Monday, December 5, 2011

Children's Choir Christmas Concert

(this is my nativity scene, which I place on top of my baby grand piano at home)
 Please come and let the Children of Southwest Detroit
offer you the Christmas Story
told in Song, Scripture and Poetry
in Spanish, English and a little bit of Latin!

The concert is free.
It will take place on:
Friday, Dec. 16th
at St. Gabriel Church, 8118 W. Vernor, Detroit, MI

Daily mass at 6:00p.m.
Followed by the concert
at approximately 6:30p.m in the church building
w/fiesta after that in the hall!

The children will be accompanied by
musicians from the adult choir.
And the children, themselves,
will play various hand-held percussion instruments:
maracas, claves, etc.

Parking behind the church.
The Cesar Chavez Academy is located next to the church
with more parking behind the Academy
and even more parking on Norman Street,
near the Academy playground area.

And, in case you are interested,
here is the program line-up
(subject to change, of course!)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Children’s Choir Christmas Concert - Dec. 16th

Prepare the Way (Taize)
     Wonder Counselor Poem 
     recited by:   Esther, Wendy, Giselle

     La Anunciación de la Santísima Virgen María
     Proclamado por: Esther, Wendy, Giselle

The Visitation Poem recited by: Celine

Quiero Decir Que Sí

Magnificat (Taize)
     Magnificat Poem recited by: Anadelia

El Sueño de San José - Proclamado por: Juan Diego

Hombre Justo

     El Censo / El Nacimiento de Jesús
     Proclamado por - Juan Diego

Las Posadas - Entren Santos Peregrinos

Away In A Manger - Solo by: Elisa

Gloria (Taize)
     The Nativity Poem Recited by: Carlos

El Niño del Tambor

O Holy Night - Solo by: Giselle

Silent Night - Solo by: Lesley

The First Noel - Solo by: Celine

Peces En El Rio - Duet: Esther & Giselle

Go Tell It On The Mountain - Solo by: Wendy

Alegría, Alegría, Alegría

Mi Burrito Sabanero

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Id, The Ego, The SuperEgo and Facebook: Jesus Gone Viral

Facebook TOS
are really pretty clear.
Don’t spam.
Don’t upload viruses or malicious code.
Nothing that is
hateful, threatening, or pornographic;
nothing that incites violence
or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

You can sell stuff on Facebook,
but FB has a few rules about that, too.
Mostly to protect
buyers and sellers from fraud.

It’s really pretty basic.
Use your common sense.

what does Facebook
have to do with Liturgy?

is actually a wonderful tool
for Electronic Evangelization.
I applaud those who are getting online
and using the internet to promote The Word,
using Facebook to inspire, nudge
and just plain get word out to people
about events in their area,
about mass times,
about special services
and a whole host of other things.

And not just facebook.
Myspace, Twitter, Photo Bucket,
Flickr, Youtube, . . . .
. . there’s a whole world out there,
a sea of online possibilities
for sharing the faith,
PR for our worship and church events, etc.

The way I see it,
Facebook has a lot to do with liturgy.
Why, among my contacts at facebook
I have liturgical composers
and publishers of Catholic Liturgical Music.
Among my contacts
I have clergy and others, who,
like me, are pastoral musicians
and choir directors.
Facebook is a great way
to know what’s going in your community.
(As well as the larger community.)

In recent weeks
I was invited to join in a novena
to St. Augustin, which I did.

I was invited to an event
to help raise funds
for Detroit’s Clark Park.

I was invited at an event
held at the same Clark Park
regarding immigration.

I was invited to a church festivals
in my area.

As a church musician
I’ve even received invites
to lead music for different events.

It’s really a great tool.

I can post videos on facebook
of music I want to teach the choir.
Several of the members of the parish choir I direct,
the women’s choir I direct,
even of the children’s choir I direct
all use facebook.
What a practical and wonderful tool!. . .

. . . .until we get controlling.

If I posted something on facebook
that has value to the community
you can and should go ahead and re-post it
to you wall.
That’s the gift of viral that social media has.
You could/should/ought to comment that it is a good thing.
Or post the URL to your wall.
Don’t get mad
and tell me to take it off of facebook
because you were going to post it.

That’s classic “id” behavior,
classic “I want, I want, I want”. . . .
. . . “I want to be the first and only person
to post that on facebook.”

