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New Roman Missal – The highlight of the Mass

Posted By December 22, 2011 | 11:00 am | Featured Article #4

Father Paul J. Tougas
Pastor, St. Mary of the Hills, Boylston

The elevation has always been an important part of the Mass. When the priest said Mass with his back to the people, the high elevation was necessary for the people to see the Host.
Yet, the Roman Missal never called for an elevation. Rather, even in the Latin Missal and in today’s new Roman Missal, the priest is directed to “show” the consecrated Host and the chalice to the people.
The elevation as we knew it entered the Mass in 1215 when the Archbishop of Paris directed his priests to hold the Host high so it could be seen by all. This was a time in history when the laity’s interest was in seeing the host instead of receiving it.
The central portion of the Mass is the most significant part, leading up to the words of institution, the consecration, and ending with the doxology, elevation of the host and chalice together at the “Through him, with him,” etc. This then is the elevation.
In today’s Mass, after showing the consecrated elements, the priest says or sings “The mystery of faith,” and the people say or sing the acclamation. The new acclamations all address the Lord, Jesus Christ directly, newly present on the altar. (We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again; or, When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death O Lord, until you come again; or,  Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.) The priest’s prayer at this time is addressed to the Father. I think this peoples’ acclamation is one of the nicest parts of the new Mass as the people address the Lord directly. This is a new change for the Mass.
The phrase “The mystery of faith” used to be part of the words of the consecration of the chalice – mysterium fidei – but they stand alone now. The mystery of faith refers to the double consecration now present on the altar.
The Eucharistic Prayer concludes with the doxology which used to be called the minor elevation. It is now really the only elevation in the Mass and the people conclude the Eucharistic Prayer with their great “Amen.”
There is a history of using bells at Mass, mainly because the people could not see what the priest was doing at the altar. When the priest faced the people, the bells became an option. The bells are an option still. Personally, I have not used the bells for years but have decided to use them again in this more formalized Mass of the Roman Missal. The bells still are a signal and they can make people more alert to what is taking place. They also provide “a joyful noise unto the Lord.”

– Father Paul J. Tougas has been teaching his parishioners about the new English-language translation of the Roman Missal. He is giving us a priest’s perspective on the changes in the Roman Missal.


The New Testament Commandment 

The new English-language translation of the Roman Missal has caused priests and people to look at the Mass in a more scholarly way.

This new translation will bring a new formality and a new structuring to the Mass. The casualness of our previous celebrations is being replaced. Often in the previous Sacramentary (the former term for the Roman Missal), the rubrics (or instructions) would direct the priest to say something “in these or similar words.” That is no longer the case. The exact words to say are right there.

It’s astonishing to look back at the very early celebration of the Eucharist, because the “words of institution” (the consecration) used then are different from the Scriptures. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark are similar to each other in their recording of Jesus’ words at the Last Supper. The Gospel of Luke and the similar account in St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians place the words of institution within the Passover supper differently, as if their communities still celebrated the Eucharist during a meal. (Mt 26:26-29, Mk 14:22-25, Lk 22:19-20, I Cor 11:23-25) Both these sets of accounts are different. Both these accounts of the Last Supper differ from the words of institution in the Mass. This is because the Mass preceded the writing of the New Testament by many years. The memory of the early Church preserved this account of the institution in the Mass.

When Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me” at the Last Supper, this was his commandment to his closest disciples. When he was arrested later that night, most of them fled. But on Easter he appeared to them in his resurrected body, and regathered them.

That Passover weekend had such an impact on the apostolic community that the primary New Testament command – “Do this in memory of me” – didn’t need to be repeated. The Lord said it once at the Last Supper and the apostolic church was quick to obey. The preface dialogue we use today –  “Lift up your hearts…Let us give thanks to the Lord our God…” comes from that early apostolic community.

Easter weekend itself is bracketed by the Eucharist, the Supper on Holy Thursday and the Emmaus meal on Sunday. “They recognized him in the breaking of the bread.”

Some of the Canons, or forms of the Eucharistic Prayer, which we use today came later, but still fairly early in the history of the Church. Others are much newer. Our Eucharistic Prayer II can be found as early as 215 A.D. It is the Anaphora of Hippolytus. The long Eucharistic Prayer IV is the Anaphora of St. Basil, about 380 A.D. Eucharistic Prayer I comes from The Roman Canon that was in use by the 500s. And surprise – Eucharistic Prayer III dates to 1967. The past several years have produced several new Eucharistic prayers, and these too are contained in the new Roman Missal.

When you consider how early the Mass was celebrated in the house churches of the apostolic community, you have to wonder how strong a pull it had on attracting converts from the Jewish and Gentile communities where the apostles evangelized. Those early Christians probably did not focus on the crucifixion as much as we do today. It was a source of shame; their master had been condemned to death by the Roman governor and executed as a criminal. Yet their worship was joyful and featured singing in the context of a meal. That might have attracted the curiosity of non-Christians and they might have wanted to be part of it.

Considering the importance of the command to “do this in memory of me,” you can see the moral fault in missing Mass. It’s a total disconnect from the Lord and his will.


Father Paul J. Tougas has been teaching his parishioners about the new English-language translation of the Roman Missal.




