Friday, May 30, 2014

Ready, Set, Go: Chicago Printer's Row Lit Fest

Friday morning greetings on a a beautifully sunny day here in Chicago.

My head is spinning right now as I think about the next nine days. I am so looking forward to the next two days; a clear calendar; a rarity; a thing of beauty!

Then the whirlwind begins. I have a 6:00 A.M. flight to Los Angeles on Monday morning and a meeting there late morning and into lunch. Tuesday morning a flight back to Chicago. Unpack, re-pack. Early Wednesday morning it's off to Lafayette, Louisiana, where J.S. Paluch and WLP will be presenting two seminars on Thursday, one on "Building a Better Bulletin," and the other (with me presenting) on "Building a Better RCIA." Then the drive to New Orleans where the same seminars will be repeated on Friday. Then the flight back to Chicago. If you are interested in attending these events, send me an e-mail at

Then the excitement continues. On Saturday and Sunday, June 7-8, WLP, ACTA Publications, and LTP will be joining together at the 30th annual Printer's Row Lit Fest here in Chicago, an outdoor book fair, one of the largest in the United States. Read more about it. We will all be in the same exhibit tent, "Chicago Catholic Publishers." Over 150,000 people attended last year. It looks like somewhat of a grueling weekend, with set-up at 6:00 A.M. on Saturday morning, June 7, exhibiting all day, then the same on Sunday, with tear down early evening on Sunday. I am so excited to see what kind of interest these Chicago Catholic publishers engender. If you live in or near Chicago, be sure to stop by. Exhibiting in an outdoor venue has its challenges. Just imagine a sudden Midwest thunderstorm! We are planning on being well-prepared with tarps and plastic tubs to protect our resources. Looks like it will be lots of fun!

Gotta travel.
Gotta exhibit.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

J.S. Paluch and World Library Publications: Our Mission to Help Build Communities of Disciples

Thursday greetings.



The J.S. Paluch Company and World Library Publications have a group of Parish Consultants spread across the United States and Puerto Rico. These 30 plus men and women represent our company and help parishes in their efforts to build communities of discipleship through the parish bulletin, mobile apps, parish giving programs, parish calendars, parish web sites, and the many resources that WLP publishes in our mission to serve the needs of the singing, praying, and initiating Church.

The entire group is here at our home offices in Franklin Park, Illinois, for three days of intense training, information sharing, and the sharing of best practices. We are here to hone our skills and sharpen our professional abilities to assist parishes. It has been an exciting week thus far. This morning, our team here at WLP will be talking to the group about our worship resources and other resources that help build communities of disciples, committed to serving the Lord and one another, leading to a commitment to stewardship of time, talent, and treasure.

These are exciting days here as we help those "in the trenches," those who visit hundreds of parishes on a daily basis to share the helpful resources we provide.

When many of us here moved from full-time parish ministry to the work of Catholic publishing, many of our colleagues inquired as to where our commitment to ministry landed. One of our staff members put it simply: "same mission, different tools." I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment and days like these help me see how far-reaching our publishing mission actually is.

Please say a prayer for us as we continue to search for ways to better serve God's holy people.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Filled with Joy and Gratitude

Tuesday greetings from the warm and muggy Midwest. I hope that you enjoyed the weekend as much as I did.

Sunday marked the 56th anniversary of my baptism, which took place at this font at Saint Anthony's Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts:

I went to Mass on Sunday at Saint Peter's in the Loop and renewed my own baptism at this font:

The words of the opening hymn filled me with a palpable joy:

"I come with joy, a child of God,
Forgiven, loved, and free,
The life of Jesus to recall,
In love laid down for me."

The homily focused on the presence of the Lord within our hearts. After Mass, I went up to the celebrant and thanked him for his homily, telling him it was my baptism day. I told him that I appreciated his words and that I was celebrating that day when the Lord entered my heart. He placed his hand on over my heart and said, "He will always be there; sometimes you will be led away from him, but he will always be in your heart; right there."

I then decided that Sunday needed to be a "water" day, so I bought a ten dollar Chicago Water Taxi pass and spent a few hours cruising up and down the Chicago River, where I took this short video:

What a wonderful weekend of remembrance and thanksgiving for me. So grateful to my parents for having had me baptized; the day that everything changed!
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day

Friday afternoon greetings.

I spent the last two days in Charlotte, NC, presenting a workshop on the RCIA.

