Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pastoral Musicians, Please Help Me!

I really need the help
of those of you who are pastoral musicians.
I tire of looking through the websites
of the publishers of pastoral music.
I've looked through OCP, GIA and World Library.
I hope someone can help me.

What is it I'm looking for?
I'm looking for a sung mass.
That is to say,
I'm looking for mass with a sung presider's part.
And this mass I'm looking for
must be in Spanish.
And not just a Spanish translation
of something.
I want something with true Latin musical style.

The only mass setting I've found
with a sung presidor part is
"Misa del Pueblo Inmigrante,"
by Bob Hurd and Jaime Cortez.
This is a wonderful mass setting
and I am currently using it.
But the truth is
this is really only a sung preface.
And while I may use this,
I am really looking for a sung Eucharistic Prayer.
Does anyone know of any?

There are many fine pieces of music in Spanish.
Misa Luna by Peter Kolar is a work of art, indeed.
Misa Salvadoreña is absolutely beautiful.
And, sooner or later, I am certain that I will use both of these works.

But for the immediate
I really need an arrangement
with sung presider part.

I'm also looking
for a mass setting for children in Spanish.
And here, too, we find a lot of good music
offered by various publishers.
But, again, I seek a mass setting
with not only acclamations
but with sung presider part.

Maybe the two mass settings I'm looking for
will end up being one mass.
It could be as such
that there is a simple setting of a Children's mass
that could also be used for the entire parish.

It's just that I find myself in a parish
where the pastor is a musician.
He love to sing and play his guitar.
And he is working hard
at developing the music program in the parish.
What a grace filled moment, indeed!

But you know,
I just can't seem to find
this that I seek.

Any suggestions?

. . . .I know, I know. . . .
. . I'm gonna hafta break down
and work with on this project with my pastor
and just create the music we need. . . .
. . I already have a Eucharistic Acclamation
for a Children's Eucharistic Prayer in head
al ritmo huapango. . .
"Gloria al Señor en el cielo. . ."

. . . . But you know,
if there's already something out there
that I just don't know about
please let me know. . .

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Concert at St. Gabriel

St. Gabriel Parish in Detroit
Is celebrating 93 years.

One of the many festivities being planned
Is a wonderful concert.

This will take place this Friday,
September 26th at 7:45p.m.,
immediately after the evening mass.

Featured in this event will be
Proyecto Artifice and Rondalla San Gabriel,
Both groups are from St. Gabriel parish.
St. Gabriel pastor, Fr. Jaime,
Directs both of these groups.

A special guest choir will also be part of this event,
Cántico de la Mujer Latina.
Translated, the group’s name means
Canticle of the Latin Woman.
And, you guessed it,
It’s a Latina Women’s Choir.
This group is directed by yours truly.
The concert will be primarily in Spanish,
Though Cántico de la Mujer Latina
Will sing at least two songs in English.

You’ll also be able to hear some original poetry
As I will be reciting one of my works that night as well!

The event will also feature an Art Gallery.
I’ve already seen some of the works to be displayed
And I can say first-hand that the artwork is spectacular!
At least 20 works by a young man name Gilberto
Will be on display during this event.

This enjoyable evening is the brainchild
of the pastor, Fr. Jaime Hinojos.
Fr. Jaime is always finding creative ways
of celebrating special moments in parish life.

Do Join us:
Friday - Sept. 26th@ 7:45p.m.
St. Gabriel is located at
8118 W. Vernor
Detroit, MI 48209

The concert will take place in the school hall.

Better yet,
Come to mass at 7:00p.m.
And then stay for the concert and art exhibit.
And, oh, mass is in Spanish!

Yahoo Map

About the photo:
Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego.
I took this photo on Sunday there at St. Gabriel.
I've always admires this Guadalupe side altar.
Now just think,
if you come to mass before the concert
you'll be able to admire this altar, too!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What is a Rosary?

I mean, really.
I know well what it is in terms of a tool for prayer.
But what else is for others?
How do others use the rosary,
Besides prayer.

We put rosaries in our cars.
I do so because as such
It becomes a symbol of my faith.
I also actually pray with it
On days when I find myself
Waiting for my son after football practice.
Any mom who has ever waited for their child. . .
For the school bus to return from a game or fieldtrip,
For them to exit the school after showers after a game. . .
Any mom knows that sometimes we just wait.
What do you do when you wait?
I pray with my rosary.
And I always have a rosary in my car.

Some wear a rosary as a tattoo.
That, perhaps, is also symbol.
Of all the images
That could be permanently painted on your body
I guess a rosary is a good choice.

Some wear the rosary as a piece of jewelry.
I have always had mixed emotions on that one.
I mean,
If my car can wear it,
Why shouldn’t people?
And wouldn’t it make more sense for people to wear it
Than for our cars to wear it?

But it is those who wear the rosary as a talisman
That have always given me concern.
As if, by wearing these magic beads,
They will somehow be protected from all harm.
This is where my mixed emotion
On wearing the rosary comes from.

