Throughout the next year, and until the implementation of the New Translation of the Roman Missal, The Authentic Update will focus on issues surrounding the New Translation and developments in Sacred Music arising from it. I hope you will visit here frequently and join in the conversation as the Church enters into this remarkable period of liturgical transformation.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Let the Catechesis Begin!

With the final approval of the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal in August (adding the caveat that this is not the first "final approval" of the text!), we enter into the period of catechesis leading up to the implementation on Sunday, November 27th of 2011.

Already, Bishop's Conferences, Regional Conferences, National Liturgy groups, Dioceses and local Parishes are undertaking the process of informing parishioners of the coming changes, training parish musicians in new styles and forms of liturgical music for the Mass and most importantly, introducing the new texts to the Priests and beginning the process of "re-imagining" the post-conciliar liturgy that has been called for in Liturgiam Authenticam and Sacramentum Caritatis.

Catechetical materials for the implementation are now being produced and approved by the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship from a variety of sources. Some of these resources, such as those produced by the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions are of the "train the trainers" type.... workshops and materials intended to train Diocesan and Parish leaders who will return to their respective local areas and train others. Much the same, and somewhat overlapping in terms of personnel and materials are the catechetical programs from the USCCB. These programs, in the form of seminars and training sessions for Priests, Seminarians and liturgical leaders have been produced in conjunction with the FDLC and The National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

The NPM, for its part, has focused on revisiting the 2007 Bishops Committee Instruction on Music, Sing To The Lord, Music in Divine Worship. This document, which perplexed many musicians at the time of its publication, is now more clearly able to be seen as an instruction for the reform of liturgical music in conjunction with the implementation of the New Translation. NPM should be encouraged to continue its emphasis on this document and every Catholic musician should place a great priority on re-reading and studying this document and the provisions therein in relation to the liturgical demands of the New Translation. It can only be hoped that both the NPM and Catholic musicians will consider the entirety of this document and its vision and not merely those parts which are convenient.

There are also a great many resources for information online.... among my favorites is Gotta Sing, Gotta Pray, a blog by Jerry Galipeau of WLP. Jerry features posts on the New Translation each Tuesday and Thursday. As the Editor of one of the major publishing houses, Dr. Galipeau has insights into the process and progress of the New Translation that are both informative and interesting. Regarding sacred music, and from a very different perspective is a site originating from the Church Music Association of America (CMAA) appropriately titled The Chant Cafe. While the articles and discussions more generally focus on the restoration of sacred chant and polyphony in the liturgy, the emphasis lately has been on the primary issues of the music for the New Translation - vernacular chant and vernacular versions of the Antiphons. Both of the above sites also allow for comment and discussion, allowing a unique opportunity for questions and obtaining additional resources.

There are individual entities who have undertaken the production of training materials as well, all of which must have the approval of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship. One of the most notable is a Seminar/ Workshop for Priests and Seminarians by Msgr. James P. Moroney, Executive Secretary of Vox Clara, produced at the request of Francis Cardinal George of the Archdiocese of Chicago for the instruction of priests and Seminarians in his Diocese. Msgr. Moroney has a busy schedule of lecture dates around the country during the coming year, and the entire program is also available on DVD or can be viewed online HERE. The program has some very notable advocates, including Cardinal Francis Arinze, Cardinal Antonio Canizares, Cardinal George Pell and Cardinal George.

Msgr. Moroney's approach to the New Translation differs from those previously mentioned here in that he firstly sees the implementation as being an action of liturgical renewal for Priests, focusing on the Priest's praying of the texts as the primary form of catechesis for the congregation. In doing so, he affirms the vision of the New Translation set out in Liturgiam Authenticam, and the more general vision of liturgical catechesis set forth in Sacrosanctum Concilium, and more recently in Sacramentum Caritatis. While noting that the implementation of the New Translation will present some challenges, Msgr. Moroney's program is refreshing in the absence of an underlying assumption that the New Translation faces overwhelming opposition by Priests and the faithful that needs to be overcome by extensive explanation of the translation and approval process and detailed theological and liturgical justification for any and all changes to the texts spoken by the congregation.

Regardless of the resources used, the time has come to begin the process of implementation. I hope you will return here from time to time as I will do my best to keep up to date on issues surrounding the New Translation and liturgical music during the coming year.
Deo Gratias!

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