Friday, September 30, 2011

Last Straw?

Hello all. Sitting here at Houston Intercontinental, waiting for the flight to Albuquerque for vacation.

I gave two presentations in parishes this week focused on the new translation. For the most part, I am finding that the vast majority of Catholics are anxious to see the implementation begin. Others have expressed concern about Catholics they know who are "on the fence" with respect to their engagement with the Church. These people have expressed a deep concern that these on-the-fencers will see this new translation as a "last straw," a decision made by Church officials who show little concern for the real needs of the world or of Church members. These have not been isolated comments and they should not be dismissed. One of my own family members, who has recently returned to active participation in the Catholic Church (after decades of having been away), says simply that this whole thing seems ridiculous to him and that it will drive people away.

My hope, of course, is that nothing would ever drive people away from active participation in parish life. But this has happened before and will happen again. What I said to those Catholics with whom I spoke this week is to encourage them to try their best to answer the questions of others regarding the new translation.

Have you heard people say that the new translation might be the "last straw" for some Catholics?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Translation Thursday: Worthily and Well

"New Translation Thursday" has arrived.

By the time "New Translation Tuesday" rolls around, many of you will have received your copies of the newly translated Roman Missal, Third Edition. Since we here at WLP are publishing two editions (value and deluxe), I have had the privilege of having the missal here on my desk for a few weeks now. During the day, when I find a little time (which is rare!) to thumb through the Missal, I find myself stopping and praying certain prayers and other texts. This morning, I discovered the new translation of the moment when the deacon asks for the celebrant's blessing before the deacon proclaims the Gospel.

Our current translation:

"The Lord be on your heart and on your lips that you may worthily proclaim his gospel. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit."

The new translation:

"May the Lord be in your heart and on your lips, that you may proclaim his Gospel worthily and well, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit."

Most of us will never hear these words, because the rubric says that the priest says this "in a low voice." I was struck by the addition of the words "and well" to this blessing. It seems like all who proclaim the word of God might re-work this blessing and use it as a personal prayer of preparation for proclamation (way too many words beginning with "p" with that one!). Perhaps something like,

"O Lord, be in my heart and on my lips that I may proclaim your word worthily and well."

As you begin examining the texts in the newly translated Missal, please feel free to share your thoughts and comments here at Gotta Sing Gotta Pray.

I am leaving for vacation tomorrow and hope to be able to post here while away.

Please pray for the safety of all travelers.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rising to the Occasion

Happy Wednesday.

Last night I did a presentation on the new translation at St. Emily's parish here in the Archdiocese of Chicago. They did a fine job craftnig the evening. Their contemporary ensemble prepared some new musical settings of the Mass and led the singing of those gathered. The first man to arrive told me that he was not "for" the new translation and said that he expected many Catholics to leave the Church over it. At the end of the presentation, he said that, after being a parishioner there for over thirty years, he knew that his parish would rise to the occasion and move through the implementation in a good way.

Speaking of rising to the occasion, on Friday I will be leaving for a five-day getaway to New Mexico. I have always wanted to see the annual Hot Air Balloon Fiesta there and plan to do so this coming weekend.

Lots to do before leaving, so allow me to make this a short post today.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: Immediate Preparations and a Humbling Ceremony

"New Translation Tuesday" has come around once again.

It seems to me that many parishes are in full gear now as they begin immediate and intense preparations for the implementation of the new translation. I spent Saturday with a large group of religious women in Bloomfield, CT, focusing attention on the new translation. Last night I spoke at a parish here in the Archdiocese of Chicago and will do so again tonight.

When I was home in Boston on Sunday, one of my sisters told me that the priest in her parish had started practicing the dialogues. She said that she felt like she was in kindergarten, because he had them say the response over and over again. Then she asked me, "Jer, the response is 'And also with your spirit,' right?" Apparently she didn't do very well in kindergarten either!

