Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Translation Thursday: A Happy and Proud Day for WLP

"New Translation Thursday" greetings to all.

Yesterday was a long and exciting day at RBTE (Religious Booksellers Trade Exhibit) in Saint Charles, Illinois, about an hour west of Chicago. This gathering provides opportunities for publishers and manufacturers of religious goods to share their resources with religious bookstore owners from around the world.

One of the highlights yesterday was the bestowal of the Association of Catholic Publisher's lifetime achievement award upon Mary Prete, former general manager of WLP and now Vice-president for Parish Servcies for the J.S. Paluch Company. Mary will be retiring from Paluch at the end of June. Hard to think of the sense of "retirement" for such a spirited leader and evangelist. We sure will miss Mary's presence here. Here is a photo I snapped at the event yesterday:

Last night, there was a signing event during the gathering. Three of WLP's finest were present to sign their latest offerings.

Alan Hommerding's newest book, Following Jesus Every Day: Gospel Meditations for Daily Living, is the product of Alan's having spent the great ninety days reflecting on a different Gospel passage each day.

He offers that passage to the reader, then a brief reflection, a prayer, and a "Gospel Vision of the Prophets" verse, that makes a connection to the theme in the given Gospel passage. This is a book that could provide a wonderful foundation for a personal retreat or for a focused daily prayer session. I could see it used quite effectively in RCIA settings. Here is the author at the signing:

You can see that Alan has already received a "perfect 10" for his book!

Also present was Brian Flynn, one of WLP's newest recording artists and composers. Brian appears pretty regularly on EWTN's "Life on the Rock" series. He was present to sing some of his songs at the evening dinner and also signed his new CD Born Again. Click on the title and take a listen to some of his songs, a mixture of liturgical and devotional pieces.

A fuzzy photo with a happy Brian:

Rounding out the collection of WLP talent was Brother Mickey McGrath, whose stunning new Saved by Beauty: A Spiritual Journey with Dorothy Day, was a favorite among the participants.

Mickey's work is well known throughout the Catholic world. He later gave a presentation about the book, which, as always, opened the eyes of my heart to this remarkable woman. Here is Mickey happily signing his book:

After having reflected on the experience of yesterday, and this being "New Translation Thursday," I thought about the ways that we have helped, and continue to help, Catholics pray. We have helped with the new translation by providing beautiful missals and helpful worship resources. We have also provided what I believe to be the finest set of musical settings for the Mass. But what struck me last night was the other ways we have helped the singing and praying Church. Alan's book is a great example of a group of resources that help Catholics in their every-day prayer lives. Brian's music assists Catholics in their struggle to find ways of expressing a deeper love for the Lord. And Mickey's books provide a spiritual path through his beautiful artwork.

It was a proud day for all of us here at WLP and J.S. Paluch. Congratulations to Mary Prete, Alan Hommerding, Brian Flynn, and Mickey McGrath.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray. (And all of these folks have helped me to do just that!)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Saskatoon's New Cathedral of the Holy Family

Wednesday greetings from Chicago, where it is sunny, cool, and very dry.

Thanks so much to my friend Catherine, who helped us all with yesterday's comment regarding posture as related in the Canadian GIRM.

Speaking of Canada, I was so looking forward to seeing the brand new cathedral in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan over the weekend. It was dedicated on Sunday, May 13. There was a funeral of my good friend, Msgr. Michael Koch (who was a founder of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate, as well as a pioneer and prophet with regard to the implementation of the RCIA in Western Canada), scheduled early that first week at the cathedral. Unfortunately, one of the stained glass panels came crashing to the cathedral floor the day after the dedication and the cathedral has been closed since. Monsignor Mike's funeral had to be relocated to Holy Spirit Church in Saskatoon.

At any rate, I had waited for years to see this new cathedral, mostly because of my love for the people of the Diocese of Saskatoon. Unfortunately, I had to settle for the view from the parking lot. Here is one photo I took, at around dusk:

Saskatchewan's motto is "Land of Living Skies," certainly evidenced in this photo. Saskatoon is set in the midst of the great Canadian prairie and is a gem of a place. The stained glass windows reflect the skies of the prairie. I was privileged to receive a book, written by Saskatoon's Bishop Donald Bolen and the artist/designer of the windows, Sarah Hall. The bishop was kind enough to sign the book for me:

The book is splendid; I need to spend much more time with it.

