Saturday, April 30, 2011

Catholic Regensburg

Saturday (unusual) greetings from Regensburg, Germany. Spring is brilliant here in Bavaria. ("Springtime with Jerry in Germany...") My apologies for those of you viewing this blog on a Mac, apparently the images are sideways on that platform, but fine on a PC. I'll try to figure this out. Mac users, is it true you are viewing these photos sideways?

Spent time in the Cathedral of Saint Peter yesterday. Here is a photo I took of the exterior; this is a massive church:

Since we are within the Octave of Easter, this is a wonderful time to visit churches here. Some more photos here will show the Easter environment, as well as the vessel in which the elect were baptized. Let me tell you, I hope the water in that iron trough was warm!

Here's a close-up of the carving on the paschal candle:

There is lots going on at this cathedral. A new pipe organ will be dedicated here in June. You organ enthusiasts, feast your eyes on these photos. The entire pipe structure fits beautifully into this massive stone edifice.

I saw the Danube for the first time yesterday and today took a short cruise, with the Spring showers, along the river. Early this morning, visited the Benedictine Abbey here in Regensburg, St. Emmeram.


Some photos. Obviously, this church is preparing for John Paul II's beatification this weekend.

Baroque, methinks?

This basilica obviously commissions artisans to create and craft the annual paschal candle. These candles are stunning; some have carved waxed replicas of images and statues from the basilica fastened to them. Rather than cast these pieces of art aside after the year is over, look at what this basilica does. Imagine those for whom a particular Easter Vigil was significant, finding this treasure in the church:

As I said, they are anticipating the beatification of John Paul II this weekend:

Well, folks, enough of this Regensburg post for now. I know that I am deeply blessed by God to see these holy places. And for that I am grateful. Tomorrow, after the 10:00 A.M. Mass at St. Peter's here, it's off to Ettal, and to the Benedictine Monastery there to lead music for the Catholic military chaplains gathered there in retreat this week.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bavaria Bound

Welcome to this installment of New Translation Thursday. Returned from New Orleans early this morning and am now back at O'Hare awaiting the flight to Munich. Not much time before boarding, but just wanted to check in. I will blog regularly while in Bavaria and will be sure to share photos of the sites and hopefully some wonderful churches.

Please pray for the safety of travelers and for all who are suffering from the damaging storms.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: A Liturgical Zombie?

Happy Easter Tuesday to all and welcome to "New Translation Tuesday."

Well, it was quite a Triduum this year. I found myself at times paying closer attention to the prayers, knowing that this would be the final time they were prayed in the current translation. But I also need to admit that there were other times when I wan't paying attention to the fact that the translation was about to change. Why? Because the power of the liturgies overwhelmed me at many moments during the liturgy. The "liturgy critic" in me was simply swept aside by the power of the ritual. I am seriously wondering if the same thing will occur next year. With all of the changes in texts that I have prayed my entire life, will the power inherent in the ritual be able to break through my focus on the changes? I honestly wonder if the rest of my Catholic life will be spent in a "critical" mode. I hope not. I just don't want to turn into a "liturgical zombie," casting aside the love I have had for liturgy because of my dissatisfaction with the new translation.

This is all so unpredictable. Each of us will have our own ways of maneuvering through the changes about to come.

Greetings from New Orleans, by the way. I am here at the NCEA (Natiional Catholic Education Association) annual convention. I am giving a talk tomorrow.

On Thursday evening, I leave for Germany, where I will be helping out with the liturgies and music for a retreat of Catholic military chaplains. We will be at Ettal, at the Benedictine monastery there. I am planning to continue the blog while I am away, sharing photos of the abbey and the surrounding Bavarian countryside. Please indulge me next week as this blog morphs into a travel blog.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Your Celebration of the Sacred Triduum

Easter Monday greetings to all.

This morning I am headed to New Orleans to speak at the annual convention of the National Catholic Education Association.

A question for you.

What was the most significant/deeply moving/profound moment of the Triduum for you? Feel free to answer by clicking the comments tab, or e-mail me directly at

I'll do my best to post your comment this afternoon after I have settled in.

Happy Easter.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Blessings: Please Read This

Easter blessings to all.

Here I sit on Easter morning in my home. The Triduum celebrations at my parish brought me closer to the crucified and risen Lord. For that, I am grateful.

And, as I sit here on Easter morning, preparing breakfast, I paused to read the Chicago Tribune.

