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!

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