of general meetings in the past, in order to receive feedback on a number of pastoral issues.

So, this is the general plan, which I am hoping is more fleshed out today.

I look forward to sharing the results with you in the coming days.

Tomorrow is a big day for us here at WLP. Several of us are flying to California to exhibit our resources, give workshops, sing, offer concerts, pray, and network with others in the publishing world at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. We look forward to this event, one of the largest annual Catholic gatherings in the world. I will have internet access at the hotel and hope to blog faithfully each day while there. We are very excited to have such a great presence at both the Youth Day portion of the Congress, as well as the three days after Youth Day. The Jacob and Matthew Band, from the Los Angeles area, were invited to compose the theme song for Congress this year, People, Rise Up!. If you are planning to attend Congress, please stop by our booth (#600), find me, identify yourself as a faithful follower of Gotta Sing Gotta Pray, and I will give you a little gift. (Just one more incentive to visit L.A. Congress!)

Please pray for the safety of travelers. As the situation in Japan worsens, let us all join together in prayer for those who have died and those who mourn them, as well as those that have lost so much.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mission at Saint Andrew in Chicago

Monday greetings to all.

Last night I began presenting a three-evening mission at Saint Andrew Parish here in Chicago, pictured here:

Last night's focus was on the sacrament of Baptism and its meaning in our lives. Tonight we will focus on a few dimensions of the Eucharist, as the table of sacrifice and the table of nourishment.

Tomorrow morning the pastoral staff from my parish, Saint James, and a few other visitors, will be spending time here at our offices discussing our parish's approach to the implementation of the new translation of The Roman Missal.

I will keep you updated as this process progresses. I hope your first full week of Lent is a good one. Let us all keep in our prayers those who have died, their surviving loved ones and all who are suffering because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Tour of WLP and J.S. Paluch

Friday greetings to all.

We just completed a tour here at WLP. Several university students in a Liturgical Music course at DePaul University here in Chicago spent a few hours with us this morning. We walked them through the process that a piece of submitted music goes through here. The students visited each of our departments: editorial, art and production, marketing, customer service, and permissions. We then visited the printing plant, where thousands of J.S.Paluch parish bulletins and many of WLP's resources are printed.

Even though I work here on a day-to-day basis, it is quite amazing to witness the wide variety of work done here at World Library Publications and the J. S. Paluch Company.

I told the students two major things about our company. First, that we embrace a mission to serve the needs of the singing, praying, and initiating Church. Secondly, that our corporate culture here embraces a family model. Since 1913, we have been Catholic family-owned and run. That makes a big difference to the people who work here, our composers, artists, and authors. There isn't a day that goes by when I do not hear the word "family" used around here when referring to our company and its divisions.

The students had lots to absorb this morning. Just standing in a printing plant with several presses running at the same time is a unique experience. I hope that their time here was beneficial for them. They have finals next week, so I will be saying a little prayer for them in the coming days.

I hope your weekend is a good one and that the First Sunday of Lent is filled with God's grace.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Translation Thursday: "What Does It Really Mean to Be a Catholic Parish?"

Welcome to "New Translation Thursday."

I have wanted for quite awhile to address a sensitive issue having to do with the translation of liturgical texts. I know some very good priests who have not been using the approved translations of The Roman Missal for the past several years. You may recall a series of books published by Liturgy Training Publications in the late 1990's: Prayers for Sundays and Seasons.  (These books are no longer in print; they are not part of Liturgy Training Publications' catalogue any longer.) For each Sunday of the three liturgical years, the book offered excellent sets of Prayers of the Faithful. Also included were Lectionary citations for the Roman Catholic Lectionary and the Revised Common Lectionary. There were also two collects based on the day's readings included; one was an original composition, the other was based on a translation from the Italian Sacramentary. I used these books in my own ministry, as I was entrusted with crafting the Prayers of the Faithful on a week-to-week basis for more than twenty years. I also used the collects in this collection for parish prayers services (penitential celebrations, for instance), prayers for parish staff meetings (at a meeting  during teh week following the given Sunday), and at meetings of the liturgy commission. I thought that these collects were well constructed and filled with inspiring scriptural imagery. This was a very good resource for those who needed to prepare prayer services of all kinds.

