Friday, June 27, 2014

In Between New Yorks

Friday greetings from the sunny and warm Midwest.

I arrived home last night after a day and a half at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, Long Island, New York, where our company was presenting two seminars; mine was on rebuilding the parish's RCIA.

I am returning to the exact same location on Sunday morning to lead the spirituality sessions and a few workshops at the Institute for Liturgical Music at the seminary. I will be sure to send photos of the beautiful location.

Here is a photo of the main chapel, which I snapped yesterday:

It was an interesting group of folks who gathered for the RCIA session. Many were in the very first years of ministering in the RCIA; and a few others had more than thirty years of experience.

One of the workshops I am preparing for NPM in a couple of weeks is "RCIA Forty Years Later: An Assessment of Where We Are." I am garnering lots of information from these various seminars to present at my workshop. I am also doing a workshop on music for Holy Week, as well as the opening keynote presentation. I hope to put the finishing touches on the keynote during some quiet time at the seminary next week.

I hope your weekend is a good one.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

WLP Wins Multiple Awards

This is awards season in the world of publishing.

In the past few weeks, our hearts here at J.S. Paluch and World Library Publications have swelled with pride and gratitude.

At their annual meeting in New York City in early June, the Music Publishers Association announced their annual Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence. Most of the major players in music publishing (symphonic, pop, rock, classical, sacred, choral, instrumental, etc.) submit pieces for consideration in many categories. We have won Paul Revere awards in the past, but this year's award felt so much more special and dear to us. In the category of choral music, WLP won first place for the music engraving of Charles Thatcher's Communion Chants for the Church Year. Congratulations to our senior music engraver, one of, if not the finest, engraver in the country, Steve Fiskum, and to his team of music engravers.

And over this past weekend we learned of the awards announced by the Catholic Press Association. Brother Mickey McGrath's Go To Joseph garnered three awards:

First Place in the category "Popular Presentation of the Catholic Faith"
Second Place in the category "Spirituality-Hard Cover"
Third Place in the category "Design and Production"

To win three awards in three separate categories is nearly unprecedented. Congratulations to Brother Mickey McGrath, to the book's editor, WLP's own Christine Krzystofczyk, and to WLP designer Christine Enault, as well as the many men who contributed essays to this fine book.

In the category "Liturgy," WLP won the first place award for the Saint Margaret Sunday Missal. Congratulations to editor Michael Novak.

Finally, as far as books go, in the "50th Anniversary of Vatican II" category, WLP won a third prize for  Do Not Quench the Spirit!: Celebrating Fifty Years of Vatican II/ ¡No apagues el espíritu!: Celebrando cincuenta años del Concilio Vaticano II by Deacon William T. Ditewig, Edward Foley, Capuchin, Chris Ángel and Karla Bellinger.

And finally in the category "Best Trade/Seasonal Catalog," WLP's Fall 2013 Catalog: Embracing Technology in the Church by Gina Buckley and Chris Broquet, won first prize!

I am so proud of the work of my colleagues here at World Library Publications and the J.S. Paluch Company. I am awed by their professionalism and expertise. It is a privilege to lead them in our mission to serve the needs of the singing, praying, and initiating Church.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Massachusetts, Florida, and Off to Long Island

Monday morning greetings from a stormy Midwest

What a few days this has been for this blogger. I was able to visit family in Massachusetts for an overnight late last week. I drove my parents up to Cape Ann (Gloucester, Rockport, Anisquam, and Lanesville). It was a picture-perfect day! This was the view from one of my favorite places to eat in the United States; the Lobster Pool in Lanesville:

Late Friday I flew to Orlando to provide the music for the wedding of a long-time friend on Saturday. The wedding took place at Saint Mary Magdalen Church in Altamonte Springs. My first ministerial position as director of liturgy and music was at Saint Mary Magdalen, some thirty years ago. Here is a photo of the church's interior:

And here is the baptism font that was built during a renovation of the church a few years ago:

While at the wedding reception, I was seated next to a former colleague of mine from the parish, who shared this photo with me. Looks like I must have been selling ice cream on the side in 1985!

While away, I finished the final edits on Mary Birmingham's new book, Purified and Enlightened: RCIA Sessions for Lent. It should be in the house in about three weeks. This is a must-have for RCIA ministers. It includes a CD-ROM with handouts and PowerPoint presentations.

Here for a few days, then off to Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, NY, on Long Island, for an RCIA seminar on Thursday. Back here to Chicago on Thursday night, then back to the seminary again on Sunday to present the spirituality seminars for the Liturgical Music Institute. Looking forward to these two trips to Long Island!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

California Churches

Tuesday greetings from the warm and sunny Midwest.

I arrived back home here in Chicago at about 2:00 this morning, flying in from Los Angeles.

On Thursday of last week, J.S. Paluch and World Library Publications held two seminars, one for bulletin editors and the other for RCIA ministers, at Good Shepherd Parish in Beverly Hills, California.

Here is a shot of the exterior of the church:

When I entered the church, I was, of course, interested in the baptism font, pictured here; it is to the left of the altar, in the sanctuary:

When I began to take photos of the beautiful stained glass windows, I was startled by the fact that there were people sleeping in the pews. This is a parish that takes outreach to the poor very seriously. Set amidst some of the most expensive and glamorous properties in the United States, Good Shepherd is a place where the homeless may go for food, respite, and outreach.

On Friday, we traveled to Saint Philip the Apostle Church in Pasadena, where we repeated the bulletin and RCIA seminars.  Here is a shot of the exterior of this beautiful church:

The baptism font is confronted as soon as one walks through the main doors. It is situated in the center aisle, at the entrance.

