Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Translation Tuesday: Another Award for WLP!

"New Translation Tuesday" greetings from Chicago.

Thanks to all who posted yesterday. Please feel free to add your own voice to the conversation. I must say that I have always found survey statistics to be a helpful tool in planning for the future. A simple tool like the one I used was meant to get a simple snapshot of a very small group of people.

I am swamped with work here, so not very much time to blog today. Yesterday was a big day for us here at WLP. We found out that the Music Publishers Association has given a Paul Revere Award for Graphic Excellence to WLP for our edition of The Roman Missal in the category of "Book Design in Folios." This makes three first place awards for our Roman Missal from three completely different and distinct organizations: The Association of Catholic Publishers, The Catholic Press Association of teh United States and Canada, and the Music Publishers Association.

If your parish purchased a chapel edition, in the hopes of waiting to purchase a larger, more substantial edition for the future, I think it is clear where you need to go!

So proud of our staff for their hard work.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Article in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Monday, post-NPM convention greetings to all, especially to those of you visiting this blog for the first time. Many thanks to the many who approached me at NPM and said, "Gotta sing. Gotta Pray." I hope you enjoyed your Smarties.

Well, at my final workshop on Thursday, a reporter from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was in attendance. I did not know this until she introduced herself after the workshop. She said that she chose my workshop to attend and to report on because of the topic: "The Reception of the New Translation." Here is the story that appeared in the newspaper.

At my workshop earlier in the week (on music and the RCIA), I asked the participants to help me by filling out a brief survey. I asked those in the reception of the new translation workshop to do the same at the beginning of that workshop. I am grateful to Jennifer Odegard, WLP's director of marketing, for tallying and averaging the results. Here is the survey:

The Reception of the Newly Translated Texts

A Brief Survey
NPM 2012
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “completely satisfied” and 5 being “completely dissatisfied,” please rate your level of satisfaction by circling the appropriate number:
Completely Satisfied                                                                                               Completely Dissatisfied

1. Your own level of satisfaction with respect to the ways your diocese helped the parishes of your diocese prepare for the new translation of The Roman Missal, Third Edition

1 2 3 4 5

2. Your own level of satisfaction with respect to the ways your parish leaders helped the parishioners prepare for the new translation of The Roman Missal, Third Edition

1 2 3 4 5
3. Your own personal (as a Catholic praying with other Catholics at Mass) level of satisfaction with the newly translated texts of The Roman Missal, Third Edition

1 2 3 4 5
4. Your own level of satisfaction with the way the celebrant(s) in your parish are praying these newly translated texts

1 2 3 4 5
5. Your own level of satisfaction with the musical settings (new or revised) of the newly translated Order of Mass

1 2 3 4 5

To be honest, I had no idea how this survey would turn out. Now remember that this was not a scientific project; I had approximately 50 total responses.

So, where do you think people landed? Questions 1, 2, and 4 were almost exactly in the middle, with an average of 2.5. Question number 3 was closer to a 3, as was question number 5. "Luke-warm" was an appropriate descriptor, hence the title of the article in the Post-Gazette.

The people in the workshop were quite willing to talk about how they were/were not prepared for the new translation. They were also very willing to talk about how celebrants were doing with the text. However, even though they marked their level of satisfaction with their own personal experience with the texts as more unsatisfied, they were very reluctant to share on that particular topic. Perhaps because the talk was being taped?

How would you answer the five questions? Feel free to respond. Perhaps just comment with something like:
1:2; 2:1; 3:2; 4:3; 5:4

Gotta get to work now; lots waiting for me here after a week away.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gotta Sing Gotta Pray

Greetings on this "New Translation Thursday" from Pittsburgh. Gosh, this is a long convention! But a wonderful one as well.

We were privileged to share some new choral music with the conventioneers last night at WLP's music showcase. Even though these dedicated musicians had already been singing through music for most of the day, they rallied together to join voices for over an hour of musical delight. I am so proud of WLP's fine composers and artists.

