Monday, October 31, 2011

Diwali at Saint James

Monday greetings to all.

Yesterday at my parish, Saint James here in Chicago, we celebrated our annual Mass that the Indian members of our community help prepare. Coinciding with the Indian Diwali celebrations, this Mass helps us celebrate Christ as the light of the world. In a ritual just before Mass begins, members of our community's various ministry organizations are entrusted with a lighted lamp; we pray that Christ our light will burn brightly in the various ministries throughout the coming year. Each person in the community is invited to come forward and pray that Christ the light will enlighten our minds and hearts. Some photos:

The Mass celebrated the great diversity of our parish and focused us on Christ the light of the world. After Mass, we were treated to a taste of Indian food in our basement hall. And it was delicious!

My thoughts today are with my family members in New England who are still without electric power after this weekend's very early "winter" storm.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Confessions of a New Alto

Friday greetings from chilly Chicago. At least it's not snowing here as it has been on the East Coast. Bundle up!

For those of you who read my post last week, the one about my sister joining her parish choir, you might be interested to read this follow-up, which I received this morning. I am including it here, especially for those of you who are choir directors:

"I thought I would update you on what's happening with me and my choir worries. It is going better. Tonight was my third practice. I'm an Alto now. If that's what you want to call it. I'm still having problems reaching high notes. At practice I sit next to Yvonne (the organist / pianist). She sings alto and has been helping me along. (Thank God!!) We have been working on "Sing Out Your Praise". What a pretty song. Tough to sing but we are getting there. We also are working on "Prayer of Saint Richard of Chichester". Reminds me of Godspell. My younger days are coming back. I'm not as frustrated. I'm not saying it's getting easy because it's a lot of work. Oh well, I will hang in there. I have a new found respect for Choir members and directors."

Well, there you have it. (Thanks, Janet, for giving me some subject matter for the blog!) So often as music and liturgy directors we rarely get the "other side of the story." It's been fun to listen to my sister's experience.

I have no talks, presentations, or workshops this weekend; the first time in a very long time. Hoping to enjoy a lovely autumn weekend here in Chicago. I hope that your weekend is a good one as well.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Translation Thursday: The Final Presentation

Where has this "New Translation Thursday" gone?

I spent the morning with a group of people in catechetical ministry in the Diocese of Joliet here in Illinois. I was invited there to talk about about three things:
1. Get tips on how to fine-tune your parish Roman Missal implementation
2. How to deal with anxiety in the pews
3. Ask questions and hear what others are doing to implement the Roman Missal

It was a spirited morning. I asked those in attendance to share their own parish's efforts thus far with the preparation work for the implementation. Much, much work has already gone on in many places in that diocese. There was a sense of "OK, bring it on" in some peoples' minds. There were some parishes in which not very much has been done yet; others are really gearing up for the next month (implementation is one month from today).

I also spent an extended period of time being interviewed by the National Catholic Register; kind of a publisher's viewpoint with regard to the Missal and musical settings of the Mass.

Well, the end of the day has arrived and I am pretty exhausted. Today was my last scheduled presentation on the implementation of the new translation. Glad about this. Waiting to begin praying these new texts.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: The Challenge Moving Forward

New Translation Tuesday has arrived once again.

Following my presentation on the new translation on Saturday at Saint Anthony of Padua Parish in Fairfield, Connecticut, there were two responses that I feel are worth mentioning.

The first came from a man who was probably in his mid-seventies. He raised his hand and simply said, "Jerry, good luck with this." When I asked him to elucidate, he said something like, "You know, I am a life-long Catholic and the language that we use at Mass right now is of a style that draws me into a close relationship with my God. What you have shown us this morning is a style of language that distances me from God. Good luck."

You know, this idea of a "sacral vernacular," which comes to us from Liturgiam Authenticam, is a tough pill to swallow for many Catholics who have become used to a more common or familiar style of vernacular. One comment on this blog of a few days ago:

Cherish the dying days of the Mass in the vernacular and delay the inevitable Roman juggernaut as long as you can. The new "sacral vernacular" (which denies the definition of vernacular) is clumsy, jarring and has given up entirely on elegance and subtlety, giving us, instead, mangled wording and unproclaimable proclamations. Enjoy the lull while it exists.