I hope that the Memorial Day weekend is a good one for all who follow Gotta Sing Gotta Pray.

Hopefully back on track with daily blogging next week.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Tuesday greetings on this, a warm and humid day here in Chicago.

One section from this past Sunday's Gospel, which I have heard hundreds of times, struck my heart.

Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

You know, I spend many days each month traveling around North America, talking about Christian initiation, the sacramental life, adult sacramental spiriturality, evangelization, catechesis, etc. I bring handouts. I have pretty decent PowerPoint presentations. I have been told that my story-telling skills are excellent. On Sunday, when I heard this Gospel, I wondered if, after all the talking, story-telling, the PowerPoint slides, all the handouts that I use in my presentations, if somehow people are left with the same question that Thomas asked: "Master . . . how can we know the way?" Or in other words, "Master . . . who are you?"

One of the things I tell catechists all the time has to do with their "content." I challenge them: "Do you hide behind your content? Do you hide behind your handouts? Do you load your sessions with so much information because you are unwilling, unable, or afraid to do what is at the core of what you are supposed to be doing: leading people into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, the Master?" I usually get very knowing glances when I ask these questions. And when I push it further, asking people if they have a capacity to articulate that relationship with the Lord, they often look away in discomfort. The National Directory for Catechesis puts it this way: "The object of catechesis is communion with Jesus Christ."

On Sunday, I sat there and, in what ended up being a profound moment of grace, I realized once again that the Lord Jesus is the way for me, is the truth for me, is the life for me. I want people to know this. I want people to know how this makes me wake up each day and want to do something to show that people might just encounter a little bit of the Lord by encountering me. I know this can sound boastful, but I don't think there is anything more important in my life than to do this.

I think I need more and more to move out from under the covers and share from my heart, rather than sometimes hiding behind my handouts and slides.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, May 19, 2014

St. Peter's in the Loop

Monday greetings from the Midwest.

On Sunday, this itinerant Catholic hopped on the "Number 20" bus and headed into Chicago's Loop for the 11:00 A.M. Mass at Saint Peter's in the Loop. The church is right on Madison Street smack in the middle of downtown Chicago.

The parish attracts many weekend visitors, tourists staying in Chicago, as well as folks who live downtown.

I walked in the church at the same time that three young adults were going in. The celebrant looked down into the foyer and said something to one of the young adults, who looked surprised that a priest was talking to him. The celebrant simply looked at the young man and said, "I was just saying 'welcome' to you." And a smile broke out across the face of the young man.

The Franciscans were so genuinely hospitable here. The music was solid; the cantor was superb; the preaching spoke directly to my heart; the lector was great.

Looking forward to a return visit.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blackhawk Birthdays and a New RCIA Resource

Thursday greetings from a very windy and very soggy Midwest, with temperatures in the low 40s. Happy Spring!

We had our monthly breakfast meeting this morning here at WLP, a meeting at which we celebrated this month's birthday honorees. Instead of birthday cake, this was what was served:

Most of you know that I am a dedicated hockey fan, dedicated most especially to the Chicago Blackhawks, who have provided much joy over the past several weeks.

I am finishing up my editorial work on the final proof of Mary Birmingham's new book, Purified and Enlightened: RCIA Sessions for Lent. This is an excellent book. Mary has been developing these sesssions in her parish work for decades and the result is nothing less than wonderful. We have included handouts and PowerPoint presentations for each of the sessions. This book will really make a difference in parish RCIA processes.

We are happy to serve the needs of RCIA ministers through our "Fountain of Life" Christian Initiation series. This is a great addition to the series.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Happy Day

Happy Feast Day of Saint Matthias, indeed a special day for me. On this day, which landed on a Wednesday in 1958, I was brought into this world at Saint Luke's Hospital in New Bedford, Massachusetts. As always, thanks Ma and Dad!

Fittingly, at today's general audience in Vatican City, Pope Francis reflected upon and catechized on the Holy Spirit's gift of fortitude.

His words:

"With this, we must not think that the gift of fortitude is only necessary on some occasions or in certain situations. This gift must be the base note of our being Christians, in our ordinary everyday lives …

Dear friends, sometimes we may be tempted to allow ourselves be overtaken by laziness or despondency, especially when faced with the hardships and trials of life. In these cases, do not lose heart, but invoke the Holy Spirit, so that with the gift of fortitude He can lift our hearts and communicate new vigor and enthusiasm to our lives and our following Jesus."

