Friday, July 29, 2011

Itches and Scratches

Friday has arrived and with it several more inches of rain here in Chicago. This has been the rainiest July here in Chicago since weather records have been kept. When these thunderstorms roar through the Midwest, the rain just comes down in sheets and the thunder is relentlessly deafening. Same pattern the last two nights; I need some sleep!

At any rate, I was re-reading a few short sections from Eduardo Galeano's Book of Embraces this morning. I used his "The Function of Art 1" as part of my NPM Plenum. I re-read his "The Function of Art 2" this morning. Here's the text:

The Function of Art / 2

The preacher Miguel Brun told me that a few years ago he had visited the Indians of the Paraguayan Chaco. He was part of an evangelizing mission. The missionaries visited a chief who was considered very wise. The chief, a quiet, fat man, listened without blinking to the religious propaganda that they read to him in his own language. When they finished, the missionaries awaited a reaction.
The chief took his time, then said: "That scratches. It scratches hard and it scratches very well."
And then he added:
"But it scratches where there isn't any itch."

This immediately brought to mind two things about our work. The first, of course, has to do with the new translation of The Roman Missal. There are those who, even thought they will not use the exact words, will say that there just isn't any itch when it comes to their current celebration of Mass in the current translation. Ergo, the new translation might scratch very well, but "there isn't any itch."

And then I thought about the Church's evangelization efforts in general. In early September, I will be leading two workshops in the Archdiocese of Boston, focused on the RCIA. I have mentioned here before how troubling it is for me to see that Catholics in the diocese in which I grew up have only a 17% regular Mass attendance rate. I believe that the RCIA is one of, if not the best, evangelization tool for the Catholic Church. But, when I think about Boston, I wonder where people are itching; not only people who are being drawn to Christ for the first time, but also for those who have drifted away. Did people drift away because what was being offered didn't "scratch" their itches?

Where are you itching?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Translation Thursday: The Great Big Blob

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Thursday."

These days, perhaps because we are at mid-summer here in the Midwest, feel sort of like in-between times. And I am feeling that way, as a publisher, about the new translation. The music has been written, the manuscripts have been prepared, the support resources are in place. It feels like the table has been set, but I just can't smell any food cooking in the kitchen yet.

After years of planning and preparation, we are about to enter a new phase of liturgical renewal. Some have outrightly rejected the new texts. Others praise it as the best thing to come along since that delicious concoction that was drunk from stone jars at Cana. Some, like me, wait cautiously. Others, like some of the people in my parish, are a little scared and anxious that things are changing too much. Some priests and bishops know that they are going to need to spend much, much more time preparing for Mass. Others are taking this all quite glibly.

And then there is that great big blob of English-speaking Catholics for whom this will be a tiny blip on the radar screen; perhaps a small inconvenience at first, but nothing earth-shattering at all. Concerned less about words prayed, they worry more about finding a better job; they think about the safety of their children; they agonize over the health of aging parents; they simply want to find happiness.

It is to this great big blob that I am hoping this transition touches more deeply in some way. People like you and me, we are the ones who take this liturgy stuff so seriously; we will dissect and analyze; we will laugh at some of this nonsensical English; we will cry at the loss of something that has become like a friend to us; and through all of this, we will somehow grow closer to one another and to the living God.

What about the great big blob? Just maybe, jolted out of complacency, they might see this time as an opportunity actually to forge a new relationship between those things I mentioned that matter greatly in their lives and the celebration of Sunday Mass. Even though it may sound like I am being comical at first, I am never more serious when I liken our celebration of Mass to the song-and-dance we call the Hokey Pokey. Maybe this transition will mark a time when more of that great big blob responds and really does the Hokey Pokey at Mass: "You put your whole self in . . ."

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WLP: At Your Service

Wednesday greetings from here at the home office in Franklin Park, Illinois.

I guess the reality that we will be singing and praying a new translation of The Roman Missal has really begun to sink in out there. Our customer care team members are fielding phone call after phone call.

Have you given thought to one of the ramifications of our bishops' surprise decision to allow early implementation of some of the sung parts of the Mass in September (in those dioceses where the Ordinary permits it)?

Well, here you go. Because of the new translation, we obviously have had to create supplements for all of our accompaniment editions, supplements that include the new and revised musical settings of the Mass that will be appearing in our worship resources. These accompaniments are used by musicians in parishes that sing and pray from WLP's worship resources: Seasonal Missalette, Word & Song annual missal and hymnal, Celebremos/Let Us Celebrate, and the We Celebrate hymnal and missal program. We were breezing along with confidence as we prepared both the keyboard and guitar/cantor editions in time for the November 27 implementation. Our entire editorial and production process has been built around the November 27 implementation. Our target date for providing the accompaniment supplements (or entirely new accompaniment, as in the case of our brand new We Celebrate Hymnal) is the beginning of September. We are trying our very best to hit this target.

But people need the accompaniments to these Mass settings now, in order to practice and prepare musicians and clergy. If only we had known that the bishops were going to allow this early implementation, we could have been much more prepared.

Ah . . . the frustrations of publishing. So, you ask, what is a publisher like WLP to do? Well, I'll tell you. For those who are subscribers to our worship resources, we are providing free PDFs of the choral scores for our new and revised Masses. All a customer needs to do is contact our Customer Care Department (1 800 566-6150 or and let us know which Mass setting you are planning to use and we will send you the PDF of the choral score (which has the accompaniment). This will help tide you over until you receive the accompaniment supplement some time in September.

As always, we are doing everything we can to serve the needs of the singing and praying and initiating Church. Sometimes it gets a little frustrating, but in a few months, this will all be a distant memory.