This is a sentiment that I have heard time and time again. Of course, we will need to wait for the actual experience of these texts prayed at Mass before making definitive conclusions. At Saint Mary on the Hill Parish in Augusta, Georgia last week, something interesting happened at the beginning of the presentation. After the pastor there introduced me, he told those gathered (200+) that if they had serious questions about the new translation or wanted to complain, they needed to contact someone in authority. He then held up a large portrait of Pope Benedict XVI and humorously quipped, "Call him." At the question and answer time, the pastor walked to the front of the church, with his new Missal in hand and told us that he had just received his new Missal that morning. He told us that he knows that he has a lot of work to do to prepare for the proclamation. He said that he wanted to give us an example. He then tried to pray the Collect from the Nativity of John the Baptist. Here it is:
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that your family may walk in the way of salvation
and, attentive to what Saint John the Precursor urged,
may come safely to the One he foretold,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

He shared the fact that he had never heard the phrase "Saint John the Precursor" before and he felt that people would not necessarily "get" the meaning at all. I had to admit that this phrase is awkward.
OK, back to Fairfield. After the concert on Sunday evening, a woman who had attended the new translation the previous day said this to me: "Jerry, thank you for the talk yesterday. It was very helpful. You know, you could talk an undernourished nation into adopting Weight Watchers." I smiled and thanked her. I should have pursued the conversation. I haven't been going around to dioceses and parishes in an effort to sell people on the new translation. My aim has been to help them gain some knowledge as to why we are where we are right now with respect to the new translation. I try my best to explain the shift in translation guidelines. I try my best to help people to situate this current change in the context of the history of the development of codified liturgical prayer over the centuries. I give people examples of how a new set of translation rules has resulted in a new set of translated texts. What I don't do is tell people that this new translation is the best thing since sliced bread. And I cannot do that because I have not yet had the experience of praying these texts. I tell people that there are beautiful prayers. I tell people that there are prayers that capture scriptural and other inspiring images that were deleted, glossed over, or paraphrased when the translators (using approved Vatican guidelines) gave us our current translation; there is much that has been recovered. I also tell them that there are places where the structure of the prayers is quite awkward and stilted. There are places where one has to read the text over and over again in order to figure out the meaning. And herein is the challenge. Take the example above, which uses the phrase "Saint John the Precursor." Without some kind of catechesis, some kind of explanation of the term "Precursor," the meaning will simply fly over the heads of the majority of Catholics, young and old alike.
We have a new English translation of The Roman Missal. It's here and we will start praying these texts in a few weeks. But in order for the meaning to be communicated, there will be times when praying the text well will simply not be enough. I am encouraging Catholics to take time before Mass (time they might normally spend preparing by going over the readings) to read the prayers that will be prayed at Mass. Someone asked me if it would be necessary to bring a dictionary to Mass with her. Everyone laughed, but there was something very serious about what she was suggesting.
We have quite a road ahead of us. I hope we are up to the challenge. We have a new English translation of The Roman Missal. That's a fact. It's going to take a lot of work as we move forward.
What do you see as the greatest challenge ahead?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Grateful Heart for Hospitality and Kindness at St. Anthony in Fairfield, Connecticut

Monday morning greetings. Flew into Chicago from LaGuardia very early this morning.

Last night, at Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Fairfield, Connecticut, my friend Denise La Giglia and I presented a piano and flute concert; actually it was more like a musical retreat. Here's a photo I took:

The staff and people of the parish exhibited such kindness and hospitality to us. The pastor is a seminary classmate of mine, whom I hadn't seen since 1983 (and neither of us has changed a bit!)

We attended two Masses and the singing was quite strong. The homily was one of the best I've heardin years; it was a pleasure to hear it twice. That area of Connecticut is just beautiful. New England in the Autumn just can't be beat.

I gave a presentation on the new translation on Saturday morning and I am looking forward to sharing some of that experience with you tomorrow.

For now, just know that my heart is filled with gratitude to the people of Saint Anthony's.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Delaying the Implementation of the Missal

Friday greetings. Sorry for the missed post yesterday; the day got away from me after a very early morning flight from Augusta.

At Saint Mary on the Hill parish in Augusta, over 200 people came to the new translation workshop. It was a grand evening in a grand space. I had never been to Augusta and really loved the short time I spent there.

