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.


KM said...

During NPM this past summer, I remember stopping by the WLP booth on either the first or second exhibition day, and when I was checking out to buy something, I remember you pointing out the Chicago Blackhawks t-shirt that I was wearing and telling me about how much you loved them!

Denise Morency Gannon said...

Spot on as usual,Jerry. Between my monthly column Liturgy Matters for Ministry and Liturgy Magazine, my own blog A View from the Pew on my website and my new collaborative podcast Catholic To Catholic (C2C)beginning soon, the 'back to basics' approach seems to be the avenue that people need to walk the most. Common sense is not so common!