 Paying closer attention required

By Tanya Connor

Appreciation, criticism and good-natured joking were among reactions to the new English-language translation of the Roman Missal, inaugurated at Masses last weekend.
“What better time than Advent, because it’s the beginning of a new year?” Father Philip D. McNamara asked The Catholic Free Press Tuesday. “What better way to start the (pope’s) new project of evangelization than the Mass? We have a liturgical springtime.”
Father McNamara is retired, but celebrates Mass at St. Peter Parish in Worcester and Southgate at Shrewsbury, where he and other retirees live.
“We may be old, but we’re not out of it,” he said of the retired priests there who were interested in learning about the changes.
Father McNamara said he celebrated Mass in Latin before Vatican Council II, but was happier with English.
“Latin is just so hard to translate, because there’s so much packed in a word,” he said. “When we’re talking to God, we’d like to know what we’re saying to him.”
While not comparable, the new missal is like the King James Version of the Bible, with which people “managed to create a masterpiece in English,” he said. “Our goal is to make the prayers as beautiful as possible. Those prayers are composed with a lot of thought and inspiration of the Holy Ghost.”
“Well, at least the Our Father’s the same,” Jesuit Father William E. Reiser said, upon concluding Mass at Our Lady of Providence Parish in Worcester Saturday evening. Some worshippers applauded.
“God looks in the heart; he’s not all that big on the words,” Joseph Trent said afterwards. “He’s big for the Our Father, which is what he taught us.”
He said he thought the new translation did not flow as easily as the prior one, and hoped that was simply because it was unfamiliar.
“You have to read them very slowly,” Father Reiser said of the words. “The orations are longer. They could have used a few more periods. The translation, from what I can see, is kind of literal. It’s going to take awhile to get used to the cadence.”
“We’ll adjust to it,” said Kathleen Haran. “We did it so many years ago.”
“I think it makes you think about it a little more,” said her son Timothy Haran. “If you’re thinking about what you’re saying, it’s going to mean more to you. I think it’ll be better once people get used to it.”
People get used to hearing the same thing, said Sister Rena Mae Gagnon, a Little Franciscan of Mary, who does pastoral ministry at Our Lady of Providence.
“This made me more alert,” she said. “In six months we’ll be used to it.”
“I would have liked to see ‘for us and for our salvation,’” rather than “for us men,” she said. “To me, ‘us’ would have been inclusive.”
John Palmer said there wasn’t much difference in the new translation.
Jackie Doyle said she liked it a lot.
“I did think it was interesting to be on the altar, and hearing people doing the old and the new,” said Linda Wagner, who served at Our Lady of Providence.
“Our feeling was that it flowed well this weekend,” Father Peter J. Joyce, pastor of Blessed John Paul II Parish in Southbridge, said Tuesday. But it wasn’t all new for the congregation.
“We felt there was so much to learn all at once,” he said, so a year ago they started introducing changes in the congregation’s responses.
“At first it was awkward and even cumbersome,” he said. “A couple times I forgot.”
He had a head start. For years he’s been celebrating Mass in Spanish, which has used words closer to the new English translation since the 1980s, he said.
Father Patrick Ssekyole, associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Auburn, has a similar experience. What is in the new English translation was already used in Luganda, his local language in Uganda, he said. Although English is the country’s official language, people worship in their local languages, though in some institutions and city parishes they use English, he said.
“The richness of theology, lived out in liturgy, is the reason for the current translation,” he said. To understand its importance, people should listen to the prayers the priest says, as changes in the congregation’s responses are few and may not be that different, he said.
“I find the language … inspiring,” said Father John E. Horgan, pastor of St. Denis Parish in Ashburnham and St. Anne Parish in South Ashburnham. He expressed hope that it will lift people’s hearts closer to the Lord and said parishioners seem to appreciate it.
“They’re using the pew cards and missalettes,” he said. “We’re getting there together.”
His parishes started using the new translation last weekend, but began learning sung responses for the congregation in mid-October, he said.
“I wanted to give my people a very, very positive view,” said Father Paul J. Tougas, pastor of St. Mary of the Hills Parish in Boylston, who’s been educating parishioners about the changes for a couple months. “I want them to love the Mass like I love the Mass.”
Deacon Roland R. Michaud, who serves Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Hopedale, said their pastor, Father William C. Konicki, began using the new missal last weekend, but talked about the changes earlier. He invited parishioners to take information pamphlets home, but asked them to leave the cards showing the changes in the pews, joking that they might need them for a few years, Deacon Michaud said.
During Masses last weekend Father Konicki alerted worshippers when changes were coming, and said they will do that for awhile, the deacon said.
“People still slip up, even with advance warning,” he said. “Old habits die hard.” But, he said, “I noticed the whole church was participating.”
“I like it,” he said of the new missal. “To me it’s not a difficulty. It calls me to more attention. It’s about all of us growing in our faith and getting closer to God.”
PHOTO: By Tanya Connor
Father Paul J. Tougas, pastor of St. Mary of the Hills Parish in Boylston, got parishioner Clare Nadolski to make this altar banner – which secretary Pearl Martino suggested –  to help worshippers remember one of their responses in the new English-language translation of the Roman Missal. The response is familiar to Father Tougas. “I was the last priest in Worcester ordained in Latin,” he says. He says that for the first six months of his priesthood he celebrated the Tridentine Mass, then there were two or three English translations, at least one of which used this response.



