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Pope amends Church law on Mass translations

In changes to the Code of Canon Law regarding translations of the Mass and other liturgical texts, Pope Francis highlighted respect for the responsibility of national and regional bishops' conferences.
The changes, released by the Vatican Sept. 9 as Pope Francis was traveling in Colombia, noted the sometimes tense relationship between bishops' conferences and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments over translations of texts from Latin to the bishops' local languages.
The heart of the document, which applies only to the Latin rite of the Catholic Church, changes two clauses in Canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law. The Vatican no longer will "review" translations submitted by bishops' conferences, but will "recognize" them. And rather than being called to "prepare and publish" the translations, the bishops are to "approve and publish" them.
Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the worship congregation, said under the new rules, the Vatican's "confirmatio" of a translation is "ordinarily granted based on trust and confidence," and "supposes a positive evaluation of the faithfulness and congruence of the texts produced with respect to the typical Latin text."
Pope Francis made no announcement of immediate changes to the translations currently in use.
The document is titled "Magnum Principium" ("The Great Principle") and refers to what Pope Francis called the "great principle" of the Second Vatican Council that the liturgy should be understood by the people at prayer, and therefore bishops were asked to prepare and approve translations of the texts.
Pope Francis did not overturn previous norms and documents on the principles that should inspire the various translations, but said they were "general guidelines," which should continue to be followed to ensure "integrity and accurate faithfulness, especially in translating some texts of major importance in each liturgical book."
However, the pope seemed to indicate a willingness to allow some space for the translation principle known as "dynamic equivalence," which focuses on faithfully rendering the sense of a phrase rather than translating each individual word and even maintaining the original language's syntax.
"While fidelity cannot always be judged by individual words but must be sought in the context of the whole communicative act and according to its literary genre," the pope wrote, "nevertheless some particular terms must also be considered in the context of the entire Catholic faith, because each translation of texts must be congruent with sound doctrine."
The pope said the changes would go into effect Oct. 1, and he ordered the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments to "modify its own 'Regulations' on the basis of the new discipline and help the episcopal conferences to fulfill their task as well as working to promote ever more the liturgical life of the Latin Church."
The greater oversight provided earlier by the Vatican was understandable, Pope Francis said, given the supreme importance of the Mass and other liturgies in the life of the Church.
The main concerns, he said, were to preserve "the substantial unity of the Roman rite," even without universal celebrations in Latin, but also to recognize that vernacular languages themselves could "become liturgical languages, standing out in a not-dissimilar way to liturgical Latin for their elegance of style and the profundity of their concepts with the aim of nourishing the faith."
Another teaching of the Second Vatican Council that needed to be strengthened, he said, was a recognition of "the right and duty of episcopal conferences," which are called to collaborate with the Vatican.
  • Published in World

Music publisher's mission to spread Gospel

The new leader of America's largest publisher of Catholic worship music started out as a blue-collar worker in the company's warehouse.

Wade Wisler, 49, was a shipping clerk when he began at Portland-based Oregon Catholic Press in 2000.
By the time Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample named him the new publisher March 14, 2017, Wisler had distinguished himself as an ad copy writer, editor of a quarterly worship magazine and director of a division that develops new music for use in churches.
"I know that he is the ideal person to bring his experience, his commitment to the church, and his deep and abiding faith to lead OCP into this next era," Archbishop Sample said.
OCP, a not-for-profit in operation for more than 90 years, sells music for choirs and songbooks like "Today's Missal," "Breaking Bread," "JourneySongs" and "Flor y Canto" to three-fourths of Catholic parishes in the United States. The worship aids also go worldwide, including to the United Kingdom, Australia, Vietnam, the Philippines and China.
OCP publishes Latin chant, contemporary music in many languages and "Spirit & Song," a hymnal for Catholic youth. It also produces recordings.
"Our primary mission is to spread the Gospel, serve the church, and help people around the world to pray and worship through music," Wisler told the Catholic Sentinel, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Portland. "That is something I am passionate about."
Wisler replaces John Limb, who is retired at the end of April after 31 years at the company, 25 as publisher. OCP, which also publishes the Catholic Sentinel and El Centinela, the archdiocese's Spanish-language newspaper, went through a meteoric advance during Limb's tenure. In addition to serving more parishes than any other liturgical publisher, OCP has led the way in Spanish Catholic worship publications.

Wisler plans to remain on Limb's course.
"The company is doing well," Wisler said. "I want to stay out of the way and let people do the good work they have been doing for so long."
Limb plans to devote more time to boards and organizations, but he will be working with the new publisher to ensure a smooth transition at OCP.
Wisler, a University of Michigan graduate, is a musician and a proficient Spanish speaker. He said the most important people OCP serves are the worshippers in the pews. He realizes that music can enhance or impede a person's encounter with God.
"We always have been looking at the church, looking at the changing needs of the church, and have been willing to adapt to meet those needs," Wisler said.
Challenges OCP faced under Limb, and will continue to wrestle with under Wisler, include the shift from print to digital publishing and the trend in dioceses to close or consolidate parishes.