When I arrived this morning, I found this e-mail waiting for me:

Jerry, I have a really serious question. My pastor is not going to be implementing the New Roman Missal at my parish until after Christmas. He just started talking about the changes in the liturgy this past week in the bulletin. He briefly mentioned the changes and that he would talk about them later on in future masses. My concerns are that this is not allowed. On a music front, the choirs are pretty much ready to go (except the children and teen choirs). I am a music minister and have been the primary reason our music director even started working on the changes in the first place. I understand that change is hard, yet we can't put it off until after the implementation date. I obviously am not going to tell my pastor that I disagree with his decision. He doesn't even want the music changes made until after Christmas since we "don't sing the Gloria during Advent." I think this is an odd situation that is unfolding in my parish. I don't agree with what's going on with the changes. I was actually excited for these changes, but now that our pastor is delaying them, I'm not so sure what I am. Any advice/ words of encouragement? Other parishes in our area have started implementing the music and their congregations are getting used to them just fine.

So, faithful followers, how would you respond to this query?

Here was my response:

Thanks very much for your e-mail. Your pastor’s decision is regrettable on a number of fronts. If you have visitors or new parishioners transfer in at this time, and they come from places where the implementation has begun, there will be confusion for a few weeks. Also, do you have a worship resource that contains the Order of Mass? If it is periodical, then the new texts will be in beginning on November 27, which also may cause confusion. One more thing to consider is that the media (both secular and religious) will be reporting on the changes for November 27. If your people read the reports, they will be very confused as to why your parish is not in step with the rest of the Church. If they trust your pastor’s judgment, things will probably be fine. I hope he has thought of all these issues.

All in all, I think you will probably just need to be frustrated for a very short period of time. His delay is rather short and by some time in January (just a few weeks behind everyone else), you will be implementing fully. I like to look at things with a long view. Considering the history of the Church, a few weeks don’t have great importance. The big thing is that I hope your parish does a solid catechesis for the implementation.

Hope this is helpful.
How would you have responded?
Leaving in a few hours for LaGuardia in New York, then a short trip north to Fairfield, Connecticut for a Roman Missal workshop tomorrow and a concert on Sunday afternoon.
I hope that your weekend is a good one.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"I Just Want to Sing Along"

Wednesday greetings from Charlotte, where I am on a layover on my way to Augusta, Georgia.

I fly a lot. Things usually go smoothly. This morning's flight proved to me why we "fasten our seatbelts low and tight around our laps." Turbulence was horrifying. Our Blessed Mother must have heard many of us during that flight!

Wanted to share a little bit of a conversation I had with my sister Janet last night. She is living with cancer and doing quite well right now. When she answered the phone and I asked her how she was feeling, she said, "very frustrated." I was hoping that this answer didn't have anything to do with her health or healthcare and I was right.

She said that her frustration stems from the fact that she has joined her parish choir. This in and of itself made me chuckle a bit. She is a recent returnee to Catholic practice. And she has never been in a choir. Now while all of us Galipeau's can certainly carry a tune (you should have heard my older sister Gina's and my rendition of Leavin' on a Jet Plane), we all know that joining a choir is something a little different.

Janet said that she was frustrated because she was joining the choir because she wanted just to "sing along." She has a deep voice, so I asked her if the director put her in the alto section. She said, "No, I am a tenor apparently." She said she didn't realize that she would not be singing the notes that she sings when she is in the congregation. One of the women in the choir, sensing Janet's frustration, said, "Janet, you are trying to be perfect and no one is perfect in the choir. You need to be patient." Janet replied, "I just want to sing along." And the women replied, "Janet, that's what you do when you are sitting in the congregation. This is the choir!" Janet then told me that she always thought that she could "read music," that is, until she joined the choir. She asked someone about that squiggly thing on the staff and she was told that was the bass clef sign. "What's that for?"

All through this conversation I was giggling along with her. Made me think that it might be a nice thing to publish a "Welcome to the Choir Orientation Packet" for people like my sister.

I am so proud of her and I told her so. She says that she is going to do her best to stick with it. Just amazing to me.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: Will We Comprehend?

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Tuesday."