Please read this.

Happy Easter.

Gotta Sing. Gotta Pray.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Translation Thursday: The Fullness of Love and Life

Just a few more hours remain of this Lenten Season. Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Thursday" on this Holy Thursday.

Tonight, for the last time, we will hear this Opening Prayer:

God our Father,
we are gathered here to share in the supper
which your only Son left to his Church to reveal his love.
He gave it to us when he was about to die
and commanded us to celebrate it as the new and eternal sacrifice.
We pray that in this eucharist
we may find the fullness of love and life.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

And on Holy Thursday, April 5, 2012, this will be our new Collect:

O God, who have called us to participate
in this most sacred Supper,
in which your Only Begotten Son,
when about to hand himself over to death,
entrusted to the Church a sacrifice new for all eternity,
the banquet of his love,
grant, we pray,
that we may draw from so great a mystery,
the fullness of charity and of life.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

I will miss the current prayer dearly.

On a somewhat related note, a few interesting things have occurred in our proofing and publication process with The Roman Missal itself. We have a group of professional proofreaders who are poring over proofs of the various parts of the missal. Even though they were told that they were not to correct the texts unless they found glaring errors, some couldn't help themselves. For instance, for this particular prayer on Holy Thursday, the proofer would have indicated that the word "you" was missing in the first line before the word "who."

Folks, the word order and syntax in the majority of these prayers is simply not what we are used to reading, speaking, or praying in English.

I have to admit that the more I pray these newly translated texts, the more I am becoming used to the very odd word order and syntax. I am just not quite sure if, even with the passage of time, I will be able to leave my "OK, Jerry, remember that this is unusual English construction" sentiment behind, get beyond it and actually be able to enter into prayer. time will tell.

I hope your Triduum is blessed with hope and new life.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Triduum Hope for You

Spy Wednesday greetings to all.

Last night at my parish, Saint James, I led a rehearsal for the Easter Vigil readers. This practice was always one of my favorite parts of Triduum preparations when I was a director of liturgy and music. Talking with the readers about the unfolding of salvation history made present in the proclamation of God's living word has always inspired me to be a more attentive listener at Sunday Mass.

Over the past several days, Facebook postings from parish and diocesan liturgists and musicians reveal the kind of frenzy that this holy time can be for those entrusted with liturgical ministry. There are so many details, so much rehearsing, so much decorating, so much work to be done. What I found helpful during these frenzied times in the parish was fine tuning my own attention during the proclamation of the word. Friends, I would urge you to realize that during the proclamation of the Lectionary readings during the Triduum, there really is nothing for you to do; try your best to open your minds and hearts to the work God wants to accomplish on you as that living word is proclaimed. Even in the midst of all the frenzy, expect a miracle of transformation in your heart.

This will be my prayer this week for all of you who work so hard to bring people closer to the Lord; that when the word is proclaimed, that word will touch your hearts deeply and will become a moment of deep transformation and redemption.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: The Impact On This Publisher

Welcome to this Holy Week installment of "New Translation Tuesday."

People have asked me what impact the new translation has had on publishers of music and worship resources. I thought I'd share some of what this new translation has meant for us here at World Library Publications.

When I look back on the past two years, I am stunned by the amount of hard work accomplished by our composers, editors, artists and designers, music engravers, marketing team members, customer care professionals, rights and permissions manager, as well as the managers who guide all these fine people.

We have revised these Mass settings:

People's Mass
Mass for Christian Unity
Mass of Redemption
Sing Praise and Thanksgiving Mass
Misa Luna
Mass of Joy
Mass in Honor of Pope Paul VI (some elements)
Danish Amen Mass (Eucharistic acclamations)
Gloria for Christmastime (Howard Hughes)

These new Mass settings have been composed:

Mass of Wisdom
Mass of Grace
Mass of Awakening
Missa Simplex
Mass of Saint Ann
Mass of Charity and Love
Mass for Our Lady

Full recordings of most of these Masses have either already been released or are in production.

Most of the Masses have choral editions; every Mass has a full score; some Masses have separate guitar editions; some Masses have separately published instrumental parts.

We have created assembly cards for most Masses.

We have created what we call "pew files," which are the melody line-only versions of the components of the Masses that will appear in our worship resources (as well as future hymnals).

We have created electronic versions of nearly every component of every Mass.

