Friday, March 30, 2012

Why Catholics Leave

A rare second posting for a Friday; you may have caught this from other sources, but this is CNN's take on Catholics leaving the Church. I congratulate and applaud this bishop for asking the question.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Su Casa Catholic Worker House

Friday greetings from soggy Chicago. Thunderstorms roared through here this morning.

Last night I had the privilege of attending a celebration of a good friend's birthday. He is on the Board of Directors for Su Casa Catholic Worker House here in Chicago.

I was so impressed by the work that these Catholic workers do with the poor and displaced. Originally founded as a house for those who had been tortured in Central America, the house now offers a home for Hispanic families in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood. After sharing a simple meal with the residents and workers, we were given a tour of the house and an explanation of the beautiful murals that hang in the dining area. Here is a photo I snapped:

The nine panels tell the story of the Guatemalen people who suffered through war, torture, and "disappearings" throughout the latter part of the last century.

Last night was a real eye-opener for me.

I hope that your celebration of Palm Sunday this coming weekend is a fitting beginning to Holy Week for you.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Translation Thursday: On the Cusp of Our First Holy Week

"New Translation Thursday" greetings from sunny Chicago.

We are obviously on the cusp of our first Holy Week with the new translation in place.

I will be spending Palm Sunday at Sweetest Heart of Mary Parish in Detroit, Michigan, where I will be leading a retreat in the afternoon. Some photos of the church:

Should be an interesting day at this parish. I will be paying especially close attention to the newly translated prayers for Palm Sunday.

As the "week of weeks" approaches, I am feeling like this year's Lenten Season has been occurring largely without my own personal engagement. My travels have had me in airports and on airplanes on most Sundays, which means that I have missed Sunday Mass on more than one occasion. I've been praying the rosary much more often when flying, especially on Sundays when attending Mass has just not been possible. I am hoping that my own engagement in Holy Week helps me re-connect. At moments like this, I rely on the faith of my own parish and my Catholic friends to strengthen me in my own weaknesses. I hope that this coming week provides many moments of God's grace for you, your family, and your parish.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Wednesday greetings from Chicago. I arrived at about 12:45 this morning from San Francisco. I was kind of in a grumbling mood during the flight because of all my flight delays and mistakes made by the airline. But there was a little surprise for me in it all.

About half-way across the United States, the pilot came on the p.a. system and said that nature was providing quite a show for those on the left side of the airplane. I looked out the window (I was on the left side) and, lo and behold, there was the aurora borealis streaking across the night asky and just sparkling before us. It was just beautiful. Looked something like this, although it was more uniform across the sky; and it went on for miles and miles:

So, during a day when everything went wrong, I was privileged to be able to see something I have never seen before. I am certainly not one of those, "Oh, look at that, the Blessed Mother provided that parking space for me right near the door!" kind of people. But, my experience last night did remind me once again that even when things look bleak, there is usually something right outside the window to help put it all into perspective; just need a reminder to look out the window!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Translation Tuesday from SFO

New Translation Tuesday greetings from the airport in San Francisco. It's been a day of frustrating flight delays. Probably not getting home until very late tonight.
My workshop at LA Congress on Sunday focused on a method of liturgical catechesis, the new Translation and RCIA candidates and catechumens. I think that those in attendance appreciated this workshop. It is great watching people discover new ways to catechize, ways that shake them out of their usual methods. My aim with the workshop was also to invite the catechists to an appreciation for the liturgical texts as primary sources for catechetical reflection. I hope that the workshop was helpful for the attendees.
Greatly looking forward to being home in Chicago. Please pray for the safety of all travellers.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Day in the Desert

Early MondAy greetings from the California desert. This is my first attempt at posting using my new iPhone. Typing takes much longer for me but I suppose I will get used to it in time. Not
Much to report except that the LA Congress was an exciting event filled with prayer and learning.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Final Day of Religious Education Congress

Sunday morning greetings from Anaheim California.

It is the final day of the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. Here is the logo for this year's conference:

My apologies for not having posted the last few days. With over twenty-four thousand people here, time seems to slip away each day. WLP's talented artists and composers not only present workshops here at Congress; they also minister at the various Masses that are celebrated here over the three day event. In an effort to support their ministry, I try to see them as they minister. On Friday evening, I made my way through the convention center and two area hotels and was present at four of the Masses being celebrated simultaneously. It can be a bit overwhelming. For first-timers to Congress, just seeing this many exuberant Catholics in one place is awe-inspiring. I spoke with one priest from the Midwest who told me that he comes to Congress to experience a hope that he finds lacking in his own diocese.