Despite a few ‘rough spots,’ Catholics adapt to new missal translation

By Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Years of planning went into it, followed by catechesis over the past several months via workshops, classroom and video presentations, diocesan communiques, bishops’ pastoral letters, parish bulletin inserts, and countless stories and special sections in Catholic newspapers.
All of it was done to prepare everyone, from clergy to the people in the pews, for the first use of the new English-translation of the Roman Missal as Advent began with Masses Nov. 26-27.
By all accounts, despite “a few rough spots here and there, and occasional ‘and also with your spirit’ and other hybrid responses … it looks like we made it!” said Father Richard Hilgartner, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship.
“We are now praying with the Roman Missal,” the priest said in a Nov. 28 email to employees at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.
He told The Catholic Review, newspaper of the Baltimore Archdiocese, his home archdiocese, that it will take time for people to grow accustomed to the new language, which is more literally translated from the original Latin than the earlier translation.
While there may be a short-term sense of entering unchartered waters, he said, in the long term the new translation may provide opportunities to enrich prayer life.
“We’ll have new words and new images in our prayer, so I hope that ultimately people will hear things that speak to their hearts.”
In the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y., at St. Gregory the Great Church, Massgoers received step-by-step guidance with the new wording from cream-colored pew cards, produced by Magnificat.
While many parishioners visibly held the cards and did their best to follow along, some left the cards sitting in the pews.
Following the 5 p.m. vigil Mass Nov. 26, head usher Clairmont Sampson said he thinks the new translation is “wonderful. It’s going back to the old Latin, the way I remember.”
But it has been nearly 40 years and he doesn’t necessarily recall all of the words so the pew cards, he said, came in handy and will help parishioners “adjust easily,” he told The Tablet, Brooklyn’s diocesan newspaper.
Marlene Saunders, parish trustee, was equally receptive to the changes. She feels the language is more personal and invites people into “more of a relationship” with God.
Although she knew of the changes, Saunders was grateful to have the pew card in her hand during Mass. “It’s simple to understand,” she said, adding that it kept her from making any mistakes.
At St. Michael-Resurrection Church in Edmonton, Alberta, Father Roger Keeler offered the blessing, “Lord be with you” during the Nov. 26 Mass.
Having used the same response for 40 years, many parishioners replied, “And also with you.” Others replied for the first time using the new response, “And with your spirit.”
“I think the new translation is very much like the old one, from way back when I was first at church, pre-Vatican II, except it’s not in Latin,” said Mary Griffith, a St. Michael-Resurrection parishioner.
The biggest difficulties will be unlearning familiar liturgical language, getting accustomed to the new language of the revised Missal and remembering when to kneel, she told the Western Catholic Reporter, newspaper of the Edmonton Archdiocese.
For most Catholics in the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis., reciting unfamiliar words in familiar prayers at Mass turned out to be little or no challenge. Preparation for the new word changes helped make the transition smoother, said many Catholics interviewed after weekend Masses.
At St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Bishop David L. Ricken celebrated the 9 a.m. Mass. In his homily, he asked parishioners to turn and wish each other a happy Advent by shaking with their left hands.
“That is the way the liturgy is going to feel for a while,” he said. “Like we are doing something we are not used to. We have to retrain ourselves to be comfortable with it. So eventually it becomes rote.”
“I think it’s very spiritual,” said Joan Pierre of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in De Pere. “I think it’s more alive. The music is upbeat. I love it. I really do.”
“I also think it’s very spiritual and it has been easy to follow,” Lynn Danen, also from Our Lady of Lourdes, told The Compass, Green Bay’s diocesan newspaper. “I think it’s great that they have cue cards to help us out because we’re so in touch to saying what we’re used to saying and this will help us out.”
Another fellow parishioner, Dan Ritter, said he was not overwhelmed by the changes. “I’m kind of underwhelmed,” he said. “I don’t see that big of a difference. I learned an entirely different Nicene Creed 70 or 75 years ago so I’ve always been kind of stumbling around, ever since I was a kid because the new one I never did get it. Now it’s back again to being different again.”
In the Archdiocese of Detroit, John Fleming, 90, a member of St. Aloysius Parish in downtown Detroit said: “I got out all my old missals from when Latin was on one side and English on the other and it seems more like what I used to say a long time ago. It is awkward for me now to change back, but I don’t think it’s a great obstacle.
“I’ve lived through much bigger changes when the Mass was no longer in Latin and when the priest turned to face us. …  Like everything else, you get accustomed to it,” he said.
Father Richard Bondi, pastor of St. Theresa of Lisieux in South Hadley, Mass., in the Springfield Diocese, said that his parishioners have been generally receptive to the changes and he credits that to having made available a number of educational programs at the parish level.
“What we’ve tried to emphasize is not just the words and the changes to the words, but rather, the call to conversion, the opportunity for all of us to go deeper,” he told iobserve, the diocese’s communications outlet.
In Toronto at St. Brigid’s Parish, Diana FitzGerald, who teaches catechism to Catholic children attending public school, noted the new language is more difficult, especially in a city full of immigrants whose first language may not be English.
“Consubstantiation, that’s a very difficult word,” she told The Catholic Register. But even the difficult words may eventually get easier, she said. “You get used to it.”
For Maria Martinez, the surprising thing about the new English translation is how some of it is closer to the words she grew up saying in Spanish. Right off the top, the new reply to the priest’s greeting of “The Lord be with you,” now translated as “And with your spirit,” is just what is said in Spanish — “Y con tu espiritu.”
At St. Mary of Sorrows Church in Fairfax, Va., in the Arlington Diocese, misspoken responses at morning Mass Nov. 27 elicited a few knowing smiles and nudges among family members. Some parishioners said they preferred the older translation, with Jean Miller saying the new one was “a little confusing,” and her husband, Earl, adding that he doesn’t like change.
But others took the new translation in stride.
“The changes weren’t as many as I thought,” Claire Le Seur told the Arlington Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper. “It’ll take a couple of weeks (to learn).”
“I think it will be a positive change,” added Toni Maltagliati.
In the Diocese of Baton Rouge, La., Father Jamin David added a little humor to the reactions, saying the first “victim” of the new translation might have been the small altar server at St. Aloysius Church in Baton Rouge. “My conviction that the Roman Missal weighed more than him was verified when after 15 seconds his arms shook so violently that Father could barely read the new text held before him!”
He told The Catholic Commentator, the diocesan newspaper, that pew cards reminded parishioners to follow along with the textual changes. “And yet, it took several attempts to change the automatic response to ‘The Lord be with you’ to a thunderous ‘And with your spirit.’ There were awkward moments, public service announcements, a cacophony of different responses, laughs, giggles and smiles — but we made it,” he said.
Father David Allen, pastor of Holy Family Church in Port Allen, La., summed up reactions of most at his church like this: “First, it was a beautiful Mass. Second, we made it through, we did fine and we will get used to it.”
A call for comments on the new translation posted on Catholic News Service’s Facebook page brought more than 50 responses by midday Nov. 29. A few said they didn’t like it; one respondent said “the priest’s language is awful” in the new version, the new sentences were “fragmented” and used “terrible grammar.”
Some admitted to stumbles, but overall respondents praised the new translation.
“I think it’s great to mix it up a little. Otherwise we become robots and recite our lines without any thought. I think it’s what we all needed. Feels fresh and new. I’m for more change,” said one person.
“Stumbled a few times during Mass yesterday, but the new language is beautiful. Richer than the original, pedestrian translation,” said another.
The USCCB’s Secretariat of Divine Worship provided guidance for disposing of the old Sacramentary once the new Roman Missal was implemented. Dioceses must handle disposal “with respect” by burying it in “an appropriate location on church grounds, or perhaps in a parish cemetery if there is one.”
“In lieu of burying old liturgical books, they could be burned, and the ashes placed in the ground in an appropriate location on church grounds. It is advisable to retain a copy of the Sacramentary for parish archives or liturgical libraries.”
– – –
Contributing to this report were Ed Wilkinson in Brooklyn, Chris Miller in Edmonton, Marylynn G. Hewitt in Detroit, Teri Breguet in South Hadley, Michael Swan in Toronto, Barbara Chenevert in Baton Rouge and staff members of The Compass in Green Bay, The Catholic Review in Baltimore and the Arlington Catholic Herald.


