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Ideas for Implementing the New Roman Missal

The gospel of John concludes with the observation that many more words ­ in fact, entire libraries ­ could be written about Jesus. It seems to me that much the same is true about the pro's and con's of the translation of the New Roman Missal that begins on the First Sunday of Advent 2011. The scope of this presentation is to offer up some suggestions for implementing what is not a new Mass the way those of us who can remember when the change of Latin to the vernacular was but one of many alterations that had to be dealt with such as the location of the altar and the direction the priest faced. What only we have to deal with a new translation of the same Mass. I can't stress how important it is that we do this with much greater thought than what faithful Catholics experienced in the late 1960's and early 70's.

Same Mass, New Words

It has been my experience so far that the number one question we will have to deal with is "Why is this necessary?" People look at how minor, and even arbitrary, some of the changes in their Mass parts are honestly wonder what's the point of all the uproar this will create as well as all the money that this cost. These New Roman Missals will be as expensive as they are bulky. I have been following the development of a new translation of the Sacramentary since the early nineties and actually was able to see it in the form that was overwhelmingly accepted by the

Bishops of the United States. Here are the best reasons I have been able to come up with for a New Translation: First, this is part of the essential purpose of the Church. The Church has a responsibility to do what St. Paul wrote in I Corinthians ­ "What I have received, I now pass on to you." The word tradition is from the Latin "to hand down." In the Roman Catholic Church that responsibility lies upon the Pope and the Bishops, who need to insure that worship in the Church is done correctly according to the norm, "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven." Second, the initial translation that we are so familiar with was rushed and so includes some poor choices and mistakes. In Eucharistic Prayer III, for example, the priest now says, "so that from east to west" whereas the Latin is more literally translated "so that from the rising of the sun to its setting." Furthermore, this new translation of the Mass attempts to better reflect the scriptures where possible. Thus, the changes in the Holy, Holy, Holy (Lord God of hosts) based on Isaiah's vision in the Temple and the prayer the congergation prays before receiving communion ­ "Lord, I am not worthy to have you under my roof, say but the word and my soul shall be healed." ­ is from the miracle in which Jesus healed the slave of a Roman Centurion who was near death. Also, there has been a new edition of the Roman Missal in Latin in 2002. Since we are part of the Roman Catholic Church, the prayers and readings we use in worship are from that book. Among other things, the third edition contains prayers for the celebration of recently canonized saints, additional prefaces for the Eucharistic Prayers, additional Eucharistic Prayers (Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions), and some updated and revised rubrics (instructions) for the celebration of the Mass. Fifth, one of the many axioms of the Catholic Church is "Lex orandi, lex credendi." "The law of praying is the law of

believing." In other words, what the Church believes can be found not just in dogmas & doctrines or councils, constitutions, and catechisms, but in a very special way in the sacramental rites we celebrate and pray. Just as our prayers affect our beliefs, so our beliefs influence our prayers. One of the goals of this translation is to be more theologically precise. Six, it was decided by the Pope and a committee called "Vox Clara" "Clear Voice" that the most important principle in translating from one language to another is to be a literal and exacting as possible. The initial translation used what is called the "dynamic equivalency method" which allowed more freedom in a translation. Also, the words and prayers we are so used to were never meant to be permanent. Nor are the new words and prayers. Language changes and evolves. Words are added and meanings change. Erasmus, a 16th century theologian, showed students 150 different styles they could use when phrasing the Latin sentence, Tuae literae me magnopere delectarunt ("Your letter has delighted me very much"). He amply demonstrated that no single translation will ever completely satisfy everyone. Eight, the Mass is being translated anew to provide a more exalted, transcendent, "spiritual" language for our worship, and to make the English translation more consistent with the Latin original. Finally, we need to bear in mind that the English language is not the same English for all English speaking people. This translation is for the people of England, the United States, South Africa, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and India. The most care is taken with the English translation because many of the translators into the vernacular incorrectly use the English translation instead of the Latin which is the official language of the Church.

Basic Principles

1. Be positive. See this as an opportunity. Not at burden 2. Be purposeful ­ develop a plan; have a program 3. Be practical. 4. Be profuse ­ the more, the merrier, 12-18 times. Use as many ways as possible get the news out to insure that people have a chance to be aware, absorb, and accept what we have no option to refuse to use. 5. Beware ­ don't under or overestimate the impact of change.


