Friday, November 30, 2012

That's a Wrap, a Big Wrap!

Friday greetings to one and all.

I received an interesting e-mail last night.

We all have experiences that are unique to our own family life. Growing up in a large family in Massachusetts, one of these oddities was something that sat on my family's kitchen counter for as long as I can remember. My parents somehow obtained a huge roll of plastic wrap (the kind used to wrap food and cover bowls filled with leftovers). The sturdy cardboard container seemed to have an eternal roll of plastic wrap inside. Probably about fifteen years ago, the wrap finally came to an end. Somehow, they found another roll somewhere, which took its place in the kitchen. When my parents downsized a few years ago, moving into an in-law apartment at my brother's home, that roll of plastic wrap went with them. No downsizing when it comes to plastic wrap for my Mom and Dad!

Well, I hope my mother doesn't mind me sharing this with you, but the e-mail arrived last night:

Just thought you would all like to know that the large box of Saran Wrap that we have been using for the last 10/12 or more?  years has finally wrapped its last piece of chicken, and covered its last bowl of leftovers.   We have bought a regular size box that fits in the drawer.  If we bought another big box, (and we did consider it)  we would have had to change the will to include the saran wrap in the estate.  And so, the Galipeau family bids adieu to the BIG BOX!  Let us all bow our heads and observe a second of silence for our Big box of Saran Wrap, and give thanks for the extra space its demise gives me in my pantry cabinet!

I am still smiling.

Isn't family life grand?

I hope your weekend is a good one and that the dawn of Advent brings you peace and hope as we once again prepare the way for the Lord.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gifts for the Music Director

WLP has recently published several small collections of instrumental music. I would like to highlight some of these collections today.

The first is a collection called Psalms Without Words, Volume Two, composed by WLP composer Ed Eicker. One of Ed's pieces with WLP is his arrangement of the popular Christmas piece, Still, Still, Still. Take a listen.

Psalms Without Words, Volume Two highlights Ed's brilliant improvisational skills. I sat down and played through them again this morning. This is a perfect collection for today's liturgical pianist. It's also wonderful for intermediate piano students. Occasionally, we hear from piano teachers who are looking for pieces that their students can play at a Catholic school Mass or at Sunday Mass in the parish. With some practice, these pieces will really shine.

This is the second volume in the Psalms Without Words series. The first in the series is a collection by WLP's own Alan Hommerding, written for piano and flute. WLP's web site describes this collection: "Volume 1 of a new series of instrumental pieces created by some of your favorite liturgical composers expressing their musical interpretations of the psalms. This first volume is a set of two brilliant offerings by Alan Hommerding inspired by Psalms 23:6 “…I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever…” and Psalm 122:1 “I rejoiced when I heard them say…” Psalm 23 is an uplifting reverie reminiscent of French Impressionism and Psalm 122 is a delightful rondo. These pieces are perfect for preludes, postludes, offertory, even performance events. Start your collection of this exciting new series with this charming piano and flute set."

I am often asked this question: "What is an appropriate appreciation gift at Christmas for my parish's music director?" These two volumes would be appreciated by any music director. Alan's would be perfect for a flutist as well.

Also worth considering is a new collection of pieces for C instrument and keyboard: Noel, by Cesar Franck and arranged by WLP composer William Tortolano.

On WLP's Facebook page (please click on our page and like us; help put us over the 2000 "likes" milestone!), the editor of this piece, Keith Kalemba, has this to say about Noel:

"These seven instrumental pieces, originally written by composer and organist C├ęsar Franck for the harmonium, have been newly arranged for C instrument and keyboard by William Tortolano. Dr. Tortolano has arranged these pieces with organ and violin in mind, however they are wonderful for piano and flute as well. Derived from Franck's L'Organiste, these inspirational pieces are perfect for the Christmas season, but can be used anytime for the Preparation of Gifts, preludes and postludes."

Well, folks, there's your commercial from your favorite music publisher today!

Thanks for considering our fine resources for musical liturgy.

Gotta Sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How Could I Have Missed It?

Hey, folks, how could I have missed such a significant milestone today???

Do you know what today is???

It's the first anniversary of the implementation of The Roman Missal, Third Edition.

That's right, last year, November 27 was the First Sunday of Advent.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

New Translation Tuesday: Words Falling from the Sky

"New Translation Tuesday" greetings from a very crisp and cold Midwest.