Prepared for the new translation


By Patricia O’Connell

CFP Correspondent

The new English translation of the Roman Missal is to be used this weekend at Masses for the first Sunday of Advent. Msgr. Robert K. Johnson, director of the diocesan Office for Divine Worship, said the translation better reflects the faith.

During a recent workshop on the upcoming changes, held at St. Edward the Confessor Parish in Westminster, he cited a Latin phrase, “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.” This means the Law of prayer – the way we pray is linked to the Law of Belief, the way we believe.

“The liturgy is connected to who we say God is, and who we are as Church,” he noted.

He said the primary reason for the changes is because the Holy Father, along with the world’s bishops, were calling for a new translation, more faithful to the original Latin and to the demands of “Liturgiam Authenticam,” a Vatican document issued in 2001. This requires that prayers in English retain the integrity of those in Latin.

Msgr. Johnson described the problems found in the original English translations, introduced in the 1960s, when guidelines and norms were not specific. Also, he said, the translation was rushed, and was introduced with “inadequate catechesis.”

“Some people got little explanation” as to why the Mass suddenly switched from Latin, with the priest facing the altar, to English, with the priest facing the congregation, he said.

“It was very dramatic and very traumatic,” he added.

Much of the beauty, depth and precision of the Latin prayers were lost, according to Msgr. Johnson.

Also, he noted, superlatives used to describe God were dropped as well.

“Some words and sentences in the Latin text were never translated, as they were viewed as duplicative and unnecessary to prayer,” he continued.

Part of the problem, he said, is that Latin conveys much meaning in very few words. Therefore, it created a dilemma between using a literal translation and brevity. Brevity won out, he explained.

The Missal was updated again in 1975, but there were still problems, he noted, adding, “Much of the edition is the same as the rushed first edition.”

Msgr. Johnson talked about the evolution of language. Some words and phrases popular a generation or two ago would sound odd if we used them now, he said. Likewise, he said, what seemed right in the 1960s isn’t appropriate now.

“Language evolves and language changes in big ways and small ways,” he said.

Msgr. Johnson said the translation was “rushed,” but there was no “malfeasance.”

“It was done by excellent people,” with the best of intentions, he noted.

“We can say that now, and hindsight is 20/20, only now do we look at it in this culture and in this day it doesn’t meet our needs,” he said.

Msgr. Johnson said the revised Missal is reverent, with language that’s different from everyday speech, which, he noted, has become “very coarse.”

One example, he said, will be the Profession of Faith, or the Credo. The congregation will say “I believe” instead of “we believe.”

He said we’ll need to learn new responses. This will entail sacrifice on everyone’s part, but, in the end, we can look forward to richer language.

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston said the new English translation provides “a great opportunity to enhance our worship” by looking at “elements of the current celebration that need improving,” including our own participation.