1. Create an Ad Hoc Roman Missal Committee with folks from different groups within the parish if you are from a big parish or give the task to your Pastoral Council. 2. I strongly recommend Preparing Your Parish for the Revised Roman Missal: Part I from the editors of Pastoral Liturgy available from LTP Publications. It has some very practical suggestions, quite a few I am presenting this morning. 3. Familiarize yourself with available resources. This will be one of the attachments I will ask Carol to send all of us ­ a resource list provided by Bernadette McMasters. There is a lot of free info out there on the internet that can be used in bulletins and newsletters. 4. Write a letter to all your parishioners. There is one in this book and I will ask Carol to email you the one I've mailed. 5. Develop and implement a time schedule. 6. Don't forget the children.

A Plethora of Possibilities

1. Letter from the Pastor 2. Books and/or pamphlets 3. Bulletin Announcements and Inserts 4. A 15 minute presentation to be given to as many parish groups as possible. 5. A 60 minute presentation for all Liturgical Ministers. This could be combined with refreshing ministers on the do's and don't's of their jobs. 6. A special insert for H2O Catholics Christmas & Easter 7. Newsletters and Mailings 8. Children and youth 9. Websites and FAQ's 10. Other ideas a. Begin using prayers at different meetings allowing people to comment upon them. b. Neighborhood gatherings ­ eat, pray and learn c. DVD's d. Sing-a-longs choir and people


It has been said that a camel is really a horse designed by a committee. Also, a committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled. It has recently come to light that since the Bishops finally approved the translation in 2008, some ten thousand or more changes have been made in Rome, including quite a few that contradict Liturgicum Authenticum. Inconsistencies and innaccuracies in the current translation abound It appears that the Why Not Wait Movement may have a point after all. We will just have to make the best of a chaotic situation.

Third Edition Roman Missal Resource List

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops 1-800-235-8722 Parish Guide One Body One Spirit in Christ (DVD series by ICEL) Liturgical Training Publications 1-800-933-1800 Understanding the Revised Mass Texts (people's booklets) Understanding the Revised Mass Texts (Leader's Edition) Preparing Your Parish for the Revised Roman Missal Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions 1-202-635-6990 Pastoral Leaders Workshop Kit Parish Assembly Kit Notre Dame Center for Liturgy (free web catechesis) National Associations of Pastoral Musicians (downloadable chant of parts of the Mass ­ available soon) International Commission on English in the Liturgy

assembled by Bernadette McMasters, Director of the Office for Liturgy and Worship.

September 2010 Dear Parishioner(s), As you may have heard or read there is a revised translation of the Roman Missal, the book that the priest uses to pray the Mass. English speaking Catholics all over the world will be using this book beginning with the First Sunday of Advent in 2011. We all know that change is difficult for most people. We also know that change is a part of life. Allow me to "bottom line" what this means for you. 1. What we will have is the SAME Mass with slightly different words. The structure of the Mass is the same as it has been since the late first century. The parts of the Mass that you will be praying are only slightly different. 2. You will have numerous opportunities to hear, read, learn, and talk all about it during the next fifteen months. I am working with an Ad-Hoc Committee to insure that we do a much better job than was done when the Latin Mass gave way to using one's everyday language to pray. Many of us remember what that was like ­ changes made with no or (all too frequently) poorly given explanations. 3. There were two primary goals for the translators. Under the direction of Pope John Paul II they wanted to provide a more literal translation of the prayers (some of which Catholics have been using at Mass for nearly two thousand years.) A second concern was to make more clear the connection many of the prayers have with the Bible. 4. We will all have to learn new music for singing the parts of the Mass. It is possible that composers may be able to adapt old music to the new words. 5. This will be a wonderful opportunity for us to consider what the words we pray mean. As one priest wrote, "Richer meanings of the words may be spiritually heard in a new way, transforming our hearts." Over the next few years I hope we will notice the differences and think about what the words we pray mean. If you have access to the internet, you may want to check out the Official Website on the new translation of the Roman Missal -- There you can examine FAQ's, the actual changes in the parts of the Mass, and much more. Change is as constant as it is unavoidable. I pray that you will join me in what promises to be a wonderful opportunity to grow in knowledge and grace as we prepare for the new translation of the prayers people and priests pray on Sundays. Sincerely yours in Christ,


Same Mass, New Words

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