For some reason, this has been a morning of nostalgia for me. Perhaps there is a part of me that is envious of the full-time music ministers gathered here. The last time I was in Pittsburgh was in 1999, at an NPM national convention. That was the final convention I attended as a full-time parish director of liturgy and music. I was hired at WLP a few short months after that convention and, since then, have attended NPM conventions as part of our publishing mission to serve the needs of the singing, praying, and initiating Church. I no longer serve in a leadership role in music in a parish. I am served by a marvelous musician who is attending an NPM convention for the first time this week. I guess I am nostalgic because there is that part of me that longs to stand before a choir to help shape the choral sound; that part of me that longs to sit at the piano and help a congregation breathe through the chants and hymns; that part of me that misses "pulling out all the stops" and modulating up a half step for the final verse of a hymn.

This feeling of nostalgia got me thinking about December 25, 1967, Christmas morning with my family in Woburn, Massachusetts. My mom would have been pregnant with my brother, John, the fifth child (another, James, would arrive two years later). I had opened most of my Christmas presents. There was one left, a thin box that could not have weighed more than a few ounces. I opened it and inside was a little certificate that read something like: "This certificate entitles Jerry Galipeau to begin piano lessons at Saint Charles School with Sister Julie Maria."

And, folks, that is how this man's musical life all began. You know, you look back at your life and you can often clearly see those defining moments. December 25, 1967, was one of the greatest defining moments of my life. I certainly would not be sitting here writing to you had that present never been given. So, in my spirit of nostalgia on this day, I offer thanks to my mom and dad, who gave me this gift, who nurtured in my something that they saw and recognized as having potential. I will forever be grateful to them.

Because without that gift, I don't think my life would be inspired by the words I share with you as each of these posts ends:

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Voices As One: Jorge Rivera, Jacob and Matthew Band, and Danielle Rose

Good day Wednesday from Pittsburgh, here at the NPM convention.

Thanks to so many of you who have approached me and said, "Gotta sing. Gotta pray." It's great when the virtual community appears in the flesh!

Last night WLP sponsored two concerts. The first featured Jorge Rivera, the director of ministry for Hispanic youth in the Archdiocese of Chicago. It was such a delight to listen to Jorge and his ensemble sing through some wonderful songs. Jorge shares his music and stories from his heart, a heart shaped by years of ministry to the young.

Our next event was a concert featuring the Jacob and Matthew Band and Danielle Rose. This was not really a concert; it was really more of a time of prayer, witness, and song. The three chief band members, Jacob, Matthew, and Michael Paul, all work in Catholic parishes as music ministers and youth ministers. It was so refreshing to listen to these young Catholics who are so willing to share the ups and downs of their journeys of faith. Here is a very fuzzy shot I took of Danielle Rose last night:

Danielle's is a compelling story. Five years ago, she gave a farewell concert at NPM. Shortly thereafter, she entered the convent for a long period of discernment, which "ended successfully," as she often puts it. She and the sisters discerned that a cloistered life was not what God was calling her to; God was calling her to return to her ministry as a music missionary. That journey has brought her to a life of singing, witness, and an astounding commitment to help women in China who are trying to keep their unborn babies in defiance of the country's "one child" policy. Danielle's voice, both in song and in Christian witness, rang out brightly last night.

Last night, WLP made our "big announcement" about our brand new web site designed to assist those whose music ministry includes the genre of contemporary music. voicesasone.com is the place to visit. Check it out right now. I'll be talking about this site more in future posts.

Today is a day of sharing new resources with those in attendance here. I have a rehearsal shortly, so I need to bid adieu.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Translation Tuesday: What It's Really All About

"New Translation Tuesday" greetings from Pittsburgh.

We are in full swing here at the NPM convention.