“The most beautiful liturgies … are those in which everyone sings,” he said. “Regardless of how good or not-so-good you consider your voice, it is the one that God gave you and your best effort will be beautiful to your heavenly Father –  so please sing.”

The new English translation also prompted a pastoral letter from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia to Catholics in his archdiocese.

The new missal translation “gives us –  clergy and the faithful –  many new opportunities to reconsider the centrality of the Mass in our lives, to learn more about our faith from the Mass prayers, to evaluate our preparation and our manner of celebration,” he said in the Nov. 20 letter.

“I hope that this historic event … will also signal a renewed commitment to the Sunday Eucharist, to celebrate it with greater beauty and dignity and to live from it more profoundly and intently,” he added.

Is the (new) translation better,” Msgr. Johnson asked rhetorically, before answering “Yes.”

“Is it perfect?” “No.”

“Because nothing is perfect this side of heaven,” he said.

– Catholic News Service contributed to this report.



Missal changes amount to dozens of short, new phrases for congregation

By Patricia Zapor/Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — With the first Sunday of Advent the English-language Masses in the United States are following the updated language in the third edition of the Roman Missal.

What adds up to only a few dozen different words for the congregation begin with the response to the priest’s greeting and continue through the text of the whole Mass.

The changes in what the priest says during Mass are more significant, with numerous bits of new wording throughout the standard parts of the Mass and in each of the four eucharistic prayers.

For the congregation, the first change is that the response to the priest’s “The Lord be with you,” repeated at various times during the Mass, now becomes “And with your spirit.”

During the penitential rite, whether in Form A, the traditional Confiteor, or in Form B, the congregation’s text changes in a few places.

In Form A, the phrase that currently reads “that I have sinned through my own fault” now will be “that I have greatly sinned.” After the line: “in what I have failed to do,” these words are added: “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”

In Form B, both the priest’s parts and the congregation’s responses change. The prayer now will begin with the priest saying: “Have mercy on us, O Lord.” The people respond: “For we have sinned against you.” Priest: “Show us, O Lord, your mercy.” People: “And grant us your salvation.”

The text of the Gloria changes throughout. It now reads:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will.

We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory.

Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ,

Only begotten Son,

Lord God, Lamb of God,

Son of the Father,

you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us;

you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;

you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father, Amen.”

Both the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed change by a few short phrases. In the Nicene Creed, “we believe” changes in four places to “I believe,” and “all that is seen and unseen” from the old becomes “all things visible and invisible” in the new. The old phrase “the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father” becomes “the only begotten son of God, born of the Father before all ages.”

One of the most difficult words for many people to get used to may be “consubstantial” in the Nicene Creed. It replaces the phrase “one in being with the Father,” becoming “consubstantial with the Father.” Also unfamiliar to the tongue may be this phrasing: “and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary.” That replaces: “by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary.”

Also in the Nicene Creed, “he is worshipped and glorified” becomes “is adored and glorified,” and the congregation will now “confess” rather than “acknowledge” one baptism and “look forward to” rather than “look for” the resurrection of the dead.

The Apostles’ Creed will have fewer changes. Most are the elimination of words, such as the second use of “I believe in” in the space of a few lines. Instead of saying “he descended to the dead,” the line will now be “he descended into hell.” And the wording about the Final Judgment will now be: “and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.”

Another point where the new wording might catch people is in the Sanctus, where the first line will now be: “Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts,” instead of “Lord, God of power and might.”

Two memorial acclamations familiar to Catholics will no longer be used in the new missal — “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” and “Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.” One completely new acclamation has been added — “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection until you come again” — and two others were adapted from the previously used acclamations. They now read:

“When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.”

— “Save us, Savior of the world, for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free.”

The last substantial change for the congregation is in the Agnus Dei. The priest’s part now says: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”

To which the people respond: “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”





