No More “Yahweh” Songs

In Catholic worship, from CNS:

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In the not-too-distant future, songs such as “You Are Near,” “I Will Bless Yahweh” and “Rise, O Yahweh” will no longer be part of the Catholic worship experience in the United States.

At the very least, the songs will be edited to remove the word “Yahweh” — a name of God that the Vatican has ruled must not “be used or pronounced” in songs and prayers during Catholic Masses.

Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, announced the new Vatican “directives on the use of ‘the name of God’ in the sacred liturgy” in an Aug. 8 letter to his fellow bishops.

He said the directives would not “force any changes to official liturgical texts” or to the bishops’ current missal translation project but would likely have “some impact on the use of particular pieces of liturgical music in our country as well as in the composition of variable texts such as the general intercessions for the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments.”

John Limb, publisher of OCP in Portland, Ore., said the most popular hymn in the OCP repertoire that would be affected was Dan Schutte’s “You Are Near,” which begins, “Yahweh, I know you are near.”

He estimated that only “a handful” of other OCP hymns use the word “Yahweh,” although a search of the OCP Web site turned up about a dozen examples of songs that included the word.

OCP is a nonprofit publisher of liturgical music and worship resources.


Lunch with the Pope

“He’s a good listener.”

From the LA TIMES:

The lunch took place July 18 at Pell’s residence in Sydney. Cervantes and the others were led into a room with a circular table. Place cards directed them where to sit. Security guards swept through the room, then the group was told to wait: The Holy Father would be with them shortly.

“All of us didn’t know what to say,” Cervantes recalled. They joked about not knowing which fork to use and warned those who would be seated next to the pope not to accidentally use his bread plate. They also peeked through the drawn blinds, hoping to catch a glimpse of the pope arriving.

When Benedict arrived with Pell, the two men quickly put the young delegates, who were all in their 20s, at ease. Share who you are and what you do, the pope told them.

Cervantes had memorized facts about his diocese and it was clear the other diners had also prepared facts to share. But that’s not what the pope wanted. “He would bring us back to talk about us,” Cervantes said.

He talked about his parents, both immigrants, and his work in youth ministry. The pope asked their names and where they had come from, and if Cervantes had siblings. “I didn’t think he would ask any of that,” Cervantes said.

But he answered the questions. His parents, Alicia and Fermin Cervantes, immigrated from Mexico. He has a sister, Vivian, and a brother, Miguel. The pope also asked about Orange County and if the church was multicultural. Benedict seemed pleased, Cervantes said, when he talked about the large presence of Spanish- and Vietnamese-speaking Catholics.

Another delegate, when asked, spoke of his work as a teacher. Benedict, a longtime academic, perked up at that.

“What do you like to teach?” he asked. Then a man representing Australia’s aborigines — his chair was decorated with a kangaroo skin — said he hoped to inspire other indigenous peoples.

A thread connected most of the personal stories:

“That all of us had a struggle, a conversion or a transformation — and that all of us had a desire to help other people,” Cervantes said.

The conversation was held mostly in English, but the pope switched to Spanish and French at times. With a Korean man to his right, he spoke in German. Benedict was like “a grandfather trying to get know about his grandchildren,” Cervantes said.

The diners took a break for the pope to see some gifts each person brought. Cervantes and his youth groups wanted to give the pope something classically American, so he brought a basket with assorted gifts. Among the items was a book of blessings from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In a nod to baseball, there was an Angels visor.

There was also an orange stress ball, the kind overworked people like to squeeze to relieve tension. “What is this?” Benedict asked.

Cervantes explained, prompting a laugh. “Seeing him smile and seeing him laugh was worth it,” he said.

Then came the classic Orange County gift: A Mickey Mouse hat. As any kid knows, it has to have your name on it. So embroidered between the ears was “Benedict XVI.”

But Cervantes had a serious message for the pope as well: “There is hope and there is faith in the U.S.”

Two days after the lunch, Benedict delivered a homily during a Mass held at the Randwick Racecourse in Sydney. “The Church especially needs the gifts of young people, all young people,” he told the crowd. “She needs to grow in the power of the Spirit who even now gives joy to your youth and inspires you to serve the Lord with gladness.”

The homily hit home for Cervantes. “This is a person who truly cares, who lives what he preaches,” he said.

In the weeks following his lunch with the pope, Cervantes has reflected on the experience — “It’s definitely given me more inner strength” — and has realized that what surprised him then makes sense now. “His writings talk about making personal connections,” he said.

That explains all the questions about family and personal journeys. And why the pope didn’t really say much himself.

“He’s a very good listener,” Cervantes said. “You’re used to seeing him take charge.” But with the young people, he “just was listening to us.”

Pope Prays for Those who Ask

From Asia News Italy:

The Pope prays for all of those, “and they are many”, who write to him about their difficulties: Benedict XVI reminds them, and all Christians, that “those who pray never lose hope, not even in difficult situations, even situations that are desperate in human terms. This is what the Church’s history teaches us”, and this is what is displayed by the witness of the martyrs, like Edith Stein and Maximilian Kolbe, whose feasts are celebrated in this period. “In human terms, their lives could be viewed as a failure, but in their martyrdom shines the splendor of love”.

The commemoration of the two martyrs killed at Auschwitz by the Nazis was at the center of the remarks that Benedict XVI addressed to about 8,000 people gathered in the courtyard of the apostolic residence in Castel Gandolfo for the resumption of the general audiences, after the hiatus due to the pope’s visit to Australia and his vacation in Brixen. The audiences have not been held at Castel Gandolfo since the pontificate of Paul VI, 30 years ago.

Benedict XVI looked relaxed after his days spent in the mountains, and he talked about the “serenity” there, and thanked those who “took care of” his vacation.

“There are very many”, he then said, “who write to me asking me to pray for them, and they do not conceal their concerns, their problems, aspirations, and hopes which they carry in their hearts together with the uncertainties through which humanity is living in this period. I can assure all”, he added, “that I remember you in my prayers, especially in the celebration of the Holy Mass and the recitation of the Rosary”.

“How very often”, he commented, “it has been prayer that has sustained the Christian people in their trials”. In this regard, he cited Edith Stein and Maximilian Kolbe, whose feasts are celebrated in this period: “both concluded their earthly existence with martyrdom in Auschwitz. In human terms, their lives could seem like a defeat, but they are instead proof of the victory of love. As Saint Maximilian Kolbe said, ‘hatred is not a creative force, only love is’, and the proof of love was his generous offering of himself to take the place of [a fellow prisoner sentenced to death]”. On August 6, Edith Stein, three days from her dramatic end, approached some of her fellow sisters and told them she was “ready for anything. Jesus is also here. So far I have been able to pray, and I have said Ave Crux”. Survivors of the concentration camp, the pope said, have recounted that, dressed in the habit of her order, she distinguished herself by her behavior: “prayer was the secret of this saint, a co-patroness of Europe”.

And “Ave Maria was the final invocation of Saint Maximilian Kolbe as he held out his arm to the man who killed him by injection”.

“As we prepare ourselves to celebrate the solemnity of the Assumption”, he concluded, “let us again entrust ourselves to her who looks upon us at every moment from heaven, with maternal love”.

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