At 56, I need all the fortitude I can get!

A happy day all around.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Enrichment in Dallas: It Went Both Ways

Monday greetings from Chicago, where it is warm and humid. I took this photo yesterday while on a walk in Millennium Park here in Chicago.

I had a wonderful weekend in Dallas, Texas. I presented a two hour workshop to the "international priests" of the diocese on Friday afternoon, after a less-than-pleasant experience with my usual air carrier. The skies were anything but friendly on Friday; let me leave it at that.

The workshop with the priests seemed to go quite well. Frankly, for me, priests are generally a challenging audience, particularly when I speak about the RCIA. As is usually the case, they are quite quiet during the presentation, even when asked to share their questions and concerns. I found the Dallas priests to be friendly and warm; they are obviously dedicated to and really love their people. I hope the afternoon was helpful for them.

On Saturday, I met with the deacon candidates and their wives for the entire day; six sessions on various aspects of the RCIA. It was a delight.

We prayed the liturgy of the hours to begin and end the day and celebrated Mass together as the day concluded. This was a long, long day of input and discussion. Frankly, I thought I would "run out of gas" by day's end, but their energy and engagement in the topic really kep my own energy level quite high, thanks to my extroversion! Some of them had had experience with the RCIA. Many of them had at one time or another been a sponsor in the RCIA process. I think they may have come with the expectation of being told about how to transmit the content of the faith in the RCIA. Instead, I believe that they grasped the apprenticeship model; I believe that they began to see the RCIA as a kind of "dynamic novitiate" into discipleship, rather than a course in Catholic teaching.

I have always appreciated and admired the deacons with whom I have worked throughout my lifetime in ministry. These men and their wives in Dallas showed me a developed capacity for critical thinking. So many of them come from professions (attorneys, professors, etc.) where they have had to engage with many different people from many walks of life on many different topics and issues. They bring this experience to their training for ministry and this gave me so much hope. They were open and were unafraid to challenge some of their own assumptions, as well as some of what I was saying! Simply a great day. I believe the parishes to which these men and women will eventually be assigned will be enriched by their presence and ministry.

Thanks, Diocese of Dallas, for the invitation. I was enriched.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Thursday greetings from the "home office" here in Franklin Park, IL.

Tomorrow I leave to do some RCIA work in the Diocese of Dallas, Texas.


Tomorrow afternoon I will be speaking to a gathering of priests from all over the world who are currently ministering in parishes in the Dallas diocese. I have been asked to talk about the fundamental principles of the RCIA and the importance of celebrating the various rites from the RCIA.

Then on Saturday, I will be leading an RCIA training day for those in diaconate formation in the diocese. That will be a full day; I plan to present six sessions: 1. Vision and Overview of the RCIA; 2. The Apprenticeship Model of Formation in the RCIA; 3. Celebrating the Major and Minor Rites - the Deacon's Role; 4. Finding and Forming a Catechumenate Team; 5. Conversion and Discernment; 6. The Initiating Parish.

Whew! I am getting weary just looking at the topics. I am greatly looking forward to the time with both the priests and those in formation for the permanent diaconate. More from Dallas in the next few days.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Submissions for Paul Revere Awards

Tuesday greetings from a warming-up-Midwest.

Over the past several weeks, our senior music engraver, Steve Fiskum, has been choosing and readying our 2014 submissions to the Music Publishers Association in New York City for consideration for their annual prestigious Paul Revere Awards. You can check out past winners here. We are "playing with the big boys" in this field, for sure.

WLP has been honored with the bestowal of these awards several times over the years. Our edition of The Roman Missal won a first place award in 2012.

We are submitting six entries this year, some for cover design, others for music engraving. Here is a photo I just took of our entries before they are sent to New York.

So proud once again of our WLP staff members here who work so hard to bring our composers' fine work to life.


Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Baptismal Month of May

Monday greetings on this Cinco de Mayo. Our editorial team here at WLP planned our luncheon today and it was delicious!

The month of May has come upon us, which is the month of my birth into the Galipeau family and the month of my rebirth into the family of God. A few weeks ago I visited the place of my baptism and captured the moment in a few videos. This first one is taken on the steps of Saint Anthony Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

And here is a short video of the interior of the church, with an approach to the baptism font.

As the anniversary nears (May 25), I will be more and more grateful each day for this great gift.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.