My brother-in-law, a recent returnee to Catholicism was complaining about the changes. He has had so much to get used to in the past few years as he has regularly attended Mass, an experience which is very new to him. He said that he thought that people would leave because the changes didn't make much sense. His wife, my sister, said this, "My understanding is that what we are praying now is a bad translation." I helped her to understand that what we are praying now is not a bad translation. I said that language like that really isn't very helpful for most Catholics. So I launched into about a ten-minute conversation about how we got to where we are right now; basically I outlined the fact that the translation rules had changed and the apparent reasons for those changes. Many family members gathered around and it seemed like they understood what I was saying.

About ten minutes later, because I am living with a bit of a cold these days, I sneezed. My aforementioned brother-in-law said, "God bless you." Then he quickly added, "Or are they changing that one too?"

This made for a very good laugh.

Last night, during a quietly moving and proud mement at J. S. Paluch and World Library Publications, Bishop Francis Kane, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, came to our warehouse to bless our editions of The Roman Missal. I was so proud of all who had put so much into these editions. Bishop Kane thanked us for our contribution to the work of the Church and to the liturgy. It was a humbling moment for all of us. Here's a photo of some of my colleagues during the blessing:

And here is a photo of Bishop Kane, with arm extended, blessing the Missals.

And pictured here with Bishop Kane is (from the left) Michael E. Novak, the Missal's managing editor, Mary Lou Paluch Rafferty, the owner of the J.S. Paluch Company, Bill Rafferty, president of the J.S. Paluch Company, and yours truly:

Those who have ordered the missals should see them arrive in the next several days, probably Saturday or Monday.

For those who have ordered through WLP, I am looking forward to hearing your third comment about it. Everyone's first comment, without exception, has been, "Wow, this is heavy." The second comment is something like "Oh, how beautiful."

"God bless you."

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Disconcerted on Sunday

Monday greetings to all.

Back in Chicago after a weekend in New England. The talk on Saturday on the new translation went quite well.

I did want to share my experience at Sunday Mass yesterday. I am not going to name the parish, just describe the experience.

I have attended Mass at this particular parish in New England perhaps once or twice per year over the past dozen years. The music director, who has always been the cantor at each Mass I have attended, was once again the cantor at yesterday's Mass. At this particular parish, the cantor if warm and friendly and quite capably announces the hymn numbers. She then sings every single note of every single hymn, song, and acclamation directly into the microphone. Her voice is somewhat stylized, but is pleasing. Unfortunately, one feels as if one is singing along with her. It was very unfortunate, since the people around me were singing; unfortunately it is difficult, of not impossible, to hear the assembly because of the amplification of the cantor's voice.

I also noticed something else yesterday. The vocal range of this particular music director has been dropping as she grows older. Years ago, she was able to reach (with some effort) notes that reached higher than the C above middle C. When the organist played the introduction to yesterday's opening hymn, Glory and Praise to Our God (I thought that most parishes had given that one a rest), I was struck by how low the key was, and I mean low; like at least four keys lower than the original. Apparently, she tells the keyboard player (who plays on an electronic organ and an electronic keyboard) to use the "transposer" button to lower the keys of everything so that the pieces are comfortably within her vocal range. When I was listening to the singing of people around me, I found that they were switching octaves in the middle of songs, because the range was either too low or too high for their own "normal" vocal ranges.

There was so much wrong with this picture. But, then again, there was so much that was so consistent with this music director's concept of her ministry. The understanding, apparently, of this music director is that she needs to sing very loudly into the microphone, in order to "provide" the music. And, since here range has dipped, it must make perfect sense to her to lower the keys in order for her to continue her idea of what she is supposed to be doing.

Can you tell that this was frustrating for me?

The homily was terrific.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"There will be no other word than this one."

Friday greetings from Windsor, Connecticut. Flew to Logan in Boston earlier today and drove down here through torrents of rain.

Looking over the comments over the past few days, as well as reading comments about the new communion guidelines in the Diocese of Phoenix, as well as escalating discussions about the new translation, I am becoming more saddened by the divisions that exist among us.

