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?
And all his works?
And all his empty show?
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.