LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, USA – More than 3,100 Catholic pastoral musicians from around the United States, Canada and Mexico gathered at the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville, USA, to prepare for the implementation of the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

Parishes around the United States will begin using the new text – and some new music with it – for the celebration of Mass on Nov 27, the first Sunday in Advent.

During the July 18-22 convention, attendees had the opportunity to listen to and purchase music for new Mass settings written for the new translation.

“Whether we will sing new words to old tunes or new words to new tunes, the upcoming changes will affect all of us,” Dominican Fr Paul Colloton told the crowd during the opening of the National Pastoral Musicians Convention on July 18.

Fr Colloton is the organisation’s director of continuing education.

He acknowledged that the new missal translation will bring changes in the Mass but said it also offers Catholics an opportunity to find a “deeper relationship with Jesus Christ” so that “we can sing to the Lord with new words”.

Keynote speaker Msgr Ray East observed that some people came to the convention “with anger” and some came “sad”. A variety of emotions have animated responses to the new Roman Missal, said the monsignor, who is pastor of Teresa of Avila church in Washington.

“All of us came here with questions, panicking about the advent of Advent,” he said, as the crowd murmured with comments. “But I hope that somebody came here to Louisville with an open mind … with an open heart to listen, to learn, to study.”

Pastoral musicians, who will find themselves teaching congregations about the new text as they introduce new music, will play a key catechetical role in the changes, he noted.

“We have a new role, and we have to be converted in our hearts to expand this role,” he added.

Ms Camilla Gehring, who travelled to the convention from her parish in Columbus, Indiana, said she and her fellow choir members at St Bartholomew Church hope the convention helps to prepare them for this new role.

“The new liturgy is a big draw for a lot of people,” she said. The convention “gives us a chance to be exposed to the new arrangements ahead of time.”

Organisers said this year’s convention is largest in its history. That was in part because of the upcoming changes in the liturgy, said Ms Judy Bullock, director of the Louisville archdiocesan Office of Worship and the chair of the convention.- CNS

Singers from parishes in the Archdiocese of Louisville, USA, perform on July 18 during the National Pastoral Musicians Convention in Louisville. CNS photo