By Msgr. Robert K. Johnson

On the First Sunday of Advent 2011, the newly translated, revised, Roman Missal will be put into use in every parish and institution throughout the United States and throughout the Diocese of Worcester. For some time now we have been reading and listening to the call of our bishops and liturgists to prepare our communities and parishes for the implementation of what could be described as a significant shift in many of the familiar texts that have been spoken and prayed for over 40 years. Some of the questions that arise are: Why do we need a new translation? How will this affect the celebration of Mass?
In order to answer these questions properly we must first know something about the first translations, how they came about, and why they needed to be changed. Since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council we have had three “Typical Editions” of the Roman Missal. A Typical Edition is the official Latin text published by the Holy Seewhich most translations are taken from throughout the world. Thus the Spanish Missal, the Italian Missal, the German Missal, the French Missal and so on are translated into the vernacular using the Latin Typical Edition as source.
With regard to English translations, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) was set up and approved by the Holy See on October 17, 1963 to carry out translations of liturgical texts for the English-speaking world. Such a group was deemed necessary due to the great number of English-speaking countries seeking the translations of liturgical texts. This group took as its task the fulfillment of the mandate of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy issued by the Second Vatican Council, that the liturgical books be revised “as soon as possible; experts are to be employed on the task, and bishops are to be consulted, from the various parts of the world.” (CSL 25)
Thus, in 1969 the First Edition of the Roman Missal was published. To fulfill the mandate of the Second Vatican Council, and meet the expectations of the time for a liturgy celebrated in the vernacular, the first translation was done very quickly.
The task of the first translations begun following the close of the Council were given to a group or “Consilium” charged with the responsibility. In 1969, this consilium issued a document called an “Instruction” titled “Comme le Prevoit” (Instruction on the translation of Liturgical texts for with a Congregation). The document issued in French was used to guide the translators in their task. One of the theories used by the translators was called “Dynamic Equivalence” This theory allowed the translators the freedom to convey the meaning of the Latin text without slavish  exactitude.
However, what resulted was often the addition of words or phrases not found in the Latin, or the deletion of imagery or words that were part of the original Latin text. The result was a departure from a literal or exact translation to one deemed more figurative, poetic, and dynamic.
In 1975 the Second Edition of the Roman Missal was issued to include documents not able to be incorporated in 1969, such as the Instruction on the Distribution of Holy Communion under both Kinds, and The Third Instruction on the Correct Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Here much of the translation of the texts remained the same.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II issued the Third Edition of the Roman Missal. With the number of saints canonized, new masses for special occasions, and masses for wedding anniversaries and funerals, more than 15 percent of the missal was new. Here some new guidelines governed the translations. However many bishops in the English speaking world  raised questions as to what the actual norms for translation of the liturgical texts were. As these questions arose the Holy Father through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued a call for a new vernacular translation and a clear process by which vernacular translations are accomplished.
It is important for us to understand that the translators task in whatever form is a difficult task indeed. The Latin language has the ability to pack great meaning in few words or phrases. Not every language shares that same ability. Consequently prayer texts in the Roman Rite have traditionally been characterized by their brevity and their ability to say a lot in few words or phrases. With translation into a vernacular language that does not carry this ability, the translators have a choice as to whether brevity is the value employed or exactitude.
In time some weaknesses were discovered with regard to the first translation such as;
-some connections to scripture found in the Latin text were lost in the English text.
-contributions of the Church Fathers such as Pope Leo the Great found in Latin were not apparent in the English text.
-the poetry, rhyme and rhythm of the Latin language was lost.
-metaphors utilized in the Latin text were eliminated.
-the use of the superlative degree in references to God were eliminated.
-seen as redundant, some words and sentences were never translated.
-some saw the English translation as lacking a sense of solemnity, sacredness, and somewhat oversimplified.
In addition, ICEL was attempting to meet a need for contemporary texts not found in the Latin Typical Edition, such as a mass for “a child who died before baptism, or a person who died suddenly. These texts were newly composed and original in nature, not emanating from the Typical Edition or the Holy See.
As the translation process unfolded, other considerations were eventually introduced into the task, including the use of inclusive language in the liturgy, the insertion and adaptation of the liturgy to the customs and traditions of various ethnic groups. However questions then arise as to how well the translation for our prayer tradition is being reflected. As the liturgy has always been an important bearer of the Faith Tradition of the Church the questions began to be rightly asked as to what values must a translation need to preserve in order to transmit faithfully the essentials of the faith?
Thus, the question as to why we need a new translation has been formulated over time as we have used the Roman Missal at Mass throughout the English speaking world. The weaknesses, the missing pieces have been brought into clear relief over these forty plus years. We must acknowledge that we are not the same church we were forty years ago. We are not the same collection of cultures we were forty years ago. Equally important to keep in mind is that the Sacred Liturgy is a theological source. The liturgy is Lex orandi, Lex credendi, meaning that our prayer forms or helps establish belief. So when we make our prayers on Easter Sunday, the prayer texts say something about what we believe about the resurrection.
The metaphor that I have found helpful is that of a jigsaw puzzle. We know that when we purchase a puzzle the goal is to put the pieces together so that the image is true and clear. But sometimes we purchase a puzzle and some of the pieces are missing. The image we had counted on is not so clear as some of the important detail may be missing. The translations of liturgical texts are somewhat the same. While a translation may have served a particular period in our history well, contemporary needs are different. Some approach the existing translations and discover that pieces are missing or obscured. We thus need a new translation in our day so that what we pray is in fact what we believe about the resurrection, about the incarnation and about each of us.
How will this affect the celebration of Mass in our parishes? Clearly the new texts will represent a change in our patterned repetitive memorized texts. Some parishes may have already noticed some changes as some of the musical settings of the Glory to God, the Holy, Holy, Holy, and Memorial Acclamation are allowed to be used beginning September 1 in all parishes of the United States. While this change represents a challenge it is more important that we not get lost or frustrated in the dynamic of change, but to use the revised texts as a wonderful opportunity for prayerful reflection on the important meaning each text we pray as it may serve as a foundation and source of what it is we believe about God, the Church and each one of us.
To further assist each of us in this task the Office for Divine Worship is leading four workshops across the diocese for anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of the changes related to the Revised Roman Missal. All are welcome to attend. They are;

 Msgr. Johnson is diocesan Master of Liturgical Ceremonies and director of the diocesan Office for Divine Worship.     




By Msgr. Robert K. Johnson

Blessed John Cardinal Newman is quoted in his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine as saying that “to live is to change and to be made perfect is to have changed often.

On Nov. 27, the First Sunday of Advent, the newly translated, revised Roman Missal will be put into use in every parish and institution throughout the United States. In a shift that can only be described as significant, these new texts will be prayed and sung by congregations throughout our country.

While the rationale for this shift is important, and will be discussed in upcoming articles, I think it is equally important that we take account of this significant change in the life of the Church and seek to gain a proper perspective.