This morning, WLP sponsored many workshops. I sat in for a few minutes on each one of them. Our employees and artists shared their musicianship with those who are hungry to grow and to learn. This is a venue for tremendous education in musical skill. I was very proud of WLP today; and it was wonderful to hear our speakers say things like, "I hope you found this helpful in your ministry," and "Go out and use your skills to help build God's Kingdom."

This is what music ministry is all about.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Greetings: NPM Convention in Pittsburgh

Monday greetings from the great city of Pittsburgh. We Chicago WLPer's are here with some other Chicagoans, notably the Chicago Cubs, who start a series with the red hot Pittsburgh Pirates tonight.

Well, the NPM convention is off to a fine start. We began with our booth set-up in the exhibit hall this morning at 8:00. Here is the space "before:"

And, four hours later:

Many members of the WLP staff are here. Even as I write these words, some members of our team are delivering the first round of workshops.

This afternoon's opening plenum address was quite moving. Fr. Ron Raab, the keynoter, gave a presentation on the call to holiness, marking the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. He begged us Church musicians never to allow the liturgy to be separated from real life; our own real lives and the lives of those around us.

Here was my view in the main space:

Many have still obviously not arrived at the convention yet. The seating area seems a bit smaller than last year. Last year was a banner year for the NPM convention, due chiefly to the upcoming new translation of The Roman Missal.

I will try my best to keep you posted as the week unfolds. Things just get busier from here.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, July 20, 2012

NPM: So Much to Offer

Happy Friday.

Well, it feels like the proverbial "calm before the storm" here at WLP as we spend the final day here in the office before leaving for the NPM convention this weekend, which will be held in Pittsburgh

I have been attending NPM conventions since at least the late 1970's. I remember my first regional convention. I think I was a sophomore in the seminary college in Boston. A fellow seminarian (now a priest in the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts) and I drove to Providence, Rhode Island for the convention. We came back with a new collection, entitled On Eagle's Wings by some unknown compsoer named Fr. Michael Joncas. The day we returned, at that day's evening daily Mass, I was at the piano following communion and my seminary colleague sang On Eagle's Wings for the first time at the liturgy. I remember feeling haunted by the beauty of the music and thrilled to be playing something that seemed so harmonically interesting to me, and so different than the music I had been playing for Mass. This was one little piece of  turning point in the development of Catholic church music in the United States, bemoaned still by some, and still celebrated by others.

This is what NPM conventions are all about. The convention provides provides opportunities of all kinds for today's parish musician. Check out the offerings here. A few examples from the various time slots: "Introducing Chant Repertoire: The Roman Missal" with Charles Thatcher, "Electronic Keyboard and Integrating Technologies, Part 1" with Keith Kalemba, "Gregorian Chant for Cantors and Choir Members: with Anthony Ruff, OSB, "Liturgical Guitar Techniques" with Bobby Fisher, Steve Petrunak, "Conducting An Effective Rehearsal" with Paul French, and "Organ Repertoire for the Liturgical Year" with John J. Miller, among so many others. I believe this program represents a true snapshot of the state of liturgical music in the United States today.

We are so looking forward to seeing so many of you next week in Pittsburgh. Just another reminder. Please come and meet me in the WLP booth in the exhibit hall and simply say "Gotta sing. Gotta pray." and claim your little gift.

Have a wonderful and safe weekend out there.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Translation Thursday: Reception of the Newly Translated Texts

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Thursday."

One of my workshops at the NPM convention next week is this: "The Reception of the Newly Translated Texts," and its description is this: "Reflect on how your assemblies are receiving the revised texts of the Roman Missal and what can foster greater receptivity."

My plan is to get an initial discussion going, with a few guide questions. I am quite interested in what comes of the discussion period to follow. I am hoping to ask the attendees about any correlation they see between the amount and intensity of the preparations for the Missal in the parish and the level of receptivity of the newly translated texts.

I also want to ask them about the celebrants in their parish, and how attitude (both positive, negative, and ambivalent) toward the new translation may or may not have affected or continues to affect the proclamation of the texts.