Well, the final day is about to begin and I will be giving my final workshop this afternoon. The first, "RCIA: BAck to the Basics," saw around three hundred people in attendance. There was lots of energy in the room from "newbies" to RCIA ministry, as well from more seasoned ministers.

I will be spending a few days in the California desert, in Indian Wells, after we dismantle our WLP exhibit this afternoon.

I hope that your Fifth Sunday of Lent is filled with grace.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Translation Thursday: Growing in a Mystagogical Life

"New Translation Thursday" greetings from Southern California.

It is early here, mind you, not "bright and early," but my body clock is still in the Midwest. For those of you unfamiliar with the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, this annual gathering of Catholics from the Unites States, Canada, and from other countries around the world, is one of the largest annual gatherings of Catholics on the planet. I have been offering workshops here at Congress for about ten years. My focus is always on the RCIA. This weekend, I am offering two workshops: "RCIA: Back to the Basics," and "RCIA and the Roman Missal: A Model for Liturgical Catechesis."

The latter workshop focuses on the possibilities that the advent of the new translation of The Roman Missal, Third Edition offers for RCIA catechists. Basically, I am urging RCIA ministers to help develop a mystagogical way of living the liturgy in the hearts and minds of the catechumens and candidates entrusted to their care. As many of us know, catechumens attend the Liturgy of the Word at Sunday Mass with the rest of the parish community. Following the ancient tradition of the Church, they are then dismissed from the Sunday assembly and sent with a catechist to reflect on their experience of having prayed with the community and listened to the word proclaimed, sung, and preached. In the vast majority of parishes, that reflection session focuses on the Sunday's scripture readings. Later, doctrinal formation can flow from the content of those scriptures. I, and others, are advocating a wider approach to these reflection sessions. I am urging RCIA ministers to use the other "texts" of the Introductory Rites and Liturgy of the Word as fodder for the discussion and reflection. For instance, the praying and singing of the Gloria provides a rich experience from which the truths of our faith can be drawn and expanded during the reflection sessions. Here at the Congress, in addition to the text of the Gloria, I am using two Collects as examples of how we can use these particular texts to show ways that our faith is expressed when we celebrate the liturgy. I have deliberately chosen one of the more challenging collects, which employs the term "abasement." I am hoping that this will offer an opportunity for these ministers to delve more deeply into trying to get to the heart of words in the new translation which,at first glance or hearing, might seem quite odd.

My hope is that these ministers can train catechumens and candidates in a mystagogical way of life. In other words, form new Catholics who will learn to pay much closer attention to the singing and praying of these texts so that the rest of their Catholic lives can be enriched week after week after their initiation. High hopes? Some might think so. Another motive here, of course, is that I would want the RCIA ministers themselves to see the richness of the faith that is expressed in these texts. I am employing Pope Benedict XVI's straightforward method of mystagogical catechesis as he expresses in Sacramentum Caritatis. This method is well worth reading. I know this is a long quote, but please take the time to read it and reflect on ways that you employ this method in your own life or in your own ministry:

Mystagogical catechesis

64. The Church's great liturgical tradition teaches us that fruitful participation in the liturgy requires that one be personally conformed to the mystery being celebrated, offering one's life to God in unity with the sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of the whole world. For this reason, the Synod of Bishops asked that the faithful be helped to make their interior dispositions correspond to their gestures and words. Otherwise, however carefully planned and executed our liturgies may be, they would risk falling into a certain ritualism. Hence the need to provide an education in eucharistic faith capable of enabling the faithful to live personally what they celebrate. Given the vital importance of this personal and conscious participatio, what methods of formation are needed? The Synod Fathers unanimously indicated, in this regard, a mystagogical approach to catechesis, which would lead the faithful to understand more deeply the mysteries being celebrated. (186) In particular, given the close relationship between the ars celebrandi and an actuosa participatio, it must first be said that "the best catechesis on the Eucharist is the Eucharist itself, celebrated well." (187) By its nature, the liturgy can be pedagogically effective in helping the faithful to enter more deeply into the mystery being celebrated. That is why, in the Church's most ancient tradition, the process of Christian formation always had an experiential character. While not neglecting a systematic understanding of the content of the faith, it centred on a vital and convincing encounter with Christ, as proclaimed by authentic witnesses. It is first and foremost the witness who introduces others to the mysteries. Naturally, this initial encounter gains depth through catechesis and finds its source and summit in the celebration of the Eucharist. This basic structure of the Christian experience calls for a process of mystagogy which should always respect three elements:

a) It interprets the rites in the light of the events of our salvation, in accordance with the Church's living tradition. The celebration of the Eucharist, in its infinite richness, makes constant reference to salvation history. In Christ crucified and risen, we truly celebrate the one who has united all things in himself (cf. Eph 1:10). From the beginning, the Christian community has interpreted the events of Jesus' life, and the Paschal Mystery in particular, in relation to the entire history of the Old Testament.

b) A mystagogical catechesis must also be concerned with presenting the meaning of the signs contained in the rites. This is particularly important in a highly technological age like our own, which risks losing the ability to appreciate signs and symbols. More than simply conveying information, a mystagogical catechesis should be capable of making the faithful more sensitive to the language of signs and gestures which, together with the word, make up the rite.

c) Finally, a mystagogical catechesis must be concerned with bringing out the significance of the rites for the Christian life in all its dimensions – work and responsibility, thoughts and emotions, activity and repose. Part of the mystagogical process is to demonstrate how the mysteries celebrated in the rite are linked to the missionary responsibility of the faithful. The mature fruit of mystagogy is an awareness that one's life is being progressively transformed by the holy mysteries being celebrated. The aim of all Christian education, moreover, is to train the believer in an adult faith that can make him a "new creation", capable of bearing witness in his surroundings to the Christian hope that inspires him.

Please pray for those who are here in Anaheim for this Congress. I will do my best to share my experience here with you over the next several days.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday Greetings from Anaheim, California

Wednesday evening greetings from Anaheim, California. Here for the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. Just watched the Disneyland fireworks from my hotel balcony. Very cool!

Long day of travel. Strange that it is cooler here in southern California than it has been in Chicago the past five days.

We begin tomorrow morning with our WLP booth set-up, followed by meetings with the Association of Catholic Publishers. The Congress begins in earnest on Thursday morning. I will keep you updated as the days move along.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Translation Tuesday: One Benefit of the New Translation

"New Translation Tuesday," for those of you who may be new to this blog, as well as "New Translation Thursday," are both posts in which I comment on some aspect of the new translation.

As many of you know, I volunteer on the liturgy committee at my parish, Saint James, on the near South Side of the city of Chicago. We had our final "touching bases" meeting last night, talking about some of the details of our Triduum liturgies.

Something really struck me during the meeting, and it did not have to do with the actual words in the new English translation at all. At several points during the meeting (in discussion about the "stripping of the altar" and the incensation of the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday), people kept asking, "Well what does the new Missal say?" I kind of sat there chuckling to myself because, at least in my past experience, very few people would say things like, "Well, what does the Sacramentary say?" The questions usually asked at liturgy committee meetings were along the lines of, "Well, what did we do last year?" I have been in parishes, my own present parish included, where some kind of innovation during the Triduum developed over time and most people just assumed that the practice was embedded in the liturgical books. Case in point for me is the "stripping of the altar." The first time I attended Triduum at my parish, this "stripping" actually took on more significance than the footwashing (actually we washed hands that year-thank God that misguided practice was short-lived!) During the stripping, there was a song of lament sung and a dramatic reading of a psalm. I sat there and kind of wondered where it all came from. The answer was two-fold. There had been some innovation with the "stripping" in the parish in the past, as well as in the past life of the director of worship. The two strands came together and the result was something never envisioned in our current liturgical books.

So, I do think that the advent of The Roman Missal, Third Edition has been a good thing for liturgy committees like ours at Saint James. We are actually looking at the Missal as a primary source, the first place we go for answers, rather than to a history of liturgical innovations that may have meant that we strayed from the intentions of the official liturgical books.

That's one good thing I will say about the Missal. I am still struggling with trying to settle into this new style of English.

Tomorrow I leave for Anaheim, California, for the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, one of the largest annual gatherings of Catholics in the world. I am presenting two workshops: "RCIA: Back to the Basics" and "The Roman Missal and the RCIA: A Catechetical Method." It is a wonderful gathering and afford many of us in Catholic publishing opportunities to network and catch up with one another.