Thanks for listening.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: "Help Me to See"

Welcome to this installment of New Translation Tuesday. In response to several requests that I post the plenum I presented on Friday at the NPM convention in Louisville, I've decided to do so here. It will be published in the November issue of Pastoral Music. I hope you find this helpful. It surely is the longest post in this blog's history!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

NPM Plenum

July 22, 2011

Catechesis and the New Translation of the Roman Missal: “Help Me to See”
Jerry Galipeau, D. Min.

I have spent the better part of the last two years traveling throughout the United States, speaking with bishops, priests, deacons, diocesan leaders, liturgists, musicians, catechists, and people like me, “pew Catholics,” about the implementation of the new translation of the Missal. Every Tuesday and Thursday on my blog I have tried to share my own reflection on the new translation. I don’t know how you feel about this, but at this point, I am looking forward to November 27, 135 days from today.

To be honest with you–for the past ten months–, I have been struggling with and thinking about what to say to you today.

As a dedicated member of this association since the late 1970’s, and having attended most of the conventions over the years, I have been wondering what would be most helpful for me to say to you at this, the final plenum at the final NPM convention before the implementation of the English translation of the Third Edition of The Roman Missal. For me, as for many of us, this transition will mark the single-most important liturgical development in our ministerial lives.

For this final plenum on the new translation, NPM has asked me to talk about the way that catechesis will serve the implementation of and transition into the new translation of the missal.

I’d like to do this by looking at three areas where catechesis can serve; the first has to do with our responsibilities as parish leaders to catechize our parishioners about and into the new translation. The second involves the way that art – specifically our art, the musical arts – serves the catechetical endeavor. The third area is one I believe is perhaps vastly more important and is based on the reality that the best catechesis on the liturgy is good liturgy. But we cannot know that reality until we, as clergy and pastoral musicians, allow the liturgy to catechize us; to us reach into the depths of the mystery we celebrate in order to bring us closer to the living God.

SECTION ONE: Catechesis and Our Role as Parish Leaders

It has come as no surprise to me that authors and publishers, diocesan offices and national organizations have created a vast amount of material over the past several years to help us catechize our parishioners about the new translation of the Missal. You and I have been served well.

We have resources at our disposal from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, from Liturgy Training Publications, from ICEL, from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, from Liturgical Press, from NPM, and from GIA, OCP, and WLP, among others. You have hopefully spent many months and an entire NPM convention discovering ways that you can use these materials to catechize the people of your parish. It would not be a good use of our time together for me to outline the specific ways and suggest specific models for you to use to assist in the catechesis that must occur for the implementation to take root. You can find these ways and models in many places.

However, from my experience throughout the United States, I would like to offer just three general principles.

1. Do not be afraid to share the actual documentation related to the translation change

2. Listen to your parishioners

3. Present a consistent message

ONE: Do not be afraid to share the actual documentation related to the change

When I first began speaking to people about the new translation, I found myself presenting my own interpretation of the two major documents that have shaped the translation process since the Second Vatican Council. After doing this at several places, I decided that Catholic people are certainly intelligent enough to see these documents for themselves and make their own interpretations. So, I began sharing pertinent paragraphs from Comme le Prevoit, (the 1969 document that helped guide the translators following the Council), paragraphs like this one.

12. c. The translator must always keep in mind that the "unit of meaning" is not the individual word but the whole passage. The translator must therefore be careful that the translation is not so analytical that it exaggerates the importance of particular phrases while it obscures or weakens the meaning of the whole.

Then, to show people the dramatic shift in translation guidelines, I began to share sections from Liturgiam Authenticam, paragraphs like these.

6. Nevertheless, it has been noted that translations of liturgical texts in various localities stand in need of improvement through correction or through a new draft. The omissions or errors which affect certain existing vernacular translations – especially in the case of certain languages – have impeded the progress of the inculturation that actually should have taken place. Consequently, the Church has been prevented from laying the foundation for a fuller, healthier and more authentic renewal.

The translation of the liturgical texts of the Roman Liturgy is not so much a work of creative innovation as it is of rendering the original texts faithfully and accurately into the vernacular language. While it is permissible to arrange the wording, the syntax and the style in such a way as to prepare a flowing vernacular text suitable to the rhythm of popular prayer, the original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses. Any adaptation to the characteristics or the nature of the various vernacular languages is to be sober and discreet.

When Catholics (particularly those in the pews) see the differences in the guidelines, they at least see for themselves this dramatic shift. Of course, whether or not they find the new guidelines satisfying in any way is another story. But that is not the point. The point is that it is important to reveal what John Paul II–and those with whom he surrounded himself–expressed in Liturgiam Authenticam and elsewhere: our current vernacular translation has been, in some ways, an impediment to a more authentic renewal. Again, we may not agree with this perception, but we are obliged to share these texts.


I have volunteered, as a member of my parish’s liturgy committee, to help with the catechesis and implementation of the new translation in my own parish. What we decided early on was that the committee and our parish leaders would do everything in our power to be a listening ear for our parishioners. We know that there are several people in our parish who are vehemently opposed to this new translation; they have expressed that they see it as nothing but a move toward retrenchment. A few weeks ago, one person, a member of our parish choir, sought me out before Mass and said, “I have read all the information about this new translation and I think it is nothing but a bunch of crap; a further attempt by the Vatican to control more and more of parish life and the liturgy. I, for one, plan to make my feelings known publicly.” I thanked him for telling me and I said that I hoped that the information we would be sharing together as a parish might help give him more information about the changes. I don’t think this person will ever be satisfied with the information. But, at the very least, he knows that someone has listened to him and not dismissed his thoughts and feelings.


Time and time again, across the country, I have listened to the concerns expressed by parish leaders–priests, deacons, music directors, catechetical directors. Many of them want to be able to answer parishioners’ questions simply and as helpfully as possible. One of the chief concerns is that they feel that all members of the parish staff be on the same page; there should be consistency. One of the religious sisters on the parish staff at my own parish told me that she would love it if every member of the staff could have a copy of the five most common questions about the new translation and each also had a succinct, common set of answers to those questions. My friends, there is enough polarization in the Church without our parish leaders creating more, so present a consistent message.