On Sunday our parish held a town hall meeting between the two Sunday morning Masses. The pastor led the presentation and discussion on the new translation of The Roman Missal, Third Edition. I was disappointed in the turnout, maybe 100 people, but I guess in a parish of just about 250 people, this was a good turnout. Father was well prepared and used a Powerpoint presentation to help make his points. He wove in some Benedictine history and amusing anecdotes (He is a Benedictine monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey). We practiced the various responses and he asked us to do so with vigor. People asked questions about the new words in the Nicene Creed, words like "consubstantial" and "incarnate" and "I."

I thought the morning went well. I am proud of the way my parish has approached the preparatory catechesis. Now we will see how all this shakes out when November 27 arrives.

On Sunday afternoon and evening, I gave repeated presentations at Our Lady of the Ridge Parish (which interestingly enough is in Chicago Ridge, Illinois and is on Ridgeland Avenue!). Great turnout for the afternoon session, less so for the evening session (the Chicago Bears were playing).

The talks went well and people were very attentive. John Black, the parish's fine music director, asked me to lead the people assembled in the singing of the new acclamations, which the parish will begin singing this coming weekend. John had chosen WLP's Mass of Wisdom by Steven Janco as the first set of acclamations the parish will sing. At the afternoon session, several members of the parish choir were present, so they came forward and helped us all with the melody of the Gloria. Later we sang the Holy, Memorial Acclamation 3, and the AmenJanco's Mass setting uses similar harmonic and melodic structures throughout, so people catch on quite easily. It is intuitive and interesting. Steve ends the Holy and the Memorial Acclamations on the "fifth" of the scale, which means that when you arrive at the last note, there is a sense of wanting to sing more. Steve did this because he felt strongly that these acclamations are placed in locations where there is indeed something more that follows, something to which the assembly should be anticipating: the unfolding Eucharistic Prayer. Finally, on the Great Amen, the final note is on the "one" of the scale, creating a sense of finality, a sense that the prayer is now completed. It is a wonderful musical device that supports the movement of the Eucharistic Prayer. Bravo Steve. Listen to the clips of these acclamations again by clicking on the links provided above to see what I mean.

One thing that my pastor said on Sunday was interesting. From his perspective, he has come to a conclusion about the style of English in the new translation. He told us that he feels that the current translation is geared for a second grade reading and comprehension level. He then told us that the new translation is geared more to the reading and comprehension level of someone in their senior year of high school or the first or second year of college. I hadn't thought about it in these terms and I am not sure that I agree. What I do agree with, however, is that the new translation is certainly not in a style common to everyday English speech and conversation. This new "sacral vernacular" certainly introduces a new and more complicated style of speaking and praying. After hearing my pastor, I wondered if there will be scores of people (whose reading and comprehension levels are not well developed) who will be unable to comprehend the meaning of the prayers. If this is the case, we've got a problem. What do you think? Here's an example of what I mean.

Here's the original Latin for the Collect for the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time:

Deus, cuius providentia in sui dispositione non fállitur,te súpplices exorámus,ut nóxis cuncta submóveas,
ómnia nobis profutúra

Here's the current translation. Three simple sentences:

Father, your love never fails.
Hear our call.
Keep us from danger and provide for all our needs.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

And here's the new translation:

O God, whose providence never fails in its design,
keep from us, we humbly beseech you,
all that might harm us and grant all that works for our good.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

I really do think that Catholics will need some catechesis on this newly translated text, in order to grasp fully its meaning. Someone said to me, "I thought providence was the capitol of Rhode Island!" The current translation is a beautiful and simple prayer, but it simply does not fully capture the meaning of the original Latin text. The new one does; but is it too much to grasp when we hear it at Sunday Mass?

Ah, these are the questions that we will be faced with as we begin the implementation of the new translation. I, for one, am ready to sink my teeth into more active listening. I am also excited, and not a little apprehensive about hearing and reading about peoples' reactions to the prayers, clergy and faithful alike.

Thanks for listening to this long post today. As always, feel free to comment by hitting the comments tab below.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Piano and Flute Concert this Weekend in Fairfield

Mondaty greetings.

Yesterday, I attended my parish's town hall meeting regarding the new translation, then gave two presentations at another parish here in the Archdiocese of Chicago. More on that in tomorrow's post.

