If you have a few slips of the tongue when you go to Mass Nov. 27 or “flub” a line here and there as you say your prayers out loud, you will not be alone. The long-awaited day when the new translation of the Roman Missal officially goes into effect in English-speaking parishes around the United States will likely bring with it a substantial learning curve.
In anticipation, dioceses throughout the country, including the Diocese of Trenton, are doing their best to prepare their priests and people for the different words that will be used in the celebration of the liturgy. And the Diocese of Trenton is right on target.
The Roman Missal on the Radio
On Aug. 5, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., took an opportunity to reach a sizable audience through his monthly live talk radio program, serving up an in-depth discussion on the coming changes with Msgr. Sam Sirianni, the diocesan director of the Office of Worship. Titled “The Shepherd’s Voice,” the program airs every first Friday of the month on Domestic Church Media Catholic Radio from 3 to 4 p.m. on WFJS1260 AM and 89.3 FM.
Click HERE to hear the current program or listen to previous shows.
In their discussion, Bishop O’Connell and Msgr. Sirianni touched on the history of the Roman Missal, some of the changes in wording and phrasing, the reasons behind the changes, ways in which parishes can help to prepare their people in the next several months and allay some of the misconceptions that may exist.
Most important about the third edition of the Roman Missal, Msgr. Sirianni emphasized and Bishop O’Connell promptly echoed, is that the “Mass is not changing!”
“The Church is receiving a new translation of the Mass. The structure and order of Mass has not changed,” Msgr. Sirianni said.
Briefly defining the Roman Missal as the book that contains the prescribed rubrics, readings and chants for the celebration of Mass in the Roman Catholic Church, Msgr. Sirianni explained that this new third edition of the Missal has been “in the works” for a number of years. The first edition, he said, was issued in 1974, and the second edition was issued in 1985. The third edition was promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 2000 and first published in Latin in 2002. Time was needed to translate the third edition into various languages, including English. The new translation was confirmed by the Vatican last April, 2010, and was expected to be ready for implementation beginning Nov. 27, 2011, the first Sunday of Advent.
The primary reason for the revision of the Roman Missal is to bring the English translation as close as possible to the original language of Latin and to provide the necessary texts and prayers needed to celebrate the feasts of all the saints who have been canonized and beatified since 1975.
The new translation is more faithful to the language and structure of the Latin edition of the missal, the edition on which all translations must be based. As a result, many of the prayers are more lyrical and the language is elevated. The new missal will provide prayers that are “theologically accurate in expression and will highlight once again the richness of sacred Scripture which is the prayer of the Church.”
“Finally,” said Msgr. Sirianni, “there was the need to develop a new English translation of the Mass that would be noble, reverent and beautiful and used in all English speaking countries” of which there are currently 14.
Learn about the Roman Missal
Msgr. Sirianni spoke of how his office has taken a “two-tier” approach to educating folks from all around the diocese on ins and outs of the new Roman Missal. In the past year, workshops have been conducted by national speakers, from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, for priests, deacons and parish staff and ministers.
Upcoming dates include a study day hosted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for deacons of the diocese, Sept. 10, in St. David the King Parish, West Windsor. Other workshops will be offered on Sept. 22 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Visitation Parish, Brick; Sept. 28 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Freehold, and Oct. 10 in Christ the King Parish, Long Branch, from 7 to 9 p.m.
In October, the diocesan Office of Pastoral Care’s Ministry for Maturing Adults has also scheduled workshops on the “Roman Missal: The Same Mass…A New Translation” that will be presented Oct. 4 in Nativity Parish, Fair Haven (Monmouth County); Oct. 18 in St. Isaac Jogues Parish, Marlton (Burlington County); Oct. 21 in St. James Parish, Pennington (Mercer County), and Oct. 25 in St. John Parish, Lakehurst (Ocean County). All sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon, and participants are asked to register by calling the Ministry for Maturing Adults at 609-403-7194.
Msgr. Sirianni said his office will provide a variety of resources to parishes including bulletin inserts and notices; DVDs and pew cards to help educate their faithful to become more comfortable with the new responses. There are also several publishers who have prepared resources for small faith-sharing groups to spend time breaking open the liturgy and understanding the origins of the new translation.
So, what’s changing?
Msgr. Sirianni and Bishop O’Connell reviewed a few of the changes, including those that pertain to the parts of the Mass in which the laity respond to prayers said by the priest. The changes will affect some of the most recognizable parts of the liturgy, such as the familiar greeting and sign-of-peace response, “and also with you,” which will become “and with your spirit.”
Changes to the Confiteor (“I confess to almighty God”), the Gloria, Nicene and Apostles’ creeds have also been made. Most notably in the Nicene Creed will be the introduction from “We believe” to “I believe.”
In looking ahead to Nov. 27 which is just a little over three months away, Msgr. Sirianni chuckled as he spoke of all the work that has gone into preparing for the new Roman Missal.
“And, there’s still more work to do,” he said emphatically.
“This is just the beginning,” he said. “The Office of Worship sees the next three years as a time to assist all our parishes in working out the bumps in the implementation of the Roman Missal.”
“It is a lot of work,” Msgr. Sirianni admitted. “But it will be worth it. It’s for the good of the Church.”
Editor’s Note: To learn more about the new Roman Missal, visit http://old.usccb.org/romanmissal/
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