Please pray especially for the safety of many of us from WLP who will be traveling tomorrow to Southern California. It is forecast to be 84 degrees in Chicago today; an enormous record (the record thus far is 76). The forecast for Anaheim today is a high of 69! Who could have imagined? More from California over the next few days.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Mystagogy Monday greetings.

Yesterday's Prayer Over the Offerings:

We place before you with joy these offerings,
which bring eternal remedy, O Lord,
praying that we may both faithfully revere them
and present them to you, as is fitting,
for the salvation of all the world.
Through Christ our Lord.

I know that this probably sticks to the original Latin quite faithfully, but I wondered if the addition of something after the word "remedy" might have helped. Something like "eternal remedy for our sinfulness" or "eternal remedy for the sings of the world" or "eternal remedy for our spiritual blindness" or something to that effect. When I heard the word "remedy," it just kind of stopped me in my tracks, and then I lost the rest of the prayer.

Anyone else have the same or different reaction to the prayer?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Two Exsultets and I Shall Live: Ritual Music for teh Paschal Triduum

Friday greetings to all.

It's commercial time once again here at Gotta Sing Gotta Pray. I have written previously about two Exsultet settings that we have published, using the new translation of The Roman Missal, Third Edition. James Michael Thompson's setting, which you can listen to here in its entirety, has been in WLP's repertoire for a number of years and has been revised to match the new translation.

WLP's completely newly composed setting is Tony Alonso's This Is the Night: Procession of the Paschal Candle and Exsultet, which is found in Tony's new collection with WLP: I Shall Live: Ritual Music for the Paschal Triduum.

The CD is available now. The tracks will soon be available on I-Tunes and other digital music outlets.

This is a marvelous collection that no parish musician should be without. All of the pieces in the collection will be available in time for the National Association of Pastoral Musicians' convention this coming summer in Pittsburgh. Two octavos are available now, We Should Glory in the Cross and This Is the Night: Procession of the Paschal Candle and Exsultet.

We are so pleased to be able to share this new ritual music for the Triduum, which uses the new translation of the Missal, with the Church. I was privileged to be able to hear Tony Alonso sing the exsultet in its entirety last week when he presented a workshop at the Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership. He is a gift  to the Church.

Thanks for indulging me in this commercial message!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Translation Thursday: Empty Show

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Thursday."

What a week it has been for this weary blogger. Sorry not to have posted in the past several days. I did not have wi-fi access during those times that I could find the time to blog.

I spent Monday and Tuesday in El Paso, Texas. On Monday night, a little under one hundred singers from around the diocese gathered at their pastoral center for a WLP choral reading session. Here's a photo taken that night:

I'm the one with the wide open mouth! Peter Kolar, who lives in El Paso with his wife and two young girls, is one of WLP's "remote" employees. Peter directs the El Paso Diocesan Choir and it was quite obvious that he has done a great job helping these musicians learn their craft. It was two hours of sheer joy for me. If there is one thing I miss about regular parish work, it is choral conducting. The majority of folks at Monday's session were good sight readers. When we got to Aaron Thompson's Tree of Life,  I could tell they were falling in love with the piece. We actually used it as our closing prayer for the session. Seriously, musicians out there, if you have not woven this piece into your parish's repertoire, you are missing something very special. We sang music for Children's Choirs, SAB choirs, SATB choirs, unison groups, as well as a number of bilingual pieces. It seemed that everyone really enjoyed themselves.

Tuesday, I presented a day for 70+ clergy members in the El Paso Diocese. The main focus was on the RCIA, but I did have one segment on the Missal and its changes for the celebration of the initiation sacraments at the Easter Vigil. Liturgical Press has an excellent book by Paul Turner, called Glory in the Cross, which focuses on Holy Week and the new translation of the Missal. I was so pleased at how engaged the men were as we moved through the foundational vision and principles of the RCIA:

There was a moment of dismay, however. Many of these priests had not yet seen the text for the renewal of baptismal promises at Easter. There are two options given in the Missal. This is the first:

Do you renounce Satan?
I do.
And all his works?
I do.
And all his empty show?
I do.