This week I will travel to Augusta, Georgia for a presentation on the new translation. Then on Friday I leave for Fairfield, Connecticut for a new translation presentation on Saturday morning. On Sunday evening, my musical "soul-mate" Denise La Giglia and I will be giving a concert (piano and flute) at Saint Anthony of Padua Church in Fairfield. Concertizing is not something that I do very often. Denise and I have recorded two albums together, Window to Peace

and Holy Light.

Denise and I improvise on hymn tunes, songs, and chant. It's all very free-flowing and each of us really enters into the prayer as the piece unfolds, differently each time.

One of the things we do at our concerts is invite a member of the audience to share a short story or vignette from his or her life. Then Denise and I do a free improvisation, trying to paint the story musically.

I am looking forward to the concert (and the hours of practice and preparation this week!) But this really feeds my soul and these days I could use a little sustenance.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Translation: Sad and Glad

 A rare Sunday blog post.

This morning, between the 9:30 and 11:30 Masses at my parish, Saint James, our pastor held a town hall meeting about the new translation.

In two words: very good. He was pastoral and wove into his presentation some of the history of the Benedictine order (he is a Benedictine).

I came away feeling proud of my parish's approach.

I am headed to another parish here in the Archdiocese of Chicago for two presentations this afternoon and evening on the new translation.

One image from this morning that I will not soon forget, and one which brought me to tears. There my pastor stood, in his Benedictine habit, holding up the current Sacramentary, dirty on the outside, with a recent set of too-long ribbons sticking out of the pages. He held the Sacramentary to his chest, actually he hugged it to his chest and said to us: "I love this book. This book contains the prayers I have prayed for my whole Catholic life. These are the prayers into which I was ordained. I love this book."

So many nodded in agreement and not a little bit of honest grieving.

A sad and glad day for Saint James on the near south side of Chicago.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cup and chalice

Friday greetings on a crisp Autumn morning here in Chicago.

Well, I was able to spend some fun time (without the new translation of the Missal) last night as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the newly re-formed Winnipeg Jets 4-3 before a packed house at the United Center here in Chicago. (Yes, some day I would love to be a sports announcer!)

Over the past few weeks, a question has arisen (or re-arisen, as the case may be) regarding the translation of calix in the newly translated Eucharistic Prayers. As you know, in the institution narrative, the word is translated "chalice." Yet in the "memorial acclamation," it is translated "Cup." It is interesting to note that "chalice" is not capitalized, yet "Cup" is capitalized. Some have surmised that "chalice" refers to the vessel that contains the blood of Christ, therefore the capitalization of "Blood" as it appears in the words of institution makes sense. And that the word "Cup" is capitalized in the "memorial acclamation" because it refers to the blood indirectly; one cannot drink a cup; one can only drink the contents of a cup, therefore the word at it is used in the acclamation refers to the contents, the precious blood of Christ and is therefore capitalized.

I am sure there has been much written about this. Would appreciate more information, as I don't have the time right now to do the research. Let's help one another.

I hope you have a wonderful Autumn weekend.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Translation Thursday: Our Beloved Hymns and Songs

"New Translation Thursday" dawned very early for me on a dreary overcast day in Pittsburgh, followed by an equally overcast day back here on the home front in Chicago.

Last night's session on the new translation at Saint Alexis Parish in Wexford, Pennsylvania was well attended by parishioners there and from around seven neighboring (and not so neighboring) parishes. It has become my experience that many people come to these sessions with very little preliminary information. They arrive in a state of confusion, wondering what "the changes" are all about. They leave with at least a good base of information in order to answer others' questions about the "why" of the new translation.

There is one common question that I hear at every presentation: "What will this mean for the songs and hymns that we sing at Mass, the songs and hymns that we have grown to know and love?" My answer is that the new translation of The Roman Missal does not affect the songs and hymns we sing at Mass. I do not choose to get into the whole issue of the sung propers (Entrance and Communion); it's just too much of another issue to fold into the discussion. People need good catechesis about the Mass, good catechesis about the reasons for the changes, good catechesis about what the Second Vatican Council meant by fully conscious and active participation being the "aim to be considered before all else." I don't think that the majority of Catholics have come to embrace fully what that means. The fact is that we have many options for the entrance and communion processions; to argue that we are being called completely to jettison our beloved songs and hymns for these processional moments is not helpful and simply is not consistent with the guidelines we receive in the General Instruction  and Sing to the Lord. Let's take things one step at a time.