The late Cardinal Bernardin's Common Ground initiative called for open dialogue among various "factions" in the hope of arriving at some kind of common ground.

In the midst of what I am perceiving as a deepening polarization among us, what is our common ground? I can't help but echo something that I learned long ago and is embedded in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 65:

"Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one."

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Translation Thursday: Preparatory Catechesis and Negative/Positive Reactions, A Correlation?

Welcome to this edition of "New Translation Thursday."

I am leaving tomorrow, headed to Bloomfield, Connecticut, where I will be presenting the keynote at the "Connect: Uniting Generations & Blending Traditions Conference," sponsored by the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. Their stated purpose is this: "to unite generations within the Church. The hope is to help bridge the gap between young adults and the elderly. The target population of attendees ranges in age from 18 to 118!"

My keynote is entitled "Embracing Change and Going Deeper: Vatican II and the New Translation." I am looking forward to this opportunity to exchange ideas with a multi-generational audience.

One of our staff members here at WLP made an interesting observation several weeks ago. While giving a presentation on the new translation to a group of young adults as part of the Archdiocese of Chicago's "Theology on Tap" program during the summer, one of the young adults made a comment about the new translation. Unphased by the fact that this new translation is about to be implemented, this particular young adult said something like, "We go through this all the time where I work. It looks to me like it's something akin to updating and navigating from Windows 5.0 to Windows 6.0."

Perhaps this is an indication that young adults are more adaptable to change in every day life than most; who really knows? I just found the comment interesting.

You have undoubtedly heard and read of reports from other English-speaking countries where some of the changes are being implemented. It seems that a large majority of respondents are expressing negative views about the changes. This is an understandable first reaction. One wonders what the correlation is between positive or negative reactions and the amount of preparatory catechesis. I know from my own experience that there are some people who, even with a solid foundation of preparatory catechesis, will reject the new translation. Others who had approached the whole issue very negatively at the beginning became more open to the new translation when the changes were explained and set in the context of liturgical history. My fear is that the vast majority of Catholics will either not pay attention to catechetical efforts, will not find the time to read bulletin articles, nor attend parish preparatory sessions. As I have said, I just know that there will be people who attend Mass regularly at parishes that have made great efforts at catechizing people about the new translation who will arrive at Mass on November 27 and shout, "What's going on here? Why was I never told about any of these changes?" I guess that's just the reality these days.

I hope that wherever you are, catechetical efforts are either in full-swing or at least have begun in earnest.

Here at WLP and the J.S. Paluch Company, we surveyed those parishes that have J.S. Paluch bulletins. The majority told us that they do not look for full-page, long articles about the new translation because they feel that parishioners do not take the time to read lengthy bulletin articles. They asked us for a series of short (150 words) articles covering the basics of the new translation. Our staff here (including yours truly) worked through the Spring and Summer months to write these articles. They have been made available to our bulletin subscribers through the J.S. Paluch Subscriber Resource Center. Many parishes have begun posting these short articles; others have called to inquire about whether anything is available and we steer them to the Subscriber Resource Center. (A little commercial here) This is one of the benefits of subscribing to J.S. Paluch parish bulletins. Our staff here at WLP (many of whom have advanced degrees in theology, liturgy, and music) is largely responsible for the content in the resource center that is only accessible by J.S. Paluch bulletin parishes. Our hope is that, even after the new translation is implemented, J.S. Paluch bulletin parishes will continue to post or re-post these articles to help parishioners understand what is happening. This is one small way that we are trying to fulfill our mission to serve the needs of the singing, praying, and initiating Church.

Thanks for listening today. My question to you is this: Do you see a correlation between reactions (negative and positive) to the new translation and the amount of preparatory catechesis that is provided?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Translation on a Wednesday!

I wanted to follow up on a comment made on the blog yesterday. Jeff Rexhausen wrote this:


I think that telling people that we should be using a more formal, "holier" language when we speak to God is the opposite of what Jesus taught. He said we should call God "Abba." How much more informal and intimate can you get. If that's the kind of relationship that Jesus wants us to have with his Father, by whose authority do we tell people the opposite?

