Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Straight, No Chaser -- New album out

Many of you know that I'm a big fan of a-cappella singing. A few years ago, I came upon this group from Indiana....Straight, No Chaser. Last year they released a great Christmas (oh excuse me, Holiday...) album.

Now they've released their first album of "regular" songs. Check out their site:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Religious Education program

Tomorrow at 11:15, we'll close our Summer Religious Education program with Mass. I'd like to invite all parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters to join us for Mass.

The Trip to the BlueClaws game

Last Friday evening, we had a bus trip to Lakewood to enjoy an evening BlueClaws game. It was a lovely evening, with just about 1 minute of light rain, and everybody had a great time. The night was capped off with a great fireworks display, and everybody had a great time, even though the BlueClaws lost the baseball game. Let's do it again next summer!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Notre Dame Freshmen Send-Off

Today, our Notre Dame Club of the Jersey Shore had a wonderful celebration of Mass for, and a barbecue dinner with the incoming freshmen of Notre Dame and their families. We were almost 100 people gathered at the Monmouth Beach bath and tennis club. It was a beautiful afternoon at the beach, and we all had a great time meeting the new freshmen, and also spending time with some of the current students at the University. Check out this link to the local ND Club:


Friday, July 17, 2009

On Becoming a Priest

A few weeks ago, while I was at Notre Dame for a conference, I helped to hear confessions at a Reconciliation Service for young people. I had the opportunity to meet one of the counsellors for the retreat program, Mr. Kevin Wack. Kevin is the nephew of one of my good friends from the seminary, Fr. Bill Wack, CSC. I was thrilled to meet Kevin, and delighted to hear that he would be moving into Moreau Seminary this fall for his senior year at Notre Dame, and then on to the novitiate after that.

Just tonight, I came across a story about Kevin, and other seminarians, on Catholic News Service. Check out the story here: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0903226.htm

Monday, July 13, 2009

Parish Council meeting for July

Tonight, we had another great Parish Council meeting. Topics included a report by our Finance Committee: we're basically meeting our expenses, our investments are slowly coming back from the depths, we've paid off the balance of the only outstanding loan with a bank for the construction of the "new wing." We discussed the possibility of putting away some money "just in case" we get hit with a major capital expense (like new heating/AC equipment).
The closing of Pope John XXIII regional Catholic school has been a stressful experience for our parish pastoral council. We are very grateful to John Boyko, our current Vice President, for his work as our official liason to Pope John XXIII, and to the "Board" that oversaw the school. The closing of the school should help our overall financial picture as a parish.
I reported on the Deanery Study, especially the opening of a new parish in Long Branch, "Christ the King" with Fr. Daniel Peirano as the new pastor. The new parish has three priests, and they will take primary responsibility for the care of Monmouth Medical Center. As of this writing, we still have not heard anything "official" as to the future of St. Anselm parish "linking" with any other parish.
Our Religious Education program began this morning, and I'm told that the office is getting lots of calls from neighboring parishes about enrolling their children in our RE program. I've instructed the parish staff who handles these calls to inform these inquirers that they must officially join our parish before they can enroll their children in our RE program. That means that they will worship here on a regular basis, and contribute to the support of parish activities.
Our other committees of the Council presented reports about upcoming activities. Our bookeeper, Francine, helped the council to understand our current financial picture, and I'm very grateful for her presence and her leadership.

Finally, thanks to Mike Bellina for the refreshments at tonight's meeting....it's always a good meeting when we can cool off with Rita's Italian ices at the July meeting!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 1 of the NPM Convention

Whew! What a day! We started early with an early morning tour of Liturgical Spaces (chapels and churches) that had been recently built and/or renovated. Beautiful images, and lots of great ideas for our worship spaces back in the diocese of Trenton. Also, this morning there was an intensive 3-hour workshop on Gregorian chant for chant enthusiasts.

The official opening of the convention began with a sung prayer service at which all 3500 members were officially welcomed by Dr. Michael McMahon, NPM President. We had a roll-call of members, and all 50 States are represented! There are also members present from all of the provinces of Canada, the countries of Ireland, England, and Australia! The roll call revealed that there are over 300 priests and deacons present at the gathering.

The Opening Keynote address was delivered by Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI, who spoke on the different spiritualities present in today's cultures. The exhibits featured liturgical music companies, artists who sculpt and fashion art for worship spaces, and of course, the big music publishers. We had an evening gathering for Youth, featuring some great upbeat music and sounds and prayers. We sang Evening Prayer together...an awesome experience when you have over 2500 singers and musicians and clergy all in one place.

The day closed with a relaxing tour of the Exhibit hall, with a chance to share a drink and to catch up with friends, while networking with new companies and resources.

One of the best events that I attended was a meeting of the division for Clergy, which was facilitated by Fr. Bob Webster from Florida. Bob deftly answered questions about the upcoming Roman Missal project, which is a project of the BCDW, FDLC, NPM, and other associations. It's basically a project to develop tools for catechesis for helping clergy, laity, and others to deepen their appreciation for the newly translated Roman Missal, due in the U.S. about the beginning of Advent, 2011. We were joined at the meeting by Fr. Paul Turner, one of the leaders in the effort to catechize clergy and laity about the new liturgy and the new Missal. Also present was Fr. Michael Driscoll of the University of Notre Dame.

It was a great discussion, very open and free, and although we all acknowledged that we have some questions about the new translations, we realized that we have to move forward, and work together to help people to really celebrate the Liturgy in song and in grace.

Stay tuned!

P.S. The food out here is incredibly expensive! I'm grabbing a cab to find a supermarket, and I'll turn my room into cheap-food-central for all NPM Trenton members!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

NPM Convention 2009

Later today, I'll be in Chicago for the National Convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. My first NPM convention was way back in 1980, in Providence Rhode Island. Ever since then, I've been a member of this wonderful association of clergy, lay people, musicians, theologians, liturgists, and pastoral ministers. Our gatherings are a time of learning, exploring futures, celebrating, and overall, a refreshing time to come together to grow closer to the Lord.

Please pray for me and my colleagues as we gather in Chicago, and let's pray for each other as we all seek to move forward to celebrate the liturgy of the Lord in song, dance, and grace!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Birthday America!

Looking forward to a very good 4th of July. I hope everybody will try to be safe, and remember to pray for all of the men and women serving our country, especially those who are serving far away from our home.

Sunday, I'm off to Chicago for the national convention of the National Pastoral Musicians. We'll be at the convention center in Rosemont, IL, near O'Hare airport. I hope to contact some musician-friends to bring them back here to the Diocese of Trenton to help us all advance our practice of musical liturgy.