Well, too bad.
That’s life.
We really do need to get over the control thing.
So many just want to control.
If it’s a good thing,
if it’s something the community should know about
does it really matter
who is getting the word out?

“.. . .John said to him,
‘Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.’
Jesus replied,
Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.’”
(Mark 9:39)

Mark 9:39.
Jesus gone viral.

And isn’t it better when a good thing
actually goes viral?
I would think so.

And let’s think about this a bit.
When it comes to sharing the faith,
shouldn’t we all be telling the world?
Not just one of us, or two of us.
Not just the committee chairperson
or parish council president.
Not just the choir director or pastor.
But shouldn’t we all be shouting from the rooftops?
Does it really matter
who gets to the rooftop first?

I mean how many stupid videos go viral?
How many times have you forwarded
the video of a dog
or the kid who did some trick on his bike?
Just think if Jesus stuff would go viral. . .
.. . . ah, the possibilities!!!!

But, no.
We (at least some of us)
get upset
“I should be the one posting that. . .”

Ugh. . .
Sometimes I just plain wonder
about people like this. . . .

Would that the “superego” enter in
and referee the whole thing,
that would be great.

Let’s face it.
Social Media is all about communication.
why would anyone get upset
if information gets communicated,
if it’s about Jesus, The Word,
Church Events, etc.?
The only reason I can think of is ego.
Just plain old fashioned ego.

And you know,
if you don’t know the following
you really need to go to class,
facebook 101, if you will,
before you start
criticizing the facebook of others.

TOS - Terms of Service

URL - Universal Resource Locator (basically, the web address)

Wall - on facebook, a section in your profile
where others can write messages to you or leave you virtual gifts.
Your wall can be private or public.

SPAM - unsolicited commercial message, sent to email
or social media inbox. . sometimes left as blog comment.

Embed - Embedding is a code for the video.
You take the embed code and post it on your website or blog
and then the video will show and people can watch it.
The embed code from youtube was used
to post the videos in this and other blog entries
here at Liturgy House.

Viral - when something online becomes popular
via sharing on social media sites or email.

Now that’s word to remember.
If I post it in my facebook
and a friend reposts it,
it (whatever “it” is)
has gone viral.
And if that friend reposts it
and their friend reposts it. . . .
the possibilities are endless with Social Media.

Sort of like that old shampoo commercial. . .

Why don’t we (the church)
do this?
And why do we get upset
if someone else does?

Some interesting facts:
- Youtube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world
- Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the United States of America.
- 93% of marketers use social media for business.

we (the church)
are sometimes still to territorial,
nay, neanderthal,
when it comes using social media.

I originally wrote this blog entry a few weeks ago.
I didn’t post it
only because I thought
the idea was too simple,
to use social media.
And I thought maybe I was only writing out of anger,
about being told to cease and desist
the use of social media
to PR a faith related event.
But you know what?
I was angry.
But anger can be productive.
If anger nudged me to write this blog entry,
that’s a good thing.
Because if you got nothing else from this blog entry,
I certainly hope you got the message:
Use your internet connection
and Facebook your Faith.

Facebook your Faith, people.

Facebook Your Faith!

. . you can find me on facebook here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pastoral Musical Leadership Styles - Part 5 - Other Styles

Someone left a comment
on the first of the blog entries
on Leadership.
I’m not sure I understood the comment.

On the onset,
I read it to mean
that we should be all three leadership styles.
And I said that in the blog entry,
that most of us incorporate all three styles of leadership.
maybe it was the reader of my blog entry
who did not understand me.

I also said
that we tend to lean on one leadership style
more than others,
as least as I far as I can see.

If the comment meant
that we should try to be equally all three
all the time,
I gotta say
that that just won’t fly with me.

Ah, yes, The Holy Trinity.
Perhaps I don’t fully understand that comment,
or perhaps,
that person
just doesn’t understand me.
Either way I can agree that
The Trinity, in all perfection,
is the perfect role model for us.
in our humanity and with our limitations
there are always struggles.

I agree that all of us use these three different models of leadership
at one point or another.
But my point is
that most of us tend to use one model more than another.
That’s neither good nor bad.
It just is.