It has become clear to me over the past several months as I listen to people discuss, write, and debate the merits of the missal revisions, and the impact that it will have on local congregations, that many are apprehensive about this latest revision of the sacred liturgy. We have all probably heard concerns and opinions about the texts of the revised missal and perhaps some of the anxiety behind the concerns.

While a certain amount of tension, anxiety, and apprehension can be attributed to our living in this rapidly moving world of ours, at the same time the reality of change, particularly with regard to the liturgy which is so central and important in the life of the Church can be seen as a contributing factor. Fundamentally, change is never easy, especially when the rationale for these changes is not always properly understood or assimilated.

Consequently this latest set of changes, which concerns the translation of the texts of the Roman Missal, has raised the level of anticipation and anxiety in the minds and hearts of all of us who have come to make the liturgy our own. Practically, priests will need to relearn orations and eucharistic prayers. Choirs will have relearn new settings of the Gloria, and acclamations. The deacons and lay faithful will have to relearn responses and sung texts that have become familiar and committed to memory.

As with most revisions of the sacred liturgy this is not an optional exercise, nor is it about likes and dislikes with regard to the texts, but rather of caring for each other, equipping ourselves and assisting the people of God through this transition so that together we may experience Christ who lives and works among us and through us in the sacred liturgy.

Taking a broader view of things, liturgical change is not new to the life of the Church, nor is this latest change the last word. For more than 40 years, many of this generation have been implementing liturgical changes. Many will remember the Mass being celebrated in the vernacular for the first time, the priest turning to face the people, the congregation being invited to take part in responding to the priest and deacon. While many responded with great enthusiasm, not everyone embraced the changes easily. For priests who were relatively newly ordained and fresh out of the seminary, the changes were for the most part welcome. But I can imagine that for a priest who had been ordained for 30, 40 or 50 years and having to assimilate and implement the liturgical changes, it must have been very difficult. The same must have been true for the lay faithful who for all or most of their lives had come to know and love the liturgy as it was celebrated prior to the Second Vatican Council.

It is important to recognize that anxiety caused by growth and change is not new in the life of the Church. In the first centuries a discussion, debate and more than one argument arose over the date of Easter.

The heated debate arose as to when the annual celebration of Easter should take place. Some wanted Easter scheduled according to Roman usage – which would be celebrated as we do today, the Sunday after the Jewish Passover. Others had the usage of the Johanine churches in Asia Minor which celebrated together with the Jews, the day of the Passover. Of import here is that we know something about the scheduling of the Easter feast precisely because in the 2nd century they were arguing about it. We know because there were letters being sent back and forth between Pope Victor and St. Irenaeus who, was asking the Pope not to excommunicate the churches of Asia simply because they disagreed with him.

Another historical example concerns the so-called counter-reformation and the Council of Trent.  The bishops who gathered at the Council of Trent were concerning themselves with the unity of the Church in the face of the Reformation. Prior to the gathering at this council, the sacred liturgy enjoyed many usages and was celebrated in several forms. In attempting to meet the particular challenges presented to the Church at this time, the council fathers determined that the sacred liturgy should be then celebrated according to one usage, one book, one rite. Any usage or rite that was 400 years old or more could remain. All the others would be discontinued.

At the Second Vatican Council, Pope John the XXII put into motion a principle that the reform of the sacred liturgy was to be ongoing in order to meet the varied needs of every age. However, the reform of the liturgy must take into account that “new forms should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy no. 23)

Aside from all the polemics of value, the point is that history teaches us something of great import. While the rites or externals of the sacred liturgy have changed and evolved, the essential nature of sacred liturgy has remained the same. Why? The sacred liturgy remains the same because it has had, and will always have as its one goal and objective, the worship of God! The worship of God which is part of the Church’s tradition has in fact remained unchanged.

Tradition in the Church is not primarily about the past, it is the Church’s self consciousness now of the life that has been passed onto it which is always in continuity with the past, but at the same time independent of the past. The tradition of the Church has made allowance for the change that is a necessary part of the Church’s growth and development. The sacred liturgy is an important and integral part of that.

If history teaches us that change has always been part of the Church’s life, it is equally important to note that change has not always come easily. This has been so for our ancestors in the faith and it is so for us. This period of the Church’s history may in fact be a time in which liturgical change has occurred at a significantly more rapid pace. In the past 13 years the Church in the United States has received and implemented a revised Lectionary for Mass, an indult or permission  for the funeral liturgy in the presence of cremated remains,  revised ordination rites, and the Revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which changed several of the rubrics of the celebration of Mass, and, let us not lose sight of the fact the liturgy we have received and celebrated according to the norms of the Second Vatican Council is less than 50 years old.

Changes reflected in the texts of the Revised Roman Missal, afford an opportunity for each community to renew its level of participation in the sacred liturgy and reinvigorate its understanding of the liturgy itself. It is an opportunity to build on a solid foundation of worship and another occasion for parishes to examine what it is  they do, and why they do it. It is a valuable time for each of us to reflect on the words and meanings of the sacred texts so that we may all be imbued with the spirit of the sacred liturgy and be led “to that full, conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations called for by the very nature of the liturgy.” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)

To properly understand our place in a changing world and a changing church, we need only to look to our role as Christians in the world. We are a people who know and understand that this world is not our destiny, nor our final home. We are pilgrims, who exist as the eminent theologian Thomas Tally says “between memory and hope.” We live between the memory of Christ’s Paschal Mystery (his life, death, resurrection, ascension and glorification) actualized in the celebration of the sacred liturgy, and hope, the hope of glory in the presence of God with all the “Blessed who are called to the Supper of the Lamb.”