Jesus says "I call you friends," so we should be speaking to him as we speak to a friend.

It's fine to say that we should be polite and respectful when speaking to God (and to friends), but there is nothing in the current translation that is impolite or disrespectful. By using this appproach in our catechesis, we are implying that there is something wrong with the language of the current translation, and that just ain't so.

I must admit that I am conflicted about this issue. Someone in attendance at Friday's gathering of Catholic school teachers in Birmingham, Alabama had something like this to say: "I am a convert to Catholicism. I think that the language that we use at Mass supports a Protestant view that God and we are 'buddy-buddy.' I like the new translation because it really sets the relationship correctly; we are put in our place, our subservient role in relationship to God." I couldn't help but respond. I said something like, "For the past forty years, most of my adult life as a life-long Catholic, I have been formed by the current translation and that translation has helped shape an intimacy with God. I am hoping that the new translation does not distance me from that intimate relationship."

The conflict within me arises from Jeff's final line, "By using this approach in our catechesis, we are implying that there is something wrong with the language of the current translation, and that just ain't so."

This stands in stark contrast to this paragraph from Liturgiam Authenticam:

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.
It seems that this document is saying that there is something wrong with the language of the current translation. There are places where one can easily see "omissions or errors" in the current translation. I do not blame the translators; they were working under a completely different set of rules. The rules changed because of the Vatican's perception that omissions and errors exist in current vernacular translations. This is where the confict comes in for me. I am a faithful Catholic, trying my best to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit in this whole new translation business. I am reserving judgment about the efficacy of the translation until we actually begin praying it. I am disappointed in the process that led to the new translation; I do not understand what happened, and probably never will. But, I do echo something that Father Paul Turner has said, "I have reached the conclusion that those who worked on this translation had my best interests in mind." That may sound "pie-in-the-sky." It may seem way too naive. It may actually sound like I don't have a brain or the capacity for critical thinking. But I just can't spend my days and nights wondering why someone, or a group of people, "had it in" for people like me. Life is way too short.
When I am talking with people about the new translation, I simply lay out the history of its development the best way I can. People look for metaphors to help them teach children, teens, young adults, and adults about what is happening. And I think that is a good thing. I don't think it is wise to lambaste the current translation; this is simply unfair and doesn't help the majority of Catholics. What is fair is to say that Church leaders perceived that the current translation could have been improved; could have been brought into closer conformity to the original Latin, the translation that most clearly expresses our beliefs as Catholics. Whether or not the new English translation of The Roman Missal, Third Edition, will succeed is still a question.
Jeff, thanks for your helpful comments. Obviously you got me thinking. Others?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: Catholic School Teachers and the New Translation: The Birmingham Experience

Welcome to "New Translation Tuesday."

I wanted to comment further about my experience in the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama last week.

On Friday morning, I presented a keynote on the new translation to over 500 Catholic school teachers; this was their annual Fall In-service Day. Knowing that many (perhaps 1/4) of the audience would be non-Catholic, my presentation was a little more basic than others.

In the afternoon, I was able to gather with about 60 teachers, most of them were principals or theology and religion teachers across the school system and across the age spectrum.

I learned a lot.

One principal explained that for much younger children, those in the early years (Kindergarten and First Grade), the changes would be accepted with ease. This principal said that the children would need some catechesis, but that their worship experience was still in the formative stage and they basically accept what they are told is a "new way."

One teacher, who works with middle school children told me he was trying to formulate his responses to their inevitable questions about the translation. He asked me if it would be OK to say to these children something like this. "The language we use at Mass needs to be a holier language. Think about how you speak with your friends and how different it is when you speak with your teachers, your principal, your parents, your elders. You would certainly not speak with these people in the same tone and in the same casual way that you speak with your friends. Well, the Church thinks that the language we use at Mass should be more formal, since we are praying to God. It is a more polite and respectful tone in English; not the kind of casual language that we use when we are talking with our friends."

