By Lynn S. Williams
The new English translation of the Roman Missal, the official manual for the Roman Catholic Mass, has been approved, and soon familiar prayers and responses said in churches around the English-speaking world will change. Priests will follow newly translated instructions. Prayers used throughout the Mass and some responses of the congregation will change. Sacred chants and music used in worship will also be updated.
By Kate Blain
Now that the U.S. bishops and the Vatican have approved new English translations of the Roman missal, the book of prayers used at Mass, experts say the next step is educating church ministers – from lectors to musicians – to better serve at liturgies.
By James Breig
Casual observers of the Roman Catholic Church often remark that it hasn’t changed in 2,000 years. Actually, just like any living institution, it is constantly changing. Over the centuries, where and when the Mass is celebrated, how saints are chosen, and the method of electing popes are some of the ways the Church has adjusted its traditions and policies.
By James Breig
Microsoft Vista and “New Coke” have proven that not every change is for the better. Furthermore, when change comes to important elements of life, it is often resisted with the cry of “we never did it that way before.”
However, experts who are enthusiastic about the changes to the Roman Missal – the book that contains the prayers for the Mass – think the alterations are improvements that will lead to a deeper spiritual experience.
“Because a new edition of the Latin Roman Missal was issued in 2002, it is necessary for all the countries of the world to translate this missal into the vernacular,” says Msgr. Anthony Sherman, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship, in explaining why the changes are being made.
By Beth Dotson Brown
Change is often accompanied by fear that challenges priests in the United States when preparing to use the new translation of the Roman Missal. Yet, amidst the newness of the prayers there are also opportunities that church leaders say can guide congregations to a richer liturgical and spiritual life.
By Peter Feuerherd
A translator is a traitor.
Father Paul Turner, a priest of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, knows the saying as an inside joke among those who move words, phrases and meanings from one language to another. He points out that the joke works better in Italian, where the words for traitor and translator are almost the same.
By Jerry Filteau
When a new English translation of the Mass is introduced in the United States – at the start of Advent in late 2011 – the style of worship will be more formal. But it will also be deeper theologically and more evocative emotionally and intellectually.
By Terry McGuire
Ask a Catholic liturgist where Catholics find their identity, and the answer comes without hesitation: the Mass.
“It’s where we are most ‘church,’ if you will; where we are most the body of Christ,” says Msgr. John Burton, chair of the board of directors of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. “The Mass is at the very heart of our Christian experience.”
By Lisa Maxson
What congregations say and hear at Mass will change with the new English translation of the Roman Missal, but the meaning of what one Catholic theologian calls the greatest prayer of the church is unchanged.
The Eucharistic Prayer, heard in the middle of every liturgy around the world, recalls the saving mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection and is the highest point of every Mass, says Msgr. Joseph DeGrocco, professor of liturgy and director of liturgical formation at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York.
By María de Lourdes Ruiz Scaperlanda
Catholics believe that in the celebration of the Mass, they join the sacrifice of everyday life to the sacrifice of Christ, says Msgr. Joseph DeGrocco, Professor of Liturgy at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York. “The offering and self-emptying we do at Mass, in union with Christ, is the offering and self-emptying we are supposed to be living every moment of every day—that is what the Christian life is!”
By Mary Elizabeth Sperry
When parishes start using the third edition of the Roman Missal, the texts of the prayers won’t be the only changes Catholics in the pews see. The new Missal will include 17 additions to the Proper of Saints, the part of the Missal that includes prayers for the observances of saints’ days. The Proper of Saints follows a calendar established by the Vatican and modified by the bishops of each country to include saints of local importance. Any changes to a national or diocesan calendar require the consent of the Vatican.