In addition to publishing music, OCP gives financial support to good causes, including the Archdiocese of Portland and the Diocese of Baker.

OCP is a major sponsor of Encuentro, a multiyear catechetical and information-gathering event among Latinos in the U.S. Catholic Church. About 8 percent of employees are Spanish speakers and "Flor y Canto" is the best-selling Spanish hymnal in the country. The company offers workshops at parishes to help staff improve their ministry to Hispanics.

A grants program allows parishes across the nation to enhance their worship.

In May, OCP will visit the Diocese of Burlington.

On Friday, May 19th, composers from OCP will offer a free concert at St. John Vianney Church in South Burlington, titled "Sing Praise to God All the Earth." Music featured is inspired by reflection on Pope Francis' encyclical, "Laudato Si'." RSVP

On Saturday, May 20th, a conference will be held at Saint Michael's College in Colchester. The "Sing Praise to God Conference" is a day of music, learning, and inspiration for liturgical musicians. Details and RSVP: Sing Praise to God Conference

350th anniversary of first Mass in Vermont celebrated at St. Anne's Shrine

The wind was blowing and white caps on Lake Champlain were racing toward shore as scores of worshippers gathered under the shelter of the outdoor chapel at St. Anne’s Shrine in Isle LaMotte Sept. 11 for a Mass commemorating the 350th anniversary of the celebration of the first Mass in Vermont on that same island.
Just across the road from the chapel, not far from the beach, a sign acknowledges the importance of the site in Vermont history: “Site of French Fort Sainte Anne Vermont’s oldest settlement.”
On that shore was the site of the fort, built in 1666 by Captain Pierre LaMotte for defense against the Mohawks. The Jesuits celebrated the first Mass and erected the first chapel in Vermont on the site.
From that day to today, the celebration of the Eucharist “has been part of our lives in this great state” of Vermont, Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne said at the opening of the Mass.
He acknowledged also the significance of the date on which he was the main celebrant of the Mass: Sept. 11. He asked members of the congregation to remember victims of all war and terrorism as the nation remembered and mourned the terror attacks on the United States 15 years earlier.
The Mass was a special votive Mass for peace.
Jesuit Father Michael Knox, director of Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, Ontario, has said that the foundation of Fort Sainte Anne at Isle LaMotte occurred during a moment of the history of the Jesuits in Nouvelle-France that could be declared a proverbial renaissance for the mission:  “Inspired by the still- recent deaths of St. Jean de Brébeuf and his companions, welcoming an ever- increasing number of French to the region and set to ever-expand their apostolic efforts among the Iroquois people, it is no surprise that one of the Fathers would accompany Pierre de St. Paul, Sieur de la Motte, in its establishment.”
During his homily at the special Mass, Father Knox said the French explorers who brought Jesuit missionaries with them as they landed on the island saw not only new land but new hope, a new source of prosperity and a new opportunity to live out the Gospel message.
The French built the fort to “protect their vision,” said Father Knox, a lecturer at Regis College, University of Toronto, who wrote his doctoral thesis on “The Rhetoric of Martyrdom in the Jesuit Relations, 1632-1650.”
That first Mass, he said, was an acknowledgement of God’s presence in all things and everywhere.
“Today we share in the same Mass that was said here 350 years ago,” Father Knox said. “We now share in an event they shared in then, and we share their hopes.”
Today’s St. Anne’s Shrine is a place where visitors can walk on sacred ground amidst images of Jesus and the saints, a place to be renewed by the Eucharist and in the sacrament of Reconciliation, he continued. “What a gift it was 350 years ago to have Christ come to us in this holy place.”
Anniversaries are reminders of history, and “we should pause to reflect from where we have come and to where we have arrived,” commented Edmundite Father Brian J. Cummings, the shrine’s spiritual director. “The shrine is one of the most important religious and historical sites in Vermont, and it is good for our Catholic community to remind ourselves of the role faith played in the settlement of our country.”
Sitting in her red Ford Fiesta parked just off the road next to the pews was Leona LaPiere of Chazy, N.Y. The 83-year-old has problems with her legs and finds it easier to sit in her car and listen to the outdoor Mass. A lifelong Catholic, she emphasized the importance of the Mass and said the celebration of the 350th anniversary of the first Mass in Vermont was “beautiful.”
Nancy and David Dulude of St. Albans and Isle LaMotte also attended. The thought of Mass being said in the state for 350 years is humbling, she said, adding that the French had the vision to bring their faith to New France and to Vermont where the site of the first Mass is now “a place of love and peace” in the midst of a troubled world.
The shrine, she said, is a “treasure and a legacy too, and we need to take care of it to pass it on and have younger folks feel vested in it and pass it on for another 350 years.”
Article written by Cori Fugere Urban, Vermont Catholic content editor and staff writer.
  • Published in Diocesan
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