I arrived in Pittsburgh on Sunday evening for the 35th convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. On Monday afternoon at 1:30pm their meeting was convened and after an hour of introductions and business matters, I was introduced for the keynote address. I am deeply honored to participate in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. My talk centered on the universal call to holiness which came from the call of Vatican II. However, more than that I hold in prayer the lives of people surviving the issues of urban poverty in our community of Saint Andre Bessette Church. I am only here because I witness among our people a deep and abiding reliance on God and a profound hunger for Eucharist.
I spoke for an hour connecting people to the four parts of the Mass in light of some of the stories and composite stories I know from among our parishioners who struggle to be sober, who battle issues of mental health and who live only a day at a time. I am always at a loss as how to translate their faith into a larger context as well as how to translate my own deepening of faith ministering among people in poverty. The entire address will eventually be on-line.
Alan and Mary Beth from World Library sang the two litanies I used at the end of the talk. They are both friends of mine whom I have known since graduate school and my days at the Office for Divine Worship in Chicago. Alan is my editor at World Library and he recommended me for the talk to the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.
I also offered a workshop and conversation for clergy yesterday afternoon on the new translation of the Roman Missal. The conversation centered on pastoral practice of dealing with the awkward wording of our prayer texts among our people who struggle to be connected in the Eucharist in the first place. Very interesting discussions on grieving and change among priests and how they pray among their communities.