This past Sunday, my pastor did a wonderful job proclaiming the texts from The Roman Missal.

Last week, I went to the movies with some friends and saw the latest James Bond film, Skyfall. I really enjoyed the film and have been thinking about many of the scenes since.

When my pastor prayed the Collect on Sunday's Feast of Christ the King, a few words really stood out. Having just seen the super-spy in "Her Majesty's Secret Service," can you guess which words stood out? Here you go:

Almighty ever-living God,

whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of the universe,
grant, we pray,
that the whole creation, set free from slavery,
may render your majesty service
and ceaselessly proclaim your praise.
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.

Many had already commented on this translation when the new texts were first released, but I had forgotten about the discussions of the phrase "may render your majesty service." I have never thought about referring to God as "your majesty." It sounds so much like a phrase addressed to royalty of this world. I wonder how our friends in Great Britain heard this text when it was proclaimed on Sunday.

Our new transitional deacon, himself a refugee from Vietnam, preached a marvelous homily about the kingship of the Lord, telling us that his kingship will never pass away. I was moved by his story and his words, but couldn't help but think that the Collect somehow reminded me of earthly kingship.

Anyone else have a reaction to the words in the Collect on Sunday?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Five Popes in One Place!

Monday greetings to all duing this final week in Ordinary Time.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend; enjoyed being here in Chicago.

When I arrived at work this morning, a proof of one of our newest posters had arrived from the printer. The Popes Since Vatican II is an idea that came from the artist, Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS. It is a generous 20 inches by 16 inches. During this year of faith which marks the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, we thought it might be a nice idea to get the "popes since Vatican II" together. Here is the result:

Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI are pictured. The quote, chosen by Brother Mickey, is from the opening address of the Council:

Amen to that!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Am Grateful

My apologies for missing my "New Translation Tuesday" post yesterday. Shorter work weeks mean lots more work around these parts.

Today my heart is filled with gratitude for so many things.
I am grateful for my family here in Chicago and in Massachusetts, Florida, and Georgia.
I am grateful for the opportunity to work here at World Library Publications and the J.S. Paluch Company.
I am grateful to have visited 49 of the 50 United States, and all but one Canadian province.
I am grateful for good health and a warm home.
I am grateful for friends who show support and offer challenge.
I am grateful to be of French-Canadian descent.
I am grateful for the magic of arborio rice.
I am grateful for the Chicago lakefront.
I am grateful for my parish, Saint James.
I am grateful for you, the faithful and occasional followers of Gotta Sing Gotta Pray.
I am grateful for the gift of music.

Most of all, I am grateful that my parents loved me so much that they had me baptized.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wonderful Day at Saint Luke's in River Forest

Happy Monday of this Thanksgiving week to all.

On Saturday I was blessed to do a presentation to the liturgical ministers at Saint Luke Parish in River Forest, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The beautiful church exterior is pictured here:

There were approximately seventy people present for the mini-retreat. I talked with them about the importance of cultivating an adult baptismal spirituality. Then we focused on the Eucharist as Table of Sacrifice and Table of Mission. The people seemed to have appreciated the time together. We concluded with a short re-commissioning service during which the ministers were invited to come forward and place their hands on the Lectionary for Mass and The Roman Missal, asking God for strength in their ministerial roles. As much as I love my work here at WLP, it is so energizing to be out there among God's people.

I hope that your week is a good one and that your Thanksgiving preparations are not too frantic!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Plenty of Organists

Just caught this on Catholic News Service:

Organists plentiful but not many parishes 'blessed' with budget for one
NEW YORK (CNS) -- If music conservatories are producing a bumper crop of organ performance graduates, why can't the parish down the street get a substitute organist for the 10 a.m. Mass? There's no single answer, but liturgical musicians who spoke with Catholic News Service attribute it to parish finances, cultural changes and the pastor's interest in music. "Not many parishes are blessed with a budget for both a music director and an organist," said Jennifer Pascual, music director at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. "Music directors are expected to be skilled musicians, conductors and administrators." Joseph Viserta, music director at the Church of the Resurrection in Rye, said: "A lot of parishes don't have the resources to pay a qualified organist to work full time, so these musicians have other jobs, sometimes as music teachers in public schools, and they show up on Sunday, play for two Masses, run a choir practice and get a stipend." If there is a music director, he or she is typically also an organist, Viserta said. The Second Vatican Council gave the role of music in worship a huge boost. In its 1963 Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the council affirmed music is an integral part of the liturgy. It called for the congregation's active participation at Mass through musical elements including acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons and songs. As parishes heeded the call to incorporate more music, many moved away from traditional organ pieces to contemporary music played on a variety of instruments. The results varied in quality and mirrored cultural changes in society and the church, according to Paul J. Murray, music director, organist and liturgy coordinator at the Church of the Holy Family in Manhattan.