I’m not using any scientific method here,
just personal experience.
And the only reason I’m writing out loud
is because I am trying to articulate for myself
my own style.
But I appreciate the comment, nonetheless.
Differing points of view
(which started this blog series to begin with)
force me to think.

back to the idea
that we, for the most part,
tend to follow one leadership style
over another.

My husband has his leadership style.
My father was one type of leader
and my mother,
who was another style of leader,
complimented him beautifully.

And it just makes life a little easier
if we could name and claim (i.e. “know”)
what our particular brand of leadership is.
It makes us to understand others
and their style of leadership better.
Quite often
the differences of opinions
we find ourselves struggling with
are very simply
caused by coming at the situation
from different leadership perspectives.
Though coming at the situation from different angles,
many times
people with different leadership styles
hope for the same outcome.
They just approach the situation differently.
We need to stop arguing about which path to take
if we both want to reach
the same destination.

And this coming from different angles,
coming from different leadership styles,
is the discussion
that provoked this series of blog entries
in the first place.
But as I so oft do
when I am writing out loud,
I digress. . . . .

. . . .I am no self-help guru
or leadership mogul.
I’m only trying to articulate for myself
some things I see in myself
and what I have learned about others
over the years.

There are definitely
more than three leadership styles.
What I have listed in previous blog entries
are the three
that I have found
to be most productive
in a pastoral music leadership setting,
. . . recall,
this blog is about liturgy
and this series of blog entries
is for a self-definition.
But seriously,
there are other leadership models
that I have come across
over the years.
depending on where you work
or volunteer your time,
a different style of leadership
may be necessary.
But this is a self-descriptive blog series.

I in no way
negate that The Holy Trinity
is the perfect role model.
But I disagree
that our leadership
(as pastoral music directors)
should always be all three perfectly.

there are many more leadership styles,
not just the three of previous blog entries.
And while I agree the Trinity
is Perfect Unity,
I know that we are imperfect
and need to use what works best for us.
No one can tell me or force me
to be anything I am not.

OK. . .
Rubi’s Rambling again . . .

Back to the thought. ..
There are way more
than three leadership styles.
And some of them
aren’t so pretty.

For example,
there is the Narcissist.
This persons tends to look out only for No. 1.
Decisions made would be primarily
for personal glory
or personal benefit.
This type of leader can be very destructive.
If a leader is forming in the ranks
the Narcissist does all he/she can
to squash that person,
even force that person
to leave the group,
making it look like
the person left of their own free will,
in fact,
the Narcissist made it impossible
for that person to stay in the group.
Rules are made
and then changed
to benefit the Narcissist,
not to benefit the group.

Then there is The “Yes” Person.
This type of leader
does whatever their immediate superior wants,
whether they know it to be right or wrong.
The “Yes” Person
is more concerned about not making conflict
with their boss
but fails to realize
that they are creating conflict
with those they are called to lead.
This constant state of conflict
creates a real dissension in the group.

Then there is the controller.
This person is the micro manager
because they believe they know it all.
The group functions as the controller
wants it to function.
Everything about the group
is under his/her control.
There often is so much structure
that no one can get creative,
there is no freedom
for the Spirit to move.
The structure is put in place
so the controller can control.

There is The “By The Book” leader.
This type of leader
wants everyone to follow the rules
to the letter.
This type of leader
would, perhaps,
be perfect and necessary
in a work place
where danger is involved.
I mention it here in this blog
as I’m just sort of brainstorming
on other types of leadership.
I don’t know that this type of leadership
would fit the pastoral music director. . .

as a tangent,
let me say that there are behaviors in leaders
that can be VERY destructive.

-Criticizing someone in front of others
-Trying to force others
to accept their point of view as right or correct
-Bragging about themselves
-Delegated work that they, themselves,
just did not want to do

as far as leadership styles go,
there are more, I’m sure.
my purpose for this
blog entry
is a self-evaluation
and self-description.

I incorporate
more than one leadership style
But mostly I am only one of them.
And, if indeed,
that were to change,
that change would start with me,
not from someone telling me
I should be this
or I should be that.

Encouraging someone
to try something new,
something different,
is always a good thing.
But there is a BIG difference
in encouraging someone to try something
and telling them
what the should do or be.

Someone telling someone else
what they should be:
that’s where a lot of the “isms” start,
isn’t it???. . . .

Nuff said on the topic of leadership.
These blog entries
have been cathardic. . . .