SECTION TWO: Catechesis/our role as musicians in this realm is really about art

My friends, at sessions for musicians on the new translation that I have led in the past two years, there is one major point that I keep stressing with these musicians. And that is something that we sometimes forget. “Playing Masses” can sometimes become utilitarian. I know this so well. When I was a full-time director of music and liturgy, too often what I did was simply play the notes. What we sometimes forget is that we are artists. And art functions in ways that can serve to catechize people at depths that no other kind of catechesis can hope to accomplish. I have found that the notes become art when I am fully aware of all that is going on in my own life.

I’ll never forget what happened one Sunday morning about fifteen years ago. At the time, my family was living through the serious illness of my sister, Joanne. Joanne had a severe and chronic progressive form of Multiple Sclerosis. It was about at that time that my little sister Joanne, who had once been a gymnast, had to accept the fact that she would never walk again; it was at that time that she was confined to a wheelchair. I remember the week that this happened. On that Sunday morning, I was driving the half-hour or so to my parish to play and sing at the 7:30 A.M. Mass. That particular Mass had been the so-called “quiet Mass” in that parish since the parish was founded. When I arrived at the parish several years earlier, it was my task to bring that Mass in line with the others and to introduce singing. There had always been leftover resentment from the many who still wanted their “quiet Mass.” So this was the kind of Mass at which I sort of just “played the notes,” without putting much of myself into it. Well, it so happened that during the preparation rite of that particular week, I was to sing and play David Haas’ You Are Mine. The parish had not yet been taught the piece, so my little solo was designed to get it into their ears before they were taught it. While I was driving to Mass that morning, all I could think about was my sister and what it would be like for her to be in a wheelchair. My heart was heavy, to say the least.

Well, I played and sang You Are Mine at that Mass. I guess I didn’t think too much about it until I reached the words in the final two verses: “All the blind will see, the lame will all run free and all will know my name,” and “I will call your name, embracing all your pain; Stand up, now, walk, and live.” I knew that my sister would never know that physical healing in this life but, as I sang those words, I knew that in the life to come, in the resurrection on the last day, she would know that healing; she would indeed stand up, walk and live.

After Mass, while I was undoubtedly playing some bombastic organ postlude, I sensed the presence of someone standing behind me. At that 7:30 Mass, it usually meant it was someone who, when I finished, would tell me, “You play that pipe organ too loud!”

But not this time. The woman said, “Hi, I don’t usually talk to people here. My husband and I have been attending the 7:30 Mass together for about thirty years, but we are “in-and-out” kind of Catholics. Anyway, I just had to say something to you. You see, we were here last Sunday. It’s all part of our usual Sunday routine. We are early risers. My husband goes out early to get some donuts and the Sunday Chicago Tribune. We sit, have coffee and donuts, read the Sunday paper, then it’s off to church. When we got home after Mass last week, he wasn’t feeling well and by Sunday night he was so ill that I brought him to the hospital. I have spent the whole week pacing the halls there, waiting for test results. Yesterday I found out that my husband has a very serious cancer. When I woke up this morning, there were no donuts, there was no Chicago Tribune. I sat at home, wondering whether I should come to Mass without him. Well, I came anyway, and when I walked in here, I sat down in my usual place, only my husband was not next to me in his usual spot. I kept reaching for him. I just sat there and I said to God, “God, I need you to say something to me.” The woman then looked right into my eyes and said, “Then I heard you sing the words, ‘Do not be afraid, I am with you.’ I knew, then and there that God was speaking directly to me through you.” Please, join me now: “Do not be afraid, I am with you, I have called you each by name, Come and follow me, I will bring you home; I love you and you are mine.”

Folks, I am convinced that what occurred on that Sunday morning signaled a real transition for me; a move from just “playing the notes” to me being an artist. And I am 100% convinced that this happened because I brought my sister Joanne’s illness into Mass with me that Sunday.

Paul Tillich, one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the twentieth century, said the following in an address that marked the opening of the new galleries and sculpture garden at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1964.

“The artist brings to our senses and through them to our whole being something of the depth of our world and of ourselves, something of the mystery of being. When we are grasped by a work of art things appear to us which were unknown before—possibilities of being, unthought-of powers, hidden in the depth of life which take hold of us.”

—Paul Tillich, “Address on the Occasion of the Opening of the New Galleries and Sculpture Garden of the Museum of Modern Art,” 1964

My friends, as we prepare for the implementation of the new translation, we musicians must remember that we have art on our side. From the moment I heard the musical settings of the Mass that our composers had crafted, I knew that we musicians and the people in our pews were going to be just fine with this new translation, at least with our sung parts.

As a matter of fact, it has been the musical settings of the Masses that I have found have the power to really help change peoples’ hearts.

About sixteen months ago, I was invited to give one of the presentations at a parish mission in one of the suburban Chicago parishes. There were about 350 parishioners in attendance. My presentation was to focus on the new translation. For the majority of people, this was the first time they were being exposed to the new texts. I moved through my usual catechesis on the new translation, how we got where we are, why we are where we are, and so on, and then I moved into talking about the fact that there was much more chant in the new missal than in our current Sacramentary, and that our bishops were asking us to learn the chants of the new Roman Missal. An elderly woman in the front row raised her hand and with an angry tone, screamed out, “For goodness sake, we are not chanters, we are Americans!”

I immediately began to sing, “Our Father who art heaven . . .” (Chant through the entire Lord’s Prayer). When we finished, she looked at me and said, “OK, maybe one!”

Many of the people at that parish said that they had come to the mission session with a lot of fear. They were afraid that their Mass was going to change dramatically. I decided to use the late Richard Proulx’s Gloria Simplex as the first musical setting of the Gloria these people would ever sing. So we began, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.” When we finished this chant setting, I was amazed at how the fear and anxiety with which many had arrived at the session turned into a kind of “I think we are going to be OK” kind of feeling.