Have a blessed weekend.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Translation Thursday: Two Recent Reports from the Vatican

"New Translation Thursday" greetings.

Two recent happenings at the Vatican bear notice.

The first is what Pope Benedict had to say recently about the function of music and art in the "new evangelization."

From Catholic News Service:
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Sacred music can bolster people's faith and help lapsed Catholics rediscover the beauty of God, Pope Benedict XVI said. "Sacred music can, above all, promote the faith, and, what's more, cooperate in the new evangelization," he told participants attending a conference and pilgrimage sponsored by the Italian St. Cecilia Association. St. Cecilia, whose feast day is Nov. 22, is traditionally honored as the patron saint of musical performers. "Music and singing that are done well can help (people) receive the word of God and be moved in a positive way," the pope said in his address Nov. 10. Many people, including St. Augustine, have found themselves attracted to God because of some profound experience prompted by the beauty of liturgical music and sacred song, he said. In the church's missionary outreach, he said, it urges Catholics to recognize, respect and promote the musical traditions of the local people. Traditionally Christian countries, like Italy, have a rich heritage of sacred music which can help lapsed Catholics rediscover God and be drawn again to the Christian message and the mystery of faith, he said. Because of their important role in new evangelization, he urged church musicians to dedicate themselves "to improving the quality of liturgical song, without being afraid of reviving or emphasizing the great musical tradition of the church, which has two of its highest expressions in Gregorian and polyphony. Show how the church may be the place in which beauty feels at home," he said.

I sent this particular clipping to some of our artists and composers, noting particularly this line: "In the church's missionary outreach, he said, it urges Catholics to recognize, respect and promote the musical traditions of the local people."   I believe that composers who are creating music for the liturgy in many genres (chant, choral music, contemporary styles, for instance) are respecting and promoting these musical traditions of local people. The pope's final line in the report is quite inspiring: "Show how the church may be the place in which beauty feels at home."   The second bit of news is about the restructuring of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship. You can read the report here. Quoting from that report: "The main change is the establishment of an office, specifically dedicated to liturgical art and music, which will provide guidelines to ensure that hymns sung during mass and the structure of new churches are adequate and correspond to the mystery being celebrated."   Should be interesting to watch all of this continue to unfold.   Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Treasury of Choral Music: Mourns the Tree

Wednesday greetings to all.

It is such a privilege (in case I haven't mentioned it before!) to work in this great Catholic publishing house. One of the treasures about working here is the fact that we publish what I believe to be the best choral music for the Church today.

We recently published a piece by Lisa Stafford, Mourns the Tree. It's beauty has haunted me ever since I first heard it and sang it. The poetry touches me deeply and the choral arrangement is stunning. Lisa, thank you for this gift to the Church.

Here's the text:

Mourns the Tree and mourns the wood.

Mourns the forest where it stood.
Bole and branches, strong and wise:
Mourns the Tree of Sacrifice.

Gentle iron not for fear,
Not for wounding, not to tear.
Hands that bless and feet that lead:
Gentle iron, go tenderly.

Oh, sorrow, oh, sorrow, oh, sorrow, oh, sorrow.

Sorrow’s stone and sorrow’s tomb;
Sorrow’d chamber, noble room.
Ages old, in stillness stands:
Sorrow’s stone holds death’s dark bands.

Blessed Tree and blessed wood; Blessed boughs held Man and God.
Portal into Paradise:
Blessed, glorious Tree of Life!

(Text and music by Lisa Stafford. Copyright World Library Publications. All rights reserved.)

Here's a snippet of the recording. And you can see the sample pages here.

This is a piece that will draw people into the mystery of the cross during Lent, on Passion Sunday, and on Good Friday.

Here at WLP, we have a choral subscription service, over $100.00 worth of octavos mailed three times per year. We include our new pieces, as well as some time-honored pieces from our treasury. I know that many readers of Gotta Sing Gotta Pray are subscribers to this service ($30.00 per year). For those of you who would like to order a subscription, it couldn't be easier. Just follow this link.