There was an audible groan in the room when we reached the third question of the renunciation of sin. "Empty show," one priest told me later, "it sounds like a description of a movie theater when a really bad movie is being shown; an empty show." There seemed to be agreement that this translation will do little to help people at this important annual moment for Catholics. I must admit that I groaned when I first saw this in the Missal. I much prefer the second option for the renunciation of sin. And what is strange is that, at the baptisms at the Easter Vigil, the celebrant needs to go either to the Rite of Infant Baptism (if he is baptizing infants at the Vigil) or to the RCIA (if he is baptizing children of catechetical age or adults) for the formularies for baptism-they do not appear in the Missal; these two rituals use the familiar ending "and all his empty promises." What is even stranger is that the renewal of the profession of faith mirrors the former translation of the Creed, not the newly translated one. It reads "Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary . . ." Where did "incarnate of the Virgin Mary" go? Seems like the Missal has a kind of ritual split personality in places like these.

So, I am grateful for a wonderful few days in El Paso. Here is what Peter Kolar wrote on the chalkboard that greeted people as they arrived for the choral reading session:

Glad to be back in Chicago, where it is actually warmer than it was in El Paso, Texas. Very strange weather indeed.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chicago-Denver-El Paso

Monday greetings.

I am currently at Denver International Airport, awaiting a flight to El Paso, Texas. The sun just rose and it is a clear day here in Denver.

I will be facilitating a WLP choral reading session tonight in the diocese of El Paso and a clergy day focused on the RCIA tomorrow.

It has been quite a busy time in the last week. The Mid-Atlantic Congress in Baltimore was a different kind of convention for me. Because I was co-chair of the prayer and worship committee, I went to most of the major keynote presentations. And I found myself deeply moved by them. When one "does" as many of these conferences as I do during the year, one can tend to plug into the conference only when giving a worskhop or helping at the sales table in the exhibit hall. While I still needed to do those things in Baltimore, I also needed to be a part of the larger conference. Tucson's Bishop Jerry Kicanas, Thursday night's keynoter, was inspiring. He has an engaging speaking style and drew me into his talk on hope. The final keynote on Saturday morning, given by a Dominican religious woman, whose name escapes me right now, was also quite inspiring. She focused on the Second Vatican Council, urging us to continue to tell the story of the Council and to realize that the Council is still unfolding even fifty years later.

It was great to be a part of this first annual conference and WLP was proud to be a platinum sponsor for the Congress.

I am not sure about Wifi access over the next few days, but I will do the best I can to post.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mid-Atlantic Congress Draws to a Close

Rare Saturday greetings from Baltimore.

My apologies for not having posted the last few days. The schedule here at the first Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership was very full. I was co-chair of the prayer and worship committee, gave three workshops, and helped staff the WLP booth.

The congress was a great success; people here on the East Coast appreciated a large conference like this in their own area of the country. There were 66 dioceses represented here; it was a great expression of Church.

I will certainly report in much greater detail next week.

I hope your celebration of the Third Sunday of Lent is filled with grace.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Eve of the First Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership

Wednesday greetings from Baltimore, where the first Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership will begin tomorrow. Beautiful day here in Baltimore; it's in the high 60s and the daffodils are in bloom; just a taste of early Spring.

I will be presenting three workshops here, one of which is based on any doctoral thesis. It focuses on what happens to the newly initiated after the celebration of the Easter Sacraments. Should be interesting to listen to people share their own experiences regarding this issue.

Well, not much to report on yet. Will keep you posted as the days unfold.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Translation Tuesday: Paying Attention? Wandering?

"New Translation Tuesday" is here. Welcome.

As I was driving into work this morning, a question crossed my mind: Do the majority of Catholics pay close attention to the prayers prayed at Mass?

When I look around at my own parish, I am not quite sure. This past Sunday, when the First Reading began, I was so excited to hear the story of the binding of Isaac. But to be honest with you, my mind wandered to the Easter Vigil proclamation of this same text. As I sat there and the reading was proclaimed, all I could think of was the preparation session that I would have to plan with the Easter Vigil readers some time during Holy Week. I thought to myself, "I wonder what night would be best" and "What lector would be best for this reading?" Then I heard the lector say, "The word of the Lord." Darn it! I missed the entire reading because my mind wandered! So, it seems to me that it is a natural thing for our minds to wander at moments during Mass.

I guess my question for you, faithful followers of this blog, is this: Have you found that since the advent of the new translation, you yourself have been paying much closer attention? What is your sense of the other Catholics in your parish?

I am toying with the idea of creating an on-line survey, asking people to share their experience of the new translation thus far. What do you think would be a good question to ask?

Looking for lots of feedback here. Remember, just check the comments box. You can always post anonymously. Thanks so much.

