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,

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