Well, that's about it from your groggy blogger. Tonight my passion for hockey returns as I will be at the United Center here in Chicago cheering on my Chicago Blackhawks as they take on the newly formed Winnipeg Jets. Go Hawks! An evening to let my mind wander away from the new translation. We all need these moments.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Off to Pennsylvania

Wednesday greetings.

After a meeting this morning, I am headed to O'Hare and then to Pittsburgh for an evening at Saint Alexis Parish in Wexford, focusing on the new translation.

I have been wondering what it is going to be like in parishes over the next few years as we begin to settle into the new translation. Will parishioners really develop a keener interest in the prayers we pray at Mass? Will there be a call for a more well-developed mystagogical approach to preaching and teaching in parishes? My hope, of course, is that the new translation signals a new beginning, an era in which Catholics gather to ponder the meaning of the texts we pray at Mass.

Time and experience will tell.

More tomorrow on "New Translation Thursday."

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: Going Smoothly at My Parish?

Welcome to this lastest installment of "New Translation Tuesday."

On Sunday afternoon, about eighty parishioners of my parish, Saint James here in Chicago, gathered to reflect on the new translation of The Roman Missal.

I began the presentation by telling them that every talk that I have given over the past few years was really my own preparation for this Sunday afternoon talk, because the people of Saint James are so close to my heart, they are my "peeps."

People were quite attentive as I moved through the history of the development of the Church's official texts for prayer. I told them that my aim was that when they are approached by a parishioner and asked about the "why" of the new translation, they would be able to answer the question.

Basically, when we get to the very recent history, I share two paragraphs from Comme le Prevoit and two paragraphs from Liturgiam Authenticam. My aim is to show the stark contrasts between the two sets of translation guidelines. I think that people came away with an understanding of why the translation is changing. I know that for some, the answer brings little satisfaction. For the vast majority, however, I think that having this knowledge base was a good and helpful thing.

Two comments from parishioners after the presentation stuck with me. One woman said that she came to the meeting in a frightened manner, wondering about the changes to the Mass. She thanked me for bringing her clarity and for helping calm her fears.

Another woman said to me, "You know, Jerry, I came into this meeting completely close-minded. But that's all different now. Now at least I can understand how we got where we are right now."

Having my pastor right there at the presentation was a good thing. I kept referring to the fact that he will be bearing a great burden of responsibility since the prayers that he prays are now so different, are much more challenging to proclaim well. I invited the parishioners to pray for Father Edward. At one point I told those in attendance that I had been very clear with Father Edward throughout this whole process. I have said to him that I take Paragraph 14 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy very much to heart:

"Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as a 'chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people,' is their right and duty by reason of their baptism."

I actually looked Father squarely in the face and said, "I am baptized and it is because of my baptism that I have both the right and the duty to fully consciously and actively participate in the liturgy. And so much depends on your careful preparation, prayer, and proclamation of the Church's liturgical texts. I am depending on you, Father, for my participation hinges on your celebrating the liturgy well."

(I often say that Father probably regrets the day I ever joined his parish!)

All in all, I feel that our parish is doing a good job. It all comes down to this coming Sunday's "Town Hall Meeting" between the two Sunday morning Masses when my pastor will address the new translation. Please keep Saint James in your prayers.

I leave tomorrow afternoon for Pittsburgh, where I will be giving a presentation on the new translation to the people of Saint Alexis Parish in Wexford tomorrow night.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chicago Marathon and Singing the New Translation

Columbus Day greetings to all; a work day here at WLP.

Yesterday the Chicago Marathon wound its way through my neighborhood. It was a beautiful day here in Chicago. A few photos; was glad to be there to see the pack of leaders.

One of these men won the marathon in record time.

I had not been to Mass at my own parish in a number of weeks, since I have been traveling so much. They have been singing the new translation of the Gloria for several weeks. Yesterday was my first chance to sing the new translation in my parish. Our music director chose Ed Bolduc's Mass of Saint Ann (published by WLP). The people sang it like they have been singing it for years. On the final refrain, the keyboard cuts out and it works so beautifully. Listen to it here.