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pastoral Musical Leadership Styles - Part 4 - The Democrat

No, not a political party,
but a leadership style
where the whole group has voice.
For the most part,
my leadership style is participative.
That means
that I like to allow the people I lead,
which in this case,
is the members of the music ministry,
via a style that is participative, democratic.
I like them to have a voice,
an opinion in the music we use.
The final decisions always rest with me
as I am the music director.

Using a democratic leadership approach
the choir members truly feel like a part of a team,
like their input matters.
And quite frankly,
it does.

don’t get me wrong.
A democratic leadership style
doesn’t mean
that if someone says,
“I don’t like that song,”
we don’t do that song.
I’m speaking here
more of a participation
in the creativity.

For example,
I may choose to introduce a new song.
In my mind
I can hear the alto section
or the sopranos
or percussion instruments in a particular fashion.
Maybe it’s my own creative vision
or maybe it’s what’s printed in the music,
but I usually have a clear sound
dancing around in my head.
And then we get to rehearsal
and Ana finds a unique and outstanding descant
in her mind
that I never found in mine.
Nellie finds that alto harmony
that totally meshes with what Ana is doing.
Not only is the finished piece of music
much grander than what I could come up with alone,
these ladies are contributing,
are becoming owners of the ministry.

The danger of this leadership style
is that it can lead to a choir discussion
as opposed to a choir rehearsal.
But a good leader
knows how to pull back into rehearsal mode
and must decide
which of the various musical suggestions,
if any,
to put into play.

I have found this leadership style
truly promotes creativity,
truly motivates people to participation.
In fact,
sometimes it’s almost like we have a psychic connection.
Marcy starts playing her guitar
and I know exactly where she is going.
Sometimes we just laugh out loud
because we realize that something strange,
but creatively beautiful is going on.
That strange and beautiful thing
won’t happen
if the leader only follows a militant leadership style,
always barking out commands
and never giving choir members a voice.

Another good thing
about this leadership style. . .
. . .(reminder:
I’m discussing a pastoral music leader). . .
. . .is that it is a great way
to find those talents
that lay hidden, dormant
in your members.

who played percussion with a group I direct
for many years,
is absolutely The Queen
of hand held percussion instruments.
She’d hear a song
and instantly know
which instrument is best
and quickly find the rhythm. .
. . . she’d know when to enter
to create interesting dynamics,
she’d know when to change it up.
Dolores is clearly a lady
of the rhythm section.
That being the case,
why would I,
a lady of the keyboard world,
ever try to limit her creativity?
Let your people
(those with rhythm)
creatively play with rhythm toys!!!

Heavy sigh. . . .
. . . I so-o-o-o miss Dolores.
She moved to Chicago. . . .

the rehearsals can get messy
using this leadership style.
But if you aren’t flexible
you probably shouldn’t be
a music director anyway.
The mess
is a part of the creative process.
Enjoy it!!

the group sometimes
ends up spending a great deal of time
on some songs,
but that’s why they call it rehearsal.
And really,
your rehearsal agenda
should always be looking far enough ahead
into the future.
If all you are concerned about in your rehearsal agenda
is what’s coming up this Sunday,
you’ve totally missed the mark
as a director anyway.
If in June
you aren’t already at least thinking
about September’s repertoire of new stuff,
you’re missing the boat.
Plan far enough in advance
so that your Sunday stuff
will take care of itself.
Advance planning
gives your choir time
to get creative.
Let your choir,
encourage your choir,
to participate in the creativity.

In the end,
if only the printed music score
or only the director’s creativity is used
the world will miss out
on some fine music
that could be,
but never was.

And what if the director
isn’t so creative?
And what if the music in question is great,
but the music score is lousy?
Should the choir
and the music ministry
suffer because of these two draw-backs?
I certainly hope not.
if there is talent in the ranks
just waiting to be developed,
and used
for the Glory of Our God.

one person cannot possibly know everything.
One person cannot possible create everything
when it comes to music.

in the end,
we are doing more than
preparing music for mass.
The choir is a small ecclesial community.
As directors
we must do all we can to build that community,
not just from the neck up
(learning new music)
but from the neck down
(participation from the heart).

And while I may use
the other leadership styles
on an “as needed” basis,
this is the leadership style,
the democratic/participative leadership style,
I have claimed for myself.