It was the music, it was the fact that these texts were being paired with the musical art, that made all the difference in the world. Folks, we musicians are very blessed during this time of transition. As I said, we have art on our side. The dialogues and newly composed or revised acclamations, I predict, will be loved by our choirs, our cantors, our instrumentalists, our clergy, and our people.

Perhaps the greatest challenge that the new translation presents is for our bishops and priests. True, they practice their own art, the ars celebrandi, the art of celebration, but their texts, particularly the presidential orations, are quite awkward and stilted in places, and quite beautiful and inspiring in other places. While we musicians are quite blessed with the gifts that composers have given us, those entrusted with proclaiming these new texts will need our prayers and support more than ever.

SECTION THREE: The Celebration of the Liturgy and Its Power to Catechize Us

Finally, I’d like to talk about the absolute necessity for us to allow the celebration of the liturgy to catechize us as musicians and clergy; to form and reform us.

I’d like to tell you about something that happened to me on Sunday, January 18, 2009. I’ve already shared a story this morning about my sister Joanne. Joanne died in February of 2001. In early January of 2009, another younger sister, my sister Janet, was diagnosed with an incurable and untreatable cancer. When she shared the devastating diagnosis with me, the image that entered my mind was the memory of my parents standing at the casket of my sister Joanne less than ten years earlier. I just couldn’t imagine my mom and dad going through that unfair pain again.

That following Sunday after hearing of Janet’s diagnosis, January 18, 2009, happened to be the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time. I went to Mass that Sunday a very sad and hurting man. When I sat down before Mass, I asked God to help me; I asked God to speak to me during Mass; to move my heart toward some kind of understanding. And all through that Mass, I waited, and I waited. There was something about the prayer over the gifts that caught my attention but, to be frank, my pastor prayed the prayer too quickly. At the end of Mass, I was disappointed and was close to despair.

The next morning, when I went to the office, I tracked down my friend and colleague Michael Novak. Michael’s wife, Judy, had been living with cancer for several years. Mike is a cantor at the Milwaukee Cathedral and conducts the men’s choir there. I asked him how he did it. He asked me what I meant and I explained about my sister’s diagnosis and my experience at Mass the day before. I asked him how he went to Mass every Sunday with the weight of his wife’s illness on his mind and heart. I mentioned the fact that there was something about the prayer over the gifts that had caught my attention. So, he grabbed the Sacramentary from his shelf and we looked up the prayer over the gifts for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. This is what we found:

may we celebrate the eucharist
with reverence and love,
for when we proclaim the death of the Lord
you continue the work of his redemption,
who is Lord for ever and ever. Amen.

That was it for me. It wasn’t until after the celebration of that Mass, in a marvelous moment of mystagogy with Michael, that I discovered that God was touching my heart. When we proclaim the death of the Lord, in the very act of celebrating Mass, God continues the work of his redemption; redemption in my own heavy heart, in the life of my sister Janet.

You and I need to be, as Father Ed Foley often says, shaken out of our own ritual stupor and allow the liturgy to do what the liturgy does. For too long we have, with all the best intentions, narrowed our understanding, and perhaps the potential power of the liturgy by defining liturgy solely as the “work of the people.” Friends, the liturgy, first and foremost, is the work of God. Every single time, without exception, every single Mass, without exception, God wants to work a miracle of transformation on each and every one of us.

On Pentecost Sunday two years ago, I was substituting at the piano at my own parish. The lector was struggling through the first reading and was having trouble with some of the pronunciation. When she reached the line, “We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,” she struggled with that last place. Instead of Pamphylia, she said “Paraphrasia.” For a second I wondered if that’s the place where the folks who created Comme le Prevoit live.

Well a few days later, I was relating this rather comical liturgical moment to my colleagues with whom I ride in a carpool. One said, “You know you were probably the only one in the church that even noticed. It’s sad that Catholics often don’t even pay attention.”

And I thought this was one of the saddest commentaries that I have heard.

My friends, sometimes this happens to us and I know, because I have been there. For instance, during the Opening Prayer, or Collect, I have found myself paying no attention because I am wondering if Phyllis the cantor is going to mess up the second verse of the Responsorial Psalm like she did the last time she sang it. Folks, God wants to work on us when that opening prayer is prayed. We need to pay much, much more attention to these newly translated prayers. This new “sacral vernacular,” this new sound of praying, demands much, much more active listening. And if we ever hope to have a chance to catechize those God entrusts to our care, we as musicians and clergy need to be more attentive; we need to let the celebration of good liturgy catechize us. I have asked people, the clergy in particular, across the country this question, “Do you believe that God continues the work of salvation when you pray the Opening Prayer?” The answer had better be “yes.”

To conclude this final plenum, and before we are commissioned to go forth from this place, I’d like to share a passage from a little book that has helped me through this time of transition; it is one of my favorite passages from Eduardo Galeano’s fine book, The Book of Embraces. This short passage is entitled “The Function of Art/1.”

Diego had never seen the sea.
His father, Santiago Kovadloff,
took him to discover it.
They went south.
The ocean lay beyond high sand dunes, waiting.
When the child and his father finally reached the dunes after much walking,
the ocean exploded before their eyes.
And so immense was the sea and its sparkle
that the child was struck dumb by the beauty of it.
And when he finally managed to speak,
trembling, stuttering,
he asked his father:
"Help me to see!"