After Mass, we had a very large group of parishioners remain for a presentation I was giving on the new translation. Many were liturgical ministers or choir members. There was also a nice contingent from the parish's Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver. I would say that about a fourth of the parish was present. I will report on the meeting in tomorrow's "New Translation Tuesday" post.

If you have the day off today, I hope it is a good day for you.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The New Translation: "A Rough Ride"

Friday greetings.

Last night I did the first of two presentations in my own parish focused on the new translation. Of the many presentations I have done, this one had the most interaction. The choir members, as well as some other liturgical ministers present, wrangled with the new translation. There were some who thought the new texts were more beautiful and they could see how more faithful to the original Latin they appeared. There was a large number that objected to the new translation. Some said that they thought that the principles from The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council (I always begin my presentations with pertinent sections from this document) were not being enfleshed by the new translation; they said that they thought the new "sacral vernacular" actually discourages fully conscious and active participation. They said that the new translation is not readily understood and thereby makes the liturgy more difficult to understand and to pray, which is in direct contradiction to the main point of the Constitution.

Those in attendance are my "peeps." These are the people with whom I worship every week. They are thoughtful, dedicated, and love the parish and the Catholic Church. I have to say that their remarks have some resonance in my own heart and mind. But, as you know, I am reserving judgment about the new translation until I have had the chance (in the next few months and years) actually to pray and to experience these texts.

An elderly choir member was the most vehement opponent. She said that she watches EWTN every day and from her viewing has learned that the Catholic Church is working toward unity and wants all Christians to come to the Catholic Church. She said that she thought that this change would prohibit that from happening.

Her final comment to me was this: "It's going to be a rough ride."

I have another presentation to a larger group at my parish on Sunday afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes.

I hope you have a pleasant weekend.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Translation Thursday: For Many

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Thursday."

I am back home here in Chicago after several days away. Feeling refreshed and invigorated.

As you know, I have spent many many months on the road talking with various groups of people about the implementation of the new translation. In a way, I feel that those presentations have led up to what is about to occur beginning tonight and over the next few days. Tonight I will be speaking with the members of my parish's choir about the new translation. And on Sunday, I will be speaking with my parish's liturgical ministers and the members of the Knights and Ladies of Saint Peter Claver.

You know, I really don't get too nervous about public speaking any more. But I am anxious about these two presentations because they are for an audience of people whom I deeply love. And, judging from comments I have received in the recent past, it looks like there are going to be lots and lots of questions about the new translation. Some of those questions I share as well. I do believe that I will be able to answer the "why a new translation" question. I do know, however, that for some people the answer is not satisfying in any way.

The pro multis question, I believe, is the most problematic of all issues in the new translation, and one about which I struggle mightily. When asked to talk about it, I simply refer people to this 2006 letter from Cardinal Arinze:

Letter from Cardinal Francis Arinze on the Translation of Pro Multis

Rome, 17 October 2006

Prot. no. 467/05/L

Your Eminence / Your Excellency,

In July 2005 this Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote to all Presidents of Conferences of Bishops to ask their considered opinion regarding the translation into the various vernaculars of the expression pro multis in the formula for the consecration of the Precious Blood during the celebration of Holy Mass (ref. Prot. n. 467/05/L of 9 July 2005). The replies received from the Bishops’ Conferences were studied by the two Congregations and a report was made to the Holy Father. At his direction, this Congregation now writes to Your Eminence / Your Excellency in the following terms:

1. A text corresponding to the words pro multis, handed down by the Church, constitutes the formula that has been in use in the Roman Rite in Latin from the earliest centuries. In the past 30 years or so, some approved vernacular texts have carried the interpretative translation “for all,” “per tutti,” or equivalents.

2. There is no doubt whatsoever regarding the validity of Masses celebrated with the use of a duly approved formula containing a formula equivalent to “for all” as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has already declared (cf. Sacra Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, Declaratio de sensu tribuendo adprobationi versionum formularum sacramentalium, 25 ianuarii 1974, AAS 66 [1974], 661). Indeed, the formula “for all” would undoubtedly correspond to a correct interpretation of the Lord’s intention expressed in the text. It is a dogma of faith that Christ died on the Cross for all men and women (cf. John 11:52; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Titus 2:11; 1 John 2:2).