It brings forth flexibility and creativity.
It creates commitment and community.
It’s messy and fun!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pastoral Musical Leadership Styles - Part 3 - The Delegator

The delegator
is the person who lets others make decisions
and really doesn’t interfere much after that.
In a good situation,
the leader would have competent leaders
in various areas
that he/she would trust
to make good decisions
and then carry those decisions out.
This is not about
making other people do your work.
It’s about working together
with others who capable.

The delegator
would need to able to spot
when one of the team leaders
were not doing their job
or were not capable of doing said job.
And, if necessary,
train that person to do it,
or maybe adjust personnel
so that the job gets done,
moving the person who lacks a particular skill
to another area where they perform well.
The point is
that a good delgator
is able to spot the skill/talent
of a particular person
and work with that person
to develop and hone that talent.

The delegator needs to be a person who trusts.
The hard part could be that
sometimes the person who is called to do a particular job
might not do it
the way the delegator would.
But the delegator needs to let that go
and trust that the job is getting done,
even if in a somewhat different manner.
To step in and control
would be to lose respect,
which, in turn,
leads to lack of motivation,
lack of initiative,
and lack of creativity.

Another danger of this leadership style
is that the leader might just turn around
and blame the person delegated
if the job goes wrong.
A true delegator
would be keeping on eye on things,
watching (not controlling)
and help set things in the right directions
if he/she sees things taking a wrong a turn.

This type of leadership
could work very well
if the choir is large
or if there are many instrumentalists.
Rather than schedule sectional rehearsals
the choir director
may choose competent leaders
for each section
and have them rehearse
in a different room,
having all sections return
to main rehearsal room
to rehearse together.

(. . . but even so,
each section leader
would then assume
one of the other leadership types. . )

Quite often,
I have learned,
is that if there is trust in the director
and trust in each other as a choir,
members of the choir
might take initiative
and assume certain tasks
without officially being delegated to do so.

Once one of my choirs
took a trip to Mexico.
During the initial stages of the planning of this trip
I fell ill.
Connie took care of creating and sending demo tape to basilica.
Marcy found the hotel and ground transportation.
Another person took care of
getting us a keyboard and sound, etc., etc.
These people didn’t wait
for the official word from the director
to start organizing
because they knew that these tasks
were going to be handed out anyway.
They took the initiative
and went about the work
of planning a choir trip. . .
. . . wow. . .
No small wonder I love this choir so much!!!!

I suppose a part of the reason
that I, personally,
don’t use this leadership style
is that I usually have directed
small choirs.
But I do see where this style of leadership
can be effective.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pastoral Musical Leadership Styles - Part 2 - The Autocrat

The first leadership style
I would like to discuss in this blog
is the autocratic leader.

The autocratic leadership style
is authoritarian, militant.
The autocratic leader
tells people what to do.
This leader tells how to do it,
when to do it.

let me remind blog readers
that I’m writing about church leadership here,
the music ministry.
as I describe the pros and cons
of the autocratic leader,
please keep that in mind.

The autocratic leadership style
may be necessary on occasion.
There may be factors involved,
such as time constraints.
A certain task must be accomplished
and the leader tells people what must be done
to meet the deadline.

Last year,
I took the children’s choir to Faithfest,
a festival of church music
in the area where I live.

The sound equipment
was provided for by the sponsoring church.
But it needed to be set up
according to my specifications.
When the children began arriving
I quickly told a few of the parents
to separate the kids
into “choir 1" and “choir 2”
(Soprano and alto).
I told another parent
to make sure that those children
who played percussion instruments
got what they needed.
I went inside to work with sound team.
When mics were in place,
I had guitarists take their place.
Then I sent a parent out to gathering area
to bring Choir 2
and told them specifically to leave Choir 1 outside
until I called for them.
When Choir 2 was in place
I called for Choir 1.

The parents understood well
the time constraints
and the set-up necessary.
They followed my directions.

This is a good example
of how and when
an autocratic leadership style is necessary.
If there is a good relationship
between the leader and the group of folks involved
this style of leadership can prove most effective,
as it did for us for this event.

The danger of this leadership style
is that it could lead to a lack of respect.
The danger of this leadership style
is that the leader could abuse the power,
be more of a controller than a leader.