I thought this was pretty insightful on the part of this teacher.

The teachers, as well as the people in attendance at Saturday's workshop for other ministers in the diocese (a mix of clergy, catechists, liturgists, choir members, and other liturgical ministers) expressed support for the new translation. However, there were some cautions expressed.

Many priests in the diocese are from countries other than the United States. Some people said that they have difficulty understanding the priest at Mass now, with the current translation. They wondered what the future will hold, with a more "elevated" and more challenging English to proclaim. Others wondered if their pastors will be committed to the kind of work it will take to pray these prayers in a way that really gets the meaning across to the congregation.

These are legitimate concerns. And, as I have said before, time and experience will tell.

Well, that's about it for now. Glad to be back in Chicago. Heading back to New England this weekend for a keynote presentation on Saturday. More about that later.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday in New England

Monday greetings to all.

Back here at WLP after several days on the road. I will talk more about my experience in Birmingham, Alabama on tomorrow's post.

On Saturday, after my great time in Birmingham, I flew to Boston to spend time with my family (albeit too short a stay!) Yesterday, my family gathered at Saint Robert Bellarmine parish in Andover, Massachusetts. It was the parish's patronal feast day weekend. They celebrated yesterday with a lobster and clam bake on the parish grounds. The Mass was lovely and the preaching by the pastor (and a long-time friend) Fr. Rick Conway, was superb.

Here are a few photos. Folks, this is so New England!

The clam chowder was absolutely delicious and the bowl said it all!

Since my mom is an avid reader of Gotta Sing Gotta Pray (Actually, I think she is the most well-versed lay Roman Catholic in the country when it comes to the new translation!), I thought I would include a photo of my parents, taken at yesterday's feast at Saint Robert Bellarmine.

These are the two people who had me baptized; the greatest gift anyone could ever receive. They instilled in me a strong work ethic and a love for my Catholic faith, even in the most challenging times. And, best of all, they taught me to love New England clams! With the bellies!

Thanks Ma and Dad.

More tomorrow.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Greetings from Birmingham: Great Day with Catholic School Teachers

Friday greetings from the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama.

Presented a keynote to over 500 Catholic school teachers this morning on the new translation. Then an afternoon with religion and theology teachers this afternoon.

I was impressed with the high level of engagement in the subject matter and learned much about how the Catholic school system is planning to prepare students for the new translation.

It was a very energetic and committed group of teachers.

I will share more on this next week.

Tomorrow is another workshop here with over a hundred registered. Looking forward to it.

I hope that, wherever you are, you have a blessed weekend.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

All Things Visible and 3.4% In Alabama

"New Translation Thursday" has arrived once again.

My colleague and friend, Jennifer Budziak, has begun a project focused on the new translation. Here is what she says about the project on her blog, "All Things Visible."

During the first year of the implementation of the new Third Edition English texts, I will be undertaking an in depth ethnographic study of a single suburban parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Through observation, interviews, and surveys, I will attempt to paint a clear picture of how these new texts interact with this particular community.
Though I will of course be taking more formal research notes through the process, I will use this blog as a place where I can more informally reflect on my experiences through this year. My hope for this blog is that it can become a place to share experiences and impressions–Each Sunday, once the project starts, I will post a “Sunday Open Thread” and invite comments from anyone who wishes to share their impressions.
I will also regularly post my own impressions of what I have been observing, as well as interesting links and articles I come across. Please also see the blogroll to the left, which will include links to interesting and oft-updated sites I come across in my travels.

I think this looks like a great project, one that will be interesting to follow.

Jennifer composes for us here at WLP and has written a wonderful book, Sight-sing a New Song.