Of course, much of our focus will be the ways that new and revised musical settings have helped or hindered the process of reception of the translation.

I am looking forward to the exchange and to reporting the outcomes of this workshop with all of you.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

NPM Convention: Here We Come!

Wednesday greetings to all.

There is a buzz of activity here at World Library Publications as we make our final preparations for next week's annual convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, to be held this year in Pittsburgh.

Several members of our staff will be presenting workshops at the NPM convention. Click on their names to read more about each of these fine folks.

WLP Project and Music Editor Ed Bolduc will be leading the Ensemble Intensive master class on Monday morning. Also on Monday, music editor Keith Kalemba will lead his first of four NPM workshops: "Electronic Keyboard and Integrating Technologies, Part 1." In that same Monday afternoon time slot, Peter Kolar, WLP's Senior Editor of Hispanic Music and Publications, will lead a workshop entitled "Playing Hispanic Rhythms and Styles." (This is an area where I need a lot of help myself!)

On Tuesday, as the convention really gets into full swing, Keith presents "Electronic Keyboard and Integrating Technologies, Part 2." At the same time, Peter Kolar kicks it up a notch with "Accompaniments that Wed Musical Style and Worshipping Assembly," and Ed Bolduc presents "Instrumental Arranging for Ensembles." On Tuesday afternoon, Ed continues his work by presenting "Contemporary Ensemble: Who? What? How? And More!" At that same time, I will be presenting "Music for the RCIA."

Wednesday is dedicated to music showcases, with WLP's being the one that occurs in the early evening. On Thursday, workshops begin again in earnest, with Peter Kolar presenting "Leading the Assembly from the Keyboard." Our own Alan Hommerding, Senior Liturgy Publications Editor, will lead a workshop entitled "Organ Basics: Hymn Playing, Registration, and Practice Techniques." Keith Kalemba makes another appearance as he presents "Music Theory Basics for Composers."

Later on Thursday afternoon, WLP's own Mary Beth Kunde-Anderson, Director of Publications, will provide nourishment to musicians with her workshop, "Spiritual Spa: Time Management for Pastoral Musicians." At that same time slot, I will present "The Reception of the Newly Translated Texts;" and Keith wraps up his four workshops with "Composing Basics." WLP's Mike Novak, Bulletin and Parish Resources Editor, will lead a workshop for cantors: "How To Sing From the Heart." Anyone who has ever heard Mike cantor at Mass knows that he is an ace at singing from the heart!

Finally, on Friday morning, Alan is back at the podium (and the bench!) with his "Literature for the Liturgical Year," a workshop for the beginner organist, while Mary Beth leads "Praying the Liturgical Year in Song" in the same time slot.

Whew! And this just represents the workshops and master classes being given by WLP employees. Kind of looks like we could do a convention ourselves! At NPM, we as a publisher sponsor other events, including a concert by the Jacob and Matthew Band and Danielle Rose, and a concert by Jorge Rivera and friends. We also sponsor other speakers, including John Angotti, Paul French, Lee Gwozdz, Mary Prete, among others.

In addition to all of these fine musicians, members of WLP's marketing team, led by Director of Marketing Jennifer Odegard will also be on hand to assist those in attendance. If you are going to the convention, make it a point to ask this fine team about our helpful resources. Didi Garcia is our Online Marketing and Trade Accounts Specialist. Raquel Hernandez is WLP's Programming and Artist Relations Coordinator. Gina Buckley is our Promotions and Advertising Specialist. You will definitely want to meet the newest addition to the WLP marketing team, Dawn Szymanek, WLP's Worship Resources Specialist. And rounding off the marketing team's presence is Lisa Bagladi a specialist in Public Relations and Marketing.

So, it will be a week filled with prayer, music-making, lots of running to and fro, lots of speaking, lots of singing, lots of playing of lots of instruments, lots of connecting with friends and colleagues, and lots of fun.

