Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Translation Tuesday: Singing and Praying in Central Florida

"New Translation Tuesday" greetings from Central Florida. Happy Mardi Gras!

At last night's parish mission session here at Nativity Parish in Longwood, the confirmation candidates and their parents were present. We spent about a half hour talking about the sacrament of confirmation. My contention is this:
Confirmation has become, for most Catholics, a compartmentalized moment; little development and deepening occurs after the sacramental moment.
I find that most adult Catholics agree with this statement. When I talk about the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, there is some sense of recognition, but it is usually a recognition of what they were taught about confirmation, rather than the fact that these gifts are ready to be cultivated and utilized throughout life. I just believe that we Catholics tend to forget so much of the potential of the sacraments. It has been a real privilege and honor to be with these fine people at Nativity Parish.

I wanted to comment on my experience of the Masses this past weekend at Nativity. I attended four, offering a reflection about and invitation to the mission at each of the Masses. The liturgy and music program here is quite fine. The music director takes moments like introductions to hymns and acclamations and the conclusions of these to connect the congregation with the treasury of the Church's musical heritage. For instance, before the communion processional hymn begins, as you sit there, you will here strains of an ancient chant that eventually turns into the introduction to the communion processional song. This occurred several times during each of the Masses, much to my own delight. Lots of musical talent here and the parish is being well-served. If you ever find yourself on vacation here in Central Florida, you should take the time to visit Nativity Parish and attend a weekend Mass, especially musicians out there!

The new translation has its ups and downs in this parish. The pastor has an engaging and energetic presiding style and the people respond to him quite well. Yet still, there are those moments when, drawn into the dialogues at Mass, done with such vigor by the celebrant, some of those around me quite naturally slipped into the old translation. Same thing happens at my own parish. I guess it will just take time.

The musical setting of the Mass sung here at Nativity is Steven Janco's Mass of Redemption, published by WLP, one of our most popular Mass settings.. I so enjoyed singing the through-composed Gloria from this Mass setting. It just sings so well, a fitting hymn setting for this text. The people are well on their way to making this setting part of their permanent repertoire. The various choirs sang the setting in unison, another smart move by the music director. This, at least for the time being, really helps the assembly sing the setting, as the melody is supported all the way through.

I am presenting a morning of reflection for the parish staff in a few hours. Then, tonight, is the last session of the mission. Because of my schedule, I can only do one mission per year, and I am so glad I said "yes" to my friend Pat, the pastoral associate here at Nativity. It has been a good few days for me.

Happy Fat Tuesday to all!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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