By MARY ANNE CASTRANIO, Staff Writer | Published September 2, 2010
The Southeastern Music Symposium had been carefully planned for months. It was just fortuitous that the annual gathering of liturgical musicians in Atlanta was held one day after the long-awaited proclamation came from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that the final English translation of the new Roman Missal was now complete. Presenters and attendees alike at the symposium on Aug. 21 were all abuzz with the news and the implications for changes in the music of the Mass.
Sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Divine Worship, the symposium drew some 270 participants from eight states and 12 dioceses. Musicians, directors, vocalists and clergy came for a one-day seminar featuring speakers Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, David Haas, Jeffrey Tucker, Jerry Galipeau and Will Breytspraak, on topics ranging from the upcoming changes in the liturgy, to music, publishing, chant and sight-reading.
Pat DeJarnett, Ph.D., who works in the Office of Divine Worship, was one of the planners for the symposium.
She said, “We were pleased with the attendance and pleased that it is finally a regional event.”
Msgr. Wadsworth, the executive director of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), gave the keynote address in the morning, following Mass. The members of ICEL prepare English translations of the Latin liturgical books and individual liturgical texts in accord with the directives of the Holy See.
In a scholarly yet readily understandable manner, Msgr. Wadsworth defined the importance of the announcement of the new translation.
“We stand now at the threshold of the introduction of a new translation of the Roman Missal, an event of unparalleled significance in the 40 years since the introduction of the first English translation of the Missale Romanum in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. … I think it is fair to deduce that the current translation has not only shaped our liturgical experience over the past 40 years, it has also generated a common culture of liturgical music.”
He continued, “For this reason, we are well placed to consider seriously what has been achieved and how things could be improved for the future.”
Other speakers shared information about how they have been preparing for the changes in the new missal. According to Galipeau, associate publisher at World Library Publications, one of the three main Catholic music publishers, new musical settings for the Mass have been in process for some years now, with almost 50 new Mass settings ready to “hit the streets” from all of the publishers.
In their sessions, Galipeau and Haas (who represents GIA Publications) both introduced new and “retrofitted” Masses, which had attendees singing along with enthusiasm, as well as discussing various methods for introducing the new Mass parts to Catholics during the months before Advent 2011, when the new missal will take effect.
In his session, Haas predicted, “People are going to start talking about the Mass again … and that’s a good thing.”
Don Ivancic, from St. Philip Catholic Church in Franklin, Tenn., thought the changes were “not going to be very difficult.” He said, “We’ve got time to prepare and time to introduce.”
Stephen Lee, a music minister at Christ Our Hope Church in Lithonia, said that there has not been much talk about the upcoming changes in his parish, but he thought the symposium discussion was “thorough and uplifting.”
DeJarnett said, “I do believe that it gave the attendees a sense that the third translation of the Roman Missal is not going to be as bad as anticipated.”
Msgr. Wadsworth encouraged the musicians in his address: “The liturgy is the point of contact for the greatest number of our Catholic people. It is not only a window to heaven, but also the Church’s shop-window in a largely unbelieving world. … I want to thank you for all you do in the service of your communities. Your work is an essential aspect of the way the Church in every generation announces the mystery of Christ.”
The new order of the Mass is described in detail, along with links to many other resources, on the USCCB website at www.usccb.org/romanmissal.