Here is another shot of the exterior. If you look closely enough, you can see the plywood in five places on the tower (just above the street light), where apparently exists the trouble with the glass panels. The crane was in place to assist with the repairs.

So, I will have to delay a tour of the interior to a future time.

If you are ever in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, be sure to visit Canada's newest cathedral.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Translation Tuesday: A Question for My Canadian Friends

"New Translation Tuesday" greetings from Chicago. After having traversed Europe and much of North America over the past three weeks, I have finally landed "home" here in Chicago. I am very grateful for the gift of the past three weeks, which were a marvelous mixture of ministry and leisure time.

I was excited a few minutes ago when we received our newly designed series of WLP Ceremonial Binders. We decided to use the simply cross that adorns our new We Celebrate Hymnal; we wanted to offer parishes an alternative to our more ornate binders. Here's a snapshot I took a few minutes ago:

They look and feel wonderful and are most appropriate for the liturgy.

I wanted to share my "new translation" experience from the Diocese of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada this past weekend. I heard a few of my friends grumbling about the new translation when I first arrived. They were also complaining about the change in posture during the Eucharistic Prayer, as well as all the noise and commotion it causes. I really had no idea what these folks were talking about, until I attended Mass on Saturday morning.

Shortly before the insitution narrative of the Eucharistic Prayer, the celebrant looked out and gave us the gesture, signaling for us to kneel. So the various kneelers were put down to accommodate our gesture; it was then that I figured out what my friends had been complaining about. So we kneeled throughout the institution narrative, then all stood up for the rest of the prayer.

It was pretty jarring for me, and I am sure that there is good reason why the Canadian bishops (or perhaps just this diocesan bishop) chose to introduce this practice. If I am not mistaken, it is common in Europe. To me, it seemed noisy, distracting, and eroded the unity of the Eucharistic Prayer.

Canadian followers of this blog, please help me out here by offering your comments.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Saint Louis to Saskatchewan

Hello folks. Greetings from Lambert field here in Saint Louis. Waiting for a standby flight to Chicago. Wick turnaround for me as I have an early morning flight that will take me to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in western Canada. I am presenting a two day conference on the RCIA there. My great grandfather Henri Galipeau was born there. still not sure how he ended up in Massachusetts. I love the people of Western Canada and am greatly looking forward to my time there. Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Wednesday greetings from beautiful Saint Louis Missouri.

I am here leading prayer and music for the leadership conference of SSM Healthcare, a large Catholic Healthcare system here in the Midwest. I have been leading prayer for these leadership conferences for many years. The people of SSM Healthcare have provided a foundation for exemplary leadership training for their employees for decades. Even though I am "only the musician" at these leadership conferences, I have been inspired as a leader in my own area of ministry and service through attending these conferences. When I became associate publisher at WLP, I was overwhelmed by what lay ahead. I am not trained in business practices and financial and accounting matters. When I worried about my new job as leader of this publishing company, what gave me solace and inspiration, especially during those many sleepless nights, was envisioning the faces of the managers and team members of World Library Publications. I see myself primarily as their customer service representative. I am there to serve the managers and employees. This is a philosophy that I believe has served our company well as we embrace new and innovative ways to serve the needs of the singing, praying, and initiating Church. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve SSM Healthcare, because the principles and ideals espoused and practiced in this Catholic Healthcare System I have been able to "borrow" (or steal, as the case may be) to implement in my own leadership role at World Library Publications and the J.S. Paluch Company.