I know that there were priests who decided to substitute the opening prayers from the Sacramentary with the collects found in this resource. I know of some who have been doing this for years. I recently attended a Sunday Mass at which the opening prayer was one of these collects. I have to admit that I found the prayer to be inspirational and moving; it was proclaimed slowly and with conviction by a priest who cares for the Church and his congregation very deeply. I know there are those of you who would argue this point; saying something like, "How can you say that this priest cares for the Church when he won't even use the official prayers of that very Church?" He would tell you that he finds the collects he uses to have more power to shape the faith lives of his parishioners in a fuller way than do the opening prayers in the Sacramentary.

I spoke with this particular priest after Mass on that Sunday and we began to talk about the new translation of The Roman Missal. He said that he was going to need several months before November 27, 2011, to spend the time he needed to learn the new prayers an to commit them to memory. I asked him about the opening prayers and I had the feeling that he was planning on the continued usage of the texts he is currently praying. I told him that I had only one thing to say in response. He paused and said, "I don't think I am going to like what I am about to hear."

I told him that it was more than important to me that the prayers prayed at Mass in parishes across the world be the same prayers that all Catholics hear and pray. I gave him the example of one of my family members who is ill. She goes to Mass every Sunday and I told him how important it is for me, at my own parish of Saint James here in Chicago (or wherever I happen to be on the road) that the prayers I hear are the prayers my family member hears. This is what makes being Catholic catholic. When I listen to the opening prayer, for instance, I often wonder how those words are falling on the ears and heart of my family member; is her heart touched by the prayer in the same or different ways as the way my heart is touched? I often think about her during the Eucharistic Prayer, wondering how her own journey is being shaped and re-shaped by the words that recall the Paschal event.

These are difficult conversations to have, especially given the fact that this particular priest loves the people he serves; he loves a musical liturgy; he is a strong and vibrant celebrant. I guess somewhere along the way he became convinced that the prayers (at least the opening prayer) in the Sacramentary could be substituted with a prayer that was in some ways better.

I don't want to belabor the point; I don't want to get into a protracted discussion about this particular priest's actions. What I do wonder has more to do with what happens in the future. The newly translated texts in The Roman Missal are going to require very careful and deliberate preparation on the part of bishops and priests in order that they be prayed well and their meaning conveyed in liturgical proclamation. As I have said in this blog before, there are some texts, in my opinion, that are very awkward. Others are not so awkward; they re-capture the original meaning of the Latin prayers in a beautiful way and recover some of the expressions lost in the current translation. I just wonder if some priests are going to look at some of these new texts, make a decision that the meaning cannot simply be conveyed, and revert to using the prayers in the current Sacramentary, or continue to use other prayers (perhaps the abandoned ICEL translation from the 1990's)? I have the feeling that the vast majority of the Catholics sitting in the pews trust the celebrant; and I also believe that they may not have much interest in whether or not the opening prayer is from an approved source. I do not count myself as one of those Catholics. I believe that in most parishes across the United States, all of the prayers prayed are from the Sacramentary. Perhaps the situation I describe here is very, very isolated. Perhaps not.

The advent of the new translation of The Roman Missal will either be a moment of great liturgical renewal or a pastoral disaster, or perhaps something in between. This coming Tuesday, the entire pastoral staff from my own parish, Saint James here in Chicago, will be coming to our offices here at World Library Publications to discuss the parish's plan for the reception and implementation of the new translation of The Roman Missal. I am hoping that everyone will be on board with trying our best to make the advent of the new translation of moment of great liturgical renewal. We have some obstacles to overcome. We have some mis-information that needs to be cleared up. We have some personal feelings that need to be expressed, listened to, and addressed. What we need to cultivate, I believe, is something that has much, much more to do with ecclesiology than it does with liturgy. The advent of thh new translation will cause us to ask a fundamental question: What does it really mean to be a Catholic parish?

Thanks for listening today. Feel free, as always, to add your own comments.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

You Put Your Whole Self In

Wednesday greetings to all. It is a rainy and dreary day here in Chicago, as we begin the holy Season of Lent.

A friend asked if I was a "give up something" or a "do something" person when it comes to Lent. Well, the answer is a bit of both. In the last few years, I have trended toward the latter; my "doing something" has more to do with an intentionality I have developed while approaching this season. I try to do my best to be a more active listener at the the liturgy, with an eye toward preparing more deliberately for the renewal of my baptism promises at Easter. I am inspired by a section in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which states:

"In the liturgy and liturgical catechesis of Lent, the reminder of baptism already received, or the preparation for its reception, as well as the theme of repentance, renew the entire community along with those being prepared to celebrate the paschal mystery..."