Friends, our hope is that this new translation will do something more than provide new words that are closer to the original Latin. My hope is that it will, in some new way, “shake us out of our ritual stupor.” This is a unique moment, a moment when people will be asking questions about the Mass, a moment of enormously potential liturgical renewal. And, just like the child who was led to the ocean by his father, our people are looking for us to lead them. Like that little boy’s plea to his father, our people are pleading with us, “Help me to see.” For us, it is not the ocean that we are leading people to see. We are leading people to see something that sparkles more than any ocean could ever hope to sparkle. We are helping them to see, to be stunned by, to be struck dumb by a small glimpse of a world beyond our own understanding. Through our music, through our catechesis, through our art, we are giving people a glimpse of that great mystery, that magnum mysterium, that new day, the banquet that is to come. My friends, as a Catholic sitting in the pews, I join my voice with the people of your parishes, and, like that little boy, I look into your eyes and I echo that plea, “Help me to see . . . help me to see.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

Getting Back to Normal

Monday greetings to all, especially those who may be new to Gotta Sing Gotta Pray. I just re-read yesterday's post; sounds a bit too self-congratulatory a day later; I guess I was just feeling so grateful.

It's great to be back home here in Chicago.

Well, we are all slowly getting back to normal around here. Many of us experienced flight delays on our return from Louisville on Friday. Actually, the cab ride from O'Hare Airport to my home took longer than did the flight from Louisville to O'Hare!

It was a wonderful week at NPM in Louisville. I was so proud of our composers and our staff here. I thought our WLP music showcase really showed people the breadth of our music. People seemed to enjoy themselves very much.

Well, just a short post today; so much to catch up on.

For those of you who stopped by the WLP booth and mentioned the blog, it was great to meet you, and I hope you enjoyed your little treat.

One person who stopped by told me that she feels like she knows me very well, since she spends part of every day with my here on Gotta Sing Gotta Pray!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Sunday afternoon greetings. I have been overwhelmed with Facebook messages and e-mails since the NPM convention concluded on Friday. Sincerest thanks to all of you. I wanted to post some photos I took a few hours before the plenum, which was the final keynote presentation of the week. When I walked into the hall a few hours before my presentation, it was pretty daunting, to say the least.

After I placed my text on the podium, this was the view, which made me catch my breath:

I have been overwhelmed over the past few days by the words of gratitude I have received. I want to share one e-mail I just received; name and location have been changed. And on Monday or Tuesday I will post the text from Friday's Plenum. Again, humbled and very grateful to God.

Dear Jerry,

My name is xxxxxx xxxxx and I am the Director of the Worship Office for xxxxxxx, XX. I attended the npm meeting last week in KY. It was my first one as I am not a musician per se and normally attend the FDLC meeting each year - one liturgy conference per year is usually enough for me.
In any case, when asked what I liked the best about the npm meeting I say two words: Jerry Galipeau. I have seen your blog and heard your name before but was most impressed at both the breakout session I attended of yours and the closing talk.

I have been traveling high and low in my diocese giving talks to parishioners on the new Missal and hosting workshops of all kinds for priests, deacons, lay leaders on the subject. I have prepared bulletin inserts, created a website, and on and on, to get ready for this impending change. I liked many of the things you said because they supported many of the thoughts I, and I am sure others, have had. But you also gave me many new insights and better ways of saying difficult things. I know I will apply your words to myself in forthcoming talks: I am a cheerleader for the liturgy but not necessarily the translation of the Roman Missal!.

 I am so grateful that my words were helpful to this person. Much more work to be done.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Translation Thursday: NPM Continues to Inspire

Welcome to a brief "New Translation Thursday" post. NPM convention continues to inspire here in Louisville.

WLP's music showcase yesterday went very well. It is so thrilling to be a part of the choir on the stage in the hall. Here's what it looked like from my vantage point:

We sang through a variety of choral music and a few sections from some Mass settings.

It was a very long day for our employees here; just a bit of humor here; this was taken a little before midnight last night before the exhibit hall closed:

We treated those who visited our booth last night to a little popcorn, cooked by WLP's very own Queen of the Kernels, Gina Buckley:

I have two presentations today on the new translation and my plenum is tomorrow. Please say a little prayer for me.

I will have so much more to say (and so much more time to day it) about the new translation next week.

For now, as always...

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday at NPM and a Little Taste of Heaven

Wednesday early morning greetings from Louisville.

It was a wonderful day here yesterday at the NPM convention. WLP sponsored the Notre Dame Folk Choir last night at Saint Boniface Church. Folks, it was one of those moving moments that are far too rare in this life. I believe these dedicated young adults helped us taste a bit of heaven last night.

Today is music showcase day here at the convention. For the first time, WLP, OCP, and GIA will present their showcases all on the same day. Hopefully the musicians here will have the energy for all of this. I am quite excited about the music in our showcase.We are doing a few Mass settings, but the majority of our music represents our solid choral selections. Rehearsal begins in just under three hours. Of course, I was up at the crack of dawn, reflecting on the concert last night, thinking about today's events, and getting just a bit more nervous about my plenum presentation on Friday, but all will be well.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: NPM and All Things Roman Missal

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Tuesday."

Well, yesterday was quite a day here at the NPM Convention in a very hot and humid city of Louisville, Kentucky. There are well over three thousand gathered here. After we set up our booth yesterday, I spent some time there, quietly preparing for my plenum presentation on Friday. Even though the exhibit hall was not yet open, I looked up from my work and saw someone standing near the display containing our Mass settings. This musician looked at me, pointed to the settings and asked, "Do these Masses contain the new words from the Missal?" I found this simple question to be quite telling. I told her that they were all newly composed or revised to reflect the new translation of the Missal. I really wanted to ask her if she thought it would be wise for us to be selling settings that could only be used for a few more weeks or a few more months.

It struck me once again that the world in which I live every day is not the world that parish musicians necessearily live in each day. The new translation of The Roman Missal has been a consuming event for me for quite some time. But for many, especially at this convention, seeing the settings, picking up the display copies of the actual missal, thumbing through assembly cards, is a first-time experience.

Today is jam-packed with activities here. One of the highlights of the day will undoubtedly be the University of Notre Dame Folk Choir's concert at Saint Boniface Church this evening. Here are some photos of the church.

