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.


Richard Clark said...

Having been in attendance for the Saturday session at the Paulist Center, I was most inspired that the new translation was presented in the context of our shared faith, never losing sight of that.

I agree wholeheartedly that the musical settings will be embraced by congregations with relative ease when compared to the difficult work ahead for the clergy. The congregation can only embrace these words as well is they are proclaimed, whether spoken or in song. Great energy will need to be poured into this in the coming years, not just in coming months. Hopefully, though diligent perseverance, the difficult road ahead will bear great fruit!

PS, I’m playing a lot of “Hokie Pokie” these days.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

For those of you wondering about the "Hokey Pokey" comment, I'll comment on tomorrow's blog. Stay tuned.