Most Catholics are accustomed to the "theme of repentance" as the sole lens through which they view the season. The Church asks us to weave another strand into our approach to Lent; the strand of preparation for the renewal of our baptism promises. Especially in our current Year A of the liturgical cycle, it can be spiritually enriching to listen to the prayers and readings at Mass with the baptismal focus. This can thrust us toward our annual baptismal renewal at Easter. This approach has really made Lent a much richer season for me, at least.

Yesterday, one of those who was at my session in Boston on Saturday made a blog comment concerning the "Hokey Pokey." Some of you must have wondered what that was all about. Well, as "hokey" as it may sound, I refer to the last verse of this dance/song when referring to full, conscious, and active participation at the liturgy. "If you want the liturgy to be boring," I often say, "then leave your real self outside the experience." I go on, "If you want God to do God's work at the liturgy; to transform you, then you've got to, as the song says, 'Put your whole self in.'" This is certainly a helpful approach for the Lenten Season as well; if we believe that God wants to work a miracle of transformation for each one of us during the liturgy, then the season of conversion and baptism seems like the perfect opportunity.

So, how about you, are you a "give up something" or a "do something" kind of Catholic during the Season of Lent?

Remember to "put your whole self in."

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: The Paulist Center In Boston

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Tuesday." A special welcome to those of you from the Archdioceses of New York and Boston, who may be first-time visitors to Gotta Sing Gotta Pray.

My apologies for skipping a few days of blogging. I spent the weekend in Boston, adding some great family time while there. Did you know that one can fit in a game of Parcheesi, CandyLand, Connect Four, and "Guess the Animal" within a period of sixty minutes with a three year-old and a six year-old? My wonderful nieces, Abby and Emmy, were such a delight. During the "Guess the Animal Game," my six year-old niece, Abby, said, "I am thinking of animal that begins with the letter 'D'" After a few guesses she gave us the clue: "Emmy loves this animal." And Emmy screamed, "I know...Daddy." At which point she threw herself into her Daddy's (my brother's) arms and hugged and kissed him. Folks, life doesn't get much better than that. It is a family moment like this that helps put so much of the rest of life into perspective, doesn't it? All my love and thanks to Abby and Emmy for reminding me about life's priorities.

The two days of workshops in Boston were a delight. I am a native of Massachusetts and the opportunity to help these wonderful people filled my heart with gratitude. The workshops were held at the Paulist Center, adjacent to Boston Common and the Massachusetts Statehouse. Some photos:

On Friday night, a group of about 90 musicians gathered to sing through many of WLP's new and revised Mass settings. The space is reverberant and it was such a thrill to hear these musicians sing the newly translated texts. It struck me how much work it has taken on the part of composers, editors, engravers, designers, marketers, rights and permissions experts, and customer service agents to bring all of this to fruition. As we sang our settings, from simple chants to glorious SATB arrangements, I was so proud of our work thus far; work that will serve the needs of the singing and praying Church. Check out Sing the New Mass to listen for yourself.

On Saturday morning, a large group gathered for a presentation on the challenges and opportunities we will face as the new translation is implemented. There was honest discussion about what parishes will face in the coming months. Most agree that this is a prime moment for catechesis. One person asked how he would answer questions from theologians, latinists, linguists, and liturgy professors who worship at his parish, questions that will address some of the problems in the newly translated texts. Others shared the fact that their priests are going to have to work all the harder while preparing to proclaim the texts. I found the entire two days to be days of honesty, apprehension, and excitement, all mixed together.

The more I am in places where the new and revised settings are sung, the more I am coming to believe that the peoples' sung parts of the Mass will be embraced with relative ease. And as these months unfold, I am becoming increasingly more concerned with the fact that our bishops and priests have a daunting task ahead of them. One priest told me that it will take months for him to prepare the eucharistic prayers in a way that they become a part of him as he prays the prayers in his parish. Many priests have taken the time since their ordination to memorize these prayers. They want the praying of these texts to rise up in a way that doesn't appear stilted or awkward; they want the prayers to flow naturally. This will certainly take work and lots of time with the new texts, since they are so different from what is currently prayed.

Thanks for listening today.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Translation Thursday: Great Day in New York, Re-engraving, and Personal Preparation for the Implementation

Welcome to this groggy blogger's edition of "New Translation Thursday." After arriving at La Guardia in New York yesterday afternoon for my 6:00 flight, the delays began. We didn't take off until well after 11:00 P.M. Ah, the joys of travel.