3. There are, however, many arguments in favor of a more precise rendering of the traditional formula pro multis:

a. The Synoptic Gospels (Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24) make specific reference to “many” for whom the Lord is offering the Sacrifice, and this wording has been emphasized by some biblical scholars in connection with the words of the prophet Isaiah (53:11-12). It would have been entirely possible in the Gospel texts to have said “for all” (for example, cf. Luke 12:41); instead, the formula given in the institution narrative is “for many,” and the words have been faithfully translated thus in most modern biblical versions.

b. The Roman Rite in Latin has always said pro multis and never pro omnibus in the consecration of the chalice.

c. The anaphoras of the various Oriental Rites, whether in Greek, Syriac, Armenian, the Slavic languages, etc., contain the verbal equivalent of the Latin pro multis in their respective languages.

d. “For many” is a faithful translation of pro multis, whereas “for all” is rather an explanation of the sort that belongs properly to catechesis.

e. The expression “for many,” while remaining open to the inclusion of each human person, is reflective also of the fact that this salvation is not brought about in some mechanistic way, without one’s own willing or participation; rather, the believer is invited to accept in faith the gift that is being offered and to receive the supernatural life that is given to those who participate in this mystery, living it out in their lives as well so as to be numbered among the “many” to whom the text refers.

f. In line with the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam, effort should be made to be more faithful to the Latin texts of the typical editions.

4. The Bishops’ Conferences of those countries where the formula “for all” or its equivalent is currently in use are therefore requested to undertake the necessary catechesis of the faithful on this matter in the next one or two years to prepare them for the introduction of a precise vernacular translation of the formula pro multis (e.g., “for many,” “per molti,” etc.) in the next translation of the Roman Missal that the Bishops and the Holy See will approve for use in their country.

With the expression of my high esteem and respect, I remain, Your Eminence /Your Excellency,

Devotedly Yours in Christ,

+ Francis Cardinal Arinze


While I understand the reasons that the Cardinal moves the reader through, I still cannot wrap my brain around it. While I realize that the acceptance of the Lord's sacrificial love is a free choice made by the individual (who is counted among the "many"), nevertheless, the Lord's blood was shed for all. Not all accept the gift, but it is shed for all.
This is one of those areas in the new translation that I find quite difficult, and I tell people so. And I can't imagine myself not cringing each and every time, for the rest of my life, that I hear these words:





How have you handled questions about this issue?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Gorge and a Faucet

Late Tuesday evening greetings. Spent most of the day in Taos. Beautiful place. 87% of the daytime hours during a typical year are filled with sunshine. Today? Overcast and rain, but beautiful. The Rio Grande cuts an awesome gorge through the flatlands here.

I also wanted to share some images of a Baptism font I saw today. Have you ever seen one like this? I understand why we need to be ultilitarian, but is this going too far? Someone, please explain this to me.

Back home to Chicago tomorrow. Rested and ready for new challenges.

Thanks to all for a landmark day. Gotta Sing Gotta Pray reached 200,000 hits today.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Saint Francis Feast from Saint Francis Cathedral

Greetings on this "New Translation Tuesday" and the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Here in Santa Fe, there is no escaping the influence of the Francisan missionaries. Yesterday, I spent time in the Cathedral Basilica of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Saint Francis Cathedral, pictured here:

The cathedral, which has always been run by the Franciscans, was turned over to the Archdiocese in the past few years, chiefly due to the declining number of Franciscans. It has been recently restored and renovated. Being a baptismal font "geek," I was particularly struck by the font, which is placed in the center aisle of the cathedral. I didn't particularly care for the pots of yellow mums placed there; it sort of makes the font look more like a decorative element, but nonetheless, it is quite impressive. Eight-sided, and built for immersion, it makes quite a statement. Here are a few pics I took.

And here's a picture of the sanctuary:

It has been quite refreshing not being completely focused on the new translation for a few days. So, no comments today. Just a wish for a wonderful Feast of Saint Francis.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Up Up and Away

Monday greetings from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Spent the weekend in Albuquerque at the 40th Annual Balloon Fiesta. I went to Mass yesterday at Most Holy Rosary Parish. Great music, wonderful preaching, sang the new translation, warm community.

Just wanted to check in and share some photos I took over the weekend. Up each morning at 3:30 to make it to the field for the "Mass Ascension."


Just amazing.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.