For those Masses that will be going into our worship resources, we have had accompaniment versions engraved for our keyboard and cantor/guitar accompaniment books.

We are in the process of revising the entire "service music sections" of all of our accompaniment books, both keyboard and vocal editions.

Our "source files" for the construction of our worship resources have been completely revised, which means all Entrance Antiphons, Collects, Prayers over the Offerings, Communion Antipons, and Prayers after Communion for every Sunday and solemnity, as well as for every single weekday, memorial, optional memorial, and feast.

All files for resources that contain the Order of Mass have been revised.

We have published "Order of Mass" booklets.

We published, then re-published Archbishop J. Peter Sartain's recording of the four Eucharistic Prayers.

We have finally completed the final corrections for Father Paul Turner's Pastoral Companion to the Roman Missal, which is going to print today.

We will soon release Kathy Felong's Leading Through Change: Your Parish and the Roman Missal.

Our support reosurces, AIM Magazine, Pastoral Patterns, and Palabras Pastorales will be revised to reflect the new translation.

We are publishing two editions of The Roman Missal, a deluxe and a value edition.

Every time we prepare manuscripts for any resource that contains texts from the new translation, these texts must be submitted to the Bishops Committee on Divine Worship and to ICEL for approval. Careful attention has been paid to hundreds and hundred of copyright notices for every resource.

Permissions have been secured for every resource.

When the final changes were made to the Order of Mass (that had already received its recognitio) we had to revise absolutely everything that had been composed or written up to that point, which meant composers had to re-write some of their work, editors had to work with the revised work, engravers had to re-engrave the revised work, designers had to re-set pages.

We have prepared marketing materials (flyers, brochures, print advertising, e-mail blasts), our "WLP Presents Mass Settings" - the so-called "Green Book" - that contains our Mass settings.

Some of us have been interviewed for magazines and radio shows regarding the new translation.

Many of us have written articles for various publications regarding the new translation.

Our catalogs needed to include all of the material we are publishing that is related to the new translation.

We created a web site dedicated solely to WLP's musical settings:

We re-designed the home page for our own web site in the middle of all of this work, helping people find, listen to, and sing our Mass settings at their own comupters.

All of the digital music files of the various Mass settings needed to be created and uploaded to our web site.

Many on our staff have traversed the country for the past year and a half, sharing our new and revised musical settings with literally thousands of musicians.

I have personally visited nearly forty dioceses, doing presentations on the new translation for musicians, liturgists, clergy, bishops, catechists, and pew Catholics. I have also continued "New Translation Tuesday" and "New Translation Thursday" for over a year on Gotta Sing Gotta Pray.

All of this was done while we were regularly publishing Seasonal Missalette, We Celebrate, Celebremos/Let Us Celebrate, Word and Song, Liturgy of the Word, AIM, Pastoral Patterns, 90+ choral octavos per year, music collections, CDs, and more.

Whew, I am sure I am forgetting something! (And I know the team here will let me know what I missed as the day wears on!)

A few years ago, I told the staff here at WLP that the new translation of The Roman Missal would be the single most significant event in most of our publishing careers. After writing this blog entry, I believe my words are ringing truer than ever.

I don't want to sound too sentimental or emotional here, but I want you to know that the reason why we do all of this is because, at the core of our very being, we at WLP are dedicated to serving the needs of the singing, praying, and initiating Church; we are here to serve YOU.

My heart is filled with pride and admiration today for all those who have made all of these resources possible for the Church.

Thanks for listening to all of this today.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Snowy Week

Monday of Holy Week has dawned.

When I walked out the door of my home here in Chicago this morning, this was the scene that greeted me:

I felt like singing "The Snow Lay on the Ground" instead of "Were You There?"

Before the reading of the Passion on Palm Sunday this past weekend, the celebrant of the Mass accounced, "The reading of the Passion is lengthy. For those of you who find standing for a long period of time a challenge, please free to be seated."

I was not at my home parish, but at a Saturday evening Mass in a nearby parish (my parish does not have a Saturday anticipated Mass). There was a large number (50%) of elderly people at Mass. One person sat down about half way through the reading of the Passion.

How did things go in your parish with regard to the posture of the assembly during the proclamation of the Passion?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Question Concerning the Music and the New Translation

Friday greetings to you all.

Other blogs are sharing a link to the recent Time Magazine article on the new translation. After my post yesterday, I found it to be quite timely.