This year marks the choir's thirtieth anniversary, capably led through the decades by Steve Warner. Many current members of the choir along with several alums will be singing for tonight's concert. WLP is recording the concert and a special commemorative thirtieth anniversary recording will be released very soon.

I have a workshop to present today and my topic is . . .
You guessed it, helpful tools to introduce the new translation.

I also am leading a music industry lab session and the topic is . . .
You guessed it again.

It has been a wonderful gathering thus far. I will keep you posted as the days here move along.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, July 18, 2011

NPM Update: Later on Monday

Here's what things look like now.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

NPM: Day One in Louisville

Monday greetings from the NPM Convention here in Louisville. I wanted to share the "before" photos of our booth space in the exhibit hall. Later today I will post the "after" photos.

And here is the very first resource to be placed on our display racks:

More later.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Arrival in Louisville for NPM Convention

Sunday greetings to all.

Just arrived in Louisville for the NPM Convention. Should be a wonderful week of singing, learning, catching up with friends, and praying.

Here's the view from my hotel room. That's the convention center's roof in the foreground and you can sort of make out the Ohio River in the distance (see the bridge).

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Louisville-bound for NPM

It's Friday before the NPM convention here at the home office. Those of us giving presentations are all hard at work applying the finishing touches. The marketing team is covering any last minute requests. Those remaining here at the office next week are probably breathing a sigh of relief that most of us "high maintenance" types will be gone for a whole week!

I will do my best next week to keep up my blog postings. I'll be sure to include photos as the week unfolds.

Please keep all those traveling to Louisville in your prayers.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Translation Thursday: Accompanied Roman Missal Chants

"New Translation Thursday" has arrived once again. Welcome.

Someone standing next to me at Mass this past Sunday asked me--after Mass--why I followed along in the worship aid when we sang the chant version of the Gloria that we sing in the parish during Ordinary Time: "Don't you know the Gloria by heart?" he asked. I told him that I am beginning to get confused at Sunday Mass because for about two years I have been immersed in the new translation and, especially during the Gloria, the two translations get mixed up in my mind.

Got me wondering about what it's going to be like for those first several months for Catholics at Mass. Sure, there will be that period when we are pretty much glued to the missalette, Order of Mass booklet, hymnal, Mass card, or worship aid. Slowly, I woud imagine, we will need to rely less and less on these resources as the texts begin to sink in. I know that it will take quite awhile for me to get used to the new translation of the Nicene Creed. It's just so natural now. And I guess I will probably pay much closer attention to the tenets of the faith expressed in the Creed because the words will be new and I will need to be much more "fully conscious and active."

We have been hard at work here at WLP preparing for the National Pastoral Musicians convention next week in Louisville. I just met with the wonderful women who make up our Customer Care team here at WLP. They have been receiving lots of calls about the chant setting of the Mass in The Roman Missal. They asked me to clarify the whole issue of the so-called "ICEL chants." So, I gave them a little tutorial, explaining that the bishops of the United States are requiring publishers who publish any Order of Mass with music embedded in that Order to print the chants from the Missal first, before any other musical setting. I showed them our Order of Mass booklets and pointed to the chants and the fact that they appear first, before Steve Janco's Mass of Redemption setting.

The people who are calling our Customer Care team are asking about accompaniments for the chant. Of course there are two schools of thought on this. One says that, since this is chant after all, there is no need for an accompaniment at all. The other school says that the chant, especially when sung for the first several times, needs some support by an accompaniment. We know that many of the parishes that we serve have very limited music resources. Sometimes the music ministry consists of an organist with a microphone; the organist simply announces the hymn number, plays the introduction and, without a cantor, everyone simply begins singing. We have heard from these parishes; they would like an accompaniment to the chant. Many other parishes, even those with many more musical resources, are asking for the chant accompaniment as well. Several months ago we commissioned a chant scholar, composer, and pastoral musician, Charles Thatcher, to compose accompaniments for the chants of the missal. Charles is one of WLP's fine composers. He did a splendid job. We did a simple recording in a local church with a pipe organ and a few singers just the other day. This recording will be available next week at the NPM convention, as well as samples of the accompaniment. The chant accompaniment will be a part of our new We Celebrate Hymnal Accompaniment. (The newly re-designed We Celebrate Hymnal arrived here just a few days ago. We are giving them as samples to all who attend the WLP showcase at NPM next week; they are gorgeous!) It will also be included in our supplement to our Alphabetical Accompaniment, which serves the users of Seasonal Missalette and Word & Song, our terrific annual missal/hymnal. We talked about these Charles Thatcher chant accompaniments and decided, just this week, to publish these in a separate volume. Keep a close eye on WLP's web site for this new resource.

These are very busy days. I'd like to take the time to thank you, faithful followers of Gotta Sing Gotta Pray, for following my musings regularly and for offering your comments. I appreciate it. If you are at NPM next week, please sop by the WLP booth, find me, say "Gotta Sing Gotta Pray" and I'll give you a small token of my gratitude.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership

Wednesday greetings to all.

I want to share some important information with you. I have been serving on the core planning team of a brand new conference, which will be held this coming March in Baltimore, Maryland. Co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Association of Catholic Publishers, the Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership looks like it is going to be a wonderful congress for those involved in leadership positions in Catholic parishes and dioceses. There will be master classes, keynotes, and workshops, as well as opportunities for praying and singing. Unique to this conference is a celebration of the Way of the Cross (the congress takes place during Lent). I believe that the archdioceses and dioceses on the East Coast of the Unites States and Eastern Canada will benefit from this congress. There are sessions for catechists, liturgists, musicians, pastors, lay ecclesial ministers, school principals, deacons, really anyone involved in pastoral leadership.