Like last year, if you are at NPM, find me in the WLP booth (you can't miss us) and just say "Gotta sing. Gotta pray" to me and you will get a little surprise gift.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Translation Tuesday: Sunday's Collect

"New Translation Tuesday" greetings from the baking Midwest.

So, what was your experience with Sunday's collect? Here is the text as it appears in The Roman Missal:

O God, who show the light of your truth
to those who go astray,
so that they may return to the right path,
give all who for the faith they profess
are accounted Christians
the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ
and to strive after all that does it honor.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

I was, as you can imagne, especially attentive at my parish on Sunday. The celebrant prayed the prayer slowly and deliberately. When he got to the line just before the doxology, something immediately caught my ear. I believe he said ". . . the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ and to strive after all that does Christ's name honor." All I know is that the "it" was replaced, and guess what? The prayer made immediate sense to me.

I did receive an e-mail on Sunday night, from a frequent follower of this blog, who wrote the following:

Dear Jerry,

As I’ve mentioned in some past comments, our pastor has put a lot of effort into making the new translation work for our parish, and the assembly has generally been able to maintain its broad and strong participation in both sung and spoken parts of the Mass.

Given this past, I was a bit surprised by what happened with this Sunday’s collect. First of all, our pastor offered a bit of explanation before he started it, something I never heard him do before. Second, while he often uses pauses to help the people grasp the meaning of the prayer, this Sunday he incorporated a number of extended pauses to give people a chance to think through the various lines. While he didn’t really stumble during the prayer, he found it necessary to repeat phrases a couple of times in order to try to convey the prayer. Despite all of this, there were more people than usual who seemed to be totally lost with regard to the meaning of the prayer (puzzled looks, glancing back and forth between the missalette and the pastor).

The pastor himself seemed to struggle with the prayer after communion.

So, there are two examples from two different parishes.

Feel free to share your experience by clicking the "comments" section below. Or you can always send me an e-mail here at WLP: galipeauj@jspaluch.com.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, July 16, 2012

"O to enter that bright portal . . ."

Monday greetings from Chicago, where the temperatures will be nearing 100 both today and tomorrow.

Did you listen carefully to yesterday's collect? I sure did, and I will be sharing my own experience tomorrow, as I hope you do, too.

At Mass yesterday, we sang Sing with All the Saints in Glory as the opening hymn. Nothing like a little Beethoven to start the day.

Verse four is my favorite:

4. Life eternal! O what wonders
crowd on faith; what joy unknown,
when, amidst earth's closing thunders,
saints shall stand before the throne!
O to enter that bright portal,
see that glowing firmament;
know, with you, O God Immortal,
"Jesus Christ whom you have sent!"

As I sang those words, I was immediately reminded about our Catholic understanding that the celebration of Mass affords us a small glimpse, a tiny foretaste of the heavenly banquet and the life to come. There was just something about singing the words "O to enter that bright portal, see that glowing firmament" that just set me on the right path for Mass yesterday.

And our deacon preached a magnificent homily. He quoted Saint Francis de Sales as he reminded us of ways we are called to be prophets in our own time and place: "Lord, I am nothing but a block of wood: set fire to it!" It was quite stirring, weaving the scripture beautifully; this homily challenged us.

Our closing song was Leon Patillo's Go. "Go, ye therefore, and teach all nations, go, go go . . ." It was a Mass that really fired me up for the week.

We are completing final preparations for next week's NPM (National Association of Pastoral Musicians) annual convention in Pittsburgh, so it looks like a very busy few weeks here at WLP.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, July 13, 2012

One of Those Days

Friday greetings from Chicago where it is pouring rain right now, something we haven't seen here for most of the past month or so.

Today is just "one of those days" for me. When I find myself moving through difficult days and difficult times, I try to remember that I am a Catholic who received the sacrament of Confirmation. Sometimes I refer to this sacrament as a sacrament that keeps on giving.