I have a question for you. Is your parish planning to begin singing the peoples' parts of the new translation at Mass before the implementation date of November 27, 2011?

Thanks for offering your response. Remember, if for some reason you cannot comment here on the blog, you can e-mail me directly:

I hope that your celebration of Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion brings you closer to the Lord.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Translation Thursday: The Heart and Mind of a Fictitious Bishop

Another "New Translation Thursday" has dawned.

I wanted to begin by sharing a few photos I took in Florida over the weekend. This is a shot of the beautiful Saint Timothy Catholic Church in Lutz, Florida, a parish in the diocese of Tampa-Saint Petersburg.

And here is a blurry photo I took of those gathered at Saint Timothy's for the WLP music reading session:

Thanks to all who made such beautiful music on Friday evening and Saturday morning.

We have received some prototypes or "dummy" copies of the editions of The Roman Missal, Third Edition, being published here at the J. S. Paluch Company/World Library Publications. Just wanted you to get a sneak peek. We are working on some adjustments in the green foil stamping that appears on our deluxe edition and we are re-aligning the cover images to be more centered on the cover. The interior pages, of course, are blank, since we do not yet have final proofs. But it was a unique experience actually to pick the book up, work with the ribbons and tabs, run my fingers along the gold edges of the pages of the deluxe edition, get a feel for the weight of the book, run my fingers into the embossed florentine scrollwork on the covers; the scrollwork is inspired by art of the Vatican Apostolic Library that will grace the interior pages. So here is a photo I took of the two WLP editions placed on the table here in my office at WLP:

Controversy about the new translation continues to swirl. From the diagnostics that I am able to perform on "Blogger," I know that many of you regularly visit this blog after spending time over at PrayTell and ChantCafe. I visit those sites on a regular basis as well. There are thousands of people regularly visiting blogs like these. And the real gift of the blogosphere is the ability to share thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

I often wonder what percentage of the English-speaking Catholic population is following these blogs closely, and offering comments. Obviously, the percentage must be quite tiny. For the vast majority of Catholics, the new translation has yet to become something of interest. As I said in an earlier post, this came as quite a surprise when I was in Florida this past weekend. I asked the musicians about their familiarity with the newly translated texts and at least 90% said that the session I was leading provided the first opportunity for them to see the new texts. I guess I shouldn't be shocked at all. For these Catholics, the new translation is simply not an issue that is burning, at least not for now. For those of us who count ourselves among the liturgical "geeks," of course, the new translation is beyond a burning issue, it is a raging inferno!

The recent New York Times article about the new translation got me to thinking again about how the mainstream media is going to "cover" the implementation of the new translation. I hope that reporters do their homework and get their facts straight. I hope they include all of the facts of the unfolding of the translation process as we know them. To say that this new translation of the missal was approved by all the bishops of the English-speaking world and then that very translation received its final approval from Rome would be a lie. We all know that substantial changes were made to the texts approved by the English-speaking bishops. To gloss over this would be a mis-interpretation of the facts. It is my hope that reporters don't simply hang around outside the doors of Catholic churches on November 27, asking questions like "What do you think of the changes? Are you upset at the Church? Do you think the Church should be focusing on more important issues?" While it will be important to hear the initial reactions of Catholics, it is going to take quite a bit of time to see if this new translation actually fosters a renewal within the Church; if this new translation indeed becomes a watershed moment of liturgical catechesis as so many are hoping for; if this new translation actually brings people closer to Jesus Christ.

It is my hope that reporters make appointments with this country's bishops, seeking clarification about the  translation process and reporting the facts as facts. I often try to put myself in the shoes of a diocesan bishop, one who had decided early on that this translation process was too important to ignore; a bishop who took each of the various texts home to the people of his diocese during the long process of corrections and edits; one who worked with his Office of Worship to try to gain wisdom from the liturgical experts, pastoral musicians, pastors, and lay people of the diocese; one who engaged in the process wholeheartedly and was unafraid to report to his brother bishops what he was hearing from the flock entrusted to his care. When the final final translated text came back from the Vatican, a text that was quite different from the one he voted to approve, a text that he had worked so long and hard to help fashion, what must have been his response?  From what I have seen and heard, this bishop most probably had a moment of deep regret and then engaged in humble subjugation, knowing full well that his promise of obedience is at the heart of his ministry as priest and bishop. After all, this bishop must be a leader in a Church that has its triumphs and its flaws. This bishop is now trying to help his people see November 27, 2011 as a real moment of hope, of renewal, and of catechesis. But I still wonder if, when alone in prayer, this bishop doesn't sometimes feel the need to cry out to God in rightful anger, since what he and the people entrusted to his care had worked on for so long somehow was changed.