You will be hearing more about this from me in the coming months as the plans continue to take shape. Visit the congress web site regularly to receive updated information. For all my friends on the East Coast and in Eastern Canada (and everywhere else for that matter!), I think this first Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership will be well worth your investment of time and money.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: "The Translation Is a Flop" (Before the Curtain Rises)

Welcome to a new installment of "New Translation Tuesday."

We are all very busy here at WLP gearing up for next week's national convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians in Louisville. I am giving the final plenum of the convention on Friday; my presentation is all about catechesis and the new translation. I am also giving two workshops focused on the implementation.

There is a big part of me that feels like this, "For goodness sakes, how much more do we need to say about the new translation? Let's just do it!" Then I remember that as recently as last week at Notre Dame, a pastoral musician asked me how she should respond to questions about the new translation that come from concerned parishioners. Some parishes have yet to begin their preparations and catechesis for the transition. With the surprise announcement a few weeks ago--that our bishops had decided that the new translation could be sung beginning in September in dioceses where the bishop permits it--many parish leaders might find themselves re-inventing their catechetical program, kind of scrambling at this point. I do think we need to all take a collective big deep breath and realize that we will get through this. It's the music that will make the real difference for those of us in the pews (and in choir lofts and choir areas in our churches).

I want to share something that has been eating away at me for quite some time. Most of those who have been offering scathing critiques of the new translation are counted among my friends. One critique recently went so far as to urge that we should refuse to use the new texts and stay with the current Sacramentary texts. I guess I find myself confused about these critiques. I, too, have spent lots of time with these texts and have discovered some real problems with some of the translations. But I wonder about passing a judgment of condemnation upon them, as some of the critics have done. It's like a theater critic reading a script six weeks before opening night and declaring the play a flop.

When I was working with priests in Davenport, I chose some of the more problematic texts for them to work with. They divided up into small groups and I asked them to share their thoughts about the particular text assigned to the group. The complaints abounded. "This is all one long sentence." "I can't find the antecedent." "The grammar just doesn't look right to me." "What kind of English is this anyway?" "I don't think anyone will understand this prayer."

Then I asked a member of the small group, "Father, would you pray that text for us?" After these priests had spent time visually analyzing the texts and expressings their thoughts about the texts, the actual praying of the texts surprised everyone in attendance. We heard things like, "Wow, despite the fact that it appeared stilted on the page, I think you did a beautiful job praying that prayer." "Good job, Harry, that's a tough text but you conveyed it beautifully."

I was suprised by what occurred, which is why I think we really need to resist the temptation to condemn the text before "the curtain" actually rises.

Once the curtain does rise--as I have said before--each of us has a right and duty by reason of our baptism to really examine the ways the newly translated texts may weaken or strengthen our faith. And we have the responsibility to let our pastors and bishops and the congregation in Rome know just how this translation is working or not working to strengthen our faith; how it is helping or hindering us from giving praise and thanks to God at Mass. How can we determine these things months before the curtain rises?

I mean no offense to those, my friends, who have already posted their reviews. I just ask that they consider waiting until the play begins and gets into at least the middle of the second act before passing a judgment of condemnation.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Singing the Propers: Let's Get Real

What a weekend on the liturgical blogs! I am sure that you have seen the debate raging around the translation of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal that appears in the new translation of The Roman Missal, especially regarding the music to be sung at the entrance and at communion.

I had all of what I had read over the weekend in mind when I went to Mass yesterday morning. As I looked around at the people of Saint James, I realized that for most of them (perhaps for every one of them), the issues being bandied about have absolutely no relevance to their lives. For some reason, we have people who are coming back for another taste, or another try, at practicing their Catholic faith. Maybe our evangelization efforts are beginning to have some effect. We have people who are struggling with the reality that their loved ones are very, very sick. Some of the people at Saint James wouldn't have anything to eat if it weren't for our food pantry. When I watch people walk in procession to receive communion, I see joy, pain, heartache, despair, wonder, humility, fear, happiness: all kinds of emotions. I honestly believe that the people at my parish are just plain thankful. Thankful for a parish that offers a rich sacramental life; thankful for a place that greets them warmly and says "I missed you" when you miss a Sunday; thankful for the fact that we had another building on our property in which we could worship after our beautiful church building was closed; thankful for music that inspires; thankful for musicians that help lift our hearts to heaven; thankful for a pastor and a staff that work hard to inspire us to be better Catholics; thankful for the weekly assurance that there is at least one place in this huge city that will recognize us and love us; for some, thankful to have survived to see another Sunday.
It is into this motley crowd that a new translation of The Roman Missal will be implemented. I think it will all go fine in my parish, because we have a pretty good plan for catechesis. But, to be honest, I just don't think this whole argument about the singing of the propers will ever amount to a hill of beans to these parish people. The people have grown accustomed to singing hymns and songs at the entrance and at communion from a wide variety of traditions at Saint James. When we sing Soon and Very Soon as the opening song in Advent, you would swear that we were "goin' to see the king" right then and there. When we sing "Sweet, Sweet Spirit," you take the deepest breaths you have ever taken, 'cause without a doubt you know that you are being revived. Whether we like it or not, these hymns and songs have become a living part of the Mass for the majority of Catholics. To suggest that these be phased out over the next few years, to be replaced by the chanted propers (or even the propers set to other musical styles) is just not realistic.
The followers of this blog know that I love the liturgy and I deeply love the people with whom I celebrate Mass each week. I just think we are putting too much energy into something that just isn't going to fly for the vast majority of Catholic parishes.
As always, I welcome your comments, and there probably will be a few.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What Really Matters

As we move through all of the blogging, the commentaries, the arguments, the translations, the interpretations and mis-interpretations of liturgical legislation, just a friendly reminder on a Saturday morning:

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'

Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'

Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.'

And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Thank you, once again, to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, for teaching me to focus on what really matters.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Christmas in July at WLP

Friday greetings from back at the home office here in Franklin Park, Illinois. Many thanks to the staff and students at Notre Dame's SummerSong program; it was such a delight to be on campus with you.