There are swinging glass doors on either side. One presumably enters from the back, walks in, and is baptized in the baptismal pool within. Then one goes through the other doors, which head right up the main aisle to the altar. This type of arrangement makes a great theological and liturgical point: baptism leads to the table of the Eucharist.

Here is a shot looking the other way:

Once finished in Pasadena, I headed to Indian Wells, in the California desert in the Palm Springs area, for some rest and relaxation. On Sunday, I attended Mass at the beautiful Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in La Quinta, California. The setting for the church is one of the more spectacular I have seen. It is built right at the base of the mountains in La Quinta:

This is a very large church, the size of which is not captured well in this photo. Here is a photo of the interior:

And the font (obviously no immersion of adults in this font). This was my view from where I was sitting at Mass on Sunday:

The parish grounds are simply lovely; lots of porticos and outdoor spaces where people can chat and enjoy the beauty of the area.

Here you can get a better sense of just how close the church is to the mountains:

The statue of saint Francis on the grounds is quite stunning:

So, this was a bit of a pilgrimage to California churches for me last week. The weather was wonderful the entire time, with abundant sunshine and breezes.

It is always a privilege to experience the church in the United States in different places around the country. One thing is for certain: Pope Francis is having such a positive effect on the Catholics I continue to meet on my travels.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sad News from Phoenix

Thursday morning greetings from Buena Park, California. I am here to present two RCIA workshops, one this morning in Beverly Hills and the other in Pasadena tomorrow.

Such sad news this morning regarding the two priests who were shot, one killed, in Phoenix. When will this country wake up and do something about this senseless availability of guns? Just so frustrated. Praying for the repose if the soul of the deceased priest and for healing for the other.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The "Francis Effect" and the RCIA

Tuesday greetings from soggy Chicagoland.

At the Printer's Row Lit Fest here in Chicago over the weekend, I had an interesting encounter. A couple I think were in their seventies approached our tent, which was clearly marked:

The woman came over to me and said, "I am not a Roman Catholic, but I want you to know how much I love your pope. As a matter of fact, I get up every Sunday morning and turn on the television to EWTN to listen to what I think you people call the pope's 'homily.' I find it very inspiring."

And just this past Thursday, the RCIA leaders from a large parish in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana told me that they have three people in the inquiry phase of the RCIA who are seeking to be become Catholic solely because of Pope Francis.

Are you hearing  or experiencing anything similar?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lafayette, New Orleans, and Printer's Row

Monday morning greetings from the sunny Midwest. The last several days have been very busy for me; three days in Louisiana, followed by the Printer's Row Lit Fest here in Chicago.

Thursday's RCIA seminar was held at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Lafayette, Louisiana. The church had a major fire several years ago and was rebuilt and exapnded. Some photos:

And here is the baptism font:

We then drove through southern Louisiana to New Orleans, where the seminar was repeated on Friday at Saint Catherine parish in Metarie, Louisiana, pictured here:

I just love doing these seminars, sharing the Church's vision for the catechumenate and having people really contrast that vision with their actual pastoral practice.

When I returned, I found that the May 2014 edition of the BCDW (Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship) Newsletter was in my inbox. Here was the lead article:

CARA Survey on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

In a joint project, the Secretariat of Divine Worship and Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis, along with the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, have commissioned Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate to conduct a major survey on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).  The goal of the survey is to gauge the actual use and implementation of the RCIA in real-life parish situations.  The survey has been designed to determine which of the rites are actually used in parish and diocesan settings, when the rites are celebrated, and who presides at them.  The survey will also give responders the opportunity to report the length and content of their various catechetical programs associated with the RCIA.  This comprehensive survey is the first of its kind, and responses will inform the Bishops of the United States as they undertake a review of the National Statutes for the Catechumenate, which have been in place since 1986.

The survey has been distributed to 10,000 recipients via e-mail.  The sampling includes parishes from all across the United States – urban and rural, large and small.  The survey’s format is multiple-choice, except for a few open-ended final questions.  The findings will be reported at the National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions in Lombard, Illinois in October 2014.  Recipients are encouraged to complete their survey thoroughly and honestly, based on the actual practices in a typical year at their parish.

The results will be quite telling, don't you think? This will be a pivotal study as we prepare to re-do the National Statutes for the Catechumenate and go through the process of the re-translation of the RCIA using the new translation guidelines from Liturgiam Authenticam. Should be an interesting few years, to say the least.

Finally, on Saturday and Sunday, three Catholic publishers here in Chicago sponsored a tent at the 30th annual Printer's Row Lit Fest. It was great to have a Catholic presence. Our sales were not quite what we had hoped for, but it was great public relations for the Catholic presence here in Chicago:

The weather was perfect, but the days were long; on our feet on asphalt!

And so this Monday brings me back to the office for a few days. On Wednesday, it's off to southern California for two more RCIA seminars (Beverly Hills and Pasadena).

Happy Pentecost!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The United States - Universal

Wednesday greetings from Lafayette, Louisiana. Arrived here an hour ago after a long day of travel. Spent Monday and Tuesday in Los Angeles at meetings with the Archdiocese. One of those weeks. Tomorrow, I will be presenting an RCIA workshop here in Lafayette, then we drive to New Orleans for the same workshop on Friday, then it's home to Chicago and an early rise on Saturday to set up for the Printer's Row Lit Fest. You know, sometimes I wake up trying to figure out where I am!

The more I travel here in the United States, the more diverse I realize our Church is. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is a place of immense diversity; I think someone told me once that Mass is celebrated there in over 50 languages. Today, when I landed here in Lafayette, the announcements over the P.A. system at the airport were done first in English, then repeated in French. A country marked by diversity of culture; and a Church working hard to serve the needs of all.

Feeling quite catholic - quite universal - today.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.