Another danger
is lack of communication.
While the autocratic leader
may have clearly set goals
and have a vision of things,
they often do not share this
with the group they lead.
This can lead to conflict and friction.
People may resist the leader’s request,
even though what the autocratic leader is requesting
is for the betterment of the group.

If this is the only leadership style that is used
a lack of respect
and a lack of communication
will not be the only problems.
It will be hard to motivate people.
And where there is little motivation
there is even less creativity.
This could be death to a choir,
to a music ministry.

don't get me wrong.
This style of leadership
is necessary at times.

I use this style of leadership sparingly.
To be quite honest,
it just isn’t me.
But I must admit,
this style of leadership
served us well
on the day of the Faithfest event.
But an every day leadership style?
Not me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pastoral Musical Leadership Styles - Part 1 - Different Styles for Different People

Leadership styles.
There are many.
There are three I would like to discuss
in this blog.

And I would like to do this
because someone recently
challenged me on my leadership style.
While I cannot be certain
on what was going on
in that person’s mind,
I think the discord comes from the fact
that he and I have totally different leadership styles.
And because of this
we sometimes tend to view things
from different angles.

And to be quite honest,
sometimes I like it when there is a bit of friction.
It forces me to think,
forces me to articulate
what I may already know in my heart,
but haven’t yet verbalized.

this is not going to be a
Dale Carenegie or
Anthony Robbins
spewing of verbage.
These are just Random Rubi Ramblings
of thoughts
that have been dancing around in my head
for the last week and a half.

near as I can figure,
there are three main styles of leadership:
The Autocrat, The Democrat, and The Delegator.

to me,
is about motivating people.
We have a task about us:
the music ministry.
Our purpose for being
is to provide that musical leadership
for the People of God.
My role is to direct.
“Duh,” you say?
But it’s about more than directing a choir.
It’s about providing direction.
A leader who does not provide direction
cannot possibly hope to motivate.
Without motivation
the music ministry dies.

all who are leaders
go from one style to another
as the situation and circumstances demand.
But basically,
we tend to follow one style of leadership
more than the others.

First of all,
let me say
that no one call tell you
what sort of leadership style
you should have
as your principal style of leadership.
And this is where
my momentary frustration
with the person was,
they wanted me to be something
I know I am not.
I had to verbalize for myself
what my style of leadership is.
Many of us
have probably never even given it much thought.
We just do it.

Many things may be involved
in developing your own leadership style.
Your age could be a factor.
Your life/work experience could be another.
Your education could be yet another factor.
Culture has A LOT to do with leadership style.
Men, for the most part,
tend to lead very differently than women.
And quite often,
when what we are discussing
is a Pastoral Leadership style,
the leadership style
really depends on the circumstances.
For example,
the way I lead the children’s choir
is different
from the way I lead the women’s choir.

I know well
what my leadership style is.
But until now,
I haven’t verbalized it.
And to say I am something,
also is saying that
I am not something else.
as I describe the various leadership styles
in upcoming blog entries,
please be aware
that I am about a self-description here,
writing stream of consciousness,
as I so oft do,
to release the words from my heart
and on
to this electronic parchment.

Three leadership styles:
The Autocrat, The Democrat, and The Delegator.

Can you guess
which one I claim?
And which one are you???

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Litany of the Graces of the Cross

This is a wonderful litany,
one of those prayers that makes you think,
not just a recitation of
a bunch of "holy" words.
The first time I read through it,
I loved it.
I decided to do a little research
to see who put this prayer together
and then offer it here
on the Liturgy House blog.
This litany was compiled by
A Dominican priest, Father Peter John Cameron, O.P.
You are free to distribute this as widely as you like.

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Litany of the Graces of the Cross

Response: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

We adore you, O Christ,
when we do not get our own way. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
in the midst of day-to-day aggravations, frustrations, and annoyances. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
when we live deprived of recognition or gratitude. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
when dealing with others who exalt themselves and demean us. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
in the face of worry, anxiety, and fear. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
when we forgive others and show them mercy,
especially when it hurts. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
in the face of others’ thoughtlessness. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
in confronting our daily inner rebellion. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
in refusing to give in to vanity and self-importance. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
in always thinking about others first
and putting them first. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
when others take us for granted. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
when suffering the agony of depression. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
in our inability to make sense out of life
or to have things follow our plans,
especially when we’re trying so hard to be good. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
in rejecting self-assertion and self satisfaction. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
in the midst of the oppressiveness of life
– its futility, drudgery, pointlessness, and tedium. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
in letting go of the order and control we crave. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
when accosted by the unfairness
of seeing the wicked succeed. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
despite the world’s contradiction, humiliation, and derision. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
by refusing to live according to our feelings. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
when we are under-appreciated. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
when our egoism and willfulness flare up. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
when we are persecuted for your sake. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
as we live by love and no lesser motive. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
in finding peace in the total surrender of self. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
in accepting that God works in the ways we least expect. Rs

