Friday, January 31, 2014

Rory Cooney's Revised Mass of Saint Aidan

Friday greetings from Chicago. We are expecting yet another winter storm here; a winter storm warning has just been posted by the National Weather Service.

Not sure what we are going to do with another ten inches of snow on top of what we have. Here is a photo I just took. This is the awning at our front door.

Take a closer look:

I am supposed to give two presentations tomorrow at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Liturgical Congress. So, I am heading up there this afternoon and have simply decided to spend the weekend there to avoid traveling in the snow.

Yesterday I mentioned Rory Cooney's revised Mass of Saint Aidan. We just received the recording in our mailboxes yesterday, so sound clips have not yet been posted to our web site. I have always enjoyed this setting, both singing it and playing it. I used to substitute quite a bit for Rory at his parish in Barrington, here in the Archdiocese of Chicago. I played that Mass quite often. It definitely has that Celtic flair. I just spent time in our music room here at WLP, playing through it and this revised setting is simple and singable. If you are looking for a new Mass setting, this would be a worthy addition to your parish's growing repertoire of settings.

So, folks, please say a prayer for travelers in these snowy times. Several Chicago folks are headed up to Milwaukee to do presentations as well, including Mike Novak from our own staff here, Steve Janco, Vicky Tufano, and Fr. Richard Fragomeni (All of these fine people have written or composed for WLP!). Looking forward to seeing them and spending time with the great folks to the north.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Best Laid Plans . . .

On Monday, I wrote, "tomorrow I leave for Fort Worth, Texas . . . "

I should be more careful about predicting the future, I guess.

It seems that all the recent travel kind of caught up with me. On Monday evening, the stomach flu paid a visit; this is something I have not yet experienced and wish not to experience ever again, please God. So, I never went to Texas, having spent the last two days in bed. Back to work today and busy as ever, however.

Just received a copy of the CD of Rory Cooney's revised Mass of Saint Aidan, which I plan to share with you tomorrow.

Hoping you are healthy and warm; snowing here again!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Home at Last: Snowdogs and Snowdrifts!

Monday greetings from the frigid Midwest. Arrived home safely from my Louisiana/Texas sojourn yesterday afternoon. I moved to Chicago from Orlando, Florida in 1992 and this is the most severe winter since then.

Here is a photo of the snow drift outside my office window this morning:

And this is what greeted us from our parking lot; a kind of rainbow (I guess they are called "sundogs")  on each side of the early morning sun; just beautiful, even in 0 degree weather!

Then, of course, is the entrance to our building:

And when I walked into my office, there was no heat; no heat in our entire section of the building. Should be an interesting day. Here is a view of the snow drift from the inside of my office:

All news here is weather news these days. I am so glad to be home, at least for a few days. Tomorrow I leave for Fort Worth, Texas, to attend the ordination/installation of their new bishop, Michael Olson, which takes place on Wednesday afternoon.

I hope that, wherever you are, you are safe and warm.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Greetings from Beaumont, Texas

Greetings from Beaumont Texas and the 52nd annual Southwest Liturgical Conference. It has been a very busy few days and this morning we all woke up to ice-encrusted cars and very dangerous road conditions. I have already given two RCIA workshops and a WLP choral music showcase. Folks here seem to be absorbing it all.
I will try to post more tomorrow.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Greetings from Saint George Parish in Baton Rouge

Tuesday greetings from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

I arrived here on Saturday and presented a reflection at each of Saint George parish's five weekend Masses. This is a huge parish, with over 1200 children in the parish school. The parish is still growing, with plans for a new church building in the near future.

The parish mission began yesterday; two sessions per day. Here are a few photos I took as people began to gather in the church for last evening's session.

The mission is entitled "Baptized, Anointed, and Fed: Living the Catholic Sacramental Life." I have been impressed by the hospitality of the people here; I have so appreciated the warm welcome, as well as the warm weather (especially after having watched the weather back home in Chicago!)

I am preparing to head on over to the church for today's second session, which is focused on the Eucharist. I use three images to look at the Eucharist: table of sacrifice, table of nourishment, and table of reconciliation. People here seem to be responding well to the mission presentations.