I envision each of our managers and each and every one of our employees as a leader. Oftentimes, it is difficult for employees to envision themselves as leaders. "I just to what I am told to do," some say. Or, "I know my tasks and I accomplish them." But I believe that working in an environment that will ultimately produce music and resources that will eventually bring people closer to God means that none of us can have a laissez-faire attitude toward our work and ministry. I also believe that this extends to all of you, readers of this blog, who minister and work in the Church. Each one of us has the capacity to be a leader; to be one who looks at our every day tasks and asks the critical question: How can I accomplish what I do in a way that will more effectively people closer to the living God? This may mean sharpening our musical skills. This may mean always being open to innovative ways to use technology to further our mission, be it a corporate or personal mission. It means inspiring others to think outside of a "silo" mentality to find new ways to work together to accomplish common goals.

This may all seem like mumbo-jumbo, especially during those times when the tasks we perform often seem perfunctory or even boring. But I believe that using the gifts we were given freely by God to the best of our abilities makes us leaders who can do our work in breathtakingly inspiring ways, both for those who will ultimately be served by us, as well as those who work with us.

Well, thanks for listening to me today. Do you envision yourself as a leader?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Back Home

Greetings on this beautiful Monday. I am back in the United States after two wonderful weeks away.

Feeling the jet lag pretty severely today. I am flying to Saint Louis later today to help with the music at a conference there, then it is off to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Friday morning to give a two-day RCIA conference.

More as the week continues.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Translation Thursday: Praise and Exalt him Above All Forever!

"New Translation Thursday" greetings from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, here in Bavaria. I am sitting here looking out the window at the snow covered mountains. Today, Ascension Thursday, is a national holiday here in Germany (as it is in most of Europe). It's also Father's Day here in Germany. I was told last night by one of the locals that yesterday was the day that people mark as the day that one may begin to plant flowers outdoors, kind of like what we in Chicago say about Mother's Day.

Well, this morning, we woke up to snow on the ground here in Bavaria, but the sun was shining brightly; took some early morning photos on my way to Mass with the Catholic Army Chaplains. First, the snow on the bushes:

Next, several shots of the mountains. This is the area where the Zugspitze is, the very top of Germany. I was awed by what I saw this morning.

Ascension Thursday, when our eyes turn to the mountain and to the skies, was made all the more striking by what I saw and was privileged to photograph:

We prayed morning prayer before Mass, with its Canticle of Daniel:
"Frost and chill, bless the Lord.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord . . .
Let the earth bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord."
Those words were never more alive to me than they were this morning.It was as if all of creation was lifting its voice in blessing and praise.
After Mass, I took a few more photos:

This time, the clouds were beginning to enshroud the mountains.

Folks, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to be in such a breathtakingly beautiful place on this earth.

At Mass, this morning, for the first time since the advent of the new translation, I erred during the preface dialogue. Instead of "It is right and just," I said, "It is right to give God thanks and praise." Perhaps it was just a lapse in memory. But just maybe it was what my heart wanted to sing after beholding what I beheld this morning.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Finding Saint Meinrad and the Retreat Begins

"New Translation Tuesday" greetings from  Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. I am now officially out of vacation mode and back into work mode; I am here to provide the music for a retreat for Catholic Army Chaplains who are here from around the world.

On Saturday night, I attended Mass at a Benedictine convent chapel in Trogir, Croatia. Those assembled were praying the rosary before Mass when I arrived. Once the Mass began, I realized that it was a Saturday daily Mass, not the anticipated Mass for Sunday. The five habited nuns in the choir recited the entrance antiphon as the priest arrived in the sanctuary. Everything was in Croatian, naturally. It was really easy to fall into the rhythm of the Roman Rite. The only singing occurred at the Gospel Acclamation, the chanted Lord's Prayer, a Communion Song (following the sisters' recitation of the proper communion antiphon), and a closing song.