I know in my heart that every bishop wants the best for his people. So, our bishops are moving forward with this translation, hoping that it does create a great moment of catechesis in their dioceses. As you know, I share this hope. But I also share the hope that we will have open ears and open hearts to the actual experience of these new texts when they are actually prayed and actually sung in parishes throughout the English-speaking world. Dialogue must occur among bishops and archbishops, pastors and deacons, lay ecclesial ministers, those in monasteries, those living the consecrated life, musicians and liturgists, as well as the vast majority of Catholics whose only engagement with the Church is from their place in the liturgical assembly. Perhaps the bishop in whose shoes I placed myself harbors the hope that one day there will be an even better translation of The Missale Romanum. Perhaps he sees all of what we are going through at this moment as simply that: a moment to get through. Perhaps he sees that, after a period of actual praying and singing of this new translation, that something even more wonderful is waiting for us.

For those of us whose lives are so immersed in the liturgy, the next several years will be critically important ones. I already know of several doctoral students who are working on projects meant to gauge the impact of the new translation on Catholics. I am more than excited to know that this kind of work is already going on. These studies will be important, in addition to our own personal experience as each of us moves through this time of translation transition. Let's fasten our seatbelts, my liturgical geek friends; it's going to be an interesting ride!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Davenport Treasure and the We Celebrate Program

Wednesday greetings to all.

Feeling a bit better today; back at the desk for another exciting day in Catholic publishing.

I wanted to alert you to a great web site for all kinds of helpful links regarding the upcoming translation The Roman Missal, Third Edition. This is the web site of the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa. Deacon Frank Agnoli, director of the diocesan office of worship, has put together a comprehensive site, with much helpful information. If you know people who are just beginning to learn about the new translation, this site will prove quite helpful. Kudos to Deacon Agnoli for this helpful site.

With all of the work being accomplished here at WLP with respect to The Roman Missal, you might wonder what other projects we are currently working on. Those who subscribe to our We Celebrate hymnal and worship resource program are in for a real treat as November 27 nears. Normally a three-year hymnal/missal program, we had to extend the program to four years, so that we could time the new hymnal with the advent of the implementaion of the new Roman Missal. We are hard at work creating the hymnal now and are working on a brand new design. Since this is a semi-permanent hymnal, we are re-designing our accompaniments in a semi-permanent style as well, providing our users with larger, more easily readable accompaniment editions. This is a significant re-design and new approach for this program, and we are very excited about it.

For those parishes considering a semi-permanent worship resource at this time, I am urging them to take a look at We Celebrate. Until we know for sure which particular musical settings of the Mass are really going to prove their staying power, a semi-permanent program really makes sense. This is one of the reasons we at WLP chose not to publish a new version of the hard-bound People's Mass Book hymnal. We want to wait for a few years to see what Mass settings become part of the fabric of Catholic worship rather than going to all the expense now of publishing a hard-bound hymnal loaded with Mass settings that have yet to be tested in parishes. I simply don't believe that now is the time to purchase a hard-bound hymnal. Parishes with hard-bound hymnals can use a wide variety of resources (Mass cards, Order of Mass booklets, etc.) to get them through the next few years until they know which Mass settings will prove their staying power in parishes.

We will be watching the popularity of Mass settings very closely over the next few years, so that we can make decisions based on real facts. You may or may not know that we are doing something quite pastoral for our own subscribers of WLP worship resources. If a parish finds that a new or revised WLP Mass setting that they would like to use does not appear in their WLP worship resource, we will provide Mass cards with that particular musical setting free of charge, for as many missals to which that the parish currently subscribes. There is simply no way that we could publish every single Mass setting in every single worship resource. We feel that this approach will help our subscribers in the best way possible.

Well, I know that this entire entry sound like a big commercial, and certainly there is a grain of truth there. After having traveled to scores of dioceses and parishes around the country for the last couple of years and listening to peoples' concerns and hopes, I just want musicians and pastors to make sound decisions about the investment in worship resources as we prepare to receive the new translation of The Roman Missal, Third Edition.

Thanks for listening today.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: A Blogger with a Bug

Welcome to "New Translation Tuesday."