I am off to Birmingham, Alabama shortly.
Tomorrow I will be speaking to 450-500 people, mostly teachers, in the Catholic school system there. Many will be non-Catholic, so my presentation on the new translation will need to take a much more basic form. Imagine trying to tell someone who has very little knowledge about Catholicism about this whole thing. I am looking forward to spending time there. The Catholic population of Alabama is 3.4%, one of the lowest percentages in the United States. In my travels there in the past, parents have told me how important formation in the Catholic faith is to them and their children. In many places, there is open hostility toward Catholics and oftentimes children need to defend their faith. There is a high sense of Catholic identity among these Catholics; stronger than I see elsewhere. Tomorrow will be a challenge for me, since my usual audiences are 99% Roman Catholic.
Please pray for the safety of travelers.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

English in Birmingham and Latin in Madrid

Wednesday greetings to all.

I am leaving for the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama tomorrow. I will be presenting a keynote to about 450 teachers and staff members of the Catholic school system there. An afternoon workshop follows, during which we will look more deeply at the new translation and do some singing. One of the questions I am posing to these teachers is this:

If one of your Catholic school students asked you, “Mrs. Smith, when I went to church yesterday, it was really strange; the words were different. Why?” What would your response be?

I am very interested to hear the discussion that ensues.
On Saturday I will be meeting with another group of people in the diocese and our focus is, you guessed it, the new translation.
I wanted to share a conversation I had recently. I was speaking with a bishop in one of our dioceses here in the United States. He had just returned from World Youth Day in Madrid. After I introduced myself and told him that I was the associate publisher at WLP, he began to speak to me quite passionately about his experience in Madrid. He told me how very sad he became when he was at many of the large gatherings and the celebrations of Masses at which the English-speaking youth from around the world were gathered. He spoke about the fact that at many of these gatherings and Masses, all of the music was chanted by a choir in Latin. He said that many times he looked at the youth gathered there and saw looks of disinterest and boredom on their faces. He said that he felt strongly that this was such a missed opportunity. He said that the Mass celebrated by Cardinal George for the group from the United States was quite different; there was music in English and Spanish that the young people sang with vigor. It was the other large gatherings that he found to be so disappointing. He told me that, because of the music at these other Masses, the young people were not connected to the celebration. I urged him to speak to his fellow bishops about his experience.
I know this will open a can of worms. This was one bishop's opinion, which I felt needed to be shared here.
I will do my best to post over the next few days.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: Deciding Not To Prepare

Welcome to yet another edition of "New Translation Tuesday."

One of the faithful followers of this blog, a woman from an English-speaking parish in a European country, has been e-mailing me in the past few weeks, describing the process that is unfolding in her parish. I forwarded some of my Powerpoint presentations about the new translation; she was hoping to be able to use some of this material in their parish catechesis.

This morning, I received an e-mail from her. (I have edited this):

Hi Jerry,

We have returned from the Parish Council Meeting and I just feel like crying. Our priest does not want to buy the New Roman Missal with the new translation. He just wants to see 'if it is really necessary'. . .  He wants to please people and does not even want to do anything to prepare the congregation before we start using the missalettes on the 1st Sunday of Advent. He had such an attitude that I did not even dare to offer to give a presentation using what you had shared with me. Several members said that it wasn't a problem to buy the new missal, that it was important because it's for the Eucharistic Celebration, but he insisted not to. I feel so down.

This is the first time I have heard something like this first-hand. It left me wondering what this priest plans to use on the First Sunday of Advent. The current Sacramentary? The missalette?

Have any of you had this kind of experience?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Boston, Lafayette, and the Arrival of the Roman Missal

Monday greetings to all.

The past several days have been quite busy. The two RCIA workshops in Boston on Thursday went quite well. To be honest with you, it was refreshing and exhilarating not to be talking about the new translation of The Roman Missal for a change. Initiation is a real passion of mine and this was a wonderful opportunity to get people charged up about their own approaches to initiation. And, of course, it was great to be in Boston. The staff of the Office of Religious Education (Susan and Susan) are two of the most hospitable people on the planet. The new pastoral center in the Archdiocese is state of the art. When I introduced myself, I told those in attendance that as a native Bostonian, I had watched the archdiocese closely (albeit from afar) these past many years during the unfolding clergy sexual abuse crisis and the moves toward closing and consolidating parishes. I said that any attempt at evangelization in these next few years that didn't place the RCIA as part of its central action would mean that the evangelization efforts, by and large, were probably doomed. Even in the midst of all that has unfolded in Boston, we know that we still have the Good News to share. I firmly believe that, although it may take generations, the Archdiocese of Boston will emerge stronger and wiser.