Headed to Baltimore tomorrow morning for the first ever Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership. Giving three workshops, focused on the RCIA. Should be fun.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mystagogy Monday: A Moving Preface and Prayer after Communion

A little mystagogical reflection on this Monday of the Second Week of Lent. Because of my various travails over the past few weeks, yesterday was the first time I attended Mass this Lent. I was certainly ready and open to whatever the Lord had in store.

First of all, it was wonderful to be back at Saint James after several weeks away.

My pastor obviously prepared the preface and chanted it beautifully.  Here is the text:

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.
For after he had told the disciples of his coming Death,
on the holy mountain he manifested to them his glory,
to show, even by the testimony of the law and the prophets,
that the Passion leads to the glory of the Resurrection.
And so, with the Powers of heaven,
we worship you constantly on earth,
and before your majesty we acclaim: Holy . . .

This is one of those instances where the preface really captured me. Perhaps it is due to the fact that it is rather brief and the chant, well-prepared, helped convey the meaning. When I look at the text now, outside of the context of liturgy, it looks a little clunky, especially where it says "on the holy mountain he manifested to them his glory." Just not the same sentence structure we use in everyday speech. I remember as a kid hearing my parents poking fun at some of my French-Canadian relatives, who said things like "Throw over the fence to me the baseball." This sentence in the preface sounds a little like that to me. But, maybe it's because I am getting used to the structure, but it was quite inspiring yesterday.

I also was moved by the Prayer after Communion:

As we receive these glorious mysteries,
we make thanksgiving to you, O Lord,
for allowing us while still on earth
to be partakers even now of the things of heaven.
Through Christ our Lord.

I have to admit being a little confused at the beginning of the prayer, because "glorious mysteries" sounded like we had just prayed the Rosary, but the "partaker even now of the things of heaven" really touched me. I know that what we receive and celebrate in the Eucharist is but a tiny glimpse, a small taste, of the things to come. This prayer strengthened that conviction in me.

What was your experience of these prayers yesterday?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Weekend!

Friday greetings to all. Snow expected tonight here in Chicago.

I was originally scheduled to fly to Cincinnati today to present a workshop tomorrow. The workshop was postponed to a date in late August. I am relieved not to be going, actually. I am looking forward to a weekend at home here in Chicago. Also looking forward to spending time with the great folks in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in late August!

I hope that wherever you are, this Second Sunday of Lent is a graced one for you.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Translation Thursday: Divergent Opinions

"New Translation Thursday" has arrived once again.

Thanks so much for your informative comments yesterday. I spent the morning with a few doctors. Good news is that the "boot" is off and I am in shoes and walking pretty well. Bad news is that they discovered that I fractured a rib in Saturday's fall. Just doesn't end, but hopefully I am on the mend. Thanks for your prayers for healing; I'll take anything I can get!

I received an e-mail this week from a friend who has ministered in catechesis for decades. This person wrote:

I read the post regularly and find your thoughts echo my own feelings - it is hard to be a catechist and engage in liturgical catechesis with the text of this liturgy.

I was at a funeral for a priest on Shrove Tuesday - it was well attended by his fellow priests and many many people who had been influenced by this man - it was clear that the presider - a good man - was struggling with the prayers - and the assembly answered with different responses - no sense of unity.

I fear that we shall lose a large number of our Catholic people over the age of 50 - this is not an easy time in our church and although I accept that change is tough - this is not just about change - it is about words that do not engage or draw people in.

A good friend said to me, "I am not sure that I can worship here long term - it is not good for my mental well being to return to a language of my childhood - a language that oppressed me." Her words return to me often.

My own hope for Gotta Sing Gotta Pray is that this is a place where people can help one another through mutual dialogue and respect. There seems to be such polarization in the Church right now and the new translation has become somewhat of a lightning rod. But we have to find ways to address the issues raised by my friend in this e-mail. I was speaking with another person working in a diocesan office of catechesis a few months before the advent of the new translation and she expressed exactly the opposite opinion. She felt that the new translation would afford opportunities to do a much deeper liturgical catechesis, especially with children. This person saw in the new translation a much "meatier" and "weightier" theology that would assist in a fuller catechesis.

Folks, the translation is still fairly new, and I am glad that people are talking about it pretty openly. It's so interesting how divergent the opinions and approaches are.

What would you say to the "good friend" mentioned above?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.