I checked my mailbox this morning and found several new and revised pieces of music that just returned from the printer.

Alan Hommerding has teamed up with Howard Hughes to re-arrange the Gloria for Christmastime (this will be posted on our web site soon). If you are looking for an instant Gloria for the Christmas Season, this is a great piece. It utilizes the "refrain" from Angels We Have Heard on High. I am not a big fan of the settings that are out there that do this, mainly because I find the "verses" of the Gloria too forced. Gloria for Christmastime sets the verses to chant, which can be sung by a cantor, ensemble, small schola, or choir. The final measure of the verses picks up the 4/4 rhythm and leads quite naturally back into the refrain. Folks, this is very worth looking at. The product's number is 005310 (in case you want to call us and order your copy!).

Another wonderful piece I found in my mailbox is The Christmas Martyrology (005747), arranged by J. Michael Thompson. This is a re-issue. A new recording will appear on our web site within a few weeks. This handling of the martyrology is haunting and will be well worth a choir's time to learn it.

Well, I guess it's Christmas in July around here.

I hope that you have a blessed weekend.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Translation Thursday: Musicians at Notre Dame

Here we are at yet another "New Translation Thursday."

Greetings from South Bend and the University of Notre Dame. Yesterday, at my session for the SummerSong program, we talked about working with clergy as we look at the chants of The Roman Missal. We walked through the simple and solemn tones, taking a look at how to apply the tones to the presidential prayers. The students were asking all the right pastoral and musical questions; it was a delight!

There does exist a certain amount of anxiety among some of these musicians. One musician told me how much she was looking forward to my presentation later today on how to deal with questions from the people in the pews. So, in a few hours, we will be focusing on these issues within the context of a total pastoral plan for the implementation.

For some, especially those who have carefully laid out a plan for implementation, the US Bishops' recent sudden decision to allow the singing of many of the peoples' parts of the Mass to begin in September (depending, of course on the decision of each individual bishop), has thrown a curve into the process. I am looking forward to hearing their plans at our session.

I return to Chicago later this afternoon, then back at the "home office" tomorrow.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Leading Through Change: An Essential Resource

Wednesday greetings to all.

I am headed to Notre Dame shortly to offer a few workshops in the SummerSong program there. One of the students in the program is Kathy Felong, whom I met a year ago at SummerSong. We had a brief conversation that eventually led to a new WLP resource: Leading Through Change: Your Parish and the Revised Roman Missal.

Kathy is a corporate communicator for a Fortune 500 company and a liturgical musician. At Notre Dame last summer we talked about how these two worlds might come together and this book is the result. No matter where you are in the process of planning the implementation of the new translation, you will find many kernels of wisdom in this fine book (and it retails for only $5.00!).

I'll keep you posted on the happenings at Notre Dame over the next few days. See yesterday's poss to find out what I will be up to with the students in the SummerSong program.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: Singing in September (At Least in Chicago)

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Tuesday." I hope you had a good holiday weekend.

I am gearing up for two talks I will be giving to the students in Notre Dame's SummerSong program, scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday at the university. Here are the outlines:

Roman Missal, Third Edition: Working with the Clergy
This session will focus on ways that parish musicians can work with bishops, priests, and deacons to encourage them to sing the dialogues, orations, prefaces, and Eucharistic prayers. We will concentrate on ways to teach the simple and solemn tones in the missal, as well as the challenges of working with priests who have become convinced that they cannot sing.

Roman Missal, Third Edition: A Comprehensive Parish Plan for Implementation
This session will examine ways to involve the entire parish—clergy, musicians, parish leaders, parish groups, the entire assembly—in a plan for catechesis and formation aimed at providing a smooth implementation of the new translation of the Missal.

The first talk will be based on my work with the Missal texts and the clergy of the Davenport Diocese a few weeks ago, only this time aimed at musicians who will need to work with the clergy.

The second talk is a bit more challenging, since these students come from a variety of dioceses across the United States and Canada. I am sure that many of them already have a pastoral plan in place. We should have some good dialogue about this, especially given the fact that some of them will be from dioceses, like the Archdiocese of Chicago, where singing the peoples' parts of the new translation has been approved for September. We in the Archdiocese received a memo late last week with this news. Here is a snippet from the memo:

In accordance with this, Cardinal George has decided to allow parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago to use these new sung settings as of September 3, 2011 (the first Sunday of September).

Please Note: This allowance is only for the Sung settings of the Gloria, the Sanctus and the Memorial Acclamation. This allowance does not include any other part of the English translation of the 3rd ed. of the Roman Missal (e.g., dialogues, responses of the people, Eucharistic Prayers, etc.).

There is a section of the memo containing a helpful set of Q & A's. As soon as I find the memo posted on the Archdiocesan web site, I will provide the complete link.

So, it looks like things are rolling along. Has your diocesan bishop made a decision yet about allowing the singing of these parts of the Mass beginning in September? Please let us all know by clicking the comments box below and leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail here at WLP:

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hail, Flowers, and Awards

Friday greetings to all. Sorry to have missed my regular "New Translation Thursday" post yesterday. I was overwhelmed (obviously) last night by the terrifying weather here in Chicago. Here are a few photos I took during the hailstorm (they were the size of quarters).

The sound was deafening. Quite a night.

And then came the morning.

Here's a peek into some of what I love to do when not at my desk here at WLP, or on the road, or thinking about the Roman Missal. Living in the city, there is no yard or garden space, so I need to do what I can to cultivate some beauty. Here are my flowerboxes and herbs.

As I have been reporting, in the past several weeks, WLP won some major awards, first four Paul Revere Awards from the Music Publishers Association, then five awards from the Catholic Press Association. Here's where you can find the list of winners. So proud of the work of the WLP family.

I hope you have a very peaceful holiday weekend. I am planning on spending some relaxing time among the flowers.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.