We adore you, O Christ,
as we search for self worth
only in God’s love for us and nothing else. Rs

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Jesus, Please Come Today

I haven’t blogged much lately.
Well, yes I have,
but not here at Liturgy House.

It certainly hasn’t been
for lack of something to say (or write)
about worship and Liturgy.

Life just seems to be so busy lately.
It seems like time
is just starting to zoom on by.
Time is literally flying
and it seems like I just don’t have enough of it
to write all the things
that are dancing in my head,
to do all of those projects
I really want to do.

I heard this song on the radio yesterday.
This song motivated me to blog
here at Liturgy House.

first of all,
let me say that I am not a particular fan
of contemporary Christian music.
It’s not that I don’t like it.
for the most part
I don’t.
Simplistic chord structures,
repetitive pre-schoolish type melodies.
that might be the classical pianist in me talkin,
but I like music with a little bit
“music” in it.

. . and then there are some texts
that are so superficial. . .
I think one of the reasons
I favor the Gospel of John
over all of the other books of the Bible
is because the text is so layered with meaning. . .
And the hidden messages of John’s Gospel
arise as your life changes,
as you grow and become.
It’s a text,
a very poetic text,
layered and layered
with meaning.
that might be the poet in me talkin’ now. . . .
. . . but as is oft the case,
I digress.
My point is that in contemporary Christian Music
we often get a very, very
very simple text
that doesn’t go beyond
or much deeper than face value.

And then there is quite a big difference
between Christian Music
and Liturgical Music.
so many in my field
just aren’t aware
or don’t have a clue.

Having made all of the criticisms
I have made above
let me also say
that there is some really great
contemporary Christian music out there.
But just because it is great Christian music
doesn’t necessarily mean
that is it great or appropriate liturgical music.

As Catholics,
we worship in community.
Some Christian music
has us worship as individuals.
we might all be in the same church
at the same time,
but sometimes the music
puts us into private
little worship,
in the same church with everyone else,
but separate and apart,
though physically all in one place.

having said all of the above
sometimes I think
I just think too much.
I mean,
a poet never runs out of words to say.
I may be a pastoral musician
via public persona,
but I am a poet at heart.
And poets never run out of words.

The other thing
is that sometimes
people who are involved
in a particular ministry
find it very difficult
to be ministered unto
in that same ministry.
Know what I mean?
The musician
has a hard time
letting other musicians
minister unto to them.

I have been in this field
for almost 30 years.
I truly believe
my criticisms and concerns are valid.

Yet it is also true
that I don’t find it easy
to let others use music
to minister to me.
I find I’m very critical
of the text,
of the musicianship,
of it’s use at the particular time,. . .
. . . i.e.,
I think too much.

Enough words.
I heard a song yesterday
(which I had heard many, many times before)
that literally moved me to tears.
I think a part of the magic of music
is not everything I rambled about above.
A big thing about music
is where you are. . .
. . in life,
in your joy,
in your sorrow,
in your happiness,
in you sadness,
in your relationships
with God and with others. . .
when you hear the song.

. . and so,
this song made me cry.
. . . it also motived me
to blog here . . .

“Jesus, please come. . .
. . please come today. . .”
A VERY simplistic text,
very basic musically,
but a very real prayer. . . .

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Liturgical Language

Last year about this time
I started posting entries in this blog
about my trip to Juquila
in Oaxaca, Mexico.
My “Road to Juquila” blog entries
will continue this year
as I’ve just recently returned
from a 2nd pilgrimage
to Our Lady’s holy sanctuary.
as always,
my trips to Mexico
fill me with thoughts,
my trips renew and boost my faith,
and visits to various ruins
(this year, Tula and Mitla)
always serve to move me to action.

in the months to come
I’ll post pictures
and generous
Rubi Ramblings
on all of the above.