“To live is to change and to be made perfect is to have changed often.”

Msgr. Johnson is the director of the Diocesan Office for Divine Worship and Diocesan Master of Liturgical Ceremonies.



Introduction of new missal going smoothly in English-speaking nations

By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Bit by bit, the third edition of the Roman Missal is being introduced in parishes throughout the English-speaking world.
From Canada to southern Africa to New Zealand, Catholics have seen parts of the new missal introduced at various times — most since January, but some earlier — so that by the first Sunday of Advent Nov. 27, the transition to a new set of prayers and liturgical music will be as seamless as possible for the faithful.
As the implementation moves forward, the liturgists charged with overseeing the missal’s introduction in seven of the 10 English-speaking countries and regions outside of the U.S. making the transition told Catholic News Service that their efforts have eased concerns that the translation was a step back from the Second Vatican Council’s vision for liturgy.
“The bishops here took the view that there should be an incremental approach to implementation,” explained Father Peter Wiliams, executive secretary of the Bishops Commission for Liturgy in Australia.
The process began with the introduction of new musical settings in January, followed by the spoken parts of the Mass at Pentecost in June, Father Williams said. The eucharistic prayers and other parts of the missal will be introduced Nov. 1 so that by Advent the transition will be completed.
The pace of each phase was left to local pastors, with some parishes moving more quickly and others more slowly depending on how well congregations welcomed them, Father Williams said.
The introduction of the English translation of the missal — under development since 2002 — is occurring in countries represented by the 11 bishops’ conference members of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Member conferences include the United States, Canada, Ireland, England and Wales, Scotland, southern Africa (South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana), India, Pakistan, Philippines, New Zealand and Australia.
The most recent translation of the Roman Missal is the third since Vatican II’s call for the “full, conscious and active participation” of all Catholics in the liturgy. In introducing the third Latin translation in 2002, Pope John Paul II said it more closely matched the vivid language used throughout church history.
The English translation took nearly seven years as representatives to ICEL debated the proper words that reflected the sacred language found in the latest Latin edition of the missal. The Vatican approved the English translation in 2009.
Disagreements emerged among U.S. bishops as the final translation was reviewed before it was sent to Rome for approval. Some bishops deemed it as elitist or remote from everyday speech. Despite the concerns, the American bishops overwhelmingly approved the translation.
In Ireland, the Association of Catholic Priests, which represents about 10 percent of the country’s clergy, continued to object to the translation into 2011. In a March 28 statement, the association charged that the translation was “too complex and too cumbersome” and included sexist language. It also questioned its “theological veracity” and described the translation process as flawed.
Such challenges have not delayed implementation, however.
In New Zealand, where the introduction of the missal began last Advent and was to take one year, the attitude among the country’s 560,000 Catholics largely has been to “just go on with the business,” said Father Trevor Murray, director of the National Liturgy Office for the country’s bishops.
“There are some people who are really happy about it and others not so happy,” Father Murray said. “That’s true of the priests as well as the people. But the majority of people are pragmatic about it.”
Around the world the implementation has been boosted through workshops and meetings with key church leaders aimed at explaining what the changes entail and their significance. Each bishops’ conference has developed its own resources, including laminated cards in pews for worshippers, seminars and websites.
Perhaps the most widely used resource has been “Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ,” an interactive DVD developed by ICEL. It explores the richness of the liturgy, explains the changes and examines why the changes are being made.
In Canada, Father William Burke, director of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Liturgy Office, has found people accepting of the changes — once the reasoning behind them is explained.
Father Burke has visited 27 Canadian dioceses to explain the changes and said he has found some anxiety and animosity over the new text at each stop. As he reviews the translation and offers the reasoning behind them, he said he has seen the uncertainty wither.
“By and large,” he said, I hear people saying, ‘What’s all the fuss about?’ People realize this is not the devastation (of the liturgy) we heard.”
Patrick Jones, director of the National Center for Liturgy in Ireland, told CNS that preparation for the new missal began in early 2011 with workshops for priests followed by the introduction of the changes to diocesan and parish liturgy committees, parish council members and music ministers.
Parts of the Mass that directly involve the Irish faithful were to be introduced Sept. 11.
“This will enable Massgoers on Sundays and weekdays to be familiar with those changed parts” prior to the full implementation in Advent, Jones explained.
Dominican Sister Jordana Maher, coordinator of liturgy for the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said the changes will be formally implemented at Advent even though some parishes began using them without authorization in 2009 before the Vatican formally approved the texts. The parishes picked up the texts from Internet sources, thinking they were ready for use, she said.
“That created a bit of a complicated situation,” she said.
The changes in South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland will move forward, however, without a new Lectionary. Problems at a printer of liturgical texts in Kenya will prevent the Lectionary from being distributed in time for the full implementation, she said.
In the United Kingdom, which includes the bishops’ conferences of Scotland and England and Wales, the implementation was to begin Sept. 4.
“My ambition is that people turn up on the first Sunday of September and they’ll know there’s a new missal,” said Martin Foster, acting secretary of the Liturgy Office for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
For Father Andrew McKenzie, secretary of the National Liturgy Commission in Scotland, the success won’t be measured for quite some time.
“The real result will be seen after a couple of years on how well it is accepted,” he said.
Attempts to reach liturgy directors in India, Philippines and Pakistan were unsuccessful.