I made a decision recently that this will be my last "on the road" parish mission for awhile. I felt that I needed to let something go in my schedule and this was what I felt was most reasonable. I do have a Lenten parish mission coming up at Saint Pascal's parish in Chicago and one next year in Chicago as well. These missions are as much for me as it is for those who gather; kind of gives me an opportunity to slow down and find new ways to discover the depth of the sacraments in my own life.

Tomorrow the mission comes to an end and then early on Thursday I drive over to Beaumont, Texas, for the Southwest Liturgical Conference. I have never been in this area of the country and I am looking forward to the drive along Interstate 10.

Please say a prayer for the people of this wonderful parish.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Friday greetings. All is well here. Just so much work waiting for me when I returned from the Hofinger Conference, which was a great success.

I am headed to Saint George Parish in Baton Rouge, Louisiana tomorrow to present a five-day parish mission. Then from there I drive west to Beaumont, Texas for the Southwest Liturgical Conference.

More as the travels unfold.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Greetings from the Hofinger Conference

Thursday greetings from the Hofinger Conference here in New Orleans. So grateful to be out of the snow and cold for at least a few days.

Conferences like this one give me a much needed pastoral "boost." I am a minister at heart and here I am given the chance to share some wisdom with folks who are hungry for formation. My two workshops focus on discerning conversion in the RCIA and celebrating the rites of initiation. Today, there is a clergy session and this evening, WLP is co-sponsoring a concert with GIA. David Haas and Lori True from GIA will be joining musical forces with WLP's Cliff Petty and the local African-American group Good Ground. Should be a wonderful concert.

Speaking of Cliff Petty, have you had a chance to see and listen to his new Mass setting, written in an African-American style? It is the Mass of New Beginnings.

Take a look and listen.

That's it for now. Hoping that you are all safe and warm!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Snowy and Frigid Weather: Still the Star Came to Rest

Greetings from Chicago, where it is currently minus ten degrees. Our offices were closed yesterday due to the very dangerous conditions here in the Midwest. I worried about our employees and their families; slowly but surely most are returning to work here this morning. Here is a shot of our entrance that I took on my way in this morning.

These are the coldest temperatures I think I have ever experienced. I am speaking at the Hofinger Conference in New Orleans beginning tomorrow. So far, the flight is on time. We will see.

On Sunday, despite the fact that we received about a foot of new snow, we had a nice crowd at the 10:00 A.M. Mass for Epiphany at the parish I have been attending, Notre Dame de Chicago. Here is a shot of the interior, decorated for the Christmas Season. Apparently one tree's lights pooped out during the season. This is a stunning church building. The wreath is suspended beneath the central dome.

The celebrant at Mass, before the preface dialogue, announced that we would be praying one of the Church's eucharistic prayers for various needs. He said that he found one in particular that seemed fitting for Epiphany: "God Guides His Church along the Way of Salvation." Here is part of the text:
You are indeed Holy and to be glorified, O God,
who love the human race
and who always walk with us on the journey of life.
Blessed indeed is your Son,
present in our midst
when we are gathered by his love
and when, as once for the disciples, so now for us,
he opens the Scriptures and breaks the bread.

On a day when we celebrated the manifestation of Christ to the world, it was fitting to pray the words to our God, who loves us "and who always walk[s] with us on the journey of life." Seems that the star came to rest over Notre Dame de Chicago on Sunday and within this Catholic's heart and home.

Pope Francis' message for Epiphany echoed these sentiments: “Our life is a journey, illuminated by the lights which brighten our way, to find the fullness of truth and love which we Christians recognize in Jesus, the Light of the World. Like the Magi, every person has two great 'books' which provide the signs to guide this pilgrimage: the book of creation and the book of sacred Scripture. What is important is that we be attentive, alert, and listen to God who speaks to us.”

I hope that wherever you are, you are safe and warm, attentive to the book of creation and the book of sacred Scripture.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Snow Ending Here, Beginning Elsewhere!

Happy New Year to one and all.

The snow began to fall here in Chicago at 2:00 P.M. on December 31 and it finished falling (I think) about a half hour ago. Outside my office windows now:

My commute this morning was just under two hours. As they say here, "It's a real character builder out there today!"

My prayers for the safety of family and friends on the East Coast, where the snow is now falling. It is royalty calculation season these days here at WLP, as our employees slowly make their way back into the work groove after the holidays. Never a dull moment around here!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.