Folks, it looks like all the travel has caught up to this blogger. I have been down with a bad cold since Sunday. Probably picked it up in those compact tubes that fly through the air.

The weekend in the diocese of Tampa-Saint Petersburg was wonderful. A great group of musicians singing the new translation.

At each session, I asked for how many people this was their first look at the new translation. With over 150 in attendence over two sessions, I would say that 90% of the folks had not yet seen the newly translated texts. So, I did some catechesis, as well as singing through WLP's new and revised Mass settings.

That's about it for now. Hopefully I will be on the mend real soon. I very rarely come down with a bug, so this is definitely no fun!

But, as always, gotta sing, gotta pray.

Friday, April 8, 2011

To Tampa

Friday greetings from rainy Chicago.

I am getting ready to go to the airport and then head to the Diocese of Tampa-Saint Petersburg for two WLP music reading sessions.

This trip to Tampa is my final one before Easter, and I am looking forward to spending time at home here in Chicago when I return on Sunday.

I hope your weekend celebrations of the Eucharist bring you closer to the Lord.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Translation Thursday: Mass in Nursing Homes and Long-term Care Facilities

Welcome to "New Translation Thursday." Thanks to all for your comments in the last few days.

Yesterday I presented a retreat in the Diocese of Buffalo. While there, I was unable to access the internet; because of this I had no access to e-mail.

One of the posters to this blog was upset, thinking that I had rejected the comment made when, in fact, I had not yet read the comment. Here is how this all works on "Blogger." When you post a comment, I receive an e-mail that contains your comment. From the e-mail, I have the choice as to whether to publish or not publish the comment. There are only two types of comments that I do not publish. One type is the kind that is automatically generated by "blog crawlers" out there. For instance, I may get a comment that says something like "Thank you for this great post. Translation is such an important issue," without any direct relation to the blog posting itself. A few times, this kind of comment has come with a link to the originator of the comment. Before publishing, I click on the link, only to find that the link takes me to an inappropriate site, usually having to do with a certain genre of pharmaceutical products. I'll let you guess the genre.

The second are comments that I consider offensive and unhelpful. I have only rejected this type of comment on one occasion.

I believe that Gotta Sing Gotta Pray is one of several places on the internet where we can engage in dialogue around a number of topics. The new translation of The Roman Missal is the topic that gets the most comments, obviously. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

So, folks, if I do not get to your comments right away, it is usually because I do not have immediate access to the internet. Please be patient with me, especially during these months of heavy travel.

I do have one issue I want to bring up on this "New Translation Thursday." In my travels around the country, I have had quite a few people ask me about Masses celebrated in Nursing Homes and Long Term Care Facilities. The questions usually come from people whose ministry it is to offer spiritual care to those who live in these kinds of facilities. They tell me that perhaps once a month the parish priest comes to the facility to celebrate Mass with the residents. These ministers of care have asked me my opinion on how to handle the change in translation with these Catholic residents who attend Masses at the facilities. Some of these residents, they tell me, live with varying degrees of dementia yet, when Mass is celebrated, they have the capacity to reach deep down inside themselves and are able to respond at Mass with the responses and prayers that they had prayed most of their lives.

These ministers of care wonder just how to deal with the new translation. Some have suggested that they want to continue to have the priest use the current translation. I then ask how long they think this would be effective since, eventually, the residents will be people who have learned the new translation. When I suggest that they do some simple catechesis with the residents about the changes, they tell me that this kind of approach will do little. When I suggest that they use a printed worship program with the new texts, they tell me that the majority of the people they work with have lost the ability to read. This is a real heartbreaker for me, since my own sister lived in a long-term care facility for the final few years of her life. I can't imagine what it would have been like for her to be wheeled in her wheelchair down to the chapel for Mass, only to be hearing different words prayed at Mass.

Perhaps this is an isolated situation, but I am at a loss as to how to counsel these caregivers.

So, I am reaching out to you for some wisdom on this subject. Please feel free to comment. Has your parish developed a plan that addresses this issue?

I am off to the Diocese of Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida, tomorrow for two sessions with musicians focused on WLP's new and revised settings of the Mass. The first session is Friday night at Saint Timothy Parish in Lutz, FL, pictured here:

Then, on Saturday morning, we'll be in what looks to be a brand new church in Clearwater, Saint Catherine of Siena. The interior is pictured here:

As always, I am looking forward to sharing our Mass settings, which you, of course, can always find on our web site or on

Please pray for the safety of all travelers.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Comparison: Easter Vigil Prayer

Welcome to this edition of "New Translation Tuesday."