I know that I was given these gifts on the day I was confirmed: Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgment, Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, and Wonder and Awe in God's Presence. Sometimes I forget that these are at my disposal. But when I do remember, I find myself strengthened for my work, for my prayer, and for my relationships. Today is one of those days that I need to remember that this treasury is in my heart.

I hope you have a good weekend. And remember, pay attention to the collect at Sunday Mass this weekend.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Translation Thursday: Listen on Sunday

Welcome to this celebration of "New Translation Thursday."

OK folks, the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time is this coming Sunday and the Collect is one that we have discussed at length on this blog:

O God, who show the light of your truth
to those who go astray,
so that they may return to the right path,
give all who for the faith they profess
are accounted Christians
the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ
and to strive after all that does it honor.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

For me, this was one of the newly translated prayers that I found hard to comprehend.

So, a challenge to you all. Listen very carefully to this prayer at Mass on Sunday and let's talk next Tuesday about how well the meaning was conveyed. Sound like a plan?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rain, Rain . . .

Wednesday greetings from a very busy home office. No time to really blog now; the day has slipped by. But I did want to post two news briefs I just read on the same page of Catholic News Service's web site:

Drought, heat making Midwest corn farmers pray for rain

SEYMOUR, Ill. (CNS) -- The desperation of drought-stricken farmers in the Midwest was evidenced by what topped Mary Margaret O'Connor's "day's best memory" list as the July 8 celebration of her parish church's centennial came to a close. "It looks like we're going to get rain," said O'Connor, eyeing dark clouds approaching the grounds of St. Boniface Church, where a tent had been erected for a parish luncheon. Prayers to keep rain away from an outdoor parish celebration months in the planning and including a visit from the diocesan bishop would usually be the norm. But not this summer at St. Boniface Church, a Catholic landmark rising above the fertile corn and bean fields of western Champaign County. As in much of the Midwest, farmers in Seymour are on the edge of disaster from scorching heat and lack of rain. "Hopefully, it will come," Father Robert Lampitt, parochial vicar of the rural parish, said of the rain before leading the meal blessing. "It would be a godsend," agreed Bill Klein, a fourth-generation farmer whose great uncle willed the rural parish an 80-acre tract of land upon his death in 1954. The field north of the church is planted in soybeans this year. Klein, O'Connor and other farmers of St. Boniface Parish compared the current drought to one in 1988. The region is 10 inches or more below normal rainfall for the year. What rain comes now may already be too late for some corn crops but would be greatly benefit soybeans.

Irish bishop appeals for prayers for a break in the rain

DUBLIN (CNS) -- An Irish bishop has appealed to parishioners to pray for a break in the rain. Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns asked local churches to offer prayers for farming families struggling under a severe loss of income due to the weather conditions. The Irish Farmers' Association warned that farm families across the country have been hit by a loss of 100 million euros due to higher feed costs and a loss of output as a result of the poor weather conditions. Bishop Brennan said many farming families in the area are "experiencing real strain and anxiety as they grapple with the prospect of a continuation of the current poor spell and its threatened adverse effects on the annual harvest." He also expressed the fear that the poor weather could hinder the wider national economic recovery. Bishop Brennan said many parishes in his diocese have received requests for prayers for fine weather. "In truth, they range from the very heartfelt of the farming community to those of parents whose children are looking to get outdoors and enjoy the best of the summer holidays," he told Catholic News Service. "Our real thoughts and prayers are with the farming community at this time. I am very conscious of the vital role it plays in our society and our economy. This persistently poor weather is a real threat to crops and livelihoods -- and it now spells extra animal feed costs," Bishop Brennan said. While summers in Ireland are generally damp, this year has proved to be particularly wet. Nine inches of rain -- nearly three times the average -- fell in the month of June. June had only 93 hours of sunshine, scarcely half of the monthly average. It was the wettest June since records began in 1910.