After flight delay after flight delay on Friday, I did manage to get back to Chicago, where I re-packed and headed to the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana. Julie, the director of the Office for Worship and RCIA (another one of those incredibly hospitable people) had invited me to present a keynote on "The New Missal and the Bible: Reconnecting to Scripture." I also presented a WLP music reading session. The day went well. The people had good questions and they really dug into the topic.

I received an e-mail on Friday about a momentous event here at the home office in Franklin Park. Some of you may have seen this news on WLP's Facebook page.

On Friday, our shipment of Roman Missals arrived. Of course, we cannot ship them until later in the month, with an October 1 delivery date. Here are some photos I took this morning.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Translation Thursday: Treasures

Welcome to a "Boston edition" of "New Translation Thursday."

It's wonderful to be here in Boston, spending some time with my family as I gear up for two RCIA workshops to take place at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Braintree this afternoon, then repeated tonight.

Weather here is, in a word, miserable. Remnants of tropical storm Lee are drenching the area now.

I found one of yesterday's comments about the new translation and early implementation to be quite interesting:

I made a point to find a parish that is continuing to use the old mass settings. In my view, this is the final period that we have to enjoy the old mass settings--we will have many years in the future to enjoy the new ones beginning in January. I see now as a time to treasure the old settings.

This comment ends with the phrase "time to treasure the old settings." These settings have been a part of Catholic life for much of my own lifetime; I believe this is true for those who follow this blog as well. When I think back and recall my earliest memories of the Mass, probably the earliest memory regarding music that I can conjure up was during the time when I was a very young altar server.

Just a few miles from where I am sitting right now stands Saint Charles Church in Woburn, Massachusetts. I started serving Mass as an altar server there right after the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council were being implemented. I always looked forward to serving at funerals, for two reasons. One, I really liked the more complicated Masses like a funeral with its preparation of incense, the greeting of the body at the beginning of the Mass, the incensation of the body at the end of Mass. Two, I got to get out of class across the parking lot at Saint Charles School!

The earliest musical memory that sticks is the singing of the Sanctus at those funerals. I remember that the only person who sang anything at those funerals was the woman who sang from the choir loft. No one else joined in the singing, no one at all. But what I remember was how beautiful the Sanctus sounded.

And, it wasn't until we at WLP decided to revise some of the Mass settings that had been published in the early years of the reform that I discovered that the Sanctus sung at those funerals was from Jan Vermulst's Mass for Christian Unity. Even as I sit here listening to it, I realize that, for me, this is one of those treasures. And I am so glad those who use WLP's worship resources asked us to revise this Mass setting. A treasure that, for many, had disappeared from the repertoire lists, is once again being rediscovered.

So, some treasures will take their places in liturgical history, becoming, over time, "those settings we used to sing before the 2011 new translation." Other treasures, like Mass for Christian Unity, are being rediscovered.

And a whole new chest full of treasures is being opened and inside we are discovering some that will become lasting treasures. Others will fade away.

What an exciting time in the world of liturgical music right now. All you have to do is read the comments from the last few days. Musicians are teaching new and revised settings. People in the pews are being given a new song.

Are we at the threshold of a renewed renewal?

Please, feel free to comment. Feel free to share your earliest memories of music at Mass. What is the first Sanctus you ever remember being sung in your lifetime?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

In Boston.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: An Addendum: Mass for Our Lady at Notre Dame

Hello Folks.

Just heard from Steven Warner. At the basilica at the University of Notre Dame on Sunday the Eucharistic acclamations from Steve's and Karen Schneider Kirner's Mass for Our Lady were sung at Mass.

Check it out here:

Click on "Video Mass Cast."