I volunteered at my parish to help coordinate the Easter Vigil. As I was examining the texts, I couldn't help but have a copy of The Roman Missal, Third Edition open to do a bit of comparison.

The prayer after the First Reading (Creation from Genesis) is currently:

Almighty and eternal God,
you created all things in wonderful beauty and order.
Help us now to perceive
how still more wonderful is the new creation
by which in the fullness of time
you redeemed your people
through the sacrifice of our passover, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Here's the new translation:

Almighty ever-living God,
who are wonderful in the ordering of all your works,
may those you have redeemed understand
that there exists nothing more marvelous
than the world’s creation in the beginning
except that, at the end of the ages,
Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

I wonder how much wrangling over this text occurred in the translation process. Let's remember that those working to translate the Latin did so with a strict set of rules outlined in Liturgiam Authenticam. I think this might be a good example of how the following of those rules resulted in a prayer that is very difficult to pray, very difficult to comprehend, and very difficult to convey meaning. It sounds to me much more like a catechetical statement than a prayer. The current text sounds so much more poetic and inspired.

Try praying the existing prayer out loud several times. Now try the same with the newly translated text.


Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Gospel: Sitting and Standing

Monday greetings to all.

It was 72 degrees here in Chicago late last night. And tonight's temperature will be 32 degrees. Ah, the Midwest in the Spring.

I wanted to ask a question of the readers of Gotta Sing Gotta Pray.

I was quite surprised at Mass yesterday. When the time came for the proclamation of the Gospel (The long section from John that proclaimed the story of the Man Born Blind), the deacon announced that we were invited to be seated because of the length of the Gospel and so that we could meditate on the Gospel. Maybe I am just getting to be liturgically crotchety, but I found this to be disconcerting. I left my seat and stood against the back wall, trying not to look like I was making any kind of statement of protest. I just felt strongly that I needed to honor this great Gospel story by remaining standing.

The "please be seated" instructions I have heard over the years when the Passion was proclaimed on Palm Sunday and Good Friday has always irked me as well. I remember standing for these long Gospels when I was a kid and it was something that helped form my own "Catholic DNA." I have since been in too many places where we are all invited to be seated for these Gospels. I firmly believe that, perhaps of any Gospel proclamation, the proclamation of the Passion necessitates our standing in honor and praise for what is being proclaimed.

I realize that the invitation to be seated is made primarily as a gesture of hospitality and kindness to those (the elderly and those with disabilities) who would find standing for such a long time a real burden. But I also honestly feel that when people find it difficult to stand for a long period, they will simply choose to be seated. And I know that this might be embarrassing for them, or make them feel quite self-conscious. While I completely understand this, I think that perhaps an announcement before Mass begins or perhaps a mention in the worship program might alleviate their discomfort. Something like: "The proclamation of the Gospel at today's Mass is quite a bit longer than usual. For those who find standing for a long period of time to be quite difficult, please feel free to be seated during today's Gospel."

I guess that this all points to the fact that it might be a good idea to do some general catechesis with parishioners regarding the postures we use at Mass. I wonder how many people even realize why we stand at some points, kneel at others, bow at times, and kneel at other times.

So, please feel free to weigh in on this. What is your opinion?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A WLP Ambassador Heads to Lexington, Kentucky

Friday greetings to you all.

In a few hours I head to one of my favorite places in the United States, Lexington, Kentucky. I'll fly to Louisville, then drive over to Lexington.

Tomorrow I am presenting a WLP "Ambassador Program" event for the Diocese. My focus tomorrow is on Mystagogy. The day is geared toward those ministering in Christian initiation. The WLP Ambassadors Program assists dioceses in their programming. Basically, a diocese chooses from among a number of workshops focused on the areas of liturgy, music, and initiation. A WLP sponsored workshop presenter comes to the diocese, free of charge, for the presentation. All WLP asks in return is the opportunity to set up a small table with our resources related to the topic.

If your diocese is interested in this program, feel free to contact me here at WLP:

For those of you who read this blog, you know how much I enjoy the RCIA workshops, especially those focused on the cultivation of a mystagogical way of life. I am looking forward to returning to Lexington and working with the RCIA ministers and diocesan staff there.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.