What a world!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Translation Tuesday: A Vocabulary Vortex

"New Translation Tuesday" greetings to all.

This past Sunday taught me something about how the human mind works; well at least how my human mind works. I remember well the discussions all over the cyberworld about the Collect for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time when the new text was first released. Here is the text:

O God, who in the abasement of your Son
have raised up a fallen world,
fill your faithful with holy joy,
for on those you have rescued from slavery to sin
you bestow eternal gladness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

The introduction of the word "abasement" had me running to the dictionary. I can safely say that this is a word that I have never used in 54 years of speaking the English language (well maybe 51 years; I don't think I spoke until I was three). So, when all these discussions were going on, I remember learning that the word meant something like "the lowering of one of high rank."

On Sunday, when the celebrant said the word, my mind kicked in and that internal dialogue began, "OK, Jerry, what did the word 'abasement' mean when you looked it up several months ago?" The reply: "Something about lowering in rank." "Oh, but don't you think that some people, maybe the kids here at Mass might think that the celebrant is talking about a 'basement' of a house?" "That is kind of funny."

That's exactly what happened in my mind on Sunday. And guess what? The next thing I was conscious of were the words "one God, for ever and ever."

Collect? Gone. Meaning? Lost.

It was frustrating. Why? Because I truly believe that God has something to speak to my heart in each and every one of these prayers. But my mind just couldn't focus on Sunday. I got lost in a vocabulary vortex.

Ever happen to you?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Grant Us Peace

Monday greetings to all.

My parish has switched musical settings of the Mass. Since the implementation of the new translation and, up until a few weeks ago, we had been singing Ed Bolduc's Mass of Saint Ann. Now we are singing Steven Janco's Mass of Redemption.

I really like Steve's setting. This is one of the revised settings that WLP produced. When we asked Steve to revise it, he told us that he wanted to re-write the entire Gloria. The original was a refrain-style Gloria. Steve told us that his thinking about these kinds of Glorias had shifted over the years and now feels that the Gloria should be through-composed, hence the brand new Gloria for his revised Mass.

One of my favorite parts of this Mass is the Lamb of God. The assembly repeats the phrase "grant us peace" several times at the end of this setting. Each time we sing it at the parish, I can't help but think that we are praying for an end to the violence that grips the streets of Chicago, as well as the wars that still rage around the world. It has become a real moment of intense prayer for me.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tablets at Mass

Friday greetings to all from Chicago, where it reached 102 degrees yesterday. Today's forecast is for 103. Seems there are people who are just riding the trains to keep cool. Lots of folks just sleeping away on Chicago's "El" this morning.

Each year, we at WLP provide electronic surveys to those parishes that subscribe to Seasonal Missalette, Word and Song, We Celebrate, and Celebremos/Let Us Celebrate. One question we asked this year was this: "Do you currently download sheet music to a tablet PC (such as an iPad) to read or play music during liturgies?" 4.6% of the Seasonal Missalette respondents replied "yes," as did 11.1% for We Celebrate usersm 3.2% for Word and Song, and 6.7% for Celebremos/Let Us Celebrate.

I urged our team to track the answers to this same question over the next several years. This past Sunday, the visiting priest at my parish used a tablet device from which he read notes for his homily; first time I have experienced that. Technology advances so quickly; I have a feeling these numbers are going to climb quite rapidly in the next few years.

Anybody out there regularly using a tablet to read music at Mass?

Hoping you all have a weekend full of fun and COOL activities!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Translation Thursday: A Liturgical Curmudgeon

"New Translation Thursday" greetings to all. Feels like a week with two Mondays, doesn't it?

This morning I received the latest edition (May-June 2012) of the Newsletter from the Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship. It contains a short article, "Understanding the Grammar of the Roman Missal, Third Edition."