I recited the prayers of the Mass in English very quietly. But, I found myself praying not the new translation, but the old one. It struck me that the new translation is just not natural for me yet. It was similar to the experience of Catholics I have met, Catholics whose first language is not English, but who worship in English-speaking parishes. They often tell me that their private prayer to God is always in their native language, but that they use English at Mass. Although not quite the same, obviously, it was a similar experience for me; the old translation is the way I have prayed my entire life; it is my God language. It just came naturally as I prayed in English while others prayed in Croatian. I guess it will take time.
OK, more on yesterday's adventures on the Bodensee, Lake Konstanz, in Germany.
Before I left, I spoke with my Benedictine pastor in Chicago about my plans to visit the Bodensee. He is a monk of the Archabbey of Saint Meinrad in southern Indiana. He told me that Saint Meinrad himself had spent time on the island of Reichenau on the Bodensee. So, the quest began. And sure enough, found "signs" quite easily on the Island:

The main Benedictine Monastery on the Island has obviously been here for at least twelve hundred years.

Here is a shot of the exerior of the Abbey Church:

Inside, as is the case for all three churches on the island, is a vessel that holds holy water, from which the faithful can draw the water:

And the holy water stoops at the door are just beautiful, and deep!

There is a font in a side area, to the left of the main sanctuary:

A few more of this font and the art in the immediate area:

After paying the two euro fee for entering the choir area and the treasury room, I was told that Saint Meinrad was "on the heater." Not knowing what that meant, I went on my search, and sure enough, found the heater:

The panel on the upper left depicts Saint Meinrad:

Some other photos from the abbey church and the other churches on the island:

On the way to Lichtenstein yesterday, snapped these photos of the Swiss Alps:


Soaking up more of God's beauty here in Europe, but the retreat is about to begin with Vespers.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fonts, Saint Matthias Day, a Special Day for Me

Monday greetings from Konstanz, Germany, here on the Bodensee, "Lake Constance." Yesterday was mostly a travel day, but did manage to take some photos the day before at some beautiful Catholic churches. And because I am a baptismal font geek, thought I would share some photos with you.

First is the cathedral in Šibenik, Croatia, the Cathedral of Saint James. I found that many of the Church doors here in Croatia have statues of Adam and Eve (post-Fall) at the doors. Here you go:

In this church, there was a baptistery located to the right of the main altar and at a floor level below the nave; it had a separate entrance from the outside, indicating that perhaps the one to be baptized was either carried in the side door (infants), or walked in (adults); or maybe the door had no significance! Here is the font:

I placed my camera in the bowl of the font, set the timer, and had the camera take the photo of the ceiling of the baptistery:

An image of God the Father is central, surrounded by angels.

Next was a visit to the last city in which I stayed in Croatia, Trogir (close to the Split airport for an early morning getaway!) There was a rather festive wedding occurring in the town:

Visited Saint Lawrence Cathedral in Trogir, where the baptistery is right off of the plaza in front of the church. Some photos, first approaching the baptistery from the plaza; note the image above the baptistery door:

It is a depiction of the baptism of Jesus:

Here's the font, which happened to be opened; it is supported be cherubs:

And here is the view from the baptistery toward the church doors:

And the crypt of Saint Lawrence in the interior:

Today is my birthday, which I spent first on the Island of Reichenau, an island where a very early Benedictine community and monastery were established. An amazing history here. Saint Meinrad spent time here. I will post more photos from this beautiful Island tomorrow.

I wanted to do something unusual for my birthday, so I decided to spend some of today in perhaps the most obscure country in Europe. Do you remember it from your geography classes? It's tiny and has always been neutral in the various world wars. Here you go.

Happy Saint Matthias Day. God has been so good to me; I truly feel blessed this day.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May the Angels Dance for Joy (and learn a few more moves!)

Sunday greetings from the airport in Zagreb, Croatia. Remembering with great fondness my friend Gloria Weyman, who died this week. I will reflect more about her in the week to come. Just feeling a sense of loss for a true pioneer. May the angels dance with joy at your arrival, Gloria.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Friday: Rab to Plitvice

Friday greetings, once again from Croatia. Drove to the ferry this morning and left the Island of Rab, then within an hour experienced so many changes in scenery. The Croatian coast is not to be believed; the vistas from the coastal highway are amazing.

And the interior presents stunning scenes as well.

Spent the good part of today touring Plitvice Lakes National Park. This is Croatia's largest national park. Here are just a few photos I took today; more coming tomorrow.

I can't say enough about this beautiful country and its people. More tomorrow.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.