I had a wonderful day yesterday with pastoral leaders from the Archdiocese of New York. This pre-Lenten day of reflection gave everyone (including me) an opportunity to approach the upcoming Lenten Season in a mystagogical way. I hope our reflections on Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist will help us all prepare for the holy season.

I am getting ready to leave tomorrow for my "home town," Boston, Massachusetts. Actually, I have lived away from Massachusetts now longer than I lived there. It will be good to return and speak with musicians and parish leaders about the upcoming new translation of The Roman Missal.

We are hard at work here at World Library Publications on our editions of the Missal, as well as our musical and pastoral resources related to the new translation.

For the two editions (Value Edition and Deluxe Edition) we are publishing, one thing that we decided to do was to re-engrave all of the chants in the Missal. After looking at the way the chants had been engraved in the files we received, we felt strongly that, as a Catholic music company, we could use the talents of our award winning music engravers to re-set the chants. This has been a tedious process, utilizing the finest engravers and editors. I believe these efforts will result in settings that will facilitate ease of reading and chanting the newly translated texts for bishops and priests. You can see sample pages, including the full-color art and the re-engraved chants here. I can't tell you how proud I am of the work and talent of the editors, engravers, and designers who have worked so hard and meticulously on the chants.

Yesterday, at the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Building in Ossining New York (pictured above), where the day of reflection was held, it was wonderful to see people examine and purchase their own individual copies of WLP's Order of Mass booklets. For many in attendance, this was their first look at the newly translated texts. People told me that they were purchasing these in order to begin their own spiritual preparation in advance of the reception and implementaion of the new translation.

A little commercial here, if you don't mind. These Order of Mass booklets contain the Order of Mass, as well as the Missal chants for the Mass, and Steven Janco's fine acclamations from the revised Mass of Redemption. There are two cover designs, one with a contemporary feel, and one with a more traditional feel. The four eucharistic prayers are included. I, for one, will need to follow along, at least for the first several months, perhaps a year or so, as these prayers are proclaimed at Mass. Go to our web site and click "view sample pages" to take a look for yourself. Once you view the pages, remember that they are not in sequential order, but rather skip around to give you a sense of the entire booklet.

Thanks for allowing me to share these resources with you today. I think it is helpful for people to know what the publishers are doing. When I think about WLP's mission to serve the needs of the singing, praying, and initiating Church, I feel that all the work that we have done for you will help us all in the implementation of the new translation.

Please pray for the safety of all travelers.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day of Pre-Lenten Reflection and Gifts from Cyril and Egeria

Wednesday greetings from the Archdiocese of New York. I am about to head over to Ossining, to the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. Our day will be focused on cultivating a mystagogical way of life.

Just a mystagogical tidbit from Cyril of Jerusalem and and entry from the Diary of Egeria for your edification today.


“I long ago desired, true-born and dearly beloved children of the Church, to discourse to you concerning these spiritual and heavenly Mysteries; but knowing well, that seeing is far more persuasive than hearing, I waited till this season; that finding you more open to the influence of my words from this your experience, I might take and lead you to the brighter and more fragrant meadow of this present paradise.”

And from Egeria's diary:
“When the days of Easter come, during the eight days, that is from Easter until the octave, after the dismissal from the church, we go while singing hymns to the Anastasis, where we pray and the faithful are blessed. The Bishop stands . . . and explains all that was done at baptism. At this time, no catechumen is permitted to enter the Anastasis. Only the neophytes and the faithful who want to hear the mysteries explained can enter.”

“The doors are closed so that no catechumen may enter. While the Bishop explains all these things, the people shout out loud their approval so that even outside the church the cries of the faithful can be heard. He unveils all the mysteries so well that no one can remain unmoved by what they hear.”

Please pray that the good people here in the Archdiocese of New York grow in what I am now calling "an initiation spirituality" as today unfolds.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: Greetings from Rye, New York

Welcome all to a very late post for this "New Translation Tuesday."

Just arrived in New York, after a full day in Chicago. Am staying in Rye right now and headed to Maryknoll in the morning for a pre-Lenten retreat for pastoral leaders here in the Archdiocese of New York.

Not much to say right now. Thursday night of this week is my first meeting with my pastor, deacons, and music director to begin to lay out the plan for the implementation of the new translation. My plan is to ask them if I can share our process, and their responses along the way, on the blog, in the hopes that it will be helpful to you, the faithful followers of Gotta Sing Gotta Pray.

That's about it for now. Pretty weary after this day of travel.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.