Monday, January 24, 2011

New Mass Translations: Coming Advent 2011 to a Parish Near You!

Dear Leslie,

How do you think Catholics will handle the changes in the words to some of the recited sections of the Mass, which come into effect this year? I can't help but think it is going to take several years for everyone to get on the same page?


Hi, Andrea!

This is a great question – yes, it’s true that here in the US, we are a mere 306 days away from the new English Mass translations that will be ushered in (no pun intended) in Advent 2011. The Third Edition of the Roman Missal will bring about some noticeable changes in many of the prayers of the Mass and the people’s responses. I do think that since we Catholics get used to our liturgical routine, it will take a bit of getting used to, but I think it will be a good thing. The new translations will bring us closer to the original Latin in which the prayers and responses were written, and hopefully will give us greater consideration of the mysteries we enter into through the Eucharistic liturgy.

A couple of thoughts –  I first heard of the new translations some years ago while working and studying theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. At the time, we would often refer to the new General Instruction on the Roman Missal as the GIRM, until we were directed not to do so, for fear of giving the General Instruction a bad rap by associating it with disease-bearing pathogens. (Way to spoil our nerdy Catholic acronym fun.) But there is a point I’m trying to make here – while the new translations may still be a bit of a surprise to the average person in the pew (especially the Easter and Christmas Catholics – next Christmas, they may have a little surprise in store!), this is something that the Church has been working on and talking about for a long time now, and efforts are definitely being made for a smooth liturgical transition. 

From what I hear, the liturgical changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council were not so smoothly or gradually implemented, and in many places people went to the Tridentine Latin Mass one Sunday, and the next week, walked in the Church to find the altar moved, the priest facing them, and the Mass in their local language. SURPRISE! Hopefully, this kind of shock will not be taking place this time. I do think that a little change will help us (me, anyway) to pay closer attention to some of the prayers and responses that I sometimes just rattle off a bit thoughtlessly at this point, while I try to keep my girls from dancing in the aisles or pretending to eat people’s shoes. Now, I will have to look at my prayer aid and consider the words I am praying – let’s hope the girls are being good.

While we’ll be implementing the new translations this Advent in the US, some other English speaking countries have already implemented the new translations. I know some people in New Zealand, and I asked one friend how the transition has been and how she likes the new translations. Here’s what she had to say:

“You asked about the new Mass translations that we are using in New Zealand already- it's great! It does take a little getting used to but I think most people are getting the hang of it now-so I guess it took maybe about a month or so? It helps to remember to bring this little Mass book that they gave us, otherwise you end up saying, ‘... and also with, er... AND WITH YOUR SPIRIT!’ It's nice because the language is more exact, not different. The only changes are that the wording has become more specific. The best way it's been explained to me is that when you are describing, say, a car, you could say ‘car’ or you could be more exact and say ‘Toyota’. So, in the Creed, instead of what we used to say- ‘one in being with the Father’, we now say, ‘consubstantial with the Father’, for example.  I also love how we now say, ‘Lord I am not worthy for you to enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.’ Beautiful! So to answer your question, yes, it's wonderful yet it will take a short time to get used to it.”

The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) have posted some helpful things on their website regarding the new translations. Here’s a link to the changes in the people’s parts, and then you can look around the site for other fun info:

Hope this is helpful, Andrea!

Peace and all good,

No comments:

Post a Comment