Thanks for considering Mourns the Tree and thanks for listening today.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Translation Tuesday: "Things"

"New Translation Tuesday" greetings to all.

No doubt you have read the study done by the good folks at U.S. Catholic. I was grateful that this study was undertaken. But there definitely needs to be something done in a much more scientific way; wondering if the U.S. Bishops have any plans to undertake such a study. You may remember in the late 1990's, the bishops commissioned a study on the effectiveness of the RCIA in the United States, which eventually was published in a document called Journey to the Fullness of Life.

It would seem that a study on the effectiveness of the new translation would be a good thing, but perhaps we need to wait a bit longer; give the new translation more time to take hold.

This past Sunday's Collect got me thinking and doing some research after having heard it.

Almighty and merciful God,

by whose gift your faithful offer you
right and praiseworthy service,
grant, we pray,
that we may hasten without stumbling
to receive the things you have promised.
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.

It was the term "things" that caught my attention. Now that we have been using these prayers and I am beginning to settle into them somewhat, I started to think that this word is used quite a bit throughout the Missal. After a cursory search through the prayers, my hunch was confirmed. I had a conversation with a friend after Mass on Sunday, explaining that the term just seems too vague for me. "Things" doesn't seem to be a strong enough term to describe what God has promised. When we hear the phrase "the things of heaven," I am left with the question: "What does that mean?"

So, believe it or not, I have been spending time looking at the various meanings of the word "things." Merriam-Webster lists ten possible definitions, including the following:

1a : a matter of concern : affair (many things to do) b plural : state of affairs in general or within a specified or implied sphere (things are improving) c : a particular state of affairs : situation (look at this thing another way) d : event, circumstance (that shooting was a terrible thing)

2a : deed, act, accomplishment (do great things) b : a product of work or activity (likes to build things) c : the aim of effort or activity (the thing is to get well)

3a : a separate and distinct individual quality, fact, idea, or usually entity b : the concrete entity as distinguished from its appearances c : a spatial entity d : an inanimate object distinguished from a living being

4a plural : possessions, effects (pack your things) b : whatever may be possessed or owned or be the object of a right c : an article of clothing (not a thing to wear) d plural : equipment or utensils especially for a particular purpose (bring the tea things)

5: an object or entity not precisely designated or capable of being designated (use this thing)

6a : detail, point (checks every little thing) b : a material or substance of a specified kind (avoid fatty things)

7a : a spoken or written observation or point b : idea, notion (says the first thing he thinks of) c : a piece of news or information (couldn't get a thing out of him)

8: individual (not a living thing in sight)

9: the proper or fashionable way of behaving, talking, or dressing —used with the

10a : a mild obsession or phobia (has a thing about driving); also : the object of such an obsession or phobia b : something (as an activity) that makes a strong appeal to the individual : forte, specialty (letting students do their own thing)

MERRIAM-WEBSTER ONLINE ( copyright © 2012 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

After doing this bit of research, my head was spinning. But it did help me to do this searching. When I think about "the things of heaven" or "the things you [God] have promised," my initial reaction was that the word "thing" is just too vague. I wondered if there was a word that would be more appropriate, something like "truths," or "realities," or "wonders," or "inestimable signs."

I guess my research taught me that "things" is a word that can encompass all the alternate solutions I came up with. It still strikes me, however, as a banal term because, in every-day usage, the word, at least to me, sounds like it is referring to "stuff," like the "stuff" on my desk, or the "stuff" in my house. Reminds me of the popular "Getting Things Done" movement.

Anyone else been struck by the word "things?" Help me (and others) out here, please.

Thanks for listening to my meandering thoughts today.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Translation Thursday Gratitude to My Friends North of the Border

"New Translation Thursday" greetings from Chicago. I arrived here, from Toronto, late last night.

I am so grateful for the time spent with the one bishop, many priests, deacons, consecrated religious, and the baptized lay faithful from all the dioceses of the Province of Ontario over the past few days. Some candid shots of those in attendance:

The meeting was held at Saint Francis Xavier parish in Missasauga. They have an interesting baptism font in the center aisle as you enter the church. There is a glass panel with an etched depiction of the baptism of the Lord.