Honestly, the Sanctus sounds like they have been singing it for years at Notre Dame! It begins at about 40:00 into the cast. Enjoy.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

New Translation Tuesday: Boston and Lafayette

Welcome to another edition of "New Translation Tuesday."

I am gearing up for another whirlwind week ahead. Tomorrow I leave for the Archdiocese of Boston to lead two sessions on Thursday, focused on the visions and principles of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

I grew up in the Archdiocese and it is always a treat to speak to the wonderful people there. And I get to see my family. It just seems like such a long time since I have been "home" to Boston. Looking forward to it.

I return to Chicago on Friday, then it's off to the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana. I will be the keynote speaker there at a conference on the new translation targeted to liturgical ministers. I am also leading a WLP choral reading session and will share some of our new Mass settings with the musicians gathered there.

Well, this past weekend marked the beginning of singing some of the new Mass parts of the Roman Missal, Third Edition in many parishes across the United States. One person here at WLP reported that she attended Mass at her parish and that particular parish decided to introduce the revised setting of a popular Mass (published by another publishing company). Unfortunately, when it came time actually to sing the revised setting during Mass, it was not very successful. Most people sang the old words and old melody and some sang the new one. Just wondering if any of you had a similar experience? Another parish I know of introduced a new setting and by all reports, things went quite well. Time will tell, I guess.

Well, that's about all I have time for today. Please pray for the safety of all travelers.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sing the New Mass

Ah, the Friday before a long weekend.

Lots happening around here, as you can imagine. In several diocese across the country, the singing of the new translation of the Glory to God, Holy, and Memorial Acclamations begins on Sunday. I have been surprised at how few frantic phone calls we have received today from people who forgot to arrange for the resources they need for early implementation of this music. I think that, for the most part, musicians are becoming more and more prepared for the upcoming changes. Decisions regarding preferred Mass settings have been made in many places. Others are still waiting to find just the right setting to fit their parish's worship.

If you are still searching, or if you want to see what WLP has to offer, take a journey over to It's a very cool site where you can preview our Mass settings and listen to sound clips.

I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Translation Thursday: "La la la la"

Welcome to another installment of "New Translation Thursday."

Yesterday, at the Mass for the people attending the J. S. Paluch Vocations Seminar, we sang the "Christ Has Died" from Peter Kolar's Misa Luna. It struck me that this was most probably the last time I would ever sing that acclamation at Mass. Just seemed strange that, after so many years (and many of those years at multiple Masses on a weekend), this familiar acclamation will be no more. When I thought more about it, I realized that this particular memorial acclamation was the one that was used in probably 90% of funerals and weddings as well.

Remember the days when Lucien Deiss' Keep In Mind was in pretty wide usage as a memorial acclamation?

"Keep in mind that Jesus Christ has died for us and is risen from the dead; he is our saving Lord; he is joy for all ages."

The history around here (and that history can sometimes be sketchy) was that the US bishops had once given approval for its use as a memorial acclamation. My, how times have changed!

I remember once when I was a kid, perhaps nine or ten (so this would have been late 1960's) going to Mass at a parish in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the city in which I was born. There was no accompanist at that particular Mass. The celebrant announced the hymn or started the acclamations and we all just joined in. When the priest got to the memorial acclamation, he wanted to use Keep in Mind. But he got a little mixed up when he started it. The melody was correct; it was the melody to Keep in Mind. But, instead of starting it with the words "Keep in mind," he started with "Jesus Christ has died for us," words that are found in the second phrase.

So, this is how he sang it:

"Jesus Christ has died for us . . . (then he paused, noticed his error, and continued with:) . . . la la la la . . . and is risen from the dead; he is our saving Lord, he is joy for all ages.

That's right, he actually sang "la la la la."

When I recall this, it brings a big smile to my face.

As we move into the new translation, letting go of texts that have become so familiar to us, we will have our stop and go moments. Hopefully some of these will bring smiles to our faces as we grow into the new translation.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.