But right now. . .
. . well. . . right now. ..
let’s discuss Liturgical Language.

Or even,
language in general.
You know,
language changes.
When I was growing up
we never “Googled” anything.

Texting while driving wasn’t a problem.

Ipod, Ipad, Iphone, 
Zune, Wii,
email, hotmail, gmail, 
blog, blogger, blogging, blogged, blogosphere .. .
. . .none of these words existed.

How about,
using some of those words in a sentence:
"Today I Googled tethering an Iphone to an Ipad."
Although in English,
some in the English speaking world
might not have a clue
as to what that even means!

And when I was growing up
the words to the song were:
“. . and we’ll all feel gay
when Johnny comes marching home.”
When my son sang it in school
a few years back
the language had changed:
“and we’ll all be glad.”
language changes.
Vocabulary grows.

And there is an identity
in language.
I’ve worked with immigrants
all of my adult life.
And while those in the mainstream
complain that
“If they want come here
they need to learn English,”
some compassion really needs to take place.
It’s not a resistance
to learning a new language.
It’s about one’s sense of identity.
And this,
for both those in the so called “mainstream”
as well as for those
living in the margins.
There is identity in language.

is a touchy, touchy subject.

The Liturgy has a language all its own.
It’s not just the words we speak
or listen to,
but the symbols speak.
Even our gestures speak.

until this week,
I haven’t given much thought
to the changes in liturgical language
for the English speaking world.

That’s a lie.
I have.
But not in the proper pastoral context.

To tell the truth,
I have been absolutely frustrated
and even angered
by the whole idea.
Only I just didn’t realize it.

I placed a phone call
to a friend of mine
who also works in the area of liturgy.
She put into words
some of those things
that have been hiding in my thoughts.

The change in language
will bear a dollar sign.
New hymnals, new Roman Missals,
workshops and training, etc.

will begin to advertise
so as to beat out other publishers in sales.

And there will be work,
much work,
for those
who have already done so much
to make our worship so wonderful.
Liturgical composers
will need to rewrite their works
if they hope to be included
in the next edition
of hymnals and songbooks.
they will have to do the work
they have already done
all over again.
We will be asking creative and talented people
to stop their creativity
for a do-over.

The Church certainly has
more than her share of crises right now. . .
. . .declining clergy. . .
. . .church closures. . . abuse scandals. . .

Not to even mention the fact
that the church seems to be dividing herself
into two factions:
liberal and conservative.

And text translation
is what we are worried about???
That’s not logical, Captain Kirk.

I currently serve in a parish
that is primarily Spanish speaking.
That may be another reason
that I haven’t given serious
pastoral thought
to these changes.

But enough of my inner thoughts
and on to the world of  Church.
There are translation changes
and those who preside,
those who lead music,
those who in any way are involved
in liturgical ministries
need to prepare
and then implement these changes.
The changes are real
and I consider myself
to be among those
who need to prepare
for said change.

It’s time to leave the world
of personal opinion
and travel the road
to Pastoral Thought.

I received an email the other day
and I followed a link in that email.
as things go,
several links later
I was at a parish website
where they actually have a
team for
The Implementation of The Roman Missal.
they certainly seem to be on the ball!

But that link
was an evangelizing moment for me.
“Everything happens for a reason,”
my friend, Marcy, always says.
There’s a reason I landed at the website.
There’s a reason
(or maybe several reasons)
why the simple title of that committee or team
moved me to write this blog entry.
But more,
I realize that I will play a key role
in the implementation of these changes,
in turn,
means that I have quite a bit of homework before me.

that simple text on that website
was what I call a Juan Diego moment:
Evangelizing those
who think they are already Evangelized.

And, as always,
things that frustrate at first,
things that anger me at first,
are the very things
that move me into action.
I’m an affective person.
Strong emotions
usually bring about creativity
and action.
At least,
it does for me.

And so while I do not understand
what the logic is
that put text translation
above some of the other crises
the Church faces,
I’m also not going to worry about it
too much anymore.
Everything happens for a reason.
And while the reason isn’t clear to me
at this moment in time and space,
I am certain
that the reason or reasons
will be abundantly clear
in the course of Salvation History.
So be it.

“And with your spirit.”
We already respond in this fashion
for the Spanish language liturgy,
“.. .y con tu Espíritu.”