More of the font, looking down into it., from the other side: 

There are steps leading into the pool from the side (why people throw coins into a font is a mystery to me!),

and when the newly baptized person emerges, the path toward the altar is made abundantly visible:

There was a great variety of ministries represented at the conference, with about 130 people present. We dug into some really tough issues and we discussed the kinds of shifts that need to occur if we are to move into the direction of seeing "sacramental preparation" align itself with an initiation model. Lots to ponder as we moved through the Church's generating vision for initiation from the Second Vatican Council and the related texts from the General Directory for Catechesis.

It's back to the busy world of publishing for me here in Chicago.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Translation Tuesday Greetings from North of the Border

"New Translation Tuesday" greetings from Toronto, Ontario.

I arrived at my polling place at 5:50 this morning and was about 80th in line. After voting, I made it to O'Hare and thanks to Air Canada, arrived here at about 11:30.

Our two-day event, "Go and Make Disciples of All Nations: A Provincial Conference on the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist" begins in a few hours at Saint Francis Xavier Parish in Missasauga, pictured here:

I am of French-Canadian ancestry and I always love visiting my extended Canadian "family" up here. I was greeted with a few snowflakes on the way to the hotel.

Not much more to report today; just been spending time getting ready for the conference.

More tomorrow.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ontario Bound

Monday evening greetings.

Well, this first full day of Central Standard Time saw the beginning of the painting of the exterior of WLP's and J.S. Paluch's office building in Franklin Park. So, to add to the absolute dreariness of the day (cold and cloudy) and the fact that it became dark much earlier than usual, our office windows were covered with plastic. Ever have one of those days when you just wanted to curl up under your desk and nap for hours?

Wow, that sounded pretty depressing!

I have a few trips left for 2012 and tomorrow is one of the most important. I am flying to Toronto to lead a day and a half focused on the sacraments of initiation. The aim is to get the folks to understand that preparation for these sacraments is, at the core, initiation ministry, not "sacramental prep." I have worked a lot on these presentations and I am hoping and praying that they are helpful for this provincial gathering in Ontario. My good friend, Father Larry Leger, wrote a bit about this gathering on his blog.

I will do my best to post from Ontario. I need to get to bed early tonight in order to be at the voting booth at 6:00 A.M., then in a cab to O'Hare for my 9:00 flight. Please pray for the safety of all travellers.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Caring for All at Christmas and Easter: WLP Responds

Friday greetings to one and all.

Well, it's time for a little WLP commercial, which I hope at least some of you will find helpful.

A few years ago, we received a call from a pastor who asked us an interesting question. He pastors a large parish and said that at Christmas and Easter, his parish schedules "overflow" Masses to accommodate the many who come to his parish to celebrate these central feasts of our faith. He told us that each year the parish spends time, energy, and money creating worship aids for the people who attend these "overflow" Masses in his parish's gym and parish hall. He said that everyone on his staff is super busy at these times. He wondered if WLP published a resource just for these two feasts, resources that would include the readings and a variety of music usually sung at these Masses. We thought that this sounded like a good idea, so we began our work on two resources.

Christmas Mass Booklets, now available from WLP, contain the readings for all four Christmas Masses, as well as the Order of Mass and 17 well-known Christmas hymns from which to choose. Those Catholics who do not regularly celebrate Mass are still in need of the newly translated texts of the Mass (not to mention Catholics, like me, who still need the text for the proclamation of the Nicene Creed, for instance). These booklets are durable and beautiful, and are meant to last for several years, so a parish can collect them after Christmas and store them until the following year. This will save the parish time, energy, and money. I remember well those days of scrambling at the last minute to prepare the worship aids for the added Christmas and Easter Masses at the parishes in which I served as music and liturgy director. Our Easter Mass Booklets are also available.

As a publisher committed to serving the needs of the singing and praying Church, we believe that we have responded to that pastor's needs and are offering a resource that many parishes can use. I often tell parish ministers that instead of complaining about the "occasional" worshippers who come to us at Christmas and Easter, we need to ramp up our efforts at hospitality at these times, caring for these Catholics (and non-Catholics) in a way that shows that, like the landowner in the parable who pays the same salary to those who begin work at the beginning of the day as he does to those who begin just before closing time, we need to reach out with the same care to those we see only at Christmas and Easter.

Thanks for listening and checking out these resources. Remember, we are always willing to listen to the thoughts and ideas from those of you who are ministering in parishes.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.