There are all kinds of vulgar things
That people can wear as a necklace.
To be honest,
I would prefer to see them wearing a rosary
Than some vulgar statement or image.

But more and more
We are hearing stories
Of youth not allowed to wear the rosary as jewelry
Because it is a gang symbol.
A Dallas area student
Was told to remove or hide her rosary
For just such a reason.

But where are we
That schools have metal detectors
And security guards?
Where are we
That the rosary has been co-opted by gangs?

Where are we
When people would rather wear a rosary
Than pray a rosary?
Where are we
When people would rather have a rosary painted on them
Than to pray the rosary?
Where are we
When people would rather have their car wear the rosary
Than pray it?

Where are we
That people would use a rosary
As a talisman?

Maybe if more of us were praying the rosary
I wouldn’t find myself
Asking these questions. . .

. . and for those of us who know and understand,
there is no excuse. . .
. . even “no time” is no excuse. .
. . it’s as a said before,
there is always enough time
to pray three “hail marys”. . . .

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 911

On September 11, 2001
I was actually at church.
At the time I worked for an historic church in Detroit.
A tour bus had just come in to visit the historic place. . .
. . .the visitors to church didn't know what was happening. . . .
. . .The church secretary, myself and a few others
all watched the towers fall from the TV set in the rectory living room. . .

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Religious Women

This labor day weekend
I spent some time with religious women.
The Grand Rapids Dominicans
and The Missionaries of Charity.

On Saturday,
members of my women’s choir
drove up to Grand Rapids.
We were invited to participate
in the Perpetual Profession of Vows
of one of our members.

I was totally impressed
by the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids.
They are a dedicated and prayerful bunch,
to say the least.

They are aware and involved.
Just entering the Dominican Center at Marywood
one saw immediately
how involved they are
in areas of justice and peace.

And the art on the grounds
was just amazing.
And I love art,
all things creative.
So, needless to say,
I took few photos!
But I was impressed
that these ladies
say a lot
with the art they have on exhibition.
To even have art on exhibit
is saying something.

I totally enjoyed my company
at lunch and at dinner.
These ladies make you think.
These ladies gently agitate
to make your brain cells grow!
I just love that!

The mass and profession
were just wonderful.
There were several hundred people in attendance.
The chapel was packed.
My women’s choir joined the Dominican Sister’s choir
and it was just an experience
that I will never forget.
The whole assembly sang and responded
with great gusto, with energy and enthusiasm.
Theirs is a preaching charism
and preach they do!

And then,
almost in polarity,
I spent Monday evening
with the Missionaries of Charity.
They are holding a novena
in honor of their foundress, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
They are another amazing group of women,
in full habit
and living in the barrio of Southwest Detroit.
To tell the truth,
I was just plain honored
when they invited me to the convent.

The novena was simple.
All in Spanish
before the Blessed Sacrament
and with people from the neighborhood.

These wonderful Sisters
got it.
I mean,
they got it.

You know,
when the rest of the liturgical world
is struggling to define Liturgical Inculturation,
struggling to control Popular Religiousity,
struggling to create a Liturgical Catechesis
(as if it needs to be “created”), . ..
. . .or any other liturgical buzzword or phrase,
these wonderful Sisters just plain got it.

When the rest of Detroit
is struggling with clustering
and who gets what mass time
and who gets what priest.. .
.. .well, these Sisters just plain got it.

It’s not about what parish you belong to.
It’s not about who your pastor is.
It’s not about what time you gather to pray.
It’s about Being.

They accepted the popular piety of the neighborhood
and incorporated their patron saint.
As a pastoral people,
they accepted the language and culture
of their surroundings
and worked to use the same to affirm the faith.

They didn’t just invite other people into their world.
They dared to enter into the world of others.

And they did so with a rosary novena.
It was simple.
It was powerful.
And it moved me to tears.
These women,
whose first language is neither English nor Spanish,
sang Pange Lingua in Spanish.
That, my friends,
was more than I could bear
and the tears just made themselves present.

In a previous blog entry
I said something about holy space, sacred ground.
These Sisters just plain got it.
They sang an ancient hymn
that has been historically sung in Latin
in Spanish
in Southwest Detroit,
in a neighborhood that they gently adopted.
Pange Lingua.
It wasn’t only about the Blessed Sacrament before me.
It was about Body of Christ
that surrounded me at that moment.
I just cried.

I have the great honor
of being invited to serve as Pastoral Musician
for their big feast day this Friday, tomorrow.
If you’re in the Detroit area,
please do come to St. Gabriel Parish for 9:00a.m. mass
with these Sisters, The Missionaries of Charity.
(Holy Hour at 8:00a.m.)

You know,
these women,
the Dominicans and The Missionaries of Charity,
are really quite the same,
despite their obvious differences.
They are living examples of people
who have become all things to all people
in order to bring some of them to Christ.
Would that more of us would do the same. . . .