I think this is a helpful article. It attempts to explain two issues that have apparently been the source of complaints received by the committee. "The Secretariat for Divine Worship offers commentary on two frequently-raised issues: the qui clauses (relative or dependent clauses beginning with the relative pronoun “who”), which are found not only in the proper orations of the Missal but also in the Order of Mass, and the expression quaesumus (usually translated as “we pray”)."
The article goes on to explain the reasons why these particular words were translated as they were from Latin to English, beginning with this: "The complex grammatical structure of the orations was one of the major changes in the style of English used in the new translation of the Missal."
I spent time poring through this article, which was quite complex itself at times. The challenge here, though, is finding ways to help people in our congregations understand the "complex grammatical structure" of these prayers. I can't imagine printing something like this in the parish bulletin. I think the majority of Catholics would get lost or simply lose interest. This is more than a little frustrating for many people. Obviously for some of these prayers, the meaning cannot be instantly grasped upon a first hearing. This is a sad fact. Now we need to set about explaining why the use of the word "who" is actually correct when, to many ears, it just doesn't sound correct. Am I way off base here? While I appreciate the article in the newsletter, it just seems regrettable that such an article needs to have been written in the first place.
I guess I am having one of my "liturgical curmudgeon" days.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Translation Tuesday: Simple Made a Difference

"New Translation" very warm greetings from Chicago, where the temperatures are expected to reach 100 today and tomorrow.

At Sunday's Mass at my parish, Saint James, we had "Father Visitor" as the celebrant; our pastor is on vacation. I use "Father Visitor" in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek fashion. But it irks me when a visiting priest doesn't introduce himself or doesn't ask a member of the parish staff to do so at the beginning of the Mass. Just a pet peave of mine.

At any rate, the celebrant was young (30's) and is a Carmelite priest. I was trying to think of a word that would most appropriately describe his presiding "style." And I found it: simple. He obviously prepared the texts well and they really fell off his tongue quite simply and naturally. He treated the words the way he treated the sacred vessels; with dignity and reverence.

You know how much I was moved by Sunday's Mass at Saint James (just read yesterday's post to find out). This priest made a real difference.

I hope that your celebration of our nation's independence from the Brits is a good one. And try to keep cool; about most things!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Living In and Loving Chicago

Monday greetings from a roasting Chicago. I know that many of you live in places where the summer heat has become unbearable; hoping you are finding places to stay cool.

One of the great things about living in a city like Chicago is the way that summer just explodes with activities and events.

Chicago's Millennium Park has a summer concert series at its Pritzker Pavilion. Friday night, after work, several of us gathered there to hear Carmina Burana. I think this is one of the most beautiful outdoor concert spaces in the world.

Yesterday morning, beginning at 1:00 A.M., approximately 10,000 of us participated in the annual L.A.T.E. ride, a bike ride through the various neighborhoods of the city. The route is about twenty-five miles. Three of my colleagues from WLP and J.S. Paluch participated in this year's ride.

The ride ends up at Buckingham Fountain on the shore of Lake Michigan, just before sunrise. After the long ride, it is refreshing just to sit down and watch the sun rise. Here is a photo I snapped just as the sun began to rise:

And another a minute or two later:

And here is what yours truly, at 54, looked like after the ride concluded:

All of this before 5:30 in the morning.

I then went home and had some breakfast, then headed off to church. Do you ever have one of those experiences at Sunday Mass when everything falls together for you? When our deacon proclaimed the Gospel (Jairus' daughter and the woman with the hemorrhage), it was as if I was hearing the story for the first time; it was so powerful to me. And our parish musician chose one of my pieces, Help Me, Lord, as the hymn at the preparation of the gifts; it just seemed to fit so well. He then chose to do a piano improvisation on the piece after communion. His is an extraordinary talent and, to me, it felt like exquisite art was unfolding right in front of me. Good presiding, good proclamation of the readings, good music, good preaching; all done in a community of people that I love.

Praise God for a wonderful weekend in Chicago.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.